Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Who are you people?


    *Blink, blink*

   Whoa... How long was I out?

   Over two YEARS?! What a waste of money, keeping my blog going that long. Blogspot, I'm ashamed of you.

   But hey, it worked out well for me(and you, gentle reader)! I guess I should catch you up. Let's see, my last post was May 23rd, 2011... Oh, this is easy. Wanna know why I haven't posted since May 23rd, 2011? Because we found out Leah was pregnant within 30 days(citation needed) of that post. Happily, it coincided with my 100th post, so our little break has done a nice job of separating "Life: Part 1" and "Life: Part 2". Or, do I want to go with "Season 2"? Nahh, we're way past season 2... Well, I'll let the eventual producers of my inevitable sitcom about my life decide.

   So here we are, two years and two kids later. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Don't worry; you'll catch up.

   The real beauty of my blog-break is that I've effectively purged all readers. I'll never forget how startled I was to discover that people at C-Dom actually READ my blog. Like, teachers, too. Now that I've gone dormant, anyone with any lick of sanity has stopped checking the blog, and I can get back to our primary focus: ME! HOORAY!!! Nobody reads this, I can say anythi--...

  Wait, what does it mean by "9 followers"? Oh, SERIOUSLY, you guys?! Get a life.

  Well, the beauty is, I can redirect you. I'm adding a few blogs to the sidebar, over there: --------->

One is my buddy from college - Down-home country boy from Texas talkin' about down-home country boy stuff, like Neo-socialism across our borders, and many, many other political science-y things that go way, WAY over my head.
One is my wife - Suspension of Reality, a collection of reviews on things to escape the heartache of a thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. This one will actually probably provide more insight into my home life than my OWN blog.
One is my sister - inspirational, beautiful pictures, updates from back home(for me).

 Check them out, they're all deeper, more thought-out, and provide more to society than I do. BUT, by providing links, I get co-author credit for ALL of them, so I DO contribute!

   LOVE MEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

Alright, maybe at some point, I'll provide you with my life updates. Here's a teaser:
2 beautiful daughters
1 new house
1 new job
1 new job for my wife
     ...And much, much more!

       - Hich

Monday, May 23, 2011

My 100th blogiversary!!!

What day is today?
It's my blog's birthday!
What a day for a birthday!
Let's all have some cake.
And you smell like one, too! Hah!

No, I'm not talking about the date. I mean this is my 100th blog post! Bizarre... I sure was angsty back then.
And now, in the interest of getting back to my blog roots, let's have some emotional self-reflection!!!

An odd thing has occurred over the weekend, but in order to explain it, I have to make an admission to the lot of you: My prayer life hasn't exactly been stellar lately. Ok, calm down, it's not like I'm losing my faith, or don't believe in the power of prayer(if anything, my lack of praying has made me MORE aware of just how powerful it is). It's just that I, quite suddenly, have a wife and a full-time job, two things that I've never had before. I know, two things in one year isn't that big a deal, but it's weird suddenly having responsibility, commitment, and a self-inflicted bedtime. Not things I've exactly ever associated myself with before. Anyway, as a result, I've been more forgetful and/or lazy about my daily prayers, because I'm trying to remember all the things I need for the day. I'm not giving excuses, BTW - just reasons.
Anyway, on Friday, Leah and I were emailing back and forth, and she said something that struck me. She said, if Saturday really HAD been the end of the world, "I don’t feel like I’d be worthy of heaven. I don’t like that feeling. I really need to start living my life as if each day were the end."
It occurred to me that I felt the same way. I fell into the dreaded comfort zone of thinking "Eh, this is enough Catholicism". I know we've all felt that from time to time. So, Leah and I resolved to improve out prayer life together.

Great! But not the end of the story.

Friday rolls around, and we're on the plane. We're about an hour into our flight, Leah's fast asleep, and I'm trying to decide what to do: listen to music, play Nintendo DS, read a book, or say the Rosary. I'll be honest - I was leaning away from Rosary. Why? Not really sure. I think I was trying to convince myself I would fall asleep if I tried(weak, Joe. Really weak). Anyway, while pondering my options, I happened to glance over at the guy across the isle. He was dressed in a button-up shirt, slacks, brown leather shoes, and had his face buried in his hands. He seemed to be acting oddly - it was almost like he was trying to sleep without trying to get comfortable. Then I started to recognize the signs - the subtly counting on his fingers, the clasped hands, the covered eyes... This man was saying a Rosary. I actually reached into the bag for my Rosary to give to him, so he didn't have to count on his fingers, when it occured to me that I needed to be holding the Rosary more than he did. After all - he was doing quite well, and I was the one avoided praying. Not a nice realization. So, I took the hint, and said a Rosary of my own - for him.
Incidentally, I'd like to thank you, Flight 1330, seat 18F. Public prayer is a powerful thing - don't try to hide it so much. You never know who's watching, and who needs to see. I'll continue to try to pray for you half as hard as you were praying for whatever your intentions were. And next time, I'll have a spare Rosary for you.

Now, a neat story, but not really in spooky territory. Fast forward to our return flight - we got to the airport, and I realized that I no longer had my phone on me. Turns out, I left it on the rental car, which was quickly rented out to a foreign man with no contact number and the car until June 16th.


So, we're sitting in our gate, and I'm searching through my duffel bag yet again for my precious instrument of distraction. I looked in a hidden side pocket that I had forgotten about and found, not my phone, but my Grandmother's Rosary, blessed by two Popes, then I had lost several months prior, and had all but given up on finding.

I literally just stared at it for a moment. I continued looking in another pocket, and found a single-decade set of Rosary beads. At that point, I came to realize two things:

One: God is pounding on my head, shouting: "SAY. THE. ROSARY. MORE!!!"

Two: I need to be much, MUCH better about unpacking.

Two things that I absolutely WILL from now on.

I have to leave it at that... My *cough* work day is up. Keep it real.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Only 4 months later

So suck an egg.

Y'know, when I was writing my last post, if I had known it wouldn't be until 4 months later, I probably would have thought something to the effect of "Well, at least it'll be warmer."

Heh, yeah, no.

It's snowing pretty hard right now. I've got a fire blazing in the fireplace, Leah and I are sitting in the living room, my feet are cold, and I'm too lazy to get a blanket. It's just one of those afternoons, y'know? I just need a couple of hours to pass so we can get started on dinner, drink a cocktail, and play poker(which is totally our plan, because our marriage rocks).

So, what's the latest? Oh, brilliant tech guy broke his computer.

Yeeeaaaahhh... The power plug's been bent for awhile, and the plug inside the lappy finally started cracking away from the motherboard. I theorize that all I have to do is resolder it, which is fine, if slightly terrifying. Never tried THAT aspect of PC repair, but hey: I always say that I would never do something to a client's computer that I wouldn't be willing to do to my own computer. Good time for a little experimentation, right?!

Speaking of computers, does anyone need one? I just inherited two from Leah's work friend. One's a laptop(replaced the motherboard, power board, and CPU, and may need to replace the video card now as well) that, despite the list I just gave, actually works, and the other's a desktop that I have NO idea why I took it off her hands other than the fact that I couldn't bear the thought of it being thrown away if she couldn't find a good home for it. Yes, that's correct, I'm worse than the people who adopt animals from the pound just so they don't get euthanized. Anyway, it's the Frankencomputer - not because it bears an odd resemblance to Al Franken(though it does), but because it's the compiled parts of many dead computers. Oddly enough, it also works. I can't work on ANY of the three computers I just mentioned(work on the Frankencomputer in the sense of removing it from my trunk and doing something with it) because I currently have a client's computer.

That thing's gonna drive me up the wall. Give me a computer with a tangible issue, not "it boots up slowly". And I mean PRE-LOGIN slow boot, not "Oh, I like to have Yahoo messenger on autologin so I can see if my mother-in-law is online before signing onto facebook" slow boot. Also, 15 minutes or more. No errors, no viruses... Just stupid Vista. *sigh* Oh well, I enables boot logging, so hopefully that'll tell me something.

The other reason I've been bad about working on computers is that I've decided I only have the capacity to work either my body or my brain in one day - not both. I can't go from working out to working on computers. It's like trying to get a jock and a nerd to hang out - unless one needs a date to the prom and the other needs to pass the math test in order to be eligible for the big game on Friday, there's just no good reason for those two to hang out. And fortunately or unfortunately, Leah and I have been going to the gym every day, Monday through Friday(and Saturday, if you're my irrepressible wife). When I finish with work and the gym, I am D-O-N-E DONE for the day. So I've been pretty bad about my nerd-side. But hey - I've lost ten pounds since Christmas, so at least it's working! Hopefully, they weren't all in brain cells.

So, my siblings (*coughMIKEcough*) ask me at every opportunity when I'm moving back to VA. It's kinda difficult to address because number A) we just don't know, and... Well, that's sorta it. There's a bunch of factors and what-all. Let me just assure you guys of this - it will happen, and Leah and I both want it to happen, but we both also have lots keeping us here for the time being. Don't think I don't miss my family and the equal amounts of time dedicated to winter AND summer, but... Well, let me refer to Calvin and Hobbes to finish my thought, as I so often do:

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I really don't know where to begin.

Alright... I'll try to get back to this. I mean, A) my life is more interesting now than it ever was(unless you were a college buddy of mine, in which case, you now drink in REMEMBRANCE of me instead of WITH me), and B) there are actually people to keep informed as to my life now. It's weird - I found it much easier to blog when I saw all my readers every day. And now that I live halfway across the country, I'm all like "uhhh..."

Seriously. I'm all like that.

Ok, first, I need to update myself real quick. When was the last post?

Job hunting, May 24th... Ok, so I was engaged, just finished at Kaplan... Ok, I finished the post by saying I'd let you guys know if I got a job, so that's where we'll start.

Yes. I got a job. I now work in the IT department of a famous nationwide department store, at the corporate location. Technically, I'm still just a "contract employee" - meaning I work side-by-side with the regular employees, but my paychecks come from my contracting company, and my ID card is a different color. It also means that I get paid less and my opinion is meaningless. But hell, it's WORK!

A full time job to help support my famiOH CRAP! Right, you guys don't know(haha) - I got married!
Take THAT, loser kid who never had a date to prom! Or... a prom to go to, regardless...

So yes, Leah and I tied the knot on October 9th, 2010, much to the delight of all involved. Nobody objected, Leah said "yes", all that good stuff. The ONLY bad thing is that, if my life is truly a TV show(as we all know it is), it's definitely jumped the shark. You guys know what I'm talking about:

"Oh, Chandler and Monica got married? Huh... their relationship is a lot less hilarious now." Suddenly wacky relationship disasters go from "Haha, how's he gonna get out of THIS one?!" to "That's sad... they're having marital troubles."
Hell, it's already started. I mean, look how rarely I update now! I can place blame squarely on my marriage. It's not a bad thing, it's just kinda ironic. Now that I have something to write about, I no longer have time to write it!

The other thing is... all the new stuff isn't really interesting to read about, but it's still new experiences for me. Everything from paying bills, to having my own place, to having a real job, it sounds dreadfully boring, but not to someone who's been waiting to be at this point in his life for a long time. I was never a "I don't wanna grow up!" sorta kid... I was a "Just wait 'till I'm making six figures, and you're serving time for petty theft! THEN we'll see who has the power! AH-HA HA HA HAA!!!!" kinda kid.

To answer your question - no, I'm not making six figures. Dream. On.

By the way, if you want to know how exciting my job is - I'm blogging at work. :)

I think I've made this analogy before, but blogging is a lot like confession. It's difficult to do TOO often because you don't have all that much to say, and if you wait too LONG, it becomes REALLY difficult because it's kind of embarrassing. That's where I'm at now. I could give more details about my feelings of married life, or my job, or my apartment... But I'm not gonna do that stuff. So, deal.

Oh, hey, Leah and I are flying back to Virginia this weekend! Really looking forward to seeing the fam. I still can't get over the fact that I pissed and moaned SO MUCH every time one of my siblings moved out, and demanded that they stay nearby, and then I promptly moved several states away. But hey - that's just the way it is.

... Some things will never change...

Sorry, that song's been going through my head all damn day.

Ok, that's all I got for now. Next post should be better - there'll be less to cover.


P.S. If my next post is 6 months later, I quit.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Job hunting

Wait... Did it just revert back to 2009? Seriously, I feel like I've been in this boat before.

Fact is, though, that I haven't. Never in my life have I ever been anywhere NEAR the place in my life that I'm in now. Let us compare my life now to my life one and two years in the past.

May, 2008 - Starting a job working with my bro, gettin' exercise, good pay. Looking for a car! Thinking about post-graduate life. When will I move to WI? What am I going to do for a career? Many questions, but life is good.

May, 2009 - Moved to WI, living at Leah's parents' house for now, until I find better. Looking for a job! To hell with - "entry level" my ass... Seriously, how do people START careers around here?! Car falling apart... Might be an issue. Still many questions, but finally finished with the long-distance relationship and live in the same state as my girlfriend! Miss my family, but life is good.

May, 2010 - Graduated from Kaplan with a 3.96 GPA in they're fancy computer support tech program. Got certified, too - only one in my class! Was assured that I'd quickly land a great job in the $40-$50k range. Haven't been able to land one in the $12/hour range. Money-wise, I was better off changing lightbulbs. Planning a wedding in October - no idea how I'll pay for it 1) without the job I was so hoping I'd have by now, and B) with the fancy new debts I've acquired. Still living at Leah's parents' house - y'know, until I find better. Finally ditched the old fall-aparty car and bought a new one. I dance on a street corner wearing a wig of dreadlocks for a living, but life is good.

Looking back, I suppose I have much to be thankful for. I've never hated my life, nor do I now. At least I know now what both my personal AND professional lives will be in the future. I've proposed to Leah, and she said yes, and - in a way - I proposed to the computer support field. It said yes when I got certified. Now, I've got both a wedding and HOPEFULLY a career coming up. Will I make a good husband? Will I make a good computer-fixer-guy? Won't know until we get there, but I think they'll both work out well.

I'm getting deep again so, for your amusement, I've decided to post a summary of my first real computer fix. It was a computer that belonged to my friend Alicia's sister. Here it is, as typed in real-time(that is, I started typing it when I started troubleshooting it):

Problem: Blue Screen of Death.

Booted computer successfully into "safe mode", and checked Event Viewer and Device Manager. Hardware all seems to be connected correctly. Event Viewer lists many system errors regarding "wuauserv(Windows Update)" service registry issues. Error states "Access is denied." Google research suggests this is due to an invalid file reference. Ran Registry Cleaner. Cleaner found 674 problems - 404 COM/ActiveX entries, 9 Uninstall Entries, 7 Shared DLLs, 5 Application Paths, 11 Help Files Information, 163 Windows Startup Items, 25 Files extensions, 32 History List, and 18 Software settings.

Main error suspected to be associated with "File Extension" issues and "Windows Startup" issues. Backed up registry and fixed all issues.

Restarted computer into standard mode.

That's when all hell broke loose.

Windows is continuously displaying a Keyboard History Utility error. In addition, several viruses became apparent. Eventually, computer displayed the Blue Screen of Death again. Shut down the computer, and booted into Safe Mode again.
Installed Avast antivirus and Spybot: Search and destroy. Rebooted into "Safe Mode with Networking" in order to update the programs. Discovered problems with NIC - cannot connect to wired or wireless networks.

Attempted to run Avast. Said application configuration was incorrect. Attempted to run Spybot, and nothing happened. When I attempted to use Task Manager to troubleshoot, it said "Task Manager has been disabled by administrator."


Re-logged in as administrator. Ran task manager, and discovered the CPU was at %100 usage, due to struggling to start "services". Ran MSCONFIG and disabled several unnecessary services and startup programs, and rebooted. Services still holding %95-%100 commit CPU charge. Went through the Registry startup keys, one-by-one, and discovered some of them to be pretty nasty malware. Disabled them manually through Registry Cleaner. Came across the "Keyboard History Utility" registry entry, and disabled it(research reveals that Spybot, when run correctly, should eliminate it).

Rebooted into safe mode once again, and logged on as Administrator. CPU usage sitting comfortably at %0. BOO-YAH!!!

Wireless Adapter started working. I think one of the services - DLG.exe - was interfering with the internet connection.

OH MY GOSH, THIS GUY NEXT TO ME WON'T SHUT UP!!! KINDA hard to concentrate when every three seconds, some random guy starts laughing at NOTHING and demanding I look at his computer screen! AHH!!!

At next boot, CPU was back at %100. Can't run spybot for unknown reasons, can't run Avast because the installation is faulty, and can't run installation for MalwareBytes. Now what?

Attempted to uninstall Avast. Couldn't run uninstall utility due to resource issues. MUST get CPU usage down before anything else can happen. Stopped temporarily to take computer home in order to access the internet.

. . .

Wow. What a rollercoaster. Turned on computer at home, and still couldn’t connect to the internet through the wireless. It said it was both connected and NOT connected at the same time. On a whim I checked the wireless adapter driver. “BCMWL5.sys”, is its name. Version 3.1. I thought I’d google that file, just to see if there were any complaints about it. The response was OVERWHELMING! Turns out that file is a big-time security vulnerability, and Dell(the owner of the driver) decided not to tell anyone just how bad it was. This was back in 2005. Further, they never REALLY fixed the problem. Fortunately, the other nerds out there in cyberspace found another driver that was compatible, though it wasn’t made for this particular wireless adapter. So, I download that driver on my computer, put it on a flash drive, and manually install it on Amanda’s computer. I manually delete the old driver.

The immediate change was incredible. Night and day. Instantly, I have internet connectivity and CPU usage is sitting happily around %10. Installed an older version of Avast(4.8), and updated it. As it was running its startup scan of the computer, it deleted about 15 crucial viruses, most of which I recognized from trying to stop them with Registry cleaner. It then told me there were boot-sector viruses present, and it needed to reboot and run a boot-time scan to eliminate them. Rebooted into regular mode, and ran the scan. Within moments, roughly 10 more viruses were deleted.

50… 60… 70… Just lost count of the infected files located in the temp folder. Lots.

Aaaaaand, just when I thought it was over…

Can’t get past the “Welcome” screen. Even in safe mode. Starts to log in, then “logs off”, and reverts to welcome screen. Research reveals the problem to be related to “wauservice” – the Windows Update program. There is a fix, but it involves the use of a Windows XP CD, which I do not currently have. Downloaded a boot disk, and will buy blank CDs tomorrow.

Purchased blank CDs, and realized I really don’t know how to create a boot disk. After some research, discovered a step-by-step process. After 7 useless CDs created, successfully created boot disk. Went into recovery console on boot CD, and manually copied the userinit.inf file from the CD to the Windows folder on the computer. Rebooted, and started Windows successfully. Did a small victory celebration. Upon startup, ran several virus scans and eliminated any failed startup programs(several viruses designed to boot on startup were still in the startup sequence, though they were no longer present).

Background still showed virus warning. Enabled “change background” capability via the Administrator account, and downloaded an Active Desktop fix. Success.

Returned computer to client, and ate victory cake. It tastes sweet.

Well, there ya go. That's what I intend on doing for a living. That is, if someone ever decides to give me a damn chance. I'll let you guys know if that ever happens.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Confusing Analogies

With my first A+ certification test quickly approaching and absolutely no interest in the current class, I've decided to share with you my way of memorizing what some of these things are.

Proxy Server - Patron Saint. A proxy server sits between your computer and the internet, and forwards your requests for you, doing some of the leg work and organizing the communication. Similarly, a Patron Saint is an expert in the topic you're praying for, and acts as an intermediary between you and God, forwarding your requests and filtering out the nonsense. Yes, in this analogy, God is the internet. Try to keep up.

UPS - Uninteruptable Power Supply. This is essentially a battery backup for your computer so you can save your progress if the power goes out. How do you remember this? Simple: What can Brownout do for you?

POST - Power-On Self-Test. This is the first thing the computer does when it turns on - tests to make sure all the hardware is properly connected. That's the first "beep" you hear when you turn the computer on. So, how could something called "POST" be the FIRST thing the happened? Because computer techs do everything ass-backwards.

HAL.DLL - System file driver that provides the interface between the system hardware and the software. This probably won't actually be on the test, but it makes me laugh anyway.
"I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."
Fear your computer.

Ok, moving on.

I forgot to check my last post to see where I was when we left off, so I'll just kinda go for it. I hate my job. I've been yelled at for dancing and singing while I work because they think it makes me lose focus and slows me down. In reality? Dancing around and acting crazy at work makes me a better employee. If I were to really focus on what I do for a living, I'd start bringing an AK-47 to work and just light the place up. Honestly, I'd just get stressed out, and I REALLY lose focus when I realize how much I hate what I'm doing.

If I can just pause for a moment, I think my teacher just passed out weed-brownies. That... was weird.

Uhh... Wow, I just completely lost focus(no, I didn't eat one). Oh, right, certification test. I'm not positive on how it'll go, but I decided to sign up for my test. I'm taknig it tomorrow, for better or worse. If I pass, swell. If I don't pass, at least I'll know what I'm dealing with.

I'm being hit up for homework... Though I'm pretty sure he'd give me full marks whether I turn it in or not, I should at least pretend to do something with the 15k I just blew on this place.
Aaaand he's teaching us L33T. I really have to go.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

This one hurts.

And when he reaches for a cold one, he prefers Red Dog.

Goin' home tomorrow! WOOO!!!

See you at the aftermath. Peace!

...But, not LITERALLY...