Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Lead us not into temptation

Let us not into temptationSo this is my first real attempt at photography at night (althought it is the second exposure). I took it on the way in to work at around 5:45am in the morning. It was all light up, and was the only thing that had activity. So I parked, pulled out the tripod and the camera, set up the camera, and the cable release, and set the apeture at f8 and set the shutter speed to "B" bulb. I held the shutter open for a count of twelve.

I titled this photo "Lead us not into temptation" . Mostly for comedic affect. As you all know, I am allergic to wheat, so doughnuts are double trouble for me.


Monday, December 27, 2004

Train Song

So there is one song that I keep listening to over and over again on the train ride into work.  It makes me think of all of the things I see each day and want to share with my Beautiful Wife but cant', because I can't describe what I see well enough to paint the mental picture, or life gets in the way and makes me forget. 

3X5 by John Mayer

I'm writing you to
Catch you up on places I've been
You held this letter
Probably got excited, but there's nothing else inside it

Didn't have a camera by my side this time
Hoping I would see the world with both my eyes
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm
In the mood to lose my way with words

Today skies are painted colors of a cowboy's cliche'
And strange how clouds that look like mountains in the sky
Are next to mountains anyway

Didn't have a camera by my side this time
Hoping I would see the world with both my eyes
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm in the mood to lose my way
But let me say

You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
It brought me back to life
You'll be with me next time I go outside
Just no more 3x5's

Guess you had to be there
Guess you had to be with me

Today I finally overcame
Tryin' to fit the world inside a picture frame
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm in the mood to
Lose my way but let me say

You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
It brought me back to life
You'll be with me next time I go outside
No more 3x5's
Just no more 3x5's

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

New lyrics to an old song

Tonight we decided that we would have Jamba Juice for dinner. Of course it's never simple to get where you are going around the holidays. That being said, our local Jamba Juice is right next to the Mall. So I don't have to tell you how bad it was...but I will. Basically it took 20 minutes to drive a 1/4 mile. So between the traffic and the bad christmas music being played at levels generally reserved for arena rock concerts, I came up with some new word to an old song.  So please read the lyrics while humming the song "Let it Snow".

While the Traffic outside is frightful
And the drivers in the parking lot seem so spiteful
So if we've no place to go
lets stay home
lets stay home
lets stay home

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Little Boy goes for a joy ride

This post is written mostly by my Beautiful Wife. I have only changed the names to protect the guilty.

Here is her Tale:

 This morning The Little Boy (Are we really sure he is just 4 years old) put on his "superhero" shirt and said he was going to go see stepbrother. He put the leash on Max the Wonder Puppy, took the car keys down from the hook by the door and went outside to the car. He put Max the Wonder Puppy in the back seat, took his carseat, placed it in the drivers seat, pushed the button and moved the chair forward to the steering wheel.

 Released the emergency brake and put the keys in the ignigtion. He then started the car....

I had been watching from the door never in a million years thinking he had the process down to this extent. When he started the car I went out and dragged his screamming and kicking body, along with Max the Wonder Puppy back in the house.
I am now getting my clothes on and am going to take them to go for a hike and a long talk about how some things are just for grownups.

As I was explaining that he couldnt drive the car becasue it wasnt safe for him, HE explained to ME that, "I honk the horn at people. Its okay, seee." I think the trouble is going to come in convincing him that he isnt big enough to do it and after him going through the process of starting the car, Im not really sure he couldn't be a better driver than most of the people out there on the road.

Friday, December 17, 2004

1 year and counting

Wow, It passed by yesterday and I didn't even realize it. Yesterday was this blogs 1 year anniversary. I can't believe that I've been ranting online for a year now. I remember I just started this as a sounding board. I started it really simple.  Of course I've gone a little further of that. I think I've kept pretty true to the the description. "Rantings and Ravings on Technology, Geekdom, Music, Life and some other stuff. Of course that is a little vague. :-)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

What Classic Movie are you?

CruiseControl for .NET

Joe Field has written a great article on setting up CruiseControl.NET from Scratch.

Oh, I forgot, here is the link to CruiseControl.NET, as the link in the article times out before it'll open

Monday, December 13, 2004

Homemade iPod ad

I thought that this was very interesting. George Masters has created his own version of an iPod commercial. There is a great article about this on wired. In short, he has created a great 60 second commercial that is up to the apple standard. If you ask me they should hire him straight away.

Dad's new project

This weekend, I got to help Dad on his new project. He got a 2001 Triumph Daytona 955i. It's a really nice bike. It does have a couple of issues, like it needs front forks. Truth betold, that just isn't that big a deal. after converting a dirt bike in to a quad, restoring this bike just isn't going to be any problem. We decided to document the bikes transformation. Check it out

Friday, December 10, 2004

3 Years

Well today is December 10th, which means that I've been at my job officially for three years. It's amazing how fast the time has gone. The good news is, I stilll feel like I have I have a lot to add and I can facilitate change. Which is a pretty big thing, I mean, for the most part I feel like I am still learning and growing.

High Tech Cat

As you can see Rufus is a high tech cat. He traded in his sqeeky mouse for a computer mouse (Optical of course, cause you can't clean a regular mouse out when you don't have thumbs). And like most of us, he rests his head on the keyboard when he is frustrated with the computer, or trying to figure out the best way to get to the next level in Star Wars: Republic CommandoPosted by Hello

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

User Centered Application Testing

Application testing has been a big part of my workload lately. One application we use internally creates these very old and very propietary file formats that are downloaded into these very old propietary application. Well lately it has been having "issues". Under certain situations the file created has spaces in it. Well of course the propietary system throws a hissy fit everytime that it encounters a space.  Of course whenever the system has one of these little fits we have to fix it and figure out what happened. Now I am also doing Information Architecture for a design. Having these two things on the brain at the same time, it hit me all of the sudden if I create a user profiles for my Information Architecture, why not create user profiles form my applications, especially for my testing.

So lets say this application is for a loan. Well there several ways to fill out a loan application. So I create 5 to 10 user profiles ranging from a young adult to a retired couple.  Then I create an xml file with all values that my application has, and fill it out according to which user profile I am working on. Then I load the values in to memory and test from there. While this isn't completely worked out in my head I thought I would jot down the theory behind the idea.


On Another Subject

Okay, so the skater punk of my youth, thinks that these two clips of Danny Way jumping the 75' gap is just amazing. If he was in the air any longer it would require a pilot's license.  Clip1 Clip2 

Warning: Kids don't try this at home. Because even if you do figure out a way of building the ramps and are able to pull off the jump, your little brother will tell the neighbor kid, and he will tell his Mom and his Mom will tell your Mom and your Mom will be standing in the middle of the ramp with her arms crossed giving you that, I am really disappointed in you/I am so mad at you right now/wait till your father gets home look. And we all know that look means "grounded for life!"

Monday, December 06, 2004

User Centered Design

Tonight I am doing a little research on User Centered Design. User Centered Design goes hand and hand with Usability and Information Architecture. Here are some links that explain the advantages much better than I can.

It happens to all of us

When you work with clients, be it internal clients in your company or doing freelance work and have clients that are not as educated as one would hope, we all run into these little communication issues. These little issues usually are amazingly frustrating. So here is a site dedicated to them. clientcopia

Information Architecture

In implementing any good website you need to layout the information in a logically format and flow. This is called "Information Architecture". Truth betold this is just as important to how useful and usable your website as the design. Now I know that some designers out there would disagree with me, but if the navigation doesn't make sense, people aren't going to stay at your site for very long.  However there isn't nearly as many online articles on IA as there are for making those apple-like gel buttons in photoshop. So here is a list of some articles that I find useful.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Marketing at a Whole new level

So Amazon is trying something new. The gimick is a cute short film that has a good message to it. Of course in the film are carefully placed products. At the end of the film those products are listed as cast members, and on the page below are links to those items. I'm not sure whether this is brilliant or evil. Check it out

Thursday, December 02, 2004

a Secret Passion

So, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Something that till now, only my Beautiful Wife and close friends and family members knew. Are your ready? Okay, here goes, I love infomercials. I know, I know, how in the world could I like them, right? Well, I do, I don't know why, I just do. My new favorite is the Magic Bullet. The whole idea, that people would invite you to a party, and show you how they prepared all the food for the party with this little magic machine is brillant. Of course there is no way in real life that anything like that would happen. Which is probably why I like it so much.

Of course I can't leave out the inventor of the informercial, Ron Popeil. You have to has some respect for the man that invented hair in a can and the pocket fisherman. His latest and greatest is the new "Showtime Pro". And of course it is all very affordable with only eight easy payments of $31.95. I don't know why, but I simply love that. The fact that it's marketing that is just right out there. It isn't trying to connect with you emotionaly, just here's the product, this is what it does, and oh yeah it pretty affordable.  Ron, always comes up with the best little tag lines. "Set it and forget it." You can just say it, and people will say "oh, you have a Showtime Rotisserie Oven too!"

Now what really makes informercials the best, is the "if you call with in the next 20 minutes" call to action. This is where they think they have you hooked and, BAM, they hit you with the free ginsu knifes and the solid flavor injector, a 59.99 value, absolutely free! And if that isn't enough, they will even reduce the payments by one. You have to love this, they know that everyone wants something for nothing, and that is just what they are playing too.

So by now you are thinking that my house is filled with products "AS Seen on TV". But, no not so much. You see, they are all what we call in my house "turniptwatelors". And you don't actually buy them, you just sit back and enjoy them through the magic of television.

Everyone is a designer

Have you ever notice that everyone thinks they are a designer? Honestly, everyone does. This has always been the case and it seems to be getting worse. When I did graphic design, every customer thought they could design. My first taste of this was the first business card I designed. It followed all the good design rules, no element was to large to detract from the other elements. At a glance, you would know the companies name, their telephone number and who you were dealing with. It had a design that drew your eye from the top left corner to the bottom right. Of course the customer wanted their logo that they had designed themselves (which of course took four hours of clean up to make usable) to be bigger and the phone number to be smaller, and really completely threw off the balance completely. They were thrilled with this version and I hated. But I had bills to pay and had to eat, so they were right. It didn't matter to them that my design made them more memorable and less like everyone business card.

Flash forward a couple of years, it's the dotcom boom, and I am working at one of the big music websites. One of the sites I was responsible for was the an DC site. It featured clips from the past AB shows, and audio clips of the songs that were DC's number one for the weekly top 40. The site had a black background, a header, navigation on the left side, and content in the middle. just like almost every site on the internet.  Anyhow, we get a call from DC's lawyers, and they tell us that there needs to be a clear division between the navigation and the content. Now, the site had been up for awhile, it was very user friendly. They just somehow thought that for "legal" reasons, it needed to be their. So I said apparently this was something they taught at the Harvard School of Law and Design.

Flash forward to today. I find out from my boss, that someone that hasn't studied design, usability, trends in the industry has made more design decisions for us. I already feel that the usability of the design has been choked, with my only relief from that feeling being that we will get to redesign it. Adjust the architecture to fit the growth that we need.  I just don't know what to think. The whole corporate status quo thing just doesn't work for me. I like new designs. I like new projects. I like learning new things. Working on leading edge technology. Don't get me wrong, I do understand the difference between bleeding edge and leading edge. I guess I'm just a frustrated designer, frustrated by people that think art is a waste of time, and are willing to tell me what is a good design, when I have spent so much time studying design.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Quote of the Week

This weekend we spend some time with my Beautiful Wife's Family. The Quote of the week if from Joe. He is my Wife's Niece's father inlaw. The context was he was talking with a younger family member that just had his baby born the day before. <quote src="Joe">Remember, accidents cause people!</quote>

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

A Little Change

These evening I was doing a little web surfing and came across something I thought was, well pretty cool. This site could change it's stylesheet (how a web page defines how it will look) on the fly. Well I had been thinking about changing the look of the blog for a little while now and I thought, hey this is perfect. I can give it two new looks and while keeping the one that everyone knows. So I did a quick google search and came across a very good article that spells it all out for you, and gives you to code to do it. So with code in hand I decided to start. But what should my themes be? Well the orginal one has a paper feel to it. And I thought I wanted two additional, then I remember playing paper, rock, scissors with my Sister over the phone. So that being that, you will see to the side under email me "Choose a Style" and under that the chooses are paper rock scissors.

Tell me what you think!

Work Math

So I am having a hard time figuring something out. Maybe you can help me. Why is it, that when I am going to take a couple days off, I end up getting projects that have to be done before I leave, and require me to work the same amount of time as if I weren't taking the days off? So here is the equation as I see it.

"Normal" Work Week  

8hrs X 5 = 40hrs

Last Week

(11hrs X 6) = 4hrs = 70hrs

(8hrsX3) -(8hrsX2) + (4hrs OT X 3) = 36 hrs

Okay by my math, I'm only four hours short for the week, working just the three days. If it's just four hours, are they really days off, or just hours that have been rearrange to appear to be days off.

You be the Judge.


Monday, November 22, 2004

Quote of the Week

Checking my email this morning, I came across a gem of a quote. There right between the email ad for the local home improvement super center and a spam email from someone in canada saying they can get me perscription drugs online for a third of the price was an email from Grandpa K. There was no subject line, just an email. So I open it up and there is this quote.

<quote src="Grandpa K">
Try not to become a man of success,

but rather try to become a man of value. 

~Albert Einstein

Good Quote to start the week, don't you think?

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Working late on a Saturday Night

It is crazy here at work tonight. It's 5:00 pm, and we are debugging issues with the switches and vlans. I still have at least a couple hours to go on writing an application that does things that I don't completely understand. And I am tired from only getting about 4 hrs. of sleep. It has been pretty much like this all week, so why should I be surprised that its that way on s saturday.

So I needed to look at something calming and serene. This little flower in the middle of the field should do it. Posted

Sunday, November 14, 2004

It's offical, I am an adult

This evening the American Music Awards is on, and I can't watch it. I tried, I really and truly tried and I just couldn't do it. I watch the opening with Gwen Stefani, and could only watch 30 seconds of it before I had to change the channel. I turned back 20 minutes later and there was this rap/R&B/ridiculous noise "act". I didn't know what that noise was, I just knew that it wasn't music.

 So I thought that is it, I'm never watching any of those music award shows again. They don't televise the music that deserves the awards, just the music that the A&R guys have pushed down the publics throw and have told kids it is cool. They only televise the "Performers" that have to lip sync to their "own" songs.  The other acts they televise are the people that really know how to over sing a song. They sing these vocal "runs" that are the vocal equivalent of a 3 minute guitar solo.

Now, instead of getting to watch my favorite show "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" because the award show is on, so I watched the 5 time Emmy winner "Arrested Development". Which is funny, but just a little on the twisted side. So I am an adult, who can't stand the music that is "popular" by todays standards..... Thank goodness

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Marketing and the Persuaders

Tonight I am watching the show Frontline on PBS. This episode is called the the Persuaders. It's a very interesting documentary style show. This one in particular, because it is discussing, marketing and branding. One of the issues it was talking about was the noise that is out their for us the consumers to have to wade through. The other is how they sell to us. One of the ways is basically they sell to us on an emotional level. They try to sell to you on a psuedo-spiritual level. They work to make the products they are trying to sell you an experience. What I am getting from this show, is that it's scary how much research they do to figure out how to sell anything from shoes to coffee is amazing. Ad adjencies are even working at combining the TV shows we watch with the products they want us to buy. I know thiis is true. One of my favorite shows does this rather blatantly. Extreme Makeover Home Edition, is sponsored by Sears and you see the Designers from the shows going into and shopping at Sears.  This show does the emotional level selling and tugs at your heart, and says hey good things do happen, and sears does it.

The thing that gets me is the combination or relationship of Design and Marketing. It's a very lovehate relationship. Marketing needs design to get it's message across, and design needs marketing to pay for it. Design, the design that I learned says, less is more, that whitespace is king and that the more whitespace you have the more the element you have on the page is pronounced. By marketing says, hey, we have this space right here, what if we put an ad here. Of course as a designer, you go, no you can't do that. That will throw off the entire design. Of course that no, doesn't stand, and after a losing the battle you, trying hard to design an "ad" that you didn't want to make in the first place and knew would throw off the design. So you work hard to create an "ad" that, while still throws off the design, it doesn't throw it off as bad as it could be. So you create the "ad" and create a template so that marketing can create the ad themselves and it stays within the design schema that you worked so hard to create. So after feeling better about the fact you lost the battle, you hand them this design framework, which is quickly thrown out the window.  So as a designer, you feel that you have soldout on your design. In the end it turns out being something you aren't proud of anymore, where the inital untouched design, you were so proud of.

In the end it amazes me how much marketing affects our lives.

Quote of the Week

So right now I am listening to this week's edition of .NET Rocks (Which I podcasted) with Kate Gregory and she had a great quote when asked what she had for breakfast, and she said "coke, I'm a device for converting caffeine to code." This made me laugh out loud, and I am on the train.

Monday, November 08, 2004

life through a piece of glass

For some reason, I am having a really hard time wearing my glasses all of the time. I mean, I really should. Anything outside of a 15 foot radius is.. well not blur but not in focus either. And if I am looking at something close and lift my head, it takes a little while for my eyes to focus  on on something far away. Wearing glasses just shouldn't be a big deal for me, I've had a pair since I was three, but for some reason, I don't think to wear them, till I notice I can't see things as clearly as I would like. I think it's because for so long I only had to wear them when I would read, but that is changing.

I guess that I just need to get in the habit of wearing them.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Reflections of light

Photographers know that to get the perfect picture it is all about the light. The strength of the light source, the direction and angle of the light has to be taken into account. With all of these variables in place and correctly manipulated, then and only then can you create the depth, feeling and emotion that you are trying to convey in your image. Science says that light is both particle and waves. In fact there is a whole spectrum of light, with white being the combination of the light spectrum and black being the absence of light. Philosophers say that light is merely the perception of our environment. That if the light were changed, so to would our perception be changed.

So what if there was no light. As in you couldn't see light then wouldn't all of those definitions be meaningless?  Without light, what would a photograph be? Wouldn't it be just a piece of paper that is linked in our mind to a memory? Without light, wouldn't our environment be made up of sounds, feelings, textures and emotions? Well with that being the case then the light in our lives would be our family and friends, the people and places that make up our life.

There is a lot of light in life. I can't smell lavender with out thinking of my Grandma K. Not so much because she wore it, but because it is one of her favorite colors. And of course when I think of her, I light up, remember how she always use to ask our Mom if we could have some candy or gum, of course, she would spell out C A N D Y, or G U M. We were the only kids I knew that could spell those two words at the age of 3.

I can't hear Classical Gas without thinking of my Grandpa K. I fondly remember standing in his leaving room listening to Mason Williams' Classical Gas for the first time and the goose bumps it left on my little arms. Or the time Grandpa, Dad and I walked into the "Stereo Department" at Fedco in Pasadena, and listened to this beautiful piano piece, on these outstanding ADS speakers that were so accurate you could here the pianist fingers striking the keys.

I can't hear a V8 engine roar without thinking about my Dad's old Dodge truck and all the work we put into that thing, changing the motor out, and putting a 440 engine in it. Or setting off the neighbor's car alarm, when you would blimp the throttle (Yes, we did it more then once, and yes every time we did it, it was on purpose). I can remember play name that tune to classic rock, and conversations ranging from electrical theory to, not being reckless with someone else heart.

I can't smell acrylic paint with out thinking of my Mom painting the most beautiful statues and lamps. I can't feel a crocheted blanket without thinking of and feeling the love that she wove in to everyone. Anyone that received one as a present knew, that it was a real honor, and something that came from a loving artisan. To this day, when I don't feel good, I grab my crocheted blanket to feel comforted. (No, it's not a wobbie)

I can't smell fresh morning dew on grass and not think about my brothers, sister and I getting up, to play on the swing set or play hide and go seek, or even, (much to Mom's chagrin) climb up the apricot tree and then climb on the roof of the house. There were four of us, so there was always a way of playing a team sport. Even if that team sport was all four of us teaming up against Dad at wrestling. (I don't ever think we ver won that event, but then again the East German judge didn't like children)

There are new reflections of light in my mind as well. Saying "I do...I will" at my wedding and kissing my Beautiful Wife. Just hearing her voice is one too! Hearing the Little Boy laugh his mischievous little giggle, which means you know he did something he wasn't suppose to, but chances are, he will get away with it anyhow because he is just so darn cute. Heck even seeing Max the wonder puppy jump up and high center himself on the couch this morning is one. (My Beautiful Wife, said I enjoyed that one maybe a little too much)

It's hard with having to work so hard, and do so much to not miss any of them. The truth is I do miss more of them then I care to say. There are some things I don't get to see firsthand. So those pieces of light get reflected to me, just as I have reflected a few to you just now.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Gopher It!

Yesterday, I was in a implementation meeting and of course I got tasked with creating some photoshop comps of what it should look like. One of the examples we saw had a clipart gopher, and the caption, gopher information. While it was kind of clever, it wasn't terribly professional, so everyone made fun of it a little bit. Of course one of the final comments about the designs was that none of our designs would have rodents in them. And I agree, but I never did get the idea of a gopher on line chatting with people out of my head. So the image you see is the product of, photoshop, and google, and my wacked imagination. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It's only right when its right

Today at work I spend a lot of time making correct code more correcter. Well, it it works or it doesn't right? Well, yes, and then again, no not so much. You see on our site (work site that is) we are adding some "design elements". (i.e. the CEO saw something on another site he liked and we needed to have them on ours) So I did the photoshop comps, did the proof of concept pages and now of course they want to deploy right from the proof of concepts pages. And there is where the trouble lies. You see HTML and Javascript render just a little different in each browser and on each operating system. So of course being a good and consciences web developer, I want to test the web pages with the new "design elements" on a good cross section of the browsers and platforms. So I check the pages on five different browsers on my windows XP Pro computer, and hey, they all looked great. Now I check it on a Mac. Uh Oh...the pages look like a grenade went off at the top of the screen. So I start working on making it work on the Mac. After about a half hour of tweaking the code that already works, it looks great on the Mac, in All three browsers I was testing. And just for good measure, I check it on my pc again...Oh No, it bad on netscape 4.7. And I don't been a little glitch that you won't see unless you are look for it, I mean a why is there a big blank space where a menu use to be. So I did the cross-browser, cross platform dance for about 4 hours today.

So this is what I mean by "It's only right, when it is right". All of those iterations of html code I did today worked. Just not on all of the browsers all of the time till the end. So how many iterations, or tweaks did I make to the code to make it work, well, I lost count after 30. This is what makes web development tough, that fact that there is such a variation in the way that each browser can render the code. When you are doing backend programming, it either works or it doesn't work. Yes, of course there are ways of making code run faster. But that backend code works in all of the browsers and platforms, that is of course unless your backend code writes the html for you, then, you better get prepared to do the cross-browser, cross platform dance.

Precision Napping

My Sis, sent me this picture of my ole' cat Rufus taking one of his precision naps. You can tell that its a precision nap, by the fact that he has his tounge sticking out. And as we well know in the Kelly family, no precision work can be done without your tounge sticking out a little bit. I want to thank Sis for sending me the Rufus picture of the month. Oh, and if you are thinking, no, he isn't going to post a picture of that old cat every month, the answer is , darn tootin I am.Posted by Hello

Monday, November 01, 2004

Loud Music

Today I drove to work. That doesn't happen that often. Most of the time I take the train. While the train is great because you don't have to sit in traffic, you are sharing a space with other people. Of course I always have my iPod with me, and I can crank the head phones, but that isn't the same as being able to just crank the music so loud that you can feel it. So driving down the 210 this evening, at a whopping 17 mph, I cranked the music and opened the sunroof. It occured to me that you do need to listen to music really loud. There are little musically phrases that you just don't hear at low volumes. Also there is a comfort in the music surrounding you like a warm blanket. Being able to feel the bass notes in your chest and through your body, making you feel a part of the music. It's like the louder it is the easier it is to be emotional connected to the song. What can I say, grandpa K was right, you have to listen to it loud.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The 10 til 5 paradigm

So there seems to be this 10 til 5 paradigm at work. Usually it happens on Fridays, but quite often can show up at anytime that you think you are going to be able leave the office a little early. So here is how it works, you've had a good day, you've been extremely productive and gotten 12 hours work done in 9 hours. So you deservedly should be able to sneak out of the office a little early, so just as you're getting your stuff together, someone, usually a manager but not always presents you with an issue that has to be resolved before tomorrow, can't really be worked on from home, and will take at least an hour to fix.

Well that is what happened to me today. So what do you do about it? I call my Beautiful Wife, and let her know, I will be later than we thought, look at her picture and smile, and just trudge through the problem as quick as possible.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Benadryl and a sunday afternoon

Today I finally got my haircut. It's needed it for quite sometime, but because of time or money or both it had to wait. So I went to my usually haircutting place,  but the usually person that cuts my hair had the day off. The new person does a good job, put somehow uses something that makes me breakout in hives all over my face. So this means I have to take an antihistamine. Now for those of you that don't know, sleeping pills aren't as affective as antihistamines are for just knocking out cold. So I take the benadryl about 1:30 p.m. by 2:00 p.m. I was fast asleep. So around 5 p.m. I try to start waking up, but it took a half hour before I am able to do so. So now in my grogy version of awake, I figure a haiku to antihistamine is on order.

The golden leaves
Antihistamine to take
In bed out asleep

Three hours later
I fight to wakeup you see
But cannot seem to be

Drowsy eyes are open
Sitting on the sofa now
Dusk light struggles with night

Roses in the garden of life

Have you ever stop to listen to the sounds of life in you family? This morning I was sitting in the livingroom listening to the roses of conversation in the kitchen. The sounds of the Little Boy in the refrigerator. Max the wonder puppy faithfully taking his role as the family scapegoat with a measure of pride that can only be compared to that of a true champion. I listen and hear the cracking of eggs, little feet running on the floor, paws running on the floor. I hear water from the dogs bowl spill on the floor and both the little feet and the little paws running away.

So right now, the Little Boy and I are watching Dumbo. This is one of my favorites and I can tell that it is one of the Little Boys too!  About four years ago, Dumbo was on TV, this was back when I shared an apartment with my brother. Well, we couldn't stop watching it. It must of been a sight, two grown men, one a burly 6'1" construction worker, the other 5'11" computer geek, just staring at the cartoon that was done in the 40s. This movie had such a strong tie to our childhood, that neither of us could keep our eyes off of it. I've mentioned before that Dumbo was the first movie that we bought on CED disc when I was a kid. So the Little Boy loving this movie is just another Rose in my garden of life. I blame the dog for that.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


This weekend I went Dirtin' with the family. Unfortunately brother K and Sis weren't feeling up to making it. So on friday is was Ma, Pa, brother J and I on the road. When met up with Cousin Bob and Family on the way out there. Destination was middle of the desert near a dry lake bed. Goal, not get hurt do a little riding and eat. We got out there and got the camp all set up. We did it up, we had the EZ-up to provide shade, we had a rake and a shovel so that smooth out the dirt in the middle of the desert.  We got our camps all set up and went for some small putts.  I get a chance to ride the new bike that Cousin Bob bought for his Boy a YZ250F. It was a really nice bike. It handled great, had nice suspension, and really good power. It did have one little problem. It didn't like starting. Infact brother J was the only one that could kick start it.  Anyhow, I get going on the bike, and I stall it. I tore a hole in my boot trying to get it started. So I decide to push it down the hill and se if I can just bump start it. Well after about three quarters of a mile, I figure out this isn't going to work. I was on this little trail, so I figured, I better get to the main trail so that I can be found. So I push the bike the quarter mile to the main trail. You see, when we ride everyone (my family that is) looks out for everyone else. When I wasn't back when they thought I would be they got worried. So they came looking for me, like I knew they would. So I only had to sit on the side of the road for 15-20 minutes max.

Friday night, we did what most people do in the middle of the desert, played video games and watched videos. Cousin Bob's new toy box has all the comforts of home. Including X-Box. It was a really nice way to just kick back and relax.

Saturday day started really nice, had a great cup of coffee and some eggs florintine for breakfast. I don't know how it works, but we always eat really well when we go camping.  Everyone else is eating hot dogs and Ma cooks southwestern shrimp scampy. Anyhow, I was looking forward to Saturday since, my beautiful Wife was coming out. It turned out to be a stressful saturday. One of the people in the camp group got hurt and had to be airlifted out.  There are a lot of theories, about what happened, and really what it comes down to, is the person that got hurt was fairly new to riding, and was riding with a group of people that aren't as safe, or look out for each other like my family does. 

After all that was over, my Beautiful Wife came out, and I was very happy.

Sunday morning, I got up early and got a fire going. It was really nice, a bunch of us were just sitting around the fire and drinking our coffee. In about an hour the skies went from crystal clear to dark thunderheads over the whole desert. Well, my Beautiful Wife and I were in the camry and didn't want to get stuck. So about 8am, we headed out.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Search your Desktop with google

Google the king of internet search is working on a new arena, your desktop. Scott Hanselman posted it on his blog earlier today, and so I decided to try it. It's pretty amazing. Google has wrote a really nice piece of software. It creates a web server on your computer that only serves your local machine. It will index office documents, mp3s, .txt, web pages you have viewed and a lot of others. It doesn't look at system files. Which is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time.

I've hooked it up to run inside of slickrun, so now I just type in mygoogle in slick run, and it gives me a dynamic input field and I search from there. Overall really pretty nice.

Art Needed

So today, I have a million things to do. What I am doing about it? Nothing, Nothing whatsoever. Today is one of those days that I need art. I need to look at photographs and painting and sculpture. I was talking with my Beautiful Wife and she gets this feeling too. The feeling that, viewing art, creating art is something we needed to do, to be inspired by it. So I was thinking about why is art so inspiring to me. Because after all, art, the art that you like as a person is a deeply personal thing. It connects with you, your memories or you life in someway. Otherwise, I just don't think it would mean anything. So how art inspires me is, its a new viewpoint of something we see everyday. People, Places, Things. It seems to me that we all need a fresh viewpoint from time to time, to not take what we have for granted. Air, green trees, flowers, people you know that kind of stuff.

So I did a little searching and found three sites that have some fantastic photos.
Plush Creative

I definitely feel that my love of art, is a family thing. My Grandma C, use to paint all of the time. She painted scenes from scriptures on huge canvas, and I remember when they hung in the Kingdom Hall. From what I understand when she was young she was offered a scholarship to a very prestiges art school, but because of family and finacial reasons, she didn't go. Of course that didn't stop her from painting. She painted, on canvas and statues. She is a very talented lady.

My Mom got some of her talent too. Mom always painted statues, and they almost always looked, well, photorealistic. The shadows were always just right. If it needed to look like it has been there forever, it just did. She taught me some of the techniques, but, there was a lot of talent that went it to those things, they were art. I think that some people that forget, that just because you or your family members create it , that it is still art. Infact, it is even more so, because there is such a personal connection to it.

Grandpa K use to take the best photographs.When I was younger I always look forward to him and Grandma Kcoming back from vacation and have the family slide show. I was always impressed with his photos, and at the time, I would give him the best compliment, I knew..."Wow, they look like postcards". Grandpa K, always took slides, and I loved the way they looked. I remember one time when I got to go with him and Dad to Fedco in pasadena to pick up some of the photo supplies he needed, and feeling like it was a really special event, and it was, it still is, because it is in my memory.

I think Art is important, its memories and family and new things and old things all in one.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Boy on the Bicycle

This morning walking to the train, I saw something refreshing and unusual at the same time. It was about 7am, I'm a block away from the train station and I See this Boy on his bicycle, he seems to be about 10 or 11. He had pulled to the side of the road to answer his cellphone (As all responsible drivers do). Apparently his Mom was calling to remind him about something. He ended the conversation by saying "I love you too Mom." As he starts to ride away, I see that he has a basket on the front of his racing bmx bike, and better yet, there was a little puppy wrapped in a blanket in the basket. I looked and him and the puppy and smiled, he smiled back and rode away.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Talking too Fast

This morning I was on the phone with another developer. He is lead/Sr. developer of one of our vendors. He was talking about some new functionality that they were rolling out and the new middle tier that they were going to be using. You know all the technically mumbo jumbo, that makes most people's eyes glaze over, and give you that blank, "If I just keep looking at him, maybe I will have a clue as to what he is saying" stare. Anyhow, I noticed that he was talking really fast. I thought about that, and when I am talking about a tech project that I really enjoy, I talk really fast too. It makes me think that the connections in the brain that we use for tech stuff move so fast that our poor mouths just can't keep up. It's really funny to hear a guy that in a social situation, you can maybe get 100 words out of in two hours, give you 1000 words in 2 minutes when talking about the tech projects.


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Cool New/Old Trick

I am rewriting part of an application in ASP.NET however, it is still going to need to be in a directory that is mostly classic ASP. In my classic ASP pages, I have <!--#include virtual="mynav.htinc"-->. Well if I were writing the ASP.NET application from sratch I would put the navigation in a .ascx file. However, being that this is a joint resident application, I don't want to do that, because that would mean I have two files to update instead of just the one. (being a lazy programmer, I don't want to have to update an additional file). So how do I use the old .htinc file in my new ASP.NET application. The answer my friends is response.writefile. In your aspx page you simply write the file in. It will read the file, and write the content to the page as it is rendered, just like the virutal include would.




Monday, October 04, 2004

The little Boy and the Monster under the Bed

So this morning, the Little Boy wakes up pretty early, so he comes in to sleep with us. Now I am sound asleep and reportedly making "sleeping noises" (snoring). Anyhow the Little Boy snuggles in to bed with me and My Beautiful Wife and as I snore, he says, "What's that noise?", to which my Beautiful Wife replies, "that is Russ making sleeping noises". The Little Boy says, " no it's a bear!"

Now this really tickled me. You see when I was just about his age, I remember getting up in what felt like the middle of the night and headed to Mom and Dad's room. At the time their room was at the back of the house, so I had to traverse the hallway and my sisters room to get their room. What now amounts to a little less then 20 feet felt like a mile. Right as I get to the door of their room, which was open. I hear this sound. It sounded like a roar, a lion's roar to be exact. So I turned tail and ran back to my room and jumped into the bed and hid under the covers. I remember thinking that Mom and Dad took there sleep pretty seriously, because they had a Lion living under there bed to protect them while their were asleep. Of course now that I am older I know that it was just Dad making "Sleeping Noises".

So my guess is that when the Little Boy has children of his own, and he makes "sleeping noises", his kids will think it was a tiger. Keeping up the family tradition. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Papa's Big Truck

Today was one of the days that you don't look forward to. Well, your glad it's saturday and all, but you just know that you are going to have to work your butt off. You know, that's the thing about being an adult, you just don't get to spend your saturday watching cartoons till ten o'clock and then playing till dinner time. Don't get me wrong it was a good day. I got a bunch accomplished. I helped my friend move some of her stuff. Worked on the car. Helped the Folks set up and teardown for the yard sale they were having. It was a full day. There definitely was a highlight though.

You see I had to borrow my Dad's very cool Dodge truck. It's got the extend cab, lift kit, dual exhaust, bumper guards, light guards, the whole shot. Basically it's like the "Walker Texas Ranger" truck. Dad's got factory tires on it right now, instead of the off-road ones, and you still look down in to other trucks. A cool truck! Anyhow, my Beautiful Wife, and the Little Boy, drop me off, so that I can get the truck. Well the Little Boy loves going to my Mom and Dad's house. He calls Dad, "Papa". So the Little Boy wanted to go to "Papa's house", and didn't understand why he wasn't getting out of the car too. So I explain that I am just borrowing Papa's truck to do some work, and then when I come home I will give him a little ride in it. He was disappointed, but not crying and they drove away.

So, I get my business taken care of, and get home. I didn't park the truck in the drive way, but on the street. My Beautiful Wife and the Little Boy are outside, Max the wonder puppy is running through our yard as well as the neigbhors at lightining speed, when I pull up. Of course, all puppy dogs love truck, so he runs over to it, and we get him inside rather quickly. When I come out the Little Boy has clawed his way in to the passager's side and is ready to go. You could tell that getting him out of the truck was not a fight that you wanted to take on. Well, I still have some errants to do, so my Beautiful Wife and I decide he'd just go with me. (actually the Little Boy decided and we agreed) My Beautiful Wife followed me to our first stop, that way if the Little Boy was done, well he could ride home with her. That's not what happened. I get to the auto parts store, and the Little Boy says, "I'm staying here, okay, I stay in the truck, you go and come back." So I smile and say okay. My Beautiful Wife stayed with him  and I got what I needed. He was staying with the truck. 

So my Beautiful Wife, has some errants to do, I have some others to do, so we decided to meet up a little later and then take the truck back to my Dad. She pulls away, I get in the truck, and start it, of course, I didn't have my seatbelt on so, the little light thing on the dash yelled at me. So without thinking, I respond to it with, "I know, I know, I know" as I put my seatbelt on.  The Little Boy picked this up immediately if not sooner. Now, every time the truck would make a sound he would lift his little arms up, half way, and say "I know, I know, I know". I had to smile every time he said that. Anyhow the Little Boy simple loved riding in the truck. He would see other big trucks and say, "He look, a big truck like us", and I would agree. we had a great time. Well now it was time to take the truck back to Dad's and of course the Little Boy was happy to be at Papa's and they of course where happy to see him. However we were all mesmerized and mystified by his energy level. I believe it had to do with testosterone levels raising in his little body just by being in Papa's Big Truck.

It was time to go home, so we said our goodbyes and we had to break it to The Little Boy that he was going to have to ride home with us in the Camry and not in the Truck. He was disappointed and gave us his trademark "Ahhh mann!". I kind of felt the same way to tell you the truth. I had really enjoyed driving that big ol' truck all afternoon. Anyhow the Little Boy reluctantly gets in the car, and we head for home. We stop on the way home and get him a hot dog to help ease his disappointment. All in all a great saturday, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Rembrandt's Eye for art

There is a very interesting article in the International Herald Tribune that suggests that Rebrandt may have been well, a little bit wall-eyed, and that is not being about to see things in true stereo vision is part of the reason he was able to paint scenes from real life to the canvas so well. It also mentioned that this would of made him more attuned to shadows and light.

Being that I was born fairly crossed eyed, and after a surgery when I was three, now slightly (especially when I am tired) crossed eyed I found this fasinating. I've been told that I see 80% of the world out of my right eye and 20% from my left. And that because my vision has been that way since birth that my brain just wired itself to get depth preception. I imagine it was the same way for Rembrandt.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Pow Pow Power Wheels

The Little Boy has one of those powerwheel jeeps that we got at a yard sale. It needs a battery, which of course, we haven't gotten yet. But that doesn't stop him from lifting up the hood and trying to figure out what the issue is. Of course he believes that hitting the battery with a hammer will get it to work. So, I told him that hitting it, isn't going to make it work. To which he reply, "It already doesn't work!", I found that hard to argue with. Anyhow, about 10 minutes later, he has most of my tools on the fenders and in the battery bay of his jeep. He, just knew that ones of those tools was going to fix it. So, I'm thinking I need to pick up the battery for it, and have him help me put it in. And just maybe hit with the hammer once for good measure.


Today I learned that The Little Boy teaches me more then I teach him. In him I can see my bad and good habits. He teaches me that hating traffic is something you are born with and is not learned. That a 4 year old can drive better then many adults. He has taught me that there are many more uses for a cresent wrench than I originally thought including, pry bar and dispilinary tool for the dog.  I've learned that when I'm in the garage working on something, that he wants to be there too. And more importantly, that he really wants to help work on whatever I am working on, be it a car or a cutting a piece of wood. I've learned that it's hard to argue with the logic of a strong willed 4 year old, especially when they think they are right. I've learned that starting the morning by watching cartoons and not the news is the best way to start your day.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Retro Phones of the Future

I fought getting a cellphone for the past 4 years. I had one in 1999 and after a two hour long phone interview while driving in evening traffic, I decided that I just didn't need that kind of stress. Now I have one, I have had one for about 6 months now. Of course mine is cool geekware. At the time I got it, it was the smallest phone that had bluetooth and all the other groovy things that the new phones have. For the most part its been a great phone. However I have found that accessories are a little slim for it. Then I come across this site POKIA. I am not sure whether to think this is really cool, ore really dumb. After looking through the site some more, I fined the ultimate in Retro meets techno. The Dj Convoy, because there is nothing better than making something big and bulking connect to something small and convenient. Don't get me wrong, I do think it is kind of a cool idea. It just doesn't seem that pratical is all.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Mac guy trapped in a PC world

At heart I am a Apple computer guy. I have always loved their designs. The OS is so much easier to use, and prettier to boot. However I make my living writing code for and on Microsoft machines. But I am still a Mac guy trapped in a PC world. has a great article on how to make your PC look like you are running OS X. So yes, you still have the beige box, but at least what is on the screen looks a whole lot cooler.

Upgrading your G3 Powerbook

A G3 Powerbook is still a great computer. I would love to have one, the design, the keyboard it is all poetry, with the exception of one thing. A design flaw that has been haunting Mac fans for a long time. For some reason Apple made the backlit logo upsidedown. Well, one guy couldn't take it any more. This is his story.

Coordinating colors for the rest of us

Not all of us have taken color theory classes and know which shades of purple compliment green. Fortunately behr paint has made it easy. The other day My Beautiful Wife and I were in Home Depot and played with this really cool computer kioski that had a color scanner and color coordination in one easy to use interface. They also have the same thing sans the color scanner online.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


So here is something to do if you are bored

10 minutes before the next meeting

So I know the blog hasn't been getting much love lately. I do intend to resolve that little issue. Work has been kind of nuts lately. I have the whole home banking conversion thing going on, which requires a lot of planning and quiet time. Of course there are about eight other , top priority projects that need instant attention as well. Now this is a little bit of an enigma to me, how can there be eight top priority projects. By the definition of the word priority should there only be one, maybe two?

Tomorrow is going to be a long day, we are going to upgrade the Database server here at work. Now this is something that we have tried to do once before, and the results were less then stellar so we put it back like it was before. I firmly believe that IT people should subscribe to the same hippocratic oath that doctors do: "do no harm". Nothing is worse then working on a computer and making it worse then it was before you touched it.

This weekend was alot of fun. First My Beautiful Wife and I had a fieldtrip to Fry's. After two hours and two DVDs later, we decided it was time to leave that techno-wonderland. Then on sunday My Beautiful Wife, the Little Boy and I got to go to Disneyland. It has been a while since we had been. (mostly because a. it was too hot, was tourist season and 3. because our annual passports where blacked out). It was amazing how short the lines were. The longest line was 30 minutes. Well, my outlook alert just popped up telling me it's time for another meeting.



Saturday, September 04, 2004

The Garage Is Clean

Today, was a day, but they all are aren't they. Anyhow one of the goals of the three day weekend was to clean the garage. A daunting task to be sure, but we did it. To our amazement, it only took 6 hours. Now I know what you are thinking, 6 hours is a long time. Well it is, but we expected it to take a couple of days. So 6 hours seems like gift.

We worked in stages, I took the early shift, I got out there at 6:45am (yes, I really wanted to beat the heat) and started the heavy duty cleaning and sweeping. By 7:30 I had found the floor. This was quite an accomplishment. Okay, now that we had a path, and a floor it was time to make some headway on the tabletops. 20 minutes later, I find that we have three of them...who knew. Now with a place to put things and a path to and from the door, we can start going through the boxes, and sort through all the stuff.

Now stage two, the box trot. My Beautiful Wife jointed me for this stage. The box trot is where you move boxes from one end of the garage to the other, and back and forth until they find their correct place in the garage. The box trot only took a couple of hours and in the end we had it all sorted, tons more room and we can find our stuff again. Now we have more room for more stuff. Tomorrow morning we are hitting the Yard Sales.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Early morning, late night

Today, I got up way to early, especially for not getting home till 9:30pm last night. So up dressed and out of the house by 6am, ticket purchased and on the train by 6:20am. Working on the train, just to get it all done. It is going to be a long day.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Goodbye Aunt K

Today was Aunt K's memorial. It was quite lovely, yet sad. On display was pictures of her, her and her friends and some of her art. They read one of her poems, and some passages from her diary. They were lovely, artistic and sweet, like her. My sister had the best comment on the day. "We have to figure out a better way to have family reunions". Grandma and Grandpa K, came up, and we meet Grandma and Grandpa C at the services.(Yes, I know how great it is that I have both sets of grandparents and how I wish that I had more time to spend with them. They are all amazing people who I dearly love) We saw a lot of people that I haven't seen in a long long time. Some I remember, some I didn't. My Beautiful Wife has been there all day for me. I truly appreciate her. She never got to meet Aunt K, and I really wish should could have. I think they both would of really liked each other.

I have come up with something that have made it easier to deal with her loss. The saying we've lost someone, when they have died. I like the idea that we have simply misplaced them, like your car keys or watches and will someday find them in the last place we looked (of course it's the last placed we've looked, after we find something we typically stop looking for it, but I digress). Someday things will be right back like they were. I have hope that I will see Aunt K again and she won't have any of the pain she had in this life. Also you never really lose someone that has helped you be the person you are, they are always a part of you, so they are always with you.

After the service, we met up at Mom and Dad's. We had dinner, and watched T.V. and talked about funny TV commercials, and things we had done in the past. We told jokes, and funny stories. This is how my family deals with these kind of things. We replace tears with laughter, we always have, and I kind of like it that way. Is like some sort of unwritten rule. Laughing is always better than crying. We didn't talk about Aunt K much tonight, but between the jokes, stories and food, you know that everyone still was thinking about her, I know I am. I'll miss her.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

First Impressions

Today I got to spend some time in the code of the new Home Banking system. Spending time in the code is when a developers come up with their first impression. Mine is a good first impression. After spending two days with the Developers installing the product and looking at the code, I am looking forward to working with this product. I know you are thinking you, just bough the product why would you have to work with it. Well the way that most of these kind of things work is what you buy is very vanilla. So we don't buy the product for what it can do today, but what it will be able to do tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Got a little bad news

Yesterday was the long day of meetings. It went as well as those kind of things go. Afterwards my boss, the people with the new homebanking system and I went out to dinner. We went to the place we always go, the steakhouse established in 1947 across the street from the WB lot. After getting there and getting seated I got a call on my mobile from my brother J. At first I sent it to voicemail because we were talking about implementation strategies and that kind of stuff. However I got a funny feeling about the call so I excused myself and tried to call him back. First time, I got his voicemail, so I check my messages and he just said to call him back in a somber tone. Now this J, he is the one that leaves me voicemails pretending to be someone else, and yelling at me for dating his daughter, or stealing his cat, or driving thru his house. So the tone of his message really meant something was up. I got nervous, so I called him again.

One of my favorite thing about J is that he doesn't sugar coat things, he just says them.  He told me that a really close friend of the family had passed away. She was someone us kids called Aunt K, because well she was like an Aunt to us. She was one of those people in your life, that lets you know that you are pretty cool just the way you are. I mean your family tells you that as you grow up, but somehow there is more validation when someone else says it, we expect our family to say that we are great. I remember that Aunt K use to say that I was a "neat kid". Well, I always thought that she was a "Neat Lady". She didn't have any kids of her own, which was what it was.  She was a very artistlc person, she would draw and write. She was the one that taught me that it was okay to be a Sci-Fi geek (mostly because she was one too). I remember going to lots, of Star Wars and Star Trek Conventions with her. I have a picture at home that she took of my brother K and me standing infront of the "Galileo" from the orignial Star Trek series. She always made me feel like I was fine, just the way I am. That is kind of a big thing for a kid, especially, when the kids at school and everything on the TV is telling you the exact opposite.

Aunt K had a great laugh, it was one of those laughs that made you smile. You knew it was her from across the room when you heard her laugh. I am really going to miss hearing that laugh. It's sad to know that this person isn't on this planet anymore. I could get into the whole argument of the unjustness of such a good person dying when there are so many bad people keep on living, but I think that would taint my memories of her, and I just don't want to do that.  I will miss her. She was one of those people that is a part of me. She really had an positive influence in my life, and my self-respect.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A light drizzle

Yesterday was much more of the light drizzle before the storm. We only had one hour long meeting. Which isn't too bad, and I was kind of charged and looking forward to the project from it. I did leave the meeting with homework. My homework that I am still working on this morning. I am install windows 2000 server in Virtual PC on my XP workstation/Laptop. That way I can have the Home banking server software running on my machine. So far it is going pretty smoothly. Though it takes a lot longer to load up then a regular machine.

Today the downpour will start. I came in early (6am) to finish up the install and have a couple of hours before it all starts. Meetings are scheduled from 8:30am to 5:30pm. It is going to be a long day. I am not looking forward to all day meetings, but I am looking forward to getting some time with the Home Banking Developer.  He is a C# guy too, even though the product is written in VB.NET. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

One of the things that cleared the clouds away last night was reading with the Little Boy. We have about 4 or 5 books that we read every night, one of them being Green Eggs and Ham. And it is one of his favorites. Well last night, we read it together for the first time. He would pick one page and "read" (recite from memory) what was on the page, and I would read the other one. It was amazing. It really made my heart glow. To see him growing and learning is just one of the most wonderful things in my life. There is something really terrific about ending the day laying in bed with my Beautiful Wife and the Little Boy and reading them to sleep. So this is going to be my umbrella today, every time I feel a drop of rain, I will think of them and be dry and warm.


Monday, August 23, 2004

The Calm before the storm

This weekend was the calm before the storm. Today starts three days of meetings. The first in many steps in the Home Banking Platform conversion. This is going to be the biggest project our E-Commerce department has ever taken on. I am excited and nervous about it at the same time. But enough about that, lets talk about this weekend.

Saturday morning My Beautiful Wife and I snuck out and got a cup of coffee at suckerbucks (That's what the Little Boy calls starbucks) and got to sit outside and read a newspaper. I know that doesn't sound terribly exciting, and it wasn't , but it was amazingly calming and something we hadn't done in a long time. (Since we lived in Pasadena about 3 years ago)

Upon returning home, the Little Boy was Up and full of.... Energy. So we loaded the Little Boy and Max the wonder dog up in the car and headed out to the sports park. We got there, and what did we see, people playing sports at the sports park. Honestly what did they think they were doing, we were going to have the The Little Boy and the Dog run amuck in those fields. So we couldn't let the furry that is the combination of The Little Boy and Max the wonder dog loose there. So we decide to take them to San Dimas creek. This was a good choice as no one was there. So after walking down the trail a little ways we let Max off of his leash. This had about the same affect as launching a rocket horizontially. That dog ran up and down the trail, though the streams and over the streams and up the hills and down the hills. He would jump so far down the hills that he would just about swapping head and tails except that his speed would keep him moving forward. Well after this little adventure, everyone got bath.

Sunday I had a lot of serious sitting around to do. Some of it was even done in Mom and Dad's Jacuzzi. There was also some serious gaming that needed done. So I played a couple hours of Red's Dead Revolver.

My favorite moment of the weekend was The Little Boy riding his bike with amazing speed down the driveway and skidding into the garage, and hit my Beautiful Wifes bike. He knocked it over, and startled himself.  I walked in the garage, and picked the bike up, and looked at the Little Boy, and said "A Little to fast, huh?" to which he responsed, "just a little."


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The long weekend

I took Friday, Monday and Tuesday off of work. Mostly because if I didn't, I wasn't going to get any time off till the end of the year. It turned out to be good to have some time off. I worked hard at not checking me work email too often. (Once or twice a day) I took care of some of those things around that house that needed done. Overall pretty good.

Yesterday, we got to go down and see my Grandma and Grandpa. It was so nice to get to see then and spend time with them. They are such sweet people and they really mean so much to me.

I have to go to work tomorrow, and I really don't want to. But being an adult means I have too.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

100 miles later

last night riding to Mom and Dad's I finally broke 100 miles. So since I started riding again in June I have ridden 100 miles. It kind of feels like an accomplishment. I told My Beautiful Wife last night, that when I break 10,000 miles, then I can get a new carbon fiber bike. Till then, me and my steel framed steed will keep pedaling down the road together. I think will name my bike Hildalgo. The little painted pony that could. And it kind of fits, because of the blue paint overspray that is on the frame from one of my brothers paint projects that went awry.

The interesting thing is that after 100 miles, I want to ride more not less then when I started. I'm feeling better and like I can handle stress a little better too.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Riding In The Dark

This morning I woke up very early. Well, that isn't exactly true, I was woken up very early this morning. It seems the Little Boy snuck in to bed with us last night. I found this out after being kicked repeatedly. Apparently he was either dreaming about riding his bike, kicking the ball, or kicking the dog. (My vote is for the latter) So about 3:30am I move down to the floor, but never really got back to sleep. At about 4am I decide to stop trying to sleep and just get up. Mostly because I couldn't get the endless loop of "Five little Monkeys Jumping on the bed" to quit playing in my head.

Well, what is there to do at 4 in the morning? I couldn't work because I had left my computer at work. Humm, I know I will go for a ride this morning, I think to myself. Now I haven't ridden my bike at 4am since I was a teenager. I use to get up early and ride for an hour before going to work with Dad. I had even gotten them to gotten him to go with me. We had our mountian bikes and I would go to the local park and race down the stairs, and then try and race back up them. (We never made it back up to the top of the stairs)

After a shower and getting dressed, I head out to the garage and adjust and fit my new helmet (The dog ate my other one) and got on my bike. Okay, I am ready to go, I decide not to do any hill climbing as those streets don't have any lights. So I start riding and I notice how quiet it really is. I had forgotten that riding at that time of the morning is so nice. The sound of the pressurized tires (110 psi) rolling along the asphalt. Birds just waking up, chirping as if to say good morning to the day. It's interesting how with the lack of light your other senses really come alive. The smell of the bakery down the street, of the trees, and flowers. Riding through some sleepy little neighborhoods, seeing the occasional person turning on the kitchen light to make coffee.

It really gave me a good outlook for the day. I got myself home, and had some breakfast. (I almost never eat breakfast before 10am), watched the news and got ready for work. Driving to the train station, and waiting for the train, I had a poetic narrative of the morning going in my head, and I wanted to write it down. However I didn't have an pen in my bag, so the revelations of the morning are gone, and I am settling back in to work.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Tale of two stalls

I am a guy of average height. I don't consider myself to be extremely tall, but not short either. Lately however I have notice a trend that need discussed. You see in the restroom at work we have two urinals. (I know the post has gone in the toliet by the second line). For those of you who don't know about the two urinal configuration, they are set at different heights. Usually the one on the left is a foot lower then the one on the right. It is your basic short guy, tall guy configuration. Being that I am about 5'11" using the tall guy urinal is my right. Why, well because the short guy urinal makes anyone over 5'8" feel like they are peeing on their shoes, not a terribly good feeling. Now that I have set the ground work lets discuss this disturbing trend.

Almost every time I go to the restroom there is a short guy at the tall guy urinal. Some of these cases have  been extreme, as in the short guy is tippy-toeing to reach the tall guy urinal. Now, I don't care what kind of short guy neopolen complex you have, if you are a short guy, use the short guy urinal. I am not willing to pee on my shoes to make some short guy feel better about himself. Look if you are a short guy, just accept that you are close to the ground the some of us. There is nothing bad about that. Short guys don't have as far to fall and there are some very interesting advantages as far as eye levels and the opposite sex. Relish being a short guy. Be short and proud! Be short and proud and use the short guy urinal.

So you are asking yourself, what is the height requirement to use the tall guy urinal. Since it isn't like disneyland having a sign with a "you most be this tall to ride this ride", I have done some informal polling and it seem to be the concensus among most average height guys that 5'8" and up can use the tall guy urinal, while 5'7" and down should use the short guy urinal. Now you are asking yourself, why in the world did he write about this. Well, It needed to be done, and being that guys don't talk in the restroom (it's an unwritten rule) it needed to be somewhere guys feel comfortable talking about this stuff. Which would be anonymously on the internet.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Where's the tech

So you have probably noticed that I haven't had any recent post here or at twocsharpguys on any techie stuff. I know I have a few that can be called techie, but I mean the post that explain a problem and the source code I used to solve it. Those post always garner the most visits from the search engines. So why haven't I done any...cause I don't feel like it. Well that and I haven't been doing much coding lately. We have a really big project coming up. We are converting home banking platforms. With this there are lots and lots of meetings. In fact I am sure that we will have meetings about meetings. This always reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon I read, it said that with any subject or project that requires more than five meetings, then the meetings become more important then the project that the meeting was called about in the first place.

Now with this big project looming in the near future, don't you think I should be getting to know the new system. Familarize myself with the code base? Me too but, that's not what I am doing. I'm doing a bunch of "back burner" projects. Which leads to my next question, if they are "back burner" projects, why are they the first on my plate over the HB conversion. Anyhow most of these projects are server software configurations. Not terribly hard things, but terribly time comsuming.  In other companies I worked for, we web administrators to do these things, but being a Sr. Web Developer, in a small IT department means that you get to wear many hats. Todays hat should be bowler I think! 

Monday, August 02, 2004

Monday Morning

This morning I hit the snooze bar 4 times, and my alarm clock is on the other side of the room. Now that is pretty tired. I get myself up, showered and shaved and hug and kiss my Beautiful Wife. Its one of those days that you just want to stay in bed. Its one of those days that you want to call in sick even though you aren't really sick. Anyhow get my stuff together and walk to the train station. I walk kind of slow, since I didn't expect to catch the 7:21am train. Its August 2nd and I still need to buy my august monthly train pass. So I get to the station at 7:19 and the train is still there and I am kind of surprised. I figured it will leave any second, as I walk up to the ticket vending machine. There is a metrolink "Ambassador" standing there helping people. As I walk up I see two people per machine, so this makes me think that I am right, I will catch the next train. As I get close two people walk away from the machines, and one woman tries the second machine because the first one isn't taking cash. The Ambassador asks me if I am using credit card, I say yes, and walk right up to the first machine. I do my order (there is about 5 buttons you have to press in the correct sequence to get your ticket/pass) and it goes through in record time. I mean I had my pass in like 30 seconds. So with pass in hand I walk right on to the 7:21 at 7:21 and the doors closed behind me. I really couldn't of timed it any better.

So why did I write a post about catching the train? Well, its because I have been in this whole running late and trying to catch the 7:21 and missing it. I would power walk to the station, rush out of the house and miss it. Today, I figured, there was no way I was going to catch it, so might as well not rush and what happens? I catch it with 10 seconds to spare, and had to buy my pass. Maybe this is going to be a good monday.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Getting the Most from your IT Department

My Sister send me the following list. I nearly fell over laughing. I personally have had 30 of the 35 experiences listed. Enjoy!


1. When you call us to have your computer moved or fixed, be sure to
leave it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures, stuffed
animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies and children's art. We don't
have a life, and we find it deeply moving to catch a fleeting glimpse of

2. Don't write anything down. Ever. We can play back the error messages
from here.

3. When an IT person says he's coming right over, go for coffee. That
way you won't be there when we need your password. It's nothing for us
to remember 300 user passwords.

4. When you call the help desk, state what you want, not what's keeping
you from getting it. We don't need to know that you can't get into your
mail because your computer won't power on at all.

6. When IT support sends you an e-mail with high importance, delete it
at once. We're just testing.

7. When an IT person is eating lunch at his desk, walk right in and
spill your guts right out. We exist only to serve.

8. Send urgent email all in uppercase. The mail server picks it up and
flags it as a rush delivery.

9. When the photocopier doesn't work, call computer support. There's
electronics in it. Ditto for the microwave, timeclock, and coffee maker.
Hell, if it plugs in, we're probably in charge of it anyway.

10. When you're getting a NO DIAL TONE message at home, call computer
support. We can fix your telephone line from here.

11. When you have a dozen old computer screens to get rid of, call
computer support. We're collectors.

12. When something's wrong with your home PC, dump it on an IT person's
chair with no name, no phone number and no description of the problem.
We love a puzzle.

13. When an IT person tells you that computer screens don't have
cartridges in them, argue. We love a good argument.

14. When an IT person tells you that he'll be there shortly, reply in a
scathing tone of voice: "And just how many weeks do you mean by
shortly?". That motivates us.

15. When the printer won't print, re-send the job at least 20 times.
Print jobs frequently get sucked into black holes.

16. When the printer still won't print after 20 tries, send the job to
all 68 printers in the company. One of them is bound to work.

17. Don't learn the proper name for anything technical. We know exactly
what you mean by "my thingy blew up".

18. Don't use on-line help. On-line help is for wimps.

19. If the mouse cable keeps knocking down the framed picture of your
dog, lift the computer and stuff the cable under it. Mouse cables were
designed to have 40lb of computer sitting on top of them.

20. If the space bar on your keyboard doesn't work, blame it on the mail
upgrade. Keyboards are actually very happy with half a pound of muffin
crumbs and nail clippings in them.

21. When you get a message saying "Are you sure?" click on that Yes
button as fast as you can. Hell, if you weren't sure, you wouldn't be
doing it, would you?

22. When you find an IT person on the phone with his bank, sit uninvited
on the corner of his desk and stare at him until he hangs up. We don't
have any money to speak of anyway.

23. Feel perfectly free to say things like "I don't know nothing about
that computer crap". We don't mind at all hearing our area of
professional expertise referred to as crap.

24. When you need to change the toner cartridge in a printer, call IT
support. Changing a toner cartridge is an extremely complex task, and
Hewlett-Packard recommends that it be performed only by a professional
engineer with a master's degree in nuclear physics.

25. When you can't find someone in the government directory, call IT

26. When you have a lock to pick on an old file cabinet, call IT
Support. We love to hack.

27. When something's the matter with your computer, ask your secretary
to call the help desk. We enjoy the challenge of having to deal with a
third party who doesn't know anything about the problem.

28. When you receive a 50MB movie file, send it to everyone as a mail
attachment. We've got lots of disk space on that mail server.

29. Don't even think of breaking large print jobs down into smaller
chunks. Somebody else might get a chance to squeeze a memo into the

30. When an IT person gets on the elevator pushing $100,000 worth of
computer equipment on a cart, ask in a very loud voice: "Good grief, you
take the elevator to go DOWN one floor?!?" That's another one that
cracks us up no end.

31. When you lose your car keys or go to lunch, send an email to the
entire company. People down in Las Vegas like to keep abreast of what's
going on.

32. When you bump into an IT person at the grocery store on a Saturday,
ask a computer question. We do weekends.

33. Don't bother to tell us when you move computers around on your own.
Computer names are just a cosmetic feature.

34. When you bring your own personal home PC for repair at the office,
leave the documentation at home. We'll find all the settings and drivers

35. In no way do we believe that end-users are ungrateful. It hurts our
feelings that one could even think such a thing on the basis of the
above statements. In truth we wish to express our deepest gratitude to
the hundreds of wonderful end-users portrayed herein, without whom none
of this would have been remotely possible.

Fun filled Week Part I

I know that It's been more than a week since my last post, by boy what a week it has been. I guess it started last saturday, when we got a call from my Beautiful Wife's niece, saying, "hey, we are on the way". The way to where? we asked, "Well, your house". So hey cool, we are going to have some company! It's going to be my Wife's Niece, Her Daughter, and her Daughters friend. So My Beautiful Wife and I got to work immediately in making the house presentable. I tackled the dishes, she took on the laundry. All in all we got like 8 hours worth of cleaning done in like 3 hours. Yeah, were rockin. So now the house is clean, where are we going to put everyone. Hummmm, we may need some help on that one. So I let my Folks know what's going on, and they come up with the brilliant idea of bringing their motor home over to our house, and our company can stay in their. Now this was a plan that really came together. My Dad and Brother brought it over showed our guest how to use everything and we charming as usual!

Sunday, or should I say sunday lobster sunday. Being that our family guest from Airzona, first place we have to hit is going to be the beach. After getting the necesarry things (Dr. Pepper, Umbrella, boogie boards, Dr. Pepper, sandwiches, chips, Dr. Pepper, towels and sun screen.) we packed the car and where off. We went down to Santa Monica beach, and to our surprise so did everyone else in LA. We finally get down PCH enough to find some parking. We ended up at part of the beach that my Dad and I use to go surf fishing at all then time when I was younger. We set up our spot, and the girls going boogie boarding and My Wife and her Niece went for a walk. I kicked back and watched the girls like a hawk. You see my Beautiful Wife's Nieces, Daughter and her friend are both 11 years old. So of course the Oldest Brother thing kicks in. After we have some lunch I go in the water, now I don't think I have actually been in the ocean for 3 or 4 years. I've been the the beach but having gotten in. When I was a kid you couldn't keep me out of the water. It was nice to do a little body surfing with the girls. Of course being the manly man that I am, I didn't put any sun screen on, and I did get some sun, fortunately It just turned to tan, but it was sore for a day or two.


Friday, July 23, 2004

A Childhood on Ebay

Is it just me, or does it seem that everything ends up on ebay? I was reading some rss feeds and ran across a post on K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand) from Knight Rider being on eBay. I remember as a kid, that this was one of my brothers and my favorite shows. It was on Friday nights at 9pm, on NBC. I remember this so well, because our bedtime growing up was 9pm. With Friday nights being the exception, we were allowed to stay up till 10pm to see the end of Knight Rider (What can I say we were rebels through and through).

It seems like there isn't any toy or electronic from my childhood that I can't find on ebay. The CEDs we use to watch instead of having a VCR. All the game systems that my brother K has had over the years are there. (Yes, folks he is a gamer. Don't play grand turismo 3 with him unless you feel like losing by a lot. We are talking he will lap you in a less powerful car then you are driving) I am sure that with enough eBay searches,  I can find the "Incredible Hulk" bike I had as a kid, that was stolen out of our yard. Now, I don't mean one like it, I mean the one I had.

So it gets me to thinking, should we really buy the toys, and object of our childhood? Does the nostalgia bring back the same feelings or does having those things as an adult change you prospective on them. I think somethings are nice to have. Your baseball glove that you had when you were a kid, you know things that remind you more of spending time with your family. The electronics have come so far, that you will be sorely dissappointed. And as for your favorite TV show from when you were a kid, I would suggest skipping the reruns. Awhile back I got to see an episode of Knight Rider, and as an adult, I have no clue how that show stayed on the air for as many seasons as it did. But I still have a soft spot in my heart for the car from the show. I wonder how you ask a loan officer for a 50-60 thousand dollar loan to buy K.I.T.T. off eBay?

Staying up late...Paying for it in the morning

Last night, was a bit of a long night. I was here till 1am with two of my co-workers trying to migrate to a new Database server.  Fortunately or unfortunately we ran in to some serious issues. I personally think it was a good thing. I rather have the problems with the machine before it is put in production that way we can have it fixed and reliable, instead of trying to make it limp along.

One of my co-workers from our impromtu night shift had taken the train in to work. Of course at 1am the trains in Los Angeles just don't run. So I took him to his car in Irvine. I just didn't see any reason for him to stay at work overnight. It turned out to be one of those great car ride conversations that you learn alot about the other person and they learn a lot about you. It was really quite nice, and I came away feeling good about people in general.

The ride home was nice and uneventful. So at 2:30am, very drowsily I get home, change into PJs, but the little boy in his bed (he is asleep on my side of the bed), set the alarm, and then fell asleep within about 20 seconds after my head hit the pillow. So then what feels like about 45 seconds later the alarm goes off. It's already 7am. So I get up, turn the alarm off, take my shower, shave, brush my teeth, and I suddenly realize that I have done the whole  "getting ready for work" ritual with my eyes closed the entire time. I figured this out when I actually had to open my eyes to pick out my clothes.

I drove today, so that hopefully I could get home early. I get here about 8:30am, not so bad. So I am working away a little bit, trying to get my eyes to focus on the screen, and the phone rings. Its the other web developer. He's got some things going on at the house with the paint contractor he has doing work and lets me know that he will be rolling in to work around 11 to 12 today. I just had to laugh. Since 6am on thursday morning I have been home a grand total of 5 1/2 hours, while in the same time period he has only been at work a grand total of 5 1/2 hours. So I realize what I have to do, I need to paint the house.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Users Fixing Website Design Flaws

 This morning I ran acrossed a very interesting article on (actually in is from the rss feed) Apparently a math student named Matt who found the web site of his favorite movie theather chain hard to use, so he made a version that was more usable and hosted on his site.

 So I took a look at the orignial site, and the truth it, the site is amazingly hard to use, even for me. The site takes a long time to load and has a lot of competing elements.  And of course the page doesn't even render properly in Mozilla (the javascript menus don't even show), I didn't even bother to try viewing the site on my Mac.

 So in my opinion Matt did a good thing. He created something that should of made the theather chain reconsider the design of their site and redesign it with usability being the first consideration and design being the second right? Nope, they sent Matt a cease and desist order. Okay so why did the lawyers get involved and not the web developers/designers? There is a disheartening trend among corporate websites. The flash intro/Ad, and navigation that is almost hidden. These sites take an extremely long time to load and even more time to find the information you desire. The other trend I have noticed is that many site are virtually "IE Only Sites", meaning that if you are on a browser other than Internet Explorer that you either can't view the site at all or have limited functionality with the site.

 These trends can't continue and I don't believe they will be allowed to continue for several reasons. First, the statement that the Department of Homeland Security made about Internet Explorer. "There are a number of significant vulnerabilities in technologies relating to the IE domain/zone security model, the DHTML object model, MIME-type determination, and ActiveX. It is possible to reduce exposure to these vulnerabilities by using a different Web browser, especially when browsing untrusted sites" The recommendation was to using another browser like Mozilla. The second reason would be Section 508 accessibility. It is going to become necessary for financial institution to make sure their sites are Section 508 compliant.

 The question that pops into my mind is, why is it that websites in 1997 were easier to use then sites in 2004. I can come up with a couple of reasons. First, there were some elements that all sites had. Everyone had a links on the top and bottom of their pages. Another element was site maps. Site maps helped you cut through the paths that the design team/marketing department wanted you to go through and get right to the information you needed. Also Flash wasn't as prevelent. While Flash is a great web technology, it doesn't always have designers that create the most usable web interfaces.

 Something that I have found interesting is that usability and easy of publishing are coming back around again. Blogs have been at the for front of this movement. People are using pre-build, simple yet effective designs, and the easy to use publish tools that are offered. This is reminds me of what made the Web great to begin with. That just anyone with a text editor and a couple of hours could learn to write their own web page and express themselves in this "new media".  I hope that the trend of usability and easy of use, so that everyone can publish to the web continues.