Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Noah boxes

Bouncing good time.

Flood as seen from space

NASA shares a before and after satellite picture.

Where is our live blogger?

a google map showing the location of the live New Orleans blogger.

Update: A description of the buildings seen on the camera.

Live Cam Reboardcast

The live cam by the New Orleans blogger is being reboardcast here.

Close to home...sorta

Wow! I just examined the satellite photos and realized that the levee that broke which shows the massive flooding in New Orleans is actually the levee that I used to ride my bike on as a kid. I used to get on skifs and play with crab traps. I'd "hunt" alligator (you use a flashlight to see their eyes sticking out of the water). I shot my BB gun down there and hiked on a railroad track. Well the breach is the west side of Kenner a stones throw from where I lived and flooded mostly undeveloped land. Yes, there are other breaches and water is coming into the city but as soon as I've met today's deadline I want to spend some time drawing on the sat picture and explaining a few things. More to come!

Katrina Bloggers

Another blogger from the area.

Live New Orleans Feed Back Up

Our New Orleans blogger has put his feed back up but right now it caps at 50 viewers. It is interesting to watch people casually walking down the same street that cars are driving on.

And he slips...

Fighting panic.

The Big Picture

If you haven't seen it yet, here is the satellite picture of New Orleans. I may try to take some time to mark a few landmarks in a later post.

Of Grasshoppers

Student: My troubles overwhelm me.
Master: Then expect to be clobbered!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Today I am happy...

  • ...because I kept my cool as my linux development server slowly died
  • ...because I only cursed during the first brown out.
  • ...because the two trees that fell in the neighborhood missed houses.
  • ...because I was able to feed my family tonight.

It is difficult to be happy as my favorite city sits in ruin with so many dead and displaced. My troubles are so minor.

New Orleans getting about

This live feed from New Orleans shows cars moving about, and people walking on the sidewalks on a sunny day.

Lakeview Levee Breach

Does anyone have anything, a webcam (I power...but that's not entirely true: A blogger in New Orleans), blog, news or anything talking about the Lakeview Levee Breach?

This was posted 5 hours ago according to Google News

Engineers have contingencies for levee breaches such as the one that happened Monday, but it will take time and effort to get the heavy equipment into place to make the repair. Breach repair is part of the corps' planning for recovery from catastrophic storms, but nobody Monday was able to say how long it would take to plug the hole, or how much water would get through it before that happened.

Some photos courtesy of Kim at Bacon and Ehs and a Google Earth picture showing the location of the breach.

Fun with Math

I enjoy games like these.

Save Time - Save Wear and Tear On Your DVD Player

Get a DVD Rewinder!

Too many DVDs, and CDs and not enough time to rewind? Are your DVDs running a bit too slow? The DVD rewinder is the perfect solution!
The DVD Rewinder will spin discs...

Of Grasshoppers

Student: I want to hide.
Master: You cannot hide from yourself.
Oh why not...seems like as good a day as any for a complete meltdown...

Geeks Rejoice! Sing of Opera

Today Opera is giving away license registrations as part of their 10 year anniversary. So if you want Opera for compatibility testing or just to torment yourself, grab it!

Failing badly!

As a web developer my bread and butter are my tools. The most important tools of course being my development servers. My linux server has decided that it is at the end of its life. It has picked a really bad time to get on its ice flow.

Morning Routine

"Time to wake the doughnuts!"

Sometimes I think I dread the morning routine during the school year more than the kids. On days like today I would like to be under the covers but I need to be super focused working. I can't sleep, but I can work and get the kids ready at the same time.

Of Grasshoppers

Student: I have to eat crow.
Master: It tastes better without whine.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Today I am happy...


Try 2

He's gonna blow!

My blood pressure and pulse

Amy having a blast!

The Sky Is Falling

Last night my wife and I debated the strength of domed buildings. I watched a History Channel special touting their perfect design. But when engineered wrong they crumble. reports "Section of Superdome roof opens up."

I just sat at a 4 way stop waiting for the light to change

The Rain Is Here

And so it begins...

I feel very bad for the people of New Orleans. I lived in Kenner (2 miles north of the New Orleans International Airport) for 4.5 years. I love New Orleans and its going to be obliterated.

Of Grasshoppers

Student: I am easily distracted.
Master: A man with no vision cannot focus.

WIthout Power for 5 Days

So CNN just said "anyone east of the hurricane's (Katrina) path could lose power for up to 5 days." That's a stressful statement when the vampires have been sucking you dry, you're behind on deadlines, and the cupboards are going bare.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Some get married by Elvis...Then there is Ye Ol' Tyme Photo Boothe...

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Time flies by so quickly. We find our ruts, our routines and our habits.

I want to point out this picture again because it is a favorite of mine and when I posted it this past Thursday I failed to mention that it is one of the only two wedding photos that Cathy and I have.

Cathy and I were married at Gatlinburg's Ye Ol' Tyme Photo Boothe. After I proposed, we couldn't wait. We both had already done the church wedding before. We had the marriage license. And everything felt right. Noah was too young to understand. Tommy would not have understood. But Sarah needed to be included so she was brought along. In hindsight perhaps Noah should have gone too.

We triple checked the legality of the Gatlinburg wedding chapels and drove on up. I forget how we decided which one to use but we certainly chose a fun one. We perused different styles of attire and finally arrived at the image we desired. We slipped into the clothing which was then velcro'd behind our backs. The sleeves were rolled up and secured for an appropriate look. We slipped into a back room where the proprietor performed the ceremony and pronounced us married. Then we went to the front of the store and had our pictures made and with copies for the extended family we pranced out into the real world to begin a most wonderful life together!

Of Grasshoppers

Student: When will my wounds mend?
Master: Healing is not a passive activity.

Today I am happy...

  • ...because we survived the camping trip.
  • ...because I came home with only 2 seed ticks.
  • ...because I can hug my wife again.
  • ...because my baby coo'd and chattered and was happy to see me; and I held him.
  • ...because my puppy exuberantly welcomed us home.
  • ...because I was able to give a little to another child and mother.
  • ...because I was able to teach some boys how to whistle with an acorn.
  • ...because both my boys did things on their own that made me proud.
  • ...because my boys learned how to stomp a milk carton to make it explode with a deafening pop and I wasn't the one that taught them!

Tommy joins the rest of camp for the lowering of the flag announcements and dinner

Boys opted out of chapel. Homebound.

Breakfast. Mmm

The boys have learned the stomping the milk carton trick. Expect phone calls from the school.

Another tired child says he slept only 3 hours.

Tired but very helpful child watches flag ceremony.

I was up at 2am and again at 4 and rose at 6:30. Night was calm and uneventful. Time to raise the boys.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Boys asleep. I am going to rest.

Tommy volunteered to distribute the marshmellows

Tommy listens to scouts tell stories while waiting for marshmellows

Noah with friends

Noah tommy jeremy and elizabeth prepare for entertainment

Story time.

Preparing for camp fires

Hamburger and hot dogs for dinner. Good meal.

Tommy gets a bullseye in archery


Swim buddies

All 3 of us passed swim test

45 minutes later than the start of checkin but we are not alone.

Campsite 5 scores swimming first! I can feel the rain coming.

Oops. We starve. I didn't bring lunch

Checked in.

Hi ho hi ho off to camp buck tom we go

Today I am happy...

...because I'm taking the oldest two boys camping.

Yesterday I was happy...

...because I met some really excellent people.

...because I spent some good time with my family in the evening.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Functionality added to CompleteLottery.Info

It doesn't validate. It doesn't look that great. It is not what I would use as an example of my codign. It is not what it is intended to become. But, instead of sitting stagnant, CompleteLottery.Info now has functionality. If you have a lottery related website or want a directory of lottery related websites, CompleteLottery.Info now allows to you add and list sites by state for lottery related information in the United States.

Today's Stressors

It's Friday. This weekend I take the boys to Camp Buck Tom's and upon our return I go to a lengthy scout leadership meeting. My current list of stressors:

  • Finish and deliver work to client 1
  • Return call to prospect
  • Make presentable progress on client 2
  • Troubleshoot a problem for client 3
  • spend 3-4 hours on something I am neither prepared for mentally or materially which could lead to a major life changing event
  • Make progress on the financial paperwork because 1 week ago I was supposed to be talking to my Uncle and I can't even find the letter with the phone number I'm supposed to call
  • Balance the books
  • Send invoices
  • Work on family computers (wife's and 2 children's)
  • Clean house
  • Grocery shopping
  • Pack for camping
  • Make sure I have enough money for gas to and from Camp Buck Tom's
  • Email client 4

The End Is Near!

My linux harddrive is failing in a bad way. If it dies, doing my linux/php development becomes a bit more challenging! Granted, I'd prefer to be doing CF.

Parenting Challenges

I have one child that refuses to accept my time management lessons and lacks organizational skills. Of course, perhaps I'm not the best teacher or example. I like the Franklin-Covey system based on Stephen R. Covey's First Things First (book) ( the cd version is great too ).

Today this child decides to sleep in then at the last minute explains that she is taking her roller skate shoes and requests I fix a mechnical problem with one of the wheels.

My first inclination is to say "a lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine" and tell her that I cannot do it. But this is a sweet child and I want to come to her aid. No! NOOOOoooo! Not the puppy dog eyes!

Let's see if I can come through and get this wheel fixed.

Update: Shoe fixed.

Of Grasshoppers

Student: My burden is heavy.
Master: Why do you lift so much?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I've been banned.

My wife has declared that I am no longer allowed to go to PTA meetings, Open Houses, Parent Orientations, or other similar group functions. The middle school declared this an open house, and last year it was in the true sense of the word with leisurely student guided tours of the building and impromptu discussions with the teachers, but instead put on a scheduled orientation with a 30 minute meeting in the auditorium and then an hour+ presentation in the classroom by all the team's teachers. So when one teacher addressed how makeup work would be done in conjunction with absenses and cited "obviously if they are out for a week having an appendix removed we are going to work with them" I chimed up and asked "so how many times can they use the appendix excuse?" I miss being a student :) My wife feels I've lost my mind.

Special Thanks to Michael

Thanks to Michael's August Challenge my google ads to the right have turned down right cheery! Currently showing for me are:

"A Positive Attitude Is Everything. Become Positive and Powerful with this Free new system,"
"Feel good about yourself.Surround yourself with positive, Christian people. Learn how."
"Why aren't you happy? The reason's simplier than you think. Find out the answer at Paul's tips."

Today I am happy...

...because the love between my wife and I is so strong that we are frozen in time. It feels like we married only yesterday!

Happy Anniversary!

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To my wonderful wife! You have brought so many joys into my life. My love for you burns so strong. I couldn't ask for a better relationship! I knew I could easily meet BarryMichael's August challenge (Barry's challenge) because I have you; everyday you give me reason to smile and be happy. Thank you for marrying me! Thank you for being my wife! Thank you for our kids! And thank you for supporting my whims and lunacy and believing in me during the hard times. I have enjoyed all our adventures and I so look forward to the times ahead of us! Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Today I am happy...

...because i asked that "one good thing happen" to me today and it did. Overall I'm struggling badly today to not be miserable. I'll turn this around.

What gets you up in the morning?

My morning mantra during the school year is a tribute to Fred the Baker as I bemoan "time to make the doughnuts." What's your mantra?

Think Positive Thoughts...Think Think Think

I really need something good to happen to me today.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Today I am happy...

...because I did those dumb this you gotta do.

...because I watched the exuberance with which my 3 year old gleefully trotted off to her first day of school.

...because I was knocked down with the love of my daughter when she saw me to pick her up from school.

...because she really had a great time in pre-school.

...because my 11 year old is living to her full potential and excelling despite trying to convince me otherwise.

Pure Joy

I wish I could record the glee with which Amy floats around the house this morning. I think the camera is in the car else I'd try. She is so excited about her first day of school! These are the moments I am so glad that I am not missing.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


If you don't want to do it with my wife then do it with me.

Today I am happy...

...because I listened to my 3 year old daughter say "hold on I'm busy" and with my mouth agap as I heard my own words echoed I consciously decided to never be busy again; I will however reserve the right to ask "please allow me a moment to finish my responsibility" and will continue to seek out a succinct phrase that means "I must finish my reasonability so that we can have quality time" which another person of any age would respect.

I would be very pleased to work the phrase "please allow me a moment to use my best judgement" into their minds somehow.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Today I am happy...

...because I had a date with my wife and son to Greek Fest.

...because I swam in the pool with my kids and watched Amy boldly climb the slide and splash into the pool repeatedly.

...because Sarah had a great time at scouts and with her best friend.

...because Noah is by default happy.

...because Tommy turned it around and lost his grumpy.

...because Evan laughed for the grandparents...while he slept.

Candy factory we knew you well


Greek fest


Do you want to do it with my wife?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Ton of bricks...make that 5 tons

Wow. I mean. WOW. Whoa. Wow. WoooooooW. Ouch. Yeah. Whoa. WOOOW!!

So you want to talk shirts?

Why yes, that is Depeche Mode I'm playing.

Good Cat Pics

For those of you on RSS feeds, you might want to jump over the Reality Me site for the next hour or so we've got good cat cam.

America - the paranoid

Yes! I terrorized the Girl Scout Office! With two sleeping children in the car and Cathy needing to run a quick errand I decided it best not to stop because naturally there is a direct correlation between a stopped car and open eyes. So when we pulled into the parking lot to discover only 3 cars I pulled up parallel to the sidewalk inside of into a parking space and dropped her off. I then took my foot off the gas and let the car drive itself around the parking lot as slowly as possible. I made a couple of loops then decided to check out the back side of the building. There I found too many cars to circle without doing a three point turn and a LARGE unattended moving truck blocking most of those cars into their spaces so I returned to the front.

Now this would have been a quick trip for Cathy but she couldn't find anyone in the office. They were too busy hiding behind doors and furniture because of the terrorist in the parking lot. We all know what a strategic target Girl Scouts of America is to Islamic fundamentalists. When she did find someone, she guessed what was going on and made a preemptive strike cheerfully declaring, "That's just my husband trying to keep to children sleeping." Instead of laughing it off though, my wife was unloaded upon with all guns about what a safety hazard I am and how I'm not allowed to do that. I'd say someone has forgotten what it is like to have kids.

People! Get a grip! Bin Laden won. His simple goal was to change the American way of life and you have played right into his plan by signing away your freedoms, introducing Big Brother into your lifes as if Orwell was producing your life, teaching our children to spy on their parents, undermining the confidence of those who lead us during our retirement years by locking them in their classesrooms in the deluded name of "safety," and obeying fanaticism instead of rationale.

Do not blindly follow your religious and government leaders from democracy into a paranoid fascist state.

A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

Do you need religious references to make sure your thinking is not out of line with conservative America? Then quit following and start thinking for yourself for even the Bible warns that leaders, religious and government, can be wrong in Luke 6:39, 40:

He also told them this parable: 'Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will not they both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.'" Perhaps we could paraphrase it this way, "The followers will invariably be like their leaders, and rarely will a follower rise above his leader.

Let's get back to the Girl Scouts. That truck hidden in the back of the building was more of a risk than I was. It could have been poised to strike down communications on Sharps Ridge. Or filled with fertilizer. But in the end, they were simply moving boxes into the building. Quit looking for trouble! You won't find it; you are creating it!

Look for the good in people. If you tell a good person they are bad enough, they'll start believing you. Beat a nice dog and it will turn mean. You've forgotten to love each other and be nice to one another! Worried about sleeper cells doing another 9/11?! Get out there and love them; remove their hate. Show them how great American was!

In the meantime you can find me doing doughnuts in the parking lots of restaurants, offices, grocery stores, and government buildings to show that
I live in the land of the free!
I will walk up to strangers and have conversations and end them by saying, "I love you!" I will help my neighbors. I will take pictures of my city. I will fly model rockets. You will not steal my liberties without a fight!

Today I am happy...

...because I'm just crazy that way.

...because I sent off another proposal.

...because I feel like things are about to take an upswing.

New Term of the Day

So I was faced with a new abbreviation today: IPTC-NAA tags sometimes seen as IPTC/NAA parameters. It didn't take long to find but I did have some confusing misses so I thought I would answer the question here. What are IPTC-NAA tags? The answer comes from someone's personal web page:

The parameter interchange model is defined by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) and the International Press Tele- communications Council (IPTC). The model defines a tagged file format, similar to TIFF in its design, but focussed on newspaper and newsphoto usage. It defines a large set of parameters, including copyright, captions, restrictions, photographers, publishing details, and much much more. The most common subset is called "IPTC/NAA Digital Newsphoto Parameter Record".

As with most other standards from ISO and related bodies, the IPTC/NAA documentation is distributed on paper only, and must be obtained directly from the IPTC or the NAA. The following addresses may be used:

International Press Telecommunications Council
10 Sheet Street
Windsor, Berkshire


Newspaper Association of America
The Newspaper Center
11600 Sunrise Valley Drive
VA 20091 USA

As a footnote, the IPTC/NAA standard itself includes a well- designed standard for image transfer, which in some respects are more comprehensive than TIFF. IPTC/NAA files can also be used to wrap TIFF, JFIF, Illustrator, and several other file formats.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Today I am happy...

...because I get to be fatherly tonight.

...because I was able to help solve someone's problem today.

...because I hit a major milestone and set another one.

...because my kids seem happy (well, most of them).

Have the shirt off my, er, out of my closet

Today I am sporting a snazzy number my brother and his wife bought me. On their visit, they brought 3 shirts and were supposed to take 6 but only took 1 so I owe her 5.

Here's the deal. I have enough t-shirts in my closet to wear one a day for most of the year and then there are my polos, shirt sleeves and dress shirts. Some of these date back to high school. Most are very 80s and several promote defunct radio stations. So, for each new shirt that comes in, two shirts go out. You can help make me stylish by trading one new, hip shirt for two older shirts of your choosing.

I'll have to photograph the closet.

From the mouths of babes

Noah scores a redux.

Dad, looking at the wet ground and murky sky: "Noah, do you need a ride [to the bus stop]?"
Noah, chipperly: "Nope, it's only 7:09."

Today's contorted English "chipperly" because it just doesn't get any better than that!

From the mouths of babes

Dad: "Noah, have you brushed your teeth?"
Noah, 9 years with dumbfounded look on face and spoke as if I should know better: "I brushed them last night."

Well what was I thinking?!

Walking on...

Today is a big day. Many miracles to perform. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

No Way! A Woman Made This.

No guy in his right mind is going to stick this in his pants! You aren't getting anything near Mr. Dangly that has blades and says "3 speeds!"


What do you collect?

I'm not entirely sure what it means but I know I'm getting some micro fiber!

Parks are a good thing!

Thank you Victor! We had a great time.


What kind of karate is this?

Amy likes karate

Today I am happy...

...because the wolves are knocking yet I am not shaken.

Not Walken 2008

When I posted Good Hoax? referring to Christopher Walken for President 2008 I jaunted over to my favorite place to verify information before I haphazardly forward it on or publish it, Snopes. Yesterday Snopes had nothing which totally surprised me and gave some potential validity to the possibility; today Snopes reports Walken for President a hoax.

So, these guys that tracked down the bogus trail of information in the domain registrations deserve a kudos for calling it as it was. Kind of a shame. He would have been a fun president.

PAW - Parents Are Watching!

Cheat Notes blog has turned us onto the Internet Slang Dictionary and Translator helping me to feel old and broken today by pointing out that I didn't know PAW stood for "parents are watching." I guess the kids as they get older will learn about RLO and KSTDA, "router logs on" and "keystroke tracking device attached."

Energy, Vitamins, and No Jitters

My Zipfizz arrived yesterday! Thank you Shae!

Over the years I've tried a variety of stimulants to get a false second wind. In high school it was Cokes, Mellow Yellow and Mountain Dew. In college, I discovered coffee since it was free and the Coke machine at my night job was eatting my paycheck. I became a caffeine junkie. In addition to coffee, ephidrine, white cross and jolt cola occasionally came into the mix but often would over-stimulate me into being completely unable to focus on the studying or cramming.

Post-college was a diet of coffee and cokes and I mean gallons! At my peek, I was drinking two pots of coffee a day - one in the morning and one about 8pm at night. The world constantly shook until one day I cut cold turkey. Zero caffeine! Even my herbal teas were decaf. After experiencing the pleasures of a caffeine free world I allowed myself to return to a maximum of 400mg of caffeine a day but typically staying around 150mg.

I intentionally stayed away from energy drinks because the enourmous amounts of caffeine and sugar brought back sickening memories of chugging jolt cola after jolt cola. Then Zipfizz came. It has a minor amount of caffeine in it from the guarana seed and a couple of sweetners I haven't checked out yet but everything else looks very healthy! The taste has some acridity to it but not as bad as other health drinks I've sampled. I personally find it pleasant and easy to drink; my wife didn't like her first taste of the berry flavor; the 3 year old demanded a sip and said, "it tastes pink." I did feel good, energized and focused after each drink of Zipfizz and it was long lasting. Physiological or psychological? I don't know.

I give Zipfizz a high recommendation.

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Ahoy Web Developers

I just upgraded AIM to version 5.9.3861 and received the following option:

AOL Explorer - The next generation in Internet browsing helps stop spyware, block pop-ups, save time with tabbed browsing and thumbnail navigation so that you can enjoy a more secure and convenient web surfing and AIM Today experience.

I did not install it on this machine so I cannot evaluate AOL Explorer yet but you can bet it will be on my development workstation!

PCMag covers the review. may find yourself tempted to adopt AOL Explorer. It's prettier than Microsoft Internet Explorer, easier to use than Firefox, and cheaper than Opera.

On the negative side of things it looks like us web developer types are going to have yet another brower to support and test for compliance. Or not! requires Internet Explorer 6, the core beneath the glam front end...

Call for comments from Library of Congress Copyright Office

The Library of Congress Copyright office wants to make Internet Explorer specific websites and seeks information: to whether persons filing the electronic-only preregistration form prescribed by the Copyright Office will experience difficulties if it is necessary to use Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser in order to preregister a work.

The are accepting comments, paper not email, until August 22.

Comments are due no later than August 22, 2005. Reply comments are due no later than September 7, 2005. ... an original and five copies of any comment should be ...

To me it reads like the developers have fallen behind schedule. It seems they want to support all browsers.

To comply with this time frame and to facilitate efficient processing of preregistration claims, inter alia, the proposed rule calls for filing such claims by electronic means only. At this point in the process of developing the Copyright Office's system for online preregistration, it is not entirely clear whether the system will be compatible with web browsers other than Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 5.1 and higher. Filers of preregistration applications will be able to employ these Internet Explorer browsers successfully. Support for Netscape 7.2, Firefox 1.0.3, and Mozilla 1.7.7 is planned but will not be available when preregistration goes into effect. Present users of these browsers may experience problems when filing claims.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Good hoax?

So, is Christopher Walken really running for president? (see also)

"IF...I..I might say...say that if, someone, someone like Bush could scare you into, you know, giving up your freedoms. Just imagine, what I, Christopher Walken, could do..."

These guys call hoax.

Find more references to "walken for president" on Blingo!

Today I am happy...

...because when my daughter chose to climb her chest of drawers and it fell over, it missed her.

Noah spars

Today I am happy...

...because my desk is clean(er).

4 Year Old iBooks for $50 Cause Stampeding Mob

So would you beat someone with a chair for an ibook?

Jesse Sandler said he was one of the people pushing forward, using a folding chair he had brought with him to beat back people who tried to cut in front of him.

"I took my chair here and I threw it over my shoulder and I went, 'Bam,'" the 20-year-old said nonchalantly, his eyes glued to the screen of his new iBook, as he tapped away on the keyboard at a testing station.

"They were getting in front of me and I was there a lot earlier than them, so I thought that it was just," he said.

Umm.. You know that thing about 2 wrongs don't you?

Found my desk!

Ah! Some stress be gone. I cannot believe how unproductive clutter makes me. Just being around me hinders my work. Then the cleanup of the clutter is an act of procrastination. But once it is gone, I can focus again!


"There are things that I have done which I cannot change.
I will move on and live with them all the same." -DM

Quote of the Day

"Don't put it down. Put it away." -DM

From the mouths of babes

9 year old boy to mother: "Mom, Dad doesn't really work? He just fixes people's computers sometimes right?"

Well now... I guess that sums it up!

Reply to Say Uncle's Post on Phones

Say Uncle has a post regarding pay phones that prompted the following memories and comment from me:

Several weeks ago my wife and I went to a restaurant to meet her parents and both assumed the other had brought their cell phone. The inlaws were late so we wanted to call and see if the plans had changed but didn't know what to do. I pondered asking to borrow a cell phone. Finally I took a chance and discovered a pay phone near the bathrooms. I inserted my money--no I don't remember how much but I think it was $.50--and suddenly was sucked back in time. The influx of thoughts was overwhelming!

How many rings before voicemail kicks in and takes my money? Remember the old collect call trick where you'd use a code name to jingle the folks to let them know you were ok? You know, the one where the operator says, "will you accept a call from Mr. I. M. Fine?" and they say "no" to avoid the charges but can now rest easy? The thrill at checking the coin return and finding change. The digust at finding moist, chewed gum. The scare of a prick of a need (ala pre-Internet urban legends). That smell! Holding the phone close to your ear and mouth but dare not touching it. Remember dialing numbers without using the dial or buttons? Anyone carry a pocket tone generator? Remember the secret combination of digits that would let you dial anywhere in the world for free? Remember the fear of the FBI dropping down on you? The unusual feeling of being tied down by the leash of the cord which is always positioned between two busy restroom doors.

One voicemail and a second call later reveals the inlaws to be in the parking lot and then we see them walking into the restaurant with cell phone to ear. Life is normal again.

What are they like Down Under?

A big special thanks to Tim for helping me clear up my stereotypical views of Australians and Kiwis. I will definitely bring some hobbits should I ever visit.

Free Wi-Fi? Get Ready for GoogleNet.

I read the article completely and could not come up with a more elegant summary than Ray Kurzweil.

Business 2.0, September 2005

A trail of hidden clues suggests Google is building its own Internet using WiFi blanketing major cities and might be looking to let everyone connect for free.

Off Kilter

Maybe I need some calisthenics. I feel like I've been hit by a truck. I'd like to take a full day, or better a week, and devote it to jump starting a physical fitness program for myself. Instead I'll force myself to take several juggling breaks where I'll juggle with my exercise balls--3 tennis balls filled with lead shot and wrapped in electrical tape.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Today I am happy...

...because I made cup cakes.

...because I got off my duff.

...because the sun is shining.

Dolphins, dolphins and more dolphins

In a belated tribute to Douglas Adams, over 1,500 dolphins have recently gathered off the coast of Pembrokeshire. Echt has the picture.

Not meeting Michael's challenge

I am not certain that I can live up to Michael's challenge this week.

Today's Stupid Fun

  1. Go to Google's Language Tools.
  2. enter the following line into the translate textbox:
    Susan Hughes's mom is nice and cool
  3. Translate from English to Spanish
  4. Copy the translated text, and translate it back from Spanish to English

With apologies to Susan. Thought you might enjoy a little Internet fame.

Bitter Old Man

I am well on my way to becoming a bitter old man. Due to economics and time constraints I continue to see opportunities and be unable to act upon them.

I owned a beautiful domain name once and because I was dead broke at its renewal time I let it go. A squatter grabbed it up and sat on it for years until someone purchased it and turned it into a beautiful example of what I intended it to be. I should move forward and use it as a lesson to not procrastinate on developing the domain names that I do own. I still have a hard time not being bitter about it.

My wife and I were in Ohio and visited a franchised store that we thought would be extremely successful in West Town Mall and fun to run to boot. I even made a phone call on it however the startup costs were out of my league. That store is now in West Town Mall and I bemoan it.

I see a real estate oppportunity. I'd need tens of millions to make it work. I'd quadruple the money.

So why not get some venture capital? Why not find a backer or angel? Why not get investors? Because it takes money to get money. You have to be politically active and know people. You have to do due diligence and write business plans and presentations all the while feeding your family.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Blingo has a blog!

I don't think I've made a big enough deal about Blingo. I now use Blingo 80% of the time reserving my trips to Google for speciality things like money conversions.

Blingo now has a blog. What is Blingo? Blingo is a search engine that returns the exact same results as Google (since it is powered by Google) but gives out prizes (currently limited to the United States, I think).

You don't need to sign up to search. But if you sign up as a Blingo Friend when you win, so does your friend!

Spy Journal Tech Tips alerted on Blingo in December of 2004.


(reprinted from Spy Journal Blog Tips)

Today I am happy...

...because last night I had a date with my wife.

...because, disquieting as it is, I'm facing my demons.

Task change

Album is done and I nary made a dent in the mail. This Friday is an evil deadline. The world shall try to crumble under my feet.

Next album for productivity: XTC: Skylarking. Task: quote a job.

Time management by the album

Got behind on the mail again. Posted by Picasa

Let's tackle the mail to the sounds of Black 47's Fire of Freedom. When the album ends I change task. While the album plays I am not allowed to slip off task.

The Atom Feed is back!

Thank you Rasita! Had she not mentioned that my feed was down I never would have fixed the problem. Turns out my feeds to the Rocky Top Brigade had stopped and many readers went without my life influencing bits and bytes.

The probem turned out to be laziness. In one post I decided to turn on Blogger's Compose tab and cut and paste from MS Word to Blogger. MS Word's xml is horrible! And conflicted with Blogger's Atom feed. The MS gibberish has been removed and everything returns to "normal."

Of Grasshoppers

Student: I'll never reach the end.
Master: Just get over the next hill.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Today I am happy...

...because Tommy had a fantastic birthday party at Ben & Jerry's. Tommy is thrilled! The manager ran the party and did an exceptional job! We tie dyed t-shirts (and they all came out great! Matching the personalities of the makers.) When we took out our rubber gloves I spoke up, "So, any of the adults thinking Howie Mandel?" to which the store manager said, "Howie who?" We all laughed and he said, "No, seriously!" And my mother-in-law laughed and called me an "old person." Good moment!

...because I made major headway on fixing a closet that has been neglected since September 1997.

...because we are getting some pleasant and much needed rain.

Celebrating tommy at ben and jerrys

Kids are snart..let them decide!

SayUncle shows us a cartoon from Time on intelligent design. Nice perspective!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Today I am happy...

...because I have the most loving, understanding and supportive wife in the world.

Dukes of Hazard Movie Brings Memories....and horns

Anyone remember in the hayday of the Dukes every 4th car had a horn that sound just like the Genneral Lee? Da na naa na Naah nah Naaaah Na I find it ironic that as the Maryville Board of Education tries to make history disappear by banning references to our heritage that a cheesy movie will undoubtly bring rise to the sale of confederate flags and custom horns for your cars. Yes, beeping your horn may be illegal in Tennessee but sounding a charge will become just a friendly hello from one good ol' boy to the next. Road kill anyone?

Btw, the horn law is Sec. 17-382. Horn; bells, sirens, etc.; warning devices on emergency vehicles.

(a) Every motor vehicle, when operated upon any road, street or highway of the city, shall be equipped with a horn in good working order capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than two hundred (200) feet, and it shall be unlawful, except as otherwise provided in this section, for any vehicle to be equipped with or for any person to use upon a vehicle any siren or exhaust, compression or sparkplug whistle or for any person at any time to use a horn otherwise than as a reasonable warning or to make any unnecessary or unreasonably loud or harsh sound by means of a horn or other warning device.

Tool of the moment. Let's go see how important that nub of a stud is in the girls room. Eh... That sentence kind of reads wrong. Posted by Picasa

Of Grasshoppers

Student: Master, how am I to focus with so many distractions?
Master: A farmer does not catch his dinner by chasing all the chickens.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

New Zealand Dinks Bush

Have a look at these billboards in New Zealand picturing GW Bush and saying "Even Hell has its standards" and "Hell. Too good for some evil bastards." Apparently its advertising for Hell's Pizza.

One for the guys

Have a peek.

Today I am happy...

...because the kids are excited to be off to school.

It appears I missed my happy thought yesterday. I wonder if not looking for a happy thought contributed to how unhappy I was yesterday.

More Photos

My brother and sister-in-law have posted pictures from their visit including great shots from the horse show.

The Buses Rally

Tommy is off to school. Posted by Picasa

Tommy's bus arrives at 7:10am. Last year the bus and Tommy were very much in sync. As the year went on Tommy would be more and more difficult to wake giving himself less time to prepare. Often he would go to school without breakfast. We tried sending him with a poptart on the bus but it seemed like too much of a reward plus he makes such a mess that he'd have food all over him, his face and the bus. Ironically as his wake time became later and later so did the arrival time of the bus eventually moving from 7:10 to 8:00.

Noah's bus arrives at 7:22am. I spent 3 years fighting to get the bus off of Northshore Drive, a busy 45mph road frequently traveled at much higher speeds. Last year the street sign marking their offical bus stop was knocked down by an out of control driver. The stop sat just over the peak of a hill and at a blind corner, most blocked by overgrown honey suckle, where cars zip into the neighborhood.

Noah is off to school. Posted by Picasa
Last year the bus driver, a kind older gentleman, agreed to turn into the neighborhood and pick the kids up at a much safer intersection. Upon his retirement halfway through the year the battle ensued again with a young punk driver writing me up as a "belligerent parent." Several heated phone calls and two days later a new driver was picking our children up at the safe intersection. I am happy to report that this year it is listed as the official pickup with Northshore as the official dropoff which is fine by me since the door opens to toward the neighborhood. The Northshore pickup originally had them crossing in front of cars and the bus to load.

In the past years other issues with this bus had been eratic pickup times and sometimes ignoring the stop all together. Officially the bus can be 15 minutes on either side of the noted pickup time. At one point this bus arrived as early as 7am and as late as 8am. Schools starts at 7:45am.

This year the bus arrived on time and at the right stop! Here's hoping for a hassle free school year!

Sarah is off to school. Posted by Picasa

Last year was Sarah's first year in middle school. Her stop was across Northshore, so I thought. I was bothered by her crossing Northshore but at first I would take Noah and her to Noah's bus stop where I was watch over the elementary students. Her official bus time was the same 7:22 as Noah's and since I could not be in two places at once I would let her walk up the block, cross Northshore and wait for her bus.

Over time I became uncomfortable with her crossing that busy road so I changed my route and would drive Sarah to her bus stop and drop her off. I'd then take Noah to his stop and stand watch over the elementary students. Soon another parent joined the watch.

Stories surfaced that a white pickup truck was cruising Northshore trying to pickup middle school girls a few miles from Sarah's stop. I left the watch of the elementary stop to the other parents and have changed to being at Sarah's stop. Occasionally I let her walk. Oh, I learned that her official stop is on our side of Northshore but all the kids like to gather together on the other side. The stop is down to Sarah and one other friend and I'm sure my presence has nothing to do with that.