A status update

Well, I had this post-writing screen open for so long that I took pity on it. WordPress came out with an update and update, I did. It went on without a hitch and for that, I was grateful. All my plugins are up and running. I’ve sorted the pictures from my cloudland canyon camping trip and actually burned CDs for the interested parties. πŸ™‚ As requested, I’ve sorted pictures like the 15 I took of a certain butterfly or housefly or the dogs, or the … lol. Anyhoo, I expect we’ll be paying the interested parties visits soon. In other news, I’ll be starting my new job next week. I’m excited and cautious, for want of a better word. It’s a new place and I’m sure that being cautious won’t be a bad thing. This will be a very good stepping stone and a time for lots of introspection as to where I want my life to go. I got a call from a relative about things going on with me and it struck me almost as being out of touch with what I really wanted. I know that I don’t want to live from hand to mouth. Therefore, I cannot be a research technician forever. I know that certain things will need to change if I make the decision that I suspect would not please me. That said, several appealing options are running through my mind so I’m not totally ignoring suggestions. Anyway, I’ve been on a certain social networking site a lot lately and it’s been interesting seeing so many of my college mates. All I will say is that I am a bit nervous about the future of the physician world (in a semi-good way).

I went to church today without Matt because he was tuckered out. However, come next Sunday, I’m dragging his behind to the church with me. He’ll temporarily hate me, but he knows it’s all love. πŸ˜€ Now, it’s off to tweaking my computer again. Someone stop me. Now.

Labor day, part deux

Okay, I lied. I’ve run out of the steam with which I churned out that last post. The long and short story was this: we spent at least 45 mins looking for Sitton’s cave. After almost giving up (I had given up after walking the first mile), Matt found the cave. The state park attendant was very helpful as far as even giving us pamplets on the cave’s whereabouts. I could’ve sworn that the idea of caves there was something of an urban legend because the park ranger and people that our party had talked too seemed reticent about the caves. Well, Sitton’s cave didn’t look well trafficked. Compared to Petty John’s cave, the entrance to Sitton’s cave was ginormous. Just like the caves I’ve read about and seen on TV! I’m putting a small selection of the pictures online.

Now that I don’t have internet access at home, it’ll be a pain to upload these things, one by one. Apparently, the library has disabled the Java Runtime environment from running on their computers. It’s such a pain in the patootie. In other news, I’m almost a full employee. HR hasn’t put my stuff into the system yet so I can’t get an email address. Not getting an email address means I’m cut off from the electronic side of things i.e. online sign-ins, getting on the waitlist for a prime parking spot, et cetera. This part may slightly get on my nerves, but it’ll happen eventually. In the meantime, I’d better brush up on my protocols.

Labor day et al

Man oh man! πŸ˜€ I had a blast this weekend. Barring the numerous bug bites and the junk food bonanza (lol), I had an awesome time. So much so that I will not hesitate to do it again as long as my job permits it. What did we not do up in Rising Fawn, GA? We visited the Cloudland Canyon State Park where we camped for 4 days and 3 nights. The first day, we spent over 5  hrs on the road just getting there. I spent about 2 hrs catnapping because I didn’t have much sleep the night before. πŸ™‚ However, day 2 saw us up at 10am and ready to make our way to the actual Cloudland Canyon. My Fujifilm camera didn’t disappoint me as I took gorgeous pictures of everyone. I have just downloaded them to my computer and I am so glad that I overcame my fear of breaking the camera enough to take it on the trip this weekend. We visited the Petty John cave and it was absolutely awesome. I even went into the cave and I was blown away. I am definitely interested in going spelunking, as they say now. Then, we headed up the Crockford-Pigeon mountain (in a car, of course) and visited the ‘Rock Town‘ which has some pretty interesting rock formations. As you can guess, I’ve got pictures of those and I think I’ll be needing Flickr for this task of putting the pictures up online. In a bid to keep our expenses low, I’ve cut off our phone/internet. Actually, it’s still there, but I’ve gotten Paul to get us off that bill for the month of September. Something tells me I’ll want to keep it off for good because it was costing us at least $50 (because we’re paying two-thirds of both phone and internet bills). I figure I’m also doing myself a favor because I’ll be forced to get out of the house and do something else. Anyway, back to the story, we got back, ate and just shot the shit generally. Day 3 saw a mass exodus (slight hyperbole) of Julie and her hubby, Jonathan including Matt’s buddy, Jonathan.  However, Matt, his bud (Big John) and I got to hike into the canyon (at least 5 miles total) to see the dried up waterfalls. This was a torturous hike because it involved stairs. I’ll put pics up much later for thee to be the judge. Right now, I’m running around to get stuff ready for my visit to the HR dept. at my new job which I’m beginning next week. Yay me!! And our last day was, interestingly, my most trying day. lol. Okay, here’s how it went down. Throughout our stay, there’d been whispers of caves being in the state park where we were. Now, my in-laws (my husband included) are serious outdoor fiends and were naturally interested. However, day 4 saw just Matt, myself and his dad pondering where on earth the caves could be hiding. By day 4, I was itching to get home to my e-mail and such. But I was game for a hopefully quick find of the caves. Alas! for it was not to be. By 2pm, we finally got our acts together and made our way to where the caves allegedly were. I’ll continue this story tomorrow. lol.

Preparing for 3 days of camping

When the groove strikes me, I go all out: blaring music from my room, tidying up, etc. It feels good. πŸ™‚ Even better is finding over $25 dollars in spare change. Matt’s bad/good about dropping change into our spare-change cup and I finally counted out the coins (excluding the pennies). So, that will be enough to fill up his gas tank halfway. It’s sad, but gas prices have remained at their high price of $3 and even more in quite a few places. We’ll be meeting up with his dad and then, jointly making our way to the camping site. Matt made a little checklist that has proved invaluable to my preparations. πŸ™‚ I am definitely taking my camcorder and camera along with me. Jane, please don’t forget to purchase AA NiMH batteries before you leave! I will be offline for at least 3 days so my phone may be the best way to get in touch with me. In other news, I’m presenting my own rolled-up internet security suite:

  1. ZoneAlarm Professional (est. $40) from Check Point which serves as a very competent firewall and spyware solution.
  2. Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition (got this from my ex-school) which serves the much needed antivirus scanning in my email even.
  3. Ad-Aware Professional 2007 (est. $39.95) from Lavasoft. I use this as an on-demand product although there is an option Ad-Watch that can be used as a realtime component.

Those are the basic 3 that I installed to protect my computer. Another layer of protection will be your browser. I have since switched to Mozilla Firefox and I will not be looking back. For my browser, I’ve got Adblock Plus in operation along with their extra filters that remove the most obnoxious of adverts no the web. I used to have the Netcraft Anti-Phishing toolbar, but I have had a low incidence of those sites due to my diligence in looking carefully at the URLs that I’m sent to. The McAfee SiteAdvisor used to be on computer also, but I got rid of it. I lost interest in it once they started running a “premium” version of their tool. That’s just shitty for them to have done that. They bought out the creators of Site Advisor and then, decided to upgrade the tool, but slap a price tag on it (est. $24.99 single user license). That’s just sticking your tongue out at your users. Well, McAfee’s got competition from lots of angles so there! This was as of last year, but I’ve lost interest in them anyway. Firefox comes built with anti-phishing properties so I didn’t need the extra protection. Naturally, I’ll need Internet Explorer because Microsoft has integrated it almost inextricably into their operating system. Furthermore, buyers of new computers will notice that they may come pre-bundled with other security suites. If you don’t trust those programs, don’t be afraid to uninstall them and install programs you trust.

Feeling prolific. :)

I feel much better now that my future seems slightly less shaky. πŸ™‚ I can go camping with confidence and give the good news to my in-laws also. It’s interesting that Matt and Paul were certain that I would get the job. According to the prospective employers, they’d narrowed the field to a guy and yours truly. They do cool things like knowing more about proteins’ structure & function using tools like NMR and biophysical characterization of said proteins. Essentially, a structural biology lab. Well, I’m excited and looking forward to this process. NMR has always been a gray area for me so while I’m nervous at confronting this feared topic, I’m excited because I can only benefit from having hands-on experience with it. Now, I’m sure the bulk of my work will be grunt work for others but I do hope that I’ll have a pet project that’ll get my name onto papers. πŸ™‚ I’ll be spending a few days getting familiar with the organization’s benefits (which are neat, btw) and reading up about the laboratory’s research focus. Alright, Matt & I are off to have a little private celebration of ours so remain sane out there in this crazy world! I forgot. I’ve gone picture-crazy with the new Fujifilm camera that Paul gifted us with. Here’s a lovely picture of Bonnie, the resident sheltie dog in her glorious self, a flower that Matt got me and one of the cats whose name is Snookie (Snookums, Snookeroo, etc). I’ll be documenting my picture-craze on my gallery so bookmark it! I’m so looking forward to getting away and going camping in a group. I haven’t packed my stuff up yet, but I’ll get to it while Matt’s at work. I need to protect my camera because I can’t afford to have any precious bits broken. πŸ˜€ Enjoy the photos! Oh, I touched them up a wee bit in Photoshop.

Things fell into place

Well, I got the call I’d been waiting on. I have a J.O.B. and yours truly is excited. I knew the pay wouldn’t be much, but given that we are living low right now, it should be more than enough help tide us over in addition to Matt’s pay. I’m salaried and will be paid bi-weekly. That works out fine in my book! Here’s to learning and learning some more!

Wrangling with the beast that is my computer

I am beginning to think that whoever came up with the non-destructive recovery thing needs their head examined. Did they tell you that they would re-install all the programs that came with the factory PC (which is fine), but that they would leave lots of traces of the old programs that were supposedly erased? This goes for things like Microsoft .NET which was another story unto itself. I had to install over 200MB of windows updates, which is fine. However, when it came time to install programs, I was in deep doo-doo. For instance, with .NET 2.0 and 3.0, the installation kept failing with some error code that I couldn’t find a solution to. Well, the long and short was, .NET files were littered on my computer so I had to download a removal tool from a Microsoft guy (Aaron Stebner) who works on .NET which removed all instances of .NET (i.e. .NET 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0). Only then, was I able to install all the .NET flavors. All was fine & dandy and I should have let sleeping dogs lie. I was connected to the internet (!), I had installed the latest microsoft updates (!!), I had my defenses installed (!!!), but my $70 Nvidia GeForce FX 5500 graphics card was lying useless. So, I took it upon myself to do a simple swap out. Do you see where the problem lies? In the Device manager (rightclick “My Computer” and select “Manage:. Then, go to “Device Manager” and click the plus sign by “Display Adapter”), it said that Nvidia Drivers were enabled! However Add & Remove programs had no record of this.

Now, I didn’t know how to go about this so there was a lot of trial and error involved. Hell, I still don’t know if I got it right, but I’m online and typing this, aren’t I? First, I disabled the onboard integrated Intel graphics card I had, swapped my cord connection to the Nvidia card and restarted. I got hit with a blank screen. After a few cold restarts, I got a msg about Windows not starting right due to some hardware/software conflict. I was happy because at least, it let me get into Safe Mode. While there, I then, re-enabled the onboard graphics card, but wasn’t able to re-install the Nvidia drivers. So, another cycle of rebooting began. To make a long story short, the settings on my computer are thus, I’ve uninstalled the Intel Extreme Graphics Driver and now have Nvidia Drivers installed. In Device manager, it shows the integrated graphics card as being enabled although I don’t know what impact it’ll have on the functioning of my Nvidia graphics card.

Right now, I’m tired and done with tinkering with stuff on my computer. It’s time to get to more important things like fiddling with my spanking new camera. Oooh, did I forget to tell you? I’m going camping for Labor Day for 3 days. lol. This should be fun and interesting because the group consists of me & Matt, his dad, Matt’s friend (John), and Julie & Jonathon. This camera couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m sure that with time, I’ll discover more things that have been left over, no thanks to the silly non-destructive recovery thingie. I should have gone with my initial reformat-the-harddrive thought. *sigh* Still, I’m online and that’s almost more than enough for me. πŸ™‚ And my computer’s booting up in less than 2 minutes, a miracle after the sluggishness that was just a week ago. I know I didn’t have any virii or baddies. I just had a shitload of programs on a mere 160GB hard drive that I rarely used! I mean, I had at least 5 graphics editing programs (Photoshop CS, Irfanview, InkScape, GIMP, & SnagIt. Does ConceptDraw count?). I won’t go into too much detail, but suffice it to say that I will be severely curtailing my visits to certain sites. πŸ˜€