Friday, June 22, 2007


Stardate 60062.2
Today we did not start out with Williamsburg, but instead headed the car to Jamestown. Pretty much similar to other historic recreations. The boys had some fun with craving out a canoe (where they burn the inside and you use a clamshell to scrape the charcoal). Patrick was fascinated by the blacksmith.

Stopped by Yorktown again. Patrick and Thomas got to dry-load a cannon, and then see it fired with a charge (no cannonball, of course). April got an education in 18th century medicine.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007


Stardate 60062.1
I had intended to go and see a Patrick Henry speech this morning, but Patrick Madden found a trapball game, and I was stuck until April could park the car. I did manage to see some of the speech (I think it was the same actor as Washington, but I can't be sure). He was making jokes, one of which said he had 17 children, over a hundred grandchildren, so if some charlatan was to play him some 230 years in the future, chances are he would be speaking to one of his descendants.

We met with our friends from New Orleans, and watched a street show on the hardships of the population during the Revolutionary War.

I took the boys over to the Yorktown battlefield in the afternoon. We toured the redoubts. I was surprised to find that one of the key positions taken by Alexander Hamilton's brigade was almost gone, washed away by the river. There was also a howitzer installed there in 1681, and used by the British during the siege in 1781. One hundred years old and still usable. I have trouble making a computer last more than 2 years. We also found a cannon with the name 'Thomas' on it.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Busch Gardens

Stardate 60062.0
Next day it rained. We had looked at the weather forecast and were prepared with umbrellas and ponchos. After yesterdays heat, the cool rain was welcome. We went back over to Williamsburg to see 'A conversation with General Washington'. Patrick again wanted to see that. The actor was good in the role. I think he nailed the 'soul of dignity' that is the usual description of Washington. After that, we saw a reenactment of the reading of the Declaration of Independence, and April and Rachel went on a tour of the colonial capitol building.

After lunch, the kids did not want to go back to Colonial Williamsburg, so we went to Busch Gardens. Our friends from New Orleans were already there. This was a good thing, as Rachel wanted to ride all of the roller coasters, and April and I don't like them. She managed to do all but one, and that was because it had broken down. Thomas tried the kiddie rides, and finally figured out they are too slow for him now. He wanted to follow his brother and sister and the other kids, but he is not ready for the coasters yet. I took him on a few spinning rides, and he did go on the Battering Ram (the same thing as Lagoon's Tidal Wave) with the other kids. I wish I could have gotten a picture of his face on the downward swings; it was screwed up in almost panic. He did say he enjoyed it afterwards. We ended the day with a dance show.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Stardate 60061.9
The first day at Colonial Williamsburg, VA, was very hot and muggy. We wandered around for a couple of hours. Patrick found a game that was played in colonial times called trapball. It's a mix of cricket and baseball. You have a leather ball you place on a lever. You hit one side of the lever with the bat, and then hit the ball as it pops up. The people in the field try to catch it, if they do, then they at. If not, the have to roll the ball and hit the lever. Patrick loved the game. The picture shows him playing with other kids (he is the one in the white shirt and red shorts with white stripes.)

After lunch, we decided to head to the water park and cool off. We met some friends who had flown up from New Orleans. The water park was a nice break, and perfect for the day. It had a number of slides, and a lazy river that took about four minute to go through.

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Monday, June 18, 2007


Stardate 60061.6
We flew to DC early Saturday morning. We had a stopover in Atlanta, with only a 30 minute delay after 3 hours in the airport. Amazing. Usually I get stuck in Atlanta for 3-6 hours. Arriving in DC, we rented an SUV with a GPS navigator. It was pretty neat to use, but it could not find the address for the hotel we were staying at. We wandered around DC for two hours, calling the hotel twice to get new directions.

The next day we drove to Philadelphia to see Independence Hall. The GPS did much better with that, which is good since I think it should be well know landmark. I loved seeing the Hall. I've seen it in several movies, but nothing beats being there. We then did a Duck Tour. It's an amphibious bus that drives around the sites near the Hall, and then goes into the Delaware River. On the way back to the hotel in DC, there was road construction, so a two hour drive turned into five. The GPS warned of heavy traffic, but not until we were already in it.

Sunday we went to the National Mall. Patrick wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial, and we decided to visit the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. I warned the kids that it was a lot of walking, although Rachel already knew this. April wanted to go see the White House, but we ran out of time. We then drove to Williamsburg. The GPS again did a pretty good job, but again there was a lot of traffic. I think this traffic was normal for the area. Watching the news at the new hotel, we found out the area around the White house had been evacuated because of a threat, so it was a good thing we didn't try.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rome Reborn

Now this is pretty cool.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Who Killed the Desktop Applcation?

Stardate 60061.1
Jeff Atwood had a post about Who killed the desktop? Google is a pretty innovative company, but sometimes they do things I don't care for. The Google themes are not very imaginative, and take up a lot of screen real estate. I've never used Trips and Streets because I feel that should be an online application because the information is constantly changing. I also think this is a back burner application as far as Microsoft is concerned. Office undergoes changes in user interface every few years. I used Visual Source Safe for almost 8 years, and the user interface didn't change at all. Visual Studio made changes that surprised me from version 6 to 2003 to 2005.

I haven't found a good IDE Web app (or any IDE on the web for that matter). During my job search last year, I did keep track of all the interviews and submissions on Google Docs, but I've never tried to put a large amount of text in to the word processor. I have a few 40,000+ word novels I could try, though.

Google does a good job with Web apps, but that's their domain. Microsoft is still the king of desktop apps.

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Friday, June 08, 2007


I'm a New Testament - Revelations type of guy. I keep looking for signs of apocalypse.
Jericho fans win show renewal. (Ok, this HAS happened before. Cagney and Lacey got canceled, then renewed by fan protest, and went on for four more seasons.)
Patient bleeds green blood. New one on me.
US Beats Guatemala 1-0 in Gold Cup Ok, not really new either. But I watched the match. USA has a long way to go.

And then there are the same old arguments.

My brother sent me the picture.

Favorite quote: "Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semi-colons."

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007


About a month ago, there was a thread on comp.lang.java titled 'I hate Java'. The poster wanted to know after Googling that phrase why so many people didn't like Java. I thought he could substitute any language and get pretty much the same thing. At various times I can hate Java, Javascript, C#, CSS, HTML, and what ever else is giving me problems at the moment. Wandering through Wikipedia, I found a Klingon programming language, va'aq. Then again, I hate RPN.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Schedule Updates

Stardate 60060.5
On the heels of the last post is a this one. AYSO soccer is over, and we did not register again. Rachel does not want to play, and Thomas got frustrated that members of his team (which I coached) are not willing to put forth any effort. After the second to last game, he asked if he could play OFC instead. More on that in a second. Patrick wanted to keep going with AYSO, but both April and I feel he is not getting much out of it. Only twice during the fall and spring did they play a complete other team without having to loan players. I think he likes to play because he is one of the better players, and enjoys that position.

Back to OFC, I talked to the head of coaching, and yes, they are looking for more U8 players, and a coach. Sigh. I volunteered. Only 4 players showed up for tryouts, 3 of which happened to be on my AYSO team. The flyer's where a bit confusing on the minimum age. The 4 will be playing with the U9 team for the time being. A concern April had with the tryouts is that the head coach made it know he would be making two U10 teams, a premiere and a state, and that Patrick would be on the state team. I kind of knew that he was happy with the way Patrick was playing, and it turned out that only three players were removed from the existing team to the state team, and Patrick was not one of them. One was moved down simply because he needed to develop skills, one because of attitude and because he played only occasionally, and the last because he played only occasionally.

Rachel was approached many times to play on the girls team, but she does not want to, and we are not going to make her.

Thomas will be playing his last baseball game next Monday. School ends on Friday, so the kids will be mostly free for the summer. Just a once a week soccer practice.

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Stardate 60060.5
An email exchange with Carl brought up some concerns that my kids are possibly over scheduled. I don't think so at this point, but it's a concern. Here is the text of my reply:
How would you get that impression? :)
I get concerned about it. They do not get to do more than two activities at any one time, but then that gets multiplied by three. The ones that don't have something to do that day go home with one parent, usually April since I am already out here. The particular blog entry you are probably thinking of reflects April being out of town, and then they didn't get that luxury. They handled it better than I did.

Tomorrow they go home with April; nothing is scheduled. I, however, go down to Bountiful to take my dad out to eat. Friday they are going home after practice, I have SOM. One reason they only get to do two activities is so they don't get over scheduled, and the other is that I don't. They also have to want to do it, I don't like dragged crying kids to something. Next, schoolwork needs to be kept up with. Rachel's lowest GPA in the last two years is 3.95. Patrick and Thomas don't get GPAs yet, but Patrick has to be the best at everything, and gets upset with a score lower that 95%. Thomas struggled the most, due in some part to older siblings BLURTING OUT ANSWERS when we tried to study (stopped when I would put them to immediate chores when they did so), but he now parades 100% on spelling and math in his brother's face. I look at what happens when they don't have an activity. It's a problem if they can't find anything to do. It's a problem if they don't ask me to play; that means they've given up on me. Dinner together with no TV is important, and they need engage in conversation (last night's subject was who shot Abraham Lincoln, John and some name with a W, best guess was John Williams. Nope, he writes music, including the Star Wars theme, the correct answer is John Wilkes Booth).

I try to make sure they have free time. Sundays are usually spent at home and with nothing scheduled to do. Homework for the weekend needs to be taken care of as much as possible on Friday to help with this goal.

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