Saturday, December 31, 2005

Christmas 2005

Stardate 59123.1
Christmas was good, and I hope friends also had a good Christmas. This year was spent putting electronic gadgets together instead of LEGOs and ImagiNext toys. The better part of the day was spent getting things up and going. One failure was a cheap WinTV USB tuner I got for April. I got the idea because she’s been watching DVDs on the laptop, and I thought this would help with the finding a tape to record on and then finding the show after getting it on tape. I could not get any audio, and the video ended up as a tiny 320 by 200 screen. I had my doubts about it when I brought it. It’s still a good idea, but I need to put more research into it. There are dedicated PVRs and DVD recorders, but that’s one more piece of equipment with remote and hookups and finding a receiver.

I got Patrick his own joystick, which he was thrilled with. I also bought a jet fighter program because he had fun with the F-16 Falcon game when his Cub Scout troop went to the Hill Museum. He got frustrated with the game, though, and hasn’t played it since. He also got a Jedi Lightsaber game you hook up to the TV. This took a little time to figure out that you sweep the lightsaber vertically across the screen for yes, and horizontally for no. He has gotten up a few levels on it, but he commented that it made him tired. Having to stand up and swing your arms is a little different from pressing buttons on a controller.

Rachel got a Dance Dance Revolution for the PS/2 with an EyeToy camera. I watched her play with some similar (but less versatile) games in the store, so I was pretty sure she would have fun with it. I have fun with it. Mike Gibby mentioned playing this one and how physically demanding it is. I have to admit having a lot of fun with it, although I lack rhythm to make it very far. But that’s something I can practice on.

Rachel also got a Disney MP3 player. It only had enough memory for a few songs, but it has an SD slot to expand that. MP3 players are ok, but so far I have not seen one that can fast forward and rewind. Sometimes I like to listen to a particular part of a song. I imagine the more expensive ones would, but I don’t think I need to spend that much.

Thomas finally got his Star Wars: Episode III DVD. He also got a ImagiNext ship, and most importantly for him, LEGO people and Star Wars action figures. He is less into building than putting everyone into one or more vehicles. Patrick is the builder, and he is now enrolled in the LEGO Brickmaster program. He gets small sets and plans for building all sorts of things.

We watched Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume II. I missed some parts of it, but I finally understand why Grevious is wheezing and coughing in Episode III.

Christmas Eve we went to a small party at the Howertons. Janet is the co-leader with April for the girl scout troop, and her youngest son watches our kids a lot. I played some pool and got to socialize. After that we went to see the lights and displays in Ogden’s city park. We went earlier in the week to Layton’s display. Both were good. Layton has added a few new light sculptures.

I found Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has a blog. It’s somewhat cynical for my tastes, but that’s where he gets his material for the comic. Besides, I knew this after reading The Dilbert Future.

In the end, 2005 was pretty eventful. A tsunami in Southeast Asia (ok technically that was 2004, but the effects went well into 2006). My sister Susan lost her job, and didn’t find another one for six months. My Dad fell and cracked his hip, which he still has not fully recovered from. Ray Graham suddenly passed away, to the great loss of his family, friends, and the world. Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled, leaving me with no new Star Trek episodes to watch. Hurricane Katrina went through New Orleans at the end of August, which meant having my mother-in-law here for a couple of months. I got a call from a friend there last week. She and her family are in a trailer in front of their house now, which she says is a step up from being crowded in with her cousin. There is still a lot of damage to be worked out. There was a devastating earthquake in Pakistan.

Some things have remained constant, like my job. I am still doing the same thing for the last eight years. I have been actively looking for a new job. I had an interview with ATK Space Systems, which would have been cool, but I didn’t get it. I’ve only had one other interview so far, with a company at the mouth of Big Cottonwood canyon. That’s even further to drive than I do now, so I was not too disappointed that I didn’t get that job.

I’ve been reading some of the blogs about jobs on Monster.com. The job situation is a source of anger and many posts. This is a little ironic considering the cases of people being fired for blogging about work. The account of one guy who was fired for being a smoker (not smoking on the job) also makes a lot of employees upset. Personally, I think this is backlash for holding companies accountable. I don’t know, it all seems messed up.

There was an article in the Standard Examiner about how most of the people in Davis County don’t work there, and the trend will triple that number in the coming decades. My attention was also caught by a letter to the editor stating that the Ogden mayor’s plan to make the city into a recreation hub would leave the city with low paying service jobs. That’s not a good thing.

I have started reading books in electronic form, and I enjoy it. I am surprised that they are not cheaper than the paper ones. It seems like they should be, considering there is no shipping or printing. I suppose the printing is so down pat that there is not much to save by not printing. Some books, like the S.C.E. series I have become addicted to, are almost all only available in e-book form. The only downsides to reading this way is that it takes more time to boot a computer than open a paper book, and it’s not a good idea to read in the bathtub.

So, for 2006 (sheesh, we are already halfway through the decade), what can I do? One new employee thought our company did not give enough feedback, and I agree. So I think I need to work on doing more feedback for both my job and personal life. It needs to be constructive, though. I need to keep working on my job search. I’ve started working on a Microsoft Certified Applications Developer (MCAD) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), but each of the study guides is 1,000 pages long. This might not get done in 2006.

Other things, such as getting in shape and losing weight, are goals I work on all the time. One of the things that I read somewhere is that it’s a bad sign when you do something because you want to do it, but soon it becomes something you have to do. That takes the fun and interest out of it. There are dozens if not hundreds of things you have to do all the time. The trick is to find some way of turning them back into the category of want to do, like find a new way of doing the task, or changing the task into something else.

And finally,
End of Entry

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Rachel is 10

Stardate 59122.2
Rachel is 10. Wow, I’ve been a dad for a whole decade now. We joked about her being double digits or two handfuls now. As our first child, I think we made more mistakes with her, especially being over protective and wanting to have exact control over everything in her life. Over the last ten years I’ve learned to loosen up, much to the relief of both of us. We have involved conversations on diverse subjects including George Washington, governments, and the latest, static electricity. The next ten years will probably be far more interesting and challenging.

Rachel’s birthday party was described by her as the best ever. April organized an American Girl Hawaiian party. Six other girls came over to our house: Audra, Shelby, Sara, Fiona, Liz, and Rachel S. They did a treasure hunt, limbo, had pizza with pineapple, and made monkey tails (bananas with pudding). My only job was to take her brothers away. Patrick wanted to see “Yours, Mine, and Ours”, but the only show time in Layton was 11:40 A.M., which was too early to go and keep them out of the way. So we went to the Nickelcade. This gave me a sense of deja-vu, and another reason for doing blogs. See the 1/4/2004 entry, third paragraph. I thought I was simply repeating what I did last year, but this was TWO years ago. Patrick is not as interested in the arcade anymore, more than likely because he has better games on the P/S2 at home. Nobody was interested in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game.

After a few weeks of temperatures in the teens and single digits, it snowed last weekend. The snow did not stay, because it warmed up into the 40’s and 50’s. After that kind of cold, it seems almost balmy now. Rachel went to stay with her Aunt Susan, and the boys and I went to Kaysville’s Ponds Park to sled. They had fun, but in about an hour both of them were huffing climbing the hill. They’ve been playing a lot of P/S2 lately, but since the neighborhood kids are still in school, they can’t think of what else to do. They did go out and build snowmen, and we’ve had a couple of snowball fights. Rachel and her aunt went to see the Chronicles of Narnia, which they both liked. Rachel had read the book already. She told us she saw the trailer for the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean.

The van went into the dealers on Monday to check out a squeal in the braking system as you back up. April talked to them over the phone, and they told us it was a bad hose, and it was covered under the warranty. When we got it there, they tried to tell us it was the pads, and not under warranty. They called in the afternoon to tell me it was a cracked seal, and that was covered. I thought it was strange one guy was adamant the problem was the pads. It didn’t fit from what I was seeing.

Christmas is almost here. The arguments over how to greet people seem silly to me. Yes, Merry Christmas is Christian in origin, but I think most mean it more as a have a good time, without the religious overtone. Christmas itself is based on replacing pagan rituals, and many of the traditions are borrows from pagan time, or recent commercial inventions. Happy Holidays is more generic. Personally, use whatever greeting you would like, I’ll take it as wishing me well.

Favorite quote: “Only you would remember the band Quiet Riot” - April

End of Entry

Monday, December 12, 2005

Slow Commute

Stardate 59121.2
Last Tuesday it took about 2 1/2 hours to get home. I'm not really complaining, because going any faster than 5 miles an hour on I-215 would have been bad. As it was, I skidded twice. But it's times like these I wished I worked closer to home. Okay, I could MOVE closer to work, but that means April has to commute further. Besides, I went to a Microsoft launch for Visual Studio 2005 in Sandy. It got out at 5:15 PM. It took another 30 minutes to get to the freeway. The entrance is about the same distance from my home, maybe a little more. The amount of traffic was horrendous. I got out of there thinking I would NOT want to live down here. Anyway, I plodded along I-215, lazily thinking about having a job close enough to walk to work. Maybe about a 20 or 30 minute walk. Enough to get some good excercise without taking too much time. There are a number of businesses that close, but none hiring for what I do. Still, it's a pleasant dream.

I missing Patrick's Cub Scout meeting, since I did not get home in time. His soccer team placed 6th, and plays a tournament tonight. He's Star of the Week for his class this week, which means he had to put a poster together of his favorite things, and tell about his family. I printed out a bunch of pictures for him to choose from. Oddly, I could not find one of the dog, or at least him and the dog. I took one last week of the dog and cat curled up together in the sun, but I haven't gotten it off the camera yet.

Christmas means lots of shipments. Not a big deal normally, but UPS will no longer just leave packages if we are not home. A shipment was lost early this year, so apparently we are required to sign for all packages they deliver. Again, not a big deal. Except they deliver only when we are not home. Someone has been here the majority of the time last week, except at 3 PM to pick up the kids from school. This is the time they try to deliver things. We requested they do not deliver during this time, and also to not deliver at all, but instead notify us to pick it up. So far, neither request has been heard.

April and I went out for our 11th anniversary. The plan was to do nothing much, because we always need to be somewhere or do something. We succeeded, which made for a great weekend. Carl Stark stopped by Sunday with the stocking makings for my kids, and an anniversary card from the crew of the Ticonderoga. Thanks, guys, that was great!

Favorite quote: "I like the Borg. They make the best bad guys." - Patrick, watching me play the Elite Force Demo

The battery is out on the scale, so I have no idea how much I weigh.

End of Entry

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Stardate 59120.6
Aargh! (I still can hear "No, that's a different game". It's an inside joke I'll get to in a minute.) It's getting hard to be a Star Trek fan. Star Trek Enterprise is cancelled after only four seasons. Now Star Trek: Communicator has ceased publications. And this! No new TV series, no new movies, no publications, and possibly no official web site? What do I do online now?

Now to explain. It not all that funny, as retold stories often are. Back in 1987, I worked at a small games company doing all sorts of odd jobs. I list it on my resume' as 'Assistant Manager'. I burned EEPROMs for Nintendo and Atari ST, copied artwork for the game developers, and occasionally got to test games. When I messed up on something, I would always say 'Arrrgh!'. Not sure where I got it, probably from Charlie Brown or Monty Python (no, no, back of the throat). The company was finishing up a Rampage clone called Arrrgh! So everytime I said it, my manager Hal would say, 'No, that's a different game". See, I warned you it was not all that funny. Enough about my past, we now return you to the present, already in progress.

I went out to dinner at Sizzler with my dad on Monday. Service at the Bountiful location is getting poor. I have to ask at least twice for refills or A-1 steak sauce. Not sure where else to go, though.

End of Entry

Monday, December 05, 2005


Stardate 59120.5
Rats, I messed up. The last entry was done offline with a text editor because the online version does not handle cascading style sheets. It puts a font directive in front of every line, which disables the style tag. Well, it's fixed now. Thanks to Carl Stark for pointing it out to me.

The Amazing Race had a pit stop at the downtown library in Salt Lake City. It was interesting seeing places I've been to many times on a network show. It was funny that the teams went from Heber City to Park City. All but one team took hwy 42. The Florida team, who complain and whine alot, and didn't like southern Utah, took hwy 92. If memory serves, this goes through the Alpine Loop. They are in a big SUV towing a RV trailer. That must have been fun to navigate.

There's a lot going on, but at the moment I can't remember it. Last Thursday I got a new boss. It's unclear whether the previous one quit or was let go. My opinion is that he quit. The evidence I have is that he came in two weeks ago and cleared his desk out, and the job he had would drive anyone insane. He was in Phoenix the last week, and was crowing about it being 72 degrees. I lived there a couple of years. It's 72 in the winter, but 115 in the summer. I remember watching weather reports that gave the next days' LOW as 101. The lower temperature was still three digits.

This has been making it's way around the net. I might as well do it to.
That's no moon..., wait, my mistake, it is a moon...

Yes, it's the moon Mimas. The full description is here.

End of Entry

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Goblet of Fire

Stardate 59113.0
We went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on Sunday. It was good. Thomas covered his eyes at the more scary parts. The question on my mind is if Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint will go for the next three movies. Rupert especially looks eighteen or nineteen now. One idea April has is to do a Peter Jackson and film all three at once. It would still need to wait for J.K Rowling’s last book.

Brannon Braga’s Threshold was cancelled by CBS last week. One review wondered tongue in cheek if he was going to blame viewer fatigue. I personally am getting that with Lost. The series seems to go nowhere, but adds new plotlines.

I loaded the log4net test project with the intention of figuring out what was wrong. I ran it to see where I was at, and it worked just fine. I changed some settings in the config file, and it picked them up. Weird. My guess is VS.NET was not copying the .config file I added until I restarted. This would not be the first time I found that sort of problem. I also played around with Craig Andera’s DirectX tutorial. The C# samples that Microsoft put out with DirectX 9a have a few problems with methods that don’t exist.

55 public bool InitializeGraphics()
56 {
57 try
58 {
59 presentParams.Windowed=true; // We don't want to run fullscreen

60 presentParams.SwapEffect = SwapEffect.Discard; // Discard the frames
61 presentParams.EnableAutoDepthStencil = true; // Turn on a Depth stencil
62 presentParams.AutoDepthStencilFormat = DepthFormat.D16; // And the stencil format

63 device = new Device(0, DeviceType.Hardware, this,
64 CreateFlags.SoftwareVertexProcessing, presentParams); //Create a device
65 device.DeviceCreated += new System.EventHandler(this.OnCreateDevice);
Error 1 'Microsoft.DirectX.Direct3D.Device' does not contain a definition for 'DeviceCreated'
\Tutorial5\texture.cs 65 12 Tutorial5

66 device.DeviceReset += new System.EventHandler(this.OnResetDevice);
67 this.OnCreateDevice(device, null);
68 this.OnResetDevice(device, null);

69 pause = false;
70 return true;
71 }
72 catch (DirectXException)

73 {
74 // Catch any errors and return a failure
75 return false;
76 }
77 }

Ok, and I wanted to show off some more improvements in the style sheets. I like the spiral notepad on the left. This is strange, since I don't the real thing. Writing left-handed, I end up bending the wire because I lean my hand on it.

At least with his I can get a spinning triangle. Ok, it’s not much, but learning something new is best started with basics.

End of Entry

Monday, November 28, 2005

Happy 41st Birthday

Stardate 59112.8
Happy Birthday to Me!
End of Entry

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Stardate 59112.7
One thing I forgot from the last entry. Patrick and I went to see Zathura about a week and a half ago. The movie is along the same lines as Jumanji, just set in space. I think the bigger difference is that there is not a big name star, which is something of a plus. For a show that takes place entirely within a house, it was pretty good. I liked the message of the show, although it could have used a bit more humor.

We had Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday night, due to April working on Thanksgiving. This made the next day pretty relaxed, which is nice. Patrick had a soccer game Wednesday afternoon. He played goalie for a big part of the game. He was not too happy about it, but everyone talks about how good he is at it. We will have to talk to the coach and see if he can play the last part of the game as goalie, and other positions earlier in the game.

Thanksgiving day, as I said, was relaxed. The kids got bored pretty quickly, so I dug out all the Imaginext castle parts, and built a three story one. This occupied the boys for the rest of the afternoon. We made a bridge, too. I also put up the Christmas lights. This year the icicle lights actually make it all the way around the front of the garage, and I bought a snowman for out front. All in all, it’s the most elaborate display I have done.

Rachel received an early Christmas present in the form of a clock/radio/CD player. The alarm has been going off at 8 AM every morning, but at least it is getting her out of bed.

We bought an artificial tree Saturday. After 10 years of real trees, we decided to change. This one is also pre-lit. The kids, especially Rachel, were against the idea, but once we got it up, they warmed up to it. I grew up with one, but they have changed. Instead of the colored stems of branches that you plug into the pole, you fold out the branches. The tree was a little more expensive than what we have paid for a real one, but the fact we can use it year after year makes up for that. The ornaments give a history of Christmas past. Mulan, Harry Potter, Buzz Lightyear, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Mike from Monsters, Inc, Scooby Doo, Anakin and Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Worf from Deep Space Nine (whom Rachel referred to as the bad guy when I got it), and Captain Archer. My Scorpion from Star Trek: Nemesis again does not fit the light socket for the tree. This year Thomas got a Clone Trooper and Darth Vader, Patrick Anakin’s starfighter, and Rachel got a polar bear. The Star Trek ornaments this year are Khan from the TOS episode Space Seed, Locutus of Borg, and the Enterprise –A. The Hallmark site lists Locutus as from First Contact, but Locutus was not in the movie.

It snowed a few inches Saturday night, so the kids and I went out to play. The paper says the snowfall is showing drought again. It seems early in the year to predict that.

End of Entry

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Stardate 59112.2 (11-22-2005)

The fun part about the Internet is that you can find solutions to things when you are not looking for them. I had a bad time formatting the code solution to a puzzle I was given a month ago. I stole some CSS from Phil Haack as I was looking at his code for a class factory from a description in an app.config file. The solution is at the bottom so you don’t have to scroll past it to read the rest of the entry. Config files have been a big source of frustration this last week or so. I have been working with log4net and NHibernate. I can get log4net working with a default configuration, but if I add setting to the config file, I don’t get anything. Same with NHibernate. I am feeling rather stupid at this point.

This last Sunday morning I woke up with a bad stomachache. Most of the day and Monday I spent running to the bathroom every hour or so. I was also running a fever. It’s passed now, much to my relief. Since I didn’t eat anything those days, you would think I might lose a little weight, but no such luck. It’s been sneaking up slowly but surely.

Patrick’s indoor soccer team has been doing well. They lost their game on Monday, but he played really well. I go out to dinner with my dad on Mondays, so I don’t get to see the games. I cancelled last Monday since I could not eat anyway, and took the opportunity to see a game. Patrick was on offense most of the time, and I was impressed. He can control and handle a soccer ball as good as any player on his team. Several times I saw him take the ball away from an opponent. He seems a long way from the five year old I coached.

Patrick has also taken an interest in playing catch with some baseballs we got at a game in Ohio. He is pretty good with throwing and catching, but he needs more practice with a bat. Even more interesting, the first time we played catch, it ended with my throwing one to him that bounced out of hit mitt and off his upper lip, cutting and bruising it. He wanted to go back out and do it again the next day.

On Mondays, as I said, dad and I usually go to Sizzler for dinner. It’s cheap, fast, and pretty good. He won’t go to many other places, and seems to think the only thing I want is steak. There’s a restaurant called El Matador opening up just outside of where he lives. It’s an established name, but Costco bought the land the old place was on. It looks like they got a good deal out of it, the new place is elaborate. It’s Mexican, as I keep pointing out to my dad as we pass. He has said he’ll try it. Anyway, last Monday, the server at Sizzler told us she hadn’t seen us there is a long time. We got a confused look, and told her we had been here every Monday for the last month or so. I guess it’s good that someone remembers us, but I don’t remember her, and I have seen the same faces.

Rachel was honored with a Student of the Month award. Her GPA is 3.95. She is doing very well in school this year. April and I went to Parent-Teacher conferences two weeks ago. Everyone is doing well in school. Thomas is having a little trouble paying attention and stop talking when he needs to, but Mrs. Platz says he fine otherwise. Apparently he is now comfortable with school. Patrick isn’t pulling the wool over his teacher’s eyes like I thought might. Mrs. Fenton is also the Vice Principal for the campus and I imagine she has seen his tricks before. He has also admitted he can’t see the board very well, and he has started wearing his glasses again. Rachel seems to like Mrs. Key. She not frustrated this year as she was last year. Not that Mrs. Higgs is bad, but her style of teaching did not work with Rachel.

Bob Allen’s fiftieth birthday was celebrated at the last Senior Officers Meeting for the Ticonderoga. Lori got the blame, but it was more Tonya’s idea. Next year the business meetings will move from Saturday afternoon to Wednesday night. This leaves us free to play activities for different days and times. The 3 PM time on Saturday left us with no time to do some things such as go swimming or to a museum.

Speaking of museums, Patrick went to the Hill Air Force Base Museum the Saturday before last with his Cub Scout troop. He was not too excited since he has been there before. This time the flight simulators were open, and the boys were fascinated with the F-16 cockpits attached to an F-16 Falcon software.http://beta.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=35868783

That’s about all I can remember for the last couple of weeks. I am sure there is much more, but this is long enough.

Music: The Pink Panther Theme by Henry Mancini
Mood: Ambidextrous (Latin for hopelessly confused)
Favorite Quote: “Agile programming does not just mean doing more work with fewer people” Scott Adams/Dilbert

using System;

namespace MissingValue
public class MissingValue
private int[] n;
private int[] a;
private int sum_n;
private int sum_a;

// No default constructor
private MissingValue()

public MissingValue(int array_length)
// Allocate array of ints to requested length
n = new int[array_length];
// Allocate 'missing' array as one less
a = new int[array_length - 1];

// Fill array with unique values from 0
// to length of array

for (int x = 0; x < n.Length; ++x)
n[x] = x;

// Seed a random value
DateTime d1 = DateTime.Now;
Random rand = new Random(d1.Millisecond);
// Get a random value in the range from 0
// to array length

int num = rand.Next(0, a.Length);
for (int x = 0; x < a.Length; ++x)
if (x < num)
a[x] = x;
a[x] = x + 1;

public int FindMissingValue()
sum_n = sumArray(n);
sum_a = sumArray(a);

return sum_n - sum_a;

private int sumArray(int[] a)
int sum = 0;
foreach (int x in a)
sum += x;
return sum;

/// The main entry point for the application.

static void Main(string[] args)
MissingValue mv = new MissingValue(100);

Console.WriteLine("the missing element is {0}",

// Output:
// the missing element is 35

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What Action Hero Would You Be?

Stardate 59110.8

You scored as Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones is an archaeologist/adventurer with an unquenchable love for danger and excitement. He travels the globe in search of historical relics. He loves travel, excitement, and a good archaeological discovery. He hates Nazis and snakes, perhaps to the same degree. He always brings along his trusty whip and fedora. He's tough, cool, and dedicated. He relies on both brains and brawn to get him out of trouble and into it.

William Wallace
Indiana Jones
Batman, the Dark Knight
Lara Croft
Captain Jack Sparrow
The Terminator
Neo, the "One"
James Bond, Agent 007
El Zorro
The Amazing Spider-Man

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com
I like the results, although I would wish Captain Jack Sparrow were higher. It's probably due to the fact I don't have to have flamboyant clothing.

Members of the Ticonderoga, Kelly, and others went to the Space Education simulator last Saturday. I brought along the CD for Spamalot, the Broadway play with Tim Curry and David Hyde-Pierce with roots in Monty Python. My passengers enjoyed it. I'd love to see the whole play. I hope they make it on DVD.

The simulator was fun, although I think we would have done better if we understood the controls and who did what. I was wishing for a stop button, or some feedback from the computer when I hit the thruster controls. But that's beside the point. I was impressed by how well we worked together, and the acting on the part of the people running it was great. I felt like it was real. The options given at the end were perfecty valid, although I admit they did not occur to me. That's a little embarassing, but it was a good learning experience.

I have watched a few movies over the last few weeks. Wallace and Grommit was good, although I was a little bored. Thomas loved it. Chicken Little was better, I got a few laughs out of it. I tried to watch Bewitched with Will Farrell on DVD, but stopped about halfway through. I.Robot was interesting, but I think Issac Asimov's original stories were better.

Yes, I have not posted the solution to the problem. Formatting code for a web page has turned out to be difficult.

End of Entry

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Stardate 59110.1
Gotta get going on pictures and such. But Halloween was good. We went the same place as last year. Lots of kids running around, lots of costumes. Rachel was a gossomer ghost, Patrick was Darth Vader, and Thomas was Anakin the padawan. The sitter commented that the boys costume reflected their personalities. Patrick and his friend ran from house to house, with Thomas close behind. Rachel and her friend tagged behind.

Back in our neighborhood, all but a couple of houses were dark. We were actually invited to the trunk or treat this year, but I favor the traditional Halloween of going house to house. The other way seems boring.

The kids and I carved pumpkins on Sunday. Thomas's was the most elaborate, although I craved it. I roasted the seeds, and they turned out to be pretty good. Rachel carved her own design (well, it was from a pattern, but she did the holes and the saw). Mine was really simple this year, mainly because by the time I got to it, I had a splitting headache. It's muscle spasmed where my neck muscles enter the skull, which cause pain to shoot across my head. The doctor put it down to tension. A little heat, and it's better.

Yeah, the array puzzle. I have a solution, but it is sitting on my work 'puter, and I just don't want to go get it. I did make another small discovery: it's pretty hard to make a random set of unique numbers.

Gas is down by almost thirty cents a gallon. This is still nowhere close to what it was last year. The positive point of view is that it puts pressure on the administration to fund alternate energy. I've never been a fan of increasing the supply of oil to lower the cost. I'd like to move to a more environment friendly transportation source.

End of Entry

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Last Soccer game for Fall

Stardate 59102.9
Today was a day. It started up well enough, but things went south fast. Today was the last soccer games for the fall. I got Thomas ready, and we arrived for his game ten minutes early. The only downside was the black mass in the sky to the west. It didn't stay west that long. By the time the game started, the rain was coming down. Not a sprinkle, but a hard, cold rain. I am proud to say none of the kids that played complained. A grandmother of one who refused to play most of the games told me I should call off the game. I almost lost my patience then. Her grandson was dry and warm in the car, the rest of the team was soaking wet but toughing it out. I managed to politely inform her games were played unless there was lightning. April was picking up soccer ball balloons for the kids, so I wanted to hang around. We got through the game, and handed out the goodies.

I headed home to change, and got a call from Rachel's coach that her game was cancelled, and Patrick's soon after that. I had guilty feelings during Thomas's game, but the rest of the teams were playing, so I hung on. I headed back out to get Rachel from a friends house, met April and the boys. They went home, I stopped to get something to eat. After I had ordered I realized I left my wallet in my other pants. Now head home, and back out to get the food. Head back home, only to find out it's the wrong food. Back to the fast food, who had figured out someone got the wrong order, but they had no idea who. I've taken a little nap, and things seem to be back in order now.

Patrick and Rachel had a piano recital Thursday. Patrick was very stressed about it, but he did fine, as did Rachel. It was a short version of Peter and the Wolf.

I was given a problem on Monday to find a good programming solution to. If you have an array of unique numbers from one to one hundred, and another array of unique numbers that have all the numbers from the first array, what's the fastest way to find the missing number? I didn't have the answer at that time, but I do now. I'll post the solution, and the code, but for now I need to jet.

End of Entry

Friday, October 21, 2005

Armored Elephants

Stardate 59102.1
Playing with Rome: Total War for the last few days, I came to a number of conclusions:
1. Standing around waiting for the enemy to attack is not a sound strategy.
2. Don't concentrate on a single unit during battle.
3. Suddenly, without warning, you will lose the campaign mode. Save often.
4. Quick Combat is not random. Example combats I have done are Egyptians (me) vs. Seleucids (with armored elephants), Parthians (me) vs Seleucids (with armored elephants AND onagers, Greeks (me) vs Seleucids (with armored elephants). I sense a pattern here, and it is that I am a little tired of dealing with elephants.
5. Lost one battle because my archers apparently ran out of arrows and charged the last enemy phalanx. Archers do not good close combat make.
5. Campaign mode again, you start the pre-Imperial game about 15 years after the death of Alexander the Great. The phalanx is the premier formation. Learn to deal with it.

April picked up Age of Empires III for me. It's in a huge box, which contains a book of artwork, a music CD, and players handbook. I think this is a little overboard. The game is set in the early colonial times, and from the manual all the settings are in North America. I played the prerelease trial version for a while.

End Of Entry

Friday, October 14, 2005

Stardate 59101.4 (10-14-2005)

It’s interesting what you come across on
the World Wide Web while searching for something else. I was looking for a
solution to creating an instance of an object based on the description in a
config file.

Tim, the right jobs for you would allow you to be

Analytical and Creative

With your
skills, you could be earning up to $111,000
per year. (For the record, no, I don’t come close to this

As an Analytical type, you don't want to
be limited by established rules and regulations. Your inquisitive nature
demands that you sometimes question authority. Otherwise, you might not be
able to find fresh approaches, or come up with new solutions to a problem.
It's not that you act without weighing the pros and cons of a situation —
it's more that you're more willing than others to take justifiable risks if
they'll further your career success.

You're smart enough to know when you need help and are confident enough in
your abilities to ask for it. You understand that sometimes there are no
clear right and wrong answers, and that's just fine with you because you
tolerate gray areas better than most. In fact, pondering potential outcomes
can sometimes be more interesting than coming up with the definitive solution
for you.

Your right job doesn't have to be about self-expression, but it needs to be a
job you can be proud of.

<![if !supportLineBreakNewLine]>


April says I am a little to analytical, though.

I find lots of stuff on management. One quip that caught my
attention was about adding more people to a project to get it done faster,
described as if one woman can have a child in nine months, nine women can have
the same child in one month. It captures the absurdity beautifully.

Rachel finished the mile run in P.E. in her goal of under 9
minutes. She is very pleased with it. I don’t think I can do better. I hate to
run. The pounding on the knees and the boring nature of it get to me. I love to
walk, though. I was getting on a treadmill and walking a mile and a half at
four miles an hour. I could have walked a lot farther, but if you do the math
that about twenty minutes, which all the time I could afford.
This minimal amount gets me a nice endorphin
rush, and I am not tired. I just need to
find some way of doing it on a regular basis.
I have tried setting my alarm for 5 AM, but I
end up thinking “ten more minutes” and hitting the snooze button.
After hitting the snooze twice I give up and
turn the alarm off. I also think how it
would be nice to combine this with walking the dog. That has the problem of
keeping a regular pace because he wants to stop and sniff something every five
steps. I need to think of something else.

I love to ride a bike. I’ve already mentioned that I find it
scary, though. One of the goals we did not get to this summer was getting
Thomas on a bike. I don’t mean a two-wheeler, just a bike with training wheels.
When that is accomplished, I have this idea we can pack up a bunch of bikes and
hit a trail. I have no idea what trails there are, and mountain biking is out,
so this is really a pipe dream.

End Of Entry

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Stardate 59101.1
Hackers' poster boy, Kevin Mitnick, gave CNN an interview. I remember the story of the guy who caught him, although now his name escapes me.

I went out to dinner with my dad last night. It was one of those nights when he is feeling good. He walked without his walker, and told me he has been trying to walk around a bit. This is good, he needs to try and strengthen his legs. He asked about my kids and my mother-in-law, which he almost never does. Most of the time he tells me stories I have heard fifty times over, or he complains the President Bush is ruining the country. (His case on that is based in part on selling his house for $142,000, when he brought it for $44,000. The inflated value is because Bush printed too much money. The fact that he bought it in the 70's and sold it in the 90's, when Clinton was president, does not affect his stance.)

I finally got out the Halloween stuff. We have yet to get costumes for the kids. We also were notified of a trunk or treat, so I am wondering if there will be any trick or treaters this year. Times change.

End of Entry

Monday, October 10, 2005

Star Wars: Battlegrounds

Stardate 59101.0 (10-10-2005)
Just a quick entry. The school play was good, but I thought the first one Rachel was in was more entertaining. Both Rachel and Patrick had a good time with it, although they were getting tired of rehearsals. Spending 12-13 hours a day at school gets old quick. It's impressive that two guys can get 30 odd kids to memorize lines and act in one week. Rachel was a little stilted, and she was initially disappointed she did not get to speak, but then found out she did get one line and a group song. This made her happy. Patrick was more relaxed, and maybe a little to much. He was an evil fly trap, and got to chase flies and knights around. He enjoyed being one of the bad guys, and did a little dance walking off the stage for the last act. Everyone thought it was funny, except for April.

I bought a cheap desk for the old computer, and got it set back up again. The bearings on the CPU fan are wearing out, because it screams when you power it up. The fan runs for a couple of seconds, stops, and starts running again. If I hold my finger on it just enough to let it turn, it runs fine. I'll have to see about getting a replacement.

I bought Star Wars: Battleground cheap at Walmart. It's basically Age Of Empires II with Star Wars units. Patrick and I had a good time teaming up against the computer in multiplayer mode with two computers. I could see him getting into MMOG's, but not yet.

End of Entry.

Friday, September 30, 2005

TV Viewing

Stardate 59093.0 (9-30-2005)
Obviously, I am just not into the things normal people are. This comic borrowed from PVP illustrates the point:

I looked at a TV Guide preview of the returning fall shows about a week ago, and realized I don't know a few of them, and don't care to watch most of them. I fell asleep on the season premiere of CSI:, and never finished with the season premiere of The Simpsons. I tried Desperate Housewives because April watches it, and was bored. I did catch Lost, but I am getting impatient with it. The Amazing Race 8 looks to be fun, though. It's about the only show I will go out of my way to watch.

On the other hand, C# for LEGO Mindstorm looks fun. Patrick and I could waste a lot of time on that. We could build robots to do tomorrow what we do every day, TRY and TAKE OVER THE WORLD! (Paraphasing The Brain from Pinky and The Brain.)

Mood: Good
Music: 1985 (No idea who the artist is)

End of Entry

Monday, September 26, 2005

MountainCon 1

Stardate 59092.6 (9-26-2005)
Random notes: Kibizt (or kibbitz) is indeed Yiddish in origin, but it is an English word. I used it at dinner Saturday, and Drama wanted to know if I was Jewish. No, I'm not. English is a polygot language. I remember back in the mists of time reading that English absorbs words from other languages at a phenomenal rate. 10,000 new words were introduced within 50 years after the Norman invasion in 1066 A.D. (or C.E.), mostly synonyms. The example given was that before, there was only one word meaning "Of the king", kingly. The French speaking Norman persons added Majestic and Royal. This is
a good thing, since 'What a kingly view!' and 'You are a kingly pain in the behind'
just don't have the same ring. Just be glad I didn't drop into Techspeak (The words are English, but I have not idea what you said.)

Vaughn Armstrong talked about his obsessive-compulsive disorder as a child. I think just about every child has some sort of OCD. Patrick will ask how many minutes it will take to go from one place to another, and will expect an exact number. (I do the same thing, I just learned not to do it out loud.) That's probably not OCD, but I do it anyway.

Thomas scored his first goal in soccer Saturday. April was stuck with ferrying the kids from one game to the next, along with a birthday party and Cub Scout function. I got to read my ebook at the con.

I got a new laptop at work last week. This week I found what I had failed to transfer off the old one, all of the training manuals I have been working on for the past month. Not a big deal to lose, but annoying.

Someone sent me this:

Stress Management 101

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water? "
Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.

The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden. So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can."

"Relax; pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it!"

And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

--Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.

I'd rather be neither.

--Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

But then many will not hear.

--Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

--Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.

--If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

--If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

Not if his friends show up.

--It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

I always thought my purpose was to insult everyone in the Universe in alphabetical order. Wait, that's Wowbagger.

--Never buy a car you can't push.

Then what's AAA for?

--Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

--Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

--Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

Depending on whether you are the worm or the bird. POV means a lot.

--The second mouse gets the cheese.

For the life of me, I can figure this one out.

--When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

A variation on: "The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlamp of the oncoming train."

--Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

See below.

--You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

--Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

--We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

--A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Major Premise: Man is mortal.
Minor Premise: I am a man.
Conclusion: I am mortal.
Loophole: If I act like a child, I'll live forever.
Acting like a child is good, but I'd love to EAT like a child again. The effects of a bad diet
show up this week:

Weight: 192.5 lbs
Mood: Strange (which is normal for me)
Music of the Moment: None. One of the wires pulled loose from my headphones. It bugs me to listen to music in one ear only.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

MountainCon 1

Stardate 59092.5 (9-25-2005)
Mountain-Con 1 went off, thanks to a huge effort from a dedicated group of fans lead by Carl Stark. It was a hit with every attendee I talked to. It was a little smaller than was hoped, but that did lead to a side benefit. Every convention I've been to over the years has always pushed you through a long line to get autographs. You were not allowed personalized autographs, and in some cases, you were not allowed to speak to the person signing. I didn't stand in a long line, and everyone got to talk to the guests.

Vaughn Armstrong gave a good show, and Bill Blair's after show "costume" was amusing.

After the Switchblade Kittens did their show, I got to play Roadie and help them load up the equipment. I enjoyed their show, especially the tribute to "Theasarus" Kitten, and watching 1 year old Kaylee getup on stage and dance. We went to dinner where I had fun listening to Tonya and Drama reminisce.

I think we should do this again.

End of Entry

Saturday, September 17, 2005

FEMA Respone

Stardate 59091.7 (9-17-2005)
A Shadow did a post about FEMA, and the flak they have been taking from the media. To put a comment on there, I'd need to create an account, which I don't want to do just to reply. And I have a blog as well. So here's my comments:

Could I have done a better job? No.
Did FEMA do the best it could with the resources it had? Yes.
Were the resources totally inadequate for the task? Yes.
Was the scope of the disaster unanticipated? Nope. The fact that a cat 4 or 5 hurricane would hit the Gulf Coast has been talked about since before warnings of a major earthquake on the Wasatch Front.

The damage Katrina did dwarfs Andrew and Camille. But the fact that FEMA and others were overwhelmed by the relief efforts is frightening. They had several days of warning. An earthquake or volcano generally does not give that.

I heard a commentator a couple of days after Katrina say the evacuation of New Orleans was the fastest, most efficient, and well done of any major city. So long as you had a car and money. That was an unanticipated problem. I heard and interview with the director of the SuperDome say the Sunday before the building could easily withstand a category 5 hurricane. Now I am hearing it will need to be torn down.

There are a lot of lessons here. The communications breakdown hampered relief efforts. Air efforts were overwhelmed with rescues, and unable to do anything about dropping food.

From the media coverage, no one was in charge. The President was in San Diego. Mike Brown admitted he did not know anyone was at the NO Convention Center until CNN reported it.

As I said, there are a lot of lessons. FEMA takes the heat over it, because this is thier responsibility. The media is slanted to the sensational, but it does drive the need to make reforms to handle future issues.

Weight this morning: 189 lbs

End of Entry

Monday, September 12, 2005

Thomas first baby tooth lost

Stardate 59091.2 (9-12-2005)
Thomas lost his first baby tooth yesterday. It was the bottom, on the right (as you look in his mouth) of the two center teeth. Not much else to record, but I thought I'd better get this down before I forget.

End of Entry

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Venting over

Stardate 59091.0 (9-10-2005)
Venting is over. The issue with Qwest is not resolved, but I am at least online, and I have been able to address some web issues. So I am in a better mood.

School is now in it's second week. Thomas is doing great and seems to enjoy it. He's had some rough spots though. The first day, the teacher lined the kids up in the hall to go to lunch. Thomas lined up, but lost his shoe. He stopped to put it back on, and when he looked up, the class was gone. The poor kid had no idea where they went, so he went back into the classroom and sat down in his chair sobbing. April was at the school doing some volunteer work, and happened to glance in the room and find him. Last week the teacher lost him again at the end of school. This time he simply went out with the other class.

Patrick is doing well in school, although he is complaining of being bored. I think that will change, but I am not sure.

Rachel is hating school, at least that's what she tells me. I don't think she hates it, but she definately does not like some of the subjects, including math. Not sure what to tell her, except that she will learn it.

The first soccer games were today. I am coaching Thomas's team. Their first game went pretty much as expected, in that most of the kids didn't get it. One boy, whose brother plays, did very well. Thomas got upset when the other team scored, crying that his team was going to lose. He calmed back down in after a minute. Patrick's game was at the same time, so I didn't get to watch it. But when I went back to pick him up, the other parents told me he did a outstanding job as goalie the last half of the game, blocking all but one of the kicks. Rachel scored a goal, and again I was not there. She does play well, even though she wanted to quit during the summer.

Mood: Better
Weight: up a little
Song of the moment (the one that is going through my head): "Knights of the Round Table" from the Original Soundtrack to the Broadway play Spamalot!
"We're Knights of the Roundtable.
We dance when 're we're able.
We do routines, and chorus scenes,
and footwork impecc-able.
We dine well here in Camelot.
We eat ham and jam and spam a lot."

"We're Knights of the Roundtable.
Our shows are for-mid-able.
But many times, we're given rhymes,
that are quite unsing-able.
We're opera mad in Camelot,
we sing from the diaphragm a lot."

"We're Knights of the Roundtable.
Although we live in a fable,
We're not just bums, with royal mums,
We've brains that are quite able.
We've a busy life in Camelot...
I have to push the pram a lot."

End of Entry

Friday, September 09, 2005


Stardate 59090.9 (9-9-2005)
Qwest is full of idiots. Saturday email stopped, and I could only sporatically get web pages. It was Labor Day weekend, so I decided to wait until after the holiday to call tech support. I did ping the router, and the modem. The router responded fine, the modem kept getting 50 to 100% packet loss. I took the router out of the setup, and pinged the modem again. Same thing. Tuesday, out of curiousity, I pinged the DSL modem from work. It responds fine. My conclusion: the Ethernet board on the modem is damaged. I call Xmission Tuesday night (I learned the first time, Qwest techs will not talk to me unless I call the ISP first). After 20 minutes, the Xmission tech reaches the same conclusion (another lesson learned even farther back, don't give the call center techs a clue, at least initially, that you have any idea how this stuff works. Apologies to the tech call center readers, but it seems to put them in a defensive mood. Besides, a good tech will go through the steps again just to be sure.) I call Qwest. After holding in the queue for 30 minutes, the guy on the phone notes I do not have QWEST.NET as my ISP. He tells me to call my ISP. I told him I have already done that. He grumbles, then asked if they had me look at anything. I said yes, the standard cycle the power on the modem, cycle the power on the computer, check settings, etc. Grumble again. He's going to get them on the line. HANGS UP ON ME! They asked for my phone number at the beginning of the call in case they needed to call back because of a disconnect. I needed to get the kids to bed anyway, so I waited a while. No callback. Called again, 30 minutes in the queue again. A lady with an Indian accent answers. She at least walks through the diagnostic steps. The annoying thing is she insisted on being very clear, like 'P as in Pirate, I as in India, N as in Nancy, G as in George, now press the space bar, then 1, and 9, and 2, DOT, 1 and 6, and 8, DOT, 0 , that's a zero and not an Oh, DOT, 1.' Long pause, and I already typed it out or up-arrowed while she went through the litany. 'Now type Enter.' One and a half hours of this. She finally concludes the ISP's server is down. WTF? Time to let her know I am not stupid. I tell I can ping the ISP's server, although I get the same loss since it has to go through the DSL to get there. I tell her I can hook a router up, and it responses perfectly. I can put other computers on the modem, and they all have the same issue. I calmly tell her I don't agree. Every piece of equipement has been swapped except the modem, and the problem persists. I already talked to the ISP, they are up and running. The modem is faulty, and it's probably the Ethernet board. No, she can ping it, it's fine. Qwest must have some magical version of PING out of Star Trek that reports all sorts of diagnostic info.

Anyway, Xmission loaned me a modem, and lo!, it works. Nothing else on the system has changed. They are going to find someone at Qwest with brains who will RMA the modem.

Normally, I wouldn't care that much, but this month I need access to the internet.

Weight this week: 188 lbs.
Mood: Fucking Pissed Off (No cute icon for this)

End of entry

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Stardate 59082.7 (8-27-2005)

Confession, it has been said, is good for the soul. Elden Nelson, the Fat Cyclist blogged his confessions this week. Some of them were very funny, such as spending Saturday watching the hit statistics on his site, and There is no single entry in this blog that is entirely honest. I found the blog through Eric Gunnerson, and I have been reading it regularly. I just have not added it to my blogs page. It seems pretty popular. There are even references to him from the UK. Why a guy who publicly posts his weight each day to shame himself into losing it is so popular, I don’t know. He is funny, though.

So, in that vein, some things I confess:

* I have been on a Weight Watchers diet for the last four months.
* I am not sure this is a confession, though. I think I mentioned I was dieting. I don’t think I mentioned the method. I have tried a few others, such as eDiets. I like Weight Watchers because of the Flex Plan. You log everything you eat, and the exercise you do. There are suggested menus, but you don’t need to follow them. eDiets had menus you needed to follow. I like that, because there are foods I don’t like, and I have to prepare these things in advance. Some things I did not recognize, so how would I buy them at the store? Not to mention that I would not be someplace convenient to eat them.I have tried this before.
* In 2000, I got all the way down to 175, and hit a plateau. I got sick and made it to 168 one day, but that was it. I was not exercising, though, and if I had been I might have lost a little more. The problem was that I could not keep it up. I was too hungry.I don’t ride a bicycle.
* At least, not on a regular basis. The one I have is covered in dust. When I was young, I used to ride a few miles to the mall every Saturday in the summer. By high school that was uncool. I miss it now. I have tried to ride again, but I find it very scary now. There are a lot more cars now. And some of the drivers are oblivious to bikes. I do like to exercise.
The company I work for has a fitness room. There are weights, a universal, bike machines, and treadmills. I confess I like walking on a treadmill. It makes me feel good. I like to lift weights.

As of last Friday, I weighed 191 lbs.

End of Entry

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Work, PHP, and Paypal

Stardate 59081.3 (8-13-2005)
Okay, it's been a while. I've been very busy, mostly with work, but some time has been spent with Mountain Con. Work is mainly busy because my boss quit, and I've been taking up some of the work. Someone in another group told me walking in one morning that they were told I was the new supervisor. Flattering, but not path I want to take. The problem is I would be doing what I have been doing for the last ten years. I want something new, something different. I feel a little stagnate mentally, and I'd like a different view of software development. I am doing some training next week, and I will be pushing an agenda for the group I have suggested before, only to be dismissed. There is no one to dismiss it now, so I might as well go ahead.

The Paypal stuff for Mountain-Con was interesting. It took a while because they have two methods of doing online payments. The documentation does not do a good job of delineating the differences between them. It took a lot of searching to find the right information. But it works now. The PHP language is pretty fun to work with, and the site, PHP.net, is well organized. They have version 5, and the stuff on Xmission is version 4. I'd like to see if they have 5 or not.

April has been busy with getting ready for school. She's into in more this year because she is president of the Parent-Teacher Group. So there is a lot of organizing, meetings, and other work for her to do. And there is still Girl Scouts and a full time job. We have given up all the soccer jobs. I will coach Thomas, but that's it. This year will be interesting for that, too. Three kids playing soccer, which means three practices, and three games. Rachel also has tennis lessons, and Patrick needs to start religious education classes. I don't anticipate a night off for a while.

Thomas and Patrick are doing swimming lessons. I think this will be Patrick's last set of lessons. He dog-paddles around the pool now, and can dive under objects. Thomas can duck his head underwater, and is working on floating.

End of Entry

Monday, July 25, 2005

Camp Kesiel

Stardate 59072.5 (7-25-2006)
Patrick went to Scout camp at Camp Kiesel last weekend. The theme was pirates, and they did a small skit from Treasure Island. Patrick got to make a sailboat (from a fry box, drinking straw, and paper), learned to tie some knots, row a boat, shoot some arrows, and shoot a BB gun. We were there all day Saturday.

Friday was the school pool party at the Roy Aquatic center. Thomas had a number of friends show up, and so did Rachel. Patrick had one, which is unusual. They had a good time. We talked with another parent about getting Thomas and some of his friends in Cub Scouts as Tigers.

Sunday we finished the new floor in the room downstairs. The dog, in a fit of pique, had defecated all over the room about a month ago. We ripped up the carpet, and installed a ‘floating’ Pergo hardwood floor. Basically you put down the planks without glue. It looks pretty good for an amateur job. We still need to get the baseboards down, and then Rachel is moving down there. Her room will be the new playroom for a while. Patrick wants to move into that room, although Thomas does not want a room to himself.

After that, we went to see “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”. It was good, but I thought the first was better. I think because Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow is known, and not an off the wall thing as the first show. Depp got back into the character, though. It did answer the nagging question I had about Will Turner’s father. The ending was a little surprising. I won’t give it away, but it’s the movies and no one stays dead. It’s worth seeing.

Monday’s dinner with Dad fell in the same pattern. I ordered a Sizzler steak medium, and when I got it, it was red all the way through (almost raw in the middle). They did get it right the second time.

I saw an article on MSN about wireless washing machines. The idea is that it calls your cell phone when it’s done. I agree with one lady’s assessment that it’s an answer in search of a problem. I did get a laugh out of the idea of excusing yourself from a staff meeting because your appliance needs you, or having to instruct the machine to hand the load to the dryer and telling it you expect it done and folded by the time you get home.

End of Entry

Monday, July 18, 2005


Stardate 59071.8 (7-18-2006)
Hot weather is now here. It’s been in the triple digits the last few days. April and Rachel did a yard sale on Saturday, and netted $50. That’s not bad for a bunch of used books and videos. April shut down early because of the heat.

We took in a friends son for a week while she went out of town. Hans is a good kid, but his main source of entertainment is video games, and he took every chance he could to jump on Runescape.com. I had the firewall block it out from 10 PM to 10 AM just so he would not spend 24 hours a day on it. April had me take the PS 2 away as well, although I took pity on the sitter Monday and put it back.

Patrick had been staying over at a friend’s house before Hans came, and he came home pretty tired and moody. Thomas enjoys Hans, so he kept him going.

Wednesdays Ticonderoga meeting was a little disturbing. There was quite a bit of shouting and demanding information. If a little restraint and listening is shown, the meeting could get through faster and more efficiently, and the post-meeting gathering can commence sooner. Carl is borrowing from the scouts to deal with it (the hand in the air when silence is called for). I think stronger measures may be needed. April took the boys to a Raptors game, so Rachel was home alone and I didn’t go to the after meeting gathering.

Sunday April had a baby shower for a coworker, and I convinced the boys into seeing Superman Returns. I thought it was a good movie. Brandon Roush did a wonderful channel of Christopher Reeves. I would have liked a different villain from Lex Luthor, but oh, well. After that we went fishing at Bountiful Pond. I like the place, but it was too hot to stay long.

Monday’s I go out to dinner with my dad. He is not doing well this week. He did get his scooter fixed after a few go arounds with the manufacturer. The guy that came out to do the repair did a thorough job. He replaced the charger, and tightened the seats.

One small quandary: it seems like every week something goes wrong with the food service. One week my order is forgotten, the next week my dad’s steak is almost raw. Last week service took forever; a bottle of A1 required three requests and fifteen minutes. to get, and that was the fastest service. This week was almost right; Denny’s just didn’t get the requested side order right. It’s a bizarre pattern.

End of Entry

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Assume the identity

Stardate 58063.0 (6-30-2005)
Years ago, I worked for a company that developed games for
various personal computers and consoles, as well as arcade games. They
contracted with the major distributors like Atari and EA. Some of the
distributors wrote language into the contract that the payments to the developer
would be suspended if any extra functionality were added to a game such as
Easter Eggs. I was told several times by a Vice President of IT that I was to
remove the “Arming the photon torpedoes” message from the boot sequence of
one of the UNIX servers, because that was “unprofessional”. The guy was full
of himself for being technology savvy. However, it was all with MS-DOS. He had
no idea how I added the message, and I think it frustrated him. I noticed it was
still there a couple of years after I had moved out of the system administration
job. I still have a script that gets run on a daily basis that has a slightly
updated wording "Arming the quantum torpedoes".
The point of this is that I think developers still sneak
things in. I got a warning today from Visual Studio .NET after added a module to
a project:


Basically, I am replacing the old module with a newer one.
The wording that caught my eye was “assume the identity”. My first reaction
to it was "What, the credit card numbers and everything?" What if a
similar message was in Windows Explorer? "The file foo.txt already exists
in C:\TEMP. Clicking Yes will allow the new file
to assume the identity of foo.txt in C:\TEMP." That would have a few users
panic. Better yet, transfer the developer to the Office software division. Then
Mr. PaperClip can have options like

"You are about to save bar.doc. This already exists in
the same location. Do you want to?
Continue. The item will automatically assume the identity of the existing item.
Move the item to a new location. You will need to visit your local Post Office
to fill out the appropriate change of address forms.
Allow the new item to create several false identities.
Inform the proper authorities of the identity theft. A Witness Relocation form
will be filled out for you."

The beauty of these is that they are not mutually
exclusive. One or all can be selected.

Humor in the workplace is important, I think. Too many
people get wrapped up in the pressure, and crack. I use sci-fi phases in
response to common questions to help.

"I find your lack of faith disturbing." This is
in response to someone asking me if I will have something ready by a deadline,
usually because a exec is worried. I have an MP3 of it because the doing the
raspy breathing with the deep James Earl Jones voice is really hard. 

"You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
Standard response to a reorg and acquisition notice.

"H'jol! nadev valyinbe'" This is reserved for when I find something I did and I should know better. The fact that it is Klingon always gets someones attention. (The translation is: "Beam me up! There is no intelligent life here.")

"These are not the driods you are looking for."
Accompanied by a slight wave of a hand. When someone comes looking for someone else who is obviously not at their desk. 

"In-CON-ceivable!" For the blatantly obvious comment. 

"When 900 years old you reach, look this good, you will not." When someone realizes how long I have been with the company. 

"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." For those worn out office jokes. 

Feel free to use them. A word of caution, you may be perceived
as not caring about your work. I've been there long enough that most people know this is not true.

End of Entry

Monday, June 27, 2005


Stardate 58062.7 (6-27-2005)
Moab was a nice break. It was not too hot, and we had a good time. I thought that it was funny that the dog was the one most anxious to get home. He kept heading to the car the day we got back to camp from Goblin Valley. It is fun to go camping with friends. Kevin started calling me Tennesee Tim after I bought a new hat. 

We tried out the KOA kabin as an experiment. It worked out. We are planning to drive to Indiana and Ohio to visit my brother and brother-in-law. The kabins are much cheaper than a hotel room, and we can sleep five a lot easier. Dayton, though, was a problem. Seems to be popular.

There were 168 emails at work when I got in Monday. A lot of questions, issues, and other stuff that seems like only I can solve. I was only gone the weekend.

MySQL crashed on my computer. I finally figured out why. For some reason, it does not like spaces in the path. So the default install to "Program Files" is bad. It did run for a few days, though, so it can't be as simple as that. I thought problems like that were long gone. I did get it back up and running. 

End of Entry

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bad Day

Stardate 58062.2 (6-22-2005)
Today was one of those days. I wake up about a quarter to eight, push Rachel out of bed to get to tennis. I can't find the car keys. After searching for 5 minutes, I do find them. I drop her off, and run back home to fix a web problem. The laptop won't boot. Fix that problem, fix the web problem, and can't find the car keys AGAIN. After an hour of searching, I call triple-A, and they send a locksmith. He can't do anything, the dealer needs to make a new key. He calls for a towtruck. The lawnmower repair guy shows up, and then the towtruck. The repair guy is in the way, the towtruck can't get to the car. The mail carrier can't get to our mailbox. The repair guy finishes, but the mower is on its last legs. The towtruck guys get the cable stuck under the tire dragging the car onto the bed of the truck. They leave tire marks on my driveway. I find the car keys after the towtruck leaves, of course. The car dealer tells me I can't use them, they have already reprogrammed the car. I thought I'd fix the day by doing some And to top it off, I didn't outscore Carl. I got 894 out of 1000.

Click here to take NerdTests.com's Star Trek Quiz.

Well, I was going to get another set of keys, and I am not surprised about the mower. It's years old, and we have beat it up. 

April's job is becoming like mine. Even when she has the day off, they are still calling all day. 

I have not gotten back to Rome: Total War yet. No time. I did think about some of my victories. A lot were with 40-50% losses. I'm not sure if that's normal, but I might check it out. I do know that was not the case with Alexander at Issus. (I can dream, can't I?) I did get the ability to build seige units. That will help. The Gauls are out of the game, which also helps. 

The week is almost over, just a little more...

End of Entry