It has been a crazy 2 weeks.  This weekend being MUCH better than last weekend.

Last weekend, between Friday night and Saturday, my main PC (the one I use for development, photo editing, game playing, etc) locked up.  I haven’t seen a computer freeze and lock up like it did for quite some time.  Reboot and no luck.  It was having problems getting past POST and if it did get past POST, it locked up on the screen where the XP logo fades in on boot up.  Lots of potty language later, I realized this was a heck of a hardware problem.

I ended up at the local computer store and snagged a new motherboard and processor.  Of course, gotta snag some RAM since my former rig was as ancient and the old RAM was either bad or incompatible (maybe it would have been compatible, it definitely would have been a performance bottle-neck).  Dual monitors?  Need another video card for that since the old one doesn’t fit any of the fancy-pants new AGP slots.  Also had to get a new hard drive, just in case one of mine died and a new DVD drive since all my gear is IDE and I was out of IDE connections for my existing DVD drive.

I replace it all and thought I did a great job.  The problem was still there!  WTF?!

After more trouble shooting, I determine it to be a 2 part issue.  The mouse really wants to be plugged directly into the box versus the USB hub.  Also, it would appear my USB LCD display (a little 4 line, 20 character display) is toast and appears to be the source of all my hardware problems.

Oh well.

That machine was at least 4 years old and an upgrade was about due.  It runs Word really nicely (think how fast WordPerfect would be!).

I picked up an Asus Netbook for Masha (Olessia’s sister).  It is a spiffy little gadget!  She will be able to use it to connect to Skype and call in whenever she likes (it comes pre-loaded and we tested it out and works nicely).  It was so spiffy, I got one for myself.  I’ve been able to toss all sorts of stuff on it without any problems.  I’m looking forward to taking it to Russia and using it on the plane.  I’m also looking forward to toting it around to class and using it for note taking.

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Olessia’s green card was successfully renewed!  This one should be good for 10 years.  She hasn’t received the card yet but has received a notice letter.

I received my visa for our Russia trip.  With this, we are just about set to go.

I joined the Cleveland Photographic Society and have been busy snapping pictures.  Check out the gallery at

Olessia got an A+ in her accounting class.  She is starting her MBA at BW.

I got kicked out of U. Akron for taking a calculus at Tri-C without Akron’s permission.  Thanks Akron!  I took the spring semester off and I’m taking classes at Tri-C to finish up my general education requirements I know I will be required to take when I transfer back to Akron.  I’m taking a biology class, golf, and a humanities class.

Olessia and I went out and partied in the flats with 13 of our friends.  That was FUN!

I got rear ended by a Progressive driver (no one was hurt).  I got the Progressive concierge service experience and it was great (washed the car – inside and out).

Olessia got a raise and a bonus at work.

We ate at Lola’s with our friends.

I know there’s been a lack of updates.  We have been kind of busy…

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Olessia has three weeks of vacation.  Me, on the other hand, has been switching jobs so much I am lucky to get a week here and there.  I made the switch to Progressive at the beginning of January and the trip to Russia had been on hold due to the situation at National City Bank.  It was looking pretty good I would have enough comp. time and vacation time at National City Bank that I could take three weeks off.  But the bank was in trouble and then bought out and my job security wasn’t looking all that great.  At Progressive, you accrue vacation time on an hourly basis.  The Russia trip looked like it was in jeapordy.

With some checking with my boss, I am able to take three weeks!  Granted, one is unpaid, but that’s ok!

Olessia has some paperwork to take care of back in Moscow.  That’s the number one priority.  I’m having fun looking into number two: touristy things to do.  So far, I think the following (in and around Moscow) might be fun:

  • KGB Museum
  • Polytechnical Museum (science museum)
  • Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics
  • Moscow House of Photography
  • Kremlin
  • Dubna: Swimming pool Olessia went to
  • Moscow University (Not sure if that is the right name. The uni Olessia went to school)
  • MAKC (2009 Moscow air show)

Notice, there’s no McDs on this list like in 2007.  As I come up with more ideas, I’ll post them here.  If you have ideas, feel free to leave a comment.

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I tried to transfer my calculus 2 class from Tri-C to the University of Akron.  No luck.  In fact, because I took it outside of U. Akron, I’m no longer a student.  Nice.  So now I have to transfer back in as a new student.  Doing so will require an additional 3 or so more classes I will have to take, so I’m going to wait and take them at Tri-C, then transfer everything over.

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It took a year to do it. But i did it. I passed calc 2. I scored an A in the class. No more calc classes for me! Now I need to transfer the credit to U. Akron and I am done with this flavor of math.  I still have a stats class to deal with.

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Olessias 2009 Honda Fit Sport

Olessia's 2009 Honda Fit Sport

Olessia just purchased this 2009 Honda Fit Sport.  She ordered it a couple weeks ago and word was it would be 8 to 10 weeks for it to come in (6 weeks just to ship!).  The dealer pulled some strings and got one a bit sooner.  So Friday the dealer called and told Olessia the car was in.  She ran over to the dealer and did some paperwork while they spent the day preping the car.  She picked it up at 5pm and it was just about good to go (it was missing floor mats since they thought they were standard but were not).

She got a great price on it.  It is a manual transmission (5-speed) and has a navigation unit.  She also added on the cargo tray and cargo shelf.

I drove it on Saturday and it is a FUN car.  It has some nice get-up-and-go.  The seats are very comfy.  The interior has a really nice finish to it.  And geez does this thing have gadgets!  It has a USB adapter for MP3s and iPods, an audio jack, a port for plugging memory sticks in, and plays MP3 CDs and audio DVDs!  The car has voice recognition for controlling the navigation unit and audio.  And to top it all, Olessia is getting about 37mpg!

Now Olessia has a properly working defroster, heating, and AC (and probably her first car with WORKING air conditioning!).

Click the photo to see more pictures…

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Awesome.  My cable company doubled the Internet bandwidth at the cable modem.  They sent a mailer, which I have an instinctive response to throw the mailer out.  This time I looked it over and they weren’t selling anything.  I read it again and they provided instructions on how to reset the cable modem to get the faster bandwidth.

I had to put in a tech support call since the bandwidth testing I did didn’t show any change.  A big “doh!” on my part, the connection worked fine when plugged into the cable modem.  For a moment, I thought my router would have to be replaced because it wasn’t downloading anything over 4000kbps.  Then I realized this isn’t just a normal router.  I had QoS enabled and it was still set on the previous bandwidth settings (4000kbps was the max, previously, and it was doing a GREAT job limitting the bandwidth to just that).  I disabled it and bam!  11500kbps down.  Awesome.

Heres the speed results from

Here's the speed results from

And for comparison, here’s the bandwidth results from my DD-WRT enabled Linksys router:

Linksys Router Bandwidth

Linksys Router Bandwidth

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I’m going to tackle all of these, although not necessarily in order…

View of Cleveland From the East Side

View of Cleveland From the East Side

Nothing too new with photography.  I did attend the Cleveland Photographic Society club meeting and it was quite interesting.  I plan to attend more meetings when I’m feeling better (I missed the last meeting due to sinuses).  Olessia and I headed over to Lake View Cemetery to check out the James Garfield monument.  The balcony has a nice view of Cleveland and we grabbed some shots.  I wasn’t feeling too good so I didn’t shoot much.

Calculus 2 is chugging along.  So far, it appears I am minus 12 points from 100% for 2 quizes and one exam.  I’m hoping and working hard to hold onto this lead.  Just three exams (second one will be tomorrow), two quizzes, and a final left to go.

Something new, I wrote a C# app to change my desktop wallpaper randomly across multiple monitors.  Its open source and can be found here: WallpaperChanger.

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Like a print of any of the pictures in the portfolio?  Order prints online!  Here’s how:

First visit my portfolio and pick a picture you like.  Click on that picture.  At the bottom, there will be a drop down box.  From the drop down box, select “Print on” (you could also print at Shutterfly, although you have less options and it is a bit more expensive).

I tested this out with Digibug and it is a really nice service.  They had the prints in the mail the next day!  I had them print poster sized pictures, which were 30″x40″ in size!  Next time, I’m going to go a bit smaller with 24″x36″ so I can buy a frame off the shelf instead of building one.

If you order a photo, let me know!  Or better yet, send me a picture of the photo you printed in action, on the wall, or anywhere else.

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