May 20 2009

It’s been a crazy month

Published by at 9:08 am
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It has been a really busy this month, insanely busy even for my standards. Everything from fishing trips, trying to recover the guild, getting setup for my final term of college while still making A’s and staying focused on the classes I’m taking now, making an offer on the house we’ve been renting, getting turned down by the home owner (she’s crazy I tell you), and now we’ve made an offer on a different house after looking at several with a realtor. All this while trying to stay focused at work, delivering a product release on time, feature complete, with over 100 bug fixes. Everything is moving at the speed of light although to be honest, there’s nothing like shining in the face of a daunting task.

I don’t normally blog while at work, but taking the time to just quickly compose in written form the level of insanity my life is right now.

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Mar 07 2009

The Long Ride Home

Published by at 11:21 pm
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Jersey shore, lighthouse, tradition, huge Philly airport, nice flight to MSP, nice Minniapolis airport, long flight to Portland, XNA brainstorming, drunk / meth head on the plane, getting home thanks to Dad, resting.

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Mar 06 2009

Kerrie Family Day #3

Published by at 10:29 pm
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Historic villages, frozen custard, family all together including Kerrie’s Mom (minus Brian), pictures, good byes.

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Mar 05 2009

Kerrie’s Family Day #2

Published by at 10:43 pm
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Jersey 5 & 10, driving around town, Atlantic City, The Taj, Rockin’ the Caspa, Sights, Smells, Sounds, driving down Ocean Drive, seeing Kerrie’s old stomping grounds including driving by Breonna’s old house, walking the board walk, nothing is open damnit!, finally went back to Kirk’s Pizza for steak & cheese hoggie, finally spent several hours in the eve with Kerrie’s Grandparents, saw Aunt for a few minutes.

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Mar 04 2009

Kerrie’s Family Day #1

Published by at 8:33 pm
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More Wawa, goddamn toll money, Jersey Diner, pork roll, meeting family: Grandparents, Aunt / cousins, chineese food, Dad, Brother

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Mar 03 2009

Ham Sandwich

Published by at 4:25 pm
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You’re probably asking yourself, “Why the hell is this blog post title ‘Ham Sandwich’?”. Well I’ll get to that in a bit.

We slept in till about 12:00PM which frankly still wasn’t enough considering our onslaught of a trip the day before. It was necessary we get up at this hour if we wanted some kind of day left because we knew we had to head back to Philly. The previous day we had been assured by a very nice lady at the Delta baggage claim desk (who gave us an overnight kit), that our bags would be on the next flight (the one which I was guaranteed to be on the next day). She told us when we got to Philly we should call an 800 number and let them know we got our our destination. I had done that around 2:30 in the morning when Kerrie was busy confirming we still had a hotel in Cape May, and they told me to call back when I got up in the morning. First of all, I’m doing this all on my cell minutes, so I’m already angry I’ve been asked to call over and over so even when I call first thing in the morning I was already grumpy. Upon talking to someone in the morning we were told to head to the airport, but call on your way to confirm where the bags were being held. We headed out to the airport, excited to get our bag and finally be done with traveling. Already I was excited because I was beginning to see the Jersey landscape.

On our way I called Delta again to confirm our bag had “landed”. This was at 3:30 our bag should have already gone though baggage claim. This is where “Ham Sandwich” comes in. I was already pretty frustrated with Delta’s menu system, so when they asked me for what options I wanted verbally I said “Ham Sandwich”. After doing so they asked “Did you mean ‘Damaged Baggage’?”. Hilarity ensued until a half hour later when I got someone on the phone finally. We’re about 15 minutes out from the Philly airport when the Delta person tells me they have no clue where our bag is. They didn’t know if our bag is in Philly or still on the JFK tarmac. At this point I’m pissed and continue to be until we get to baggage claim area at the Philly airport. We were directed to the Delta desk and upon rounding the corner woe and behold, there is our bag. We grab it and go, without even talking to anyone. We were just glad to finally be done.

Kerrie got her jacket, we got some pretzels, and were on our way back to Cape May. Along the way, we took the scenic route and I got to see a lot of what Jersey is like including it’s many dinners and very sprawled out communities. We stopped for “real” east coast pizza at an old stomping ground of Kerrie’s called Kirk’s Pizza. Little had changed since she had last been there. Still the same old small town business and yes Kerrie had a slice of cheese and two slices of pepperoni. We got back to the hotel around 8:30, put on some music, and fell promptly asleep. I woke up at one point to put out the lights and turn off the CD player. Tomorrow would be the first real day of our vacation and we were going to be well rested.

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Mar 02 2009

New York City

Published by at 11:15 pm
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We left the house at 4:30 am Portland, OR time, and thanks to my dad, we got to the airport and through security with about an hour and a half to spair before we had to get on the plain to JFK. Ironically our flight was delayed by an hour. It didn’t bother us too much because we had about a 2 hour layover in JFK to Philly. The 5 or so hour flight wasn’t too bad and we even had news that we would still be arriving on time in JFK. When we got near New York, things started getting a bit bumpy and next thing we knew we were going into a holding pattern for about 30 minutes with 4 planes ahead of us. An hour later we “started” our decent which took another 30 minutes until we landed the scariest landing I’ve ever had in all times flying. 

When we landed in JFK we were completely starving. We had to go to our gate and figure things out because we were afraid that our flight was delayed or worse cancelled. It was in fact cancelled. What was worse is that the people at the desk were only able to put me guaranteed on the 1:00 PM flight the next day, with Kerrie on standby. Furthermore we would only get a “discount” on a holiday Inn at the airport. We were obviously upset so we stopped and had dinner. We hadn’t had something real to eat all day and it was 5:00 PM East Coast time. After getting our blood sugar in order, we decided to figure out Plan B. 

Things got much worse at this point. Over the next 2 hours we went from counter to counter, phone call here, talking there, arguing and trying to figure out our options. Eventually our situation was A. hotels were not going to be cheap, even at a discounted rate B. if we didn’t get our car in Philly in 15 hours we would lose it  plus it was paid for already C. we already had a pre-paid for hotel in Cape May D. there was no way in hell we were getting a flight to Philly in time and to add insult to injury E. we couldn’t get our checked luggage, it would have to be on the next flight to Philly. It was getting late so we decided quickly on Plan B. 

After navigating the cold with no jacket for Kerrie and trucking around the JFK airport tired and cranky, we finally got to the AirTrain terminal to head to Jamacia station where we could take a train to Manhattan and then to Philly. Of course at this point Kerrie used the term “train”. I didn’t truly know what I was in for. When we got to the AirTrain station, it wasn’t running due to ice. DAMNIT!!!! We then figured out there was a bus that was heading down to the 3rd train station which was running through to the rest of the line. We were able to get on the bus but the term “packed in like sardines” barely begins to describe it. Eventually we got to the AirTrain station, it took us to Jamacia station. Once there I was all excited because I figured the hard part of our trip was over. It was just beginning.

We headed down through the station. Paid the fee for the Metro and went through some turnstiles. “Neat” I thought as we continued down through the station. I saw some trained and figured that is where were to be heading. Kerrie corrected me and directed me to an elevator. Before I knew it we were underground. Odd I thought, but I’ve gotten on light rail trains before underground. After entering through some other turnstiles, finally I realized that we were entering the New York City subway station and entering the depths of hell. No matter what I could begin to describe it, no matter what you may think about the New York City subway, oddy enough the stations themselves are worse than anything you could image without experiencing it. Ironically the subway car itself was much cleaner and nicer than I expected. It wasn’t that far off from a light rail Max train we have here in Portland. 12-14 stops later we arrived at the Penn Station subway stop and our adventure on Trains, Plains, and Automobiles continued…

Emerging from the subway we came across a sign which directed us to a cross street to the actual Penn Station where we could board the Amtrac train to the Philly. Confident with our journey so far, we were eager to get to the Amrac Station and braved the (later we found this out) 1 degree cold (with Kerrie having no jacket) and back alleyways of downtown Manhattan at 10:15PM at night. We needed to move quickly because the last train to Philly was at 11:15PM. We moved quickly in one direction before we had walked something like 10 blocks and realized we went the wrong way. Turning around we went down another path, feeling like we were getting lost we found a Starbucks, grabbed coffee, and asked for directions. We headed in that direction and again feeling lost visited another Starbucks and asked for directions. Heading in that direction we continued to get lost before asking some officers for directions. They pointed us in the “right” direction before a random person on the street gave us the actual correct directions.

After entering the subway and quickly getting our tickets at about 11:00PM. We were a bit relieved to finally get to a destination in which we could get some short rest. Coincidentally the 2 ladies who sat in font of us on the plane also were on the same train as us to Philly. Shortly after the train left the station, I was completely out and we were on the way to Philly. Once in Philly, we emerged cold and tired to an old and amazing Philly central station. From there all we had to do was grab a taxy to the airport and … wait what was the plan once we were in Philly?!?!?

We got a taxy to the airport and got our car. We had accomplished at this point 75% of our journey and it was 2AM in the morning. We were tired, Kerrie more so than me and she was looking for relief. We looked for area hotels, but unfortunately due to the weather the only thing available was a few rooms at a really expensive hotel. Finally, we called the hotel and Cape May and they said we could still check in this late so we gathered the strength to head to SE Jersey. So began the final leg of our long trip.

2 1/2 hours of driving in the darkness, tired, and hungry we decided to stop along the way at what soon I’d begin to realize as the saving grace of New Jersey, Wawa. Maybe it was that I was so hungry and tired, but it was the greatest convenience experience ever. I got a hoagie with chicken salad made to order with a touch screen panel and it was ready by the time I was done paying. The food was great and the store itself was like a Subway, 7-eleven, Noah’s Bagels, and Starbucks all rolled into one. After getting refueled, we got to our hotel at 5:00AM and in bed by around 5:30AM. Completely exhaused we crashed and crashed hard, but we knew the saga wasn’t over yet. We’d have another day of fun an excitement, but at least we were going to sleep in a comfy…. b…e…d………. <snoooooore>.

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Feb 17 2009

Garage door fun

Published by at 5:52 pm
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Oh the joy of home… err rentership?

Yesterday when Kerrie got home as always on her way into the house, hit the garage door button and came into the kitchen. I greeted her with the customary hugs and then all of a sudden, BAM! We heard a loud banging noise coming from the garage. We went into the garage and inspected what happened, something didn’t seem right about the garage door. I looked at it and at first inspection I realized it looked like the cable thingie came out of the holder thingie (really technical huh?). Well being the handy guy I am (yeah, lol), I climbed up on the ladder figuring “oh yeah, I can fix this”. Well upon further inspection before I even got anywhere, I realized the problem. The metal coil spring thingie (again, highly technical terms here) had snapped. So I did my best with Kerrie’s help to release the opener and then raise the garage door. She was able to get her car back out of the garage, but then today we had to call a repair person to come out and fix it. It was apparently a normal routine thing that goes bad over time and needs replacing and of course since we don’t own the home, the homeowner paid for it. 

In the end, it wasn’t a huge deal, but it did give us a reminder that it’s not really our home and we really need to work on doing something about that. Of course something else has to happen before then.  😉

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Feb 16 2009

Relaxing 4 day weekend

Published by at 5:52 pm
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I’ve been really stressed out recently and thought it good to take a nice 4 day weekend. President’s day being Monday, all I had to do was take 1 additional day off and BAM, 4 day weekend here we come. Overall it has been very relaxing and I even took the time to volunteer for Potluck in the Park on Saturday which was my first volunteer work I’ve done in a very long time and first one dealing with the homeless. Besides that I’ve been working hard all weekend with Kerrie on the garden and things in the garden have been looking better and better. All the RnR has been good for me I think. My stress level is lightyears lower than it was last Wednesday. I even got a good bit of gaming in this weekend and finally hit renown rank 31 in Warhammer which means I’m now able to wear my Annihilator gear.

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Oct 03 2008

It’s been a while

Published by at 3:02 pm
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Suffice to say with moving, new role at work, and the exciting launch of Warhammer Online, I’ve been very busy. Add two trips to California into the mix and make that VERY TIRED and VERY BUSY. On top of all that, my brother just had his daughter (see Ray’s website on my links list) Rachael Elizabeth Laurence on September 13th at around noon. Very happy things went smoothly and both of the proud parents are doing fine.

In regards to work, I have my Senior Software Engineer (Charles McAuley) hired and recently I’ve been interviewing perspective candidates for Technical Support and my other Software Engineer. Interestingly enough at least 2 people (that I know of) have looked up this website and other websites I’m sure of mine and done research about me prior to the interview. I of course have nothing to hide and am open person, it’s just not something I’m used to (although I should be almost expecting it these days). I think I’ve made my decision at this point about who I want to hire for support, but I’m still working out the details with Tony and corporate (paper work).

In regards to entertainment, Warhammer has been going very well. The guild is up to around 40 members again (plus around 10 alts). The game is great and it’s really awesome to be close to all my good friends again. As always trying manage a guild of 50+ people is challenging, but also rewarding and the members appreciate how I manage things.

In regards to home life and Kerrie… well things couldn’t be better. We’re *mostly* unpacked and have caught up a little bit on the garden. Me being out of town for two weeks in the last month hasn’t helped with the house progress, but even still things have been progressing nicely. We’re enjoying the new house and really settling in well with our lives together finally.

Those are the top events in the last month or so. Will hope to start getting back into the groove of blogging again for those who keep up with my goings on. Life has been busy and I hope all my readers out there have been doing well.

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