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May 4, 2008 8:14pm
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PHP vs. Oracle … vs. Windows
Last week was, in a single phrase, a pain in the ass, at least technologically speaking. I spent my entire work week fighting my ugliest geek battle to date – trying to access Oracle via PHP from a Windows 2000 box running Microsoft IIS as its web server … bleh. It’s something that I’ve been toying around with and subsequently putting off since last summer and I got to the point where I just couldn’t procrastinate any longer, so I literally spent almost five full days pouring through forum threads and taking the advice of nearly everything that came up in my Google searches to try to fix the damn thing. For the abridged solution, php under Windows sucks because of how it handles extensions and somehow it was trying to load an extension that had an internal reference to an older version of php than what I was running. Also, Oracle and Windows hate each other, so my time up through about Wednesday was dedicated purely to getting php to even believe that such a thing as “Oracle” even existed!

Needless to say, it was a rough week, but Friday morning somehow things magically started coming together and as of that afternoon, the task at hand had been completely automated and I’ll never have to touch it again. Mind you, it was only a two minutes/day job, but every little bit helps!

Also, it might help the story have a slightly happier ending if I mention that I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been at my job right now. :O

Geeky All Around
Weekend has been particularly geeky, too, but this time in a good way! For the n-hundredth time, I’ve started working on rebuilding websites for my writing – this time had me butchering out the insides of WordPress to try to implement the pieces that I actually want in said new sites. A month or two ago, I was tossing around the idea of just building the sites using WordPress, but I could never get any of the templates to look even remotely close to what I wanted so this weekend I got the brainstorm to simply design a site myself and then embed the parts of WordPress that I actually want into that. Which is easier said than done, mind you, but I haven’t ran into anything that seems completely impossible yet, anyways.

I’ve also been fighting with Gallery in trying to setup a new moblog, seeing as now I actually have a phone that works again but no moblog provider because TextAmerica sold out. I’m not entirely sure how successful that’s going to be just yet because the scripts that I found to read in the e-mails and then post them to Gallery seem to make sense, but don’t want to actually work when I put them into place and I don’t know enough about interfacing with mail servers to pull out the scalpel and go in myself. Still, I really only spent one night playing around with it at midnight, so it might just be something that a fresh start on a normal day will make light work of – we’ll see…

Another Try at Getting Skinny (or at least slightly less fat)
So here we are in May and I’m still trying, sporadically, anyways. March was both a wash exercise-wise and a few steps backwards weight-wise as I actually gained back some weight that I lost earlier, but I’m trying. This week I made it to the gym three times throughout the week and I’m actually quite proud about that, so my goal for next week is to both keep that up and also try to curtail my eating a bit. I have a tendency to both “forget” my lunch so I have to go out for lunch, and then also get up and eat in the middle of the night, or sleep-eat, if you will, so both of those need to stop. Well, at least the second one needs to stop while the first one calms somewhat! We’ve got our engagement photos nearly a month away at the beginning of June, so it’s either start losing weight or start shopping around for a stunt double.

Flowers and Shrubberies, Take 3
Last weekend, Sara and I got the great idea to go shopping for some plants to spruce up the garden in front and our back patio. We picked out a bunch of flowers that she liked for the front and got some ideas for the plants that I want in the back (our car isn’t exactly the best size for hauling foliage…), but unfortunately beyond that we really don’t know much about what plants need to live. I mean, she planted them and we’ve been watering them, but one of them turned to crap pretty quickly and I haven’t the foggiest if we didn’t give it enough room, underestimated the amount of sunlight in the area, or what. Clearly in reviewing my own past with regards to plant life and how many I’ve thrown out after killing, I’m not exactly an expert on the subject, although this is even worse because at least leafy plants are a little easier to maintain than full-blown flowers! And here we thought we would be able to make good use of all of that knowledge that we picked up at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival!

Go-Go Finances, Paper Free!
It’s been something that I’ve been thinking about doing for a while, but I finally took the plunge Saturday afternoon and started converting our finances to go paperless. About 19 MB worth of PDFs later, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on most of our bills and such – it’ll ultimately just take some time to get everything completely switched over and figure out which of my binders full of old statements can be disposed of for good. Hopefully it won’t be too much of a pain sorting through the files rather than paper, but figuring that we’ll probably save thirty or forty pages of invoices worth of paper a month, I guess it’s worth the hassle!

Our Refrigerator Sucks
The thing started making some absolutely crazy noises about mid-week and I’m honestly surprised to find anything cold at all every time I open up the door. Out of nowhere, all of a sudden it’ll start making this horrible grinding sound, sometimes loud enough to keep me awake through a closed door in the bedroom across the house! I don’t know – I guess I have a tendency to be bothered by weird noises sometimes, like the high-pitched noise a tv will let off if you forget to turn it off when you turn the cable box off – so I haven’t slept good all week. I won’t even go into the ordeals of getting the landlord to get a service guy to come out, but let’s just say it’d better get fixed soon or we’re ether gettng a hotel room or moving our bed out onto the patio!

Tax Rebate Came and Went
Amazing how quick a mere $1200 can go flying by, isn’t it? Our stimulus checks both showed up on Friday along with payday and between plane tickets and hotel accommodations for Sara’s friend’s wedding next month, a couple of remaining deposits for our own wedding, and some other little tidbits here and there, we’ll probably have just enough for a nice dinner out at Disney next weekend and that’s about it! Fortunately May happens to be one of those extra paycheck months for both of us, so with any luck we’ll still have enough to pay off the smallest of our credit cards and still feel like we’re making a little headway towards financial freedom! Baby steps, at least until after the wedding…

Zelda Needs to Stop Gettin’ Her Ass Kidnapped!
I made it through the first quest in The Legend of Zelda after a couple of my less productive evenings where I found myself distracted by its nostalgic, 8-bit goodness, but I forgot that now the game resets itself and you have to rescue the princess all over again, only now it actually takes some skill! I haven’t played it in, like, three or four days just because I can’t remember where half of the dungeons are in the new quest. Also, the game’s battery finally gave out and wiped both of our characters, so we’re pretty much not shutting the NES off until we’re both thoroughly finished with the game. Note to Self: I really need to work on building some sort of cheap PC to play emulated NES games on for the living room this summer…

Bored in TV Land…
I’m kinda done with tv for the time being. After missing a couple of weeks American Idol and having roughly 87 hours of shows on the DVR thanks to that, I really couldn’t care less if I actually watch it anymore. Every Thursday I remember that I missed another week when I find out who got voted off in the paper on accident, I’m pissed because Carly got canned and she should’ve won the whole thing, and I find myself having to mute the tv everytime Paula talks these days because the woman refuses to say anything bad about anyone … ever. It’s just boring.

As for the rest of tv, I’m glad that The Office is back and I’m glad that it looks like they might not ruin the season by making Pam and Jim breakup so soon afterall, but it’s admittedly getting kinda boring, too. We’re still enjoying Top Chef this season, although more and more of the good people are getting voted off, leaving the drama kings behind to cuss on camera and try to act cool. I do enjoy still seeing new episodes of The Simpsons just because, well, just because, but other than that, that’s really about it. I don’t care about House, I don’t care about My Name is Earl; at this point I’m back to watching really bad movies on HBO and Cinemax when I’m bored, which is never good.

Movies That Didn’t Suck…
Forgetting Sarah Marshallabsolutely hilarious, especially the first time we got to hear the Dracula bit
I Am Legendscary, because I’m a wuss, but also pretty good
21 — really enjoyed it, because it finally pulled off “casino movie” without trying to be Ocean’s Eleven

Iron Man — haven’t seen it yet, but we’re both really looking forward to it! Does it really stand up to “best superhero movie ever, even above Spider-Man?!”

Creativity Brewing??? MAYBE…
I still don’t want to say much right now because it’s still in the early stages and I’m not exactly far enough along yet to feel confident that I’m “back on track,” so to speak, but I can say that I think I’m moving in the right direction thus far. Sara’s convinced me to make the tough decision to make a rather significant change to my “business plan” and hopefully it’ll finally allow me the time to pan out some of the ideas that I do have instead of trying to do too many things at once and just spin my wheels. Current plan is to have some things to show for it all by June 1st, so keep your fingers crossed!

Time is Precious
So Sara’s knee-deep into her nursing program now and … it’s definitely going to be rough for both of us. She’s got an absolutely ridiculous schedule between going to school and still working full-time to boot, so finding time for “just us” in between work, school, studying, and the gym is no easy task. Not to mention that after all of that, it’s certainly tempting to just come home and crash after the lack of sleep finally catches up to you, so I guess our immediate future right now is simply about making count what little time that we actually do get to spend together. This is her dream and a year and a half from now, it’s easy to say that the sacrifices will have been worth it, but at the same time we need to work things out so that all of this time until then isn’t just filled with stress and frustrations and so forth. Obviously, it’s a whole lot easier to deal with making sacrifices if you can find a way to make up for them along the way … and we’re still working on that one. Right now we’re only a few weeks in, so we’ve still got time… 🙂

Toy Story Mania … coming real soon!
And finally, I didn’t realize that it was quite that soon, but the passholder previews for the latest attraction to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (still hate the new name…) is actually this coming weekend, meaning that I’ve got some working my ass off to do this week to earn a day off to make it over there! Sara’s clearly already got it covered with school and all, and since she’s actually got her first test on Tuesday, it’ll probably be a good reward for her, but as for myself, well no doubt I’m going to be a little bit harder on me because I still really want this other creative stuff that I’m working on to come to fruition. The time for procrastination is gone!

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