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