Where I've Been - The Installation, The Condo

It's been a while! You might be wondering where I've been hiding all this time. Well, this being the first time I've been able to sit myself in front of my home iMac for more than 10 minutes in two weeks, I decided I'd finally stick a posting on the 'ol blog again, with a quick update of the happenings in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

The Installation

Basically, this has been my life for the past two weeks. During a normal day, I would prepare for the installation, go home, work on the condo a bit, then worry about the installation. Then, I'd go to sleep, wake up, prepare for the installation, etc. (repeat this over and over again). In fact, from Monday through just a few hours ago, I think I spent more time at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis than in bed!

But the payoff was huge:

Installation Mass of Archbishop Carlson - by Lisa Johnston  

The Mass of Installation was an emotional and exciting event. Archbishop Carlson's homily was well-received, the media was pretty well-contained, and the faithful were happy to be part of this historic event. What was I doing all this time? Well, first I was working on tuning the Archdiocese's new web server (hosted in Texas), making sure it wouldn't go down like our old server did during the morning of the Archbishop's press conference (more to come on this from Midwestern Mac soon!). I heavily optimized the MySQL database server, Apache, and PHP, then spent some time working on a page caching mechanism for the Review and the Archdiocese (both sites were hammered pretty hard—150 page views per second!).

Then came putting in some cabling—namely, four Cat5e cables (two for video monitors, two for in/out mic-level audio) and two R6 coax cables (for the two floor manned camera positions). I had my fingers crossed the day before the Installation, when we finally tested everything. It worked, and I was ecstatic! With some help from one of the Associates, the maintenance crew, and Jesus' aid, we were able to get over 5,000 ft. of cable run throughout the 100-year-old building and have the connections end up rock-solid.

On the day of the Installation, I was helping the dynamic team Sid Hastings, Teak Phillips, Lisa Johnston and Jerry Naunheim to post up-to-the-minute pictures of the event on the St. Louis Review website. In addition, I was working to make sure the web stream on archstl.org was running without a hitch (it did, the whole time!), and recording and posting the homily within minutes of it's delivery. Believe me, this stuff took more preparation than I could've imagined. But with the proper preparation, the execution can be a joy... which it was. I wanted to meet Mr. American Papist himself, but was unable to. I did see a lot of priest friends, and many others besides!

The Condo

It's nearing completion. There are (and always will be) a few small projects I haven't gotten around to, but at least it looks nice around here:

My New Living Room - in the Condo

The living room area (half of which is pictured above) is almost finished, and will remain carpeted up to the right edge of the built-into-the-wall bookshelf. The couch (with matching pillows ;-) is brand new, the stretched-canvas photo of the Arch (from a few years ago) just came in yesterday from Canvas Press, and the end table in the corner was just put together yesterday. There's a nice icon of Jesus, and a picture of my graduating class from Cardinal Glennon College on top.

The two in-wall speakers, you'll notice, don't have any visible cables. Since the wall they're in is a shared wall (with my neighbor), I couldn't go tearing anything down, and the wall was stuffed full of insulation, so I had to get creative to hide the cables... more to come on that! (Hint: look down below the speaker closest to the camera position, and see if you can figure it out).

I'm going to be putting in some Pergo (wood composite) flooring in the welcoming/dining area, and I'll be doing a little more painting/touchup work, but other than that, the main things are complete. The most important areas are now completely functional: kitchen, laundry, bath, bed, and entertainment (5.1 system + Xbox 360 + 27" LCD + brand new couch = relaxing!).

One thing I've figured out after becoming a new homeowner is that you get tons of unsolicited mail from 'loan help' and 'mortgage assistance' companies out to grab a few quick bucks! Now I'm getting spam in my email, my mail, and, heck, even on the phone!