Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm back, back in the blogging groove....


Two Months.

I knew I hadn't updated this in a while, but I had no idea it had been this long. Oh well, I'm updating this tonight, so until Doc Brown meets me and gives me the keys to his cool ride, this is the best I can do.

Current goings-on in my life:

  • Work - I've been busy lately. In fact, as I type this I'm building a server to run Windows Server 2008 R2, and Exchange Server 2010. I need to learn Exchange 2010 and setting up my own server is an effective way to get started. A coworker gave me a year-old motherboard/CPU (AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+)/VGA (512Mb GeForce 8400GS) bundle he'd replaced, and I supplied the hard drive, case, and DVD drive. I only needed to buy the RAM - 8Gb, PC-8500. Admittedly the machine has no applications installed yet, but is a FAST system, and will hopefully remain so after it is actually bearing a load. The installation didn't go at all smoothly though, and the machine is suffering weird crashes, so I'm worried about the hardware - I'm worried there may be an issue with the RAM - the modules were a little too thick to fit easily alongside each other in the motherboard.

    Other than the possible hardware issue, work is humming along lately. We've been busy and clients seem happy.

  • Town - New Jersey regularly has 'School Elections'. School elections are elections in which voters choose who is elected to their local School Board, and whether or not to approve of the coming year's school budget. Despite our insanely high municipal property taxes, the school budgets nearly always pass. (NJ has the highest property taxes in the country, and our town's property taxes are among the highest in the state.)

    This year, headlines were made when voters in about half of the towns in NJ rejected the school budgets. Our town was one of those. NJ law stipulates that if the school budget proposed by the school board fails, the proposed budget is then reviewed by the Town Council, and the council then decides whether or not to approve the budget as-is, or make changes. Monday evening there was a joint meeting with the Town Council and School Board, open to the public. I attended the meeting. The school board brought their accountant, who tried to explain the budget they'd presented and defend their choices. The town council brought their accountant, an independent firm hired to audit the school budget and make recommendations.

    Both accountants went back and forth, spewing numbers (seemingly with no consistency) back and forth. Personally, I thought that neither accountant knew what he was talking about. It seemed to me that they kept stating different numbers, never the same amount twice, and if they couldn't explain anything in a comprehensible manner than I don't think they understand things well themselves. The only thing of value I took from the meeting was that I don't envy the job of the council members. The council was required to decide what to do about the budget by yesterday. I've just read an article online that didn't cover the new budget in detail, but did state that the council pared $2.5 Million from the $118 Million budget. Seems like a pretty small reduction, in my opinion, but I guess it's a step in the right direction.

  • Family - On Sunday Nate & I joined about 15 other people and went on a Nature Hike organized by the Environmental Committee at our synagoge. We hiked up Pyramid Mountain. The trip was a lot of fun. The two of us wolfed down 3 Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches, 3 Almond Butter & Jelly sandwiches, 1 banana, and some Cheese Chex Mix before beginning the hike. We then trekked up the mountain, pausing about halfway up to stand near a cliff and look at the NYC skyline. After a few pics, we continued to the top to see Tripod Rock. Once at Tripod Rock, we sat down and listened as the park guide told our group about the rock. Once the group had rested and learned about the rock, we stood up and walked back down to the bottom of the mountain, where everybody disbanded and drove home. The day was fun, relaxing, and good exercise, with perfect weather. The absolute best part, though? When, in the car on the way home, Nate said he had a good time and asked if the two of us could go hiking again!

  • Home - (Outside) After several years of first ignoring, and then losing in my battle against a pitiful, dying yard around my house, my efforts and enormous quantities of grass seed are finally showing results. While there are still some thin patches, my yard is mostly grass now! Still to-do: trim the hedges, cut and dispose of a huge pile of fallen branches, and certainly not least, tear down and rebuild the deck before somebody falls through.
  • Home - (Inside) A couple of weeks ago I pulled out an album from my collection, one I'd never actually listened to. I was psyched - it was a Lou Reed double-album set and I was in the mood to hear some Lou. The album skipped so much I couldn't listen. Disappointed, I put the previous album back on the turntable and listened to Springsteen Live (Badlands, to be specific). Today I felt like hearing a particular Jimmy Buffett album that I don't have on CD, only on LP. This album also skipped terribly, though there is nothing visibly wrong with the album. I suspect I need a new stylus. I emailed an online turntable supply store ( and asked about my turntable and a replacement stylus; hopefully I'll hear back from them soon. Worst case, I've got a second turntable hooked up to my PC in the basement (useful to rip LPs to MP3 files), and might be able to take the cartridge from that turntable and use it on the turntable in the living room.
  • Health - very little to write here - I've been very, very bad about working out lately, and need to get back in to the gym.

I'm sure there's more to write about, but for now I'm done. If I don't return for a while, enjoy the summer!

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