Archive for category Life Events

My drug addiction

Hello. My name is Eugene Beauchamp-Simmons, and I’m a caffeineaholic.

I’m up to a pot or two of coffee a day during the week, and I always have two or three glasses of cola during my grownup time with the missus on Saturdays. But then I don’t have any caffeine on Sundays as I never go out or remember to take my generic No-Doz, and I routinely wake up with a splitting headache on Monday morning.

That’s what’s going on right now. I woke up at 4:00 with just an incredible pounder. I took a couple of of my magic green pills and tried to go back to sleep, but an hour later when they hadn’t even begun to work I realized (yet again) that it was caffeine-related. Then I took my caffeine pill and one of my new magic green pill replacements, which also contain caffeine. My original magic pills are off the market now, presumably because they were causing strokes and heart issues… which is too bad, because that’s just some straight up family fun. Anyway, it’s an hour later now, and that combo has started to take the edge off.

Folks think I’m nuts when I tell them I have these kinds of withdrawal symptoms (yes, there are others I shan’t discuss here), but the facts bear themselves out time and again and I just keep my crazy ideas to myself. Except for today, I guess, since I wrote about it… but though my readership has swelled by 50% since last year, that’s still only 3 people. And there’s room for them to all kiss my butt simultaneously.

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100,000 little Indians

There have been some huge happenings at work since June, but since my stinkin’ boss sometimes reads my blog (hi, stinkin’ boss!!), there’s not really much I want to say about it out in the open like this.

End of post.

Except I’m drinking a double jigger of black label Southern Comfort and lime right now, so I’ll tell you a little more.

Starting over, there have been huge happenings at work since June. I guess it’s enough to say that I’ve cycled through paranoia and worry and relief so many times that I’m just numb at this point and don’t really care what happens. Except that’s not really true, because there’s still a fair amount of lingering discontent I’m not really sure what to do about: of the five things that really decided me on taking this job back in June of 2006 (the feel of a small company, a super gnarly building, a nine minute drive from the house,  my own office and an ultra-casual dress code), the first thing has been gone for quite a while, three more will vanish by next month and the last won’t make it to January 1st. I also haven’t had a raise in 16 months, but in my mind that’s a fair trade for having a job at all. For those who don’t love me enough to know, I presently sorta-kinda work in the mortgage industry. I don’t know jack diddly about loan origination even now, but my butter is earned from folks who do, and I’m rounded-up-to-a-hundred-percent sure that I would have been standing in a bread line for my butter by now had things not taken an interesting twist around my second anniversary with the company.

Sometime in the June-July timeframe a huge foreign organization bought us up, and we suddenly went from being a hundred-and-something-man shop to a hundred-thousand-and-something-man superentity. Having worked for another huge multi-national for six years, though, and having already suffered through years of trickle-down bureaucracy, this doesn’t pose any real difficulty for me. I already know how to swim in the corporate waters and speak the corporate language, but I guess I will have to get used to hearing that language with a different accent now. But, like I said, even though I don’t really dig the megacorporate scene, I’m fairly confident that the new business has the get-through-it-ness to make it past the current slump… and that that wouldn’t have been the case had we not been gobbled up.

So… unhappy? Yes, about the creature comforts I’ll be giving up. But worried? Not so much now. Until told otherwise, I’m just going to expect to see those checks come in regularly. Until then I’ll do my best work and continue to annoy my boss with half-baked recommendations of automating even more of our processes. I can’t worry about things that are outside my control, so for now Steve Winwood and I will just roll with it, baby.

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Confessions of a Facebooking fool

I just realized I haven’t posted a single whimpering syllable here since the end of July, and that makes me feel like a frog’s heel. Especially after all the crap I’ve given my friends who let their own blogs linger.

But then I realized I’ve been all up on the Facebook multiple times every day since my last entry, and I was all like, “Whoah. What a frog’s heel I am.” I really do tend to wear out expressions like that; I said “nutty scampers” 11,096 times last year, and “that’s no good” a grand total of 154,271 times over a period of about 3 years.

This is the point at which historically I would have said in my best Dudley Doright voice, “I shall give up 75% of my Facebook time and devote myself instead to writing low-to-medium-quality material for my audience of 3.” But I can’t do that because I’m working on a Facebook game right now, and can therefore easily rationalize any time I might waste there. It’ll be a good game, too: I bet I’ll make at least a dollar a week off it.

Anyway, so here’s my first non-post in months and months, but I don’t have much to report. Nice chatting with you. :)

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Smooth / Not Smooth

  1. I lost my TiVo remote this morning. Not smooth. Ifound it wrapped up in the bedsheets I threw into the laundry earlier. Good thing it didn’t get washed, because whatever would I have done then?
  2. The transition to GMail is done. Smooth. Apple cider diarrhea smooth. There were some issues with it not correctly filing some of my sent mail, but overall I’m very pleased. Now if Google would add a “download as archive/mbox/whatever” option, I wouldn’t be so paranoid about leaving all my junk dangling out there. Maybe it’s time to download more than just headers…

Update: See the first comment on this post for a method of backing up Google mail. That definitely looks like something worth setting up. Also, I was able to move around all my mis-filed sent mail with Thunderbird. Thank gootness GMail exposes their special folders (archive, spam, sent) through IMAP – that’s mui handy. Also, each label shows up as its own virtual IMAP folder, with multi-tagged messages properly duplicated across folders. That’s two extra thumbs up from me. :cool:


Changing the circumference of my webisphere

My hobby sites make me sad. They’re a lot of fun and give me a good place to dig around in my PHP and Ruby sandboxes, but they’re a tremendous amount of effort to maintain. They were well worth it to me 14 years ago, when not many people in my little set of concentric circles had the hutzpa to register, set up and administer their own domains. Network Solutions charged about $75 per year then, too, and that was just for the registry. The hosting fees and all the other constant nibbles at my wallet kept me motivitated to stay active with it and do good enough stuff to justify all the various expenses and aggravations involved.

These days things are a ton cheaper. I moved to PairLite last December, and that costs about half of what I was paying each month for my regular Pair account. Plus, since I made the switch not long after they began the new service, I was able to take advantage of the two-for-one offer they had at the time and wound up getting two years of service for $99. Plus, domain registrations at PairNIC are only $16 or $17 per year, and they often have $10 specials for long-term pricing. I bought a 4 year renewal on two of my domains not too long ago for that price. I know there are cut-rate places like GoDaddy that always have the cheaper rates, but saving a couple of dollars isn’t worth what I’d be giving up with PairNIC (yes, I’m quite pleased with Pair and all their offerings… how could you tell?). Anyway, there are so many crappy little cheap hosting providers around now that, coupled with the current bottom-drawer domain pricing and the trend toward effortless (but crummy) website-in-a-box templates that providers supply, there’s really no reason why a person of mediocre intelligence and disposable income couldn’t have his own site, complete with vanity email address. And from some of the stuff out there, it’s apparent that the intelligence level need not even rank as high as mediocre.

Anymore it seems harder and harder to justify the effort of keeping all my webtoys active. The cost isn’t a big factor anymore, like I said, but I currently have neither the time or patience to develop and maintain all the tools and sites and whatnot that have been occupying the bulk of my mental wishlist for many years now. And right now, with my little son demanding as much attention as he does, even having to maintain the simple stuff keeps me peeved most of the time.

I’m working on some things right now that should help reduce some frustrations, and also give me a sense of accomplishment. Big Carter probably thinks there should be ten of them so it’d be a proper list, but unfortunately there are only two. I should probably make the numbers really big so the list will appear longer, but I think I’ll just handle it the way I do everything else: talk about it for a while and not actually do it.

  1. Move all mail handling for from PairLite to GMail.
    Mail storage is eating up two-thirds of my disk quota at PairLite, plus I’m just about sick to pieces of struggling with spam. Switching to GMail will help tremendously on both counts, plus our email addresses won’t have to change.
  2. Use this guy’s thing to merge the file structures of the four WordPress blogs I maintain.
    I almost deleted the word “maintain” there, because what I mostly do is stress about how out-of-date most of them are all the time. With the low traffic they all have, in terms of viewers and active posting, it never really seems worth my time to meddle with them.

And, hey, if these things don’t work out, they’ll probably at least give me something good to bitch about here.

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Top 11 reasons why I can't move to Canada

My good friend Philbin Dobby (who used to work here in town with my sometimes-buddy Keiler) up and got married to a Canadian girlie a few years ago, and the two of them migrated north, never to be seen again.

OK, well, I’ve seen them once since, but I don’t think that’s quite as dramatic a statement.

Anyway, he toiled in the oil fields of NoCanDu (that’s Northern Canada, for all you non-French-speaking-yuppie types) for a time before finally getting back into his chosen field: create-ery. First, he and his wife, Petra, worked independently for a while, putting out some really neat stuff. Then, fairly recently, he took a wicked gnarly job with a subsidiary of Bill Gates’ Corbis Corp. in Canada, doing UI create-ery.

I know how much he makes, but I’m not supposed to say because it would make Keiler vomit.

The perks are nice – great salary, discretionary cash for personal fitness and office purchases (like, an allowance for whatever he wants), high-end computational machines for both work and home, some of this, a bit of that, a little of the other AND free beer on Fridays. And some things I forgot, too. But what mostly makes me sick is the free beer on Fridays. And I don’t know why. But the twerp started IMing me last week as he was guzzling down a Guinness. Not always my drink of choice, maybe, but it’s good and refreshing and expensive enough to merit a gold on free drink day.

Anyway, so he’s been teasing me about moving to Canada for years now. Something about all Canadians sucking, and how my being there would turn his life around, etc., and something else about my presence causing the sun to shine, and how I was just the best and perfect, or something along those lines. I can’t remember all the arguments now. Then last Friday he cranked up the knobs on me, but still under the guise of jokery. I’d say he kicked it up a notch, but kind of in an Emeril-on-a-drunk sort of way. I think it was the Guinness. All fun, all fun, but the whole time he was encouraging me to watch for open slots at his company, the top 11 reasons why I couldn’t move to God’s deep freeze kept running through my mind (OK, so I didn’t actually think of any of them until later, and as I write this sentence I know of only 3 reasons. But they’ll come, and there will be 11 of them. Big Carter says top 10 lists are fantastic… so 11 should be even fantasticker):

11. I’d have to turn my cats out into the street.
The huge fat one would have a heart attack if we tried to move him that far. He nearly expired during the 10 minute car ride from Mom’s when we first got him, and would most assuredly do so in the future if he had to climb into another box or see another outside or meet another human being. And the smaller ones (just big fat, not huge fat) would be pissy for months.

10. French folks make me nauseous.
They just do. And I get a bad taste in my ears. But I’m full of American-style excuses for that particular bit of causal upchuckery. Until recently I believed that my father’s family came from Germany or thereabouts, and anti-French sentiment was always abundant in the day-to-day of my early life. My recent discoveries tell me that my not-German family were probably French after all, though, and the whole denial thing about that makes me want to keep all the separate more from the fictitious monsters of my troubled past.

9. I’d probably just get deported anyway.
Canadians don’t like me for some reason. Petra tolerates me some because I’m nice to Philby, but not many do. Deep down they know I’m just one of them pesky right-thinking conservative types, and that’s far worse than an unbathed Frenchman.

8. European travel would lose its zing.
The hate always stops pretty quick if the ‘Trashers think you’re not an American. And to me, really, the hate and narrow-mindedness of our loving and open-minded cousins across the many waters is the best part of traveling through Europa. I mean, a visit to the local pub just isn’t quite right if you don’t get a little German, French and/or Italian spittle on you. But that happens even when they’re pleased with you.

7. I’d have to learn to drive on the right side of the street.
I hear them Mounties wouldn’t take too kindly to my alternative driving style.

6. I’d have to sell all my shootin’ irons.
Barack Obama says that when white folks get frustrated, they buy guns. Well, I guess I’ve been frustrated about 6 times now, and I’ve finally got a fairly decent little collection of keepsakes and home defense implements put aside. But of course our friends up-North-a-ways don’t cast too many kindwise glances upon that particular freedom I so enjoy. I wouldn’t want to have to get all moved up yonder just to discover I need to learn to swing the nunchaku. Oh, but wait… those are illegal in Canada as well. Hmm… I guess I’d just have to train myself an attack moose.

5. They don’t know how to play hockey up there.

4. It would be a heck of a drive to come see my kinfolk.
I’d be completely cut off from everybody. It’s not like I could just jump in the car and drive for 36 hours to see them anytime I wanted to. Plus, with the price of gas, that would be one expensive trip.

3. I’m not ready for socialized medicine yet.
It’s true. But Obama’s zombies might get him into office this coming November, though (where he would continue to be completely unqualified, but make his peeps feel oh, so warm and fuzzy inside), so this list may become a proper ten-pointer someday soon. One thing’s for sure, though: I might actually consider moving up to Philby’s neighborhood if that ever happens. I’d much rather deal with Canada’s broken healthcare system (which is at least somewhat stable by now) than to go through the birthing pains of the ugly bastard of a social system that would replace our current medical machine.

2. It would be a salary cut for me.
Philbin tells me that a house equivalent to the one I own now would cost more than 3x what mine is valued. the $15k bump I’d get in salary wouldn’t cover that. Plus I’d have to deal with selling this one into a crappy market. Of course, if reason #6 weren’t on the table, I could shoot and prepare my own moose, thus saving big at the grocery store.

1. I would have to go by myself.
Seriously. Lynn just about freaked when I suggested moving to a different part of town once. An out-of-city move would be out of the question for her, not to mention an out-of-country one. And let’s face it: “No” wins every time. 

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All a boy needs

I’ve been neglecting the other blog I set up for my son-to-be. Just absorottenlutely neglecting it. We’ve been given all kinds of incredible things – clothes, goodies from the two baby showers that have been thrown for us so far (including some really big ticket items), furniture, etc. – and I haven’t yet gotten around to posting pictures of all our great booty. For that failure I’ve been harassed by my dad, Lynn’s family, and now the Nicole. No introduction or discussion of the Nicole is necessary… she’s just… well, the Nicole. She’s a wonderful person and all that, but convicted enough about what I should be doing with the babyblawg to make me want to correct my deficiencies to date… and as soon as possible.

Anyway, so yeah, Lynn and I have literally been showered with affection and gifts and whatnot ever since I got her “into trouble” last summer, and from people who mean more to us than I could possibly express, wannabe-writer and all. We’ve gotten tons of really thoughtful and well-selected purchases and handicrafts (some of which look like they came from one of them there Bevery Hills stores), and I’ve just been overwhelmed by all of it.

I think I’ve mentioned before (or maybe I just thought it real loudlike) that the reality of my impending fatherhood has been developing in stages: the ultrasound images; the changes in Lynn’s worklife and in our home; my grandpa Israel speaking the baby’s name for the first time. Tonight, finally, after we had gotten home from the shower Lynn’s office threw for us, the reality became complete for me. It was both wonderful and devastating, and I bawled my eyes out. What happened? Our wonderful friend Addy made Little Carter a teddy bear named Teddy (who is a lot more brown than he looks in my crappy photo):

Teddy in the crib

And before you tell me Teddy’s ugly, have a look at his role model:

Teddy and Mr. Bean in the car

Teddy and Mr. Bean on a mystery holiday

For those of you who don’t know it, that’s Rowan Atkinson (as Mr. Bean) with Bean’s best friend, Teddy. It’s a pretty good likeness, I think, and is the perfect custom-made accessory for the culturally literate child that Little Carter is sure to be. It’s also an item that I will probably be stealing from my young one on a regular basis.

It’s not the sentiment of Addy’s gesture that shook me up, or even the time spent researching and hand-crafting the perfect gift for us, but rather the function Teddy will fulfill: Little Carter’s first, best and probably favorite companion.

I’m a big old manly man, but I’ll admit to a soft spot in my heart for teddy bears. My mom was supposed to be here to celebrate her first grandchild’s birth with us, but God was ready for her before He blessed us with our little fellow. She used to make teddy bears of all varieties and, whenever I think of my childhood, I remember great happiness for both of us as she would unveil a new teddy. Some wore overalls, some wore other kinds of little outfits and some were even colored up in very un-bearlike ways, but every single one of them meant the same thing to me: I was a little boy and I had a happy life in a happy home.

I guess I always figured that when it was time for me to raise my own child, there would be a teddy bear involved. It’s silly, I know, but now that I have Teddy, I know I’m going to be a father. 

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You can ring my bell

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The child-rearing guide the Man doesn't want you to see

As much as I’d like to take even the tiniest amount of credit for this masterful instruction set, I can’t. I’m not clever enough, for one thing.

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Bronner Burgess

For those who don’t know it, Rick Burgess (of Rick and Bubba fame) lost his 2-year-old son, William Bronner, this past Saturday.

His commentary at the memorial service is available on the show’s website (direct link here in case it gets moved from the homepage EDIT: bad link; now available on YouTube [parts 1, 2 and 3]), and is well worth a listen through if your particular world schema doesn’t close your mind to straight-up evangelical preaching. It’s a message of hope and strength and peace in the face of brutal sadness and bitter despair, and one that a whole lot of people heard (and are still hearing). Many of them, like Lynn and me, will be motivated by words born of true faith. Others, including those who don’t believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, will be dumbstruck, consternated and possibly offended. But maybe a few will even come to know Him through this tragedy.

Rick is accepting prayers at

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