Feeling Quite Warm

December 21, 2007

I got in to Liberty, MO at about 5am local time last night (making it 6am Eastern [or Awesome] Time). Pretty typical trip really. Traveled through back roads for about 4 hours, then got on I-35 for the next 8 hours and chugged along towards home. There were some good Christmas light displays in the far western portion of the UP and the US2 section of Wisconsin. Then I hit Superior/Duluth. Holy crap, do they need to learn about pollution!

Not just regular smog/litter/sludge pollution. They need to learn about light pollution. It was as if every light in the city was turned up towards the sky. You practically couldn’t see the moon, let alone any stars (clear or cloudy, either way). Even Minneapolis was better in terms of light pollution than Duluth.

Anyways, slept til about 1pm CST, then headed out to go gift shopping.  Got Melissa’s gift (it’s awesome!), and I know what I am getting Jill and my dad. Jenn and my mom might be a bit difficult to shop for.

See, here’s the real kicker: my paycheck was accidentally mailed to my Houghton address instead of here. Nobody’s really to blame, but it does kinda suck for me. I was relying on the check to get here so I could pay the cable bill tomorrow/next Wednesday and also get folks presents. Looks like I’m gonna need to bum some cash from somewhere to get through this month. (I am also severely hoping that I can get my Charter online account resolved with their tech support, something is preventing me from registering with them properly).

Subnote: unless I can pull out a magic rabbit, this month’s paycheck is gonna be slim to none. I’m thinking I need to go to the rabbit store tomorrow and next week while I have free time. Apologies to Mike, Evan and the QA/support team for this past month.

It’s 55 degrees here, and people are wearing coats and sweaters. I want to wear shorts and a t-shirt. It is so awesome to have this kind of weather! It’s 40 degrees warmer than it has been the past few weeks in Houghton! Also: Any place that serves fried okra and gives you the choice between sweet and unsweet tea is awesome!

There’s going to be another post shortly; gotta grab some food and some drinks.

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Michigan! Michigan!

December 17, 2007

I think I have expressed this before, but I really feel let down that I can’t travel through the UP to go home this time around. I’m a very tradition-bound person, and it just seems like missing this Christmas tradition that I have had for the past three years is gonna jinx something or other. I miss driving through the UP in the winter. I love heading through the twists and turns, and there are plenty of those that will stick in your mind. The sharp turning incline as you go through Baraga, passing what for years I thought was a statue of a snowshoeing Jesus (really just Bishop Baraga, who was a pretty interesting guy). Passing through by The Red Door, a seemingly abandoned antique and gift shop. Dropping by Teal Lake as you enter Ishpeming which, in the winter, is always home to a commune of ice fishermen. The curves of Champion. The forestry center at Alberta. Ascending and twisting and descending and back again. The flaming sunsets. The wildflower weeds. Entering the town of Christmas. The broken buildings and broken homes. And of course, The Bridge.

There are all sorts of musical traditions. Starting freshman year, Bakke and I listened to the same stuff on every trip down. This includes Mitch Hedberg (originally his first CD, later his second CD), Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity, and the Foo Fighters’ The Colour and the Shape and There is Nothing Left to Lose. I also have to listen to A Prairie Home Christmas

Added on to that now is Sufjan StevensGreetings From Michigan: The Great Lake State.

Clearly, my mind and heart are set on the UP right now. Unfortunately, I go my separate way for the first leg of the trip, and I only come up through the UP on the return trip.

Breaking

December 16, 2007

I am intentionally screwing up my sleep schedule. Tomorrow I plan on getting up around noon (since I kinda started this screwing up thing early) and Monday I am getting up at eight or nine in the morning (got an exam at ten in the morning). Tuesday I want to get up around 1pm, and Wednesday at 2pm to be ready for my exam at 3pm.

Why?

Endurance! I have to drive at least 12 hours on Wednesday, and I am looking forwards to it. However, I am leaving Houghton anywhere from 4-5pm. This means I’ll be driving up til 3-7am (local time) Thursday morning. No big deal to me, but I know my mom is freaking out a bit.

What worries me more than staying up is the thumping, clattering, almost knocking sound my car is making at high speeds. I think its just a splash guard thingy or a fender come loose. If this is the case, oh well, it’s just annoying sounding. However, if it isn’t the case, I have a major problem, because it could be something sinister (an engine knock would be a heartbreaker). The other thing weighing on my mind is definitely weather. I don’t think I’m worried yet. If it gets snowy, that’s one thing. If it gets rainy and icy, that’s another. At some point I do break down and say “Screw it, I’m sleeping in a Walmart parking lot or a truck stop

A few new Vista gripes. First of all, as in my XP install, when I have a specific thumb drive plugged in Windows fails to load. It could very well be a BIOS setting, but I’m set NOT to boot from anything other than CD or HDD. It only happens with my 1 gig drive as well, which is weird.

I guess my second complaint isn’t as much with Vista as it is with components. I have been trying to get iTunes installed, and it just plain hung up at the same part every time. Finally I got ticked, removed a stick of RAM (the one I suspect is bad) and tried again. It worked. Woohoo. Moral of the story is, one bad stick of RAM will cause some funky behavior (but hopefully you knew that already). The computer functions normally with it, but there are just some quirks that occasionally show themselves.

Other thing I don’t like: Windows Error Reporting. It ate up 3 gigs of space real quick. I understand the need for it, but it doesn’t need to munch gigs so fast. Took me a while to find how to turn it off, but it was nice to have the space again.

Apparently, Vista SP1 eats up space as well (for installation), so I need to check that. Hoping that the official version doesn’t prove to back up this claim.

There are also a couple of good things going on for Vista. The update manager is much nicer now, and if you can figure it out the security center is actually pretty handy for accessing certain components. The Start menu redo is kinda neat. But by and far, the best new part of Vista is the networking. BAMO! It works. There I see all the computers on our network and all the shared media. Totally awesome.

Bobby Flay is tha man! Marc Ecko, not so much.

Hell Week

December 11, 2007

Don’t really feel the burn yet, but here’s my upcoming week and a half or so:

  • Tuesday: presentation at 2 for Construction Project Management
    • Work on Structures project after
  • Wednesday: Turn in final Structures HW, get Structures take home final exam at 9am, take final Equipment Management exam at 2pm, final Const. Proj. Mgmt. class at 3pm. IME documentation due by midnight
  • Thursday: IME meeting and Structures project
  • Friday: Final Safety Management quiz is due in class at 10am, possibly get back Structures and Equipment Management finals
    • Head out to the KBC for well deserved pints!
  • Saturday: Complete Structures project (if not done already)
  • Sunday: Church (if I can get my car out and no major parties are thrown the night before), football and studying for Safety final
  • Monday: 10am: Safety final. Structures project due by 5pm, want to turn it in after Safety final though
  • Tuesday: Pack, get oil changed, buy snacks and caffeine for road. Study for Project Management final
  • Wednesday: 3pm: Project Management final. Hit the road as soon as I am done, about 4pm?

As you can see from the previous post, I should be getting in around 13 hours after departing, which makes it about 4am. I can handle that as long as there are no late night ice storms across the midwest like those occurring right now.

Long Haul

December 11, 2007

3,814 some odd miles of just “getting there” driving equals out to about 63 hours of travel. That is 2.625 days, just driving. How awesome is that?!

I’m a long haul driver, and could definitely tank any of these trips in one sitting. Give me my tunes and some donuts and Red Bull and I am set!

First Leg:

Second leg:

Third leg:

Fourth leg:

Fifth leg:

Sixth and final leg: