I bought my Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 1100 printer back in March 2000. It came with a toner cartridge. Now I’ll admit that I don’t print that much, but I finally needed to replace the cartridge. That means that my old cartridge lasted just under five years! Fortunately, I purchased a replacement cartridge about four years ago. Laser printer toner lasts much longer than inkjet printer ink; instead of replacing the cartridge every month, a toner cartridge can last for, well, up to five years. Unfortunately, this printer is so old that it has very little memory and takes a while to print anything with graphics. Overall, though, this little printer has served me well, and I look forward to another five years of service.
I finally purchased Halo for the Xbox today, and I just couldn’t put it down! Now I’ll be torn between that and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3. I also found a little time to put together the Xbox page I mentioned last week and added a new button on the left.
In the meantime, I’m still working on the next web site design. I considered going with a clean, simple look, but I don’t want it to make look boring either. So, I may go back to the drawing board. Until then, I should probably work on the sites that I’ve been meaning to work on for several months (you’re all probably saying, “yes, you should!”).
I finally got around to using Xbox Live last night. I played Rainbow Six 3 with a group of other really great players. In most cases, I got killed almost immediately, but I also managed one kill. I had so much fun, I joined in again tonight. Again, I had another kill (woo hoo!). Unfortunately, I donâ€™t have a lot of experience playing the game, so Iâ€™m still limited in my choice of weapons. Now only if I can get past the first level in the game campaign!
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day in which we remember the civil rights leader that challenged the social injustices of the nation and made people aware that change was needed. Over forty years later, things are better, but some injustices still exist. At least I got a day off, though. So, rather than updating my site and working on the new site design, I worked at home.
Okay, I have to admit something I never mentioned online before. I’m a smoker. I’m actually trying to quit right now, but it is not an easy process. I’ve tried to quit before, but this time I’ve given it much more thought and consideration (hey, I’m not getting any younger). I chose several things to keep myself busy while trying to quit. Among those, I bought a Microsoft Xbox. I tried out Halo a couple of months ago and really enjoyed it, but I decided to hold off on buying this console until I could justify it. So, my justification is that it’s a “carrot” to not smoking. Believe it or not, it has worked so far. It prevents me from thinking about smoking by keeping my hands and my mind busy.
I also signed up for Xbox-Live, but I haven’t found any friends online to play along with yet. As I continue to improve at the games that I have, I’m sure that I’ll start looking to join others. Later this month, I will start working on a Xbox page… this will be for listing the games that I have. But don’t expect much; it’s still new for me, but I may get tired of it later. So far, though, it’s been really cool.
In other news, I’ve just been plugging away at work and trying to keep things sane. The guitar playing is really coming along.
I finally managed to scan some pictures from Christmas. While we were celebrating, I took pictures using my film camera instead of the digital. I was actually impressed with how well the pictures came out. I’ve only just begun scanning pictures, so consider the page a work in progress. Click here to see pictures of Isabel and Madeline. When I have a chance, I’ll have to learn how to clean up the script so the pictures fit in the windows properly.
I’m at it again with another soapbox article. Want to know why it’s important to have good writing skills? I’ll explain this month (hopefully).
If you follow NFL football, you know that the Packers beat the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday with an interception in overtime (great job, Al Harris!). This Sunday the Packers play the Philadelphia Eagles. Although it will be a struggle, I think that they have what it takes to win. Here’s to the Super Bowl!
Happy New Year! After watching the Green Bay Packers defeat the Denver Broncos and the Arizona Cardinals miraculously pull off a down-to-the-wire touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings, I’m happy to announce that the Packers start off today in the playoffs as their division champion! What’s cooler is that my parents are in Lambeau to watch today’s Wild Card Game against the Seattle Seahawks. As long-time season-ticket holders, it’s the first time they have ever received tickets for the playoffs. Unfortunately, Green Bay’s weather is expected to get no warmer than 19-degrees (Fahrenheit), with a chance of snow. Fortunately, the Packers are historically a great cold-weather team.
And, as I promised, my New Year’s Resolutions are available in My Soapbox. I’ve also added a new link to My Links: Jackson Guitars. Fender Musical Instruments bought out Jackson/Charvel during 2003, but hasn’t changed the way guitars are made in their factory. Jackson is making the same great guitars that it made when an up-and-coming Randy Rhoads asked it to make him a custom guitar. My next dream guitar is a Jackson Soloist SL-1 with Snakeskin finish!
Most people make resolutions to improve themselves every year. These usually include losing a few pounds, giving up a vice, or improving their appearance. Iâ€™m no better; I usually come up with something that I could improve. So Iâ€™ve reexamined my usual promises and added a few new interesting resolutions for 2004.
Okay, this is one of the more usual ones. I started out really well earlier in 2003 by avoiding fast food and eating more nutritiously at home. But I havenâ€™t been watching what I ate in general over the last couple of months. Lately, Iâ€™ve noticed more meals eaten out, and fewer meals with any real nutritional value at home. Iâ€™m not suggesting that I become a vegetarian; instead I should limit my sugar and fat intake. Iâ€™m not trying to lose a few pounds; rather, Iâ€™m trying to keep myself from gaining it back.
Be more active
In conjunction with eating healthier, I also need to keep the juices flowing. I work in an office, so I spend a lot of time sitting. That doesnâ€™t keep the muscles toned. So, 2004 will be the year in which I take up something more than just hitting golf balls (which I only did a few times in 2003). Perhaps just more walking in general would be a good start. Again, the goal isnâ€™t weight loss; itâ€™s just to remain healthy to avoid problems in the future.
Spend more time playing guitar
As an aspiring guitarist (well, one with a real job to fall-back on), I really need to devote more time to practicing and learning how to play this cool instrument. In 2004, I plan on expanding not only my song repertoire, but also my understanding of the instrument and of music theory in general. I just hope the neighbors donâ€™t complain when I start cranking up the amp while playing Metallicaâ€™s “Seek and Destroy.” Also, since Iâ€™m working on becoming more active, it should become easier to thrash (head-bang) while rolling through a few metal riffs. This should help justify my next guitar purchase, too!
Be more assertive
I hate when Iâ€™m shopping and I suddenly canâ€™t get past a couple of people that park their shopping carts in everyoneâ€™s way. I usually just say, “Excuse me,” but either I have such a quiet voice or people just donâ€™t hear me. 2004 will be different. Forget the niceties; Iâ€™m going to push people out of my way or just hide their shopping carts on them.
Iâ€™m also a pretty shy person, so I need to be more vocal. So I also plan to meet and befriend more people. This will include going out and seeing more around town.
Save for a house
I donâ€™t dislike where I live now, but there are so many more benefits to owning my own house. For example, I can actually paint my walls whatever color I want, I can crank up my guitar amp and not bother so many people (well, usually), and I donâ€™t have to wait for a washing machine. Furthermore, I would like more room to spread out. The apartment complex in which I live has been wonderful, thanks to some really good neighbors and great management staff. But I need to think about the big pictureâ€¦ including writing off those mortgage interest payments on my taxes.
Keep the apartment clean
Since I want to move into a house, I should make this a priority. It will make moving easier. Included among the things I need to do this year are finding a better spot for my guitar effects pedals and keeping the dining room table clutter down (which will become easier once the desk is home and in place).
Be less cynical
In case you havenâ€™t noticed by reading most of the stuff I publish on here, Iâ€™m pretty jaded. I would like to see the good in people, but I usually let some little bits of reality sneak in and take hold of my world view. So Iâ€™m going to start giving more people the benefit of the doubt and try to be nicer in general. That should go over really well with my heavy-metal reputation.
Meet that special someone
As youâ€™ve probably read and gathered from reading other things on this site, Iâ€™m single. Hey, Iâ€™d like to meet a special woman, fall in love, and offer her everything I can (uh, within reason). So Iâ€™ve made that a priority in 2004. No more cynicism and becoming more assertive may lead to me meeting someone nice enough to go on a date or two with me. However, I do have some criteria: she must accept that I like playing metal guitar (or any guitar); she must accept that I like the Green Bay Packers; and she must be able to help out with cooking and cleaning (help out means that I will also cook and clean). Speaking of cooking, she canâ€™t be overly fussy about what she eats (still wondering why Iâ€™m single?).
Finish my desk
Okay, this is something Iâ€™ve been working on for almost two years. Yes, it probably would have been completed if there wasnâ€™t a miscommunication about the lumber order. But great progress was made over the past year, thanks mostly to my great friends Chuck and Emil. Now that most of it is stained, sealed, and varnished and we only need to install hardware and give it a test-fitting, this should probably be the most achievable resolution for 2004. However, if Iâ€™m still writing about working on it a year from now, Iâ€™m giving up on it altogether!
I purchased a lot of books last year, but I havenâ€™t read them yet. Iâ€™m only on Chapter Three of the latest Harry Potter book, and I bought it right after it was released this past summer. So Iâ€™m going to put aside an hour or so every night just for reading. I plan on finishing about one book a month this year, depending on the size and the topic (if it turns out to be a clinker, though, Iâ€™ll stop reading it and move on to the next book). I donâ€™t have a list of what Iâ€™ll read yet, but Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ve got enough material to keep me busy throughout the year. Maybe Iâ€™ll even get a newspaper just to keep up with the newsâ€¦ then again I have access to most articles through the Internet.
Finish my web site redesign
As you may be aware, I started redesigning this site again recently. I donâ€™t expect it to be active soon, but I would like to have it ready by the summer. So I want to spend some time learning more about web site design and putting what I learn into practice. Speaking of which, I also would like to keep more current on my siteâ€¦ I know, I know; youâ€™re still waiting for those pictures from England. And speaking of whichâ€¦
Complete my 2003 England Vacation scrapbook
I took a series of classes this past summer to learn how to effectively put together a scrapbook. Since then, Iâ€™ve purchased enough material for the first four or six pages. Yet all I have is materialsâ€¦ no cutting, no pasting, no planning. So I would like to at least start on my scrapbook in 2004; Iâ€™d even like to finish it as soon as possible, assuming it doesnâ€™t drive me nuts.
As you can see, Iâ€™ve actually spent some time really thinking about areas where I need to make improvements and strategizing how I can achieve these resolutions. I hope to write next year with positive results. I donâ€™t know if Iâ€™ll achieve all of my goals in 2004, but there are a few that are worth focusing my energy. So, if you find this kind of thing worth reading and learning about, Iâ€™ll go through this process again next year.