I'm just a guy at a house

It's a long story. :)

I swear this has been the busiest December of my life. It all started on the 1st, with my work Christmas party, which I was on the planning committee for. Then, on the 4th, a big conversion from my old junk mail filtering software to a newer better version. In the intervening weeks, there were a number of meetings, consulting jobs, shopping trips, putting up the Christmas lights, frantically working on mom's website, baking an ass-ton of Sugar cookies from scratch, etc. Hmm, maybe one shouldn't say ass-ton and scratch in the same sentence. (^_^) Oh well. This week has been whirlwind too getting ready for Christmas. We've been working hard this evening to polish off the perishable holiday goodies we've made or been given too. I know, such hard work, but someone has to do it. (!!!)

I'm really looking forward to Christmas, not only because I've asked Santy Claus for a new digital camera, but because Brendan is really going to enjoy it and it is going to be Andy's first Christmas.

I'm also really happy because I learned today that my friend Coll and his wife are adopting a 2-year-old Russian boy. This is just wonderful. I'm so happy for them. I belive, from his cryptic emails, that they are in Russia right now meeting him.

This is truly going to be a good Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all my friends and readers. Rutherford, F.D.McKrakken, Margo, Silver, FO's wife, FD's pal Don, all our pals Mark, Double-A, and Daisy.

For next year's Christmas display, I have to check this out: LightScape. Somehow I will manage to do computer-controlled lights next year like this guy. He rocks.

Today I installed Windows Vista on my computer at work.

The first thing I did was update my video driver so it would look prettier. Then I played with all the screen savers. Haha. What a nerd!

It looks soooo cool. I love it!

Mom just told me this on chat. I'm not sure if I've mentioned that my family is visiting my folks this week.

"We all had a great laugh last nite. Brendan came running in here and said the cat buzzed at me, we laughed and laughed. He meant hissed, because HE STEPPED ON HER TAIL!"

Poor cat! Poor Bren! Hahahahah!

A friend has sent you the Philly Speak Translator Game! Just translate the Philly phrases for your chance to win free burgers for a month. Click here to play.

And for the authentic taste of Philly any time, cruise over to Carl's Jr. and try the new Philly Cheesesteak Burger. It's got real Philly Cheesesteak piled high on top of a delicious Carl's Jr. Burger. Two tastes you love in one amazing sandwich with the true taste of Philadelphia.

Click here to get your Cheesesteak Burger for less (printable coupon).

Just taking a break from website work.

Pizza was yummy! I had my two faves - Ham Pineapple and Sausage Black Olive.

I'm trying to figure out if this "TheCuteKid" is a scam. Anyone know?

Ok, back to the salt mine.

(Hey, that last post was number 888. Cool! I have this thing about sequential numbers...)

Been a busy week. No time for Blogging, unfortunately.

Mon: Helping Dobie pack to move
Tue: Helping Dobie pack to move
Wed: Putting up Christmas lights with Dobie's help
Thu: Baking an ass-ton of cookies
Fri: Anime Club meeting
Sat: Consulting and working on mom's website
Sun: Go pick up the family from my folks

Now it has to be said that Mon & Tue didn't exactly go as stated. Dobie decided both nights he didn't feel like packing, so we went out to eat and fooled around. It was fun, but I knew that I had other things that I needed to be doing, so I was a little anxious. I got free meals though.

Wed, we watched the "Whitehouse Christmas" program that I wanted to watch, and then he was going to help me put up more Christmas lights. Wellllll, he stayed on the couch while I did my work and about 30 minutes before I quit, he came out to give me moral support. But touch a light, he did not. Oh well, then we went out for a Whataburger. No complaints; another free meal. I am very happy with my Christmas Lights so far, but I'm only 2/3 done.

Thu was fun, but trying. I decided to bake sugar cookies from scratch using AB's recipe. When I was ready to start, I found that I had no parchment nor foil that I could find to bake on. So I ran to the store. Finally when everything was in order, it took a lot longer that I expected. I made 3 batches of this dough and really had a good time doing that and listening to Christmas music on Pandora. It was 2 cookies for the tray, 1 for Darrell, 2 cookies for the tray...hehe. By batch two, I'd had enough freakin cookies. They were good though. Next time, I need to experiment with more flavorings. The taste was subtle, which is to say a bit bland. I finished that at 1:30am. Note to self: it takes a damn long time to make cookies from scratch. See?

Fri: Anime Club meeting went great. Cookies were all eaten. We watched Love Hina Christmas special and something called Excel Saga. Excel Saga was so freakin confusing, but very funny. It had many self references in it. I think that series was made by someone on crack. I want to watch more of it. :p

Sat: Had consulting this morning, and this afternoon I'm planning for a marathon to try and finish mom's website. But first, I have pizza on order and just have to go get it. Yum! Hot pizza on a cold day. What could be better?

I got this in the mail yesterday. It came with some other stuff in an envelope meant to make you think it was from the county tax office, but it wasn't. It was from a company that will charge you $45 to try and get you a tax exemption. While I don't approve of their misleading practices, I did enjoy this insert...

I've been thinking about my rude comments regarding 1and1.com. Really, I have to take some of that back. What do I expect for $2.99 per month? I should be glad that they back up the data at all. A person shouldn't complain about something that is such an unbelievable bargain. I'm glad to be able to get their service for the price I do. But in a perfect world they'd backup even the bargain basement hosting people's data daily. :)

How long has it been since you thought about the good ole ASVAB?

"This program is designed to help students learn more about themselves and the world of work, identify and explore potentially satisfying occupations, and develop an effective strategy to realize their goals." And get suckered into military service, sez I.

These kids were thinking about it and did something about it!

I wish I would have thought of this, but my good friend drew tennis rackets, stick figures, and penii with the standardized testing bubbles. Man, those were the days! What a genius he was (and is).

Here's the text of an email I received Tuesday, August 29, 2006. I might have seen it if I checked my Hotmail more often. Oh well. Too much spam in that account.

I had originally downloaded a Beta version of Vista, but my PC wouldn't run it in a Virtual machine like I wanted to. I never got to try it, but now that the RTM version is out, I'm trying to get it for my new work PC.

Invitation to participate in Windows Vista pre-RC1 test program

We would like to invite you to help test the latest build of Windows Vista.

Thank you for participating in the Windows Vista Beta 2 Customer Preview Program (CPP). Your help is playing a critical role in improving the overall quality of what we believe is one of the most important OS advances in the history of PC computing. As a participant in the Beta 2 CPP, you will be able to download Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 (RC1) as soon as it becomes available.

In the mean time, we are inviting a limited number of CPP participants to help test a pre-RC1 build. Your timely feedback on this build will help us improve the quality of the final RC1 release that will be available to millions of customers in the coming weeks.

We are only making 100,000 downloads of this build available. As soon as we reach 100,000 downloads, the program will be closed. Participation in this program is not required for participation in the RC1 CPP. Whether or not you participate in this pre-RC1 test, we will send you another email message to alert you to the availability of the final RC1 build.

After downloading, please install and test the build as soon as possible. Most importantly, if there is a crash, hang or error, please make sure that you send the information back to us using the built-in Windows Error Reporting technology. Sending this information is essential to helping us improve the overall quality of Windows Vista, and collecting this information is the primary purpose of distributing this pre-RC1 release.

As with the original Beta 2 CPP, we remind you that this is pre-release software and you should not run this on production or mission critical PCs. Support will be limited to newsgroups, and you will have to do a clean install to move from this build to the final RC1 or RTM builds of Windows Vista.

You will be able to upgrade an existing Windows Vista Beta 2 or Windows XP installation to this build. However you will not be able to get back to your original installation after upgrading to this pre-RC1 build, you will have to do a clean install in order to get back to your previous configuration.

Installing this build requires a valid Product ID. Please use the same Product ID that was provided to you when you signed up for the Beta 2 CPP.

Thank you very much for your help in making Windows Vista great!

The Microsoft Windows Vista Team

Lotsa people are shopping today. I'm not.

Wow! I've had a Hotmail account for over 10 years. I was just checking it today (which I do rarely since I get sooooo much spam there) and saw this: Registered since: July 16, 1996.

I have been working some more on mom's website. The stupid hosting company, 1and1.com, had a problem with the server we were on and had to restore from a backup. I'm glad they had a backup, but it must have been a week old, because a lot of my work is gone. I had a local backup copy though...

I'm going to watch "The Lakehouse" tonight. Jen and her mom watched it last night and say it was good.

Jen's mom and her husband have departed. They're early birds, so they left at 8:12 am. I'll really miss them. It was nice having company for a while.

For once we aren't traveling today. Since Jen's mom has been here for the last couple weeks, and is leaving tomorrow, we are not traveling to see my folks this year. I must admit I don't mind not driving today. I'm a real home body sometimes. Oh well. I have many things to do this weekend. I'm working on my mom's website and scraping together a computer for Jen's mom before she leaves. Plus I'm watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which I love.

I have lots of picture that I havne't posted over the last few weeks, so I may have a mondo big picture post coming up...

Here's a word of advice du jour: If you eat cranberry sauce made with whole cranberries, just be sure that you chew them up. Happy Turkey!

Jen's uncles are sure crass guys. I have to laugh about something they were talking about the other night when we were visiting the grandparents, though. I snickered to myself, but the topic of conversation certainly wasn't appropriate while there were ladies in the house.

One of em said that his buddy just came back from a contract job in Thailand and that everything was so cheap over there. He said that the buddy got a 2 hour massage for only 12 bucks and then a BJ to top it off. "Gee, I wonder what you can get for 20 bucks!!!" he said. Some people have no sense of what might be appropriate topics of conversation. This was told to his 2 brothers-in-law. I was in the room but not part of the conversation. What a schmuck.

I was surprised that my Blockbuster Video already has PS3 games to rent. I went last night and picked up Golden Sun for the Gameboy Advanced to play in my DS (I'm cheap) and saw them there.

I also saw this cutout for Gears of War there...hehe.

I got a good deal on Golden Sun too. It was marked $14.99, but it rang up 9.99. Woo hoo! Thanks Blockbuster!

This is a pretty amazing video. I don't know how this woman can accomplish all that she does. She's strong.

Watch Super Mum

Check out these great pictures! I don't know where they came from (a quick Google search didn't reveal it) but I like them. Click them to zoom.

I am always getting confused about whether to use it's or its. Even though this was trained into me in college, I'm beginning to be unsure of myself at times. So, I had to go look it up and I'm going to remember it this time.

From The Word Detective

Strictly speaking, in modern usage the possessive form of the pronoun "it" is, as you note, "its." The formation "it's" is a contraction, standing for "it is" (or "it has"). Thus we might say "It's (it is) a nice day for sailing, but my boat has lost its (the boat's) rudder." The difference between the two forms is clear, but evidently curiously difficult for many people to remember.

What that means is that all I have to remember is that it's is a contraction. The rest will follow logically. Whew!


It's = It Is


Brendan is so funny. Tonight he went we Jen and Andy and Jen's aunt and mom to see Christmas lights. When he got home, I told him "Tell me about the lights you saw, Bren!"

His answer: "Was red, yellow, green." He was joking with me!!! I was very surprised and has a good laugh.

Later, he said to me "You're a rascal!" and tweaked my cheek. I always tell him that. So I said "No, you're a rascal!" to which he answered "Well you're a monkey - say ee ee ah ah"

Oh I ROTFL at that one. He's such a funny boy. He certainly is getting our sense of humor.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

The 50-50-90 rule: Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong.

If you lined up all the cars in the world end to end, someone would be stupid enough to try to pass them, five or six at a time, on a hill, in the fog.

If the shoe fits, get another one just like it.

The things that come to those who wait will be the things left by those who got there first.

Flashlight: A case for holding dead batteries.

The shin bone is a device for finding furniture in a dark room.

A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

When you go into court, you are putting yourself in the hands of 12 people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty.

I'm excited about PS3 launch day. I plan on getting one...in about 5 years! It's waaaayyyy too expensive for me!

I thought I'd just take a shot of Best Buy's website to look at when PS4 comes out...

Today at work, our power was out for 4.5 hours.

This is bad since I work in computers.

For the first 2.5 hours, all the servers were on battery power, but once that ran out, we were dead in the water. We did shut down non-essential systems as soon as the power went out so that we could save the valuable battery power, and in the end we were down to like the 6 most essential ones, but the outage outlasted the batteries.

Now, these aren't normal UPS batteries like you might see in someone's home office. Oh no! This thing is the size of a small SUV and runs about 60 servers and a dozen monitors for the two and a half hour period. That's some serious power.

But, it didn't last. We ended up bringing in 3 small generators to try and power up our phone system (which is VOIP, so we needed our network switches) at least. We got that working and about 15 minutes later the power came back on. Doh! But we've decided that we need to purchase out own generator so that we have it ready on a moment's notice.

Here are some pictures:

[Just pretend. I haven't put them up yet]

Ebay has a ton of Cardcaptor Sakura stuff too. I want! ^_^

I got up early this morning with Andy, did some laundry, and ate some yummy cereal. My absolutely favorite right now is Cran-Vanilla Crunch.
<--- Yummy!!!!
I can go through boxes of the stuff. It is awesome. Fruity and Sweet, it's a diabetic's nightmare. Hehe.

Both boys are awake with me this morning so, this entry is taking 5 times longer to write than it should. Andy just went down for a nap in his swing. Swing is the word for GODSEND in Darrell language, in case you didn't know.

Jen's mom has been here this week and that has been cool. She's nice and pretty smart. She knows everything you would ever want to know about convenience stores. I think she's worked in them for many years and her husband manages them. She told me all about how Gasoline Delivery Trucks work. I've been trying to find more info on the net about that, but I can't. Apparently, the big tanker trucks that deliver to gas stations are not just giant tanks like I thought. They have smaller cylinders inside, I assume for safety. I wanted to see some pictures of that...

Also, this morning while listening to Japan-A-Radio, I was thinking of my favorite anime series Cardcaptor Sakura. I just love that series. I've seen every episode and the movies too. Next time I have an opportunity to buy myself a little something, I'm going to get these PVC figures from Amazon.com. I just love them.

Card Captor Sakura Sakura Sweet Collection

I was just looking at the archives on Blender.org. It is a really cool site for photorealistic rendering. Here's one pic from the gallery that looks just awesome. It's totally computer generated...but it looks like a really good photo. Cool huh?

Well, today my jobs are to mow the grass if it warms up and to attach Brendan's slide to his swingset. Here's the before picture...

The swing attaches on the left platform, so that he can slide down into the grass rather than into the cement fence. Smart right? Hehe. Next post will have an after picture if I get to do it.

I usually don't go for humor this base, but the expression on the pig's face at the end is just too much.

Too Funny: Jurassic Fart


I got these amusing thoughts in a spam email today. Far be it from me to suggest that spam actually has some redeeming value, but I giggled at these for a while.

  • Do the security guards at airports have to go through airport security when they get to work?
  • Why do we teach kids that violence is not the answer and then have them read about wars in school that solved America's problems?
  • Who gets to keep the pennies in a wishing well?
  • If you went back in time and killed your mother would you disappear the moment you killed her?
  • If money doesn't grow on trees then why do banks have branches?
  • Why is Donkey Kong called "DONKEY" Kong if he's a monkey?
  • If a bunch of cats jump on top of each other, is it still called a dog pile?
  • How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?
  • When a boy is named after his dad, he is called 'Junior,' but what do you call a girl that is named after her mother?
  • Just what was the "Baby On Board" sign for? Did it help us decide which car not to hit in case of an accident?
  • Does Hawaiian Punch come from Hawaii?
  • If your name is Mr. Crunch, and you joined the Navy, would you eventually be Captain Crunch?
  • Can you cry under water?
  • If all of the Acme stuff doesn't work, why does Wile Coyote keep buying their products?

I've just learned that PlayStation 3 owners will be able to download and run a special version of the Folding @ Home software (think Seti @ Home) that will let them donate the spare processing power of their PS3. This is a major advance!!! It could add thousands of high-power machines to the network, and that is really good for the project.

Check it out at their site.

Take a look at this picture of the Angel Decoy flares from a C-130 that someone sent me. I put the pictures together as an animation.

After I made that, I found this video where the pics were grabbed from.

I'm really excited about Windows Vista. I'm also really excited about Microsoft Office 2007.

This looks like my flat screen and my cable modem sitting next to each other. I wish my computer was that fancy.

Not related to Microsoft, I'm liking the idea of SixPop.

There's some beautiful photography on WideRange.

And Remote Control Lan 2.7 looks useful. Can you tell I've been surfing today. It's been a while!

Today's Dilbert is really funny...in a morbid sort of way.

This was a fun morning. I have been thinking a lot about RuneScape lately and how much fun I had making my goal of 1 Million gold in the bank. I haven't played it since last Christmas, so I figured I'd log in and do the Halloween Event.

I did some Ghost busting and got a snazzy Halloween costume.

Darius Oxo in Halloween 2006 costume

Spooky Braziers from the sign-in screen.

I really loved that game when Jen and I were playing. It was great. Playing it again makes me want to play World of Warcraft, but I know I'd get Mega Addicted. And there's no Betty Ford Clinic for WoW players that I know of.

As always, I have to show Google's Halloween logo. It's great!

Brendan and I had a great time at Lackland AirFest today!!! I took lots of pictures. We parked at Wolff Stadium and took the free bus that dropped us off right at the front gate. We saw tons of planes, went in some, sat in the pilot seat in some, and saw the Mighty ThunderBirds! We even got a couple of autographs and bought a poster. It was wonderful. Here's the free book they were giving out for you to get autographs in. Click it for a bigger version.
I've made a Flickr set with all the pics because I didn't want to have this huge long ginormous post with all of them. So, get ready and just click on the smiley cat below to see them!

Click me then "View As Slideshow" on next page!

Today Brendan and I are going to Lackland AirFest. I can't wait to show him the C-5 Galaxy cargo plane! I hope we get to go in it!

We're also going to the the fantastic Thunderbirds!

I'll post pictures when we get back.

I'm very happy to say that I have successfully switched over to the Blogger Beta. It's nice! I've already deleted 25 spam comments, which is one thing that is much easier to do in the Beta.

I would suggest that anyone use my backup procedure before switching. I (fortunately) didn't have any glitches during the switch, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

A Spanish woman has broken a world record by having a baby from an embryo frozen for 13 years. Isn't it amazing what modern science brings us? I can't imagine what will happen in the next 50 years!

read more | digg story

Free411.com provides free, ad-supported 411 calls via their 800 number. Since Sprint/Nextel charges me an outrageous $1.40 per 411 call, I'm going to switch to this. You get an ad, then you tell the fully automated system who you are looking for, then you get another ad, and then the number you asked for. It's worth it to me!

read more - digg story

Today was a great day.

I dressed as El Diablo for my work party, handed out some candy to little kids, and had a good ole time. The kids' reactions ranged from "Stopped dead in their tracks" to "Hid their eyes as they passed me" to "Sneered and said I'm not afraida you!" Haha! The last one I replied to by saying, "But I'm scareda you!" She was s 6th grader, I think.

I was in the scariest costume contest with only two other entrants - Yoda, and a very good Yoda indeed, and GI Joe. GI Joe was just messing around by signing up for the scary contest. He won 3rd place though since there were only the 3 of us! WTG Luis! Yoda get 2nd, and I got first. I was so happy! I got a trophy, a certificate, and 75 bucks! Woo hoo!

The Original costume contest was packed! There was a Pirate group, a hunter group from "Open Season", a midget wizard, Poison Ivy from Batman, a group of nurses in scrubs, Ike and Tina Turner, Flava Flave's posse (or however you spell that) and a number of others. The pirates, all my good friends, won but Ike and Tina did too. It was cool.

When I came home, we took Bren and Andy out to walk the streets. That mostly consisted of my carrying Bren, and Jen carrying Andy. Brendan mostly hid his face in my shoulder and I apologized for his shyness as people put candy into his pumpkin that I was carrying. We probably hit 12 houses or so - no more than that - before my arms tired out and we headed to Mama Margies for a good mexican meal. Awww man!!! I saw a girl dressed as LeeLoo Dallas there. That was awesome! I wonder how many people had no idea what she was and just thought she was a hooker or something. Hehe.

As always, I love Halloween. It is one of my favorite days of the year.

(Also something fun to do is search Flickr for Halloween Costumes)

This is so funny. I wish I had photoshop skillz like she has. Girl has a lot of time on her hands. :)

I might try to do something like that...just for fun to see if I could do it.

[Update: I am quite pleased to report that this post is either #1 or #2 in Google when you search on any of the 3 spam company names listed below. I'm also happy to report that over the last few days I've blocked literally thousands upon thousands of junk emails from these companies.]

I swear! Spammers really are the bane of my existence. I am constantly spending time these days combating them. I must admit, though, that few things at work give me as much pleasure as:

1) Monitoring the incoming mail queue,
2) Seeing a big batch of spam begin to come in,
3) Finding something in the message that is easy to setup a blocking rule on,
4) And then blocking that crap before it gets to my users.

Ha! Haha! Take that you spam-bastards!

Now, we do have automated content filtering, and that catches about 80,000 junk emails per day, but some do still slip past. The ones that get in are the ones without the typical spam keywords like "FREE" and "VIAGRA" and "CIALIS."

Here's an example of one that gets past our filter, and that I'm working to be able to block:

Hey Anne
This is for Tuesday Tue, 24 Oct 2006 15:37:38 +0900

Been a long time, anyways just wanted to drop in a line and tell ya bout this new Co I just found. This one is called Apparel Manufacturing Associates, Inc, its symbol is at APPM. The company is currently at 10 cents a share, Doubt it will there long. Basically they are a designer company and they are focused in the arena of all that is "Fashionable". Be it the latest "Trend" in fashion, the latest "Sound" in music or that "Must Have"/"Status Symbol" accessory. They span the globe searching and researching each industry, looking for those missing pieces of the fashion and music puzzle. All while keeping an eye on the bottom line.

Reason I am sending you this email now is because they are expected to come out with huge news come Monday / Tuesday and when that happens the 10 cents will be history. Take a Look buddy you don't wanna sit out this one. Suggest you get in APPM come Monday. Keep in mind no investment is 100% safe but the risk reward ratio on APPM is phenomenal.

Anyways I gotta run.
Hope you're doing well
Take care
A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Spring forward fall back. Spring rain, Fall gold. There is always next year. Rise and shine. Watered down. She's a mother hen. Water doesn't run uphill. Some like carrots others like cabbage. As uneasy as a cat near water. Survival of the fittest. Useless as tits on bull. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. That's a whole new can of worms. Up one side and down the other. We hung them out to dry.

It looks to the spam filter to be normal person-to-person communication, so it is allowed in. Pesky spam! I am amused by the fact that they always put some throwaway text at the end to try and confuse the spam filter. I've even seen some Shakespeare appear there.

I am happy to say that some spammers are stupid and put the same text at the foot of all their messages. That's what I can quickly set up a rule to block. I would guess that the names are fake, but they are still easy to trap. Here are some example footers:

This is a commercial message. You are receiving this message because you have either opted into a website that is owned or controlled by vdrm network services or owned or controlled by one of our marketing affiliates. If you feel you have received this message in error or: If you would like to stop receiving email offers from vdrm network services entirely, then please visit...

This is a commercial message. You are receiving this message because you have either opted into a website that is owned or controlled by Adept Traffic Partners or owned or controlled by one of our marketing affiliates. If you feel you have received this message in error or: If you would like to stop receiving email offers from Adept Traffic Partners entirely, then please visit...

This is a commercial message. You are receiving this message because you have either opted into a website that is owned or controlled by Shadetree Associate Corporation or owned or controlled by one of our marketing affiliates. If you feel you have received this message in error or: If you would like to stop receiving email offers from Shadetree Associate Corporation entirely, then please visit...

It's so nice when spammers make my job easier!!! Needless to say, no messages from any of those three fake companies are being delivered. I'm sure that the names will change soon, but I'm going to do my best to keep up with them. New day, new fake name, new blocking rule from Darrell the Vigilant - slayer of spam, defender of the common emailer.

What I really need is logic to be built into my mail filter so that if it sees the same exact email message coming from many different email address, it will start blocking those messages. That's my dream feature. I can dream, at least. I think that most spam filters look at the message, the whole message, and nothing but the message. They don't compare one message to another to see if you're getting 10,000 of the same thing from different (again fake) senders.

I have to contribute something to Yahoo's digital time capsule. This is really cool. I've always been intrigued by time capsules.


It looks really cool. It seems that most people are putting pictures of their loved ones. That is a common theme worldwide, I think. The most important thing to people is their family. It's certainly the case with us.

I just saw this headline and it made me immediately think of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

I guess I'm in a weird mood this morning. I'm having a potato and egg taco and it has a peculiar taste...kind of fishy...I like the ham and egg much better here.

I'm writing a quick post from work. I'm at lunch, so this is on my own time. :p

Today we printed the invitations to our staff Christmas party. That was fun. I can't wait to get them out to the people. We always have a nice party and a good meal, so I'm looking forward to it. It's early this year, on December 1st, but maybe we can all get in the Christmas spirit early.

Back to the grind now... :)

Here's a new video of Brendan having a good time in the newly mown front lawn. The video quality really suffered when I uploaded it to YouTube, but at least it is easy for people to watch. The most I could compress it down was to 93 Meg on my own computer, and it stilled looked great using DivX. Whatever YouTube does really reduces the quality. I can't complain about the price for the hosting though!

I hope you enjoy his laugh!

Our friend Dobie finally won his long-running lawsuit about 6 weeks ago. I'm very happy for him; I never thought the day would come. He got a good sized settlement and some property. He's in the process of moving to the little town way south of San Antonio where the ranch and house he inherited are. We've seen both and the house is in fair shape but needs work. The ranch is covered with cactus and scrub, but it has it's own kind of charm.

We were there in the evening and as it got dark, I was amazed at how many stars were visible in the clear sky. I remembered when I was a kid, before there were any light visible from the hill we lived on, how many stars I could see. I've resolved to go back to Dobie's ranch during some meteor shower so that I can watch. There's one this weekend*, but he's traveling so I wasn't able to go. I suspect there will be another sometime though.

*The Orionids meteor shower, obviously named after Orion from whence they radiate, tend to be fast but relatively faint meteors, peaking at perhaps 20 per hour at maximum. The time of peak comes well after sunrise, but avid meteor watchers can look before dawn. The radiant of the shower is to the upper left of Betelgeuse, not far from the star Alhena at one of Gemini's feet.

I'm enjoying working on my mother's website. I set her up at 1and1.com and things are going just swimmingly.

She makes jewelry with Swarovski Crystals, and she wants to start selling online. We're also going to do Paypal for her site, which we've both used for personal transactions (read: eBay) but never for a business.

I'm too slow, but I'm working on it as often as I can.

The baby is sleeping in the swing next to me, which is why I can write a bit.

Well, all that work to back up, and now I can't switch! Ha! Last week I had the option in my Dashboard, but now I don't. Oh well, I guess I'll wait for it to pop up again.

Hey, Blogger people, I wanna switch, please if anyone is listening! :)

Today is the day (I think) that I'm switching my blog over to the beta of the new Blogger. I am uncertain about how this whole conversion will go for the Blogger system, and that's been making me a little worried lately. I have 847 posts, many with pictures, in this blog and I'd hate to lose them.

Since Blogger doesn't have any way to back up your blog that I know of, I had to go out and find it on my own. Movable Type to the rescue!!! In Jen's blog's help, I found a way to export all of one's blogger entries to a file. The intent there was to allow you to migrate over to Movable Type, but I'm just going to use it as a backup mechanism. It seems like it will be pretty easy and fast. I know I could have copied each entry to a big long Word Doc (thanks FO), but I think this will be faster. I DO NOT want to lose all this work. I've been blogging since February 23, 2005 - and a year and a half is a long time! If I lost all my entries, I'd cry. This is my diary after all and I hold some hope that my grandkids or someone will want to read it some day. Granted, all the things I post from YouTube and Digg will be worthless by then, but the real writing will hopefully be of interest.

So, with thanks to Six Apart, here's the procedure: (refined a lot by me)

1) Open Notepad or your favorite plain text editor. Don't use Microsoft Word or anything that will add formatting to the code.

2) Log into your Blogger account, and on your dashboard, click the blue gear icon for "Change Settings."

3) Then click the Template tab.

4) Copy your current template to Notepad and save it; you will be replacing your Blogger template with the backup template below, but you probably don't want to lose your original template. :)

Replace your Blogger template with the text in this file. I can't post the actual template code here because Blogger's system wants to parse it and by doing so strips out important parts that you need to see. Silly Blogger! :)

5) Save the template changes and re-publish your blog. You will end up with a web page showing your most recent posts, but also with links to all the months that you have posts. Click on each of the months that you want to save and choose File, Save As in your browser. Save the files to your hard drive. You can use the suggested name or make up your own. While the suggested name would probably be fine, I prefer something that will keep my files organized. I used names like "2006_10 October.htm". See?

6) Once you've saved the months you want, put your original template back and re-publish again to get things back to normal.

That's it! Now you have a backup of your Blogger blog. If you ever had to, you could look at the files in Notepad or Wordpad and copy the BODY section of a particular post back into Blogger. Viola!

Now, let's see if I'm brave enough to switch over to the beta...

I have so many things that I want to write about, but I haven't made time:

Mom's website I'm doing
Brendan's Halloween Costume
Andy's Birth story
Solving a big problem 2nd day back at work
coming back to work full time
Xmas party
Meteor shower
Japan Festival and Rice Crackers
Building boys' swingset
etc, etc, etc

I'm still alive, just busy.

Too Cute!

I really, really, really, really don't like stupid talking ads.

Case in point: this one which is often appearing on myspace these days.

Add that to my list of pet peeves.

As it turns out, I've just been too busy to blog. :~(

Any free time I've had has been either spending time with Jen, doing consulting work, or doing things with the anime club that I sponsor at work. I haven't had much me time, but I sneak in a little here and there. Last night, me and Anthony played Halo 2 together for about 45 minutes. He was here visiting for a few days to see the boys. We had Taco Cabana one night, Papa John's one night, and Long John Silvers one night. Not exactly the fare that we would typically feed out of town guests, but he's a really low-key guy so that's what he wanted. :)

I can't complain about my situation at all though; Jen by comparison has absolutely no free time. She's keeping the house organized and breastfeeding and that's all she can do. I've been trying to help, but apparently I'm one of those bum husbands that doesn't succeed at that. Darn my hide.

I'm going back to work full-time on Monday, so she's going to have even more of a challenge. I took off 6 weeks entirely for Andy's birth, then I've done two weeks working only mornings, and now it is time to go back entirely. I have to say, I was sooooo happy turning in 240 hours of sick leave under FMLA. For once, thank god for Federal Law. Where I work, you can accumulate up to 1024 hours of sick leave, but you don't get paid for it when you leave, so I was very happy to be able to use some of it. I have worked there for 10 years now and I had about 500 hours of sick leave stored up. So, happy happy, joy joy. It was really good to be off.

Maybe as Andy's Reflux/Colic dies down, we'll both have more free time. Little did I know how easy life had become before Andy with Brendan being semi-self-sufficient. As they say, you don't miss it until it's gone.

I do feel kind of bad - ever since Andy got here, we've been focusing on him and kind of letting Brendan do whatever he wants on his own. That consists of one of two things for the most part: either playing one of his video games (he really loves Mario kart 64) or watching a DVD. I really need to spend more time with him. I want to take him to a park or do something. At the very least, I go and play a round of Mario Kart with him once-in-a-while. :)

So, anyway, maybe I'll get back to writing soon. I have lately heard about Vox (I'm not planning to switch; I love you Blogger) and I want to play with it. I also want to learn about Eyespot. I've been playing with video lately since I can now get video off my vid cam. I'm planning to YouTube more videos soon!

The other night we watched a great anime movie called The Cat Returns, the sort-of sequel to Whisper of the Heart. There is a trailer for it on one of Brendan's many DVDs (Thomas the Tank Engine, Kipper, Clifford, or whatever) and he's been asking and asking for it. He'll drag me or Jen over to the TV and point to the menu choice for it and say questioningly "Thee Cat Returns?" He's so cute because he really enunciates the the long. Finally, we requested it through the library and got it.

We sat down to watch it and all enjoyed it. The reason I'm writing about it, other than to tell you that it's good, is that during it Brendan did one of those cute things that I wanted to remember later on. Sometimes he'll string together more words that I really expect from him or he'll say something really clearly so that even his Mimi would understand him (and she never understands him!)

This time his did both - clarity and length - and it was just great.

When this scene came up

he said loud and clear "Wow! Look at all those cats!"

It was great. Soooo cute.

Good movie too; check it out.

Face Research Lab creates the average attractive face based on ratings.

Very pretty indeed, sez I.

read more - digg story

Borat Trailer

I must look at this in local house of movie!

How to: Eat an Octawhopper (12 Minute edit)

This guy is my hamburger hero. I will be emailing him the name of a good cardiologist...Hehe.

Fonpods is a new Web 2.0 product which, at no additional charge, streams podcasts to your phone. Now downloading time, and no need for internet access. Currently available podcasts includes Diggnation, NerdTV, Slate Magazine, and TWiT.

read more | digg story

Unnessary Censorship

Unnessary Censorship...$#&*@^! funny!

I haven't had time for a lot of surfing lately, but I want to remember MetaCritic's Games section for future reading.

There are new Andy pix up in my Flickr account. See box at right.

If Microsoft Photosynth is ever made available to the public, I think it will be an amazing thing to play around with. I can hardly imagine what would happen if all the photos in Flickr were indexed with this. That would be awesome.


Just for Final Fantasy Fans

Today is my birthday. I'm 31. Yay. :)

I found this weird quarter. At first I thought it was just a new one I hadn't seen, then I realized that it has an anti-immigration sticker on the back. Ingenious use of coinage, really.

It was from the insurance people saying his hospital admission may or may not be covered, just so you know. What a waste of postage!

Maybe Andy will some day be interested in seeing his first piece of mail...

Me, briefly

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North Texas, Texas, United States

This is the story
of a man named Darrell
who was working
and bringing up a family.

This is the story
of his lovely family
with 3 kids and wife
all at home.

We're a happy family!
Yes, we're a happy family!


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