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Old 2000 Honda CR-V EX:


New 2008 Saturn Aura XE:


LIKEY!!  Things went smooth this morning.  The people at Saturn of Carlisle Pike (especially Jenn) are great.

On Saturday I expect to be driving home a new Aura XE to park alongside our Outlook XE!  Looking forward to having a new car, and being back in a sedan.  We’re trading in our 2000 Honda CR-V (Melissa’s old car that I’ve been driving).  Thank you GM for the promised 0%, 6-year loan.

Back from vacation, and on the net…  Gmail on a cell phone isn’t much of a link!  Looking forward to a great 2008 with Melissa and the boys!

BDFL podcast should be back this week, Scott willing…  congrats again to Kurt Albin for his win of Brutal Bowl VI.

Saw National Treasure 2 over the holiday; it was fun.  Anyone seen I Am Legend yet?

Speaking of movies, looking forward to Cloverfield, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, and Indiana Jones 4 in ’08.  And Watchmen in ’09.

Best movie ending ever: Planet Of The Apes? (Just watching it again on AMC…)

Happy New Year!

We’re having another boy! He’s due May 9th. We had a nice 30-minute ultrasound visit with him yesterday.

I’ve been very busy at work for the last month plus bringing up a cluster of two large Opteron-based servers running VI3 Enterprise. It’s my first experience with the high-availability features of the VMware ESX platform. It’s very nice! I’ve implemented a clustered iSCSI target implementation using NetApp FAS3020‘s to serve as the shared storage. Now that everything’s up and integrated, it’s working quite well. Pretty soon I’ll be ready to start moving real workload to the cluster. I would work on VMware solutions full-time if I could; that’s how good that software is.

I made the playoffs in the BDFL for the first time this year, but I didn’t get past the first round. Now that I’ve had a taste of the postseason, I want more!

Thinking about doing something different with the blog in the new year. We’ll see!

Besides the BDFL podcasts, I haven’t had much in the way of Net output, so here goes. I’ve been busy at home getting furniture moved around as previously blogged; we have some stuff coming tomorrow. As a part of the moves, I got a new Dell 1907FP LCD monitor and it definitely beats the 17″ CRT that it’s demoted. After having a similar one at work for over a year now, I definitely knew what I was missing at home.

More of my audio stuff (Mackie 1202VLZ, Alesis QSR, Yamaha MIDI controller) has made it back into the basement as a result. I haven’t played the synth much since getting the bass thing going full-time again, but we’ll see.

I’ve been extremely busy at work, probably one of my busiest times there. I’ve been waist-deep in blade servers and VMware for the last few weeks and it’s all finally coming online. This is probably going to end up being the most significant infrastructure I’ve helped design and build to date, and I think it’s going to showcase how we can best manage our Windows Server infrastructure in the future. It’s also fun to have extra hardware to test out Ubuntu on. 🙂

Melissa is doing great. We can’t wait for her next ultrasound so that we can find out the baby’s gender. We’re both looking forward to having another little one around here.

I mentioned on last Tuesday’s BDFL podcast that I finally moved this site to another hosting provider. I now have cygweb and the MHS site co-hosted on the same MT 3.33 instance. One thing I wasn’t prepared for is a rise in comment spam. Apparently this MT instance was in some spammers’ site, but since MHS doesn’t have comments, it was bulletproof. Not so much now. I highly encourage you to use TypeKey if you want to comment, but I may incorporate a simple Turing test (perhaps the one implemented in the TinyTuring plugin) for those that don’t want to authenticate just to comment.

Just as the winter weather starts kicking in here in Harrisburg, the wheels of change have started turning as it pertains to our furniture. We’re expecting our second child in early May, so to get his/her new room ready we have to move some stuff around.

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Melissa really surprised me tonight. We’d been talking about going to a Bills game this year, but I didn’t think she’d actually go through with it…


Thanks, Honey!

This weekend saw Manolas at two events: the Great Road Festival in Camp Hill on Saturday, and Fort Hunter Day on Sunday. This is the first time we’ve done two shows in one weekend; now we know why. They ate up the majority of our time!

We were disappointed by our sales in Camp Hill. This was our third year there, but it was our worst performance. We think less people came out this year than last. One highlight for me was taking my dad over to Holmes Cycling (we were set up right across the street from them) and checking out some Trek and Bianchi road bikes. I was partial to the Trek 1200 and Pilot 1.2. When we got home, I mowed the lawn (which was tall after our recent rain) and then we had a relaxing jazz-infused meal at Cafe Fresco.

On Sunday I was able to sate my football desires by listening to 1460 “The Ticket”; they were providing live coverage of all the games in progress. Imagine my excitement as I was hearing how well the Bills were doing down in Miami! They were one of my upset picks this week. Our first experience at Fort Hunter wasn’t too bad, except for the tree in our area that was a little too short for our tent. It was nice to not be back-to-back to other vendors. We were near the children’s play area. Our sales were much better than Saturday’s, so it made the trip worth it.

Mom and Dad stepped up their normal weekender to make it happen; they stayed until after dinner. Mom made a great lasagna that we all enjoyed. We’re so thankful they’re close enough to come down to watch Ryan and enjoy these weekends with us.

My car’s air conditioning stopped working a few weeks ago. I made the mistake of asking our local Monro Muffler Brake shop (Eisenhower Blvd.) to fix it. $250, a warning that they never found a leak in the engine compartment, and four days later, it wasn’t working again. I took it back and they gave me an estimate for how much it would cost to replace the evaporator: their best guess as to what was broken. That would be about $600, but they would be recharging the system for free (that is what they did for $250) because of their earlier misjudgment.

This is the first break/fix that this car (1998 Dodge Stratus ES) has seen. Everything else has been regular “wear” maintenance. I was a little stunned by the $600 number, so instead of letting them go ahead and do the work we decided to take the car into the local Dodge dealer (Brenner Dodge) for a look. There was one safety recall issue that they needed to fix anyways, so it wasn’t a completely wasted trip. They also couldn’t find a leak without taking off the dashboard, and they wanted $140 to charge the system with refrigerant and dye to be sure. Instead of doing that, I asked them my cost for the evaporator ($240) and decided to take it back to Monro and let them do the work.

I dropped the car off last night per their request, thinking they would start on it early today and let me know what they found when they got the dash off. Instead, I get a call in the late morning letting me know they haven’t gotten to it yet, and then another call at about 1:45pm telling me that their initial estimate was wrong. They were now estimating $1200-$1400 for the repair, blaming their initial estimate on faulty software. The labor estimate went from 5.5 hours to 6-7 hours (at $80/hour) the parts estimate went from $142 (which was low for this part) to $320 plus “incidentals”, like o-rings and other things they would have to use to install the new evaporator. I was trying to parse these costs on the phone and I wasn’t liking what I was hearing. I also got the dreaded “we don’t do this very often” line, so that was it. Classic bait and switch. I told them not to do the work and picked up the car. I’ll take it to Dodge to get it fixed. Even if it costs $1200+ there, at least there will be guys working on it that know the vehicle and the job.

Moral of the story: don’t trust the general repair shops with anything but light maintenance and their specialties. And don’t believe every repair estimate you’re given.

My sister, Candace, gave birth to her second child today: Jack Thomas Bush. Weighing in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces and being 20″ in length, he’s a bit larger at birth than his big sister, Hailey. Luckily, they won’t have much time to get jealous of each others’ birthdays; they’re just a little over 2 weeks apart!

Congrats to Candace & Brian and Jack’s grandparents! Rest in peace, Mrs. Bush; we know you’re looking down on Jack now.

I’m looking forward to meeting my godson!