October 28, 2002
Back in the saddle again

So I'm back in Chicago. And what better way to greet me than with a big ol' traffic jam! Yeah... took an extra 20 minutes to get to work. I even left earlier than I normally do 'cause I didn't eat breakfast... bad milk will make you do some crazy things.

Overall it was a good trip. It definitely felt weird to be back home, though. For some reason home didn't feel like home last night. It almost felt like another hotel room. I think it was because I was so exhausted, though, 'cause this morning it felt a lot more like home.

At least I'll get some time to stay at home this week - you do not want to see the pile of laundry I have to do after two and a half weeks. *wince*

Posted by Austin at 07:56 AM
October 22, 2002
Where the hell am I?

This week, boys and girls, I'm in the lovely sorry-ass indescribable state of North Carolina. In case you didn't know, it's North of South Carolina... right in the middle of BFE.

Work has sent me here to have our little prototype boards punished by a battery of tests done by those lovely people at Underwriters Laboratory. They're basically seeing how much Electromagnetic punishment they can put our circuit board through until it fails their tests... or just completely blows up. :-)

These tests will take until the end of the week (there's a LOT of 'em), so I'm here until they're finished. The good news - free food, hotel, long distance, car, and three college campuses close by (NCSU, UNC - Chappel Hill and Duke) where I can pick up some sorely needed shot glasses.

Until Firday, however, I'm pretty much stuck in a hotel room on dial-up. Updates will happen, although not often. For now, though, here's something for your fancy.

Posted by Austin at 10:30 PM
October 16, 2002
Slave Labor

I'm still at work. Don't remind me that this sucks, 'cause I already know.

Luckily, I get to go home now... plus I had free sushi for dinner! Now I have to drive home (good thing there's no traffic now), pack for a ten day trip to Midland/Raleigh/Midland, and get my apartment to hold my mail while I'm gone. Oh, yeah... and sleep, too.

I am so sleeping in tomorrow. I'm actually debating whether or not to turn my alarm on at all...

Posted by Austin at 10:03 PM
Traveling in style

Work is sending me to the right coast when I'd rather be watching baseball out... on... the left coast. So I'm gonna make 'em pay - I'm seeing my fiancee this weekend, and they're gonna have to fly me from Michigan out to Raleigh.

All of our travel is web-based on a fairly slick web site. Here's my interaction with the travel web site:

Me: I'd like to fly from Midland to Raleigh, please.
Travel Web Site: Okay. Here are some crappy connections that will cost you $1200.
Me: WHA....?
TWS: But thanks to internal travel policies, I was forced to search for other flights and was suddenly able to pull some much better and cheaper flights out of my virtual ass. Oh, look at this one...
Me: Does that say First Class? At half the price?!
TWS: Hrmm... well, I guess it does.
TWS: So, would you like chardonnay or merlot?

So I'm flying first out to Raleigh, but coach back... but I'm not complaining. The only weird thing - How did I go from a $1200 coach-only ticket to a first/coach combo for almost half the price?

The mind boggles. I'll let you know how the vino is!

Posted by Austin at 11:21 AM
October 15, 2002
Definition of the word "SUCK"

Pronunciation: 's&k
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English suken, from Old English sucan; akin to Old High German sugan to suck, Latin sugere
Date: before 12th century

1. To draw (liquid) into the mouth by movements of the tongue and lips that create suction.

2. When your father has tickets to three games of the world series and you're more than invited to go, but you can't fly out to San Francisco to see him or the game of your life because work decided to send you to Raleigh, North Carolina instead.

Posted by Austin at 10:50 AM
October 11, 2002
Claim THIS!

Not many of you know this, but I pay about one grand for auto insurance... every sixth months! It doesn't take a financial consultant to tell you that's a lot of money. The sick thing - this was the lowest quote I got, the highest being about $1600.

Well, I got a piece of mail the other day from my insurance carrier that advertizes a plan that can help save me some money on my insurance, so I called to find out more. Through the course of talking with an agent at the local office, I found out that I could actually save a whole lot more because I had just graduated from college and my GPA was above a 3.0.

This threw me for a loop, since they never mentioned it to me when I first signed up 4 months ago! I mean, you want to give someone a good deal so they'll sign with you, so why not give them all of the breaks they can get?

Anywho, the agent was really nice and was going to look further into it for me and see if he could get it credited to my account retroactively for the past 4 months. Well, I faxed him my transcript yesterday, and this morning I got a phone call letting me know that I'm going to save over $200 and that he was able to have it credited back to June! I'll also be able to participate in a "Safe Driver" program that will lower my premium by another 15%!!

Long story short, when you can save almost $500 overnight, that's a good thing!

Posted by Austin at 01:47 PM
October 10, 2002
Damn Those Software People

So everyone has that day where you're supposed to have an hour-long progress meeting with your boss at 4, work out in the gym and then be home by 6:30... but instead end up having to solve a crisis the software people are dealing with and not leave work until 7:30 (over 12 hours after you got there).

I am so sleeping in tomorrow.


On a completely different note: Shawn - Happy B-Day! Your present is in the mail...

...seriously, I checked this morning. ;-)

Posted by Austin at 11:21 PM
October 09, 2002
Silhouettes and Skylines

No matter how much I may bitch and moan about the traffic in Chicago, I always notice that on my way home I always look up from the brakelights and road signs to take in a glimpse of the city. It's pretty much an everyday occurence for me, and I never get sick of it. I'm always awe-struck by the buildings against the sky-colored backdrop. Even if it's foggy or cloudy you can always see the dark silhouette of the entire city through the thick air.

Today this thought really hit me. I really like this town! ;-)

Posted by Austin at 11:28 AM
October 08, 2002
Exit... Stage Left, Even...

Leaving the plant now. Considering that I got here at 8:30am and am leaving at 10pm, I think I deserve tomorrow off. Gotta love playing hookie!

The weird thing - even though the build took so long, it was actually shorter than the last time I was here! I think that's part good and part bad - good in that it was shorter, bad in that it took over 13 hours to run 23 boards through the machines. That's about one every half-hour.

*Sheesh* Get me outa here!!!

Posted by Austin at 09:56 PM
Land of Big Sky

So I'm in Texas. I'm here for work, trying to build some more prototype boards. I was actually supposed to be back in Chicago this morning, but the build got pushed back to today, which means I won't be back home until tomorrow. No big deal.

Actually, it let me have a little fun yesterday. I went water skiing... but without a boat. This place has a "cable lake." The basic idea is that you have a loop of cable going around a manmade lake and the tow rope you hold on to is able to catch onto the cable and drag you around the lake. It's a whole lotta fun, but I am sooooo sore today. I can barely lift my arms. But it was worth it.

Last night was full of hawaiian pizza and beer in front of the TV in the hotel. After waterskiing for 3 hours (and a pause of an hour in the middle for a huge downpour), you'd want to stay in one place and not move, too.

Posted by Austin at 11:12 AM
October 03, 2002
Why I love Flex-Time

I am so glad that this week is only 4 days long for me. A fifth wouldn't kill me, but a severe maming could be witnessed. Work has been quite busy, and it's mostly in preparation for a trip to Texas starting Sunday evening through Tuesday morning. It also looks like I'll be traveling for most of the last two weeks of this month, also -- not to Texas, however, but to fabulous Raleigh, North Carolina!

Nope... that doesn't look any better typed. Maybe I could get Rod Roddy to say it for me. If you don't know who he is, you didn't watch enough game shows

The definite silver lining to this week is that Janine will soon be on her way out here... within the hour, no less! Three days with her will feel like more than we've had in a while. Wedding stuff will definitely be on the agenda, but I'm just looking forward to our usual ritual of laying on the couch all snuggled up watching TV. It's one of those simple pleasures I miss.

I'm also doubly extatic that Abby-riffic will be out here Friday night to see Lewis Black give a kick-ass show. Maybe after that we can walk up Halstead to check out the area... ;-)

Alright... gotta get back to work before the FedEx guy comes! Later!

Posted by Austin at 02:09 PM