What's depressing is that there's really nothing to post about. And that's why I haven't posted for so long.
My life is just plain boring.
The only things I can think of to post about are as follows.
Windows XP Service Pack 2
So, I finally upgraded. The deciding factor was the fact that Windows Update could no longer successfully connect to my computer and determine what updates were applicable for my machine. Being more than 5 weeks without an update is extremely dangerous (going just 3 days without an update can barely be considered safe) and after literally close to three-dozen failed attempts at updating my system, it was pointed out to me that the very reason I might not be able to get updates is because I don't have SP2 yet.
The upgrade went pretty poorly. "[Send Error Report] [Don't Send]" ...'nuff said.
After the upgrade, my firewall and anti-virus did not function. Several programs' installations had to be "repaired."
The first time I used my computer after the upgrade it locked up within minutes.
After a couple clean restarts and the "repair" of several programs, everything seems to be running somewhat smoothly.
More useless processes running, more idle CPU and memory usage, and yet another little red blop next to the date and time telling me that my computer is going to explode and everyone is going to die just because I prefer to download Windows Updates manually.
Venting a little bit more, I come to tell you of how this week, the week wherein the entire post is on a modified holiday schedule, and how I was scheduled to work just one day this week. I am then also working Christmas Eve, and very early Christmas morning (for a RC Midnight Mass). And then one more day next week, Thursday, I think.
Three days of work in two weeks, a wonderful and greatly welcomed break.
My one day this week, yesterday, ended up being just short of a full day of work. Yet I never actually made it to my appointed place of duty. Details are annoying.
But wait, what's this? That's not all?
The Garrison Command Sergeant Major is upset? Upset about what?
People abusing the holiday schedule?
But it doesn't matter, because it's the 'Sergeant Major.
And so now everyone is working a half day, every day.
And there isn't even enough work to be done these two weeks for that. The post is pretty much shut down. Hence my being scheduled just one day each week.
Surely people didn't have any plans for the days they were going to be off. I certainly wasn't going to go take my car in for regular maintenance, and a few small repairs (a whole day in the shop, most likely) this week, was I? And I certainly wasn't entertaining the thought of going up to Maryland for a day or two to visit with my good friend Ryan. No! Of course not! Why would I?!
The small things are really getting to me.
I'm becoming extremely anal-retentive.
First, I feel I must say that the last two weeks or so have passed as quickly as a tortoise might o'ertake a snail. Or so it feels.
Each day, in and of itself, seems to fly by. I wake up at 0530 in the morning and he next thing I know it's noon. It feels like not even two or three hours later and it's time to salute the flag as it is retired at 1700. When thinking back on the week as a whole, it feels like it ought to be Friday or Saturday. Yet it's not even mid-day on Wednesday.
Perhaps it's the weather. Yesterday, the 19th of December, it was 76°F. Today it cooled off considerably, but is still only 53°F. I find myself offended when people say "oh, you really ought to have a sweatshirt on with weather like this!" and "be sure to have a jacket on when you go outside today" like this is actually cold. I can't recall a place I've lived where the climate didn't accommodate snow. It makes me sick. This is not December.
When talking to the protestant parish coordinator after having returned from my trip to Washington state, I mentioned how it had snowed a little bit while I was there, but that it had melted by mid-day that day. She then said that "[I] must really be glad [I] came back when [I] did! [She heard] they got a good 4 or 5 inches [just the day after I had left]!"
I wanted to punch her in the face. Repeatedly.
So maybe that is why it took me 'til last Wednesday to realize the date and it's proximity to Christmas. I rushed and did all of my Christmas shopping, for everyone on my list, online, in one day. In just an hour and a half, actually.
It doesn't *feel* like Christmas. There is nothing here in South Carolina that has put me in anything close to a joyous mood. There is so much muck and stupidity that I have to deal with on a daily basis that it's all really dragging me down.
I *need* to hear the Word. I *need* His body and blood.
But even my pursuit of those things is yet another source of frustration.
The church I have been trying to attend for the last 3 weeks or so has been extremely elusive. Despite such wonderful modern aides as Google Maps and GPS I can't find the church for the life of me. It appears that there is an office building where the church is supposed to stand. No doubt the fact that every time I've sought out the church it has been dark out has been a hindrance. After I am finished with this post I am going to go seek it out again, though this time with the help of natural sunlight. Perhaps in the daylight I will be able to find it. And if I fail again, I will give them a call to see if they can't give me directions.
But when one can't find comfort from such things one should turn to material possessions, right? Well, no, not really, but I've decided I need a new computer anyway.
My laptop is running woefully short on hard drive space and my graphics card prevents me from playing some new game titles. CPU and memory are still satisfactory, but those too will no doubt be under-par for these tasks in about a year. I'll probably upgrade the hard drive and/or memory sometime 6 to 12 months from now, but the graphics can't be upgraded. Also, I want additional functionality that my laptop doesn't offer me.
And so, I'm having my cousin, tgies, build me a new machine. The specs are as follows.
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Windsor 2.6GHz (Socket AM2) -AMD's answer to Intel's Duo-Core CPUs
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-M59SLI-S5 (NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI MCP)
Memory: OCZ Platinum Revision 2, DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel, 2 x 1GB Combo
HD (2x): Western Digital Caviar SE 250GB 7200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID configuration)
Optical (2x): Pioneer DVR-111D (16X DVD±R DVD Burner w/ 5X DVD-RAM read) (will firmware hack it to capabilities of DVR-111L)
Video: Geforce 7600GS 256MB GDDR2
TV Tuner/Video Capture card
All these components are going to be housed in this beautiful chassis and powered with this high-wattage, budget, power supply.
Monitor (already owned) is a Westinghouse 19" LCD HDTV, model LTV-19w6. DVI, D-Sub (VGA), YPbPr, S-Vid, Component ("RCA"), and NTSC (Coax) inputs. 8:5 ratio widescreen. 1440x900 max res.
I was hoping to get an ATI X1900-based All-In-Wonder card, but it seems I waited too long and ATI suddenly, and without warning (at least I didn't hear anything about it) discontinued their All-In-Wonder line. So instead I'm getting the cheap-o (free) TV tuner card you see listed and a rather inexpensive, yet pretty decent, graphics card. The reason I want a TV Tuner on my computer? I never realized how much I used my parent's satellite Digital Video Recorder until I left home and could no longer use it. And so follows the justification for a TV tuner card and a half-tebibyte (-terabyte) of storage. (Actually it will be .8 tebibytes of storage, as I will be putting in a 300GB IDE HD that I already own into the system as well)
It will be dual-boot WinXP Pro 64 and Linux (probably Gentoo, but I'm not sure yet).
I don't think I'll be overclocking any part of the machine, but that will be partially up to tgies. If he wants to play around with it, I'm cool with that.
Also, unrelated to the computer, I finally have my Dreamcast hooked up again. Yay Crazy Taxi.
Friends and family have helped to assuage my loneliness and frustrations ‒seasonal and long-term‒ with phone calls, e-mails, letters, cards, and boxes of goodies and gifts. For all this, I thank you, and though from the tone and contents of this post it may not sound like it, these things really have made a difference. Your thoughts and prayers mean a lot to me while I cope with the simple, yet difficult changes of moving to what feels like a completely alien world, more alien a world than I could have imagined finding without leaving These United States.