Showing posts from May, 2006

New Heroics

Peter King, one of my top 3 sports writers, put the following paragraph in one of his SI columns.

"I think with this being the month of graduations all over the country, I'd like to give a nod to Derrick Brooks, the good-guy Tampa Bay linebacker who long ago put his money where his principles were. Brooks for years has been taking underprivileged kids and showing them there's a different side to life -- an educated side. He started taking adolescents on college tours and to places like Washington, D.C., and Africa, just to show them the world and to let them know there was a chance for them to become intelligent, contributing members to society. So this month, the first "Brooks Bunch'' graduate walked down the aisle at Florida State -- Natasha Spencer. She had gone on Brooks Bunch trips to Atlanta, Washington, D.C., the first Africa visit in 1997 and a trip to see the western United States. She graduated Florida State with a 3.6 GPA and plans to go overseas fo…

Memorial Day

I was raised in a military community. My father was a career Marine. He was a teacher who taught the vital communications and RADAR systems that are often the key to success in the military. And he always honored the uniform and the country while in the service and he still does in his retirement.

My father pulled me aside as I was finishing High School and said, “You’re not right for the military, and the military isn’t right for you.” For a Marine, who was very proud of his service and the opportunities that came from it, to say that to his son was pretty potent for me to hear. I expected him to regale me with stories of the Marine Corps and how it could change my life. But he knew better; I am one who questions authority and who doesn’t take too kindly to orders that do not make sense. I would not make a good Marine.

But I would go, if called. If my military needed me, I would answer the draft. Many friends and acquaintances have felt the call and entered the military, and I hope the…

First Day

The first day is always the worst. No matter how brief the time is, I get used to rolling over and having her there. This morning, I rolled over and the bed was empty.

My cat start meowing for food as soon as I moved and was curled up next to me, but that is not the same.

I am trying to get some serious momentum going on the move to Canada, but it is slow going. So many hurdles and rules left to overcome or follow. I’m getting to the point of just saying, “F*ck it!” and moving, damn the consequences. But, of course, I cannot really do that—I have a pet and my health to consider.

It is so difficult to have this woman whom I love and cherish be so far away in both time and space.

Plus, I’ve been informed I have porches to paint and decks to seal—I’m needed!

Side Effects

I am taking a new medication for my rheumatoid arthritis, as it appears my previous one quit working. This new medication has some nifty side effects to it and is a bit harsher on my body than the previous one.

Two side effects have presented so far in the days I have been taking it—shortness of breath (and I am already a fairly shallow breather) and a splitting, nearly-migraine strength headache about an hour after ingesting the pill. Matter of fact, it is like clockwork when I get the headache.

So, I called the doctor’s office this morning to ask about the headaches. He got right back to me and said that this is common and should ease up after 3-4 weeks. So, for the next 17-24 days I can expect mind-numbing headaches twice a day.


I sometimes wonder about Western medicine. Yes, over the long term this medication may reduce the swelling and pain I experience due to the RA and may even help me regrow the lost bone mass in my joints. But is that worth the quality of life issue I have…

Housing Bubble

LA Times article on California:
“Larger economic forces come into play too. Orange County, for example, consistently has the lowest jobless rate in the state. Although that could be a draw for laborers in states with high unemployment, the high housing prices in the county act as a brake on that sort of migration.”

The Orange County Register reports:
“Orange County home prices took a tumble in January, with the median price falling below $600,000 for the first time in eight months.DataQuick reported today that the median sale price for all residences sold in January was $582,000 – down more than 6 percent from December's record $621,000 but still up 9 percent from January 2005. Sales volume was weak, too, as 2,594 homes sold – down 11 percent in a year. This was the slowest January since 1997.”

Graphic showing median housing costs of OC area:

OC Metro:
“Affordability Orange County housing prices keep going up. DataQuick re…

Okay, We Got It This Time

No strange power outages-- no weird ticketing rules-- and we were on-time

She's boarding the plane and is heading to Chicago momentarily. Take good care of her when she gets back home, okay?

Idle Thoughts

1. M didn't quite get on her way this morning.John Wayne Airport had a 1.5 hour power outage that delayed a bunch of flights, security checks, and check-ins.We learned that, for check ins, if any part of your flight is international, your entire flight is considered international, so we didn't get her checked in soon enough (first leg was a domestic flight, so we though an hour early was plenty of time).I get my honey for 1 more day (but I have to spend it at work). But we get the pain of the airport goodbye again. Catch-22.2. Saw a sign for a house agent whose name is "Richard Fallis." How cruel were his parents?3. I have now, officially, seen it all. On Friday, driving to work at 8:00 a.m., I saw what my brain insisted was an asian woman eating an ear of corn. I got up closer and looked again, assuming I must be mistaken. Finally, at a light, I was able to pull right up next to her and look directly at her-- sure enough, an asian woman was driving with one hand hol…

Fiance Arriving

I'm heading over to pick her up from the airport shortly. So, I think it is time to put the sign on the knob....

Black Gold

My favorite news anchor is Hal Fishman of KTLA channel 5 on the WB in Los Angeles. Even when I don’t agree with him, he is still insightful, erudite, and concerned. Last night he had a commentary on the price of gas (not yet posted online, or I would link to it). He mentioned that the price of oil dropped nearly $5 per barrel from Friday to Monday and that supply is up and demand is down. He determined that the price of gas should drop approximately .25¢ a gallon today. He ended his commentary by suggesting we all look at the gas prices this morning and see.

Yesterday when I drove to work the gas was $3.39 a gallon. Today when I drove to work it was… $3.39 a gallon. Big shock.

What I find interesting, and I’m sure Hal does too, is that the moment an oil refinery fire happens in Texas, California's prices jump the next day. A tanker runs aground in Venezuela, and California’s price per gallon jumps the next day. Terrorists bomb a pipeline in Baghdad and the prices in California go up…


I feel like writing a story. Just a short story, and probably something in the modern fiction arena-- depends slightly on any responses I get.

Here's what I would like:
The names and ages for two-three characters.Age can be approximate, like "college" or "20s."Gender can be the same for all or mixed.Two jobsJobs can be menial, blue-collar, white-collar, whatever. For example, Doctor and Gas Station Attendant.A leisure activity or sport For example, crocheting, racquetball, hunting, football, reading, or whatever.If multiple people post, I will select the combination I like the most. I will post the result I come up with. If it turns out longer than expected, I will post in "chapters."

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I am leaving Albertson's and there is a child walking behind his parent and staring at me. He stared at me in the store, too. Or, more specfically, at my head.

He is, I would guess, around 4-5 years old. Old enough to walk and talk and be precocious about things and young enough not to have a fully developed sense of propriety.

He finally gets the nerve to turn his head as he follows his mom around the corner and starts to say, "Mister, you're bal..." (bald) when WHAM! he walks straight into a pillar outside the door. Since his head is turned to me, nothing important hits the pillar. He bounces off and lands on his tush on the ground with a surprised look on his face.

He glances around, more shocked than hurt. Only when his mother reacts with fear and coddling does he erupt into tears and screams bloody murder.

Now, to prove that I probably shouldn't propogate, I smile as I pass on the other side of the pillar on my way to my car and think, 'Karma's a bitch, …


You can, in fact, use your Aeroplan miles to book one-way trips. You just have to call them, rather than using the online services. Costs 15,000 miles per one-way. Oh, and the guy with the thick French accent (I could have used you, Mare) suggested you probably should call around 40-45 days prior to your trip.

Which means, of course, that I'm SOL for the upcoming trip.

But the option is available. We have confirmation.

Edit-- I understand there may be some confusion over this. People might be reading into this that I plan to move to Canada permanently. Please note that I would likely post a pretty big, very specific entry all about how I am moving to Canada, and not sneak it by in a non-descript post such as this. Moving to Canada will be one of the biggest, most exciting adventures of my life. And I think I know someone who will not be able to contain her excitement when that happens, so you will likely hear it from her well before I could blog anything. However, right now it is slo…

Unwarranted Confusion

One of the jobs of a Technical Writer is that of customer advocate. First, we do this by translating all of the corporate and programming rhetoric into, hopefully, simple to understand, every day English. Secondly, we must look at everything that crosses our desk with a client’s eye and ask, “Will our clients understand this? Will this confuse (or worse) our client base?”

Recently at work we decided to reuse our build nomenclature and “force” a build in between two previously scheduled builds. My company uses the W.X.Y.Z build scheme; W=the main program iteration, X=the main program subdivision, Y=the current update or patch version, and Z=the current build of that update or patch. So, for example, version tells users that the main program is on version 1.2 and we are on update 4 of that version and we had 3 rebuilds of update 4 before releasing it to clients.

We released version to licensed clients (those who host our software on their own systems) and installed it for …


My mother always told me it was better to fail honestly than to succeed dishonestly. I always figured that, if I cheated, something or someone would come along and highlight my ignorance in this area and my cheating would be found out. People always say, “How closely does a company check resumes?” and “Well, everyone pads their resume, right?” But I never have. I figure I will be the one person they DO check, and my lie will be found out.

This is why I am upset that Barry Bonds is close to reaching Babe Ruth’s home run milestone. I get miffed thinking back on McGwire and Sosa’s home run battle from a few seasons ago. These people cheated their way into record books. They cheated their way into baseball immortality.

I take solace in the fact that these records will always have a personal asterisk attached to them even if baseball does not asterisk them officially. Most people have heard of BALCO and the various other steroid stories. Even the most diehard fan accepts these records were a…

Happy Couple

Me and my honey at Chris's wedding.

Just a few hours away from becoming engaged.

Loony Moons!

I've liked Twinkies, well, forever. It is sponge cake goodness.

Then I went to Canada. There, Mare, a new friend, provided me with "Loony Moons!" (actually 1/2 Lunes (French) or 1/2 Moons (English)) in a very thoughtful 'Canada Starter Pack' she created. Thanx again, Mare.

I am now hooked. That first batch had caramel flavor in them, and were quite good. Later, at Christmas, M got me some that were "plain" -- very similar to a Twinkie. The difference is that they have more of the creamy filling than an actual Twinkie and the cake is a bit softer. Yum!

M made sure to bring some more with her when she visited last month. I write this because I managed to hold out until today on eating the last remaining Loony Moon from that box.

I've been told that there are chocolate and other flavors available for my enjoyment. I cannot wait to return to Canada to try some more!

Idle Thoughts

It is going to feel weird not to have bowling tonight. The main bowling season is so long (33 weeks) you get sort of used to the Wednesday grind.Yellow means warning. You do not need to break for a green light as the yellow light warns you that your direction is about to stop moving and to get out of, or do not enter, the intersection. So stop breaking on the green!Those new Dr. Scholl’s inserts that mold to your feet like a temper-pedic bed look good. With the trouble I have with shoes, I think I will look into getting a set and see how they work.Why has Caly awakened me two nights in a row at exactly 1:15 am? And why has she broken her training and gone back to scratching my poor couch?I am still chafing at the distance. I hope we can get some forward momentum going soon!Boss leaves on vacation tomorrow for nearly 3 full weeks out of the offices.I just got a notice from Air Canada that I can fly from LAX to London, England for less than I can fly from LAX to Saint John, Canada. What…

What A Difference

My friend in IT managed to get my system rebuilt today. He then installed that module into the chassis of the current laptop and we installed the remaining programs that are department-specific.

What a difference!

I have not experienced the pausing issue that has been plaguing me since the end of February in the 3 hours I have been using it. Everything is accessing quickly and all of my links and programs actually open when I click on them.

I am not going to install any "personal" programs on this system, even though I am convinced they were not the culprit (since they had been installed since September and I only started to have issues at the end of February). Of course, the only personal programs I had installed were an email alerted and an IM program-- not really things that would cause the havok that my system was operating in!

It is early, I know, to be crowing too loudly. But since I couldn't operate for more than a couple of minutes without the pausing issue occurring…