Showing posts from 2007

Holiday Pictures

Everyone's doing it, so I feel like I must too. Here's a posting of some of our Christmas and Baptism pictures from the last couple weeks. I can't embed a slideshow here, so have to settle for the link .

Hanging the Crown

Sometimes good fortune is upon me. Yesterday was one of those days. In addition to my eldest daughter's baptism (another post forthcoming), I was able to spend most of the day hanging crown molding in our newly completed basement family room. The basement has been done for about 6 months now, but I decided to finally make good on my "trim" plans since I'm off work and otherwise bored enough to go work anyway. When we planned and built the room, we wanted to set it up for watching movies properly. I ran several thousand feet of cables through the walls. Overkill? No way. I prefer the term "thoughtful." I can't begin to count the hours I spent down there just staring at walls in the middle of construction, pondering just how things should be setup. True meditation. I setup the speaker wiring with three different runs since I just could not determine which way I wanted to face the room. The solution was simply to run wires all over the place and

Let the Photos Roll

According to Picasa, we've taken 170-something pictures this month. (Full disclosure, that extraordinary figure does include the gallant pictures of Kristen's salty noodles that Jo took!) Guess that blows the 11 from last January out of the water. We seem to take lots of pictures at this time of year. I'm just glad for digitals. They keep so well and don't cost much when Amy decides to take 29 pictures of the top half of her own head. I didn't really have a point with this post, other than I saw this picture and thought it needed to be posted.

Regifted Elephants

12/30 update. I've been waiting for a photo to complete this post, but thought it worth sharing this gem with you while I search. OK, so I have an update on the White Elephant post below. I knew instantly when I received the lovely lightplate what I should do with it. Our good friend turned 40 recently and we attended her surprise party the other night, all dressed in black. I had to come up with the perfect gift. What a better birthday gift than a Michaelangelo's-David lightplate? But that was too normal, so I thought I'd spice it up a bit. In collusion with her sister, I was able to get a perfect picture of our friend's husband. A little crafty patchwork (yeah, that's right Carly!) and I had myself a much-improved gift! Once hubbie's mug was secured to the lightplate, the gift was completed with a clever card suggesting she could now turn him on or off whenever she likes. Ahh, sometimes pure genius just flows, what can I say?! Yeah, pure genius. Inc

They Stitched Her Hair!

We had a wonderful Christmas morning. There's not much in the world that compares to watching children open presents. The look of delight on their faces says it all. It's a thrill to make any of their dreams come true. My wife is wonderful about planning a wonderful holiday every year. (I help in spirit.) We took lots of care this year to get gifts that would be practical and usable far beyond the initial one-week novelty. There is, however, one thing that absolutely DRIVES ME CRAZY about toys. I'm absolutely sure it's a conspiracy, one that goes all the way to the center of our Chinese-made toy industry. Have you ever tried to actually open a Barbie? It's impossible! Most dolls are secured more soundly than a terrorist in Gitmo. Some of today's treasures had numerous twist-ties, plastic retainers, and all sorts of slice-your-finger-open plastic. I love that stuff. In an age of suing over hot coffee and narrow toilet seats, surely I could win some

Laughing at the Elephant

I had to wait a few days to make this post. Last Saturday we had one of the annual highlights of our year. Each year, friends of ours organize a Christmas party (adults only) for 30-40 folks. It's always lots of fun, primarily because of who gets invited. In most social groups, there's usually one or two people that are the proverbial "life of the party." Well, in ours, there's a few guys who could probably make some of the gals wet their pants laughing. It just comes naturally. Each year at this Christmas party, we participate in a white-elephant gift exchange. If you've not been fortunate enough to participate in such an exchange, everyone brings a $5-or-less gift, new or used, nice or ugly, and puts it into the pile. Many of the gifts are wrapped in very appealing paper, but veterans have learned to avoid those presents at all costs; they always conceal something you're sure to wish you'd left in the pile. As people select gifts, we all g

Merry Christmas

OK, no "Happy Holidays" on my blog. Merry Christmas to all of you. Enjoy.

Taking My Kids Skiing (and a Word About Snowboarders!)

Jolayne already beat me to the punch on reporting our trip, so this'll just have to be my version. After many years of idealizing in my mind what it would be like, I finally took Amy and Misha skiing at Copper Mountain last week. Short summary of the trip: reality doesn't always match the idyllic view in the mind's eye! Though we had a great time and came home without any injuries, my visions of tooling down the hill with my girls came off just a little differently. As Jolayne said, it was ridiculously cold. It was below zero at home before we even left, and the predicted high temp on the mountain was something like 15 degrees. We caravaned up the mountain (a 2-3 hour trip most of the time in winter) with friends, but after a trip home to pick up forgotten items and a clogged/frozen windshield washer sprayer (and stop to fix), we finally got into the mountains. Traffic up the freeway was terrible. Apparently people think it's well worth a 30-minute wait to wat

Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

March 2008 Update : The lecture below is over an hour. If you're short on time, Randy gave an abbreviated reprise of the lecture on Oprah, which is only 11 minutes. Watch it . Recently I attended a talk given by Grady Booch , IBM's self-proclaimed chief mad scientist. In his talk (which was about the future of software), he mentioned a very interesting lecture series from Carnegie Mellon University, first titled the "Last Lecture" (and later changed to the " Journeys " series), which we should all check out. I was interested. The original structure of the series was to have speakers present as though it was the last presentation they'd ever give, and present the material they felt most important. In September 2007, Randy Pausch , a computer-science faculty member at the university--famous for his work in virtual worlds--spoke on "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." He had been diagnosed several months previous with a terminal pancre

Ringing the Bell

On Saturday I was finally able to do something that I'd wanted to do for a very long time: ring the bell for a couple hours for the Salvation Army bucket in front of our local grocery store. It was a really cold morning (probably low 20's) with ice all over the place, but the store was still very busy. I learned several important things for which I am very grateful: I learned in about 5 minutes to stop judging people (I shouldn't do it anyway, I know). Those who *appeared* the least likely to give donated the most. Those who seemed the most eligible avoided eye contact. It's really cool to watch people put 5, 10, and 20 dollar bills into the bucket. I never knew folks were that generous. There is still much goodness in our society. It just gets pushed aside for juicier stories on the evening news. In the course of a couple hours, I'm sure I picked up at least a couple hundred dollars in that bucket. The guy who came in the afternoon said he had to empty it b

Addicted to Crack...berry

Well, I've done it. I've taken the plunge to a place from whence I'm surely to never emerge. I just ordered a Blackberry. Because these handheld PDA devices are so addictive, they've been coined Crackberries. In addition to the regular web/mail/IM junk, though, my Crackberry will: be red (very sexy!) have GPS (totally geeky!) have a 2MP camera (totally unnecessary!) tether to my PC so I can be online (either from the device or directly to the PC) anywhere. This will replace my data card I have on my PC now, but will be slower, though a little more useful. (totally mobile!) have a card slot where I can put on 4GB of whatever, including docs, music, etc (totally helpful!) So the next time you see me, don't be surprised if there's a Crackberry on my person! Now I can be a geek anytime, anywhere (as if I needed an excuse). Why, I'll likely even be asked to fix someone's PC using it at some point!

Tech Support

Yes, that's my alter-ego. It's a good thing I know how to fix computers, because I'd have nothing to do with my evenings otherwise! A friend from church called me up several weeks ago with a problem on his college-aged daughter's laptop. It was full of crap. The kind of crap you get from going to sites you shouldn't be on, like the music-pirating sites. Of course, the daughter says that it was her "friend" who did that, and she told her not to... This machine wasn't just full of crap, it was absolutely trashed beyond repair. So I spend hours upon hours on it and manage to salvage the data. Then I get to order recovery CD's since none were available. Wait a few days for the mail to come, reload WinXP, patch the heck out of it, add all the free security and malware tools I can think of, restore the data. Phew, it's fixed and I'm a nice guy! Game over . But then... Game not over. Instead, now it's round two (imagine me on Do

Evil MP3 Tags

So I got a digital music player (I really like my Sansa e280R player , and it's cheaper and much more versatile than an iPod) for my birthday in October and I've been having fun loading it up with tunes. The trouble is, all the tunes I've had for years aren't exactly organized like one would expect of someone as anal as me. The tags (the info on artist, album, genre, etc.) are all messed up. I have no idea how it happened, but many of them have really wacky genres (apparently it isn't good enough to have only like 5-10 genres in the great Internet DB of music; there are more like 100+). So I have country tunes with "Blues" and so on. Thus I found myself spending time fixing many of them (which I'm only too sure I've done previously only to have them messed up again). Then I got to working with my ratings (you know, the little stars that accompany each track). Though I'm sure I've fixed them before, too, many are goofed up. (RealPlaye

Oh To Blog

So now that my wife has joined the club, I couldn't be left behind. Too much pride at stake. And yet when I consider what pivotal topics might be in need of my of-so-plentiful opinions, nothing quite comes. Jolayne has already captured the "about our kids" market, and surely I cannot compete there without facing serious repercussions (infer as you wish), and so I'll continue to ponder. I have a couple ideas to prime the pump. Give me a little time to get them written up.