I have been a resident of Pittsburgh for a few days more than two months now. While this is not the first time I’ve lived alone (lived alone during the summer of 2006 at an apartment in New Wilmington), it is the farthest from home I’ve lived.
It’s been a little weird not seeing my parents every couple days or so, especially when I’d lived at home since August 2007 while commuting to Robert Morris University in Moon Township for my Masters coursework. Even when I lived in New Wilmington, I went home for dinner every two or three days and did all of my laundry there. I could have packages shipped there without concern for safe delivery. If I hadn’t had a chance to go shopping, I could run home and grab a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if there were no better-tasting leftovers in the fridge.
Work is going very well. I enjoy it, and look forward to it. I’m working for Clayton Kendall, a promotional marketing company which also runs Rush Imprint, the fastest imprinted goods purveyor on the Internet. The company does a lot of business-to-business sales, selling client company goods to its franchises or employees. Our developer team is small, but we know what we’re doing. We’ve had our crises, but we work through them and come out all the better.
The dining room and living room ante-furniture
I’m growing acclimated to my apartment. It is very spacious for my general needs. My 10′ x 12′ bedroom—not yet finished and still quite messy from the move—is more than sufficient, given that the room in which I lived until I was 16 was approximately 6′ x 10′, and my newer room was 12′ x 14′. All I really do in my room is sleep, so it doesn’t need to be large.
The kitchen is lacking the kind of counter space to which I’d grown accustomed at my New Wilmington apartment (having a 4′ x 8′ island spoiled me forevermore), but I moved a table from the computer room into the kitchen. I now have sufficient space to enjoy my dinner without having to clear off the dining room table, which has become somewhat of a warzone/workshop. I cook much of my own food, generally enjoying six of seven dinners at home per week. Lunch is a different story; I usually eat a Lean Pocket or can of Spaghetti-Os or something like that.
I’m probably going to do the living and dining room in a dark red, navy blue, and hunter green motif, with the natural maple color of my furniture as a base. The curtains are probably going to be red. The green will be provided by a number of plants, as the apartment does get quite stuffy and I’ve really noticed a difference in the air down here, inside the apartment and outside around the city, too. I don’t know the source of the blue, yet, but I think it may be in the furniture. I don’t know; I need to talk it out with people who know more about home decoration than I.
Stained Ikea table for a Colinese flare
A few nights ago, Jon helped me move my new computer desk into my computer room. I have yet to finish moving everything else back into the room; it’s a work-in-progress. I like having a much larger workspace. I can spread out more, but I also have to try to keep things cleaner than they were on my messy desk at home. I’ll also have some room to review larger hardware items without having to use my bed as a photography table.
I do, however, still need to figure out how I’m going to set up two printers, a development server in a micro ATX case, a 16 port gigabit switch, a router, a four bay NAS, a one bay NAS, and two USB hard drives plugged into a Linksys slug NAS. Oh, and I have three laptops (XO, Eee, Averatec 3270 which will be soon replaced by an ASUS F9) and another development server (Vojistilo, for Vojisto), the latter of which has yet to even make it to my apartment.
I’m not quite used to paying bills yet. I’ve never had bills other than quarterly college loan bills, all of which now have turned into simple interest notices because I was unable to afford the payments while doing my Masters work (a normal thing for PA students). My bills aren’t outrageous by any means; I’m living well within my means and have a nest egg for emergencies. I’m worried about the stability of the American dollar, though, so I’m looking at investment options in precious metals and foreign currency/foreign banks. That’s fodder for another post, though.
I’m also not used to having an income. That’s been my excuse for a few excesses lately, like camarones a la diabla, which is usually $15 for a dinner. “I have an income, now,” I say to my friends, most of whom have enjoyed salaried employment for at least a year. I know I’ll have to cut back when I have to start paying on my student loans, but that’s to be expected. I’m enjoying sushi and the like now while I can.
It’s quite convenient to have a Giant Eagle and an Aldi less than a mile away. I was so accustomed to driving 10-20 minutes to get groceries. These locations are within walking distance, but seeing as though I generally buy my groceries in waves, I have yet to actually walk to either. There’s also a Rite-Aid across the street from Aldi and a Taco Bell even closer, Dominoes, too.
Speaking of walks, I went on a walk a few days ago whilst Rahab, my primary workstation, compiled a custom Linux kernel (I finally have sound in Flash on my Creative X-Fi!). I walked around the neighborhood and then down towards a park and ride off of Rt. 30 behind the Westinghouse Atom Smasher. A coworker said that there was a staircase from the park and ride up to the road behind the Atom Smasher facility. There is, yes, but it’s fenced off because there aren’t many stairs remaining on it.
When I returned, I realized how tired I was. I haven’t gone on a walk since I moved. I think I’m going to have to restart that ritual. I’ve been watching closely the things I eat, having put myself on a sort of “zig zag” diet. This diet plays on the body’s switching between high calorie day/increased metabolism and low calorie day/decreased metabolism to foster gradual weight loss. Basically, I maintain a low calorie diet (~1,000 calories) for four days, then have a high calorie day (2,000 calories). It’s worked out well thus far—I’ve lost approximately five pounds since I moved. My goal is to weight approximately 200 pounds by Christmas—it’s a lofty goal, but I’m working toward it.
I don’t have anything to report regarding the romantic parts of my life, other than that it’s a work-in-progress. It will suffice to say that I’ve realized I need to work on myself before I can work on an “us,” but I certainly will not turn down potential opportunities.
While Clayon Kendall is the primary consumer of my time—and payer of bills—I do still write for ThinkComputers and BIOS LEVEL. The former is getting busier and busier: Bob Buskirk, the owner, has been posting a review almost every day. Most recently, I wrote a review of the CineRaid Quad-bay SATA/SAS RAID Device, an awesome external RAID device for professional graphics folks. I’m working on a few power supplies, and then I’ll have another NAS for review. I’m also working on an article about the ASUS Eee PC and some creative hackery with it.
BIOS LEVEL is picking up a bit, but we posted fewer reviews in July than in June and saw less traffic. Our peak traffic recently was the day after Sean Potter posted his article on Using
chroot to recover root passwords. A second, lesser peak was the day after John Yackovich posted his review of the Corsair CMPSU-750TX 750W power supply. Sean and I have some exciting articles planned for August, as well as an awesome contest in conjunction with Pittco! Later in the month or in early September, I might have an article on creative uses of the Wiimote with Linux. In October, much of the BIOS LEVEL staff will be in attendance at Ohio Linuxfest, and I’ll be reporting from it.
Speaking of Pittco, Iron Storm 9 is August 16 and 17 at the Castle Shannon Firehall in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. It’s $25 for 24 hours of food, fun, and fragging. I still have a few power supplies I’d like to sell, so if you’re looking to build a computer or give your current one some extra umph, please talk to me before, during, or after the event. I’ll make you an offer you shouldn’t refuse.
Oh, I almost forgot. I have a Masters degree now
I think that’s it for this life update. I’d better cut it off here before I beg too many “TL;DR” from readers. Follow me on Twitter (colindean) or Identi.ca (colindean) to get my daily updates and such.