Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Looking good!

I got a call this morning asking of to come in for a drug test at the job I've been posting about. Now, I've not been made an offer, but this sure seems like a good sign! I've also recieved a call from an old coworker, who was called today as one of my references. Hopefully I'll be offered this job soon!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Well, it's that time of year...

As shell was so kind to point out, christmas is once again upon us. I'll be spending the next few days with family and friends. I hope everyone else out there is doing the same. Take it easy out there. Drive carefully. And smile at the guy who bumps into you at the store or cuts in front of you in the check out line. We've all got a lot going on this time of year, and the best thing you can do for yourself and your health is to take everything in stride.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hi ho, hi ho, it's back to school I go...

Even though SBC will no longer be funding my ongoing education, I've been able to gather enough assistance to fund a full load of classes this semester. In Total, I'll be taking a full 18 hours of classes this semester, though never more than 3 at the same time. This should put me on track to finish the MCSE certification path by this time next year. Following that, I can continue towards my associate's degree by adding some additional gen ed and entry level computer classes.

I started my first class yesterday, which is a condensed, 3 week version of an Intro to Computers class. Shouldn't be too difficult, but it does look like there will be a lot of work involved. Wish me luck!

Job Search update

I got a call today from a company I interviewed with last week, asking me to come in again for another round I'm pretty excited about this one, as it sounds like a great company to work for. I probably shouldn't post on here just who it is yet, but I'll be sure and let everyone know if it works out! Wish me luck, the interview is tomorrow morning!

Saturday, December 17, 2005 is live!

Okay, thanks to those who offered feedback during the development process. The site is now live at it's permanent home of . Please, check it out, again, if you find anything that you think should be changed, or that isn't working, let me know. Meanwhile, be sure and visit the news section, I think it may be a site you'll want to visit often!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Welcome to!

Welcome to!

As per my post earlier, I've started putting together the basics of a phone and internet based tech support service. Please, check out the web site, and give me some feedback. Note, this isn't the permanent location, but it is where the site will be hosted until I actually get it mostly put together.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Support my Site!

As you can see, I've added a google toolbar, and google ads to the site. I get paid for using them, somehow, not exactly sure on the details... (I should read about that, eh? ) but click some of the links... let's make some money! :)

Fee-based Tech Support

I've recently stumbled across a few companies that do tech support by phone, for a per minute fee. I've contacted the companies, and tried to work for a few of them, but haven't been able to get hired on yet. So, I was thinking, what does it take to do this? You have to be able to get calls -- 800 numbers are cheap these days. You have to be able to take payments -- paypal offers storefront support. You need pc skills (I think I've got that covered fairly well). You need a way to get customers. Hmm... advertising on here wouldn't do me much good, since this is seen mostly by friends and family, and not even a lot of those. But, I could get a seperate web page up, advertise with google/yahoo/etc, advertise locally...

Could I get the demand up to keep me busy for a while? To make enough money to feed my family? What's a fair rate to charge for something like that? I've seen others priced between $1-2/minute, is that reasonable?

Comments welcome, on here or by mail.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Ice Cream SUNDAE STATION Vending Kiosks

I stumbled across this add on another website I visit, and just had to click through to see just what the gimmick was. Now, I'm no fool, and I don't fall for the typical internet scams or get rich schemes out there, but I thought this site was so well done, it deserved to be passed on. Please, when you visit it, be sure you click one of the links for more information, the front page just doesn't do it justice!


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Death by Caffeine

Ever wonder just how much coffee your body can take? I know some of you put it away pretty quick... try this calculator out to find out just how many cups o' joe you could put down in one sitting before you would croak:

Death by Caffeine

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The party's over...

And a successful party it was, though we would have loved to have more kids attend. Ryan got loads of presents, had lots of family and a few friends, and a good time was had by all.

Ryan's Birthday Pics

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Today marks the Ryan's 6th birthday. There will be a party at the Courtyard by Marriott in Bettendorf, IA, starting at 1pm, and lasting until about 2:30. Friends and family are invited to join us. For those who don't know where the hotel is, Here's a map of the location courtesy of google. You can click on the pin on the map to get directions from wherever you like if need be.

Ryan says to tell everyone he wants Transformers and Game boy Games. :)

Hope to see you there!

Courtyard by Marriott Location

Job prospects

Well, things are looking up a bit... I got a call back from UPS yesterday regarding my application, but unfortunately I missed the call and haven't been able to get back through to them. Hopefully I'll be able to get through on Monday, I hear UPS is a great company to work for.

Meanwhile, I have also received a contract with a teleservices company. I've just completed training, and will be able to start working from home withing the next few days, depending on my schedule. It's a system where they pipe calls into your phone line, and a script onto your computer. You answer the phone, read the script, offer products and services, and get paid for every minute you're on the phone. We'll see how it works out, but it does seem to be a legitimate job/company from what I've read.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Moving on...

The time has come for SBC and I to part ways. Ever since they announced earlier this year they were buying AT&T, they began cutting staff, firing sometimes 8-10 people a week for no valid reason, and finally caught up with me. The buyout offers started just before I left, and rumor from a reliable source is there will be a lot more heads cut starting later this month.

On the up side, I've had some time off of work, and have been able to pay a little more attention to other things. I've taken care of some little things for family and friends, and of other little things I've been meaning to do for a long time. And as tough as it is losing a job, I feel a lot less stress now that I'm away from work.

So, November finds me joining the world of the unemployed. Fortunately, the internet makes the search easier. I've been able to send resumes out daily to companies all over the area. So far, I've spoken with a couple of companies, and might have an opportunity to get back into an IT / Helpdesk job, but it is out of the area, and I'm not sure moving right now would be a good idea. We'll see what happens if/when I get an actual offer.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Congratulations Abby Wiles!

Friday we had the honor of attending the US Army Commissioning of second luetinant Abby Wiles. Abby, Allison's younger sister, graduates this weekend from Western Illinois University with a bachelor's degree in Law Enforcement. Congratulations Abby, we're proud of you!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Don't I look comfortable?

This makes it really easy to go to sleep :)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Youngstown Cafe

Since mom was gracious enough to take Ryan off of our hands for the weekend, Allison and I decided to have dinner out. Initially, we were going to eat at Granite City. We've eaten there before and it was delicious. Tonight, however, we decided we might be a bit under dressed and to eat next door at the youngstown cafe instead. While the style and atmosphere reminded me of a Panera Bread, the quality didn't. I ordered 'The Ryan' sandwich, and allison a small sandwich and salad combo. As for the sandwich, I had a difficult time finding the thin pieces of grilled chicken breast between the four inches of bread. And allison's salad was half brown. Take my advice. . . Next time you're looking for a soup and sandwich type meal, stick to Panera. Or even better, try lunch at Mama Compton's in downtown Rock Island.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Museum Exhibit -- ToyMaker 3000

One exhibit we were all impressed with at the MSI was the "Toymaker 3000". The exhibit started with how a toy is conceptualized, followed the process through the struggles of a fledgeling toy company, and eventually to manufacturing. The toymaker 3000 actually assembles a 'Gravitron' toy from all of the individual parts. It makes green gravitrons all day long, but for only $3 it will allow you to custom order your own gravitron in green, orange or purple, with your name and the manufacture date stamped into the top.

A 2nd assembly line can actually be seen disassembling the generic green gravitrons which weren't purchased.

Ryan bought a purple gravitron with his name stamped in the top, and we followed it all the way through to the end, where it was packaged, and a robotic arm handed it to him.

ToyMaker 3000 Automation

Museum Exhibit -- Game On!

One of our favorite exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry was "Game On". This exhibit was an extra $5 per person to see, but worth every bit.

The exhibit covers the history of video games from the 1960's foward. It shows archaic computers, an original arcade version of pong, in the wooden cabinet, all the way up to the latest PS2 and Xbox games. The great thing about it was seeing all of the history, the old commodore 64 and atari 2600 systems, as well as bieng able to play games on each. There must have been more than 100 games in that exhibit, all available to try. Anyone for the atari classic Pitfall? How about a game of Breakout?

And, as one member of our party found out, there's a small padded corner about halfway through the exhibit that's perfect for sitting down for a short nap. (If you can stand the noise...)

MSIChicago | Game On | Home

Chicago Trip: Day 2

After a long and mildly restful nights stay at the local Courtyard hotel, we were back on the road again headed towards Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

We planned our trip so that we'd hit MSI on a 'Free day', so general admission to the museum was free. Unfortunately, we also decided to see an Omnimax and the Game On exhibit, for a total cost of nearly $40 for the 3 of us.

The movie was alright... not the type of film I'd normally want to see, but it was nice to have the 'omnimax' experience. Game on was worth the $5 a head to get in. We also spent $3 for the toymaker 3000 exhibit, again well worth it to see the production and 'personalize' the experience.

The MSI was also hosting an exhibit called 'Body Worlds' that looked really interesting, but was a bit too adult for taking a 5 year old through, I believe. The exhibit consist of skinned human bodies and body parts, posed in ways to display human anatomy. I'd love to go back sometime and see the exhibit, given the chance.

We left the museum just before it closed at 4pm, got home by 7, and were in bed by a little after 8. Wow... I'm glad I've got the rest of the week off to recover!

Welcome to The Museum of Science and Industry

Monday, March 07, 2005

Chicago trip: Day 1

The first stop on our educational weekend getaway was the John G Shedd Aquarium, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Inside this underwarter zoo we saw dolphins, beluga whales, penguins, various sharks, rays, eels, and more. While interesting, the aquarium was about a two and a half hour tour, start to finish. It was crowded, and for the entry price of $23 (Plus $4 ticketmaster fee), I don't think we'll go back again any time soon.

Shedd Aquarium

We spent the afternoon visiting Allison's sister, and enjoyed a fine chicago-style pizza dinner. Other than one brief incident where two paint handprints ended up on the basement carpet, (at least one of which was just a perfect match for Ryan's hand) it was a fairly quiet afternoon. After such all the walking and excitement of the day, Ryan went for a swim, and then we all retired to the quiet of our room at the Courtyard.
this is an audio post - click to play

Saturday, February 26, 2005

False Alarm at the Whitcher House

I just spent the last 30+ minutes standing outside in the freezing cold, waiting for what seemed like the entire Moline fire department to give the all clear for our building. Ryan and I were sitting quietly at the table, enjoying our morning breakfast. (Translation, to make it a better story: "There we were, minding our own business...") Suddenly, the obnoxiously loud buzzing of the building fire alarm pierced the quiet morning. After sticking my head in the hallway to make sure there was no smoke, I woke Allison and we all got dressed to wait outside. On the way, I called heard someone else calling 911, so I called our maintenance people, on the assumption that this would be a false alarm. Of course, no one answered, even at the 'emergency' cell phone number.

By the time we got outside, the first fire trucks were already outside, with more pulling in. By the time it was said and done, we had at least 4 firetrucks, including the big ladder truck, and 2 ambulances. It's good to know the Moline Fire Department is so quick to respond, and takes their job seriously.

It seemed, as we all stood outside, that the consensus among the neighbors was that this was a false alarm. At first, questions were asked about the kids, who was in the hallway, who might have pulled the alarm, but then another theory came out: The fire alarm switches in this building have been in poor repair for years. Some are literally taped up with electrical tape because the switches are broken. Many of us had hoped for the system to be repaired when Property Consulting Group took over the property maintenance from Dr. Alan Kendall (Link to QC Times Archives), but PCG seems to have ignored the fire system disrepair for the last year as well. Within minutes, everyone agreed this was likely the reason we were all roused from our warm homes on this early Saturday morning.

After about 15 minutes of idle chit-chat with our neighbors, the brisk morning air started to get to the kids. One of the firemen noticed, and was nice enough to invite all of the young ones into the firetruck to wait. Ryan got to stand in the back seat area of one of the big trucks, look around, and even roll up the power window! When the firemen (and women) came out and said it was okay to go back inside, one of them helped the kids one by one down from the fire truck. Ryan was quick to say "It was pretty fun!" Later, he told us about how he and the other kids were finding treasure inside the truck, including walkie-talkie holders, a fireman's cell phone, and the fireman's coffee! The lone fireman sitting in the driver's seat was "awesome", he talked to the kids, and was apparently very nice.

As I sit here writing, the fire alarm is still going off, and to my knowledge no one has been able to get ahold of maintenance to silence it. I'll be off to work soon anyway, hopefully by the time I get back someone will have figured out how to shut the blasted thing off. So much for a nice quiet morning for my first day of 1/2 shifts on Saturday, eh?

EDITED: February 26th, 2005 at 10:30am:
Finally, the alarm is off, and the management is here to find out what happened.