Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Piper’s Last Stand

Blogging has pretty much taken a back burner to everything lately. I have a lot of things going on right now, and I am staying pretty busy. We are having Thanksgiving at our place next week. Originally we were expecting as many as 15 people, but it turns out we’ll be lucky to have more than 4 people (besides ourselves) show up.

I can’t believe Christmas as going to be here in a little over a month. Every year Jennifer and I say we’ll start shopping early, but we never do it. We wind up having to buy all our gifts in the last month. Neither one of us could really think of anything we wanted for Christmas this year, so we are talking about buying a new recliner. Our existing recliner is an eye sore. We bought the leather recliner we have about 5 years ago.  We had also gotten a cat not long before that, and we named her Piper. One weekend, we decided to go out of town and leave Piper at our apartment with our new recliner. We thought everything would be OK.  Up until then, Piper had left the chair alone. When we got home, we discovered that Piper had decided to chew the thing up from top to bottom. Yes, I said chew. When we first saw the results we assumed the obvious: she had clawed it. There may have been some of that too, but over the years we discovered that it was chewing that did the chair in. We got part of the chair reupholstered at one point because my wife was convinced Piper never messed with the chair anymore. Well, we discovered she preferred perfect leather upholstery. Once she had chewed it up, it apparently lost its appeal. I’ve kept the chair for this long because we put so much money into it, I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it. Besides, it was ugly, but it still worked. That changed a year or so ago with it stopped reclining. So now its not only an eye sore, but it doesn’t work anymore.

Most people tell me we should have gotten rid of our cat when she chewed up the chair the first time, but we kept Piper until this past summer. She was getting meaner and meaner over the years and wasn’t adjusting to Grace. Piper could have been mean to almost anyone she wanted and Jennifer would not have cared, but when she started hissing at Grace, Jennifer turned on her. The only person in the world that loved that cat decided it was time for her to go. I’ll save the story of getting rid of her for a later date, but it involves an empty potato sack, piano wire, a cinder block and a little event we refer to as “dunking day”. I am joking, of course. We left her at an animal shelter and like to think someone fond of possessed animals took her home.

Blog Ideas and Documentation

I cannot believe it is already Friday. I have been meaning to post stuff all week and haven’t got around to it. I seem to remember coming up with an idea for a post that would have been halarious, but can’t seem to remember what it was now. You ever been there? You think to yourself, “Oh! I’m gonna blog about that when I get home.” Then, when you get home, you either forget about what it was or don’t have time to do it. I’ve been having that problem a lot lately.

This was a fairly boring week at work. I’ve been writing documentation for a project I just finished. Documenting is never fun. For the most part, you write a bunch of statements that are, at best, childish sounding, and at worst, downright insulting. Stuff like, “To create a new item click the new item button,” or “Press delete to delete the item.” Occationally you might get to type stuff that doesn’t sound like an eleborate guide to the obvious, but rarely. Part of the problem is I am the programmer and I know how it works, so it is somewhat insulting for someone to suggest that I programmed something someone won’t know how to use. Also, I know the reality. Where I work I usually don’t have to handle support calls, but when I do, inevitably I ask the question, “Did you read the manual?” I believe the typical reply is, “What manual?” Not exactly what I would call a motivator, but there you have it. I get to sit around typing obvious statements into a Word document that no one will ever read.

Actually, it must have been a boring week all around because that documentation bit is the only thing I can think to talk about. How sad. I would tell you about what I am doing this weekend but it is a secret. That makes it sound special, but it really isn’t. I have this business idea for a web site that I have been meaning to get started on, and I have made it a priority to get some work done on it this Saturday. I don’t know if the idea will be as good as it seems to me at the moment. I’m sure the biggest pain will be getting the word out about the site once it is ready.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

The Weekend

Wow, hard to believe it has been almost a week since my last post. We are in the process of getting ready to go to the beach. We are leaving tomorrow night and will be gone through Sunday. I doubt I will be posting to my blog during this time. I want to avoid computers while I am on this vacation. I thought it would be nice to do a quick post to sort of catch everyone up on the latest happenings. This will be long and there is so much to cover I couldn’t think of a clever title.

Friday night my brothers, Aaron and Joel, came over. We played a game of Catan and then watched the new version of the Shaggy Dog with Tim Allen. It was a good movie and I seem to remember laughing a lot. It put a bit of a sci-fi spin on the original story, which is likely to turn some folks off, but I thought it worked well. Without giving too much a way, I really think they left the movie open for a sequel. I don’t remember how this movie did at the box office, so I guess if it tanked there won’t be a sequel. Actually, I think the movie’s budget must have been pretty low. There was a pretty neat scene with Tim Allen’s tongue, but other then that, I was sort of amazed at what I didn’t see. There was only one scene where you really witness the transformation. The remaining scenes where it occurs were shot so it hides the actual transformation. This sort of surprised me for a movie made in 2006. I didn’t watch it for the effects and would recommend the movie, this was just an observation I made. The filmmakers would probably choke me. The movie is probably chocked full of special affects that I missed and just took for granted.

Saturday we went to see my grandmother and had a good time hanging out and talking with her. She wound up ordering in Mexican and paying for our dinner, so that was a pleasant surprise. On the way home from my grandmother’s we stopped by McDonald’s to get some sundaes. Grace sat at the end of the table turning her head left and right alternating between Jennifer’s sundae and mine as we fed them to her. Of course, I always eat mine faster so I got to eat more of my ice cream. I guess its one of the few benefits to inhaling your food.

Sunday was a big day at our church as we had our Mission Celebration. Terry Hammack, a missionary from our church, was the guest speaker. He’s always a great speaker, but the best parts are always the stories he has. It is pretty enthralling. As you can imagine, Nigeria is not one of the safest places to be missionary, and I can’t imagine living day to day in the situations he does. What’s more amazing is that he and his wife are really hoping to go to the northern part of the country to an area that is 90% Muslim to minister to people there. As you might know, Muslims don’t take to kindly to Christian missionaries, but these two really feel it is where God wants their ministry to be. They’re two incredible people that face things on a regular basis that we can’t even imagine here.

Afterwards was a potluck dinner and Grace was a ball of energy. I got to eat, but barely had time to finish before I had to start chasing her back and forth through the halls of the church. We couldn’t get the girl to sit still for a second! She may have been the most hyper I have seen her. Making matters worse was the crowd. Grace was running and jiving through the legs of people and I had to wait for them to move out of the way. Fortunately, every time she got away from me, someone managed to slow her down and gave me enough time to catch up. The problem was if she got out into the main part of the church building without my supervision, there were only about 10,000 places she could run to and hide. Of course, she only seemed to be interested in running to the nursery, which she knows is full of toys, so it was easy enough to keep track of her.

Tonight we went over to my uncle’s house to pick up the keys and papers we will need to get to his place down at Ocean Lakes at Myrtle Beach. Grace was so shy at first, but the next thing I know she is running around their kitchen and being the ham she usually is. The girl would make the Energizer Bunny cry for mercy. She jumped up and down, ran around, crawled through legs and under tables, picked up copper statues, opened up cabinets, opened and closed doors, and babbled on and on the whole time we were there. I looked like the Coyote chasing the Road Runner most of the time.

Hope it doesn’t sound like I am complaining. Honestly, following her around is often hilarious because the things she does are priceless. Also, following her around has taught me a thing or two. For starters, she usually won’t go where it is dark. I say usually because she proved that the equation is much more complicated than I suspected the other night at my parents. My mom and dad have two entries into their kitchen (well, actually, four, but two of them are irrelevant to the story). One entry from the foyer and one from the dining room. The foyer, living room and dining room are all connected. So, what this means for Gracie is she has an excellent place to run laps. She runs through the foyer, the living room, the dinning room, into the kitchen, and finally back into the foyer. She then repeats this a mind numbing number of times. Oh yeah, and she yells incoherent things the whole time. So, I get the bright idea that if I turn off all the lights in the living room, foyer, and dining room, she’ll stop running her laps. I was wrong. She must have thought daddy was playing a game with her. After squealing for a few minutes and jumping up with absolute glee at the site of the darkened room, she started running again. Only now she ran through the darkened areas more quickly. So much for that idea.

This entry has been pretty long, but it will probably be my last post for at least a week. I’m sure I’ll have a lot to talk about when we get back.

Labor Day Weekend

Everyone else is blogging about their weekends, so I guess I should too.  Honestly, most of my weekend was spent with Grace.  Her and I were buddies over the weekend.  She’s started this new phase where she likes to play with toys in our laps, and I took advantage of it.  She got down and ran around every now and again, but eventually found another toy to throw up in my lap and play with.  I read her favorite book, ‘Ducks Loud Quack’, about a dozen times to her this weekend.  What else can I say?  She is adorable and I loved every minute of it.  The only bad thing about the weekend hit me when I was leaving for work this morning.  After spending so much time with her over the weekend, I missed her horribly today.  We had some quality time together this evening though.

I occurred to me this weekend that my knee is STILL bothering me from when I took that fall a few weeks ago.  It isn’t a constant pain, but anytime I get down on my knees it hurts like heck.  I’ve never been one for being on my knees, but this latest injury makes it almost impossible.  I sure hope this is just temporary because I do need to get on my knees from time to time when I am bathing Grace and such.

I know there wasn’t much to talk about today, but September is going to be a great month.  This Monday I had off for Labor Day.  Next Tuesday we go to Roanoke to learn the sex of the baby.  Finally, we will be a Myrtle Beach from September 20-24.  That is going to be awesome because we haven’t had a good vacation in 2 or 3 years.  I didn’t have much to talk about today, but I’ll have plenty to blog about in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned!

Windows Live Writer Impressions

After a little more time with Windows Live Writer today, I am liking it a lot less. For one thing, editting a post is a pain. I saw a typo in my post from last night and tired to use Live Writer to edit it. I fixed the change and posted it. Not only did it change the timestamp, but it put an earlier draft of the post out there that had even more typos. I still prefer a program I found called w.bloggar. It has its problems, but I’ve been able to edit post with ease. The biggest problem with the program is that the web site where it can be downloaded has been down for several days, so I don’t know what is going on with that. Live Writer is still in beta, so maybe it will improve over time. I also heard the next version of Word will have blogging tools built in.

The Weekend

What a weekend. On Saturday morning we went grocery shopping. That is always a great deal of fun. We do it together because Jennifer says it is much easier to shop with Grace when someone else is with her. I can see that. Grace can be high maintenance. She kept turning around and grabbing stuff in the buggy and either tried to open whatever is was she grabbed or tried to throw it on the floor. I don’t know if she enjoyed seeing it hit the floor, or thought it was funny to watch me fling myself at the item in an attempt catch it like it was a priceless antique vase. While we were checking out, I just about hit the floor when I heard two loud bangs. Grace and Jennifer were in the bathroom, so there was no one around worth throwing myself in front of. People everywhere were startled by the sounds and everyone was trying to see where they came from. In the front of the store, this guy was walking by with a bundle of balloons and two had clearly popped. He looked like he thought it was hilarious.

On Saturday evening, we had been invited to hang out with my brother, Tim, and his family, my other brothers, Aaron and Joel, and my old friend, Bill, and his fiance. I’ve known Bill for around 10 years. When we first met him he was a really quiet guy. I think Tim credits himself with getting Bill to open up. Over the years, Bill and I have grown to be closer friends because I went to school to do programming and he went to do network administration. He calls me when he has a question about software, and I call him when I have a question about hardware. Its fun to talk to him because he actually cares about geek stuff. When I try to talk to Jennifer or my brothers about tech stuff, their eyes glaze over or they change the subject as fast as they can. Not Bill. When I am excited and ramble off the specs of the new server at work, he’s actually interested and gets why I am excited.

Anyway, back to the story. We wound up going bowling. I don’t think I’ve been bowling since Jennifer and I got married, so it has been at least 6 years. I got my bowling shoes and walked up to the lanes we were going to use. They had some sort of computerized scoring system that automatically kept track of how many pins you knocked down. It looked like it was written in DOS, so it took us a while to figure out how to get the names in and get the game started. For whatever reason, I got the honor of going first. I stepped up, did the whole bowling motion thing, and released the ball. Gutter. No problem. After all, it had been over 6 years. I’m entitled to a gutter ball. Next try, same thing. A big, fat 0 for me. Everyone else goes and hits at least a few pins. That made me feel REALLY good about how I was doing. My second turn comes around. “Now I am warmed up,” I thought to myself. First bowl: gutter. Second bowl: gutter. Now it was getting embarrassing. Of course, Jennifer is loving it and starts mocking me and giggling with glee. She loves to see me lose at stuff. Believe it or not, she talks trash. It it is the kind of trash talk that cartoon birds and squirrels would have if they met in the woods to play tag, but it is still trash talk. Fortunately, my game got better from their as my brothers proceeded to teach me how to bowl. I would have been annoyed, but it was obvious I had forgotten. I stunk up the first game, but wound up beating Jennifer in the second, which is all that mattered. I had to beat that trash talking, granny bowling wench (love you honey!). I also beat my youngest bother, Joel, but that would have been more rewarding if he had been more interested in hitting pins than perfecting his new bowling style.

After the bowling we went to my mom and dad’s house to eat and then played a game of Cranium. It is good game to play with a large group, but we had too many teams. Bill and Lauren had to leave before the game was finished. It would have been better if we had done only two teams.

That was Saturday. Sunday was much less eventful and I am getting tired of working on this. It has wound up taking me an hour and a half to get this typed. Oh, I am using the new Windows Live Writer to post this to my blog. So far, I like this program. Thanks for the tip, DeWitte!

Blogging Tools

Thought I would take some time to talk about a couple of programs I have found to make reading and writing blogs a little easier.

Sharpreader – Sharpreader is my RSS/Atom Aggregator of choice. It is a standalone Windows app, so I prefer it to Bloglines.com and other such services. I used to use the RSS aggregator that is built into Mozilla Thunderbird, but I’ve grown to like using Sharpreader more.

w.bloggar – This handly little program is a Windows application that allows you to post to your blog. It supports WordPress, MSN Spaces, Blogger, and others. The web site has been down lately. It is freeware, so I am going to read the license agreement. If it allows me to resdistribute it, I will post it on my blog.

Blog Layout

I’ve been playing with the theme for my blog the last few days. Think I have finally found one I like. I like how my links are on the left and I can customize the menu to right. Also, notice that i have added links to our Flickr accountl, which I just setup tonight. I’ve only uploaded a few pictures, but that is going to be the replacement for Grace’s website. We certainly won’t have as many photos on this site as we did on Grace’s old site, but I’ll try to keep it updated.

New Blog

Welcome to my new blog. My computer at home (which hosted my old blog) recently had a problem: the motherboard died. I borrowed a computer from my work and put my hard drives in that computer, so the blog is still online for the time being, but I have no plans to update http://lavinder.homeip.net anymore. I've decided to move my blog and Grace's site to computers that aren't sitting in my living room. I am still looking for a place to move Grace's site, but as for my blog, I have settled on http://www.wordpress.com as the host and I really like my new URL. I hope to get serious about blogging this time around and write a few posts a week.