Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pony Puller


Here is our Pony Puller! A 2002 Toyota Sequoia. Cindy and I have been saving since June to purchase a vehicle that could pull a trailer and a pony.

It is sort of neat to finally get to the end of that goal and have all of this taken care of before the end of the year. This is the first car that I have ever bought where I actually came home with the title.

The previous owners were a young couple and were as nice as could be. Made the whole transaction one of the most pleasant car buying experience.

Even though Cindy has said that she will still use the Civic as the run-a-bout, I would not be surprised if we see our Gas Budget increase.

My New Year's Resolution

Silverlight ECard - Windows Internet Explorer 12312008 65009 AM.bmp This year, I resolve to "look out for stealing ideas during conference calls". It is a bad habit, I know.

At least, that is what the Resolution Randomizer has picked for me. What will it say for you?

I think I always have several Resolutions each year, but, like most of us, I tend to put them somewhere on the shelf shortly after eating my second helping of Black Eye Peas. I have been looking hard for something that is worth doing.

1. Continuous Learning - I learned since my October Posting that I stopped learning about my trade. It started in August of 2004, and had been on a gradual downward slope until June of 2006, in which it flat lined. During the last two months, I have been reading, coding and reading some more. I have become fans of several of the Alt.Net community. I am becoming passionate about coding again.

2. Get Involved in Music - I still like to play my trombone. I have played in my church's orchestra since 1996. It has remained challenging because the Music Pastor has kept it challenging. I have become adept at playing that style, but I do miss "band literature." I have found several community bands in the area that I would like to at try to see if I can still keep up.

3. Do something Adventurous - I admire George for his passion for mountain biking. My friend Nick is a maniacal marathon runner (I think you qualify for this when you can express how many miles you ran in one year using a comma). I would like to try Scuba. Since 1992, I have lived in close proximity to the ocean, yet I rarely visit it. I chalk it up to a phobia of sharks (thank you Mr. Spielberg), but I enjoy spending time there. A friend of ours runs a Scuba shop, and I think it would be fun to at least learn how, even if I never make it out of the pool.

4. Not Be Afraid of Relationships - After reading The Shack, I am left with the feeling that I talk a might big talk about having a relationship with God. I bet if we were in a counseling session, God would have a look of disbelief on His face and say "but you never really want to be with me. You never listen to me. You do all the talking." This spills over into my relationships with others. I am afraid to fully commit to relationships because of my own personal shack. I want to get past that. I want to experience a purer experience with my God, and my friends.

So, there it is. All of them fully achievable to some degree, but yet, a bit of a stretch. I have new items, I have items that I want to improved. Even with the economy, the election and work, 2008 was a great year. Here's looking to a happy 2009.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Anticipating Oscar

It's nearly that time of year: The Oscars. James and I used to have an annual contest to see who could get the most correct. I believe that we only watched the Academy Awards once (1991 - The year that Jack Palance did the one armed push-ups).

About the time that ribbons started showing up on nominees' lapels was about the time that I started to tune out. A night that was supposed to celebrate the best that Cinema has to offer was turning into a platform for various causes.

The first Academy Award presentation that I watched was the 2003 Oscars to see if Peter Jackson was going to be recognized for filming what had been commonly thought of as unfilmable. I wasn't disappointed.

The past two years, I have had the opportunity to go to a local AMC theater and watch all of the nominations for Best Picture. I was fortunate to have not seen any of the films prior. I am anticipating that AMC will run this program again. Also, I am worried about watching any of the big films in theaters now. It would be great to have a third marathon with all new films.

Sunday Breakfast (or, Sunday's Break Fast)

Alan wrote about his new plan for a new kind of Sunday morning. The funny part behind his message is that we have all been there. Some of the best fights that I have had with Cindy has been at the stop light in front of our church.

I decided to write to tell you what I think has been the secret to our most successful Sundays. I can sum it up in one word.


The problem with Sunday mornings is that we don't allow enough time to make it out the door. We end up treating getting out of the door as the goal. Get up, get dressed, get the kids dressed ("No, you can't wear that, it's dirty. Go and change"). There is very little difference between Sunday morning out the door and Monday. Except, you not only have yourself, but the whole crew in tow.

Cooking a big breakfast (Grits, eggs, toast, bacon, know anything that's not cereal) encourages you to get up a little earlier. I get time to have a private cup of coffee before everyone comes down. Also, I get to set the time: we eat at 7:45 am. Every Sunday. No guess work. Everyone knows what time breakfast is served and everyone is expected to be there. Since we leave for church at 8:30 am, everyone is expected to be ready (or near enough ready) by 7:45.

Over the years, I have this down to an art form. And on days (like today) where we don't have breakfast together, you really do miss it.

And, it proves that Daddy can cook a mean batch of Grits! Salt, Butter and Cheese included, gratis.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I apologize, I was Facebooking

Lately, I have fallen to the allure of Facebook. Unfortunately, there is not much to post in that particular medium. Actually, I have really felt burnt since my October posting regarding my feelings about my current Job position.

I can't say that anything has really changed on that front.

I really enjoyed having breakfast with Rick and George. Mike R. Shull filled in (again) for the absent Todd. I missed seeing Todd, but, what are the odds that Mike R. Shull would be there again? Truly, a classic moment.

Even though the food was good, the conversation was better. And, I was given a really good book recommendation: The Shack. I was warned that the first 80 pages was rough, but it was really good. It messes with you a bit.

The Shack is a metaphor for that place in your life that you just can't get past.

I have several of those in my life. I bet you do too.

But the neatest part of the book was a conviction that the kind of relationship that I am seeking with God, might not be the kind that He (? the book) wants with me. There is a lot about judgement and forgiveness that hit me square between the eyes. Definitely gives you a different way of thinking about love.

So, I hope all of you (well, both of you) had a wonderful Christmas. And, best of wishes for a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Great Bird of the Galaxy Reunited with his Wife

Just found out that Majel Barrett-Roddenbery passed away this morning after a battle with lukemia. She was a part of the Star Trek world as Number One, Nurse Chapel, Lwaxana Troi and the voice of the NCC-1701-D's computer.

Hailing Frequency closed.

Funny Label


I picked up a cake tonight for our final FPU class for the year. To celebrate, we ordered a cake from Sams. Cindy had me pick it up, and as I was standing in line, I read the label. I am not sure of I want to eat it now.

What's on your Christmas List

It seems that as we get older, we have less "wants" on our Christmas lives. The cynic in me wants to believe that it is because we can go out and buy whatever it might be that we want. But, the believer in me thinks that I have come to the point where I would rather give than receive.

Which is true? Or, is it really somewhere in the middle.

Can you remember when you were a child seeing that one item that you poured all of your hopes and dreams into, hoping that it would arrive on Christmas morn?

This song takes me way back, and remember wanting the same thing. Enjoy, and, uh, what's on your Christmas list?

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Walrus

I miss your music John.

Lennon rehearsing

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Google Notebook

I found a new feature that I really like on the Google Toolbar: The Notebook button.

When I am learning something new, I like to have a note pad with me, especially if I am surfing the net for information. Most of the times, that note pad just serves as a method to try a cement some of what I have read into my noodle. Other times, it is just a reference to articles or part of an article.

The problem is that the paper version gets lost. And, if I am clever and use a word processor then I often leave that document on the computer.

Enter Google Notebook.

The Google Toolbar is the only 3rd party toolbar that I have liked. I found a new button called Notebook. This opens a small dialog that allows you to create containers called Notebooks. As you surf, you can highlight anything on a web page and add it to the notebook by right clicking and select the add to notebook option. Then, the web page has a nice yellow highlight to show you that this has been placed in a notebook.

Finally, you can add comments and notes to the item in the notebook. Very useful. Oh, and sense it is on Google, your notebooks are stored in their cloud and can be retrieved anywhere you can connect to Google.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Height Differential

When your wife is five foot one, and you are six foot two, it makes taking photos difficult: I always appear to be towering over her.

DSCF1520I have picked up some "tricks" of the trade to help offset the difference. For example, I call this technique "The Prop and Lean."  I have used a tree to lean against, appearing relaxed and natural.

Techniques that did not work:

DSCF1515I call this the "stalker" technique. What I was hoping would happen is that if I positioned myself a little bit behind her, I would appear to be similar in height. I thought if it worked for Peter Jackson and his hobbits, maybe it would work for us.


This is the "lean to" or the "leaning tower" method. This is very simple in that all you do is give yourself a bit of a lean. It usually looks like you just ran into the frame (which, I think I had)

DSCF1514 This is an example of the "Hug" technique where I stand behind Cindy and give her an embrace. Unfortunately, this one also demonstrates the problem our height differential poses. This would have worked if I had the tripod raised a bit more.


So, the tree leaning technique worked remarkably well for us this go round. We took a quite a few pictures and did get some winners.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday FlashBack

It's always amazing to go back and look at photos of the kids. Here is Katie, not quite two years old yet. Hard to believe how quick the first eleven years have flown by.
Posted by Picasa