the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Did You Get What You Wanted?

As the Christmas Day festivities wound down and we settled into a quiet afternoon together, Liz asked me a question:

"Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?"

My thoughts flickered quickly across the warm and happy morning spent with my beautiful wife and daughter, singing songs, opening presents, cooking breakfast together, playing with the cats. The smiles on the faces of my two favorite ladies. Savoring old memories and making new ones. Being a family.

"Yeah," I said. "I did."

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Cats, Blizzards, Valentines, Curmudgeon

Originally uploaded by mikepirnat.
Julia has a stupid new trick way to eat (see photo).

On the weather front, it took me about two hours to get home last night; I had two-inch thick chunks of ice that developed on my wiper blades, which made the last half hour or so really exciting. Got stuck in the driveway, but heroic wife Liz helped dig me out. Once safely inside, I shot some photos of the snow around the house; turned out kind of neat but made me wish I had a tripod for some cool long exposure tricks, and also to avoid having to bump up to ISO 1600 to get anything usable. Click on over Liz and I also had some fun rescuing cars that got stuck in the intersection in front of the house. Figure I earned some good karma there.

Luckily my plow guy got our driveway around 5:30 this morning, so I was able to make it into work for my 0700-1600 site monitoring shift on time and reasonably unscathed. The roads were all kinds of awful (still!) but the general lack of traffic really helped.

Valentines Day has been smooth sailing here, with nothing even approaching any real level of drama. (Okay, there was some excitement when we started breaking all kinds of previous record highs, but certainly nothing resembling bad drama.) Sites are up, snappy, rockin' and rollin', just doing their thing. It looks like the snow is tapering off, so hopefully the drive should be a lot easier today.

Oh, and it totally sucks that Case Western closed today. They never would have done that back in my day... Even when the roofs were collapsing, we still went to class! (God, do I sound old or what? Dang kids these days!)

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Birthdays, Exits, and New Years

Had a lovely weekend.

Gorgeous day yesterday, perfect for taking care of some last-minute errands and running down to West Point Market with Karla to pick up groceries for Liz's birthday dinner.

Did some errands with Liz today (frame shop, Radio Shack, etc.), enjoyed helping set up her Tivoli iPod radio gizmo, played some Wii (the Rayman: Raving Rabbids game is quite recommended from our house), and did some maintenance on her laptop.

Bad news: my mother-in-law's dog passed away this morning. :-( He was a good friend, and will be missed.

Super-nummy birthday dinner for Liz tonight with Karla. We did a trio of cheeses--Ewephoria, Mimolette, and Brie--with provencale wafers, bosc pears, pink lady apples, and an olive medly and nicely matched to a cremant d'Loire; main course of prime rib (sooo pink and tender) matched with a roasted mix of carrots, parsnips, and potatoes, and perfectly paired with Katherine Kennedy Lateral (a luscious Bordeaux-style blend). Followed it all up with chocolate raspberry parfaits from Michael Angelo's. Yummy!

We'll spend the rest of the evening chilling out and enjoying some quiet time together, making plans for 2007 and getting ready for the adventures ahead.


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Christmas Recap

Had a nice visit with my parents this week; their arrival was delayed from Friday until Sunday thanks to the weather in Denver, which allowed us a couple of extra days to get things in order. They're back in Mountain Time now, driving from Phoenix to Durango. Highlights include:

  • A couple of excellent feasts for Christmas Eve and Day. Liz really knows her way around the kitchen.
  • Learned that Mom really likes white Burgundy. A lot.
  • Lunch at Melt was a huge hit.
  • My mother-in-law knitted me a Jayne hat!! It keeps my noggin surprisingly, delightfully warm.
  • Liz and my parents and my mother-in-law and I pitched in on a shiny new Mac as a combination Christmas/birthday present. It's job will be to help both my aging iMac and still-spry-but-time-consuming Linux box retire to gentler pastures. So far it's doing this quite admirably.
  • Liz surprised the hell out of me by hiding a Wii in one of the Mac boxes. The look on my face was apparently priceless.
  • Liz kicks my butt at most of Wii Sports, but I can totally take my dad at Wii Baseball. :-D


As a nice bonus, Webfaction rolled out WebDav support, so I can shift all of our iCal sharing off to that and have one less reason to keep a machine running all day here at home. Yay!

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Good, Bad, and a Little Funny

Good: Got first big chunk of big project delivered on time and more or less working as desired. Business folks are generally happy with what our team produced in the limited time available.

Bad: Had to miss the holiday party at German class in order to get there, so no Sekt and no beer for me.

Good: It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! We have the tree up and decorated, presents wrapped, and I cashed in some iTunes credit to pick up the new Twisted Sister Christmas CD (so deliciously, horribly addictive, it transcends awfulness, leapfrogs novelty, and lands, perhaps a bit teeteringly, just within the realm of totally kick-ass). Here's what I've basically been doing since then: \m/ >_< \m/

Bad: Thanks to global warming (or a giant cloud of liberal claptrap, take your pick), it sure doesn't look like Christmas... It's December in Cleveland; should we be having temperatures close to 60 degrees? I'm not the biggest fan of snow--especially when I have to deal with idiots who don't know how to drive in it--but do we really only get one week of winter this year?

Good: The Lost Room. Check it out in reruns or the inevitable DVD if you missed it.

Bad: The Lost Room left the door wide open (yes, a deliberately awful pun, deal with it) to become a full-fledged series. I'm not sure I have time to be obsessed over another long-form serial.

Good: New firmware for my router, maybe it'll solve my streaming audio throughput issues!

Bad: New router firmware makes streaming audio around the house even worse. My (admittedly venerable) SliMP3 now chokes after 9 seconds instead of 37. Bah, humbug!

Good: My tire was repairable, and still under warranty to boot, which means it was free! Yay!

Funny: I got a job offer from a headhunter today, very excited that I had Python experience. Turns out he's trying to place me into the company where I already work. (Woops!) After quite nearly LMAO, I shot back a polite rejection. I wonder what my boss would say if a headhunter slipped her my resumé...

Speaking of my resumé... where exactly should I list being named Time's Person of the Year?

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Good News, Everyone!

Just received the official notice that my PyCon presentation proposal was accepted! I plan on basking in the warm glow of non-rejection for a couple of days, and then commencing forthwith with the stressing out about getting it pulled together in time given all the other insanity of my life.

In other news, Liz and I had a lovely, low-stress, very lazy Thanksgiving weekend. To my great surprise, I put away close to 700 pages of The System of the World, finishing it early Saturday evening, and achieving my goal of finishing the Baroque Cycle before the end of the year. At nearly a thousand pages apiece, these books have taken some serious commitment from me (my reading-for-pleasure time being significantly diminished from its former glories), and I'm really, really happy that it paid off so well. Of course, now I have to read Cryptonomicon again, but that can wait a bit.

Work is about to be really interesting, in the possibly-very-good-interesting sort of way (rather than the omfg-you-want-it-when way). Details are still pending, so I'll keep my mouth shut until then.

And, by the mysterious and tangled workings of the internets, I've reconnected with a long-lost friend from days of yore, and that's just nifty.

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Still Flying

It's been a busy, busy week: one symphony, two wine dinners, the year's massive traffic spike (thank you, Valentine's Day), two celebratory drinking adventures with co-workers, and I survived a two-hour meeting with our CEO and the SVP that I fall under. Whew!

I got high praise from multiple levels of the chain of command both for how stellar Val was, and for how I handled myself during Friday's Big Scary Meeting of Doom. I don't go in for ego stroking very often, but I have to say that this week, it felt pretty darn good. It will be "interesting" to see if I can live up to it.

The stress level that I live with at this time of the year has, predictably, taken its toll once again. While I have yet to drop into the rampaging upper respiratory funk that I usually come down with post-Val, I have again elevated eye strain to an Olympic sport--my eyes are gushing like fountains, they're scratchy and want to be rubbed, and my eyelids won't stop twitching without anything short of a solid nap. Oh, and my sinuses are cranking out the goo like it's going out of style. Heaps of fun indeed! Yesterday was really my first chance to relax my eyes in weeks; I spent the day laying on the couch, half-watching women's curling on TV, while the cats took turns sleeping on me. Today I felt up to a run on the ellipitical, and that seems to have brightened the overall picture of my health, so hopefully I'll be semi-normal in time to travel this week, because...

In the mean time, I've been lightly tinkering on our PyCon presentation, slightly desperate to make sure that it comes across as something more than just a walking, talking press release. It's getting there, but I'm still nervous. Our presentation got bumped up to Friday morning, so I guess if we suck, there will be plenty of conference left for people to forget it.

There was going to be something tremendously meaningful here, but as it happens, the meaning of life has failed to materialize amid this bloggish drivel, so I am afraid this is all you're going to get for now.

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