(no subject)

Dec. 30th, 2017 09:32 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
And here we go again :)

1.Small Magics - Ilona Andrews (1/1/2017)
2.The Incubus Job - Diana Pharoah Francis (1/4/2017)
3.Breath of Fire - Amanda Bouchet (1/9/2017)
4.Heroine Complex - Sarah Kuhn (1/14/2017)
5.The Cold Eye - Laura Anne Gilman (1/14/2017)
6.New Spring - Robert Jordan (1/18/2017)
7.Eye of the World - Robert Jordan (re-re-re-read) (dnf) (1/27/2017)
8.Phantom Kiss - Chloe Neill (1/27/2017)
9.Demon Moon - Brad Magnarella (1/28/2017)
10.Heir of Shadows - Kel Carpenter
11.Sweet Disorder - Rose Lerner
12.What Angels Fear - C.S. Harris
13.Velveteen vs the seasons - Seanan McGuire
14.Elixir - Ruth Vincent
The Demonists - Thomas E Sniegoski (DNF)
The Crime Gene - Joyce Nance (DNF)
15.When a Scot Loves a Lady - Katharine Ashe
16.The Operator - Kim Harrison (2/21/2017)
17.Paper and Fire - Rachel Caine (2/23)
18.Lightning Blade - D.N. Erikson
19.Save Me (Angels of Paris Book 1) - Anna Santos
Mengliad - Jana Janeway (DNF)
20.Clean (Mindspace Investigations book 1) - Alex Hughes (3/5)
21.Sharp - Alex Hughes
22.Etched in Bone - Anne Bishop
23.Silence Fallen - Patricia Briggs
24.Magic for Nothing - Seanan McGuire
25.February Thaw - Tanya Huff
26.Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus - Mira Grant
27.The Seventh Bride - T. Kingfisher
28.The Lady's Command - Stephanie Laurens (3/18)
29.Working Stiff - Rachel Caine (re-read)
30.Two Week's Notice - Rachel Caine
31.Terminated - Rachel Caine
32.Snow Like Ashes - Sara Raasch (3/26)
33.When a Scot Ties the Knot - Tessa Dare
34.The Turn - Kim Harrison
35.The Black Wolves of Boston - Wen Spencer
36.Bearly in Control - Milly Taiden (lame)
37.Born in Vengeance - Sherrilyn Kenyon
38.Blood Vow - J.R. Ward
39.Blood of the Earth - Faith Hunter (really good!)
40.Deerskin - Robin McKinley (really good!)
41.The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever - Julia Quinn (4/11)
42.Lion's Share - Rachel Vincent
43.Shall We Gather - Alex Bledsoe
44.Gather Her Round - Alex Bledsoe
45.Blind Tiger - Rachel Vincent
46.In the Shadow of Dragons - Sonya Bateman
47.The Unyielding - Shelly Laurenston
48.Wyvern's Mate - Deborah Cooke
49.House of Bones - A.J.Brahms
50.Summer in Orcus - T. Kingfisher
51.Electric Storm - Stacey Brutger (4/30 in progress)
52.The Stars Never Rise - Rachel Vincent
53.Earthrise - M.C.A. Hogarth
54.The Gathering Edge - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
55.If He's Wicked - Hannah Howell
56.The Bone Witch - Rin Chupeco
57.Blade Bound - Chloe Neill
58.Dragonmark - Sherrilyn Kenyon
59.Final Girls - Mira Grant (5/17 in progress)
60.Echoes in Death - J.D.Robb
61.Gods and Ends - Devon Monk
62.Brave New Girl - Rachel Vincent (5/25 in progress)
63.Devil's Cub - Georgette Hayer
64.The Chosen - J.R. Ward
65.Deadmen Walking - Sherrilyn Kenyon (6/3 in progress)
66.Rose Point - M.C.A. Hogarth
67.Lairathera - M.C.A. Hogarth (6/7/2017)
68.Stillhouse Lake - Rachel Caine
69.Burn for Me - Ilona Andrews (reread)
70.White Hot - Ilona Andrews
71.Dragon Touch - Ashley Frost
72.Silver Silence - Nalini Singh
73.An Irresitible Alliance - Stephanie Laurens
Darktower 1 - The Gunslinger - Stephen King (dnf)
74.One Wilde Night - Jenn Stark
75.Getting Wilde - Jenn Stark (in progress 6/24)
76. Devils and Details - Devon Monk
77.Fated - Benedict Jacka (7/2)
78.Down among the sticks and bones - Seanan McGuire (in progress 7/2)
79.Junkyard Druid - M.D. Massey - meh, won't read more
80.The Bear's Accidental Mate - Tiffany Allee
81.The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband - Julia Quinn
82.Martians Abroad - Carrie Vaughn *really* liked this one!
Stone Cold Magic - Jayne Faith - gave up 63% through - bleagh
83.Conjuring Quantico - T.S. Paul - omg Mary Sue alert. Will not read any more in this series
84.Cast in Angelfire - S.M. Reine
85.Pock's World - Dave Duncan
86.The Fifth Season - N.K. Jemisin (in progress 7/18)
87.Wildfire - Ilona Andrews
88.Curse on the Land - Faith Hunter
89.The Obelisk Gate - N.K. Jemisin
90.Skinwalker - Faith Hunter
91.Blood Cross - Faith Hunter
92.In Need of a Knight - Christi Caldwell
93.Shadow Witch Rising - Colleen Vanderlinden (in progress 8/5)
94.Stormfront - MCA Hogarth
95.The Raven and the Reindeer - T. Kingfisher
96.Jackalope Wives and other stories - T. Kingfisher
The Circle Gathers - Rowan Casey - DNF (53%)
Mordacious - Sarah Lyons Fleming - DNF (zombie apocalypse and I wasn't in the mood, quit 3% in when the zombies showed up)
Heart of the Wolf - Terry Spears - DNF (meh, wasn't feeling it, quit 3% in)
Unchained - Shayne Silvers - DNF - the writing style didn't pull me in, quit after first chapter

96.End Game - Ginger Booth (in progress 8/12)
The Altering - Abby Tyson - DNF
97.Remnant - Teresa Rook
98.Magic for Hire - Catherine Vale
99.Tangled Reins - Stephanie Laurens
100.For Love of the Duke - Christi Caldwell
101.The Love of a Rogue - Christi Caldwell
102.Loved by a Duke - Christi Caldwell
103.Heart of Brass - Kate Cross
104.More Than a Duke - Christi Caldwell
105.Bloodring - Faith Hunter
106.First Grave on the Right - Darynda Jones
107.The Brightest Fell - Seanan McGuire
Magic for Hire - J.A. Cipriano (DNF)
108.Master and Apprentice - Sonya Bateman
109.Master of None - Sonya Bateman
110.White Trash Zombie Unchained - Diana Rowland
The Divinity Bureau - Tessa Clare (DNF)
111.Danger's Halo - Amanda Carlson
112.Archangel's Viper - Nalini Singh
113.Agent of Enchantment - C.N. Crawford and Alex Rivers
114.Double-Sided Magic - McKenzie Hunter
115.What the Duke Desires - Sabrina Jeffries
116.The Art of Sinning - Sabrina Jeffries
117.When the Rogue Returns - Sabrina Jeffries
118.The Ugly Duchess - Eloisa James
119.The Counterfeit Mistress - Madeline Hunter(in progress 10/14)


Jul. 10th, 2017 08:33 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
This is a public service announcement :)

Amazon is offering a sitewide discount on all physical books they sell; save $5 on any order of $15 or more with code PRIMEBOOKS17

Terms & Conditions
• Enter promo code PRIMEBOOKS17 at checkout to qualify.
• Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. (PT) July 12, 2017.
• Offer only applies to products sold by Amazon.com (US only) - look for "sold by Amazon.com" on the product detail page.
• Products sold by third-party sellers or other Amazon entities will not qualify for this offer, even if "fulfilled by Amazon.com" or "Prime Eligible".
• Offer does not apply to digital content.
• Offer good while supplies last.
• Shipping charges and taxes may apply to the full value of discounted and free promotional items.
• Items must be purchased in a single order and shipped at the same speed to a single address.
• Offer limited to one per customer and account.
• Taxes, shipping and handling, and gift wrap charges do not apply when determining minimum purchase amount.
• The maximum benefit you may receive from this offer is $5.
• Amazon reserves the right to modify or cancel the offer at any time.
• Offer is non-transferable and may not be resold.
• Offer discount will be allocated proportionally among all promotional items in your order.
• If any of the products or content related to this offer are returned, your refund will equal the amount you paid for the product or content, subject to applicable refund policies.
• If you violate any of these terms, the offer will be invalid.
• Unless an Amazon Gift Card is the stated benefit of the promotion, promotional codes (including those placed directly in accounts) may not be redeemed for Amazon Gift Cards.


Jan. 10th, 2017 07:47 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
So livejournal is broken for me AGAIN - same issue as before.

1) can't load my friends page
2) can't set security on posts
3) can't get into my drop down list on my profile to see comments/notifications
4) can't use any of the buttons in the html editor to insert links/photos

WTF are they doing?
And here we go again :)

1.Small Magics - Ilona Andrews (1/1/2017)
2.The Incubus Job - Diana Pharoah Francis (1/4/2017)
3.Breath of Fire - Amanda Bouchet (1/9/2017)
4.Heroine Complex - Sarah Kuhn (1/14/2017)
5.The Cold Eye - Laura Anne Gilman (1/14/2017)
6.New Spring - Robert Jordan (1/18/2017)
7.Eye of the World - Robert Jordan (re-re-re-read) (dnf) (1/27/2017)
8.Phantom Kiss - Chloe Neill (1/27/2017)
9.Demon Moon - Brad Magnarella (1/28/2017)
10.Heir of Shadows - Kel Carpenter
11.Sweet Disorder - Rose Lerner
12.What Angels Fear - C.S. Harris
13.Velveteen vs the seasons - Seanan McGuire
14.Elixir - Ruth Vincent
The Demonists - Thomas E Sniegoski (DNF)
The Crime Gene - Joyce Nance (DNF)
15.When a Scot Loves a Lady - Katharine Ashe
16.The Operator - Kim Harrison (2/21/2017)
17.Paper and Fire - Rachel Caine (2/23)
18.Lightning Blade - D.N. Erikson
19.Save Me (Angels of Paris Book 1) - Anna Santos
Mengliad - Jana Janeway (DNF)
20.Clean (Mindspace Investigations book 1) - Alex Hughes (3/5)
21.Sharp - Alex Hughes
22.Etched in Bone - Anne Bishop
23.Silence Fallen - Patricia Briggs
24.Magic for Nothing - Seanan McGuire
25.February Thaw - Tanya Huff
26.Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus - Mira Grant
27.The Seventh Bride - T. Kingfisher
28.The Lady's Command - Stephanie Laurens (3/18)
29.Working Stiff - Rachel Caine (re-read)
30.Two Week's Notice - Rachel Caine
31.Terminated - Rachel Caine
32.Snow Like Ashes - Sara Raasch (3/26)
33.When a Scot Ties the Knot - Tessa Dare
34.The Turn - Kim Harrison
35.The Black Wolves of Boston - Wen Spencer
36.Bearly in Control - Milly Taiden (lame)
37.Born in Vengeance - Sherrilyn Kenyon
38.Blood Vow - J.R. Ward

mail call!

Nov. 13th, 2016 09:11 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] becofoz's post reminded me - I may not get Christmas cards out (I might!) but my goal is to send out more real mail in 2017.

If you think you might want mail from me - a card, a postcard, a note - comment here with your mailing address - and if you're comfortable - your birthday (maybe I'll be SUPER organized!)

Comments are screened so they won't show up.
[Error: unknown template qotd]This one is hard! I would probably say Jars of Clay's self-titled first album. It's kind of odd, because I don't really listen to any of their other albums, and they are a Christian band, and I am not religious in any way.

But as an album that I've been listening to for the past...twenty two years or so...it hasn't gotten old, and when I pull it out, I will listen to it over and over.

A close second is Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes
[Error: unknown template qotd]Baaaaby Groot! Taken with my cell phone so I could text it to my friend:


Apr. 30th, 2009 10:13 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
This afternoon I sent out an email to let people know that I would not be in the office tomorrow. Boss replied back to me via his blackberry, that he was in a meeting, but did need to talk to me yet today.

So we chatted a bit - he indicated that he spoke to both the CEO and the VP of Engineering and all have agreed that it's not right that all the hard technical problems are left to me to troubleshoot. Engineers will be told that they need to pitch in more on support tickets and support staff (my minions) will be given instructions to go directly to engineers for help instead of coming to me for everything all the time.

He also reiterated that I'm to hire an IT person to take on lots of stuff.

I said that sounded promising but would be difficult to implement because engineers would be out of their comfort zones and minions are comfortable not just coming to me for answers, but also to make decisions about how to proceed with things - which we don't want engineers deciding :)

I said, half jokingly, "as long as I'm 10 feet away, it's very easy to just come run things by me".

oohhhh I should have kept my mouth shut.

The next thing he said was that "Qualcomm wants you back". Last year, I spent a month in San Diego working on a project for this customer - it was interesting, and the theory was that, while I was away, everyone would figure out how to do the stuff that I normally do - in reality, they figured some stuff out, other stuff they panicked and I did remotely in the evenings, and other stuff they just put off till I came back.

Yesterday, apparently a new group at Qualcomm decided to move forward with a project, and want someone onsite. My name was apparently volunteered. The project is scheduled for 2 months, but will likely be more like 4 months.

I am slightly panicking - first off - this project already has parts to it that we have no idea how we can implement. Secondly, I haven't ever actually done a full customer implementation where I do the project management, configure the software and architect and write the custom code. I've done pieces, I've brainstormed with others on their projects, I've helped out - but never been the sole person responsible.

So there's that part. The other part is that I don't really want to be away for months - I'm planning on going home in June to visit my mom - although it seems like it's good that I haven't yet bought plane tickets.

On the other hand, realistically? Being away for a couple months right when management is open and promoting the idea of real change to make my life better - it may possibly work. Maybe. Except - when do I interview and hire the IT person? I have to order new memory for the database server - who will install that? Who will install php/mysql/apache/drupal and the backup stuff on the production servers so we can implement the new web page? I just sort of said to boss "I do have a list of stuff that needs doing to get the next *hugely important* release out the door asap". He just looked worried and said "I realize that"

Then he suggested that he, coworker who is up visiting from San Diego, and I go out to dinner. Dinner was really good, and then CEO joined us later for dessert. Talking to coworker afterwards - he may even be more broken than I am - to the point where his girlfriend is seriously suggesting that he might be better off quitting and moving back to Canada, even though it would screw up his green card application and his ability to be here with her.

Sooooo, we shall see. Meanwhile, tomorrow, I'm sleeping in, taking some books back to the library, going to file some papers away, shred some garbage and generally do nothing particular. Because last weekend? I didn't get a Saturday.

Life is certainly interesting.

we shall see

Apr. 29th, 2009 10:24 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
So, after half a week of awkward conversations, boss finally came over today and said "let's take a walk".

We wandered over to the coffee shop and made light conversation about random things, until he finally said "sooo...things aren't good"

Long conversation, not, as usual, one that solved any immediate problems. He did confirm what I've been thinking, which is that the plan for moving all our hosted servers into the domain of an external service provider, while attractive, is much too large of an investment for us to make right now - we'd be going from $48k a year to host the servers, to $45k up front, plus nearly 40k per *month* to host...it's a huge number, comes with a 2 year commitment, and we can't really justify it based on our customer base right now. He's not tossing it completely out the window, and wants to revisit the concept in a year or so.

Meanwhile, we have to find a new plan. He did agree to hire an IT person to take on the day to day management of the hardware and hosted facility, including 24/7 on call stuff that I've been doing for years and years. Our goal is to find someone who knows more than me (shouldn't be hard!). So I have to write up and post the job description.

I did manage to convey some of my biggest issues - when I brought up the current crisis which really brought all of my pain to a head and caused my breakdown last week, he said that he and the CEO are stuck in some ways because we can't fix all the problems immediately. I *totally* understand - it's obvious - we don't have enough people and time and money - but I pointed out that it puts me in the completely unfair situation of having the customer call me weekly to say "it's still broken, and it's critical to us, why hasn't this been dealt with" - when I *cannot* get anything done about it. I think the word I used was "exhausting" to continuously have to try (and fail) to escalate a major problem from one of our largest customers to the CEO and CFO of the company and not have it either fixed, or removed from being my responsibility. He did agree that exhausting was probably the perfect word, and that it's not fair to me.

By the end of the conversation, he is going to talk to the other manager-level people and make it clear that when it comes to support issues, the support staff are going to be given instructions to ask *other* people first, and not always come to me for assistance - and those other people are going to be told to provide that assistance, even if it would be *easier* to ask spiffikins.

The next release, I'm going to walk minion #1 through building the release package and databases and explain what the concept is, and let her figure it out.

It's actually quite funny - nobody realizes that when engineering and QA say "build 40 is the release" - what needs to be done to make it available to customers. I'm the only person who has done it, and nobody told me what needed doing - I make it up every time, and so far nobody has complained and said "no that's not right" so I keep doing what I *think* we need...and it's all in my head, and it's not particularly well defined.

Actually, a good chunk of my job is like that - "here's the goal, get us there" - like - "we want to start using drupal for our web page and documentation - go set that up" or "we need to be able to ship software to customers - figure that out" or "we need to be able to convert customers from one kind of database to another"

Today we interviewed 2 engineers - I was late but came in for the group interview - my goal was to mostly just sit and listen, not because I particularly have a say in the hiring, but also because I like to see how interviews are conducted so I can learn how to do my own hiring. Both times, the VP of Engineering introduced me as the "Software Operations Manager who is our DBA and basically is the person who gets things done around here" - which I found kind of interesting - especially since over the past year I feel more like the person who keeps having to say "I can't get that done, I don't have time".

I'm planning on taking Friday off, but that means I need to get a whole bunch of stuff accomplished tomorrow, and so far my day looks like a mess...so we'll see.


Apr. 26th, 2009 06:00 pm
spiffikins: (daisy)
meme )

state of the spiffikins )

I did manage to move all my files off my desktop drive and onto the TERABYTE external drive that I bought - sooo much room!! I cleaned up all the wires and plugs and organized them into some sort of order although it never lasts. I have to get rid of the desktop carcass - I keep hearing about "green spot" recycling centers so I'll need to look that up.

Went to the store today and picked up some more plants - every few years I get into a mood where I want plants around - bought some bigger pots and some soil and repotted them all - so now I have 5 eight-inch pots with some nice sized plants, and 4 six-inch pots with some smallers ones. I've put them all on the windowsills of my bedroom window and we'll see how that works. It's light in my room, but only the window really gets direct light in the afternoon. Looking at the plants, makes me happy - I hope I can keep them alive :)

Even though I'm swamped at work, I offered minions the option of doing a training class on SQL - they both jumped at it eagerly, so we're starting on Monday at 11am - we'll try to do 30-45 minutes of basic SQL - I find this quite hilarious, because I'm not sure how I became qualified to teach, but I know more than they do, so it's a place to start :)

housemate arriveth )

I need to start looking for flights for June - I'm going home for a few days to visit my mom. My brother is going home next week, and my uncle is visiting at the end of May some time. My mom asked me, very tentatively, "when were you planning on coming out?" When I said June, she was all "oh thank god". I guess she was concerned about having visitors *all* of May but didn't want to say "no don't come home" :)

Despite having to spend 7 hours yesterday working on stupid dead server and recovering, I did get some time off today, and feel slightly better than I did on Friday.
random stuff from the past week or so

Very windy last week - to the point where we lost power here - sort of. The stove had partial electricity and would blink "--" and then "F6" at me, angrily, when I attempted to turn on the burner. The kitchen lights worked, as did the lights and outlets in the 2nd bedroom upstairs. But my bedroom had no power - from about 6:30pm Tuesday through Wednesday around 6pm. Thank goodness the fridge had power!

Wednesday at the Dev meeting, they announced that we are looking to hire an Engineer - and that they had called G who was laid off in September and told him that the job was his if he wanted it. This is good - when they did the layoff, they said that all the decisions were purely business only, and that they had full intentions of trying to hire people back if they could, when things got better. One Engineer did come back in January, and now they've made the offer to G.

I went over to G's house Wed night and we talked about it - I told him that I would be thrilled if he came back, as I miss him - but that I completely understand if he doesn't. He's moved on - found a new job that, while it has some downsides, has enough upsides to compensate - and as he put it, even if he came back, he would never feel *secure* again.

Friday I was pulled off my planned work to do a prototype for a demo on Tuesday - the prospect wants to see a list of 31 things - each of which is weighted identically in terms of importance, and some of which are really quite random. Case in point - they've decided they want to see a "live chat" feature where end users can type into an IM-style box and talk directly to someone. So my job was to find one of these widgets and plunk it into our product to show that "it can be done". I used one called "meebo" - it works fine for what it is, but if we were to do it for real, we'd really want to integrate it better into the product - even just capturing the transcript and putting it into the ticket, would seem to be useful.

New roommate was supposed to come over this weekend to bring some more stuff. She called and made a point of saying she would be here to move some kitchen stuff in, and where can she put it, and she doesn't want me to come home to a pile of boxes in the living room...but she never showed up. I wasn't hanging around waiting, but still, it's becoming odder and odder. I sense that this roommate is going to be Drama, personified. I shall make popcorn and prepare to be entertained.

New laptop is Very Nice. Desktop appears to have succumbed to a fit of jealousy - as soon as I unplugged the monitor from the desktop to attach to the laptop, the video card on the desktop seems to have gone on the blink. I had to connect the monitor back up to the desktop - but no signal is received. Have pilfered a spare video card from work to see if I can get desktop up and running long enough to set up shares and enable remote access so I can get my stuff off of it.

It was in the 80s yesterday and the 90s today - Much Too Hot for April. I have to look at the weather report, but I recall hearing that it's supposed to cool way down later this week - I'm all for it.

Coding this week - writing an integration between our tool and something called "Novo" - a ticketing system that the customer uses for another purpose. Web services!! They did all the hard work wrapping the crappy crappy Novo API into web services and cleaning up the methods - I've got all the logic written today and tomorrow is cleanup and logging so that when I send it over, and it fails, we'll hopefully have enough information to figure out where I went wrong

(no subject)

Apr. 16th, 2009 09:02 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
my shiny is here! new laptop is *very* shiny and many coworkers have come over to bask in it's awesomeness.

Apr 16, 2009 8:41 AM On FedEx vehicle for delivery SOQUEL, CA
Apr 16, 2009 8:36 AM At local FedEx facility SOQUEL, CA
Apr 16, 2009 8:09 AM At dest sort facility SAN JOSE, CA
Apr 16, 2009 3:57 AM Departed FedEx location MEMPHIS, TN
Apr 16, 2009 12:16 AM Arrived at FedEx location MEMPHIS, TN
Apr 15, 2009 3:09 PM Departed FedEx location ANCHORAGE, AK
Apr 15, 2009 12:22 PM Int'l shipment release ANCHORAGE, AK
Apr 15, 2009 3:07 PM In transit SHANGHAI CN
Apr 14, 2009 11:33 AM Picked up SHANGHAI CN Package received after FedEx cutoff
Apr 14, 2009 11:33 AM Left FedEx origin facility SHANGHAI CN

(no subject)

Apr. 12th, 2009 09:32 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
Everyone else is doing a very good job of writing about #amazonfail - suffice it to say that I will be interested to see how Amazon responds tomorrow - so far their claim of a "glitch" doesn't ring true, given that authors received emails from customer service reps specifically stating that this was a "new policy". There's a theory going around that it may have been one or more groups taking advantage of a tagging vulnerability - while this may be true, it doesn't explain the emails that authors got in response to their reporting of it.

In happier news - First Puppy. Too cute and yay, now maybe the news can focus on something else?


Apr. 11th, 2009 08:37 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
I made a stupid mistake, and it doesn't look like I can fix it.

In February 2007, I made a contribution to my Roth IRA - I was *supposed* to select the "2006" option, but apparently I didn't, and the contribution was allocated to my 2007 tax year. A year later, when I went to make my 2007 contribution, it told me I already made it, and my second mistake was to go "oh okayyyy" and make the new contribution to the 2008 year.

This year, I go to make my 2008 contribution (yes I left it late this year...) and it tells me I've already contributed to 2008. Finally, I clue in, and realize what I've done.

So I start searching online to see if there's a way to amend whatever paperwork Vanguard sends in to the IRS - the 2 contributions were technically made within the time frame required to allocate them to 2006 and 2007, but I don't know how to recharacterize them.

I called Vanguard Wednesday and was told that they won't make the change - they apparently can't do it unless it was their fault. Since my contributions were made online, they say they cannot make any changes. I ask to speak to a manager, because I'm hearing that there may be a *way* to do it, but it's not their policy to do it unless they made the mistake. I'm fine with filling out the paperwork myself if I need to - I just need to know what to do.

Thursday, I have several brief conversations with the manager, who tells me that she did the research and that they don't have any way to do it, and now she's saying even if it was their mistake, they couldn't do it - too much time has passed. She was in the middle of telling me one more thing to try, when she got cut off for the 3rd time - she said she'd call me back Monday when the phones are working better.

Phones. yeah. Thursday morning I woke up and noticed that my DSL was out (red angry light on the modem). Snarling under my breath, I decided to just hope that it resolved itself before I got home, as I *really* don't want to have to go through the 3 week process of dealing with AT&T *again*.

I pulled through the drive thru to get my morning caffeine fix, and there was a paper taped to the menuboard saying "Cash Only". Having no cash on me, I went to Safeway instead (and got yummy bagels and cream cheese for the office) and their credit card machines were working.

I got into the office, and was told that our T1 is down. Someone mentioned hearing on the radio that some fiber optic cable had been cut over in Santa Clara. My *immediate* thought was "yay! my dsl isn't down, it's upstream! I don't have to deal with AT&T to get it fixed!"

Our landline phones were working intermittently, and only for local calls - long distance calls were not going through. My Verizon cell phone couldn't make calls and while I received 3 or 4 from people in other states, the call quality was poor, and the calls would get cut off randomly. Text messaging worked, as did broadband (some people could tether their laptops to their phone and get online).

At lunch I went to the bank to see if they had communications so that I could get some cash - an employee was standing outside telling everyone that the ATMs were not working and that the bank was closed. I found out later that the police had being going around to banks and recommending that they close their doors, since if someone decided to cause a problem, they had no way to raise the alarm.

911 service was disrupted in one city, and in other cities 911 was swamped with calls from people wanting to know what was going on. Police were driving around town, trying to be visible so that people with problems would be able to flag them down. An employee of the assisted living home across the street from me, had to go 6 blocks to the fire station to ask for help, when one of the seniors had a seizure.

Doctors on call, instead of being paged to come in, the hospitals would send police cars to the doctors house to pick them up.

Our colocation facility is apparently not on the same network, as all of our customer sites were up and running and none of those customers had any problems. Our customers could sometimes call in - but not all the time. Our email was not working, except internally - so we could send people in the office email, but not get anything from outside. This confused one of our sales guys, as everytime he would get an internal email he would get all excited that the network was fixed

It turns out that apparently several large fiber optic cables were deliberately cut - in two locations, within a couple hours of each other, around 2:30am Thursday morning, someone crawled down a manhole and cut cables the size of silver dollars.

AT&T is offering a very large reward (at least $100k, possibly up to $250k now) for information on who did this. I seriously hope they find the person(s) and that they are punished *severely*. This is not a prank - this is serious.

(no subject)

Apr. 6th, 2009 10:16 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
The owner of the company brings his dogs in to the office nearly every day - we all love having the dogs in the office, and I keep dog treats in my desk as a means to lure them to me and make them love me :)

2 Octobers ago, one of the dogs had to be put to sleep after he attacked one of the gardeners - the vet said that he had tumours and that it was not unusual for dogs to become more aggressive and unpredictable at that stage in the illness, when pain became an issue. So we lost Sneakers, who was a very odd dog - he'd been mistreated for the first few years of his life, before he was rescued and placed with his new family - he was kept in a cage all the time. But, despite his personality quirks, he was a friendly dog to people he decided he liked, and he absolutely adored my boss.

Bear, the second dog, was an absolute *mess* for months afterwards. Just absolutely despondent at not having Sneakers to follow around.

Late last year, they got a new puppy, named Izzie. She's a cute little thing - definitely believes that she IS the center of the universe.

Bear is a changed dog - he is *thrilled* to have a new playmate - and for short spurts, he is like a puppy - running and playing. Eventually he remembers that he's an elderly gentleman now, and plops down to rest, as befits his years.

Bear can tell exactly when it's time to come ask for treats - if you're on the phone, he comes over and bumps his nose against your leg. He's figured out that if you're distracted, and on the phone, you can't tell him to go away, so you'll probably give in, and fish a cookie out of the drawer.

He's smarter than he lets on - when Izzie started obedience training, they signed up Bear as well - he ran rings around the puppies, despite all of us believing that he was *not* the brightest bulb - but then again, there were *treats* involved.

I trained Sneakers to shake hands and roll over for cookies - it took about 2 weeks of doing it a couple times daily. Bear...it took months - but eventually he figured it out. And once he got it - he wasn't averse to just coming over and if I paid the least bit of attention to him, he'd wave his paw at me - and if I ignored that, he'd rollover and then look up at me, as if to say - see? I did it? now you HAVE to give me a cookie!

Today, my boss only brought one dog to work. Over the weekend, they took Bear to the vet, and the vet told them that it was time - his tumours had grown to the size where they were affecting his quality of life.

I don't know the whole story - it seems awfully fast to go from running around chasing a ball like a frisky puppy on Friday, to being told that he is no longer with us - but I know that his family loved him like a child and wouldn't have chosen to let him go unless there was good reason.

Goodbye Bear - I hope that you and Sneakers are back together again! I'll miss you though - you weren't my dog officially, but I was your second choice when your master wasn't around, and that was good enough for me.

(no subject)

Apr. 4th, 2009 06:01 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
i love you

we don't say it enough to the people that matter, when we have the opportunity.
I've been thinking about buying a laptop for a while now - my current laptop is a 15 inch Dell that is 9 years old and the video card doesn't stay seated properly inside, so I have to "twist" the keyboard section to pop it back in place and get rid of the wavy lines on the screen. It's also extremely thick and heavy compared to the laptops that are out these days.

My desktop is about 4 years old, and while it's still fine in terms of performance, it's always had an overheating problem that I can't quite figure out. I have a 20 inch LCD monitor, and while that's perfect for surfing the web, anytime I try to do work at home, I immediately wish for a second monitor.

A friend managed to get a really good deal on a new HP laptop in January, but by the time I got to the store, they were out and since then, I've been looking, but haven't found the specs I want at the same price.

Today I got an email about a sale - a laptop with the processor I want, which seems to be harder to find, and the rest of the specs that I want, after free upgrades and 450$ off in coupons is $849. This is the best price I've seen yet with these specs - my friend's was $749 but he didn't get blue ray or a dedicated video card, and he got a 15inch whereas this is a 16 inch. The closest equivalent at BestBuy is $1099, without blueray but with a slightly faster processor in the model I want, and a bigger hard drive.

So I finally did it - I placed the order and my computer will be built by April 13th and should be in my happy hands 5-7 days later.

Now I wait!

HP HDX16t Premium Series customizable Notebook PC NK606AV
– Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
– Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo Processor P7450 (2.13GHz)
– FREE Upgrade to 4GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm) from 2GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
– FREE Upgrade to 320GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
– 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT
– 16.0" diagonal High Definition HP BrightView Infinity Display (1366x768)
– FREE Upgrade to Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer
– Webcam + Fingerprint Reader with HP Imprint Finish (Fluid)
– Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-card
– No TV Tuner w/remote control
– HP Color Matching Keyboard
– 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
– No Productivity Software
– HP Home & Home Office Store in-box envelope
I have a new housemate - she will be moving in at the end of this month. I think it will be ok - this whole housemate thing is absolutely ridiculous on the surface of it.

You advertise for a housemate, random strangers email/call you back and you set up a time to meet them. A total stranger arrives at your home, you invite them in, show them your house and all your worldly belongings - then you talk to them for 30 to 45 minutes, and at the end of that, you basically take a cheque from them and give them keys to your house.

Described like that, it's rather insane to think that it ever ends in *anything* but doom and death!

However, I have successfully navigated these waters in the past, and been extremely lucky to have found reasonable people to live with - some have turned into very good friends, some have ended up just being other humans I share space with. I'm happy either way - because I've heard the horror stories.

I suspect that this one, B. will be one of the latter - she's much older than me, and we probably don't have much in common. I'm totally fine with that, as she seems to be a straightforward person who can deal with the normal ups and downs of life - she walks with a cane, has survived cancer, has been laid off from her job and seems to have picked herself up off the ground, and just kept carrying on - she's had interviews and a possible job offer, she deals with her disabilities and she just keeps living.

I can definitely appreciate that.

So we shall see - my big concern is that she finds the staircase difficult (the bedrooms are upstairs). She says that having stairs will be good for her - but I won't be terribly surprised if after a few months she decides it's too much. But for now, I'll think happy longterm thoughts :)

(no subject)

Mar. 20th, 2009 08:47 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
A friend sent this link to me this morning - it's the best thing I've seen all week.

Fun things to do with sheep - #193


spiffikins: (Default)

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