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Thursday, October 13th, 2005

Subject:Grandmother Update
Time:10:34 am.
I went to Tulsa for four days, getting back yesterday evening -- my grandmother had surgery to remove what they suspected may be a cancerous growth. It turns out that it wasn't cancerous, and she came through the surgery okay -- this despite quite a few concerns on the doctors part. But just as everyone was beginning to celebrate, she had a bad reaction to the morphine they gave her for the pain. (I didn't even know they still used morphine!) 5 hours later, she was released from the operating room, but couldn't see anyone for several days while she recovered. Unfortunately, during this recovery period, she began to struggle with pneumonia.

We only got about an hour with her before we left on Wednesday -- she seems to be fighting it, but it still has everyone worried... :(
Comments: Read 7 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

Subject:I'm back!
Time:11:07 am.
Well, after nearly a year hiatus, I've slunk my way back to LJ!

I at least plan on reading blogs, and I'll try to post a little more often. ;)
Comments: Read 14 orAdd Your Own.

Friday, November 5th, 2004

Subject:An indication that I'm not a people-person
Time:11:53 am.
Work has been particularly busy lately, and I have about 5 different projects that are due or will be due within the next week. But instead of working, I'm sitting in a mandatory 4-hour on-line class titled "Customer Focus in a High-Tech World." And while I agree that the more my company does to please its customer base, the more successful we'll be, I just want to say this:

I'm a programmer! What's more: One of the biggest benefits to being a programmer supporting the networks (behind the scenes) is that I don't have to deal with customers!

That said, the only interraction I have with customers is when I'm talking with my friends that have PCS phones! And I don't need to be taught how to interract with my friends. I certainly don't need to spend 4 hours clicking the "Raise your hand" button so I can "share with the group" my thoughts on Customer Focus.

During the introductory portion of the class, the instructor asked us to type in what phrases came to mind with the idea of "Customer Focus." While everyone else was typing in stuff like "Restore the cell site NOW!" and "Listen to the customer -- the customer's always right," I'm thinking: "My customer is my boss. And he wants my project to be done by the end of the day!"

Argh!
Comments: Read 3 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, October 21st, 2004

Subject:Coolest... Training... Ever
Time:11:26 am.
So I'm sitting in Boulder, CO in a 5-person advanced perl class instructed by Tom Christiansen! (For those of you who don't know who this is: here's a quick bio.Collapse )
(A coworker of mine has likened learning perl from Tom to learning physics from Isaac Newton. That's a bit of an overstatement, but not much.) ;)

Tom is about the most laid-back guy I've ever met -- he didn't even introduce himself at the start of the class! (We had to look up pictures of him online to verify that he was who we thought.) ;) And the man knows everything. Not just about perl (which he knows inside and out) but anything. His class is littered with information from any number of other programming languages, as well as random bits of worldly trivia sprinkled in for flavor.

This is the first class (other than Diff Eq) that I've had to pay attention, or be lost. I've learned more about how perl works than I ever expected. This man kicks ass. ;)

Update:Okay, now I've seen it all. He apparently speaks fluent spanish as well. I don't have a clue what he said, but it was impressive to see him switch languages mid-lecture just for the fun of it. ;)
Comments: Read 3 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, October 7th, 2004

Subject:Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
Time:12:09 pm.
A total of 13 LJ folks (and 1 loner that I'm sure felt completely left out  ;) ) joined us for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence last night.

"Ghost in the Shell" was the first anime I was exposed to many years ago, when clevermanka decided that it was something that I'd enjoy.   With such an excellent introduction, I've been a pretty large fan of anime ever since -- but before last night, I'd never seen one in the theater.  So it was only appropriate that the first anime I saw in the theater was its sequel.  And although I did have high expectations, I wasn't the least bit disappointed.

I very much enjoyed the movie, though I will definitely need to see it again.  And from talking to and reading other's responses, I don't think I'm alone in that regard.  In fact, the first thing several people said to me as I walked out of the theater was "That was beautiful!  Are you going to have to see it again?"  ;)

As with the prequel, there was a good amount of philosophy to pay attention too - but I have to admit that I was so distracted by the beauty of the movie that I had trouble completely understanding the story.  I won't post any more details here for the sake of those who haven't yet seen it.  But suffice to say: if you're a fan of anime, see this one on the big screen.
Comments: Read 3 orAdd Your Own.

Monday, October 4th, 2004

Subject:Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Update)
Time:10:58 am.
                                                                                                                                 
From the responses (on and off-line) that I've received from my last post, it looks like we'll be going to the 7:30 showing of Ghost in the Shell 2 this Wednesday (10/6) in Lawrence. 

(Yahoo theater info on Southwind 12 here. Map here - thanks to clevermanka for gathering that info.)

So far, the following people will be joining us:                                                                                                
 
mckitterick
0verdrive                                                                                                                                 
clevermanka + 4 friends                                                                                                                   
_mac_                                                                                                                             
stuology
bellanorth

Questionable/On the fence:                                                                                                          
arian1                                                                                                                            
roya_spirit  (And J ?)                                                                                                                      
sdemory                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                   
Anyone else?                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                    
Also, for group movies I usually pick up tickets ahead of time.  (I don't think this show will sell out, but it doesn't hurt to     
already have tickets ready for everyone as the arrive.)  Does anyone want me to pick up a ticket for them?  If so, lemme know!
Comments: Add Your Own.

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

Subject:Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
Time:11:44 am.
As of Oct 1, Lawrence is one of the select theaters to screen Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence!
(In fact, according to Go Fish Pictures Play Dates, Lawrence is the only  Kansas release planned!)

So I'd like to check it out, and am curious if anyone else is interested. I know that clevermanka would like to go, but due to RenFest obligations, she can only make it during the week.  Could anyone make it the 6th, 7th, or 8th?

Also, if anyone wants to get together to watch the first Ghost in the Shell, we could get a refresher before the sequel. ;)
Comments: Read 8 orAdd Your Own.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

Subject:Why I hate drywall...
Time:9:52 am.
So you may have wondered where I'd been lately, or how I was spending my time.

In short, I've been trying to finish up 3 years worth of unfinished house projects. (So far, we've finished the closet in Isaac's old room, finished the stairwell and landing, nearly finished the walls and ceiling in the bar, and painted damn-near the entire inside of the house.)

But as for how it's going: I thought I'd let the pictures do the talking.
Comments: Read 7 orAdd Your Own.

Monday, August 2nd, 2004

Subject:Surprise! (More family weird-ness...)
Time:11:35 am.
Mood: indescribable.
A little while ago, I posted about how I found out that my brother is engaged.  And because I've always known that he has a tendency to play close to the vest,  I thought it was only fitting that my family played a trick of their own -- they decided to throw him a surprise engagement party last Saturday! 

The event was fairly low-key, and we all met at Clinton Lake for a cook-out, volleyball, and swimming.  As long as it didn't rain, I figured that it would be a fun time for all, and I have to admit -- I was looking forward to getting one over on Isaac.  But all surprise parties have hiccups, and ours started about 8:00 that morning:  Lydia told me that she had just seen Isaac leaving the house in full Army dress uniform, which usually means that he'll be gone for the weekend for reserve duty.  So I rushed out to ask what was going on, and to (not-so-subtly) ask how long he expected to take.  When he didn't resond with curiosity about why I was asking, I figured that he knew about the surprise party, but was pretending not to.  And since he indicated that it wouldn't be an all-day event, I decided to let him go -- things would just have to work out as best they could.   All the same, I called my mom when I got back inside, to make sure she was aware that he may miss his own surprise party.  She apparently already knew that he had committments in the morning, but said that his friends had figured a way to get him free in time for the party.  Relieved, I went ahead and carried out the plans to set up his surprise party.

My first impression was that it would be just the two families and a few friends, so I was surprised when I got there -- I hadn't realized quite how many friends and family had made it.   Not only that, but my parents had reserved not one, but two large shelter areas  and volleyball courts, and had the event catered!   I made several comments about the size of the party, but figured that my parents were just glad (and perhaps a little surprised. ;) ) that Isaac had found someone to marry, and they were making the most of it.  So I joined the others in setting up the food area, planting citronella torches, and putting out other surprise decorations to turn the otherwise drab shelters into a festive party atmosphere.  And about the time that everything was set up, we got the call that he was on his way, and we all started standing out in front where he'd see us as he arrived. 

I got another shock when the limousine showed up.  But I had to give props to his friends -- that was as good a way as any to get Isaac's attention and to get him away from reserve duty. And when the limo driver didn't immediately open the door, but first rolled out a white rose-covered walk-path, I thought that it was a little over-done, but fun.  So to contrast the formality and official feeling that was starting to form,  Ben and I (in typical Wilson fashion) positioned ourselves to tackle him after he'd walked through the column of friends waiting to receive him.  ;)

But there was something about the formal way he stepped out of the limo in full army dress uniform that made us hang back.  And we were puzzled when he strode through all his friends, nodded to us, and kept walking to the opposite end of the shelter.  But I dismissed it, figuring that he was just embarrassed by the attention.  That's when the trumpet started playing, and two of their friends got out of the limo, arm in arm, and walked down the processional.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I still didn't get it -- it was my brother who first confusedly asked:  "Is this an engagement party, or a wedding?"  And then all the pieces clicked.

Lots of family.
All his friends.
Too many decorations, some of which were decidedly wedding oriented.
A limo, and a rose-covered carpet processional.
And then his bride-to be stepped out of the limo in a wedding gown.

Instead of us surprising him with a party, he had masterminded the entire event to surprise us with a wedding! 

I don't think Isaac realized the effect he could have on close family by arranging a surprise wedding.  I'm still in shock. I'll admit - I'm an emotional person in the first place, and because I'm very close to my family, my emotions are sometimes overly powerful.  So finding out that my brother was getting married right then and there kept hitting me in waves.  I'm still getting a little overwhelmed as I write this.  For some reason, I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that my brother is married!

He doesn't read LJ, but in case he ever sees this: 

I couldn't be happier that Tabitha has joined our family.  I can't imagine anyone better suited for him, and I wish them the best. 

Congratulations, Isaac and Tabitha!
Comments: Read 14 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, July 22nd, 2004

Subject:Driving Excitement
Time:8:52 am.
I had my brakes replaced on my car yesterday, and when I picked up the car I noticed that they felt a little strange. But the car was stopping, and I didn't hear any odd noises, so I chalked it up to different brake pads, and figured that I'd get used to them.

Then this morning I took the exit ramp off I-435, and continued at a fairly fast speed since I was trying to make the light at the end of the ramp. But when I realized that I wasn't going to make it in time, I stopped. Or rather, I tried to stop. Instead of stopping, the car just gradually slowed down -- but not quickly enough for the oncoming intersection. Even with the brakes pressed all the way to the floor, I was still coming up on the intersection a little too fast for comfort. Thankfully, there wasn't much traffic, and I was able to swerve into the right-hand lane, and use the momentum I still had to make a right turn, avoiding cars in the process.

But I'm not too pleased with the guys at Midas right now. I think I'll take it to a Midas here in town before I attempt the drive back into Lawrence...
Comments: Read 24 orAdd Your Own.

Friday, July 2nd, 2004

Subject:Weekend Tidbits
Time:7:54 pm.
Starting the weekend off right:Collapse )

I have a weird family:Collapse )

All in all, I've had a pretty good time of it lately -- My brother's engaged to a great girl, and I can celebrate by going for rides! ;)
Comments: Read 9 orAdd Your Own.

Subject:The 4th, Part Two
Time:10:23 am.
Because some people apparently can't be bothered to re-read my posts, they hadn't realized that I've posted updates to our Independence Day bash at my brothers house.

(Directions to his place are now provided, along with a brief run-down of fireworks I've purchased.)

Hmph! :)
Comments: Read 3 orAdd Your Own.

Monday, June 7th, 2004

Subject:Oh, how I've Missed the Night People!
Time:8:51 am.
Had a good time at mckitterick and kijjohnson's place on Saturday. It seems that when we all get together to watch movies while drinking vast amounts of liquor, we can have quite a party. (How're you feeling, anyway, _mac_? ;) )

I think I particularly appreciated this party, because sometime around 3:30, everyone decided they were hungry -- so it was off to the grocery store to buy eggs. arian1, kijjohnson, and bellanorth all contributed to the (excellent!) cooking, while the rest of us waited hungrily.

At some point, I took out the trash, and as I was coming back into the house, I had a very nice outside-in view of our group. And it struck me that it was 4:00 in the morning, and the entire house was active -- and weren't yet showing signs of stopping!

Being a night person myself, it brought a tear to my eye. While I don't mind getting up early to go out for breakfast, my natural tendency is just to stay up until it's light out, and then going to breakfast. But over the past 5 or 6 years, the friends we've hung out with have been morning people, and around midnight, the parties have usually come to an end. And after so long without people to enjoy the wee hours of morning with, it's good to be among the night people again. ;)
Comments: Read 5 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Subject:Funny amazon story
Time:12:36 pm.
I thought this was kind of funny: I know they're fluff, but I've enjoyed Stephen King books since I was a kid. One series in particular that I enjoy is the Dark Tower series. I've been anxiously waiting for the next installment to be released, and was considering pre-ordering it from Amazon the other day.

So I did a search, found it, and then glanced at the "Best Value" section, where they usually combine a book that will satisfy similar interests. Apparently Amazon thinks that the next installment of Stephen King's apocalyptic western fantasy would match nicely with (get this:) The Sex Lives of Cannibals!

It was funny enough that I captured the image:
It's a little large -- I don't have photoshop at work.Collapse )
Comments: Read 3 orAdd Your Own.

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004

Subject:Sigh. I'm bored.
Time:10:17 am.
I've been waiting for the pest-control guy to make his scheduled appointment since 9:00 this morning. So far, no show. Which means I'm missing work. Which is a problem, since another deadline looms ever closer.

Argh!

To combat my boredom, I've been refreshing Slashdot and My LJ friends like mad, but you people just don't post enough! ;)

I also commented a list of my hobbies to mckitterick's post, but I'll put 'em here, too. (Props for the idea go to adammaker)


Hrm. All my hobbies would be too numerous to mention. (I really don't like being bored.) But I'll hit the highlights: (There is no order here -- I alternate rapidly between them all)
  • Making things:

    • Furniture
    • (Re)building the house
    • Working on cars

  • Computer things:

    • Programming
    • Playing with Sys Admin stuff
    • Blog reading (LJ and elsewhere)

  • Social:

    • Playing Pool
    • Poker (Hold'em, mainly)
    • Rockabilly stuff (1950s rock-and-roll, hotrods, etc...)
    • Clubbing/Bar Hopping/Hanging out with this group (this is new to me -- I'm traditionally not so social!)
    • Movies (Watching movies with others has always seemed "social" to me. </a></b></a>clevermanka doesn't think so. So I'm movie-deprived. If anyone wants to watch movies, let me know!

  • Outdoors:

    • Motorcycling (I really need to fix my bike!)
    • Playing frisbee golf
    • Playing paintball
    • Barbequeing
Despite the long list, I'm sure I've missed some...
Comments: Read 5 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, May 13th, 2004

Subject:Bunny update
Time:2:51 pm.
Several people have mentioned that I should update everyone on the health of the baby bunnies in our back yard. First, I should mention that I found a cool site that pointed out that the momma is actually a "doe", and the babies are "kittens" or "bunnies." I thought it was pretty ironic that baby rabbits are named after the animal most likely to eat them...

As it turns out, I didn't mulch any of of the bunnies, and although the "doe" was pretty panicked, she did come back that night to care for them. We've seen her in the yard quite a bit, though never around the den. However we have noticed that the den is covered with fur again, and the bunnies were still alive as of yesterday morning, so we assume they haven't been abandoned.

And according to kijjohnson, who talked with wildlife folks, the doe won't actually move her bunnies until they're older. Which kind of puts a kink in my mowing plans, but I can mark the area with flags, and leave my lawn with a mow-hawk. ( ;) )

I was worried that the thunderstorm this morning would fill the den with water, drowning the bunnies -- which would be horribly ironic: having survived being mowed over, they drown the next day!? So this morning I tried to go see how they had fared, but I didn't make it much futher than my back deck. The doe was within 10 feet of the den, and was looking fairly protective. I don't know how a doe would keep her den from filling with water, but I assume she's done her job. It was also amusing to see her charge and nearly jump on top of a grackle (Oh, how we hates them...) that was pecking for food a little too close to the den. So while I couldn't check for myself, I assume she wouldn't have been so protective if her babies had succumbed to the elements.

I'm half considering finding a wireless webcam to mount in the area. It'd be really neat to get pictures of the doe taking care of her bunnies as they grow up.

Update:

I took a look at the bunnies again this afternoon, and was surprised to see that they're already considerably larger than a couple of days ago. It's pretty obvious they're bunnies now. I took the opportunity to snap a couple pictures.
Comments: Read 9 orAdd Your Own.

Tuesday, May 11th, 2004

Subject:Waiting, Waiting...
Time:11:32 am.
Can you feel the excitement? My tractor riding lawnmower is supposed to be delivered today! So I'm working from home, while waiting for the doorbell to ring.

I know you're all as excited about it as I am, so I'll post pictures when it gets here. ;)

Update:

It's here!. (And this one shows both of my recent purchases. Aren't they beautiful? ;) )

Update (2):

Well I finally got a chance to get out and try the mower out -- it's every bit as cool as I'd hoped. Unfortunately, I also had my first mower mishap. My brother Isaac was giving it a go, and when he stopped we noticed something squirming in the grass. Closer inspection revealed that he had mowed right over the top of a den of baby bunnies. They were still alive, and their mother was running back and forth at the edge of the grass. But before I could tell Isaac not to touch them, he counted them all. (There were 9 on top). I'm really hoping that the human smell isn't too much for the mother, and that she'll come back and care for them. We stopped mowing, and I covered them with a bit of grass clippings, because they were horribly exposed, and I was afraid a cat or hawk would spy them...

I'm the sort of person that can't watch the news because I hate hearing sad news. Bad news sticks with me for days. So go ahead and call me a wimp -- but I'll be worrying over these bunnies for some time now...

sigh...
Comments: Read 16 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, May 6th, 2004

Subject:And now for something completely different...
Time:2:45 pm.
clevermanka wanted me to post this video of Tyson the bull-dog on a skateboard. He's pretty entertaining to watch!
(I hear rumor that the next video will feature Tyson landing a Kick-Flip before performing a Burly Five-O Grind. (It should be pretty gnarly!)

(I think chernobylred's hoping that the video will counterbalance her post with Spock singing about Bilbo Baggins.)
Comments: Read 3 orAdd Your Own.

Friday, April 23rd, 2004

Subject:Warning to Lawrence Residents
Time:10:48 am.
Laugh. One day after buying my new car, checking my insurance, and finding that I had no speeding tickets on my record:

I got a ticket today going from Lawrence to Kansas City on K-10. I have a radar detector that usually helps with speed-traps, but this time they used an aircraft! (Aircraft don't use radar -- they figure your speed by timing how long it takes you to get between two measured points on the highway.)

What's especially interesting about this is that my sister got a ticket in Missouri or Illinois two weeks ago, also by aircraft. I'm guessing that there's a program going on right now where the midwest is time-sharing a speed-trapping aircraft. Which means it'll eventually be out of the area. ;)

I'll get the ticket reduced, so it stays off my record, so it's not really a big deal -- I just wanted to warn anyone else out there.
Comments: Read 2 orAdd Your Own.

Wednesday, April 21st, 2004

Subject:Buying A Car!
Time:8:08 am.
As clevermanka mentioned a while back, we're in the market for a new car. This is good and bad. Good, because I get a new car with new fancy-shmancy bells and whistles. Bad, because I really like my old car, and I would rather not have to go (further) into debt to replace it.

But I did find a car -- my 1995 Nissan Altima GXE is being replaced by a 1998 Nissan Maxima SE. Because I really like my Altima, I figure the Maxima is the best car to upgrade to. It's reliable, has plenty of acceleration (important, since I commute daily) and will run for a long, long time. And it's gotten stellar reviews from everyone who's owned one. So it's in the shop for a "vehicle inspection" as we speak. If everything goes well (as expected) I'll be completing the purchase this afternoon.

In addition to having an inspection done, I signed up with CarFax to check the vehicle history. Everything was kosher and I now have a 1-month subscription to CarFax, and can find the history on as many cars as I like.

Here's where you come in: if you're looking for a car (or are just curious about the history of the car you currently own), let me know! All I need is the VIN (located on the top of the driver-side dash), and I can find out how many owners it's had, if it's been wrecked or had flood/fire damage, etc...

Lets see how far I can stretch the $25 subscription fee. ;)



Update:

Turns out the car was as clean as it seemed! No history, no mechanical problems! So I drove it back into KC this afternoon, and completed the purchase. It was a long day, but I now own a Maxima! Woohoo!
Comments: Read 16 orAdd Your Own.

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