Friday, April 28, 2006


Stardate 59042.8
Log entries have been sporadic. I just have not been in the mood, and also busy. I will be pretty busy for a while yet.

Patrick has a music program Thursday. It was a rock version of Mother Goose. It was pretty fun. His teacher told me Wednesday he passed out during rehearsal. We think is was due to dehydration and just being tired. Rachel went with the Girl Scouts to Ogden Nature Center.

Thomas woke up Tuesday running from the bottom. It cleared up, but we kept him home Wednesday just in case.

Tuesday evening was the Cub Scout pack meeting. Patrick and his den all got the Bear badges. The bridging ceremony is in May. One of the members is leaving because his father is taking command of air wing in Spokane.

I’ve been playing with Google Calendar for the past week or so. It’s pretty good. I like the fact I can access it from wherever I have web access, although it won’t work with the mobile browser on my phone. It also interfaces with SMS, so I can get reminders on my cell. That didn’t initially work, which was a little rebarbative. I sent a message to Google Help on it, and they sent a generic reply to check settings. A few days later it started to work, and I noticed a couple of changes in the setup. It also accepts iCal format, so I can forward appointments from work.

I stole this from Matt Smith. Not sure where the provenance is, though.

* Where did you go on your very first date? What did you do?

A girl in my German class asked my to a school dance. The bad part now is I can’t remember which dance or what her name was.

* Where did you go on your first date with your sweetie? What did you do?

We went to a Mexican restaurant in Orlando. I was there for a developer conference. A co-worker (Sheila Clark, the person the new Salt Lake planetarium is named for) had a niece living there. She maintained to her last day she was not trying to set us up.

* At what age did you start dating?

17 as a senior in high school.

* How long did you and your sweetheart date before getting married?

About 12 months.

* When did you know you were going to get married?

About two months after meeting her.

* What would you like to do on a date that you have never done before?

We went to Hawaii for our honeymoon, and went to the beach in Florida when we were dating. Boston or New York City, maybe? Someplace fancy.

Yes, I’ve been using words from Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day. I’ve also been using Google’s Reader as my RSS aggregator. I installed Gregarius, but I was not happy with it. Google’s is cleaner, although it failed to load once or twice.

Favorite Quote:In blackest sight, or suit too tight, blah, blah, blah - The Green Loontern

End of Entry

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Mesa Verde

Stardate 59041.9
Pretty good. Money’s Top Jobs. I could go around saying ‘I’m number 1’, but that would be crass.

We are back from a trip to Mesa Verde and the Four Corners. It was a good vacation, no major problems. It was the first time Mapquest did not work out well. I was a little suspicious with the ‘hwy 491 becomes Pinon Dr’. We missed a turn to the hotel and had to backtrack a mile. The hotel was supposed to have a high-speed internet connection, but we could not find it. I did get on the wireless net for the hotel down the street. It was a spotty connection, though.

Easter morning the kids got up and inspect what the bunny brought. Patrick had given up candy for Lent and was anxious to start eating. Thomas got King Kong, and asked about once or twice a day the rest of the time when he could watch it.

Four Corners was what I expected, a monument surrounded by a flea market. Patrick got himself an arrowhead and an arrow, and Thomas picked up a small spear. Rachel found a feather hair pin. She and her friend Audra, whose family drove down with us, watch a woman do tile painting with colored sand. She wanted to try it. We then went to Hovenweep, a small collection of Pueblo ruins. Thomas didn’t like the hike down, and he and April turned around. That turned out to be a good thing. April talked with the ranger there, and he told her Mesa Verde hikes were all much steeper. We decided then that April would stay behind with Thomas while I went with Patrick and Rachel. Patrick spent much of his time at Hovenweep looking for lizards. I told him he could keep one if he could catch it. A gamble on my part, but I only caught one in all my trips to desert country, and that was because it was almost freezing and the lizard I found could not move.

Patrick wanted to collect some rocks, so we stopped on the way back. Rachel and Thomas stayed in the car watching videos, and April stayed with them. I went with Patrick. That was cool. There was a field of black rocks, and five feet away the sand and rock were green. Across the road it was red. There was some white further up. All in all, very impressive.

So Monday I went on a hike to Cliff Palace. The trail was not bad, but we were right, Thomas would have refused to budge. I had always thought the people lived in the buildings, but the ranger guide said they lived on the mesa above and only certain people lived below. The University of Chicago did some temperature studies, and it stays cold in the cliffs most of the time. We also did a short walk to the Balcony overlook. The tour for it does not open until the end of May.

Tuesday we went back home.

Weight: 194 lbs
Favorite Quote: In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, in practice there is.

End Of Entry

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Stardate 59041.2
April’s birthday was Sunday. She’s 28 (hint: I’m not using the decimal system). The kids made gifts for her. Patrick made a card, and Rachel organized a treasure hunt. The kids helped me make brunch. We went out to Mimi’s CafĂ© for dinner. April and I went out earlier in the week to buy a PDA for her. The selection is not that great, but she found a HP iPAQ that runs Windows Mobile 5. It also has built in wireless. I played around with it, and tried to install Microsoft Reader. It runs, but when you try and activate it per their instructions, it says the OS is not recognized. I didn’t pursue the problem. I might think about a PDA for myself, but I’d like reader to run on it.

Soccer on Saturday ran better. The park was still wet, but not too bad. I have a new player that is doing well. It was good to have a full team so I could sub tired kids out. There’s still some confusion, because the other team for Patrick’s game didn’t show until fifteen minutes after the game was supposed to start, and then only three players were there. So Patrick’s team essentially played themselves. Patrick proudly told everyone he scored goals for both teams. Rachel did well, and she enjoyed playing. Her best friends mother told me her daughter will only play next year if they can play for the same coach. AYSO doesn’t allow that, so this may be the last year for Rachel.

Friday we got a new patio door delivered, and a new pantry door. The installer called on Monday to schedule the install in response to Home Depot calling them that the door was in. April called Home Depot to schedule the delivery of the door, and they basically said ‘What door?’ It took some searching, but they found the door in Salt Lake. It’s a nice door, but big. The delivery van had one lady. When I got home, she and April were trying to figure out how to get the door and pallet, 300 lbs, into the garage. The boss of the lady said it would be fine in the driveway, but I reminded them we gave them specific instructions to put it in the garage. It’s wood, and I did not want it getting wet. The delivery lady and I got it loose from the pallet, and with April’s help we carried it in. The lady was very nice about it.

Also Friday: I came down in the morning to hear a drip, drip, drip. I tracked it down to the bay window in the dining room. The guy installing the patio overhang left holes in my outside wall, and with the rain and snow, water got in. The insulation is soaked, and the drywall on the ceiling is mush. The guy worked half of one day doing the overhang, and left it for a week. He is now going to have to fix the ceiling.

Flash forward to Monday. The installer was told about the pantry door only; he did not know about installing a patio door. He was pretty flexible about it, and spent most of the day on it. He even had his boss get more siding for the outside because the door is smaller than the old one. We should have known about it, so that was good of him.

Tuesday the guy finally comes back to work on the patio overhang. It’ll look good when it is done. I just wonder how long that will take.

Rachel went bowling with the Girl Scout league that night. I joked with her that some time during the two games she had she might want to hit a pin. Her final score at the end was 17 total for both games.

Thomas lost a tooth. It was loose, and apparently he got hit in the face with a basketball, and it fell out. I told him to put it under his pillow, but he wants to show it around first.

Frustrations and tempers are flaring with Mountain Con. There is a problem with communication. This is a pretty common problem, compounded by the volunteer nature of the organization. I begin to see why companies don’t think fans can do these sort of things. I don’t think the issues are bad, but some dissemination of information would help things out. My being unable to attend meetings recently has not helped either. I was surprised by a few things.

The DVR missed DS9’s ‘Extreme Measures’, or Spike didn’t broadcast it. I think the first is more likely, because ‘The Dogs of War’ was corrupted so that only the last 20 minutes was viewable. So I go from Odo laying near death on the floor of the Jem’Hadar ship to him getting ready to join the attack on Cardassia. I don’t remember a lot of the scenes, but I did see them because I do remember other parts. Odo’s cure is not one of the things I remember, so I was looking forward to seeing it again. Oh, well, there’s next time around. The DVR already has the first few episodes of season 1.

Oh, and the scale says 188 lbs.

End of Entry

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Stardate 59040.6
Yelled at Rachel this morning. I hate to do that; it makes me feel as though I’ve failed. She has been staying in bed until it’s time to leave for school. The purpose it to avoid going, I know, but that’s not an option. Avoiding issues does not make them go away, and often makes them worse. I know at least part of the issues, but she won’t talk about it with me. Not yet, anyway.

We got a DVR for the satellite, so I’ve been watching more TV. April has scheduled her shows, and I added Deep Space Nine on Spike TV. I caught ‘Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges’ (In times of war, the law is silent – Cicero). It seems kind of poignant in light of the controversy over prisoners at Guantanmo Bay. This was broadcast in 1999, so it’s a good comment on how little we learn even over 2100 years. (Wikipedia reports ‘The Practice’ used it again in 2001, but that doesn’t count as much.) I also am watching The Amazing Race and Supernanny. The last is kind of interesting, albeit repetitive. Most of the shows revolve around consistent discipline and spending time with your kids. Combine this with a post by a friend of mine, Matt, about scheduling time with your family. (The comment about Matt being a Keeper was amusing to me). So I start to wonder if I should be scheduling time. The thought doesn’t sync right. Scheduled fun never seems to be all that fun. What works for me is when I am asked to play by my kids, think hard about what I am doing now before giving the kneejerk ‘no, not right now’ response. Is it all that important? Sometimes the answer is Yes, and sometimes it’s No. If it is Yes, I tell them I need to finish what I am doing now, and then I can join them. They accept that pretty well, although Patrick can annoy me with “Are you done? How much longer?” The trick is to follow through. And sometimes the answer is a flat no. That one gets used for things I just can’t do. For example, I’ve tried the trampoline with them. The problem with it is that after about 2 minutes, I am gasping for breath. It’s a good workout, but not much in the way of quality time. Another suggestion is to find a common interest. Patrick and I have a running competition to see how many baskets we can make from the edge of the driveway. Rachel likes to play horse with the hoop. Things like that I have fun with.

It snowed again this morning. I am getting tired of it. I’d like to get to work in under an hour more than once a week.

End of Entry

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Stardate 59040.4
April went to LA Thursday and Friday for an equipment demo. Patrick was nervous about it, because dad gets mad a lot lately. Kids are great at noticing and pointing out things like that. I suppose he is right. I am feeling frustrated and adrift in my career, and I don’t care for it. Not that I am in danger of losing the job. I am still able to step in on crisis situations and solve them. I also have a lot of domain knowledge that I know is very hard to find. But I don’t think the company makes use of it as they could. I’m continuing to do CBT on my own.

I have also been working from home far more than before. A lot of this is problems with the commute. Weather has caused some of it. Yesterday the freeway shut down due to a truck dumping a porti-potty on I-15 in North Salt Lake. I spent an hour on the freeway going 10 miles, and decided to turn around at Farmington and go home. I read in Justin’s blog that he saw the accident and called 911. This is the fourth freeway closure or near closure in the last month. It generates the same comments on KSL every time; “if we had the Legacy highway”, and “better mass transit”. Valid, but not the whole problem. Commuter rail would get me to downtown, but then I need to go to South Salt Lake to get back north to West Valley. Not a really good answer and I still need to get the kids to school. Another problem is Davis cities apparently planned for urban housing, but not for industrial development. So the jobs are in Salt Lake City, and there is a rush hour each morning and afternoon. It’s strange that fifteen years ago leaders were saying we need to learn from and avoid the problems of Southern California, but they missed.

Wednesday I participated in the company blood drive. I tried at the kids school back in December with a company called MountainStar. They stuck a needle in both arms, but failed to find a vein. Red Cross phlebotomists gave one quick stab and got a vein no problem. They are sending me a donor card to make future donations much easier. I’m type O, which means I am a universal donor (what is given in an emergency if they don’t know your type), so they are after me to donate as often as I can.

Report cards came home Friday. The kids are doing well. Thomas has the most trouble. There are still a few things he has not mastered (tying his shoes, his home address, etc.). Patrick has some behavior problems. He likes to goof and joke around. It’s hard to correct since his friends find it funny, and that’s what he’s looking for. Rachel has been having emotional issues. Unfortunately she takes after me and won’t talk about it. We set up a session with the school councilor. If nothing else, it gives her someone to unburden on. The councilor told me she is having the typical pre-teen problems, and she feels over scheduled, and that she does not have any free time. Part of that is a result that she complains she has nothing to do when she does have free time.

The first AYSO soccer games were on Saturday. This was also April Fool’s Day, which seems appropriate. When I got there for Thomas’s game, the other coach told me the times had been changed. He only just found out about it. So we set up our own field and played. I only had two players, so Patrick filled in. It has been raining frequently, so the fields were soaked. My shoes quickly became the same way.

The Girl Scouts had a kidnap breakfast that morning, but Rachel and her friend Audra (coincidentally the name of the Red Cross phlebotomist) thought April was playing a joke and refused to go. She got upset when April came back with the rest of the troop to get her. Both girls had a soccer game at 10. Rachel was so distressed she would not play. The team played in a field that was half lake. A ball kicked down the field would stop cold when it hit the water. Audra’s mother was surprised that I stayed with her daughter. I was waiting to pick up another player for Patrick’s game, so I didn’t think it was a big deal. The team still won the game through rain and hail. Patrick’s game was cancelled. No reason was given, but I think it was because they could not get the fields redone in time. They are trying to not play in the Pit, which on that day would have been a disaster. But the games for the U-8 teams have been moved to the U-6 fields, so they have to reset to a different size. That evening we went to Layton Fun Center with the school.

Monday evening was the first fishing class. Rachel told us she does not want to fish ever again. Thomas and Patrick went with me to Clinton Pond. I bought some new poles for them to use. The class was basic safety, and then the boys cast the lines into the water for an hour. Nobody caught anything, but the boys had a good time. Next week is knot tying, so it should be fun. I might break down and get a license for the year. They handed out a book listing the ponds and lakes all along the Wasatch Front. There are plenty of places nearby to go. If someone catches a fish, then I should have an easy time convincing the kids to go.

Weight : 190 lbs

End of Entry