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So yesterday marked 18 years since Hands Across America. That also means my oldest cousin has been married for 18 years. That honestly doesn't seem that long ago. There's a picture of me somewhere standing in the line - it came a half a block away from my uncle's house.

Ok, this week is taking too long. It's just not fair that it's only Wednesday.

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I must have pissed *someone* off or something...

This afternoon I'm trying to access my server, and it's s-l-o-w. After some investigating, I find out that a *lot* of people are trying to grab some files off my site - stuff that nobody really knows about, but is sitting out there. After some more investigating I find out that a link somehow ended up on a rogue site, and everybody and their brother was trying to download stuff at once. After moving things around I more or less solved the problem, but I still have other issues to deal with.

Switching gears, we've had a lot of rain lately. Big thunderstorms this morning, and more as I was coming home from work. I went downstairs to check out the water situation, and while it wasn't great (water was dribbling in in a few places), it wasn't too bad, either. Then I went upstairs and watched TV. An hour later we went back downstairs and - no fooling - there was a river down there. Now, luckily, the water only had to go about 6 feet to the floor drain, but nevertheless, a river in one's basement is never a good thing. It was all the more frustrating that the majority of the water was coming in under the porch - as of yet I can see no logical reason why the water is coming in *there*.

On the upside the chimney isn't leaking anymore since I patched it. Some consolation...

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Deep tunnel system was down to 1 pump

For years I've been reading about how Milwaukee's deep tunnel system can't handle heavy rainfall. Either sewage gets into people's basements, or it empties into local waterways. You know why? Because Milwaukee has combined storm and sanitary sewers. That means all of that rain outside goes to exactly the same place as what goes down your toilet. Makes perfect sense, huh? The fact that this has never been changed - regardless of the cost - boggles my mind.

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Experts Say Static Electricity, Not Cell Phones, Caused Gas Pump Fires

And people laugh at me when I get paranoid about getting shocked getting out of the car.

Of course, I leave my cell phone in the car too, just in case.

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Company from D.C. always makes for a long weekend, especially when - ahem - spirits are involved. And really, when isn't that the case? Luckily everyone more or less survived.

The basement is slowly coming along. The bar is finally gone. Or rather, it is currently a pile of wood on the basement floor. The ceiling is slowly coming down as well. The problem at the moment isn't so much tearing things down, but getting them out of the basement once they are down.

Monday mornings aren't fun.

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After getting home from work the other day I managed to get myself sucked into Made on MTV. It's a bit like a train wreck; once you start watching you just can't turn away. The one I caught was a girl who wanted a date to the school dance. While she wasn't a beauty queen, she was hardly ugly, either. Yet half the school (at least as depicted in the show) picked on her, calling her "fat", "ugly", etc.

This seems to be a common theme in pop culture - the tortured middle/high-school kid, usually a girl. Is this honestly that common? Maybe I was just an exception, but I was *never* one of the "popular" kids, yet I honestly don't recall much torment from those years (I'll say some elementary school teasing here and there doesn't count). At least not from being picked on, anyway.

Was I just an exception? Are kids that age really that mean and cruel (and stupid, for that matter)? Or is this one of those things that Hollywood just likes to play up?

Oh, and yes, by the end of it she had ditched the glasses (which I liked, BTW), put on some makeup, and found herself a date. At that point I turned the TV off before another episode came on.

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Is it just me, or has spam been going through the roof lately? It used to be annoying, but not too bad - I'd get perhaps 10-15 messages a day. Lately, though, my Junk box (Eudora's filtering is a wonderful thing) has been huge. I'd guess maybe 50 messages a day on average. Of course, a good number of those are viruses, but it all adds up. I kind of gave up with Spamcop; maybe I should try again.

There honestly hasn't been much to report lately. I lucked out with my flights - all were either on time or early. No lost luggage. No bumps. I even had an open seat next to me on the way back to the Twin Cities. Then again, arriving there was completely depressing: sunny skies to a blanket of cloud cover will do that.

I think it's time for a discussion here. Cell providers. Who do you like? Who do you hate? Of course, it's a bit late for me - we switched to Verizon (from US Cellular) a few weeks ago. I'd still be interested in what people think, though. So far Verizon seems pretty good. I'd say the reception is as good or better than US Cellular (it sure seems better in the house), and having a nationwide network is nice. I'm just not too keen on getting charged to receive text messages. The free in-network calling makes up for it, I guess.

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Random "out for a drive on a Thursday night in southern California observations":

- I'm surprised at how sanely people apparently drive around here. People don't seem to speed that much, and reckless driving seems to be at a minimum. I guess I'm used to Chicago. Then again, speed limits out here seem to be fairly high on local streets anyway (a 35 street in Madison might be 45 or 50 here).

- A drive up the coast is...interesting. There are plenty of beautiful areas, but there's also a big stretch south of Long Beach where you've got oil rigs in the ocean on the left and a whole bunch of land oil wells on the right. I suppose it isn't that much different from I-90 through Gary, IN, but still, it seems odd.

- Sunsets over the ocean are always nice.

- I drove around for over 2 hours with an eye open for some place to eat, and ended up eating 5 minutes from the hotel.

I think that's all for now. Now I just have to entertain myself for the next several hours until I have to go back to the airport.

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Math and the Computer Science Major
First, high school calculus teachers tend to be the teachers in the math department the longest. The problem with this is that while these teachers are more experienced, they have been away from calculus longer than the other math teachers in most cases. Besides that, these teachers are often near retirement and may not be as motivated as younger teachers.

A college calculus teacher will be used to working with struggling students because for many of them, that is the toughest class they will ever have to take. But high school calculus teachers will be more used to working with the top students in the school. If you arenít especially gifted in math, you may find that you donít get what you need from these teachers.
Hmm. I think anyone who had Mr. Ertl at Park High School then took calc at UW will disagree with this. I still can't believe he had his family stand at the side of the road and record his car horn when he was going 55. Can I get an amen?

California is...fine. I'm about to go crazy in this class (so far it's been really, really easy), but hey, I'm not paying for it.

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The first week of the job went well. I didn't really get to dig in too much, but I at least got a feel for how things go around there. It's obviously an improvement over what I was doing before. And this week I'll be out in California for three days of training. Yep, all expenses paid to Orange County. Not a bad perk I'd say.

Another big news item is I got a new car. The Camry was seriously making me worry - I know some of you have heard the noises the front end was emitting - and the new job provided the necessary catalyst. I ended up with a red Toyota Matrix (XR with Extra Value #2 and All-Weather Guard packages). Maybe not the most pretty car, but it's got a great interior and is versatile as hell. I love it.

Well, off to pack.

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The Simpsons Archive

Vital stats:
DOB 2/16/79. I'm a web developer at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. I like lots of old music, including The Who. I spend a lot of time working with computers. And my favorite TV show (when I actually decide to watch TV, that is), obviously, is The Simpsons.

In May 2002 I officially graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BS in computer science. In 1997 (man that seems like a long time ago) I graduated from Washington Park HS. Yes, I know, that site isn't very impressive, and no, I haven't touched it for several years.

WFS Logo

One of the best experiences I have ever had was on a trip called Western Field Studies. This is a 33 day adventure throughout the western United States. Students travel on a school bus to national parks, monuments, forests, and places of historical interest and camp out (in tents or under the stars). I was a part of trip 25, which took place in the summer of 1996. A first for WFS was we took along a laptop computer and kept up a web site. That link will take you to the 1996 site, where there is a link to the current site.