Geek Rhétorique

Chapter 4: The American Dream


I compose this message as a form of apology to all the geek-culture-starved devotees of this page; I confess I have had little energy to lend to the project over the past few months. I've recently had to cut my public appearance and web page maintenance schedules to a bare minimum in order to attend to a time-consuming pursuit: the purchase of a new home.

Naturally, a real estate purchase required a great deal of software development work. I approached the problem methodically, carefully defining my requirements and programming all of my criteria for the perfect home into a state-of-the-art neural net search app that I designed to link in with the real estate multilisting system. It narrowed down my choices to three, contacted the selling agents electronically, and made the appointments to suit my hectic schedule.

The financing ordeal was simplified, mercifully, owing to all of my accounts being fully monitored by Quicken, so all I had to do was download the pertinent info to my lender's laptop, and, Presto! approved.

Once the deal was done, I dug up and enhanced the moving software that I developed for my last relocation. It prints up UPC labels for all your possessions, which you just scan with a light pen as you put them into the boxes. When you seal a box, it prints a label for the outside, color coded, with a box number and contents list. I added movers directives labels such as "FRAGILE" and "THIS SIDE UP" for the boxes that needed special care, and I fixed a nasty bug that I discovered in the last move which caused all of my bathroom items to end up on the bookshelves in my office, while my bathroom was filled to the ceiling with lead-heavy boxes of books.

Now, people always tend to think that geeks all live in mansions, but I can hardly call my 8 bedroom, 5 bath bungalow a mansion. After all, 6 of the bedrooms are already fully allocated for storage of backups, old equipment and manuals, and two of the baths don't even have jacuzzis. There were hundreds of gadgets to install, and networking upgrades to make. For the first few days, I was really roughing it with DSL!

And although I love the location and the architectural style, the place will also need extensive renovations. One of the first projects is to remove the kitchen and replace it with a dust-free lab environment. Who really needs more than a microwave, a coffee pot and an office fridge anyway? (Anyone who does clearly has not discovered the innate beauties of pizza delivery) But this is no simple job, and sadly, it lags behind long after the sculptured indoor garden and fountain adjacent to the master bedroom suite are fully completed and working.

Simultaneously, there is extensive work to be done to install the traditional modular workstation environment in the master bath (for those quiet moments...). The real challenge in this project is not so much the design as communicating it to the contractors. From the moment "Georgie" the plumber showed up, it was clear to me that he had never read a UNIX manual. But he was a trooper, and a true professional, and managed to reroute my piping to accommodate the specialized cabling and temperature/humidity control system ductwork that will be laid in next week. I really hate it when the monitor gets fogged up after a hot shower!

Can't do much with the grounds until the spring thaw, but I'm already planning it out. Obviously, a lot of underground cabling will need to be run for power, modem and network jacks next to the pool, and in the gazebo at the center of the rose garden. It would be fun to rig a motion-activated speech synthesis system into those old italianate marble figure statues around the reflecting pool, too, but I may have to put that off until next year.

Well, that's all I have time for, my interior designer just showed up with fabric swatches, linoleum tile samples with multicolored flecks, and pictures of pedestal sinks that look like the Jetsons' house. The joys of home improvement, like the joys of geek life, are without number.

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