Friday, November 30, 2007

Gah! It's after 3!-edited-

Oh well, there goes my goal to post first thing in the morning. And I've now progressed far enough in my day to be completely slouching in my chair. So much that it looks like I'm laying flat. Which I just about am.

Anyway, here's a little update.

- Secret Project - Progressing nicely. I have plenty to work on to keep me busy for several months if I limit myself to posting three times a week.
- HBO - They still has sent me a replacement disc for the damaged Deadwood DVD I sent them. Crapweasles.
- Rabbit and Bear Paws - I'm still eagerly awaiting the my free shirt I won for their riddle. Big surprise that when I win something, I never get it. Figures.
- Christmas Cube - I've actually decorated my desk a bit for the holiday season. I have a large poster, a small tree, and a Christmas Story ornament that talks when you push the button.
- All I want for Christmas - Is my flipping Washington Post. For the second time I've been rejected with no delivery. The distributor was nice enough to tell me that he delivers to the Sheetz (4 miles away) and the Round Hill Market (2 miles away) but does not deliver to my road. The putz.

In the end, I'm comforting myself with work and Top Gear (via YouTube). -edited- I really don't want to edit more documents. Oh well. Looks like their trip across Botswana will keep me busy for awhile.

Kvothe - Chapter 15

Chapter 15 – Distractions and Farewells

We finally see Ben leave the troupe to go teach the son of a wealthy widow. Combined with his leaving is Kvothe’s twelfth birthday. The troupe puts on quite a show and Arl (short for Arliden) sang a verse of the secret project he was working on, the ballad about Lanre and the Chadrian.

Kvothe wakes the next day to find a book, Rhetoric and Logic, signed by Ben. This will play an important role later. Oh, and the town where Ben stays behind, Hallowfell, is actually on the map.

--Read more about the detailed analysis here--

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why you so quiet?

I don't know if that line actually came from a movie, but I remember some little Asian lady saying it for some reason. Oh well, thus is the madness of my post titles.

As for my silence, well, I've actually had work to do. Amazing. I've been volunteered for yet another project, this one will involve a lot of document reviews, edits, changes, approvals, uploads, etc. Not pretty, but very time consuming. And we still have a limited amount of staff for our team, which means more phone time. Yiippee.

And on top of that, I've been working on a little secret project on the side. I always seem to have some sort of project on the side, most I never seem to follow through on. Well, with this one, I'm hoping to get some support from others. Not necessarily you (meaning my readers here----all four of you) but you are by all means welcome to come and visit, provide feedback, etc. It's kind of a niche market, and I've not seen many others offering/providing/entertaining like I'm trying to do.

And I just realized that whole paragraph was a bunch of gibberish. So, moving on, this weekend will be busy. Actually this whole month will be. There's the Christmas parade, family photos, an SAT test to proctor, a play at the Riverside, a movie, the list goes on. Kind of like Santa's.

So here's to hoping we all stay in the Nice column.

God my brain is going to mush. Maybe I should write in the morning.

Kvothe - Chapter 14

Chapter 14 – The Name of the Wind

The title chapter. Ben issues a challenge to bring a bird down out of the sky. Kvothe, being clever and smart, binds the wind in his chest to that outside. And nearly kills himself. Ben saves him and does well at hiding it from Kvothe’s mother, but the damage is done. Ben does not teach Kvothe as much as he’d like and we begin to see the end of their relationship.
--Read more about the detailed analysis here--

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The DTs

It's days like today I could really go for a Coke. A nice, ice-cold, glass bottle of sparkling, bubbling Coke. With condensation dripping down the sides of the bottle and the carbonation so fresh there's a little mini-fountain of cola goodness sprouting gently from the mouth of the bottle. That opening to the refreshing goodness of sickly sweet soda.

Instead I opted for a Mocha Java Cooler from Daily Grind. Not the same, but as close as I can get. Probably worse for me too, but I don't care. I haven't been to bed early (as in before 11:00 pm) since Saturday so my old age is kicking in. Gramps needs his rest.

And it doesn't help that the annoying cube-neighbor that always has something to say isn't here today. In fact, I'm all alone on my row today. And tomorrow. And we're slammed silly on the phones. God, why can't I work from home in my underwear and make money reading books and editing manuscripts?

Because God doesn't like you, moron.

Ahhh, but my Mocha Java does!


Kvothe - Chapter 13

Chapter 13 – Interlude – Flesh with Blood Beneath

This is a juicy chapter, but not long enough. Kvothe takes a break from telling his story and calls on his friend/servant Bast to get something to drink. As Bast and he are talking, Chronicler goes from showing curiousity over Bast, to openly studying him, to attacking him by invoking the name of Iron. Bast in turn attempts to retaliate, but Kvothe settles them down and makes them see the error of their ways.

And it’s in the middle of all this that we learn Chronicler is an accomplished member of the Arcanum and is one of the few people that know the name of Iron. We also learn that Bast is the son of a Prince of some import but most interesting to me, his cloven hooves and eyes that become a solid color. Clearly the question of his race is raised.

--Read more about the detailed analysis here--

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kvothe - Chapter 12

Chapter 12 – Puzzle Pieces Fitting

Now we get into a bit more of Kvothe’s family as we find him eavesdropping on Ben talking with his parents. We learn that Kvothe’s father, Arl, is in the process of writing a new song about Chandrain, the most vile and evil of creatures to walk the lands. And aside from them being evil, we only learn a little more about them here. Be patient, we’ll learn more soon enough. And we begin to develop a bit of kinship or caring for Kvothe’s parents as they joke and tease each other while we learn the Ben is wise, maybe wiser than we thought. And the seed for Kvothe attending the University has been officially planted. It’s a big deal to his parents and Ben, but even bigger to Kvothe.

--Read more about the detailed analysis here--

I need your help

I've been staring at my stupid face with a mustache for too long and I need your help. I want a new avatar for Google (which would cover my blog and Picasa). So, I've searched hi and low and I've found the following.

Please vote with your choice in the comments. You decide who lives or dies!

The current avatar:

Choice One
Choice Two
Choice Three
Choice Four

Choice Five

Monday, November 26, 2007

Grande weekend report

Lots of reading here, so pull up a comfy chair and a coffee.

I'm published
I've now been published. In Spanish. And English. Only the Spanish version is online, but the English version is available in print (scan is below). Not quite the groundbreaking writing I was hoping for, but better than nothing.

Since I've been reading about Paul and his Scrabble games, I've had a hankering to play. So this weekend, Yvonne agreed to play. Well, I beat her. Twice. The second game was a bit of a blow-out at 192 to 302. My highest scoring turn was 33 points, her's was 24. My favorite play was playing a single tile (the letter D) and getting 21 points. I don't think she'll play Scrabble with me for a very long time.

Today is my last day of class until late April. This was only my second class in my Masters program, but I think I've learned the key behind this particular program (Masters of Information Systems and Management) thanks to my professor, who was a giant ass. The key is bull shit. The work I've written for this class sucked worse than a Hoover. So bad, I didn't want anyone to proof read the papers for fear they would laugh. But it was a great exercise in creative writing. Even if I bomb this week due to my distribution of fecal matter (which I doubt), I should still pass the class. So remember that class. The key to management is bull shit.

Elizabeth had a blast dancing during the Macy's parade. What a hoot.

I finally finished reading Innocent Mage by Karen Miller and, quite frankly, was surprised I continued reading it until the end. This book has been on the best seller list in the US, UK, and her native Australia. And I'm not sure why. It's not that it isn't a good book, it's just, well, rough around the edges. There are certain aspects of the story that just don't jive. Namely, when the bad guy arrives, he does so suddenly. So suddenly it almost stops the story in its tracks and makes you (the reader) go huh? wha?

I think the best way to describe this story is like a nugget of gold. It has a lot of value, but it's very rough and even looks ugly at times. It isn't like S. M. Stirling or Patrick Rothfuss who have stories that are more like a gold coin. Very crisp, polished, and shiny, but worth the same amount.

I'm hoping the next book is better as is her next series. Until then, I'm off to read Havoc by Jack DuBrul. And maybe I can get back to re-reading (and analyzing) Name of the Wind.

As in Unidentified Family Objects. I'm thinking I've found a name for a new blog. Something that will allow me to show and identify some family heirlooms. I'll test it and see what happens. This was all brought about by my time spent Saturday going through a very small portion of the items Dad brought back from the farm. And I'm not even talking about the letters we sorted out. Kind of sad to see your grandfather's wallet and his father's wallet still full of credit cards and paper items. Anyway, keep an eye on the sky for UFOs!

It's that time of year where I'm tired of working on decorating. Yvonne does most of the work (thank God) and Elizabeth helped this year with the bottom part. I did the top. Yvonne did the middle. We also listened to some holiday music, watched some holiday movies, and generally made a mess of the house that finally got cleaned up late last night (damn those Patriots for winning). But all is done, the house looks normal again, and I'm officially on the Christmas Wagon.

And finally (yes, almost there, you can do it!) the presents I wrapped at work for Yvonne are in the car and ready to go home. Elizabeth has a couple under her bed for Yvonne too. I hope she'll like them!

Turkeys go Gobble Gobble

Ducks go quack quack and Chickens go cluck cluck.

So, here's the long awaited Thanksgiving report. The first part. The one I've been planning since last week. The one with all the photos.

But I'll spare you from posting all the photos here, so go HERE instead to look at them.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Beef Jerky Anyone?

So, I've been known to order some beef jerky in the past. In fact, there are several co-workers that see me as the "beef jerky guy." While I enjoy it, I can't quite bring myself to eat a pound of jerky in a week. My co-workers can. So, they bring me there money, I place the order, I deliver, and the eat. And eat. And eat.

Needless to say, the folks I order from are quite nice. I've dealt with them for several years. And they should treat me nice. I've ordered as much as $300 in beef jerky at once (at the peak of jerky eating) and average a few hundred dollars a year in orders.

So, they send me a nice Christmas letter every year.

If you like jerky, order from No Man's Land.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Flowers and Marshmallows

Enjoy the latest photos (from this morning!).

From Flowers and M...

I've also added a video (just for you Mom, now that you have DSL).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Heroes Rewind

- Papa Claire Bear isn't dead. Not enough blood for a head shot through the eye. He somehow turned in time. Ha! I told you.
- West, the flying boy wonder, will die. If not, I'll be pissed.
- Favorite line from tonight: "Hurts like a bitch, doesn't it?" Water and electricity don't mix, do they?
- Parkman is skirting that grey area between good and bad. Will he give in and do the wrong thing or will he play it safe?
- We now have the plot the next season or the next half of this season. The mystery woman from the photo. Victoria Pratt.
- Does Mama Claire bear have a power? Yes. The ability to not act well. Maybe she's the flying boy wonder's mother.
- Hiro meets Young Hiro. Pretty cool. And now we see Hiro grow. Finally. Some major character development.

That is all.


So, I was going to tell everyone about my nice weekend but I decided to depress everyone instead by telling you I have no "real" friends.

Now, before everyone jumps the gun, let me explain a little bit. My best friend is my wife. But she's family. And she is a REAL friend, but not the kind I'm talking about. I'm talking about the kind of friend you can go out and do things with, have a drink at the bar, talk about your wife, your kids, your job. You know, a friend.

Maybe a "real guy" friend is a better choice of words. I simply don't have any. I have family. I have family I'm very close to. I have friends online. I have friends online that I feel I'm close to (they may not feel the same way, who knows). But I don't have a single, solitary person that I feel comfortable going out, having a drink or round of golf, and talking about marriage or work or kids.

And while I'm lucky enough to have Yvonne as a best friend, I don't feel like I have a "best-friend-that's-not-your-wife friend." Maybe I'm still too introverted.

So, if you're reading this, be thankful if you have a "best-friend-that's-not-your-wife/husband friend." And if you don't, then feel comfortable that you're not alone.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Elizabeth's Song

So this past week, Elizabeth has been a singer/songwriter/dancer. She's been dancing at the sitter's and at home. She's been singing in the car and making up her own songs. My only regret is not videotaping this particular song.

Jingle bells
[clap your hands]
Make new friends
Look out the window
Look for the red light


Makes you wonder what little kids think about.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

[le sigh]

I wish I had something profound to say.

But I don't.

So carry-on and enjoy your day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New photos

Here are some new photos from the past week or so. I haven't heard anyone clamoring for more photos of William, so I thought I'd be proactive before I heard more complaints. There's also Dad's birthday (my Dad, not me), Mom's postcard, and Elizabeth's fingernails.


PS - Don't forget that you can always check out the photos and videos by clicking that link over there to the left!

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Innocent Mage Quasi-Review

So, while I've given up reviews to a certain degree, I would like to stand out on a ledge for a bit and talk about The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller. I can't tell you how I came across Karen as a writer, but I think it was through her Stargate books. She's down in Oz-land (Australia) so her books are mostly available in the UK and difficult to find in the US. I subscribed to her blog some time ago and have been loosely following her writings. When I saw her book was being published in the US, I piqued my interest but didn't go much further than that.

Until I started to see more rumblings about her book. And good reviews.

So, I managed to finish the first part of her book and was pleasantly surprised. It's about Asher, the proverbial farm boy (fisherman's son in this case) who goes to the big city to make some money. In the process he comes to be the employee of the Prince. The Prince likes him so much, he moves up from stable boy to assistant.

Nothing too terribly exciting, but there are enough secrets layered into the story, that you want to know what happens. The two "races" are magic and non-magic people. There's a huge wall on the edge of their land that keeps back some hidden danger. And there's a secret group of non-magic people who can actually do magic, despite it being forbidden. And they want Asher to fulfill the proverbial prophecy.

So, there's enough here to keep you reading, but the real question is how well does it end. This particular series, called "Kingmaker, Kingbreaker," is only a duology. She does have more books coming for the series, but they're still in the works.

Bottom line, it's good so far, but yet to be determined on how well it will finish.

I have a confession

As I wait for Heroes to start, I feel I must make a confession. I am not who I say I am. I've been hiding something both great and terrible and have yet to share my secret with anyone but my wife.

And after coming to terms with the crimes we have committed, I feel I need to come clean. I need to purge my soul from the bad karma. That's right, Yvonne and I have both killed. Our latest victims were killed just a few days ago. We felt no remorse as we ended their lives. In fact, we were rather eager to repeat the process.

In the past weeks, we've killed over twenty unwitting souls. They came into our house alive and left as withered husks in the trash. I loved killing them, but I hated them. I hated their small, tiny bodies. Their eyes. Their legs. Their wings.

I would have taken pictures, but the horror would have been too much for some of you. Instead, I'll leave you with the fact that I have not seen anymore flies buzzing around recently.

Guess word got out.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Meeting At Corvallis

Finally. I finished. So here's a quasi-review of the book, the series, and S. M. Stirling.

The Book
The book is slow to start. Very slow. In fact, I had to force myself through parts of it to make my way through. But at the end, it sped along nicely. Lots of plot movement. Almost enough to make up for the first half of the book.

Anyway, we see some major developments with Rudi, Mike Havel, and Tiphaine. Juniper stumbles along so-so as do Astrid and others.

In the end, Mike and Norman die. I guess it balances out, but I was upset to see Mike die as well as how. Stirling didn't do the fight justice by dragging it out. It was more like pulling a band-aide off real fast.

Bottom line - Where else can you read about lesbians, witches (not the magic kind), swords, and a world with no electronics or gunpowder?

The Series
The trilogy, Dies The Fire, was pretty good. First two books were good, third was just okay. The trilogy ties in nicely with the Island in the Sea of Time trilogy (Island in the Sea of Time, Against the Tide of Years, and On the Oceans of Eternity). I now want to go back and re-read this trilogy to see how well it fits in. And I want to read the next series, Sunrise Lands, that delves into the rest of America and the world.

Bottom line - Lesbians again, but with fewer Gaelic speaking Wiccans and more super-evil bad guys.

S. M. Stirling
Aside from his plethora of lesbians (and Wiccans in the second series), he has quite an imagination. The Changed World line I'm familiar with (7 books published and 3 to go) is essentially about a world that experiences a change that splits time. A small enclave in New England gets sent back to ancient times (like the Bronze Age) where guns and electricity works (for those that have it). Meanwhile, the rest of the world is plunged into a world where physics are altered and guns and electricity don't work. What caused the change? Who knows. But I'm partial to the Alien Space Bats theory.

I've only read one other book by Stirling, Conquistador, and was not very pleased. It was a slightly below average read and just didn't really do anything for me.

Go here to see more about the book, series, and author. But fair warning, there are some spoilers there. And don't forget the cool cover art. That's what got me hooked.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thanksgiving on the brain

So I have a really depressing post that I'll sit on for the moment so I can talk about Thanksgiving. I started blogging in June of 2005 and had my first Thanksgiving related post a few months later. A year later, I talked about who I'd invite to Thanksgiving dinner.

And to continue with the major holiday theme, this year I'm bouncing some ideas around for themes. But I'm also looking for ideas from you, the reader.

In the meantime, I'll be going to lunch shortly. I skipped my walk yesterday since I felt slightly ill from my walk the day before. And since my nose and throat are getting scratchy again today, I think I'll be skipping my walk again. I thought about lifting some weights, but I think I'll try to make more headway on Meeting at Corvallis. I'd really like to finish it this week.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Get ready for the Cute!

So, the other day, I was doing something like taking a shower or going to the bathroom when I come out to hear Elizabeth running around. She tends to make some rapid trips up and down the hallway between our room and the living room or William's room and the living room. So when I come out, she's rolling around on the bed with this big grin on her face like she's up to something. On the floor is her little magna-doodle book.

What trickery was she up to? She drew a picture of me. That's right, a picture of Dad. I was very impressed with her artistic skills and she only needed my help to draw the arms.

So here's the final result.


Long night last night. Steeler game went to about midnight or so. But we won. Big Ben looks like he's hurt, so we'll see how that turns out.

I did manage to vote this morning. Nearly a straight Democratic ballot with the exception of the School Board candidates (they're required to run as Independents by state law). So I picked who I thought would be best there. And, just like the last Presidential election, I am likely the only person to use the computer to cast my ballot. We have a fancy electronic ballot machine that nobody seems to be comfortable with running. Mrs. Ashton, my high school government and history teacher, was again a bit flubber-whoomped by the thing. But, with some help, it all worked out. And I was nice enough to warn her I'd be using it again for the next election.

And I completely forgot to tell my story about this weekend. Yvonne's sister Nicole and her husband Justin came to visit. They arrived Saturday morning and left Sunday morning. While not the nicest way to put it, you know it was a good visit when Elizabeth cried when they left. And Nicole and Justin seemed to have a good time with William too. Me? Well, I spent most of Saturday holed up in the room writing a school paper. Yuck.

And Sunday we went shopping after they left. We wanted to get some ideas for Elizabeth for Christmas. We'd still like everyone to put some money into both her college fund and William's (which we have yet to setup). They have plenty of toys and clothes. Not that you can't get them toys, we'd just like to see some of the money spent on their educations.

And the most interesting story from Sunday? The story which I completely forgot about until now? For the first time ever, I was asked by a police officer for my gun permit. Such a pleasant surprise. We went to Panera for lunch and I was wearing my gun under my jacket. I picked a seat (a cold one mind you, right by the door) and there was a state trooper in the next booth. Funniest part was he asked "What agency?" and Yvonne thought he asked "What age?" Anyway, he was very professional and, as expected, talked guns after making sure I was legit. Such excitement in such a boring life.

Here's a picture of the rig. Mind you, it's black. And I was NOT wearing a tie. That would be worse than writing a school paper.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Kvothe - Chapter 11

Chapter 11 – The Binding of Iron

Now we begin to learn sympathy. Simply put, you can control one item by binding it to another. The more similar the items, the easier it is to control and the less energy it takes. So a branch broken in half would be more similar (and easier) than a piece of glass and a branch. Sympathy also requires energy. So by binding two items together and lifting one, the other will also rise. You will feel the weight of not only the item you’re lifting, but the item it’s bound to being lifted; and you will also feel the weight of using sympathy to do the binding. The easiest example to understand was when Kvothe linked a piece of chalk to a piece of glass. Being very dissimilar, lifting the two pounds of glass and chalk felt like lifting sixty pounds.

We also learn that while Kvothe’s time with Ben appears to be the only thing he did, it wasn’t. He still had his chores and other duties to perform with the troupe and spent his free time with Ben. But it’s clear that his time with Ben was important and exciting enough to be the center of his life at this point.

--Read more about the detailed analysis here--

Your Dental Health

Like many people, I don't enjoy going to see the dentist. As a kid, I suffered through many extractions, braces, and various other scenarios of oral torture. And compared to Yvonne, I had it easy.

So in the interest of your dental health and reduced discomfort during your next visit, I'll be giving you two toothy topics to think about today.

First up, grinding. I've been a tooth grinder for as long as I can remember (I'm sure Mom can attest to that). Well, about a year ago, the dentist broke the bad news that my years of grinding were taking their toll on my teeth. They were starting to gather minute cracks from the intense pressure. So they recommended I get a night guard. I said no. Six months later, same story. So I finally said yes. After nearly choking to death while they made the molds of my teeth, I nearly choked to death on the cost. Over $500. And the best part? Insurance didn't cover it. So I wore it a few nights, got tired of the pain from wearing it, cleaning it, and simply remembering to put it in. Well, after grinding some more and waking up in worse pain than from wearing the guard, I decided to take the lesser of the two evils and wear the night guard.

Second, brushing, flossing, and the impact of chewing gum. Like many kids, I loved to chew gum. I'd rip open my Topps baseball cards and chew on the crummy piece of gum that was tucked inside. I'd chew all sorts of gum. Flavored gum. Gum with juice stuff in the middle. Gum in the shape of cigarettes. Gum in a big long roll. Gum that was shredded like chewing tobacco. But I never liked the Trident my Dad chewed. Just wasn't sweet enough and the stuff lasted forever. Good gum is supposed to lose it's flavor after half an hour, right? So anyway, as I got older, I began to chew more Trident. The plain kind. The sugarless plain kind.

Well, to make this long story short, I now chew between 2 and 5 pieces of Trident a day. After every meal, snack, and drink, I chew a piece. Well, the results are astounding. The dentist thinks I not only brush 3 times a day (I don't), they think I floss everyday (I don't). So, save your teeth, and chew some Trident.

Now if Trident would only pay me for this endorsement.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Knock knock, anyone home?

Yeah, I'm home, just running late. Okay, running very late. I've been meaning to post all day and never seem to get a free minute to do what I want to do at work. Guess that's why they call it work and not fun.

Anyways, aside from work being busy, I've been trying to keep in the habit of walking. Until Wednesday. I think I'm literally off my stride because my left knee started hurting after my walk Wednesday. Then my heel starting hurting. Turns out I got a blister on my heel. So I'll be switching shoes to take care of that. As for the knee, it's still a little sore, but I did okay with a slow, normal walk today. Maybe I need to slow down.

And in other news....I'm still progressing nicely with Innocent Mage and Meeting At Corvallis but have yet to get back to Name Of The Wind. One thing at a time I guess. And school take priority.

I think I had some contaminated food today. After lunch I developed a headache and slightly upset stomach. Motrin took care of most of the headache, but it still twinges. So I'm wondering now if my roast beef panini touched some turkey. I can still breath, so I'm still alive.

And, it's the beginning of a new month, which means I get to look at a new picture of Colonial Williamsburg. Sadly I'll need a new calendar soon and have no idea what I want. Time to shop for something different I think.

And that's about it. My sister-in-law and her husband are coming tomorrow to visit. They leave Sunday so it'll be short. But Elizabeth will enjoy the company and I'm sure they will too.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hallween photos

Check out the photos from Halloween here:

From Halloween 2007