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Car News [May. 9th, 2009 @ 10:09 AM]
[Current Mood |okayokay]
[Current Music |None]

I'm at the carwash right now, and I thought I'd take a part of my time here (I have a lot of it) to talk about what's happening with my car situation.

So, on Tuesday evening, my dad let me use his Toyota Camry while he took my Nissan. He wanted to do the oil change on it and have a better look on to as what might be wrong with the car.

He determined that it's got "very high pressure inside the engine" for some reason. He was going into a lot of detail (a lot of which I forgot the gist of) but it sounds like that it's going to continue to get worse, and that it's time for us to get rid of the car somehow.

He was showing me what he was seeing. When he took off the twist cap under the hood for the oil deposit, there was a "breeze" that was reaching several inches higher than where the hole was. That was some kind of massive pressure that he said is very rare for cars. He compared it with his Toyota Camry, which had hardly any pressure under the similar sort of oil deposit.

He was going through a couple of possibilities with me about this. He was saying that if we sold the car to a private party, it would come back to haunt us. They would have the car for a short time, and the engine will blow. They'll be all pissed off at us. We're probably not going to take that route.

He was saying that maybe we should trade that car into a dealership and buy a brand new car. I was more interested in that, but I had a couple of concerns. I put a shit load of miles on cars, so it'll have a shit load of miles on it in only a few years. The other thing is with the payments. I feel that it would be better if I stowed as much money away as I could and just buy the car outright without any payments.

We're not sure on that, but we were going over a couple of those scenarios. We do know this for sure - we're going to prep up the Nissan to get rid of it, whichever way it may be. We just put fancy Nissan wheels on the car, and here it is, about a week or two later, and we have to take them off again. We could just sell those wheels again, if we wanted, but it would've just been a waste of time to have them in the first place. That wasn't really my decision. I would've been happy if I just got better hubcaps for the car, really.

I feel that the only option we have would be just to trade the car in for a new one. What else can we do with it if it's got this big engine problem? If that idea does come true, it'll be the dealer's problem from there on out.

The only other thing to think of would be to fix the car (again), which would probably require a whole motor swap. My dad was saying that and I don't think that's the best choice, as it could blow the transmission. It could be a whole different string of problems now. It doesn't seem to be worth it any longer to keep it.

We'll have to do a lot of research onto a new car, if we do go that route. I'll keep things on here updated when they come my way.

- Mike.
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Nissan Troubles [May. 5th, 2009 @ 11:17 AM]
[Current Mood |okayokay]
[Current Music |None]

Well, despite the fact that we done some more repair work to the Nissan, it might in fact be getting worse. Ever since we've had those two things fixed for the exhaust (the flexible fitting for the engine to the exhaust, and the catalytic converter), it ran okay for a couple of days, but now the car has this really big and loud rattle.

When I brought the car to work today, I had my dad look at it. He says that it's a big engine fault and it does not sound good at all. He says that the engine might have a rod knock in it and it might soon blow out the engine in it. :(

He checked the oil on it today, and it turns out it was very low on oil. About 1 quart under. It's about due for an oil change (300 miles under the recommended 3,000 mark), so instead of adding a quart to just dump it right out again in another 300 miles, he's going to change it today, to see if that might be the problem.

It might be at the very beginning stage of having a rod knock. I was looking up some videos of Rod Knocks on YouTube and found that a lot of the ones on YouTube are far more advanced than mine. If that's what the problem on that car might be.

I don't know what to make of it. My dad's the all-knowing genius when it comes to cars, so I'll let him take the problem over and see where it goes. I don't really know what's going to happen, but it sounds like that he is going to do an oil change on it today to see if that'll clear up the noise the engine is making.

On the opposite side of car news, I went over to the one Pick-A-Part yard over in Gurnee yesterday afternoon, as I was interested in getting a replacement glove box cover for the Cavalier, to change out the one in my car that I fucked up (I scratched it really bad with some DJ equipment I was hauling around).

Out of all of the Cavaliers I seen in there, there were 2 of which were the same colored glove box panel as mine. I took the 1st one I seen off, and it was a bit dirty, but still manageable. I was walking through more cars and seen that there was a 2nd, in much cleaner condition. I took the cleaner looking one. I bought it, and it was around $5.00. It wasn't that hard to take off, either. When I get the chance to, I want to change out mine that I scratched up when moving DJ equipment around.

When I was walking through the rows of cars, I found that there is a Cavalier that's the same color as mine in there, with a spoiler (in my color, no real imperfections in it) that would be great for my car! There is a big dent in the trunk lid (lower left side, where the accident of the car is at), and there is a big white scratch on the trunk lid too, but above the spoiler. From visual inspection, there is nothing wrong with the spoiler that's on the car.

I was going to take it off of that car, but I didn't have the right tools for it. I talked to the guy behind the counter there, and it sounds like you have to take it off yourself, and the spoiler is going to be around $25.00, and the one guy wasn't sure on pricing for the wiring harness for the spoiler either.

I gave my dad a call yesterday afternoon (when I was at the yard) and told him my find. He said that it would be a great accessory for the car, to give more of a cooler appearance.

I even mentioned that the 2 side moldings that are behind the 2 doors are embedded with something like "Z24". My Cavalier is an RS trim model, but it doesn't have any writing like that (even though mine isn't a Z24). That'd be another cool little thing to get, a little factory accessory.

The best thing out of all of this is that it'd be the right color (same color as my car) and is was very cheap. I was pricing spoilers online last night and they're far more expensive than I thought, aftermarkets (not factory, which I believe this one is) not including any mounting hardware or the wiring harness.

I'm at work right now, and my dad just came back from buying the spoiler, the wiring harness, and the couple of moldings. The spoiler with the wiring harness was $25.00, and the moldings were $20.00. Very cheap. I'm happy. And I'd be more happy when I see it on the car, lol.

At the moment, Steph is driving around my Cavalier, until my dad figures out what's wrong with her car. To be honest, I don't know how we've gotten into a spell of having so much car trouble.

Something off of the chart, but this morning, my dad was saying that on his Toyota Camry, the factory alarm was freaking out and now the remote no longer works. Could be the battery in the remote, the remote itself, or the whole factory alarm. Hmm. More car trouble.

My dad was saying that he might be switching cars with me, for me to drive his Toyota Camry around while he looks after my Nissan. To look further into the problem it has, and if it blows the engine, it won't be on me. Fine with me, but it'd be a shame to see that car go. If it does, it does.

Now onto other things (than just cars) -

I was in my basement for the last couple of nights trying to sort things out down there (for once). I cleared space for those stackable slide-out trays and actually filled one of them up already (out of the 6 I bought). I put a bunch of case fans in it. A bunch of PC case ones, and a bunch of TiVo DVR Recorder fans I pulled out when I was ransacking TiVo DVR's for the hard drives.

I'm undecided on what I want to put in the remaining 5 storage bins, but I'm sure I'll find something.

I managed to throw all of those loose boxes / bins of decorations (Halloween & Christmas) up into the crawlspace of the basement, and it freed up SO much room - more than I thought! I have a lot more room to do as I please now. It was kinda crammed before.

I did work on some parts that I bought and haven't really tested. I was happy to get that done (which I was mainly working on backup speakers I have). They all worked and I put them with the rest of my stockpile, as an emergency backup.

I'm starting to feel like that I've missed the boat on web design, ever since I've really done the big thing of putting up my "Superman" cape when I sold GiroPets. Things have really slowed down for me, and I'm starting to feel like that I need to get my presence back online again. I've had a website ever since before I started GiroPets. I don't have a website of my own right now, but I guess I can consider my LJ to be my "website", which dates all the way back to 2004, like constantly. Even though there's date gaps between entries, but it was still an active thing.

What I feel that I should do is I should get my personal website back up again, and work on that. I feel that I should get my website designing skills warmed up again with that, taking it slowly, and when I'm ready for the fast times, I think I should start VirtuBots (or some other site) back up again (as a web game).

I've also kinda slowed down a lot on my computer repair skills. I remembered a day when I knew each and every machine I owned, and all the specs for each machine. I hardly ever work on my machines now, and maybe I should get that done first, before doing my web design work again. Maybe I can do both at the same time? Don't really know.

That's my personal ambition for right now.

- Mike.
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LCD TV [Apr. 24th, 2009 @ 11:15 PM]
[Current Mood |tiredtired]
[Current Music |None]

I'm a bit tired right now, so probably after I make this entry I'll head off to bed. I've had a long day.

I worked today at Acme. The weather was much warmer than I had expected (especially for "Spring"), and I was sweating balls in the factory today. Dave told me that they might relocate my station to be on the other side of the plant. Where I am right now, I'm right next to the "ovens" for where Line 6 is. It's really hot over there, especially with today.

After getting out of there, I was price shopping again for an LCD TV comperable to the one I had my eye on at MicroCenter. I found out that MicroCenter's one was the best deal, I had assumed. So I went out and bought it today.

It's a Sceptre X23BV-Naga 23" LCD HDTV, it cost me just a hair under $290.00 including sales tax. When I brought it back to my dad's house, I had very high expectations on how it would turn out. I was kinda disappointed - there was a white stuck pixel on the top of the screen, towards the center, and there was a big scratch on the stand, towards the rear of it. I was okay with the scratch, but the stuck pixel really had me.

I brought it back to MicroCenter and exchanged it for another of the same thing. When I brought it back to my dad's house, I realized that it was wrapped a little bit differently, and I got more cords in this one than I did with the other one. This one had the same problem, it has a stuck pixel on it. It's less obtrusive, it's around the area of where the Windows XP Start button would be, to the right of it a little. It shows up a very bright green.

I was disappointed, again, but after reading online for awhile, it seems to be a VERY common problem with brand new LCD TV's. It seems like that if there's more then 5 dead pixels on a LCD TV, the manufacturer will call it a "defect". If it has less than 5 dead pixels on the screen, they'll say it's operating fine. Which I think is bullshit.

Perhaps even the floor model ones have stuck pixels too? They're a little hard to notice when watching actual live TV, because the picture is changing so much. But when using it as a PC monitor, it's very noticible. I'm not going to bother exchanging this one, as the stuck pixel is out of the way, right around where the Start button is, and it's not in the main part of the view, more-like. Where web pages and such would be.

That's the one thing I never would've thought to have happen with LCD TV's. Dead pixels. It seems to be a VERY common problem but not many realize it until after they buy their TV and realize that it has dead pixels. At least I didn't pay like $2,000.00 for a TV and have that problem. If I did, I'd be more pissed off than just spending $300.00 for a TV.

I'd say that having an LCD TV that has no dead pixels would be very rare. It seems to be that way with me. Out of the 2 LCD TV's I had today, both of them had dead pixels. They had a bunch more TV's, maybe they all are bad? I'm not going to go through the effort of jockeying these things around, I'll just live with it. People online said that these aren't supposed to last that long, and they'll develop more dead pixels over time.

Hopefully mine will last quite awhile and won't develop any more dead pixels. Other than just that one little thing, it seems to be a very good TV, based on what I've seen from it. It's the right size, it shows an amazing picture for free-over-the-air digital broadcasting, and it's how I want it to operate. It's got a real nice Guide feature to surf channels really quickly. I packed it back up in the box to take home. It'll be a challenge to wire it into my desk, though. I think I may have my Cable line (for the Dish Network) run to my VCR, which it is right now, and have a Y-splitter going to this TV and into the computer, for recording TV things on the computer, if I wanted. So I'd have the capability of watching tapes on either the computer or on the TV.

This probably won't be my last new TV to buy. When I get my own place (I really aspire for it), I might get something bigger, and just use this at my computer desk or something. Have a bigger TV for the living room or something. I think this will do for now, and after all, it's a new toy.

Maybe I had my expectations too high on something like this? I don't know.

After coming home from MicroCenter for the 2nd time this evening, I overheard a helicopter flying above me. I heard sirens all over the place, and I seen the blue flashing lights coming from down the street. So I walked over there to check it out, and it turns out there were a bunch of Chicago cops over there, for some reason, and a bunch of people like me (who lived on that street) came out to see what was going on. From what I gathered, there was a "Hostage situation", but to what extent - I don't know. And what happened in the end (I'm assuming it's over by now), I don't know either. Maybe I'll read about it in the news tomorrow. The Chicago Police, the Paramedics, the Firefighters, the Chicago Police "party van", the Chicago Police "Command Center" van, the Chicago Police canine unit, and a helicopter were all there. It was the last thing I would've ever expected to see.

- Mike.
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April Fool's Day [Apr. 1st, 2009 @ 10:05 PM]
[Current Mood |okayokay]
[Current Music |None]

So, today's April Fool's Day, but I didn't pull any pranks on anyone, unfortunately. I remember the days of pulling pranks on people on GiroPets, but I guess those days have been over for awhile now. It could be again, you never know.

Anyway, since my last update on here, a few things have come up. I did have that talk with DJ that I wanted to have. I don't really want to talk about it on here because it's private business matters and personal things as well. But I did get to talk to him about what I had on my mind.

I did make it to the junk yard, and I did find that Nissan that was in there that was like mine. I indeed did rip apart the dashboard on that car to figure out how the heater controls are linked in there and how to change the lightbulbs in it. It was a fuck of a time trying to do it, but I did learn a few things about it in the process. I bought the one that was out of that car (ripped in half, as it was much bigger, to get access to the lights in it, you need to crack open the center of it).

When I got back home, I ripped apart my dashboard in my Nissan to try to fix my heater lights, but I found that it was far too difficult (much more than I thought) and I didn't want to fuck it up, so all I did was I hooked it all back up and put it all back together. It's not worth the risk of breaking it over something like that. Perhaps I can try again someday, if I plan on keeping the car (and have the desire to fixing the lights in it again). What I'd need to do is to practice once more on another Nissan like mine, without breaking it all apart, to "test" with that junk car (whichever it may be, in the future perhaps), before I fuck with mine. I did indeed benefit a little out of it, I got a few more extra lightbulbs (hard to come by that actually still work) and I did keep the one half of the heater control I ripped out of that one car, for reference. I now know that there are like 3 screws holding the center part of it together, and that has to be taken apart (I believe) to get access to the lightbulbs. I'm one step closer to getting it fixed, I'm learning as to how it's gotta get done, but I'm being very cautious with it as I don't want to break mine, and have no control over my heater/air conditioning. I actually haven't driven the car since before I fucked with my heater controls (low on funds, the car needs gas, and it's buried in the driveway), so I'm really concerned right now as to if it works properly. I believe it does, but I'm gonna test everything that I can on it the next time I drive the car. Just to be on the safe side. I don't think I fucked anything up with it, though.

As for Tuesday at the carwash, it rained for the better part of the day, but I did work most of the day doing other things (running errands and such, I was probably driving around in the Cavalier for about half of the day), and I did do other work as well. I was helping my dad outside for awhile with his one project and I did do some office work, like doing the daily sheets. I stocked the store with what I could, etc. I got off at 5:00PM, so I only lost one hour for that day. Not too bad for a rain-day.

At Acme today, I'm back to my oil tank work. I'm actually starting to think about it a little bit different, as I'm starting to think that it's actually one big procedure that has to be done many many times. With the things I was doing on the other side of the plant for about a week and a half, it was essentially the same thing, but with other parts. I think I'm going to be doing this oil tank stuff for the rest of the week, not really sure.

I pulled up my bank account balance the other day. I do have close to $1,000.00 saved up, but not at that mark yet. It's $953.50, which is still quite a chunk of change. I want to stay away from it and try to not spend it. Lately, since I've had two jobs, my dad's been putting the carwash check in the bank for saving, and I've been cashing my Acme check for pocket money from week to week.

Tomorrow I get my paycheck from Acme (the carwash too actually, Thursday's pay day for both places) but my dad usually takes care of the carwash one (deposits it in the bank) and, again, I cash the Acme one on my own. I'm low on funds this week, so hopefully this will put me back up there to where I was before. I go into this panic attack mode when I have less than $100.00 in my pocket, as it goes so quick. $20.00 for gas, every few days or so, food, unexpected things, etc. It goes quick. And it goes even quicker having less than $100.00. And when I do run really low, I have nothing to really back me up with, as I no longer have a credit card to use in an emergency.

My dad cancelled his joint credit card between me and him, as the interest rate was something like 30%. That's nuts. I never charged anything on the credit card, I only kept it just in case something expensive comes up, like a car repair bill or something when I'm not within reach of my dad, or to the other car. A tow, whatever. He cancelled it because of the high interest rate (plus he paid it off, god bless him, he's liquidating his credit card debt slowly but surely paying it all off), but he does want to get me another one sometime. I just don't know when.

Once I do get a new one, it'll be the same as it was before with the old credit card. I'll just have it, in case, but I won't really use it to charge anything on it. My motto is that if I don't have the cash in my pocket for it, I won't buy it. Unless it's an emergency and I don't have the cash to pay for something.

That's about all for now.

- Mike.
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Spring Cleaning [Mar. 30th, 2009 @ 01:12 AM]
[Current Mood |okayokay]
[Current Music |None]

It may not seem like it to me that much, but after thinking about it, I've realized I've been doing a bit of spring cleaning. I'm just in that kind of mood right now, to be honest.

I just got up from the basement, where I've started to clean up a little bit down there. I found that someone (mom or Dave) stuffed more shit in my part of the basement, so I moved those boxes up into the crawlspace for now to get that shit out of my way. It was blocking my access to it. Ugh.

I'm nowhere near done with what I need to do down there. I was doing a variety of things - where I put 1 power supply I had into an empty case that doesn't have a power supply (to make the empty case more finished in building and to free up space), putting the inkers I bought as of lately for my Epson Stylus CX6400 into where I had the others (in the printer box along with the others I have for it), brought more stuff down there from what I had in my room, put some CPU heatsinks in the box where I have all the other ones (as spare parts), that kind of thing. I organized a mountain of things too, just as a start. That was probably only over an hour's worth of effort. I know for a fact that I can put a couple of other power supplies into other cases that I have that don't have power supplies, to free up even more space, and to make those cases more complete.

Even in my room here. On Thursday evening, I was starting to get sick and tired of how cluttered it is here in my room, so I finally decided I would do something about it. I got a pretty good start on here up in my room on Thursday evening, but there's still more to do.

Earlier this afternoon, I finally managed to look at what was wrong with the one Seti@Home machine I had running for about a month without it getting any new work or figuring out what to do to fix it. Before the weekend, I keyboarded the commands in to shut the machine down without the use of a monitor or any VNC utility (which wasn't working either), and I did manage to get it shut down without pulling the plug on it. I looked at it today, and I found that the switch that I have running over there (under my bed) must've errored out, as it was having no network access going to it. It must've been like that for about a month. I was monitoring the Seti@Home site and realized that it wasn't turning out any new work. I figured it must've been working on this massive work unit (as I know they seem to do that now, where some work takes several days now to complete), or there was something wrong with the network going to it. I was trying to VNC into it and nothing. It turns out that was the problem, the switch I had going to it, so I changed it for the spare Zonet switch I had in the basement. The old one I had going over there originally was kinda crap, I bought it at the thrift store a long time ago for like $3.00 or so. I don't think it had the power adapter for it so I found one of my own that seemed to power it on. When I looked at it, the light for the 3rd connection was staying on, even though nothing was plugged into it. I reset it and that went away. It might've been okay after that, but I just changed it for another one, just in case.

There's something wrong with the other Seti@Home machine I have. I think it's completely fucked. The machine's been finicky ever since I got it, where it's had problems starting up ever since I got it. It's that Gateway 510XL I got awhile ago. It already did benefit me, as I switched the CPU out of it (it had a P4 HT 2.8GHz CPU, where I changed the one in this machine, which was a P4 HT 2.4GHz CPU), I got the better video card out of it, and it did do some Seti@Home work. Got me some credit. I might pull it out and look into it deeper, but I think it's fucked. If it's fucked, I'll rip the motherboard out of it or something. I don't know, lol. What else good is it if it doesn't even boot to show anything on the screen? Like I said, I already knew it had a problem booting ever since I got it, maybe that's why it was donated to the thrift store in the first place.

This afternoon, after I came back up from the city, I bought the DVD "Bolt" at Walmart, as well as "Pirates Of The Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest", to go with my collection of movies. I watched Bolt this afternoon and I really enjoyed it, just as I did when I seen it in the theatres. I leant it to Mom and Dave and they watched it downstairs today, too. I'll watch the 2nd Pirates movie tomorrow. I already have the 3rd one but I didn't want to see that until after I watched the 2nd again (I seen the 2nd before but didn't see the 3rd yet, I already own the 1st one and seen it just recently, I kinda wanted to go in order of the storyline and not mix them around).

On Friday morning, my dad called me at Acme and told me that he went to the one Pick-A-Part yard in Gurnee and said that there was this fresh Nissan Stanza in there (like mine) that just got in there when he was there. He was the first one to pick through it. He took the cigaratte lighter (which hasn't been used at all since the car was new, kinda hard to find), and the master door switch for the power locks and the power windows.

I intend on going there tomorrow to rip apart the dash to figure out how the heater control works for taking apart. The last time I was there, as well as the other yard, they didn't have any of those cars there. I really want to get my heater control lights working, but I don't want to break mine, as it's really complicated. I think it requires me to use a lot of flat-head screwdrivers, but I want to practice on their's first, to see how to do it. (Plus I want to get the lightbulbs out of it). I might just end up ripping the whole thing out, which is hard to do (as there's wires and shit for all of it, I ripped one out before last year, but I didn't take it home with me). That's my intention for tomorrow. Plus, I might try to see about getting the sunvisors out of it, as mine are okay, but they're kinda crap. My dad told me the interior on the car is the same color as mine, and is really clean. He says there's rust on most of the outside of the car (same color as mine oddly lol), but yeah. That's my ambition for tomorrow.

Around here in Chicago, we've been surprised with snow. I thought snow was over for now, but it turns out we got hit with quite a bit of it. I noticed a lot of it was melting this afternoon. I don't think it'll last that long, though. It did get kinda cold lately, and it was probably supposed to rain, but since it was so cold, it turned out to be snow. Aggrivating.

Because of the snow we had over the weekend, the carwash was closed all day today, and it was raining yesterday evening, so I got off there at 4:30PM. I did need the time off. Last week, at both jobs, I worked somewhere around 59.5 hours. I cashed the one check and let the other check deposit into the bank. It's odd as I'm saving money now, and it was so hard for me to do that before. I think I have almost around $1,000.00 in my savings account. Which I've never hit that level before.

Now as for what's really on my list of things that I want to buy, I'm kinda running slim. I want to buy a few DVD titles, and I was thinking about some kind of a bigger flat-screen LCD TV, but beyond that, I don't really know.

I kinda have in mind as for what I want to do for tomorrow. I definately know the Pick-A-Part yard, and G-Town DJ's work over at the office. We're not going to CLC as CLC's on Spring Break right now. I did have a few things on my mind that I wanted to talk to DJ about in person, but I don't know if I should. I'll see.

That's around all for now.

Forgot to mention, but I when I was out over the weekend, I picked up an internal "hot swappable" removable hard drive thing for IDE hard drives. It was at the thrift store for like $10.00 new in the box. So I thought, what the hell, I bought it. I dunno how I managed it, but I put it in this machine, my main machine, this afternoon. It's such a hassle to unplug my machine and work on it, then hook it back up again, as I have so many things going into this. I ended up putting a 320GB hard drive I had into it. Not like that I need 720GB of hard drive space (400GB + 320GB), but I put it in. It has 2 locking keys with it (to lock the removable hard drive thing into it, and for it to turn on). I ended up keeping the thing locked all the time, and put the two keys for it inside of the case with the keyring that it came with. The keys look pretty shitty, so it would be a cold day in hell that I would ever want to break one of them. The lock, on the other hand, looks pretty impressive. The keys look shitty though. Instead of losing them or breaking them, I'm keeping them inside of the case, attached to the case. It's just a cool little "gadget" I threw into this machine, to fill a drive blank, and I haven't really had anything like that before, especially for IDE hard drives. Perhaps sometime I'll post a picture.

- Mike.
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Interesting Week [Mar. 21st, 2009 @ 10:07 AM]
[Current Mood |tiredtired]
[Current Music |None]

I've had an interesting week, I must say. Especially with what's been going on at Acme.

As it turns out, I was doing a little bit of my normal work on Wednesday, but as for Thursday and Friday, they had me do a lot of other things on the other side of the facility (on Line 3, where my usual work on the oil tanks is by Line 6). On Thursday morning, I did a few oil tanks, but those were simple. After that, Marcella and I had to make a really good effort into cleaning up our work area, as a couple of people from Harley Davidson were coming in to take a tour of Acme. We spent probably the better half of the morning doing that. A lot of the people around the facility were doing similar things like Marcella and I were, to try to set a good impression. I think that Harley wanted us to work on some other project they have, and they wanted to meet the key people at Acme at that building. Usually how it's been is people from Acme go up to Wisconsin to meet with them there at their own building. As far as I know, Harley was very impressed.

After Marcella and I finished up working on our workstation, cleaning it up and all, they sent us over by Line 3 to try to help them catch up on their work, as they were falling behind with some things. I was given the duty to work on small mounting brackets that are for aftermarket custom gauges for cars. I had to check them visually for any imperfections (and if there were any imprefections, I had to set them aside in a "Reject" box). If they were fine, I had to proceed and slip them into individual packaging bags (very small ones, a little bigger than the part itself), and then pack them into a box. It was time consuming but I did get a bit of it done for them.

I started out on Friday doing the same thing as I was doing on Thursday with those small mounting brackets. I only did that for a couple of hours, before I got pulled off of that to work on something else. They were going to run a batch of parts on Line 3, and they wanted me to operate the compressed air hose for that. Basically all I did was I stood in one place and air dryed a bit of the water off of the parts after they went through the wash cycle. It was interesting, but it wasn't exactly my favorite thing to do. After that, I was assigned to help prep up some other parts (don't even know what they were) with paint plugs for the mounting holes in it.

This one guy who works on Line 3 (as like a floor manager or something) is named Victor. He taught me how to operate their floor cleaning machine (it's a Tennant 6100, my best description is that it's a glorified broom, dustpan, and vacuum). It's good for doing a large area very quickly, but it does miss some things. It doesn't pick up gloves, it doesn't pick up some wood, and a few other things. But I've gotta say, it is pretty cool. It drives a lot like a car, but it has it's differences. It's electric instead of being gas (it has like 6 car batteries under the seat), and there's no gear shifter on it (or any kind of a clutch, like a forklift would have). You have your gas and brake pedals, but you don't really need to use the brake pedal. You can let your foot off of the gas and the thing will stop on its' own. To go forward, you thrust your toes down on the gas pedal. To go in reverse, you thrust your heel down on the gas pedal. There's also controls for turning the vacuum on and off, and levers to raise or lower the brushes on the front and underneath it. I don't exactly know how to plug it on to charge the batteries, but I'll leave that up to someone else to do. Victor says it's a great way to kill about a half-hour to an hour, as sometimes I finish far before Dave finishes his work for the day. Like this week, for example, I didn't leave there one day until like 7:00PM, and another day not until like 6:30PM.

Usually, almost everybody leaves there at around 2:30PM. I left there yesterday at 3:00PM, as I was running around the facility with that floor sweeper for an extra half-hour after most everyone left (it's so cool to drive that around lol).

I think I'm starting to become the jack of all trades around there, as I'm learning so much. I'm just thankful that it seems to be changing a lot. I would have no idea what's in store for next week. I made it through this week, though.

From what it sounds like, Dave is acquiring the position to restructure Acme around. Right now, it sounds like they're barely scraping by for business. Dave is in the process of trying to restructure the company into being profitable. That's somewhat like I was describing before, about how they want to figure out the production lines and their work effort. It sounds like that my job won't be really affected any, but it sounds like it might help it. It might help it in the sense that I could be a Tech person there, and maintaining all of their computer equipment. That's what I aspire.

Dave was even saying that things might end up this way, we never may know. He's so high up on the chain of command around there, that he could in fact own the place one day. I don't think the 2 owners have any kids or any other descendants, so it could end up to Dave one day. It may happen or never happen. Who knows?

Now as with the carwash, there's hardly anything to report. I was on their computer a little while ago trying to print out more drop envelopes, and their laser printer crapped out on me. No matter what I do with it, it doesn't want to reset from the error. Nothing seems to be jammed in it, but I'll dissect the back cover of it to see if there's anything wrong. It doesn't seem anywhere else that there's a jam. If I don't see anything else, I may have bricked it.

I haven't really been mentioning much about the thrift stores lately, but I do frequent at them a lot. The other week I picked up a really nice cloth Targus bag thing, but it fits my Acer netbook very good. I wouldn't even know what the bag's original use was, but it fits the netbook just fine. And I do know that Targus makes a lot of notebook computer bags. It was really cheap too, only like $3.00. I no longer use the original box as it's carrying case lol.

Yesterday I went to a couple that were on the other side of town, where I don't go to that much. I picked up another bar light for the basement (it's a menu board that lights up, it glows the message written on it), and 2 more Black Lights for G-Town DJ's. I couldn't pass any of that up, mainly for the price, and because of other things, too. Dave is really into all of the bar kind of setting for the basement, and we do use Black Lights when going on Gigs for G-Town DJ's. It is nice to get more equipment, and also maybe to use some of this as backup for if something ever does go wrong. I do know for a fact that one of our Black Lights is a little finicky, where the one socket is a bitch to try to slide the light bulb into. It does work, but it'd be nice to get better equipment in use in place of that. We already have a similar light-up bar sign for the basement (I bought it at another thrift store awhile ago), but who could pass up another? They're both very similar, but are different. The one is for Smirnoff and the new one I picked up is for Old Style. I need to clean up the new sign board and the Black Lights, but I plan on working with them next week. As soon as I get home on Sunday, I'll figure out a way to mount it on the wall on the stairwell going down to my basement. I haven't told Dave about that I got this yet, but I think he'd be happy. After all, it was only like $10.00, and the 2 Black Lights I bought were only like $5.00 apiece. Really, for G-Town DJ's, we were thinking about buying some sort of a disco ball that lights itself, and we have to get a bigger strobe. The one strobe we had crapped out on us, and is no longer working. I did pick up a smaller strobe some time before the big one crapped out on us. Now that's our only strobe.

I know that they do sell strobes similar like the one I bought, but they're cheaper, and I honestly am unimpressed with them. My mom bought one around Halloween, and I know that the one I have is far better than her one. We need another one, but it would have to be of the better quality.

The other thing I bought at the thrift store yesterday was a CD for RollerCoaster Tycoon Deluxe. I never had that one before, but it includes the original RollerCoater Tycoon, and the two expansion packs for it, Loopy Landscapes and Corkscrew Follies. I have all three of them separate (all separate CD's, the two add onto the original), but the 2 expansion packs for that keeps crashing Windows XP. This Deluxe edition works fine with Windows XP, and will probably be the only disc I'll use for when I want to play that game. I was just using the original game, as the expansion packs were incompatible with Windows XP. I do have RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 and the 2 expansion packs for it, but I like the original much better than the 2nd. I wouldn't even want to try the 3rd (we do have a copy of it at my dad's house) but I don't want to spoil the nostalgia with the more "3D" graphics on it. I really like the 1st and the 2nd games, the 1st more than the 2nd.

I'm not the kind of person who's really much into gaming. I'm very mild, and there's only so many games that I really have a passion for. That's kind-of like my friend Brian. He's got a lot of computer games, but most all of them are really old. Like Quake and stuff, but I'm not even as much of a gamer as he was. I was even surprised that my friend DJ was telling me that he used to be into Half Life and other first-person shooter games. That really surprised me as he's not that kind of person I imagined him as. He no longer does that. It was just surprising to hear him say that.

- Mike.
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At Home [Mar. 15th, 2009 @ 10:42 PM]
[Current Mood |goodgood]
[Current Music |Taylor Swift - Love Story]

It isn't very common for me to make two entries in one day lately. I was looking through my history on this journal a little while ago, and I found that there's only a couple of times of in which I updated every day for the month. I found that very surprising. And there's been times where I would make only a couple of entries per month.

Well, as you can see from the title, I'm home now. Have been for many hours. Right now I'm using my Acer Aspire One laptop. I was using my desktop ever since I got home, and now I'm sitting on my bed making this entry, as I don't feel like making it on the desktop.

There's nothing that's ever going to replace my desktop, but this tiny little computer is good for occasions like now, where I don't feel like using the desktop, or for on the road where I don't want to lug my big laptop around.

I feel that I'm going to be doing this more often, where I'm going to be using it more when I'm sitting on my bed. It's quite relaxing, really.

I've done a little research on this and this is what came up. I installed my Lavalys Everest Ultimate Edition on here, and it told me the model number of the hard drive that's in this laptop. When I Googled that model number, the results were saying that it was a 160GB hard drive - indeed - as what I thought. I found that interesting as the box is labeled wrong (a sticker printed by Acer), and the two cards (one on their shelf and one on the box itself) from Walmart also was labeled wrong. Better for me I guess. :) But still, it's nothing I ever would've thought of. Maybe I was given the wrong hard drive or something? Or they put this laptop in the wrong box, and I got a better model? I'm going to do a bit more research on this. However, the sticker on the bottom of this laptop says the same model number as the one on the box says, from Acer. I Googled that and on Walmart's website it says that it's a 120GB hard drive - not a 160GB hard drive. Odd.

My one thing came in the mail over the weekend that I had bought on eBay. I bought a sales brochure for a 1992 Nissan Stanza (must be harder than hell to find one of those) for around $10.00, just to read up on what they're talking about. It's a well written sales brochure, and I enjoyed it a lot. Especially for that car. By the way that it was written, if I were buying a new car in 1991, I probably would've bought that based on how well the details of that car were explained, and how cool it looked in that sales brochure. The car actually looks pretty cool, especially the front end, for the date. A lot of cars of that age seem pretty ugly, tbh.

Tomorrow is my only day off for the week, and I hope to make the most out of it, and actually get some things done. I hope to get up at 8:00AM tomorrow, but I don't know if that will really happen. I intend on getting my haircut tomorrow, going to BigLots! in Zion, IL to find similar plastic storage bins to what's in the basement now (as the one in Round Lake, IL no longer sell the ones I got from there a long time ago), to try to help de-clutter a lot of things in my basement and get things more organized. If not, I'll have to figure out something else, or just resort down to buying different storage bins than to try to match the ones I bought from them a long time ago.

I also want to try to go to the Pick-A-Part yards tomorrow (the two by my house) to try to possibly screw around with the heater controls in my Nissan Stanza. In that sales brochure I have, they show the inside of the car, all dark, with the dash lights on, and the heater controls look really, really cool. Especially the circled knob for the fan speed. I've been wanting to do that for awhile now, but it's been too cold out lately. I hope the weather is favorable tomorrow. It'd be a bit of a task of trying to get a spoiler or some ground effects for the car too, as they did offer that in that sales brochure. I've seen a Nissan Stanza before with a spoiler and another one with ground effects. It pimps the car out more. And, if by any chance I find the same hub caps that the car has now, I'd love to get what I can to try to replace a couple of the ones that are peeling paint. I've looked before, but no luck, but things might be different tomorrow. You never know.

Tonight, I've been doing a little bit of cleaning here in my room. I was able to consolidate some things to make some room, but I think I need to walk a lot of things down to the basement that shouldn't be in here. If I get that chance tomorrow, I'd like to do that. I think a lot of things should be put in some of the boxes I've saved from the carwash, instead of letting them sit around loose.

Oh, I've gotta say, the current song I'm listening to, Taylor Swift's "Love Story" actually puts my faith back into humanity. It's such a beautiful song, as well as the music video. The old-time clothing, the ball dance, the Romeo and Juliet "star-crossed" love that won't work out, and so on. I don't think I've really talked about this on here before, but I'm the kind of person whom you'd call a "hopeless romantic", because I believe in true love. I'm also in love of the thought of romance. I think about that all the time. What is my true love doing right now, like at this very second? Is she thinking the same thing I am? When will I meet her?

Oh, I was thinking about the date again, for today. March 15th. I remembered that yesterday was "Pi Day", for 3.14. March 14th. Happy Belated "Pi Day" then, lol. As I was mentioning the "Beware of the Ides of March" thing in my last entry.

I guess that's all I wanted to address for now.

- Mike.
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5 Days Of News [Mar. 15th, 2009 @ 10:19 AM]
[Current Mood |peacefulpeaceful]
[Current Music |None]

I think it's been around 5 days since my last LJ entry on here. A lot has happened since then.

The first big thing to mention is I actually did go out and buy myself one of those netbooks, or "sub laptops". I bought an Acer Aspire One AOA150 from Walmart in Antioch. For awhile, I was eyeballing these netbooks or "sub laptops" to see what the best deal was, and where. I was price shopping at Walmart up towards my house and at MicroCenter here in the city. They were very competitively priced to each other, but I feel that MicroCenter's was more expensive only because the sales tax is higher here in the city compared up towards my house. I found out that the sales tax here in the city is around 10.25% versus around 7% towards my house. I believe I saved quite a bit just from that.

I really like this laptop as the big thing for me is portability. I don't have to lug around this huge laptop bag for this thing, I just mainly have to bring the laptop itself, the power charger, and maybe a mouse, if I wanted. I was thinking about putting together some small bag of accessories for this, like a small carrying bag. All that I have right now is the original box that it came in with the pleather-ish slip cover it comes with.

I also feel that this laptop is quite powerful, too. It packs so much in so little. It packs the (essential) full functionality of a regular Windows computer into such a small little physical package. Most of the programs I've put on here thus far have worked just fine, and operated much like they would on a regular computer.

To be honest, I was a little let down the 1st day that I got this thing. It was running god awful slow like you couldn't believe, and I was very unimpressed. However, the 2nd and the 3rd day I've had this thing, it's been running fine. When I first powered this thing on, it had me complete the Windows installation and it took forever for the Acer custom program stuff to go. I don't know exactly what it was doing, but whatever it was doing, it was taking forever.

I'm just happy that it's running a lot better now. I really thought I was let down after seeing how it was acting on the 1st day.

As with price, it turned out to be a tad less than $320.00, including tax. I was seeing a lot of other models, by other vendors, that were much higher priced for around the same system specifications.

From what I gather, this unit is an Acer Aspire One AOA150 and features the following -

Intel Atom Processor @ 1.6GHz (N271)
8.9" WSVGA CrystalBrite Screen
1.0GB of RAM
2 Card Readers? (One of which I think is for extra storage on the computer, like on a SDHC card or something? The other for other use, like for grabbing things off of digital cameras)
Less than 3 pounds for weight
Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 3
1 Year International Traveller's Warranty

What I find interesting is that the card displaying this item at Walmart says that it features a 120GB hard drive. Even the one that Walmart taped to the box says that it's a 120GB hard drive. I believe the similar one at MicroCenter was a 120GB hard drive, if I remember right.

However, when I view the System Properties, it turns out that it's a 144GB hard drive, making me believe that it's actually a 160GB hard drive, but due to the rounding factor, I lost around 16GB in the process. Not bad though, as I think almost all hard drives are like that. I just find it amusing that I got more bang for my buck than originally anticipated. Not like that I'm going to really use the 40GB (or less) extra space, but just having it is nice.

I also stopped into the thrift store near the carwash here (I'm working today, blogging on this when I can) and found that they had the same external optical disc drive I seen the last time I was there. Electronics were 50% off, so it turned out to be $10.00 instead of $20.00. It's only a CD-RW, good enough, but it does work with this laptop (I tried it already). If I ever wanted to, I could change the drive in the external shell, but it does okay for now.

Speaking of hard drives, I recently got ahold of an old TiVo DVR recorder a few weeks ago. Not sure if I mentioned it on here. I haven't had much luck with some sort of a DVR recorder before, it might've been the Dish Network or DirecTV, not sure, but the actual hard drive was formatted in such a way that it couldn't be used for a computer. However, I was surprised that the TiVo hard drive out of the TiVo recorder formatted just fine. It wasn't that big, 40GB, but it's still good for a computer that doesn't have a hard drive. And I'm pretty strapped for hard drives sometimes, as that's one thing I don't have an overabundance of in my spare parts.

Moving on, last night was the DJ gig. It went far better than the last gig did. Especially with how well the equipment performed. It turns out that DJ and Brian did get the new speakers on time, however, they had a problem with the cables that they needed for it. They apparently bought the wrong kind on eBay for it, and it was working very crappy. They needed the right cables, and fast. So, they went to the closest Guitar Center store and spent a bit of cash to get the right cables for it. It turns out that fixed the problem and it was all working perfectly. The new speakers are JBL's, and from what DJ says, those are the best you can get. I've noticed that they're far better than our old speakers that we blew out. The new ones go much louder, sound a lot crisper, and are quite a bit bigger. I somewhat felt that we've missed out on quite a bit with the old speakers, lol. Like I said, the gig went very good, and I'm happy for that.

This is the last gig we have I believe until the middle of April. It was such a rush doing so much all at once, especially with how my schedule is like now with work. It feels like I have 3 jobs sometimes doing the carwash job, the Acme job, and with G-Town DJ's.

Now, as with Acme, here's what went on. It sounds like that they're really hurting for business too, but they're making it by with what they're doing right now. To me, it seems a bit busy, because where I work all the time for the Harley Davidson oil tanks, Line 6 is the busiest line they have there in terms of production. It's going all day long. The other side of the facility, I don't really go over there for much of anything, but it sounds like that's not doing too good. It sounds like that they run things on a couple of lines for a short period of time, and then shut it off. I was in Dave's office one evening (when we were about ready to leave) and they were having this big discussion about how to cut costs, and cutting down on everything to make it more efficient. It sounds like they want to let some of the lines be completely shut down, until the economy rebounds, and just push everything else onto other production lines instead. Having a couple of lines in the facility (like 3 or 4 is my guess) running instead of all 6 of them, where some of them are turning on and shutting off for periods of time. I can understand that.

They were also discussing about cutting down on production line help. That I'm not too sure about, but it was mentioned that they need to find the most talented people and oust the people that don't do a good job. That I can understand.

Friday over there was a pretty interesting day for me. I was running short on work for the Oil Tanks (I was catching up on where they stopped powdercoating the tanks), so Dave pulled me off of that task and teamed me up with this one guy and this one lady (both Mexican, but very nice people) to help them with work that they were over-run on and needed a bit of help with. I did, and it was rather interesting.

They were mainly working on the other side of the facility, where I haven't really worked much before. Over there, on that side of the building, is where Al's office is at, and it's also where I cleaned out a few of their Line computers using compressed air. I did that the Friday before that I think. Can't really remember.

The first thing I was doing was cleaning up some metal boxes that made me think that they were electrical conduit boxes. Similar procedure like what I would do for the Harley Davidson oil tanks, but with more leniency. It's not like those parts are for some $20,000 product, so some of the flaws in them could have been easily fixed. For instance, with a chip missing out of the paint on it, it could be touched up with a little bit of spray paint and a paint brush. (Spraying the paint in the cap of the can and using the paintbrush to dot in where paint was needed). With the oil tanks, they need to be redone again, and sanded down. To me, that part was interesting. We only did that for a little while until we ran out of conduit boxes to complete.

We moved over to doing some of the recessed lighting trim plates ("circles"). They had to be washed first, so what we did was we unpacked them from their boxes, and put them on this machine with a conveyor line and had it wash all those parts. After they were done being washed, we had to put them on a bunch of hooks for them to be powdercoated. (They have to be on hooks in order to paint them). After we did that, they were sent in to be painted. We were done with that then.

Then, we moved onto some of the Harley Davidson oil tanks. Instead, we were working on them before they were going to be painted. I never really seen them without the paint, and it turns out my hands were almost turning black from the dirtyness of the raw material. They needed to be sanded down before being sent in for washing and then painting. We didn't do that for long, but it was interesting to see another thing that had to be done to them.

We then moved onto the last thing of the day, before it was time to leave. On the farthest opposite side of the building, there's this one line over there that also does a lot of work, besides Line 6. All the people that work on that line went home for the day, so we were doing a little bit of their job. I don't exactly know what I was working on, but all I can gather was it was something about a "Die Cast", that's what the boxes were marked as. They were a bunch of little metal boxes that came apart into two pieces.

Our duty was to unscrew the 2 plates of metal from each other (one bigger than the other), remove a rubber bumper, remove the tape, clean up the edges on the insides of these, and wrap them up in a box. I was doing everything except for cleaning up the edges. I liked doing that a lot actually, as it really wasn't all that hard. And I was able to sit down on a draughtsman's chair doing this, too. I was using an air-powered screwgun thing, to take out the screws. We didn't do too much after that, and then it was finally time to go.

Like I said, I actually liked doing that a lot more than the oil tank work. I don't really much like doing the sanding or the buffing, I'd like doing the packing. But hey, I don't know. I guess I'll take it one day at a time and see where it'll take me.

One day on our way home from there, I asked Dave what my real "position" is there, as I didn't really know what to classify it as. According to what Dave was telling me, he says that my position there is a "Buffer / Tech". Dave was saying that after they work out this thing with trying to make things more productive around there, working out with the employees and figuring out who to send off and who to keep, and consolidating work on only a couple of the lines, that Dave wants to then help me with the Tech work that needs to be done around there. The biggest thing would probably be the barcoding system. One thing that he did mention was that I did make up a list of Tech work that needs to be done around there, but yet hardly anything's being done about it. The one owner might get to wondering as to when that might be starting. So, based on that, I feel that the day is coming soon as to when my Tech position there might be a reality.

He was saying that the building that Acme's in will be paid off by April 1st, and that their Forklifts will be paid off by April 1st as well. That'll probably be a good sign, I guess, when that day comes.

That's around all for now.

Oh, and since today's March 15th, "Beware of the Ides of March". :P

- Mike.
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A Lot On My Mind [Mar. 10th, 2009 @ 10:42 PM]
[Current Mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]
[Current Music |The Cranberries - Dreams]

I know it's been awhile since my last LJ entry on here, but there's just so much to tell. I wonder if I have the effort of typing all that's on my mind on here, or if I'll run out of energy before being able to finish.

Over the past few days, I've had a lot on my mind. I've been wanting to talk about it all on here, but I haven't had the energy or the right time to do it. Now is the best time, I suppose.

The first thing I can address is that the G-Town DJ's Office seems to be in a pretty secure spot right now, over where it is right now. There was a lot of drama that went on between the G-Town DJ's Trio (Me, DJ, and Brian), but it all came out to be that they're on a friends-only basis for awhile, I believe. They broke up, but I feel that the both of them want to get back together again, they just need time apart. That's just my gut feeling. A lot of drama went on and I almost lost my friendship with DJ over some stupid shit, and I'm very thankful that it didn't end that way. We reasoned it out like reasonable people and now everything seems to be fine. We're all still the best of friends, the only thing that's different is that DJ and Brian aren't dating right now. They're on a friends-only basis for awhile. I feel that they both want to get back together though. They'll just need some time. Who knows?

Since that's on the table for the topic (for right now), over the past few days, the three of us have put a big effort into getting the Office all cleaned up and back in working order. It's been in a lot of niglect lately, and now it's all beautiful. I'm amazed at how well it turned out after we finished cleaning it, as it was in such disarray before. Now it feels very professional (once again, maybe even moreso than before) and has a good energy around it.

That was one big thing that was giving a lot of weight on my shoulders, and I'm glad that weight has been released. I feel more at ease that one big task has been taken care of. We even gone as far as getting most of the computer work in there done as well. Now that we have the new "server" in the closet (we ousted the old one, I have it in my basement now), I was able to get the remaining Roaming Profiles working, the network printer going again, and the remaining computers in the office to go as well. I hooked up the TV again (as they disconnected it when they changed to Cable internet), and, as I had said, we cleaned it up immensely. It's all ready to go with actual work that can be done in there. There's only a few odds and ends to take care of, but they're relatively minor and can be taken care of whenever I have the time to go over there next.

Last Friday night, we had a DJ gig to attend to. Everything went mostly according to plan, but the only thing that went very wrong for us was that we blew out both of our DJ speakers. We think our Amp overpowered the 2 speakers and blew them. They're junk. DJ and Brian ordered 2 new speakers, much better than our old ones, and "should never ever blow", according to what they say. They're supposed to come in tomorrow, I believe. I hope they work out well. We have a DJ gig coming up on this Saturday, and we need them working by then. With the gig that the old ones blew at, we were in really deep shit for awhile, but the people we were DJ'ing for understood that things like that do happen, and they were very understanding. They leant us some regular stereo speakers to finish the rest of the night. It really made us feel bad, and that's the kind of thing we don't want happening.

The weather around here lately hasn't been that favorable for my carwash job, but I'm actually a bit glad, though, in a way. I've had my past 3 days there off, and I needed the rest from the 2 jobs I've been handling at one time. I only put in one day last week, Tuesday, so the check that should be sitting there this week is only enough for one day's pay. It's gonna be less than $100.00.

With Acme, I was able to type-up my "notes" notebook writing, and Dave formatted it so that it's in a "memo" format specially for Acme. There were around 4 copies, maybe, and I had to sign them, and they were distributed over to Al, one of the owners, Dave, and myself. The one owner was very impressed with it and was able to understand everything I was addressing, as I was explaining why I was suggesting some things. The one big thing I was addressing was to take proper care of their machines on the floor ("production line"), as they're all mis-managed. The one thing that Al had started with was cleaning them out with compressed air. He only did a couple of computers, but on last Friday, I was able to do a few more for him, as he was out for the day. Some of the ones I was cleaning out were absolutely terrible, and there's still more to do besides that. Then there's other things (software-wise) that needs to be done with them as well. It's taking awhile to work through my "memo" of analysis, but I feel it's another step up for me with a tech position there.

For awhile, it felt like that this tech position was coming much sooner than I had originally thought. Now it's starting to feel like that it's taking longer again. Still, I'm at the same position as I was before, with doing Harley Davidson oil tanks (waxing, buffing, checking, packing, etc). I'm kinda balancing that with a small bit of tech work. I actually found out my pay is $9.00 an hour, not $9.50 as I had originally thought. Still, that's not too bad, as that's more than the carwash job is.

I'm actually starting to realize that the carwash job isn't so bad. With this Acme job, I'm understanding that some jobs can be much harder than the job at the carwash. With Acme, I can't really stand around and do nothing, I have to keep myself busy. At the carwash, I get breaks between every customer. Now I'm starting to feel totally different about that kind of thing.

Now that I have two jobs, I've been making quite a bit of money, and I don't really have much time to spend it on anything. I'm actually making more than I can spend in such amount of time. I've been stuffing a bit into the bank, and some I've been keeping in my wallet for something I've had my eye on for about a month now.

I've been thinking about this, like I've said, for about a month. In another week or do I'm going to go out and do it. I've been wanting to get one of those mini-laptops ("netbooks"), as they're so miniature, and they pack the tools that a pretty much normal Windows computer can handle. Mainly basic stuff, as I've heard the Intel Atom processors in it aren't really that great. Just enough to get by with simple tasks. I've been wanting to get a very portable computer, a netbook or a mini-laptop in this case, without going as far as using my massive laptop. If I want to surf the web for a bit, a few minutes let's say, and have something very portable to do it with, that'd be a good candidate. I mean, a fully-fledged laptop is a nice thing to have, but it's just so big at times, and more than I really need, to be honest.

I've had my eye on the one at Walmart, and the one at Microcenter. I believe they're the same (an Acer Aspire One?) which are competively priced. I believe they both feature Windows XP, about a Gig of RAM, and a 120GB (or so) hard drive, which is more storage space than I really need for it. I don't want to really get one with a solid-state hard drive, as I'll run out of 20GB (or smaller) HDD space really quick. I can understand that a solid-state drive does have it's advantages, but regular hard drives have served me fine for a long time, and this one shouldn't be much different. The ones I've had my eye on are around $300.00, minus tax. I have a bit of money stashed away for this, but I need another week's pay or so to be safe to buy it, and have regular spending money left over afterward. I believe it doesn't come with an optical disc drive, but my quick solution is that I'll just buy a regular USB external CD Drive at the one thrift store in the city that I frequent. They're around $20.00, if I find the right one, instead of spending like $80.00 for something similar brand new. I probably won't use the external optical drive that much, but it'd be something just to have "in case". Like reformatting, or something.

That is my biggest ambition for the next few weeks. I'm very convinced I'm gonna do it. I don't really buy too many "big ticket" items, but that'd be one of them coming up.

One other thing I've been thinking about, that's less important, is a flat-panel TV. I don't exactly need one, but it'd be nice to get one. It could multi-function as a computer screen, and I'd get a bigger one. I was eyeing this 32" widescreen that was on discount at the Office Depot in Round Lake that's going out of business. It's around $360.00 minus tax. That's a hell of a steal for that size, but, like I said, it's not that important to me, and I don't really have the finances to cover it. Possibly someday, perhaps when the price drops on them. It's just an idea that I have. Not right now exactly, but perhaps someday.

A little while ago, I finished watching a DVD that I bought recently. It's for "You've Got Mail", a very good movie starring Tom Hanks (my favorite actor) and Meg Ryan (who I think is a very cute girl in the film). I haven't seen that movie in a LONG time (I have it on tape at the carwash), and after finishing watching it, it's started to make me think about my life as an adult. The big premise of that movie is that the both of them are anonymous pen-pals through eMail online, and they're big business rivals in real-life. Tom Hanks' character puts Meg Ryan's character out of business in the movie, a small store that she owns, verus Tom Hanks' big-box-chain store that he just opened up, in the same line of business, books. It just makes me wonder about my life a little bit. About how my life is going to end up, and how successful I can be later in life. Owning a house, taking upon a lot of adult responsibilities. I feel that day is coming, probably within the next year or two. It's just one thing that's on my mind right now, I've been kinda having those thoughts now, about having a place of my own.

I don't believe I've mentioned this on here before, but I've discovered quite awhile ago (a few months maybe?) that I believe that I have an ability to see into my future, a little bit. Let me explain.

A couple of years ago, I've had three vivid dreams that I can understand now, that I couldn't understand at the time that I had those dreams, like I said, a couple of years ago.

The one dream that I fully understood first was in the G-Town DJ's office. You have to understand, the dreams I've had, they weren't in motion. It was just this blurry picture, with no people in them, and no dialogue whatsoever. The first one I understood was, like I said, in the G-Town DJ's office. I was standing in front of my computer desk there, which is right next to the door to the hallway. I was looking at the computer desk, the computer, the door, and the dark hallway that was outside the door. I couldn't place that picture in my life at the time that I had the dream. When I was in the G-Town DJ's office a few months ago, I was standing in that exact spot, and I finally understood that dream I had.

I'm not saying that the "power" or "ability" I seem to have with seeing into the future is really that significant or that powerful, but it is very odd and weird.

That was only the first time. It's happened 2 other times, too.

The 2nd time was over at Acme Finishing. A big warehouse setting, with a pallet that was divided up into cubes, which is where the oil tanks are supposed to sit after Marcella and I are done working on them (to go ready to ship to Harley). The tall ceiling, and the pallet racking around it. Same thing, it was a still picture, no people, no dialogue. Same thing, I had that dream a couple of years ago and couldn't place it into my life at that time, as I had no idea where that was or what it was about. When I was standing in that spot at Acme, I finally understood the dream.

The 3rd time was just the other night. The G-Town DJ's went over to CLC, over towards the library. We found that it helps to be there in a very quiet setting to try to get some G-Town DJ's work done. We've been there 3 times thus far, and I finally remembered the dream on the 3rd time, and understood it on the 3rd time I was there. Where we go, is at a round table, by the CLC library, which is near a balcony (kind-of like at a shopping mall, sort-of). The view was of the brick wall that was to the right, the balcony off to the left, and the angled ceiling, which was a bit dark. Still picture in my dream, no dialogue, no people around, and I couldn't place it anywhere in my life at that time as I had no idea where that was or what it was about. On that 3rd visit to CLC, I was in that exact place, and understood that dream.

I never even thought about this at all until the 1st time it happened. Then the 2nd time...and then the 3rd time. I don't even know if it's gonna happen again, but it's really weird. Like I said, my "power" or "ability" to see into "my" future isn't that significant, or even helpful for that matter. Maybe it's just showing a small still picture of my life and where it's leading me? Is it helping me at any bit? Probably not. It's just hard to explain, but I think I've done my best to try to.

The last thing I need to mention is that I have a lot to work on here at home. I have so many little projects to work on, it never seems to end. Computer work, sorting out my bedroom, sorting out the basement, that kind of thing. I don't want to go into detail (I can go on forever) but I've got a shit ton of stuff piled up that I should take care of someday, lol.

To be honest, that's about all that I need to write in this "edition" or "chapter" of my life. I'll keep this updated with other events that happen in my life. It relieves a lot of stress and clears a lot of things off of my mind by jotting it down in my LJ here.

- Mike.
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Another Chapter Of My Life [Feb. 28th, 2009 @ 02:50 PM]
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I'm starting to feel like that my LiveJournal here is the story of my life, and each entry is a chapter in the book of my life. Not like that it's going to be published in a "book" book to go up for sale someday, but it can also seem like that this is an electronic journal or diary that one might keep as if they were writing it in a journal book with a pen, but this is somewhat different as it's publically available to read, but only a few close friends of mine would probably read it, besides myself. I've looked back at some older entries (maybe about 10 months prior to now) and there's a lot of stuff that happened that seemed like it were just yesterday. I guess this is a good way to get my deepest thoughts and feelings out to the world, instead of keeping it to myself, and it helps me keep track of things that I've done, document good and bad memories, etc.

As each of you reading might have gathered, I now have 2 jobs. I work at the carwash with my dad and I work at the Powdercoating Facility with Dave. I work 3 days a week at both jobs, so I'm working 6 days a week now. Which means that I barely have any time to myself anymore. I only have like 1 day a week off, and that goes by so quick.

I'm starting to feel more confident over my job at Acme (the Powdercoating Facility), but I was a bit skeptical at first. Now that I know the ropes of my position there, I'm starting to feel better about it. I'd really like to get into a Tech job there, but I still think it's going to take some time until that happens. I mean, it's not going to happen over night, but one day I aspire to be in that kind of a position.

The other day when I was there, Dave asked me if I would write down my thoughts into a notebook on what kind of computer things should be done around there, like suggestions I had. I filled up at least one page so far, but I haven't completed that task yet. He says I'm welcome to type it and print it out. He says that once I'm done with it, I can give it to him, of which he'll pass on to the owners of the place, for them to put into consideration. After all, I'm giving them suggestions on improving their computer equipment, and I feel that if things go right, that could show that I do have some tech skills and could be doing that kind of thing for work there.

The other thing that happened is that Dave gave me a computer that was marked "TRASH" up in one of their offices, that was sorta "decommissioned" from work there. He wants me to try to fix it and find out what was wrong with it. Once I do, he wants me to give it back and show it to the owners that I had repaired a computer that would've otherwise been thrown out into the trash. I was working on it a little today, but I see one thing right off the start that needs to be done to it. It's missing the memory out of it. My guess is that they stole it for one of their other computers around there (I'm guessing it's PC100, as it fits into my theory of dating a computer to a type of memory). I haven't turned it on otherwise, but I need to put a stick of RAM in it right off the start. This machine is an eMachines etower 500is. Like I said, it was in their offices for a long time, unused, and was marked "TRASH" on top of it real big with a Sharpie marker. Being around there for so long, it was really dirty on the outside (as like the other computers I got from Acme before, in similar situations), so I took a couple of cleaners from around here at the carwash (window cleaner and some engine degreaser) and tried the best I could with cleaning the outside of it. It didn't turn out too bad, but it's still a bit dirty. It's a beige style case, and I didn't expect it to come out mint.

Another thing that happened is that when I was talking to Al about some of the tech work around there, it sounds like that he's the Quality Control Manager around there, and does this Tech thing when he really has to. It sounds like he doesn't really enjoy doing it, but he does know how to do some things. My guess is that he's the kind of person who just reads a manual and follows what the manual says to install something. That's even a better thing for me on getting a Tech position there.

I seen him yesterday, and I was inquiring about the old server that they had decommissioned some time ago. Almost around the time of when I started to work there, I was talking with him about their barcoding system (which is another thing for me to possibly tackle), he said that they changed out their old server some time ago for another one, and that their old one is just sitting around doing nothing. He said that I can take it if I'd like, as they had no real use for it. He said it was sitting around for like 6 months, and all their data has been wiped clean off of it.

I haven't thoroughly inspected it yet, but I got the whole thing. I believe it's a Dell PowerEdge 2400 that has a Pentium 3 processor in it (from looking on the sticker on the front). I haven't inspected it to see what other things it has, but from looking on the outside of it real quick, it's got a set of keys attached to the back of it. My Compaq ProLiant 800 has a slot for a key hole but it doesn't have any keys for it, and it was always unlocked ever since I got ahold of it. This will be my 1st computer (or "server") that I ever had a set of keys for, lol. Maybe unless it's a Laptop Lock.

It's been sitting in my trunk ever since I got ahold of it yesterday. I'll screw around with it sometime. As far as I know, I don't think there's anything majorly wrong with it.

So, for now, I'm taking home a decent amount of money each week (working at both jobs) and I've been finally able to stash some of it away in the bank finally. My dad is suggesting that I put a lot of money away in the bank for the future. Now that I got money to spare, and hardly any time to spend it, I think that's what I'll do. Just start saving quite a bit of it. I'll just see how both of these jobs are for me and ride them out until something changes or happens. I'm still doing the same thing at Acme as I was before, a lot of Harley Davidson oil tanks. Occasionally I do other things, like a tad bit of computer work, some other small little project (like Harley Davidson windshild mounting brackets), etc. I'll ride it out and see where it takes me.

As with the news with my friends, there was a bit of drama that went on since my last entry that I don't really want to talk about. As far as I know, they're broken up but they're room-mating together. They don't really hate each other, as far as I know, they're only just "friends" now.

I've found out that we have a DJ gig coming up on next Friday. Just recently, I bought a few pieces of DJ equipment for DJ's birthday the other week. It turns out it worked out really good. I bought 2 lights (a Chauvet LX10 and a black light) and a 9-outlet rack-mountable switcher board that we're now using for controlling lights. The Chauvet LX10 light worked out so well that DJ wants to buy another one, to have two of them, coming up. I feel very good about that. I'm looking forward to this gig on next Friday a lot. :)

Well, I think I've said about all that I wanted to post about. I'll see you all next time, on the next chapter of my life, with where I go and what happens.

- Mike.
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