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Bill Roper's Journal
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20th-May-2018 05:54 pm - Waiting Is The Hardest Part
I am in an incredibly foul and depressed mood today.

A good part of this is waiting for the sound of falling shoes.

No, make that foul, depressed, and disgusted. A triple threat.
19th-May-2018 05:38 pm - Julie's Game Today
The girls gave it a good try, but we couldn't push a run across the plate and lost 1-0.
18th-May-2018 11:40 pm - Katie's Game 3
Amazingly, Katie managed to not miss any games due to her mild concussion thanks to the miracle of rainouts. Today was one of the makeup games which was (naturally) played in a light drizzle. Katie's team won 10-9, scoring a run in the bottom of the last inning to break the 9-9 tie.

We were all quite damp by the end of the game. Poor scorecard! It was getting hard to write on. :)
17th-May-2018 11:02 pm - Julie's Team: Game 3
The girls came from behind on a cold late afternoon / early evening to win by a final of 2-1. Everyone played a good game, which is the goal.
Happily, we know that tomorrow's episode of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD will not be the last one, as the show's been picked up for a sixth season that will air after the next Avengers movie comes out.

But the episode is titled "The End" and some things will be ending. I have a hunch that I know how things will play out in at least one respect, but -- even though I'm simply speculating -- some of my friends who read this have not seen any of the current season yet and I would like to not drop a bunch of spoilers on them.

Thus, I am typing a lot of text ahead of the cut tag. :)
That should be enough...Collapse )
16th-May-2018 11:22 pm - Ouch
My previous pair of walking shoes decided to collapse shortly before Marcon. This put an immense amount of strain on my feet as I walked around, which was shortly thereafter transferred up my legs and to my knees, including to my right knee which I had slightly tweaked sometime in the preceding week. Or, to characterize the situation briefly: Ouch! That hurts!

The solution was to get a new pair of shoes that would have some arch support, especially once my orthotics were moved into them. So I ordered a new pair of shoes from Zappos. They arrived on Tuesday and I opened them up on Wednesday, intent on making sure that they fit so that I could wear them to Marcon, where I would be doing plenty of walking.

These were high tops. I had not ordered high tops intentionally. I must have ordered the wrong shoe.

I checked the website. The shoes did not actually resemble the picture. I called Zappos. These were, in fact, the wrong shoes in the right box, which is not nearly as useful as getting the right shoes in the wrong box. An exchange was set up and new shoes shipped in my direction.

They arrived 20 minutes after I left for Marcon.

By the time that I was done setting up the table on Friday, my feet and legs were distinctly unhappy. It was shortly after that when I discovered that by walking in an exaggeratedly "correct" fashion on my insteps, correcting my natural tendency to pronate outward, I could greatly reduce the general stress on my feet, legs, and knees. It wasn't perfect, but it was a darned sight better.

On Monday, I opened up the new shoes, determined that they were the correct shoes and that they fit (New Balance changes models constantly, so you have to try on a pair of shoes to make sure that they haven't resized them out from under you), put in the inserts, and had arch support again.

This was just in time to spend two days in the Loop, walking the relatively short distance from Ogilvie to Willis Tower. In brand-new, not-broken-in shoes. While this was better than wearing the old shoes, it was nothing like good.

But the shoes were breaking in. And my gait was starting to approximate normal.

It was when my train pulled in at Cumberland and I discovered as I was standing in the vestibule getting ready to disembark that the particular car that I was in was past the end of the platform and the doors were not going to open. I sprinted (as fast as I can sprint) down the aisle and into the next car back which was also off the edge of the platform, but only barely, probably because the engineer had slightly missed his target -- and the conductor was there having opened the door, so he was probably as bemused as I was.

I hopped out the door, down onto the gravel, and stepped up onto the blacktop platform.

My legs are not yet all sorted out from the change of shoes, but if I can move that quickly when I have to, then I guess they're doing ok. :)
15th-May-2018 11:06 pm - Slightly Later Than Planned
I made it to today's meetings in the Loop just before they started. This was due to two factors:

  • I had to take a later train so that I could get Katie to band practice this morning.
  • Once I got on the train, it ground to a halt due to a signal failure on the line.

    So I got to work about an hour later than I'd planned. Ah, well.
  • 14th-May-2018 10:23 pm - Loopy
    Tomorrow, I head down to the Loop for two days of meetings. This is made more complex by the fact that we have a substitute cleaning lady coming tomorrow and that I have to drop Katie off for early band rehearsal at 8:00 AM on the wrong side of the construction at the traffic circle.

    Ah, there is nothing like excitement!
    14th-May-2018 12:04 am - Home
    I am home from Marcon. I am pretty much unspeakably tired.

    But I had a good time! :)
    10th-May-2018 01:01 pm - Packing It In Again
    If I can get everything into the van, I can leave for Marcon.

    Let's see how that goes. :)
    9th-May-2018 03:09 pm - To My Credulous Friends
    Do y'all think that you might do the least bit of fact checking before you post some "Too Good To Be True" little meme that is floating around the Internet? Even if it fits all of your preconceptions?

    Most of this stuff is of the same level of truthiness as the story about Hillary Clinton running a drug ring out of a pizzeria. And yet here it comes, again and again.

    By the way, did you hear the one about the time traveler who gave one of George W. Bush's superiors in the Air National Guard a computer loaded with Microsoft Word and a printer so that he could type up Bush's fitness report in Times Roman font?
    8th-May-2018 11:16 pm - Julie's Softball Team
    Julie's softball team won their first game today by a score of 1-0, scoring the game's only run in the bottom of the last inning with two outs. Everyone played well on both teams and it was a lot of fun.

    I am very tired now. :)
    7th-May-2018 10:27 pm - Softball Season Has Begun
    Katie's first game was tonight. The girls gave it a good try, but lost 10-8.

    Tomorrow is Julie's first game of the season. :)
    6th-May-2018 11:30 pm - Public Houndini Announcement
    While repairing the fence is helpful, when you let Ruby the Dog out the door to the garage when the garage door is open, it will be of absolutely no use in preventing her from making an escape.

    *sigh*
    6th-May-2018 12:04 am - Piles, Mr. Rico!
    Two piles, to be exact, of CDs arrived at my house last week. I now know how much space 2000 CDs in digipaks take up when they arrive from the duplicator. :)
    5th-May-2018 11:06 pm - Softball!
    We scrimmaged against Coach Melissa's team again today -- this being the first such scrimmage that I was there for. The girls played well and we learned things, which was the objective. :)
    It is always bad when Ruby the Dog believes that she has just about figured out a way to get out of our yard, because the Great Houndini has proven to be pretty good at it over the years. In this case, we had thunderstorms with 70 mile per hour gusts blowing past our already-damaged, hastily-patched, please hold together until spring fence. Two days later, Ruby is poking around the neighborhood of the damaged post where Gretchen had (just last week!) used bungee cords to try to hold everything together, because the two-by-fours on either side of the post are so badly rotted out that they can no longer be screwed or nailed to the remnants of the post, where the post is supported by a steel brace that is designed to be hammered into the ground and attached to the above-ground post remnants.

    All of this was working about as well as you might imagine after the thunderstorm showed up. (That is to say, barely, which I suppose means that it was a pretty good lash up overall, given what it had just put up with.) But Ruby was planning an escape, which meant that I had to do something about it.

    Two phone calls later, I convinced myself that I was not about to get help to fix this. I was going to have to figure out some way to improve the situation myself. But I do not have the time or skills to replace the bum post by myself, nor do I have the time to rebuild the two fence sections and re-anchor them to the ruined post, since the likely result of that is getting to rebuild the fence sections again. Do it twice is severely not on my list of things to do.

    In an earlier conversation, Gretchen had suggested nailing a replacement 2x4 to the outside of the fence to support the rotted one. I had discarded this approach immediately, figuring that the weight of a parasitic 2x4 was more likely to cause the fence to collapse than it was to support it. But you know...

    I do have replacement fence boards and deck screws. And those are lightweight enough that I can screw them in to support the rotted 2x4.

    So that's what I did. Gretchen came out and shoved the post back into place from our side of the fence, dropping the failed chunks of concrete footing back in front of it as a brace. I screwed the long board in and across two sections of fence and the rotted post.

    There were, however, more places where rotted 2x4 in other sections of the fence had come loose from post. I really didn't want to cut up a perfectly good board.

    And then I remembered that we had saved a bunch of end pieces of the cedar planks to use as tombstones at Halloween. We hadn't actually used them, but the box of scrap was in the garage. Two of those became quite suitable shims to reattach fence to post and the fence is -- for the moment, at least -- intact.

    I went into the house and released Ruby into the backyard. She immediately ran to where the hole in the fence had been, sniffed, shrugged, and ran off to look for squirrels.

    Take that, Houndini!
    3rd-May-2018 11:27 pm - Tired
    It has been a long day today. I am sore all over and am really ready to go to bed.

    I think I will do so. :)
    2nd-May-2018 11:21 pm - Time to Fold
    Well, that finally worked. With some help from a YouTube video, I was reminded of how to fold up one of these stupid PlayHut bed tents that Julie had removed from its box, unfolded, and then decided that she was done playing with for now. This is a horribly annoying design, but it can be folded back up.

    Barely.
    1st-May-2018 05:25 pm - Julie Is Ten
    Julie is ten years old today.

    Happy birthday, Julie! I love you.
    30th-Apr-2018 11:06 pm - Oh, Good
    Julie has a hairline fracture on the screen of the tablet I bought her.
    29th-Apr-2018 10:29 pm - A Different Agenda
    There were things that I might have gotten done today. Instead:

  • We had lunch.
  • We took the girls to the batting cages for a bit of batting practice.
  • We had some frozen custard.
  • I cleaned up some more of the garage floor in preparation for the arrival of CDs starting tomorrow.
  • I burned off the last of the gas in the snowblower.
  • I took Katie to her pitching clinic and caught a lot of softballs. :)
  • I grilled some steaks for dinner while Gretchen prepared the rest of the meal.
  • I played with Julie with her 3D pen.
  • Gretchen and I watched an episode of Deception.
  • I read to Katie before she went to bed.
  • Gretchen found some hair decorations for Katie for Crazy Hair Day at school tomorrow.
  • I installed some Wi-fi related stuff for my phone and laptop for use at work.
  • I emailed the fellow that I'm meeting with tomorrow about schedules and timing.

    And I think it is now time to go to bed.
  • 28th-Apr-2018 05:40 pm - Living On the Edge
    All this talk about Ford discontinuing their sedan line causes me to remember that I owe you all a report on my Ford Edge, which is now a bit over four months old with 2000 miles on it.

    Mostly, I like it. The thing to remember about the Edge is that it is really just a tall Fusion (or Mondeo, if you're from Europe). As such, it gets about the same mileage that the Fusion would get -- just a little bit less due to the extra weight.

    The big advantage is that I sit up high and have headroom. I'm an outlier in terms of my body shape, because all of my height is in my torso, so headroom is always at a premium for me. Even with an Edge, I don't dare think about their "Panoramic Vista Roof", because it takes away an inch or two of headroom that I must have. This also knocks pretty much all of the Japanese and Korean cars off my list of possibilities. I would like to be able to get into and out of the car without fighting with the roof line.

    (One of the worst experiences I had was getting into the front passenger seat of a late model rental Camaro at a science-fiction convention I was at. I thought I was going to have to remove my head, hand it to the driver, and then reattach it after getting through the door.)

    But the car handles like a small peppy sedan. It has a turning radius that is not measured in miles. It is just a tall car that I step up to get into instead of trying to fold up to get into.

    And I admit that I have been enamored of this particular form factor since I first saw it on an Infiniti not too long after I bought my old Ford Five Hundred. It just took a while to be able to (vaguely) justify buying a new car. :)

    The things that are most difficult to get used to are the push-to-start and grab-and-unlock features of the car which mean that the key never needs to leave my pocket. I have finally started to get used to leaving it there. This is only occasionally a problem when I am sliding under the steering wheel and the panic button contacts the wheel in such a way as to set off the alarm. Oops.

    The Sync 3 system works tolerably well with one exception. It takes a bit more work than I might prefer to switch sources from one radio band to another. I suppose they just want me to leave it set to Sirius. :)

    The exception is that the contacts list from my LG G5 phone seems to not get picked up all of the time by the Sync 3 system. This means that when I say "Call Gretchen", it doesn't. Most of the time. Except when it sort of randomly decides to work. This random behavior makes me crazy.

    Note that I have already been through all of the steps that should cause this to work, including giving access to the list to the Sync 3 system via Bluetooth. It simply doesn't work.

    Unless it does.

    I can, however, call Gretchen by saying "Dial" and reciting the digits of her phone number.

    *sigh*

    So far, this is the worst problem I have with the car.

    I can live with it.
    28th-Apr-2018 05:19 pm - Saturday In the Park
    We had softball practice for both girls this morning, so Gretchen took Katie off to her practice, while I took Julie off to the practice that I am responsible for running. Things went well on our end (and apparently on Katie's as well), the weather being warmer than expected. I borrowed a batting tee for our practice to give the girls some work on their swing before bringing them on the field for live pitching from me. I think this was a good idea. :) And I have a not-borrowed batting tee arriving from Amazon Monday.

    I need to finish up some code for work. That would normally be possible, except that it is a maintenance weekend and the remote servers are down. Oh.

    Maybe I should have fun instead, it being the weekend...
    27th-Apr-2018 04:26 pm - First
    I finished second in the FKO songwriting contest with this song (topic was First Contact), which was just fine by me. :)

    For reference, this seems to be a march in 3/4 time. At least for a while...

    Lyrics inside...Collapse )
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