Friday, September 24, 2010

Facts about Christopher Lee
First of all, important roles he's played, in no particular order: Dracula, Bond villain Scaramanga, Saruman the White and Count Dooku. Also "Mephistoles" (the Devil in what looks like a little-known campy Italian film), Sherlock Holmes, Fu Manchu, Rasputin the Mad Monk and Sherlock Holmes' even smarter brother Mycroft. Lee also voiced Death (from the Discworld), the Jabberwocky in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, and, in some animated movie due for release in 2012, Santa Claus. That's just a small fraction of his roles, but they look like the most recognizable ones.

And in real life? He's supposedly a descendant of Charlemagne, and has met J.R.R. Tolkien in person; he was the only Lord of the Rings cast member to do so. In World War II he served in the Royal Air Force and the Special Operations Executive, or in layman's terms, he was a spy behind enemy lines. (He consulted with Peter Jackson on his character's death scene in LotR; specifically, on what it looks like when someone is stabbed in the back. Now how would he know that?) Being knighted is kind of nice, but being knighted on Halloween is really great. He holds the world's record for appearing in the most movies, speaks five languages, and enjoys heavy metal and head-banging.

I already knew most of that, or the interesting parts (the first four roles I list, the fact that he was a spy and consulted on his death scene, his involvement with some kind of a heavy metal group, the fact that he's been in a hell of a lot of movies, and the fact that he's a knight), and today I stumbled on yet another fact about him: he's the cousin of Ian Fleming. That means he may be a partial inspiration for James Bond directly, rather than just in the general sense of having been a spy.

Christopher Lee is clearly the most awesome man there is.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The move is basically done. I had yesterday off work, so I was available for an appointment with the cable guy. I got confused and worried about some stuff I had to do, but in the end the big stuff turned out OK and we have the wireless network set up. I also assembled a bookshelf we had bought at Ikea over the weekend. It's only half loaded up, and we had trouble fixing it to the wall (screws don't seem to do it), but it's upright. Or at least it was when we left for work this morning.

So we still have some unpacking and organizing to do, and some shopping, and we need to figure out how to secure the bookshelf, and we haven't put up any decorations on the walls yet... but all that can go on in the background around daily life instead of getting in the way of it. I can play WoW, we can watch TV, we can check our e-mail on regular computers instead of our phones, we don't plan to buy any more things that require cars to move or two people to carry, and we've unpacked enough boxes that they're no longer in the way of getting dressed in the morning.

Cool. Time to relax. (And it only took two weeks. Next time I move, I'll be sure that everyone who's moving takes at least four days off in a row at the same time, to get it all over with at once.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Well, the move is probably done by now. My stuff was all moved in on Saturday, thanks to T.'s cousin Dave. Saturday and Sunday we moved some of T.'s stuff and unpacked a bit. She took today off work and hired movers who presumably finished up. I say "presumably" and "probably" just because I haven't called or e-mailed her yet today, but they were scheduled to start by 9:30 and if they aren't done by now T. should ask for her money back.

We still need to do quite a bit of shopping. At least two lamps, one bookshelf and a wireless router. Along with that last, we need to sign up for cable service or something. And, of course, we need to do a lot of unpacking once we have shelves to put books on and stuff. But we're moved in and all that. Woo hoo.

Work today wasn't as bad as I expected. Those projects I said I disliked? Last month I was assigned three. Today, literally 15 minutes ahead of deadline according to my calendar, I finished the third. And I think it's OK. The one I just happened to do first seems like it was the worst; the ones I finished Friday and today seem very simple.

The problem is that my usual half-assed approach to boring unsupervised work is stressful on these projects, because that's all anyone else ever does on them either. So I can't just tell Tom "please search the database for all Xs with Y in year Z", because according to Tom, the person in charge of entering year Y into the database did it inconsistently. So I need to double-check and search in three different places for every little thing because if I search for Xs with Y using decimals I would get 3 results, but if I search using a floating-point variable (or whatever) I would get 23. And right in the supporting statement for one of the projects, it said that there weren't any examples of a, but they're assuming there was one just "to account for the possibility". Now that you mention it, that sounds like a good idea. But why do that with just this one number and not all the others in all these projects? Why assume there's only one a, rather than some other nice round number like five or 10 or half the maximum from previous years? Answer: no reason.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Only got one carload of stuff done. By the time I was done it was around quarter to five, so another load would have been right in the middle of rush hour. Oh well. I can probably fit it all in T.'s cousin's van, and if I can't, both my roommates have cars and could probably be persuaded to help me take a few boxes across town for a reasonable payment.

Busy, tiring, stressful day here. The move is a big reason for the tiring, but also, work sucks. Most of what I've been doing over the past week has been the kind of project I like least at the job, and it's been just as much of a mess as always. I just spent an hour trying to straighten something out... and in the five minutes since getting back to my desk, I don't think the next part is in any better shape.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Packing progress: well, I'm daunted by the amount I still have to do, but my stated goal was two carloads of stuff tomorrow afternoon, and I think that's plausible. It'll depend on how big the rental car is, of course; I got some kind of Civic rather than a van or something, partly to save money and partly for ease of driving. Other than on vacations, I haven't driven in two years, so I figured I should stick with something small and familiar. Maybe that's being overcautious, but anyways.

Even if I manage to pack the car to its weight capacity on both trips tomorrow, I know there will be some stuff left behind. I know I'll have help with some of it on Saturday, but if for some reason it can't all go then, I still think this move will go much better than how it went last time. If I can't fit everything, then so what? I'll leave it here for a few days or, hell, a few weeks, no problem, until I can ask/hector/call in a favor to get someone with a car to help me. And it would only take them two hours or less, so it's a reasonable request.
How I procrastinated on packing this weekend: cutting down a tree limb that was hanging too low, and yes, the irony of procrastinating on packing to move with a home improvement project is not lost on me. But at least my roommates and whoever moves into my room next won't have to worry about it. Also by watching at least half a dozen episodes of Dexter and two of the Futurama movies from between the original series and the relaunch. And, of course, a few hours of Starcraft II and/or World of Warcraft.

Stuff I did that's borderline procrastination, borderline productive: I sorted my jar of change into sleeves and took it to the bank, which would have been heavy to carry to the new place. I spent more than an hour sorting my Magic cards; it would have taken 30 seconds to throw them in the box, but most of the collection is pretty well-organized so I might as well sort the loose cards now rather than later. And I cleared through my pile of paperwork accumulated over the past few months, sorting out the junk mail and bank statements from stuff that actually should probably be kept. I still could probably throw out a lot of the stuff that "should be kept", but everything that's left is a borderline case at the very least, so I don't feel too bad about putting it off yet again. And I downloaded the pictures off my old phone, which has been sitting unused since last month. I think it's now safe to throw away.

How close I am to ready: pretty close, I think, believe it or not. Four boxes full of stuff ready and waiting to be put in the rental car tomorrow, at least three more boxes partially full with room for a little more stuff or redistribution of weight as needed, and at least six more containers (two cardboard boxes, one storage ottoman, two duffel bags and a backpack) completely empty just waiting to have stuff put in them. I'm planning to get as much of my stuff as I can tomorrow with the rental car and moving the big stuff like my desk and chair on Saturday, thanks to a cousin of Teresa's who has a truck or van. It helps that I never fully unpacked in the first place here. There isn't much storage space and I didn't bother to stake a claim to it when I could have, so I've had half a dozen boxes lying around my room here for the past two years. I included them in my inventory, so maybe that's cheating a bit, but still.

All things considered, I'm confident that I'll be ready for tomorrow. Knock on wood. The parts of the move after that, though? We'll see.