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Month: September 2020

Personal History : 2001-2003

Posted in Blog, and Personal History

2001 through 2003 were an absolute blur, and I’ve had to spend the better part of a week pouring over old emails, files, photos, and notes to attempt to piece it all together. And even then, some of the dates for events are approximate.

This project is ongoing and I will continue to add events and whatnot as I recall them, find old media, or I have more time to expound on things. So check back on occasion. 🙂

January 2001

In January 2001 I invited a friend of mine from England to come give us a hand with the DMV project, and have a bit of a vacation while he was here. Geoff was an amazing electrical engineer, and helped with some of the motor controls on the mast. While he was state-side I took him to see the horses and the B&O museum there in Baltimore on the 8th and 9th of January.

“Thing” and Geoff
Geoff examines a true behemoth.

February 2001

On February 8th we purchase the final parts needed to make the DMV camera and assembly of the first prototypes begin on the kitchen table on the yacht. By late February the prototypes are done, the late beta firmware is loaded, and we’re sent to RMA’s office near Boston to show it off.

March 2001

On March 4th Scott and start the drive back to Baltimore. On the way I drive through Framingham, stopping at Fun and Games for old time’s sake.

Fun and Games in Framingham MA.

And then I take us down through New London for more strolling down memory lane.

My first apartment in New London CT.

On March 20th the finished PegaMast boards arrive from fabrication.

Note the lovely company logo silkscreened on the lower left. 🙂

April 2001

April is mostly filled with install and support for DMVs in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Ohio.

May 2001

On May 30th I make what will be my last visit to see the Scott and Ken’s horses.

The very last photo of “Frencheska” – I miss her, she was a really good mare.

June 2001

In June we discover that the DMV project has become the last hurrah for RMA, and we start to get conflicting information from Richard, Mike, and Ronald as to what’s going to happen.

This coincides with the sudden spike in unemployment due, in part, to the tech bubble problems of last year:

In late June Richard, who sits on the board of Marianapolis Preparatory School in Connecticut, asks us to help out the school with an internet upgrade to a fractional T1. Scott and Ken head to Connecticut for a few days to get it all working.

While Scott and Ken are away, I seriously start to ponder moving back to Colorado; neither Matt nor I are exceptionally happy with where we’ve ended up, and on June 27th I illustrate our characters arriving back home.

Ri’Hahn and Aryntha take a moment to appreciate being back in Colorado.

July 2001

It’s now July and Ken has moved to England to live with Geoff, leaving the yacht to Scott and Johnna.

Steve Bliss, the head-honcho of the school in Connecticut, asks us to return and spend the summer upgrading their computers and network the various buildings on the school grounds. Being as it’s a boarding school and it’s summer so most of the students and faculty are gone, he offers to put us up in one of the wings of “St. John’s”, the boy’s dorm – on the condition that we are okay with looking after a couple of summer students who are still there.

Scott and I agree to go while Johnna stays on the yacht until she can either get a job and live there or do something with it.

On July 10th I make the last entries into the PFM financial database, make a backup of everything on my computer, toss it and what I figure I’ll need for a month into the Caprice, and head for Connecticut – again.

I keep having Navy flashbacks for some reason…

Starting in July Scott and I build a new wireless network to connect the various dormitories and resident student houses on the grounds of the school, as well as build a new Apple xServe based computer lab and install Apple iMac systems in the common areas of the various houses and dorms.

August 2001

In August I’m offered a teaching position for the 2001-2002 school year. I accept.

September 2001

It is now September and I’m teaching comp-sci to a class of 15 students… Scott and I are in charge of the senior’s wing of St. John’s:

St. John’s Hall. My room was off the central area there, second floor on the left, on the back side.

We take our meals at the school’s cafeteria:

The cafeteria. The cook used to be the head chef at Foxwoods, so the food was amazing.

And I work with the students after hours to help with both school and personal problems:

I spent a lot of time in this library helping students with classwork.

And September 11th happened…

October 2001

While all of this is going on the school board has been asking me both create a new website and move all of the old data from the .com address to the .org address. On October 10th I show the new Marianapolis web site demo.

November 2001

The end of November rolls around and so does the end of the first term for the 2001-2002 year.

December 2001

On December 1st I do some colorizing for one of the students:

One of the Korean students was big into mechs, so we collaborated on one. 🙂

On December 6th I turn of the DSL on the yacht; Johnna still hasn’t gotten a job and has been spending every waking moment playing Everquest – so Scott tells me to cut her off.

Right after this the Christmas break arrives and on December 19th Scott flies to Baltimore to gather up the stuff we still had on the yacht. He then runs down to Virginia to install one of our digital recorders and do some thin-client terminals for Dan at Express Auto.

While Scott is in Virginia I turn out a Christmas card and email it off to everyone I know:

The Carol of the Bells is by far my favorite Christmas tune.

Scott returns on December 30th with his truck, jet-ski, and some additional odds and ends from the yacht such as our color printer.

January 2002

On January 23rd, 2002 the final version of the Marianapolis web site published at the .org address.

February 2002

On February 8th 2002 I drive down to New London and spend the day walking around the Connecticut College arboretum. The last time I was here was my birthday on February 7th 1990, and I spend the afternoon reminiscing about old friends and Lazer Tag.

March – May 2002

In March Johnna loses the yacht and the storage unit where everything Scott, Ken, and I didn’t have with us was stored. This happened due to her not being able to get off Everquest to get a job, and not telling anyone she was financially fucked so we could save it… Scott, Ken, and I loose pretty much everything we aren’t wearing.

Back at Marianapolis the school is having a bit of a problem with the headmistress and the politics that put her in her position. Over April and May there’s a big shakeup in both administration and board.

June 2002

It’s now June 3rd and 2001-2002 school year ends.

With the politics going on at Marianapolis I decide the teaching thing isn’t for me, and there isn’t much opportunity at the school if I’m not teaching. I give my notice, Steve gives me a couple months of pay for all of the above and beyond I’ve done over the last year, and I start finding an apartment in Aurora Colorado.

Scott sells his truck and jet-ski.

On Thursday June 20th I make a large backup of my computer, we throw all of our crap in the Caprice, and I finally make good on that threat I made exactly a year ago to move back to Colorado – and drag Scott along as well. We hit the road the next day, Friday.

We pull into Aurora Sunday evening, the 23rd, where I immediately stop at El Chubby’s to get a to-go burrito before we check into the hotel.

Monday, June 24th, I get the keys to my new apartment at 1747 Peoria St. To offset the cost of the rent I’m doing maintenance again for the lady who manages the building while I try to nail down a new job.

For me, it seems like my life is simply repeating 1991-1992…

July – August 2002

Over the next couple of months, I get a few positions though a temp agency. They give me all sorts of placement tests that indicate I’m perfect for high-tech jobs, but all they ever send me to are weird day-labor jobs. One is working second shift at a plastics factory making rubber pond liners and another sees me doing concrete work.

Scott is having even less luck and I’m rapidly running out of money to keep us afloat.

September 2002

In September Richard and Mike from our RMA days reach out to me and ask if we’re still doing development work. They’ve started a new company and are promising me the moon and stars if I can make some more magic for them. They commission a website.

October 2002

On October 30th I finish the Vistech website and get $500 bucks for my effort.

I can’t support Scott any longer, so Scott and I discuss; I can move in with Robin and Tad for a couple of months and extend what little money I have left while I continue job hunting, and he can move back to Virginia and get a job with Dan who has been pestering for more recorders and other tech work.

November – December 2002

I take the couple hundred I got for the website work and fly Scott back to Virginia in early November. I once again make a backup of everything on November 10th right before I move into Robin and Tad’s spare room at Lowry.

I spend the rest of November and December with Robin and Tad.

January 2003

In late January I reconnect with Larry, who I worked with on some projects back in 1996. He has a proposition for me: He runs a pawn shop up in Vail and thinks there might be some potential for a computer repair business there. He has a big stock of old Compaqs that need fixed up and sold as well. He also needs someone to watch his mansion in Vail while he’s away most of the year and handle things when he rents the place out during the ski season for $2000 a night… So, he’ll give me a room in his 6000 square foot monstrosity, cover all of the bills, and pay me a small wage plus 30% of any repair business I generate.

February 2003

I move up to Vail on my birthday in February.

March – May 2003

By March 2003 Scott has been working for Dan for a couple of months and I’ve gotten the computer business off the ground in Vail.

March through May is spent dealing with Richard and Mike trying to screw everyone in their collective address book. It eventually embroils Ken and Geoff in England, Myself and Matt in Colorado, and Scott in Virginia…

The threat of legal action eventually makes Richard and Mike back off and vanish.

June – August 2003

June and July pass fairly uneventfully.

August 5th, 2003 I join LiveJournal. Which is now duplicated here:

And the rest is chronicled from there.

Changing of the seasons…

Posted in Blog

It’s the end of September, which means the first real snow here in Colorado should be less than 30 days away. While it’s already snowed here for a couple of days, it didn’t really amount to much because the ground was still warm.

For me, mid-to-late September is when I get the car ready for winter; new wipers, seasonal maintenance, tires if needed, swap the regular mats for the WeatherTech mats, a full detail inside, and a fresh coat of wax outside to ward off some of the car eating goop they spray on the roads.

The Murano is 2.5 years old now and the average OEM battery is only good for 2-3 years… So to prevent any surprises at -10, I had a new one installed at Batteries+ on the way home today. While generally any battery would be better than an OEM one, it was $300 for the really good AGM battery which has a 60 month warranty. That seems like a good deal.

Batteries+ is also right near “El Chubby’s“, which is home to the best green chili smothered burritos in Denver — so that’s dinner tonight. 🙂

Chubby’s has been there forever and I’ve been a fan for about as long… In fact, it’s the first place I stopped when I arrived back in Colorado in 2002 after having been gone since 1997; I rolled into Aurora at 6:30 PM, had a “smothered beef and bean, half and half” to go at 6:45, and checked in to the hotel at 7:00 to have a fantastic dinner.

No such thing as a good Burrito on the East Coast, so I was jonesing pretty bad…

The more things change…

Posted in Blog, and Work

I’ve been working at the same place for over sixteen years now; you can even read about the day I got hired, and it’s been quite an adventure since then. I’ve done some pretty amazing things over the years and worked on some really interesting projects.

The most challenging aspect of the place is that at any particular time I can be called upon to do pretty much anything. On paper I’m the “Directror of I.T.”, but in reality I wear most of the hats: tester, test engineer, project manager, marketing department, web team, art department, building manager, mainenance man, janitor, and any other title as required. 😀

This makes it a little complicated to take time off, because any time I schedule some event in advance something invariably comes up at work on that date that I’m needed for. It usually works out in the end, but it’s so routine that, as a joke, if things are slow at work I’m told to schedule a vacation.

Well, this just happened again.

Earlier this month I volunteered to work the election as an election judge – civic duty and all that. This entails some training and then five full days between the end of October and the third of November.

This would normally be no big deal and I’d just take a few days of vacation. But today the employee working a very technical project gave his two weeks notice, and all signs are pointing to me having to pick up the project and run with it. The client on this project is pretty high-maintenance, so there will undoubtedly be some frowning when I tell them I’ll be out for a few days at the end of October…

They’ll get over it – they always do.

There’s also a slim chance that the load test engineer might be tapped to do it, and if so everything will work out even better. So, here’s hoping. Haha!

Data Loss

Posted in Blog, and History

Sadly, even given the precautions I take, it appears I’ve lost all of my photos between August 28th 2004 and August 9th, 2012.

It’s more than likely a combination of numerous moves and almost as many computer systems over the years, mixed with various online storage systems that came and went.

For example, I had several hundred photos hosted on my “iDisk” service at starting from 2008 or so, but that went away in June of 2012 and I clearly missed the window to download everything.

Oh well.

These days storage is so cheap that I have a dozen copies of things in half a dozen places, so it’s harder to loose it all.


Posted in Blog, and Photography

With large sections of the west coast being on fire and the jet stream moving west to east, and Colorado having a few of the yearly blazes as well, it’s been quite smokey outside the last couple of weeks.

Last evening I had to button up the house to somewhat keep the wood fire smell at bay.

It’s hard to see in the picture, but everything is foggy – except the fog is smoke.