Friday, December 30, 2005

Gorgeous Close-Up Photos of the F-117 "Nighthawk" Stealth Fighter

I found this on Digg, via my customized Google home page..
The best set of F-117 Photos I've found. These are Truly some of the best photos showing the F-117 from Display, Take-off, In-Flight, and Landing. High enough resolution to make into screen savers or Desktop pics...
This is, perhaps, the most gruesome yet effective aircraft to date. While not good for the average aerial battle, it is a superb surgical strike bomber.

read more | digg story

Out with the old, in with the new

Today marks the end of my self-imposed hell that I call "the early shift." I've proven, to myself, that I really don't do well on 8 hours of sleep any more. I went to bed at 9:45PM last night, and feel better today than I have in the last 2 weeks. If I had to do this long term, I reasonably sure that I could safely hit the sack at 9PM and do pretty well on 6.5 hours sleep.

Today also marks the end of the work year for me. I won't be back in the office until 1/2/2006. With that starts a very busy 2 months of office remodeling, networking and phone switch installations, with a break in the middle to go to Mexico with my wife. We're celebrating my graduation from the University of Phoenix and a successful completion of the B.S in Information Technology program.

The contracting gig that I took up will also pick up, it seems. They are putting together a large list of items for me to do and putting completion dates on them. It looks like I might trade some of my newly found free time for some consulting work. The extra cash will be nice.

As for plans, tomorrow is the day that I've invited Aaron's and Jason's families over a somewhat quiet New Year's Eve get together. These are two of my closest friends, and it will be good to spend some time with them and their families.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bleary-eyed and Cranky

This is the 3rd day that I've had to work "the early shift" for Aaron, my SQL DBA and right hand man. When I say early, I mean early. The early shift starts at 5AM PST. Since Tuesday, I've been getting up at 3:30AM in order to get out of the house by 4AM. My average commute is about 50 minutes to work, which puts me at the office a little early and give enough leeway that I can be a little late and still get to work on time.

All of this is because I agreed to support a wider window working hours for the business. While I am more than willing to support the wider range of hours, this getting up at 3:30AM is for the birds. I figure that it takes me about a week to fully adjust to the new schedule. I'm almost there. I'll be adjusted just in time to go back to my regular schedule. Ah well.. the joys of managment, I guess. I get to cover when my employees go on vacation.

In a completey unrelated area, I ordered my new monitor for my home setup today. I can't wait for it to arrive! I think the image says it all, however.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Vacation: Day 7

The last day of my Glorious Holiday Vacation was a good one. We went to my mother's house for dinner and gifts. We had a good time, but some strange things were apparent to me after spending some time there.

My mother has been dating, off and on, a guy from Hoquiam. That's where we moved when I was 10 and lived through my graduation from high school. I don't exactly remember where they met, but they've known each other for at least 2 years. He's not been feeling well lately, which I can understand. My mom told me that he moved in about 2 months ago. Here's the story, we went there and none, and I mean NONE, of our family photos were in the living room. It was all pictures of his family. In fact, I dont' recall seeing any of pictures of my kids in the house. My wife noticed that my mom was a little more tense than usual and not as bubbly as she normally is.

I noticed it as well. I'm really curious what's going on there. I have this fear that he's a control freak and is trying to impose his view of the world on her. I got the distinct impression that he really wanted us to leave by the end of the night. If he wasn't feeling well, he could have just said so and we would have kept the kids quiet so he could rest. There were a ton of ways to handle the situation, but he chose the most passive/aggressive way possible. I shouldn't be surprised. I don't really care for the guy, but I do try to be pleasant.

I really need to talk to my mom and find out what's going on there...

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Vacation: Days 5 & 6 (a.k.a. Christmas)

Yesterday, that would be Christmas Eve, was a whirlwind. My brother-in-law showed up Friday night sometime between 5PM and 7PM. We all got up pretty early on Saturday. My son and oldest nephew took a long time going to sleep on Friday and were cranky as hell for our little shindig.

Everyone started showing up at about 11AM for Eggs Benedict. I've never had it before and found it to be pretty good. I might try it again. We began the present extravaganza at around 1pm. The kids' behavior deteriorated steadily until everyone left at about 6pm.

With the house quiet, we watched a couple of our new movies, namely Star Wars Ep. 3: Revenge of the Sith and Robots. To be clear, my son and I watched Star Wars and my wife and daughter watched Robots. The kids didn't manage to get to sleep until 11:30PM. It may have been visions of sugarplums doing the Cha Cha in their head that did it. Of course, it could have also been that they were just too amped up from the day's activities to sleep. Santa arrived at about 1:30AM after successfully wrapping the goods and depositing them in the appropriate sock.

Today was relaxing. We watched It's a Wonderful Life, which is just about my favorite Christmas movie, outside of Miracle on 34th Street and A Christmas Story. We're all tired, so everyone is going to bed early tonight. We're planning on going to my Mom's for dinner and the last bit of Christmas for the year.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Vacation: Day 4

I'm sneaking upstairs to my office to write this while my son, daughter and oldest nephew are playing outside. My wife, sister-in-law, niece and youngest nephew are playing Toy Story Yahtzee!. The plan for today is to wrap up the last few errands we have to run and then hang out. We're in the home stretch of the Holidays, and I can't wait until the rush is over and we can have some quiet time around the house.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Vacation: Day 3

It's Day 3 of my Winter Wonderland Vacation. I was hoping that today would be the day to relax and buy some gifts for my wife, but I found out yesterday that I have to take my daughter to an eye exam today at 9am. That means I need to leave in 35 minutes to get there on time. We got back late from my family's, and the kids are groggy and don't want to get up. I'm trying to be pleasant, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they are going to be really cranky. The joys of parenthood.

I also just found out that one of our data circuits at work is mostly screwed. Why the fuck did I check in? My team can handle it. It's not like there's anything we can do about it being down either. I should have just let it slide.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Vacation: Day 2

With the oven successfully installed yesterday, today marks Day 2 of my vacation. I started off my day with a trip to the county landfill. We are nearing the end of our pre-spring cleaning and had a van-load of old stuff to get rid of. None of it was really suitable for The Goodwill, or The Salvation Army. If it was, I would have donated it, but sadly, it contributed to the further degradation of Mother Earth.

I learned something about myself, however. I can't stand getting rid of perfectly good and functional technology of any kind. We had 2 stereo systems that we simply didn't have room for, and that we couldn't get rid of. I stared at them both for about a minute before I gave them the heave-ho. I really wanted to find a home or them, but couldn't. Oh well. C'est la vie.

The rest of today goes like this:
  • 1:00PM : Leave for Longview to visit my Dad, Uncle and Grandfather.
  • 3:00PM -8:00PM : Visit, eat dinner, etc.
  • 8:00PM - Head home.
My friends are doing an instance run tonight in WoW, but I doubt I'll make it. They'll be done before I get home, I'm sure. I'm going to need to take a vacation from this vacation in order to get some rest and relaxation.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Vacation: Day 1

Today marks day 1 of my vacation. I had the distinct pleasure of putting in the new oven we just bought. I don't remember it being such a pain in the ass last time. But, this one was. After 2 hours, however, I was able to finally get it to the point where we can turn it on and do all of the stuff that we're supposed to do with a new oven.

We can't cook on it yet, so the wife and kids are heading out to get chinese food for lunch. It should be a treat. I'm looking forward to eating something made within the walls of my home, however. Take out is pretty old, at this point.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A New Day

Today is my last day to work before I'm on vacation (from work) for the Holidays. It's a foregone conclusion that I'm happy has hell to be away for some rest, relaxation, and fun. A few things before I go, however.
  • A friend posted this on our guild boards. I laughed my ass off when I read it. I think I'll get a copy and change it so I says Class: Warlock to all loot.
  • Wil Wheaton has posted Radio Free Burrito, Episode 3. I've enjoyed listening to these in the past, and am looking forward to pretending that I'm working today to listen to this one.
  • Visions of 24" Wide-Aspect Monitors are dancing in my head.
I'm going to try to put something more coherent together, rather than just rambling, while I'm on vacation. I'm not sure what it will be yet, but it will be something. Actually, I may bounce my final assignment for school around here as a way to work on it without it feeling like I'm working on it.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Time to ParTay

I didn't get a chance to play or drink last night. But, I'm done with school for 3 weeks as of about 5 minutes ago. W00t! With school done for a bit, I can now look forward to The Holidays. Here's hoping that I act a little more out of character and actually work on my final assignment between now and January 8, 2006.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Fun fun fun

Oh, before I forget, I haven't had any time to play since Sunday night. I'm looking forward to playing some WoW with my friends tonight. I need the relaxation.. and a few beers.

The destroyer of worlds

I have intentionally left out the minutiae of my life on purpose. Yes, some of my posts include some petty little things that I thought others might enjoy. But, on the whole, I leave out the gory details of my personal life. I have a few reasons for doing this. The first is foremost reason is that my life, as a whole, is lacking in drama. I like it this way. But, if there were drama, I would only discuss my part of it and would still not be as forthcoming as other blogs that I read.

I like to look at other peoples blogs on occasion. I was looking at other peoples' profiles last night and came across one that struck me as decidedly strange. Not strange in a Marilyn Manson sort of way, but strange in that the blogger was baring her soul about an affair she wanted to have. This struck me just plain silly. This person live within a 15 miles radius of me. Scary. I'm not surprised really, though. My current residence is a little too "home town" for me. I'll get into that in another entry.

It could be that I'm more private than others, but baring your soul, with your real name and the fact that you were married and had children, about an affair is just plain stupid. What the hell? If I were in that position, I wouldn't chance that my spouse would stumble on my blog and find out. After reading some of the entries there, I can honestly see where the passive/aggressive part comes from.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Noone is perfect

Yeah, yeah.. I missed a day. Sue me. Work is kicking my ass right now. We are gearing up for a complete remodel of our office. This wouldn't be such a huge deal if I we weren't changing out our furniture in the process. To top it off, I, in my infinite wisdom, pitched a new VoIP phone switch to our management and got buyoff on it. To make it all happen, we have to re-cable the entire office for the new desk layout, upgrade or Cisco Catalyst 6509, and change over to the new phone switch in the next 90 days.

I think this is where the stress is coming from. I haven't been sleeping much either. Ah well. What can you do? That's what coffee is for and I can sleep when I'm dead. On the personal front, we are gearing up for the Holidays. We're hosting the family at our house. I'm sick and tired of moving stuff, but I think we're the home stretch. It will be good to relax over the vacation I'm taking before Christmas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Sleep, Perchance to dream

Some days I really hate my job. Today is one of those days.

I am in the process of re-architecting some automation scripts that I built several years ago. The end goal is to make them all aware of holidays, or days where the business isn't open. I'm in the final stages of this rebuild. What does this mean? It means that the 2 most important processes are ready to test. I went to bed at 10:15pm last night and got up at 4:30am so that I could be in the office to support my end users. Do the math. That's not much sleep. Luckily, the problem this morning was minor and I was able to quickly troubleshoot and resolve it. I'm hoping to not have to be here as early tomorrow. I'm still going to get up, but I won't need to get up so damn early.

Today is going to be rather a long one, so coffee will be my friend for the time being. I've taken on a consulting gig for a friend's company. The extra cash will be nice, but I have this nagging "I don't want to work any more than I have to" attitude right now. Ah well.. such is life..

Monday, December 12, 2005

New template

I think that I like this new template. I hate those big, huge gutters at the sides. They add nothing to the visual appeal to the site and only really serve to hurt my eyes.

Where's my ice bag..

I spent the entire weekend moving things and getting the house ready for Christmas. Saturday was spent doing a little homework and a lot of lugging of boxes. I also took the kids to see Santa Claus at the fire station. The kids enjoyed themselves though.

We're in the final stages getting the house ready. I'm hoping that next weekend isn't more of the same. My back is sore...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The pitter patter of little feet

It's Saturday morning. I'm still in my flannel pajamas because it's cold. I'm lazy and I don't want to shower, yet. This is one of the last school-time Saturdays that I'll have. I'm not going to miss them. I have a small, 1-2 page paper to write for my team project and a weekly summary to post. I'm already feeling the nagging guilt about it. I'd rather spend time with my family and finish the honey-do's so I can relax. What to do?

Instead, I'm posting here and bitching about the fact that I feel like I have too much to do on a day that I should be taking it easy. That's how I really feel about weekends. I should be able to get up and watch a college football game without having to worry about writing papers, cleaning out the garage or haning lights. Actually, the cleaning out of the garage and lights aren't that big a deal. I'm going that when it thermometer rises above 36 degrees Fahrenheit. It's a good thing that I only have 2 actual weeks of school and 1 day of class left. I also have 3 weeks of vacation from that in between. I'm going to kick ass and get the assignments done for the latter weeks over Christmas so I can relax in the new year. Sounds like a plan to me.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Trade 27 Billion? Are you sure?

As someone who works for an investment company, I'm always aware of how costly a mistake can be. Luckily, I don't have to deal directly with trades. I saw this story on Scary as hell, if you asked me.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Spread 'em.

Is it wrong to not have any remorse for the man that was shot on the jetway in Miami? I don't think so, if the news reports are true. Sounds to me that he should have done what the martials told him to do and sorted out the rest after he was in custody.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

WTF is "Elbow & Send?"

I know that I've mentioned that I read Wil Wheaton's blog. Well, he's got a couple of friends. Shane Nickerson, who's blog I don't read but might. Annie Sertich, however, is funny as hell. Give her blog a read.


That would be about me. Not one day after I say that I'm going to do at least 1 post a day, I skip one. I have to give myself a bit of a break though. I'm fighting off some sort of cold and have felt like shit for the last couple of days.

I can handle the sore throat. It's the dizziness and fatigue that are getting me. I left work early, ran the errands that I had and then went home. After dinner, I took a nap before my daughter's 2nd grade music program. It was adorable if you're interested.

I have a secret to share. I'm a web-comic and machinima junkie. I found a couple of things to make me laugh last night and this morning. The first is from Penny Arcade. It's a blog post about Tycho's new baby. I don't want to spoil it, but click here and scroll down to the Tanooki Suit entry. Funny stuff. I have a son and know what he's talking about. It looks like safety procedures where skipped while the urine cannon was loaded.

The second funny was at GU Comics. I have a penchant for low-brow humor. Go figure.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The light in that tunnel isn't a train

For those that know me, you already know that I have been attending the University of Phoenix to finally get my bachelor's degree. I started in October 2003 and will be done in January 2006. This will happily mark the end of my undergraduate experience part deux. It's been a lot harder and a lot easier than I expected it to be. I'll get into the how's and why's in a moment. First, it's important to understand my experience with the educational system. It's shaped my views and outlook on my current situation.

School, until college that is, was never all that difficult for me. My background was such that I was very motivated to do well in the eyes of my teachers. I worked to get my assignments done and had good grades all through my elementary and middle school years. It was in high school that I realized that I didn't have to work as hard as others. It could be said that I coasted toward the end, but ended up graduating from high school with a 3.89 GPA. Not bad, considering that I didn't have to spend a lot of time doing homework and I completely blew off a large project my junior year and got my only C in any class. It was an F in the middle of the year, so I did pretty well.

When I hit college at the University of Washington, I soon found out quite a few things. Some I suspected. Others were new. The biggest shock was that I actually HAD to study. I thought I wanted to be an engineer of some kind. The competition was fierce. I ended up barely making it into the Mechanical Engineering Department when I realized that I didn't want to be an engineer. Luckiliy, events helped me on that path and my first attempt ended with me leaving the U.W. 32 credits short of my degree.

My decision to enter the University of Phoenix (UoP) was born out of a missed job opportunity and my wife's urging. I didn't want a repeat of my experience at the U.W. I also didn't want a degree that I wouldn't use. My decision to pursue a B.S in Information Technology was, in retrospect, the right choice. I mentioned that I would get into the why's and how's of my gauge of the difficulty. The most difficult part was time management. For the last 2 years, I've been going almost non-stop. Here's a brief synopsis of my typical weekday.
  • 4:50AM - Get out of bed.
  • 5:15AM - Sit down in front of computer to read previous nights posts (UoP uses news groups for online discussion).
  • 5:45AM - Leave for work, a 40 mile drive from my home to the office in Seattle.
  • 7:00AM - Get to work.
  • 11:30AM to 12:30PM - Work on posts, readings and assignments when I could.
  • 4:15PM - Leave for home.
  • 6:00PM - Get home, have dinner, spend time with wife & kids
  • 7:30PM - Get kids ready for bed, read stories, etc.
  • 8:15PM - Finish up posts, work on homework, team projects, etc
  • 10:30PM - Go to bed.

Rinse and repeat for most weekdays. Saturday nights were usually free and Sunday nights I was able to get more done. This schedule was DRAINING, with a capital D. Suprisingly, the easiest parts were the actual work. Yes, the papers and assignments could be tough, but as a whole, they weren't as difficult for me as for my classmates. The curriculum worked well with my chosen career and enhanced my skills.

I am now on the brink of being finished and actually having a 4-year degree. The only real regret that I've ever had will now be gone. I'm currently wrestling with what to do next. My wife and I have talked about a Masters or MBA. I'll do what I can to get that going. I am, however, going to enjoy not having the UoP cloud hanging over me.

If only it were that easy..

Yes, yes. I know it's been over a month since I've put an entry in here. Not a day goes by that I don't look at my Blogger dashboard and think to myself.."Self, you should put something up." As it painfully obvious, I don't often listen to myself. So.. I made a resolution. Let's see if I can stick with it. Here it is: I will post an average of once per day, starting with today. This post doesn't count.

I've found that the simple act of writing something down has a tremendous effect on my ability to retain information. In the same vein, I'm using this post to tell my wandering subconscious to put something up every day. It doesn't really matter what, but it does have to be at least a single, coherent thought. I've read too many blogs that simply ramble on about too many things. They invariably make me run screaming from the room. My blog will not do this.

We'll see how it goes from there. Without further ado, here goes...