csberry: (normal completely different)
During college, I HATED beer. I was the guy that brought his own bottle of wine (started with Boones and worked my way up to Gallo and Paul Masson) to parties because I'd rather lick the side of a urinal than drink the beer from the keg. When I would HAVE to get a beer, I'd go with a Corona, Miller Genuine Draft, or a Rolling Rock...yes, and usually with a lime in the neck of the bottle.

Recently, I've been tasked with building a website for beer reviews. I decided to reopen my willingness to drink beer while pursuing this endeavor. I want to give beer a chance. I want to try a whole spectrum of styles and see what I definitely need to avoid and what are actual beer options I would enjoy to drink.

A few weeks ago, I got permission from work to buy a 6-pack variety each week on the company credit card to help me add comments/scores to the beers on the site as it gets going and tries to pull in an audience. My first 6-pack contained:

Two beers from Huntsville's own Straight to Ale Brewery - Monkeynaut IPA and Sand Island Light House (a kolsch)
Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale
Well's Banana Bread Beer
Dale's Pale Ale
SweetWater Blue (blueberry-flavored beer)

I had really high hopes for the Monkeynaut IPA. IPAs seem to be really popular and there are a lot of them available for trying, so I was hoping for some enjoyment. When seeking advice a year ago about local and regional beers, folks praised Monkeynaut as one of their favorite beers. I poured the Monkeynaut into a tumbler, took a sniff, and fell in love. The sweetness of toffee and other characteristics of the smell were spectacular. It was the best beer moment for me EVAR. Then...I took a sip. BLECH! OMG! SOOOOoooooo nasty! I regained my composure after a minute or two, took another deep breath (with my nose hovering just over the remaining head), and was filled with joy again. After a moment, I knew* Blah! Blah! I have now renamed my puckering face to be my "beer face" from my dislike for the bitterness.

While none of the other beers had such a delightful smell as the Monkeynaut, my experience of loving the smell and then disliking the bitterness and flavor has been repeated with many of the beers I've sampled in the past month. The most annoying part to me is that the only beers that I finished completely were the two fruity ones. Blue was okay, but I really liked the Well's Banana Bread Beer. I didn't love it, but it was my favorite beer...until this weekend.

I bought a new sampler on Friday and things have had a nice change since then. This time I grabbed:

Three Philosophers
La Fin du Monde
Founders Centennial IPA
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale

I feel a lot better about beer now. Friday night I waited and waited for the Three Philosophers to warm up after finding the garage fridge was hovering just over freezing. The wait was rewarded with my favorite beer experience yet. Sure, the high ABV was a bit of a kick to my pants, but I really enjoyed the full experience of drinking it. After the first gulp, I don't think my face made any movements anywhere close to a pucker. I finished my bottle and wanted another. The situation was nearly the same the next night when I tried the La Fin du Monde. Sure, the quad and tripel are accentuated by fruit flavors, but it's not like these are Shocktop fruit beers...right?

When I was at Liquor Express on Friday, I told the guy my experience with Monkeynaut IPA - especially my love for the smell. He told me to try the Founders Centennial IPA and if I didn't like that, then IPAs probably weren't for me. Last night I tried and it, yeah, IPAs are not for me.

Right now, I'm drinking the Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. I'm enjoying this more the more I drink it and the warmer it gets. I'm particularly fond of how the chocolate, coffee, and tobacco flavors are balanced. When I lick my lips, I get a similar taste as I get later in the day after I've had a good cigar.
csberry: (Default)
When I worked in Dallas, I lived in the East Dallas/M-Streets area and the radio station was in Uptown. One of the highlights of each work day occurred during the 4am hour as I emerged from my neighborhood and entered the yellowish glow of Central Expressway. Just to my southwest was the vertical glow of Dallas's nighttime skyline. It was so cool to have so many skyscrapers lit up at night - from the green argon glow of the Bank of America building to the criss-crossing X's on the Renaissance Tower to the light-dotted sphere atop the Reunion Tower.

(This image isn't taken from the angle I saw the city, but I think you get the point.)

After several months, I started to notice a song playing on the radio on many of these commutes to the station. Despite the fact the song is actually about a completely different city AND that Journey is very high on my cheesy-meter, I now have a very warm spot in my heart from my associating these morning "I've made it!" moments with Journey's "Lights."

csberry: (green mammal)
I woke up in a slightly grumpy, yet upbeat mood. I was sure it was just a matter of time until I'd be my normal self. But it took longer than I had hoped for my mood to change.

First, there was overcoming Nigel's eagerness for Plants Vs Zombies. JD and I made a deal to buy the upgrade for the version on the boys' PC. Last night I told Nigel that after I did my WiiFit, I would check my bank account to ensure my paycheck was available. The 40 minute workout was filled with Nigel constantly asking me about checking for the money and how soon until I would be done exercising. I was thoroughly annoyed by the time I was done and was trying to cool down and catch my breath.

Once I finally had Nigel pacified, 10 things seemed to happen at once with work. Phone calls needed to be made, alterations were required on one of our websites, and everything seemed to be the top priority.

It wasn't until this afternoon that the high priority tasks seemed adequately addressed. Finally, a little before 4pm, JD and the boys left for TKD. It was Harper and Daddy time. We spent the next couple of hours playing with puzzles, singing, giving her rides on my back, and playing with stuffed animals.

Topping off the evening was an Eagle board of review. These boards help satisfy the part of me that misses researching and preparing questions for our "pinata" guests from my talk radio days. I gotta get that "deer in the headlights" look from the scout at some point during the evaluation. The questions I recall the most from when earned Eagle were astute observations and philosophical questions from the board of adults. I strive to give the scouts in the boards on which I sit something that they will think about long after the review is done. I think I may have done that with at least one of my observations and follow-up question.

Posted via LjBeetle
csberry: (cocktails)

Sometimes I forget that not only is data entry tedious, but is very time consuming. The work I was hoping to finish this week will likely take another 4 or 5 workdays to complete. My biggest struggle with this copy/paste/edit task is my brain's utter craving for distraction. Even working at the office yesterday didn't improve my productivity. There were several times I found myself standing in front of my US map looking for the city of the caller to Car Talk.

It will be a strictly music (no videos!) day for me at the office today.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

csberry: (Default)
I'm taking a week off from doing work on the eaves for the house. JD's child-birthing class will be from 10am-2pm this week. Since we gotta be quiet during that time and what needs to be accomplished is a ton of nailing, leaving all that work for the hottest part of the day didn't seem like a good idea (not to mention the predicted probability of rain).

I decided to actually finish a project I started a month or so ago with the knocking of the pipes. The knocking is gone, but now I need to do a replacement panel on the wall for easier access to the pipes. Hopefully my dad and I can quickly cut a board Saturday morning, I'll paint it during class, and attach the board to the wall after class.

I'm itching to do some socializing. I realized earlier that I haven't really spent any time in the past month with people that aren't either family or folks at church (not that seeing "folks at church" outside of church wouldn't also satisfy my social-interaction deficit). It would be great if I could take care of the board prep by lunch, catch a long lunch with a friend, and attach the board to the wall between the end of class and dinner at JD's parents' house.
csberry: (Oh My Joel)
Quick backstory: JD is starting a new aspect to her career. She is now also working as a doula. A doula is essentially a child-birthing coach/cheerleader/caretaker for the mother during labor and delivery. JD won't be catching babies.

JD's first client as a doula called yesterday morning stating that she has dilated to 5cm. FYI - 10 cm is when you start pushing. When JD got off the phone yesterday around 9am, we all went into prep for her leaving as soon as the mommy-to-be (M2B) called stating she was in labor. As soon as we made plans with our parents for juggling the kids for last evening since I had a commitment at the scout meeting, I got cracking on finishing a project I've been working on for the past week or so.

By yesterday afternoon, I had finished the project. We haven't heard anything from the M2B since yesterday morning. I am hesitant to get working on my next project out of concern of having to drop what I'm doing as soon as the M2B calls. At the same time, I can't really sit back waiting and then spend the next 12-36 hours away from work while JD is working. I need to run some errands. After that...I really hope JD gets her call so I don't find myself killing all of today doing small menial tasks because of the anticipation of JD's departure.

I am a patient boy. I wait, I wait, I wait, I wait.

Fugazi - "Waiting Room (live '88 in D.C.)" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGJFWirQ3ks
csberry: (cocktails)
I've avoided addressing this issue lately, but I just feel like letting loose now.

Fast background: My laptop started having a freezing problem in the middle of December. Over the past few months I've sent it off 7 times to get this addressed only for the laptop to return not only not fixed, but also having new problems. Supposedly, at least one piece of hardware was replaced during each of these repairs. At this point in the story, I was still getting the freezing, along with getting a blue screen NMI memory hardware error and my monitor (which they JUST replaced because the monitor was flickering and had a black spot in the corner of the screen that was exceptionally hot) now had a dead pixel that always glowed yellow/green.

Two Thursdays ago (April 29th) around 7-8pm my cellphone rang. D'oh! I didn't get to it in time. From the area code of the number, I was fairly certain it was Lenovo's escalation department finally getting in touch with me after I was told they'd call me earlier in the week. I waited a minute for the voicemail chime to go off for me to confirm. As soon as I confirmed it was Lenovo and jotted down the phone number, I called right back. The phone rang twice, someone picked up and then disconnected. I called back again and went straight to his voicemail. I left a message and then listened to the message he left the whole way through. Jamie was calling to let me know that he was going to be out of the office on Friday and wouldn't be back until Monday. He then went on to say that "IF" I called and left him a message, he'd get back to me on Monday morning.

Late Monday afternoon, I got a call back. They were going to send a box and ship the laptop to their engineers in North Carolina. I was pleased to finally get someone looking at the laptop that reputedly had IT expertise and possibly less of an assembly line attitude. This guy would spend time with the laptop and solve the problem. Tuesday the 4th of May, I shipped it off. I had it back in my hands two days later. WHA??

The box contained the laptop and nothing else. No report on repairs done. All work with the "repair depot" had varying amounts of info included on a sheet each of the 7 times the laptop was returned to me. I called Jamie and left a voicemail asking what the engineer did. The oddest thing was that the wrist-rest area's cover was different. Jamie called back later and told me all of these software updates the engineer did. And he stopped.

Wait! This laptop, which has had two different HDs in it would be affected by a software update?! I was highly suspect of this and started airing my displeasure with Jamie. I asked about getting some kind of replacement laptop. He said that Lenovo would never give me a replacement laptop since mine was now 3 years old. I asked about how long we would be continuing this pattern of shipping the laptop back and forth replacing parts before they either tell me to leave them alone or finally do get a replacement. He assured me that they would help me fix this problem. I asked him for how long Lenovo would do it. If I was still having this problem in 4 months, would Lenovo still continue to try to fix it? He refused to answer that question and argued that I was getting worked up over a hypothetical.

*sarcasm*Why, OF COURSE, Jamie, you are absolutely right!*/sarcasm* So, I decided to swallow the remaining words in my mouth and give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, the monitor didn't have the dead pixel, so maybe the NMI error was also taken care of. My worst case scenario was now that only the freezing remained. He set me up to spike him with a "I told you so" and I decided to go for it. I told him I'd try to have faith and politely ended the conversation.

Thus, it was with both tremendous anger and sadistic joy that I stopped what I was doing this morning to grab my cellphone. My laptop had just popped up the damned blue NMI error screen. Doing my best to sound pleasant but not gloating, I, of course, got his voicemail and left a message about how the blue screen had popped up and I wanted to know what to do next. Late this afternoon, I decided to follow up my voicemail and got to Jamie.

"Hi, Jamie?"
"Hey, it's Cory Berry from Huntsville, Alabama."
*mumbles real fast*
"Sorry, what did you say?"
"I've escalated your case and someone from Lenovo will be calling you in the next 48 hours."
"Okay, thanks."

He disconnected immediately.

Now I'm wondering if the 48 hours will equal 6 days since I was told previously they'd call me in 24 and it took Jamie 3 days to call to leave the message he wouldn't be available for three days more. I swear, I wouldn't mind them keeping it for a week or two to investigate the machine. What is the point of them only having the laptop for 24 hours or less at this point and not verifying the work they did actually did something?

Seriously folks, any good recommendations on a Linux-friendly laptop other than Dell or Lenovo?
csberry: (Default)
I was going through my PC this morning trying to dump some stuff to free up HD space. I wandered into my old Ankarlo Mornings folder and found my 3 page instruction sheet on how to produce the morning how that I made in Dallas. It is very detailed and does a great job of illustrating the many of the demands of the job and the anal organization I created to help me accomplish my job each day.

I'm also going to put the Sample Report below the instructions. The report is something I would put together each afternoon and email to the morning show team by 5pm. It contains a schedule for the next morning with resources and then a collection of news stories I found that we might want to cover the next morning.

Producing a Morning Show in 20 Easy Steps )
csberry: (cocktails)
The laptop returned from its FOURTH trip to Lenovo's repair depot in the past 45 days. I came into the office, opened the box, saw the repair sheet from this last visit, and became PISSED OFF beyond words. Despite the history of this support ticket; the list of repairs and replacements which includes replacing the mobo, CPU, and other parts as well as reimaging/reformatting the HD twice (I even include copies of the repair sheets from each visit when I send the laptop in); and the recommendation of the phone support guy to investigate the cooling system...the tech assigned to my laptop this time decided he knew better. Vincent decided that the only problem with my laptop was that I hadn't installed the updated Lenovo Toolbox software on the hard drive. Never mind that I wrote on the repair sheet that the HD was reimaged twice and every diagnostic (including the full suite of the Lenovo Toolbox) has always shown that every piece of hardware passes.

Vincent was too stupid or egotistical to believe all that documentation. So, Vincent apparently worked on my laptop on Friday, installed that software, and then immediately shipped it back to me. HOW THE FUCK DID HE THINK THAT SOLVED THE PROBLEM!

I'm getting to the point that I'm convinced that the repair guys in Memphis take a stab at the problem, do a token amount of diagnostic software, and then ship it back to me so *I* can actually test the laptop to see if what the did fixed it. Well, guess what! I've received the laptop back from you 4 times now and the previous 3 returns resulted in the laptop freezing before 24 hours have passed. Don't be proud that you "fixed" and returned the laptop in 24 hours. Keep the damned thing for 3 or 4 days to actually see if the problem occurs instead of shuffling it back to me in some crazed version of "laptop hot potato."

I immediately called Lenovo to complain about this. I was escalated to a "repeat repair" rep and he said that they couldn't take an action until there is actual indication that the work Vincent did didn't actually fix it. We ran the HD diagnostic and it, of course, said everything is peachy. So I have to wait until it freezes (history says it should happen before lunch tomorrow) and then I can have them send me a replacement HD since that is what the repeat repair rep said was the only other logical hardware solution. If that fails, then I get to have the engineers at Lenovo give it a look over and determine if I get a replacement.


But other than this experience, I have been VERY HAPPY with Lenovo and their support staff.
csberry: (cocktails)
My work laptop has returned from its third trip to Lenovo's repair depot in Memphis. This time around the sheet indicates the actions taken were "processor/CPU" and "plastics" (the first and second trips involved "system board/planar" and "memory" as well as reimaging the hard drive during the second trip). I wonder if this will do the trick or if they will end up replacing the remaining original pieces of hardware over the course of a couple of more repairs.

I have the laptop just running on idle right now with me popping by every now and then to do something (such as this post). If the laptop is going to freeze, I want it to do it ASAP and am hoping that leaving the laptop up and running for the rest of the day will expose the problem if it still exists. I'm just glad that I'm not having to do the day-worth of reloading programs after another harddrive cleaning. Because of the problems, the laptop still isn't fully loaded, but it has most everything I need for typical use.

But I yearn for being able to resume my routine of being able to work on the laptop in bed or elsewhere instead of being leashed to the PC at my desk all day.
csberry: (Dance-YoGabbaGabba)
I'm so glad I have my dad's old over-the-ear headphones from the 70's.

I haven't used them much since getting out of radio, but I pulled them out the other day so I could listen to music while sitting at my PC (which is basically located smack dab in the middle of the living room/playroom open space. With these beautiful babes by Pioneer surrounding my ears, a little bit of volume can completely turn off the chaos around me.

I'm blissfully working now (well, not NOW, but just before coming to do the post) at the PC with some sweet tunes engulfing me. :)
csberry: (Default)
The Nashville NBC affiliate had a morning show host contest. This is the profile they created for Darrell. If you watch intently, you get a 1.5 second flash of me while I ran the board during the footage in the studio.

Then, a few weeks later...you again get only a flash of me behind the sound board.

csberry: (cocktails)
I don't immediately recall if I've said much about my problems with my laptop. About a week before Xmas, my laptop started freezing. There has been no pattern to when or why it is freezing other than the computer is on. It happens in both Linux and Winders. BUT every single diagnostic run on the laptop has shown the hardware is performing fine.

I sent it off a week ago and got it back on Monday...still not fixed. Yesterday, the guy was adamant that the next thing I HAD to do was to re-image the HD. Since we installed Linux to make the laptop dual-boot after buying it, it seems that the ways someone would otherwise access the embedded image partitioned in a corner of the HD were no longer possible...I would need a Windows disc. Unfortunately, I can't find a disc for the laptop; not at the office, not at the FIL's office, or at my house. I discover that I have WinXPPro for my PC and the disc should work for the laptop (using the product key on the sticker attached to laptop).

I called Lenovo this morning to update the info on the ticket with my situation on how I was having to reimage. After trying a few other suggestions by tech support that didn't work, I was assured that if there was a problem with this, then they would help me with a disc or whatever. I hung up, took a deep breath, and popped the WinXP disc into the laptop.

It took about 45 seconds for the setup program to stop working because it couldn't detect any hard drives. I called up Lenovo and after running through a summary of the situation, he guided me through a couple of tweaks in BIOS as well as trying one other trick to try to access the partitioned image Lenovo had embedded. The process was started again with no troubles at all during the "installing Windows" process.

But as anyone that has ever installed or updated Windows knows, it is NEVER actually ready to go when the install program says it is. There are always a ton of drivers to be found and installed, configurations/wizards to complete, and then hours of trying to figure out why certain things aren't working. It was during this extended process of getting the laptop to actually work that the computer froze up.


Overcome by anguish that my current stress level from reimaging the HD was seemingly for naught, I left the laptop off and went to call Lenovo for psychiatric assistance. Of course it was when I was the most upset and impatient that I reached the tech support person with the most foreign accent of all the support folks (God bless my calls going to the support center in Atlanta and getting a good mix of folks with Southern accents I can understand). At first I'm told that it would cost $45+ for them to ship me a reimage disc since my adding Linux and making it dual-boot invalidated the warranty on the OS install. I pointed out to her that I ONLY did the reimaging at Lenovo's insistence and had received reassurance that this was going to be the solution to my problem. Now, on their advice, I was out $45 to fix something they essentially had me break and my laptop still had the original problem. After being on hold for a minute, I was told that a re-image disc was on its way at no charge.

As soon as the disc arrives, I'll do that process just for the sake of getting the laptop to working order. It will be then that I'll see if the problem continues before shipping the laptop to them for extended testing.
csberry: (cocktails)
Upon returning from Atlanta the Sunday before Christmas, I started having a problem with the laptop. About once a day, the laptop would completely freeze. After several days, I was able to witness the freezing in numerous programs and then in both OS's on the laptop. Strangely enough, in the middle of last week, the rate of freezing started to increase. Yesterday I tried to use the laptop about 9 times. About half of the attempts were in Ubuntu/Linux and the other half in Winders. The damned thing crashed within a minute of the OS's completing the load of the desktop. It seems to be a hardware issue.

Despite the fact the Lenovo support page states the support phone number is open 24/7, I never got a ring or anything when I called the number yesterday (30-45 seconds of silence than a click of disconnect). Today, the call went straight to the calling system w/o a ring, so I guess the phone number was correct, but the 24/7 service must now be a thing of the past.

I've talked to Wes at Lenovo's call station in ATL. The laptop has behaved well enough that I was able to download the latest version of their diagnostic software. It is currently 63% done, all the tests have so far passed, and there hasn't been a freeze on the laptop yet. I'm going to be severely pissed if the diagnostic can't find anything wrong and the laptop won't freeze today. Problems are annoying; "intermittent problems" are exercises in torture from Satan himself.
csberry: (Turkey Volume)
* Today is my big work day of this week. Nothing else to focus on but work.

* Tomorrow morning, I will be getting two old fillings replaced. A little bit of my military dentistry history will be removed from my mouth. I probably won't get back to working until after lunch.

* I think Wednesday will easily slip into "Friday" mode with doing prep for T-giving. I'll be working, but the probability for distractions will be very high.

* Thanksgiving will be at my parents' house. Shortlegs will be coming down from Nashville and is going to be staying a few days.

* JD and her mom will be doing the "5am Until Physical Collapse" shopping spree on Friday. I have decreed Friday to be "Manly Black Friday" at the Berry home. It is way past time for the hole in the garage ceiling from where I fell through earlier this year to get patched up. Before/during/after the replacement of the drywall for the ceiling, we're going to add extra bracing and put down more plywood flooring in the attic. While that work is getting done, Calvin and Mac will be working on drilling out and hanging the new bedroom door for the boys' room (Calvin kicked a hole in the door earlier this year while having a tantrum). Mom will keep Harper and/or Nigel preoccupied while the guys are working.

We'll be doing the home improvement stuff in the morning and will have the Iron Bowl serving as our deadline early that afternoon (although I will have the DVR set to record it and we'll likely start watching it 30 minutes later anyway). I'm still debating what sort of food stuffs we could throw in a crockpot overnight or first thing in the morning to feed us during the game so we aren't sending someone out on a fast food run.
csberry: (Clean horn)
I honestly just spent nearly the past hour looking up various euphemisms for "getting an erection" online. Yes, I did this for work.

I plan on posting about this later, but I've had an idea for a series of videos to promote AnteSpam. Now that the website is set to sell directly to customers (along with selling through our resellers), I really need to get some action happening with marketing. The trick is that it's not like the family business has a lot of dough to put into a commercial budget. So I'm trying to come up with scripts that will work with spending as little money as possible - as close to free as I can get is best. I'm convinced that if I can get a few of these videos produced, I'll be able to promote the videos easily and very cheaply to news outlets and word-of-mouth/viral *shudders at use of "viral"*.
csberry: (cocktails)
If you want to have a private meeting, don't gather in the hallway outside my door and open transom window. And don't get upset and give me evil eyes because I dare to exit my office to go down the hall.


Everyone should read Gary Larson's "There's a Hair in my Dirt!"


I think the A/C is on the fritz. It's 77 in the office and the thermostat is set at 72.


I'm out of gum at the office and have grown tired of tasting shrimp picatta.


I keep listening to a remix of Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks" today. Is it just me or could this easily fit in fine with the Electric Dreams soundtrack?

csberry: (Default)
When I woke up this morning and stepped outside, it was as if fall was arriving. It was so cool and comfy with a nice breeze, muted skies, and occasional drizzle. I decided to spend some time out on the covered front porch working. Before I knew it, it was 5:30pm and I was logging off. It was so pleasant watching the showers come through, the clouds break up, and then cluster together again while doing one of my more mundane work tasks today. The breeze kept the background music of wind chimes tumbling at a nice, mellow tempo and volume. I'm keeping the small desk out on the porch and hope to work out there frequently on the days where it is comfortable enough to spend the time outside.
csberry: (DW-Please)
I have a former boss of mine that does PR work. She has a plastic surgeon client that needs a website. It will be a 6-8 page site promoting the plastic surgery business. There will also be some need for help maintaining the site afterward (for either you or someone you recommend to do the maintenance). If anyone is interested, let me know what contact info you'd like for me to pass along for her to contact you/your friend or SO.

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Cory Berry

June 2016

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