Monday, June 30, 2008
All you do is login to their website from any computer with a browser, select the show you want to watch and it connects to your DVR and schedules it.
This came in handy when we were in CT for Anna's Christening because, like om my god Camp Rock was showing and, like OMG Deb forgot to ask me to record it. Courtney was upset, then I remembered I could do it via the web. Unnecessary hysterics avoided (for a few minutes at least).
I also like to use it when I see something at work that I might want to watch on Discovery, History or Biography channels. I'd forget about it before, now I login and tell the DVR to record.
(Minor aside showing my age, in the note to myself to blog about this, I wrote 'blog about using the Internet to tape shows'. Yes 'tape' shows. God I'm getting old.)
Sunday, June 29, 2008
If you don't know what the FBLA-PBL is, check out their website here. The group I was judging were juniors and seniors in high school who developed a web application for recording grades and calculating GPA. The finalists were from all over the country. While this was one session, there were dozens of other with presentations about all kinds of business topics, not just technology.
I was judging the presentation they gave about what they developed vs. judging how what they developed met the requirements. It was very interesting and informative to see how these young men approached presenting about what they built. One frustrating thing: there were no young women in the finals. According to our coach/leader there were some ladies in the other rounds, just none made it to the finals.
Some interesting things about their projects:
- 6 of the 10 used PHP
- all but two talked about AJAX, but when asked about which tools they used half couldn't tell me
- 8 of the 10 use MySQL
- 2 used the full Microsoft stack, with ASP.net, C# and SQL Server
- one used Perl
- one used the Google applications for his presentation. All but one other used PowerPoint
- three talked about 'third normal form' in their databases
- one displayed a UML diagram
The presentation styles were as varied as the men themselves. A couple just stood there, hands in pockets or crossed in front of them, a few read directly from the slides, but most of them were moving around, pointing to the slides etc. Most came up and shook our hands.
All were able to answer my technical questions very well (other than the AJAX toolkit part)
I brought Meghan with me and she thought it was interesting, but got boring because the topics were the same. She had some interesting insight into what they were focusing on and how each presented the same materials in different ways.
If you ever get a chance to judge or assist a student with one of these projects I suggest you do it.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Then, on Sunday after the Christening, he was getting really rowdy while Deb was trying to pack, so I took him for a walk. Across the street is an industrial construction equipment rental company so we went over there to check out the toys. We looked at the front loaders, bobcats and other cool toys for a few minutes, then he saw the retaining wall.
It wasn't really a retaining wall, rather a big pile of rocks, each about the size of his head, along a hill to catch the run off when it rains.
He went running over to it and picked up a big rock with his hands. Then drops it on the driveway, just missing my feet. He then took 6 or 8 more and did the same thing. Each rock I put back, he picked up another. Finally I started tossing the rocks up the hill and they would come rolling back, he thought that was hysterical.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I went to Danbury, CT this weekend for a couple of the reasons, the main one to see my niece Anna get Baptised. I'll post about that separately since it was a great ceremony, and as is typical for our family, had some ancient history tied to it.
I left on Friday to go to CT. After the fiasco last time with the 'hired car', where the guy changed the price of the trip on me half way down I-75, I had a cab bring me to the airport. Of course the cabbie didn't like driving on the highway to it took almost twice as long.
The plane ride was uneventful except for the young lady waiting for the same flight. She had a t-shirt 'I'm totally worth it'. I'm guessing she was late teens since she was giving her mother a bunch of attitude. I was seriously tempted to ask her what it meant, but I'm afraid it meant that guy from Nightline was going to start asking me questions ;-)
I started reading a great new book 'World War Z', which is a fictional account of how the Zombies rose from the dead and how the world finally beat them back. It is written in the first person with each story being a couple of pages. It is really good so far.
Friday night we went to my Dad's to celebrate his birthday. It was the first time in 3 weeks I'd seen the kids so I spent most of the time playing with them. My Dad has a slight hill on the side of his house (nothing like the one on Strawberry Hill though, so no go carts!) and Christopher would ride down the hill on his little plastic car and I'd carry it back up for him to do it again.
Saturday was spent having lunch with my Mom and going to see 'Get Smart!'. For someone who grew up with that show, the movie was great. I think even if you didn't know the series you'd think it was funny. Saturday night Deb, Christopher and I went to her brother's for dinner. Deb's nephew is 18 and was having a blast with Christopher.
Sunday was all about the Christening, so I'll write about that in a separate message.
Monday started out with a bang. Literally. As the alarm went off at 5:30, a massive thunderstorm started. It raged for about 20 more minutes. We finally got everything (and everyone) loaded and on the road by 7:10.
The TomTom is great. It told us how far we had to go and estimated when we'd arrive. According to it, we were due to arrive at 11:30 pm when we left. At one point I was driving well enough that I got it down to 11:00 pm. Then typhoon Christopher struck.
Still don't know why, but around 2 pm he vomited. Twice. All over the inside of the car. Not just a little on his shirt, this was a 'we drank how much Jagermeister?' projectile vomit. He didn't say a word, gag or give us any other indication it was coming. So I did a rather quick exit at the next gas station and we cleaned up. For 45 minutes. During this, the dog just stayed in her spot and ignored us.
The whole time we're cleaning up, there is a guy in the car next to us smoking his cigarette and reading his paper. Quite surreal.
We finally got back on the highway. Christopher usually falls asleep while on a long trip, but not this time. He finally fell asleep for about an hour and half, then woke up screaming. We stopped again, let him get out of the car seat for a while. Another 30 minutes later, we got moving again. He still wouldn't go to sleep. Around 10:30 I looked back at him and he waved at me. Deb and both girls were out cold, he was sitting there watching Curious George. He finally fell asleep about 15 minutes later.
When we finally got home, he woke up again, but as soon as he saw we were in his room, he smiled and fell asleep instantly. He's spent most of today playing with every toy in his room. Vomit aside, I think he did great for a 2 year old.
The girls were great as well. No drama with them, just some tired kids this morning. Deb just wanted to get into her own bed. And take a shower in her own shower this morning.
Some random thoughts from the hours behind the wheel
- VA has the worst drivers. I swear every time we got above the speed limit someone would camp out in the left lane and slow us down
- VA doesn't allow radar detectors, so it was unnerving to see a state trooper on the side of the road without having been warned ahead of time. The best defense I was ready with if I got pulled over: 'Officer, I wasn't paying attention to my speed, my wife and I were discussing if the baby had pooped or it was the dog farting again'
- the Grand Caravan is not the Mustang. Even flooring it merging while going up hill isn't fun
- about half the people in VA had vanity plates. Some were easy to figure out, others were bizarre.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Now I just need to pack. Usually takes me 3 minutes or less for a business trip, but this time I need a suit AND some casual clothes AND some travel clothes for the drive back. Yes, I'm driving back with them. 1000 miles, 1 day, 3 kids and 1 dog. I swear I don't know how she does it a couple of time a year.
I had a pleasant surprise dealing with the bureaucracy of the Catholic Church today. I'm not sure the details behind the change, but John called me last night and asked me to be the stand in Godfather for Anna this weekend. Should be easy enough right? Nope, had to get proof that I'm a good Catholic (no 12 years of St. Joseph's and Immaculate High School, altar boy etc. doesn't automatically count).
So I called my parish this morning, ask what I had to do to get the paper and the woman was extrememly helpful. I had to call the church in Bethel to see what their 'rules' were for the paperwork first. That lady was very helpful as well. The lady from St. Catherine's here faxed the paperwork to St. Mary's in Bethel and even put my copy (with the raised seal they wanted) in a 'special' place outside the parish office in case I didn't get there before the office closed. Wow, I was expecting that to be much, much harder.
I'll have lots of pictures and stories I'm sure when we get back.
Monday, June 16, 2008
One of the things we always debated was, do girls fart? I remember Pat insisting that girls don't.
One of my favorite shows is MythBusters. Apparently they did a show on this topic and were afraid to release it. But, since we have the Internet they couldn't hide it.
Of course with daughters I know the answer. So I think this is fake ;-)
He told me that when he was in the military a lot of guys on short deployments would leave the family in once place (with family or wherever they had the house) and they lived in the barracks.
While I'm sure I'm eating better then them, that is pretty much what is going on.
First task after they left: move the lazy-boy into the middle of the room, in front of the TV. Actually, that was the second thing. First was to get all of Christopher's toys out of the way.
I do keep the place clean, really. If Deb sent one of her friends over right now she'd find nothing in the sink, the laundry all clean and folded. The bed won't be made until I leave. Why make it just to mess it up again 16 hours later? Not like I have company coming over or anything.
Before I leave on Friday to go to Anna's Christening and drive everyone back, I'll vacuum one more time, change the sheets and make the bed. Everything else is pretty much clean.
Yes, I did eat something more than pizza and beer. I had chicken wings and beer tonight ;-)
4 days until I see them again.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Another reason to hate living in Atlanta.
Yesterday I had at least 6 different people pull out in front of me on the surface streets. I expect it on the highway, but the surface streets?
I left about an hour later than usual yesterday morning since I forgot to set the alarm. Within 3 miles of my house I had the following:
- redneck in a beat up pickup truck with a trailer cut across 2 lanes of 41 in front of me and another car. I locked up the brakes and did the 'abs hop'. Guy next to me got sideways.
- guy comes out of Blue springs, cuts in front of me by maybe 20 feet, gets sideways in the right lane an almost goes into the embankment
- woman putting on makeup drifts into my lane going up the hill
On the way home from work
- clown runs the red light turning on to the highway (I'm turning left) I stop fast the guy behind me almost hits me. Squealing tires and everything
- usual fun on I-75 on a Friday afternoon
- Get off on 92 to take the backroads home, woman in an SUV decides she doesn't want to turn left in the left turn only lane, cuts across my lane and takes a right. I wasn't going that fast so I stopped before hitting her
Note that I drive a bright red mustang GT with 4 headlights, which are always on. Not a white or grey car they couldn't see.
Arrgh. Needless to say I had a few beers when I got home.
(I did see Ironman after work before going home because traffic was so bad. Very good movie.)
Friday, June 06, 2008
But that wasn't the most frustrating part. While waiting to get through security, my lane ran out of the plastic bins. 2 guys in front of me just stood there. Being an even tempered individual (no comments Deb), I noticed that they weren't doing anything, so I looked around and saw a full stack in the lane next to us.
I went, picked up about 10 of them, came back, picked up my stuff and moved on. The 2 yahoos didn't say anything to me, but several people behind me thanked me.
Seriously, how big of a deal would it be to walk 10 feet, pick up a bunch of buckets and come back?
Another reason I hate travelling. Of course being in Minneapolis for less than 13 hours didn't help. I need a couple of beers.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
I use this on my personal accounts, especially for the kids. The idea is unless you write back and I approve you, you can't send email to my kids. During my response, I said that I used it for my kids.
In fact, I created email addresses for all my kids not that long after they were conceived. I guess I'm a little geeky like that.
I thought half the people were going to fall out of their chairs.
Technically Meghan didn't get hers until a year or so after she was born. Courtney right after she was born and Christopher about 2 months before. In Courtney's case we didn't finalize the name until she was born. In Christopher's we knew exactly what his name would be.
So like I said, just a little geeky.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
So, some random thoughts
- which is more accurate? The TomTom GPS speed or the speedo on the mustang? Up to 70 or so they both said the same thing, above 70 the TomTom had me slower than the mustang.
- The TomTom displays a red block if you're going faster than the speed limit. Kind of cool it detects how fast you're going, kind of nagging that it shows you are speeding.
- Ethanol sucks. 26 MPG from Atlanta to Charleston with gas bought in Atlanta. 22 back, with gas bought in Charleston. Only difference: 10% ethanol in SC. I don't think I had any different traffic or average speeds
- Yes, 320 HP of American V8 muscle got 26 MPG. Still more fun than a prius ;-)
- There are still A LOT of radio stations playing 70's and early 80's rock.
- Why do people sit in the left lane, pulling a trailer, going 50 when the speed limit is 70?
- 70 to triple digits is really easy now ;-)
- Cruise control is bad. It makes you not pay attention as you come up on traffic.
- Cruise control is good. It keeps you at a set speed. Given the fun going to 3 digits and the ease, using cruise control on the wide open, no other traffic on the highway, stretches was a good thing.
- I was surprised by the lack of cops on the roads.
Like I said, random thoughts.