Friday, October 31, 2008
This is a video of Tyler playing soccer. It is the only video we have of Tyler actually scoring a goal. It is the only game-goal I've seen him score actually. Unfortunately, I do not get to all his games, and missed this one. They are on Wednesday afternoons before I am usually home from work. This one I was setting up for an auction. I feel pretty cheated out of the experience.
But, Tracy did get this one on video. One sort of funny thing about this video is that I had to remove part of what Tracy said. Don't worry, she did not swear or anything, she just did not think he scored, and said "ohh.... so close". And of course, you do not hear her cheering and going wild. So, she made me take out the "so close" comment. I wonder if she will mind that I am putting it in the blog.
Just to explain a little bit, this video (most of our videos) is taken on a little itty-bitty digital camera and the LCD display is not very big. Plus, she did not have her glasses on. Plus, the woman next to her was the goalie's mom, so when Brian's (Brian is one of Tyler's good friends and so his mom is usually cheering for Tyler) mom said something like "oh no" it probably did not register to Tracy that she was saying "oh no, my baby let in a goal" and not "oh no, Tyler missed". So, I had to doctor the video a little bit because Tracy feels bad about not realizing her son scored.
Now, she is going to be angry at me because I mentioned it in the blog.
Here is a better quality, non-doctored video of the actual goal:
Tracy told me today that she is a bad aunt because she did not send (or even buy until last night) a gift for her nephew, Caleb. I told her that is not something bad enough to get the "bad aunt" label. Forgetting to send a gift to a one-year old (who probably does not have any clue what birthday really means and who will be just as happy playing with the box Tracy sends the gift in as the toy she got) is not all that bad. In fact, I'm not completely sure sending a gift at all is necessary (does that make me a bad uncle?).
One thing I do not understand about moms is why they want to feel guilty about these sorts of things. Quite frankly, Tyler is a 6 year-old playing soccer. He is out there so he can expend energy. He has no clue what Mommy is or is not doing on the sidelines. He does not really care if he wins or loses or if he ever scores a goal, let alone whether or not his mom reacts correctly on the sideline. And, every one of our nephews and nieces have plenty of toys and not one of them would have any problem with a late gift from their Aunt (or even not getting one at all). But Tracy has this weird sort of sense of responsibility (which I think is ingrained in all moms and even women who are not mothers) that makes them feel bad when they "fail" at these little things.
After-all, at least she was at the game (unlike Tyler's good-for-nothing-deadbeat father) and at least she realized it was Caleb's birthday and will send a gift (unlike Caleb's good-for-nothing-insensitive uncle).
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tyler is fascinated with Halloween decorations. Because of this, so is Connor. There are a couple of houses in our general neighborhood that really go overboard on Halloween decorations, and the boys call these "the haunted houses". When we drive out of the driveway, I get requests from Tyler, "Can we go by the haunted house?" and then almost immediately a "Yeah Yeah, can we go by the the haunted house?" The haunted house closest to us is "the haunted house". There is one a bit farther away which is referred to as "the other haunted house".
The picture below is one I took with my phone of "the other haunted house". The picture does not really do it justice, but this is actually two houses right next to other that obviously coordinate their Halloween decorational (decorational is not a real word) strategy. In fact, they go overboard like this for all the major holidays, but at the moment, it is obviously Halloween. The whole scene is like an army of goblins and ghouls and other evil creatures of the night.
What bothers me the most about this is that there are two people or sets of people who live next door to each other and coordinate this together. In fact, the two houses have a fence around the two front yards. There is no fence between the two front yards. My guess is that the two families are either very related (parents / children? brother / sister?) or some sort of freakishly friendly people. The other possibility is that both houses are owned by one person and as part of the lease, there is a clause that requires shared decorations. Actually, this is really sort of disturbing, but given the number of large decorations for EVERY SINGLE major holiday, I would not be totally shocked if one house was just storage for the decorations.
I think maybe next time we go by, I'll take my real camera and take a proper photograph of this abomination.
Anyway, because of their fascination with Halloween decorations, the boys have been busy with paper, canyons, markers, and scissors, busily making their own decorations and taping them ALL OVER THE HOUSE. Every few minutes there is another skeleton or witch (or whatever the weird frightening things that Connor draws are) somewhere. I guess it keeps them off the streets and out of gangs and stuff... but really... enough already. I am ready for Halloween decoration season to be over so they can move on from this phase.
To the Thanksgiving decoration season.
I've had a good couple of days for strokes to my ego.
I had a Silent Auction last night. Every time we do Silent Auctions, we get tons of positive comments on the software system that we created. Last night, we got more than usual I thought.
Also, last night, the lady running the arc-thrift silent auction that I was working asked me "what are you, 23?" ... as in she thought I was 23 years old. I don't think she was being sarcastic. I think she honestly thought I was much younger than I am. And, she is only 41 herself (I'm 38), so it is not like she is some old woman whose perspective is of an ancient woman who just thinks everyone is a kid compared to her. As far as I know, there was no reason for her to "suck up" to me.
This morning, I was forwarded an email referring to the project that I am currently working on for CHFA as "the extreme upper limit to what is possible to technology". The comment came from a group from another HFA (New Hampshire's) who had come by yesterday to talk to CHF about this solution. I am not sure I can think of a better compliment than "extreme upper limit to what is possible to technology". The extravagance of the compliment probably has a lot to do with the lack of technological sophistication in their custom development environment, but still that is quite a statement for the resulting software product that I had a huge part in developing. And, for the time being, I have decided to ignore the questionableness (is that a real word?) of the source.
AND... this morning, I read a blog which is completely dedicated to me being right http://bluefield5.blogspot.com/2008/10/my-brother-was-right.html. Well, maybe it is not completely dedicated to that, but it is titled "My brother was right" and in this case "My brother" is me. I was right about something !!! It does happen every once and awhile, but even when it accidentally DOES happen, I rarely get blogged about. (this might be the first time there has been a blog entry about me being right about anything).
I'm not sure what processed me to do so, but I went to Classmates.com the other day. I thought I had signed up for their free service years ago, but apparently I was mistaken. I signed up and looked at some people from ZBTHS , class of 1988. The free version of the service is a fraction of what you get if you pay. Some of the people I read up on had some interesting things to say. Most (like me) really do not say much.
But, today I got a message in my email telling me that 2 people had signed my classmates.com guestbook. "Wow," I thought, "I didn't realize I got a guestbook with the free service". Well, it turns out you have a guest book, but can not look at it unless you pay. So, two people have signed, presumably saying "hi" or "how are you doing" or maybe "hey don't I owe you 1.2 million dollars ... here is my phone number ... call me and I will write you a check". But, now I will probably never know what they had to say. Part of me really wants to know what someone put in my guestbook. But, I cannot bring myself to pay for something like that. Google's BlogSpot (basically all of the Google products) sort of spoil people like me. Why would I pay for something like Classmates.com when google gives all these great things for free? If one of the comments is someone wanting to give me the 1.2 million dollars, of course I better pay Classmates.com, but there is a slightly higher probability that it is someone I don't even know from Waukegan East saying "ZBTHS Sucks" or something else completely uninteresting.
I tried updating my "story" to point people to my blog so that anyone who comes across me on Classmates.com can end up here and leave me any comment they want. The site prohibits any web urls in the profile, so I could not do that. I left a couple of keywords to "google" to find the blog. So, maybe someone will see that and try leaving me a not here. Probably not, though. Anyway, even though it probably should not be, this is a slight ego boost as well. Someone loved me enough in high school that after just a day or two of being on the thing, I got two messages (one of which is likely someone who wants to give me money).
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Those of you who are Lutheran probably know, this past Sunday was Reformation Sunday. I think most people know what the Reformation was (I am sure at least 75% of the people who read this blog know), but in case you do not know (if you are one of those people, leave me a comment and let me know how you got lost enough to join the 3 or 4 other people who ever come by), the Protestant Reformation began in the 1500's when Martin Luther (after whom the Lutheran church is named) , troubled by several of the practices of the Catholic Church, wrote up 95 theses and nailed them to a church door. These were mostly criticisms on how the Pope and the church had lost track of the church being more about God than for humans (such as the Pope). The act of nailing the piece of paper to the door is basically what started all Protestant Churches. Obviously (or maybe not so obviously) the desire for reform started long before this act, but this is the "shot heard round the world" type event that gets credit for starting things off.
Reformation Sunday is sort of a big deal in our Lutheran church. I honestly don't know if other Protestant Churches celebrate it as a special Sunday, but Lutherans sure do. I actually do not recall it being that big of a deal in my child-hood Lutheran churches, but that is probably has more to do with my poor memory than anything else.
Regardless, it is a celebration in our church. Obviously, it is not as important as any of the bigger festivals / seasons, but it is considered special. One thing our church has as a tradition is for everyone (most everyone) in the congregation to wear red. I guess it is sort of like a sports team trying to band together for a sporting event. The red matches the liturgical colors of the day. It is sort of cool to see. I suspect visitors and those who forget feel a little uncomfortable, which supports one of the points, my sister made in one of her blog entries (So....are you Catholic). But, I do not think it would make feel too terribly bad. Plus, it certainly gives someone who does not know an excuse to ask the Pastor: "So, what's the deal with everyone wearing red?" I wonder if there is some deep reason I am unaware of. Maybe I will ask sometime.
And, of course, between services we had a Reformation Breakfast. In my opinion, our church does not do as many breakfasts and other meals together as other (smaller?) churches do, so any excuse to do so is probably a good thing.
So, I hope everyone out there had a great Reformation Sunday. Don't forget All-Saints-Day is coming up soon.
Here is the video in case you want to watch it without going to http://www.95thesesrap.com:
Friday, October 24, 2008
I will not be able to vote for Obama / Liden. As my sister points out in her blog, it is just too easy to read it "Osama Bin Laden".
Despite the fact that I usually consider myself way more conservative than liberal (and Obama is absolutely liberal), I want to like Obama. I really do. I checked out his book on CD version of "Change We Can Believe In" and listened to it.
How can you not like someone who WILL:
- Send Rebate Checks of $1,000 to American Families
- Save One Million Jobs
- Help Local Communities Through Tough Times
- Give Every Working Family a $1,000 Tax Cut
- Eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors making less than $50,000
- Ease the burden of High Gas Prices and Make Oil Companies Share in the Sacrifice
- Help Workers Displaced by Trade and Globalization
- Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit
- Raise the Minimum Wage
- Protect Workers and their Right to Organize
- Give Family Farmers the Stability They Need to Thrive
- Give Affordable Health Care for All Americans
- Lower Health Care Costs by $2,00 per Family and Improve Quality
- Guarantee Health Coverage for Every American
- Bring Down the Costs of Prescription Drugs
- Promote Prevention of Illnesses.
- Ensure That Every Child Gets a World Class Education
- Make College Affordable for Everyone
- Create Automatic Workplan Pensions
- Expand the Savers' Tax Credit for Working Families
- Preserve Social Security
- Protect Workers Pensions
- Secure Homeownership for American Families
- Make it Easier to Balance Work and Family
- Bring Opportunity to Areas of Concentrated Poverty
- Pay for All Proposals and Cut the Deficit
- Cut Spending and Reduce Government Waste
- Put Medicare on Solid Footing by Reducing Costs and Improving Quality
- Give Tax Relief to the 98 Percent of Households Making less than $250,000 a Year
- Eliminate Special Tax Breaks for Corporations
- Simplify Tax Filings for Middle-Class Americans
- Create a Reserve Fund for Emergencies and Deficit Reduction
- Increase Fuel Economy Standards
- Get One Million Pug-in Electric Vehicles on the Road by 2015
- Cut Taxes for Drivers Who Buy Fuel-Efficient Automobiles
- A "Use it or Loss It" Approach to off-shore Drilling Leases
- Promote the Responsible Domestic Production of Oil and Natural Gas
- Reduce Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2050
- Establish a National Low-Carbon Fuel Standard
- Require 10 Percent of Electricity to Come from Renewable Sources by 2012
- Rally the World to Stop Global Warming
- Bring Responsibility and Values to Our Classrooms
- Invest in Zero-to-Five Early Childhood Education
- Improve Accountability and Reform No Child Left Behind
- Recruit, Prepare, Retain, and Reward America's Teachers.
- Support School Principals
- Encourage Additional Learning Time
- Reduce High School Dropout Rate
- Double Funding for After-School Opportunities
- Make College Affordable for Everyone
- Expand Opportunities for Lifelong Learning
- Deploy the Next-Generation Broadband
- Protect the Openness of the Internet
- Safeguard Privacy
- Double Federal Funding for Basic Scientific Research
- Advance Stem Cell Research
- Upgrade Math and Science Education
- Appoint a National Chief Technology Officer
- Reform the Patent System
- Create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank
- Improve and Modernize Air Traffic Control
- Strengthen Airline Safety and Regulations
- Support Rural Economic Development
- Spur Regional Economic Growth
- Invent in Next-Generation Manufacturing Innovation
- Convert Our Manufacturing Centers into Clean Technology Leaders
- Open Up Foreign Markets to Support Good American Jobs
- Help Workers Displaced by Trade and Globalization
- End Tax Breaks for Companies that Send Jobs Overseas
- Reward Companies that Invest in America
- Strengthen Trade Enforcement to Protect American Jobs
- Amend the North American Free Trade Agreement
- End the War in Iraq Responsibly
- Begin a Responsible, Phased Withdrawal from Iraq
- Launch a Diplomatic Surge to Iraq's Neighbors
- Prevent a Humanitarian Crisis
- Focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan
- Redeploy American Troops to Afghanistan
- Strengthen NATO's Hand in Afghanistan
- Train and Equip the Afghan Army and Police
- Increase Nonmilitary Aid to Afghanistan by 1 Billion
- Demand more from the Pakistani Government
- Stand with the Pakistani People
- Work with Our Allies to Fight Terrorism
- Launch a Public Diplomacy Effort
- Restore America's Moral Authority
- Prevent Bio terrorist Attacks
- Build Our Ability to Respond to a Bio terrorist Attack
- Harden our Cyber infrastructure
- Strengthen Homeland Security
- Increase the Size of Our Ground Forces
- Guarantee our Ground Forces Have the Proper Training for New Challenges
- Fully Equip Our Troops for the Missions They Face
- Reconfigure the Military to handle new threats
- Preserve America's Global Reach in the Air
- Maintain American Naval Dominance
- Ensure Freedom of Space
- Support our Armed Forces in the Field
- Improve Our Intelligence Efforts
- Restore the Readiness of the National Guard and Reserves
- Fully fund Veterans' Medical Care
- Improve Access to and Quality of Veterans' Medical Care
- Improve Mental Health Care
- Improve Transition Services for Returning Veterans
- Combat Homelessness Among Our Nation's Veterans
- Lift the Onerous Burdens on Our Troops and Their Families
- Expand Family Medical Leave to Cover Reserve Families Facing Deployment
- Fight Veterans Employment Discrimination
- Prevent Iran from Becoming a Nuclear Power
- Eliminate North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Programs
- End our Long Time Dependence on Foreign Oil
- Restructure Our Government to Meet 21st century Challenges
- Practice Tough Diplomacy
- Strengthen America's Partnerships and Alliances
- Rally the World to Stop Global Warming
- Double Foreign Assistance to $50 Billion
- Aim to Cut Extreme Poverty in Half by 2015
- Fight Corruption
- Eliminate the Global Education Deficit
- Lead the Effort to Combat HIV/Aids Tuberculosis and Malaria
- Provide Sustainable Debt Relief to Developing Countries
- Achieve a World of Capable, Democratic States
- Restore Trust in Government and Clean up Washington
- Expand Americorps
- Double the size of the Peace Corps
- Expand our all-volunteer Military to Meet Current Needs
- Expand Service-Learning in Our Nation's Public Schools
- Offer $4,000 Toward a College Education in Exchange for Hours of Service
- Partner with Communities of Faith
- Strengthen Families
- Close Pay Gap for Women
- Strengthen Civil Rights Enforcement
- End Racial Profiling
- Protect the Right to Vote
- Prevent Violence Against Women
- Empower Americans with Disabilities
- Prevent Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation
- Enforce the Federal Government's Obligations to Native Americans
- Secure our Borders
- Crack Down on Employers That Hire Undocumented Immigrants
- Reform our Immigration System
- Honor Our Immigrant Troops
- Fight for Clean Air
- Clean up our Water
- Restore Wetlands
- Help the West Meet Its Water Demands
- Reduce Health Risks Caused by Mercury Pollution
- Protect Children and Families from Lead Poisoning
- Make Polluters Pay
- Fight for Environmental Justice
- Protect the Second Amendment
- Expand Access to Places to Hunt, Fish, Camp and Hike
- Preserve the Habitats that Sportsmen Enjoy
- Conserve Our National Parks and Forests
- Put 50,000 More Police Officers on the Beat
- Crack Down on Drugs and Gangs
- Take Back Neighborhoods from Drugs
- End the Dangerous Cycle of Youth Violence
- Keep Drugs off of America's Streets
- Stop Repeat Offenders
- Recruit More Neighborhood Prosecutors
- Guarantee the Rights of Victims
- Register ad Restrict Sex Offenders
- Protect Out Children Online
And actually much much more wonderful absolutely noble home-of-the-free land-of-the-brave corp-to-the-spirit-of America action items. If this man can do this all in 4 years, he is super man. Better elect him for at least 2 terms. It is no wonder the people who love Barrack REALLY REALLY love him.
Of course what struck me as I listened to all this is how the hell are we going to pay for this? Well, don't you worry. I don't expect you to remember the whole list, but one of his items is "Pay for All Proposals and Cut the Deficit". I am sure if he did not have a way to pay for all this expensive stuff he would not claim to be able to cut the deficit. He even gives details: "Cut Spending and Reduce Government Waste". Based on the list, I am not sure how it is at all possible that spending is going down. There is a lot of government waste, so I am sure he is fine there. And, of course, as President he has complete control to eliminate wasteful spending. I'm sure as a Senator, he was never took part in Governmental waste himself. Boy, it is too bad George Bush never thought to reduce waste. Barrack better hope McCain does not get hold of his book and figure out that maybe he too could reduce waste.
By the way, I am being sarcastic. Yes there is a bunch of governmental waste, but 90% of the items on the list are adding more (much much) more to the government than is already there. The more you add, I personally think the more waste you are going to add on. So, I do not think paying for all his programs with the money we are saving from "waste" is going to happen.
Luckily, he provides a couple more ways to pay for all this:
"Eliminate Special Tax Breaks for Corporations" and "Make Oil Companies Share in the Sacrifice".
Well, not to sound too Republican, but Corporations provide jobs. A lot of corporations are already cutting head count because they are need to cut spending to stay in business. By getting rid of tax breaks, many corporations will have to cut more jobs and therefore lower governmental revenue potential at the same time you are putting additional burden on Mr. Obama's unemployment system.
Even so, let's assume no jobs will be lost because tax breaks are gone for corporations. Cutting governmental waste and adding in what you can get back from corporations is not going to pay for everything. Did you see the list? I am sure big oil has tons of money to help out, but you know every penny big oil is able to pass along to consumers, it will. I guess I am all for oil companies helping out, but I do not see a lot of potential there either.
The other way Obama proposed to help pay for his extra governmental programs is something he says a lot in the book. People (families) earning more than $250,000 a year will be taxed more. Well, actually, he never really comes out and says that people earning over $250,000 will be taxed more. What he says is no one making under $250,000 per year will be taxed more. To me, it is pretty obvious that he is expecting to tax the HELL out of the "wealthy". Personally, my family income is not quite at that level. One thing I wonder though, is if there is not enough to be made increasing taxes on those over $250,000, how far down will he end up having to try to go? If those who make all that much money can give away so much, what about people like me who have never made a huge salary, but saved responsibly and accumulated wealth by foregoing expensive toys and vacations etc... I probably have more in savings than lots of those who make tons every year but spend it away on their expensive cars and stuff. Why not tax me more?
Again, at the risk of sounding too Republican, I am afraid singling out "wealthy" people as somehow not participating enough up until now and therefore due to pay more than their share is a dangerous concept.
By the way, I was kidding about the "Osama Bin Laden" thing, but honestly, didn't he have some sort of advisor who at least brought up the question: "Hey Barrack, do you think Obama / Liden is really what you want on campaign buttons?"
And, I am not saying that I am not voting for Barrack Obama. Truth be told, I have not decided, because there are things I hate about McCain as well. I looked at all the main independent choices today and was not all that impressed with any of them either. Let's face it, I just hate all politicians.
The beauty of this country (one one of the many beauties) , of course, is at least we have a choice. And it is probably a better choice than most countries have. Neither candidate will destroy the country. Whoever gets this presidency will probably get credit for the economic recovery that will most - likely start to happen. That is how things go: the economy goes bad, it gets better. The economy booms and then busts and then recovers.
My opinion is that Barrack Obama will just bury McCain in the election and become the next president of our country. He has a bunch of great things on his list. There is no way he is going to be able to accomplish everything on the list. I just hope he along with his advisers and other leaders he chooses the right ones to implement.
And I will say this for Obama, at least he took the time to write a book like this. I wish I could find one by McCain. Maybe I just missed it.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
One of Tracy's friends (Gretchen Reid) just happens to have a little boy (Miles) a couple of weeks younger than Tyler and another little boy (David) a couple of weeks younger than Connor. Tracy and Gretchen have the same sort of work schedules (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday with Monday and Friday off) so our boys and their boys get together quite a bit. Unfortunately, they live a pretty good distance away, so it is not every day, but it a fair amount.
Anyway, back in August, Gretchen and her husband took care of our boys over a weekend while Tracy and I stayed in a cabin in Evergreen. And this past weekend was payback.... I mean we happily returned the favor.
The boys had a great time together. The two bigger ones were a little loud at times, but nothing too out of hand. The two little ones spend hours together in Connor's room playing quietly with toys, and for long periods of time I had to go up to check on them to make sure they were still here. I always knew where Tyler and Miles were.
Saturday, we went to Clement Park to play on the play ground and have a picnic. After the picnic, Tracy deserted me for awhile to take care of some work, so I had to keep an eye on the four. Again, the two little ones were extremely easy. Miles, and Tyler however did not understand the order "stay where I can see you" or "stay in the playground area". Eventually, I brought Tyler and Miles back and had them do wind sprints for the rest of the time Tracy was gone. First they raced against each other but after a couple of races, they took turns and raced against the stop watch. One interesting thing was that Miles always won the head-to-head races, but when they were doing individual races against the stop watch, Tyler for the most part got all the fastest times. I am sure that says something about the two kids. I'm not sure what. Anyway, the time trials not only let me keep my eyes on all four boys, but also got rid of a bunch of energy. The were at it for probably about half an hour.
After the park, we came home. Connor and David "napped" while Tyler and Miles quietly looked at books. I also let the big boys watch a Discovery channel show on my computer (using the 50 inch monitor). It was one of those "Walking with Dinosaurs" shows where Nigel was looking for a dinosaur with huge claws. These "Walking with Dinosaurs" are very good I think. Most of the scenery and the narrator of the show (Nigel) are filmed like a regular documentary and they do a pretty good job of adding in the computer generated dinosaurs as if they were in the same spot. Very entertaining and educational.
After the little ones got up from their "nap", the boys went outside and did various things in the back yard. Tracy got out the bubbles which was a hit as always. My weird older son and his sidekick decided to try eating bubbles. I am not sure who decided to try that. I would like to say it was the weird Reid boy, but it could have been either of them.
Then, we had dinner and played the rest of the night.
I read to the big boys. Tracy to the little ones. Then Tracy and I watched a movie. Tyler and Miles were still up after the movie was over. We forced them into bed and they were asleep soon after.
The next day was more of the same. Tracy had crafts for them to work on. I got to watch part of the Bears game. I left Tracy with the kids while I went to one of my auctions.
Before we knew it the weekend was over.
Here is a little "Slide Show" Video I put together on Sunday to keep the kids somewhat entertained:
What a great time. It makes me wish we had four boys of our own.
Well, maybe not.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Here is what my sister's blog on a 50 inch big screen computer monitor. Last year I was seriously considering putting my big screen T.V. on my corporate tax return as a piece of business equipment because of the fact that I can use it as a computer monitor. Me being a computer professional, it seems reasonable that a computer monitor would be a business expense, right? I have other computer monitors listed as corporate equipment. In the end, I figured the 50 inch T.V. was just too much of a stretch, although I know a few people who have claimed similar type things. I was never actually seriously considering claiming the T.V. but it certainly would have made it a better financial decision to buy.
At the moment, I am letting my kids watch some of the online videos at http://www.thomasandfriends.com/usa/videos.asp on the big screen. I also use the big screen to watch Netflix online "watch now" movies sometimes. In fact the kids and I were just watching a "Walking with Dinosaurs" video from Netflix this morning before Mommy got up.
But for the most part, I do not use the big computer monitor.
Probably the fact that I use the 50 inch T.V. as a computer monitor at all is just one more indication of my computer geek status.
But, Tera, your blog does look real cool on a huge screen T.V.
Here is a video the kids and I were watching on the big screen too:
Isn't the little boy cute?
Friday, October 17, 2008
I did not realize any of this went down last night until I got to work.
Since the front of the building was blocked off, I was not sure I would be able to get into the building this morning (why does everything always happen to me?), but one of the employees must have recognized me and let me in the garage door, which as a contractor I don't have access to. It is certainly an eerie feeling up here on the 5th floor at CHFA. It is early, but I have only seen 3 other guys up here so far, and they are all contractors. I wonder if employees got voice mail messages to warn them about the situation.
The internet news stories do not say much, but from what I can gather, two guys drove up to a parked police car outside one of the bars down here. One of the guys pulled a gun and another cop who was watching shot him.
So, this guy in the hospital is an idiot. His friend is an idiot. I do not know if these two thought it would be funny to pull a gun on the police or if they thought they wanted to kill one or both, but I have no sympathy for either of the idiots who tried to attack the police officers. I hope "they" lock them away and throw away the key.
Can you imagine being the cops in the car? I cannot imagine being a cop at all. Obviously we don't know what would have happened, but guns kill and if their friend had not been alert, one or both of the cops easily could have been shot and killed. Thank God that did not happen. The suddenness of the situation is downright scary. One minute you are sitting in the car monitoring a club at the end of the night, and the next second there is a gun in your face. And, now, every time a car drives up to either of these guys, I am sure they are thinking that a life-threatening situation could occur. It probably only makes matters worse that most of the time when a car drives up by your car, nothing is going to happen. How do you go back to work after such a close call? Forget how emotionally jumpy and scared you would have to be all the time, I can only imagine how my wife would react. I would probably not be a very good cop. My wife would be a worse cop's wife, especially if something like this happened to me.
This is part of the reason that whenever I get a call from the Fraternal Order of Denver police asking me for money, I always give it to them.
And, I just sling-boxed onto my t.v. The story barely took up 30 seconds on the news (if that). The online stories are very sparse as well. I imagine (thank God I only have to imagine) that had I been in the situation where I could have been killed I would be annoyed that it was not a bigger news story. Unfortunately, I guess, this is a common enough occurrence in this country that it just is not big news for a police officer to be almost shot. I am sure there probably is not much more information to share, but still... shouldn't it be a bigger deal?
Here are some of the news stories:
DENVER -- A Denver police officer shot and wounded a man outside a LoDo nightclub early Friday morning.
The police officer said he saw the man point a gun at another police officer, prompting him to fire at the man, who was in a car.
The incident happened just after 2 a.m., near 19th and Blake streets.
The man was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He and another man in the same car were arrested.
I looked out the window at about 9 AM and saw cars driving past the front of the building, so apparently they lifted the blockade soon after the initial posting.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Today is Columbus day. CHFA gets it off. I guess this is because it is a bank holiday. Tyler's school does not get it off. I think it is becoming non-politically correct to celebrate. It seems odd that CHFA gets it off. I know it is not a Denver parking meter holiday. I had to pay a parking ticket a few years ago because I figured it was.
SheppyTect does not really get it off either. But it is sort of nice to work on some of my neglected SheppyTect stuff (minor stuff like payroll).
And I have an important Auction Automations meeting today. It is a lunch meeting at Starbucks downtown (one of the 50 on the 16th street mall). I sort of doubt there will actually be any lunch eaten. I do not even know if there are decent lunch items at this Starbucks.
So, I am currently on my way downtown of the light rail, blogging away on my phone. It i a nice, sunny day, but a bit chilly. Tracy tried and failed to convince Tyler to wear pants today. She might have convinced him to bring pants in his backpack but I do not know.
Connor has a dentist appointment today. I asked him if Dr. Nick was going to look at his teeth. Connor said "I don't now". Goofball.
Speaking of Connor, he is really doing well in his big boy underwear. He is much better than his big brother was at the same age. He is actually more reliable at telling us he has to go potty than Tyler is even now. I am pleasantly surprised about Connor's success. We probably kept him in pullups too long because of our hard time with Tyler.
Well, the train is pulling up to my stop. I'll probably blog more on my way home.
In case you are wondering, our Starbucks has wrapped sandwiches. I had tuna salad. It was ok.
Interesting things are going on in my Auction world. We are almost to a point where I can blog about it, but not yet.
The temperature on the train is too high. Why do they keep it so hot? During cold weather, most people have on warm clothes and they heat the train excessively. It is uncomfortable.
Well.. I do not feel I have anything else to say.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I like the term "Poison Rationality".
To me, Poison Rationality is anything that makes no sense to me, but apparently makes lots of sense to someone else out there. For instance, the fact that drug companies spend so much money putting out commercials for prescription drugs makes no sense to me, but obviously it makes enough sense to someone to spend millions of dollars doing it.
The fact that news outlets spend so much time "reporting" on problems celebrities, or family members of celebrities are having with drugs or un-married pregnancies or whatever is another example of Poison Rationality. I just don't care, but I see this sort of thing running something ALL THE TIME on news channels that are on when I am working out. To be fair, I do not usually tune in enough to know what is being said, but I am able to tell from graphics and text on the screen that they are spending hours talking about "famous" people and their problems. It makes no sense to me that this is news. But, apparently Fox News (as the biggest example I have seen) thinks this is something they need to spend hours and hours talking about.
The most recent thing that strikes me as Poison Rationality is the presidential "debates". I do not understand why they are called debates. I don't understand why they have a moderator. Both candidates talk about whatever the heck they want to talk about. I did not watch very much last night because I was frustrated, but while I was watching, neither candidate answered any of the questions that were actually asked. They might as well have started off each answer with "I'm going to ignore that question, but here is what I would really like to talk about for the next few minutes." I suppose that would have just been redundant and wasted time because anyone who was watching for more than a couple of minutes could tell that none of the answers had anything to do with the questions.
Another thing that has been bothering me is that how 90% of the campaign adds don't actually advertise the person who the add is "for". Most of the adds tell us how terrible the "other guy" is. If you are basing your decision on T.V. or radio adds, you have no idea what your guy thinks about anything or what his positive qualities for the job might be. All you really know is what the other guy sucks at. And, of course, it makes no sense to me, but it is pretty common knowledge that these sorts of adds are effective. Again, if they were not effective, there would not be so many negative campaign adds on T.V.
I just officially "passed" on a business opportunity. My buddy Derry Roth, who really came up with the idea for Auction Automations has another business he is trying to get going, and offered to bring me on board to help with the software development. We never really talked about details, but basically the idea would be I would trade development hours for an ownership stake in the company. The Poison Rationality here is that I think this opportunity has the potential of being extremely lucrative. I never thought Auction Automations would be the kind of thing that would be able to make much money. I still have my doubts about Auction Automations. I don't absolutely know about this other opportunity, but it sure seems like a great idea that has lots of interest. And, it is geared toward selling useful software and services to customers who can afford to and would want to pay well. So, basically, I said yes to the opportunity I did not believe in and no to the one I think will work out great financially. If he would have come to me with this opportunity first, I would be working on this, and not Auction Automations.
The way things work out in my life, I am sure it will turn out that I made the right decision, but at the moment, it sure does not seem logical.
Ok... the song's words are a little bit different. "Poison Rationality" is actually Poise and Rationality but the actual words do not match what I am trying to blog about here. Plus, whenever the song, I hear Poison Rationality.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
I let the kids watch football and baseball when I am watching before their bedtimes. Usually, I am DVRing the game, so it is real easy to fast-forward past the commercials, but often enough, I am caught up with live action and cannot fast forward. As far as I can tell, the kids do not share my discomfort and are not paying close enough attention to even be confused. It is probably not that big a deal for them to be subjected to these commercials.
It is possible that I should not allow my children to watch sports on T.V. Practically speaking, if that is the case, though, it means I have to watch all my sports after the kids are in bed or while they are gone. Or, it means I have to watch sports in my room (on the non-HD Tv ... I will not do that ... usually, I would rather not watch at all). I guess not watching while the kids are around is certainly an option. Sports and National Geographic shows are pretty much all I watch when the kids are up. Any other programs I watch are when the kids are either in bed or completely away.
But, one thing that I do not understand is: why do we need Viagra commercials at all? As far as I know, you cannot just go out and buy Viagra. can you? Don't you have to have go to a doctor and have it prescribed? Aren't the doctors already aware of what Viagra (or other erectile dysfunction drugs) does already? For that matter, why are any prescription drugs advertised on TV? I just cannot imagine buying more of a given specific prescription drug because I see it advertised on T.V. Obviously, I am missing something, because if it was not extremely effective to advertise, drug companies would not being doing it so much. They probably would not be doing it all, and certainly not in the middle of the afternoon or early evening when my kids and I are watching football or baseball.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Batman has been wandering around our house lately.
He is much shorter in real life than he appears in the movies. What is sort of weird is that I very rarely see Batman, Tyler, and Connor in the same location. I am sure it is only a coincidence, but it does make me wonder if perhaps Batman does not like kids, and can only handle being around one at a time. I know sometimes I would much rather be around only one of my children at a time.
I go to church just about every Sunday. My family says grace at supper time and my little boys say their prayers before they go to sleep. We talk about God in my house, and my wife and I read the bible to our boys. I give a considerable percentage of my earnings to the church and other charities which I believe serve God in various ways. I often listen to a Christian Rock station here in the Denver area, and I participate in some of the activities that my Church sponsors. My wife teaches Sunday School and Childrens' Church on a regular basis. I try to live a moral life. I try to treat others as I would have them treat me.
But, being a Christian is more than just believing. Jesus calls us all to be his disciples. At the end of each Gospel, Jesus charges us to follow him and take up his ministry.
Matthew ends with Jesus saying, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19 - 20)
Mark ends with Jesus saying, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16: 18 - 20)
Luke ends with Jesus saying, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 21: 46-49)
John ends with Jesus telling his disciples "Feed my lambs." ... "Tend my sheep." ... "Feed my sheep" ... "Follow me!" (John 21: 15 - 24)
When Jesus said these things, he was not just talking to his 11 disciples, but every Christian. He was talking to me too.
Throughout the Bible, Jesus makes it clear that following Him is not an easy or safe proposition. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell us that Jesus said, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23) Taking up the cross clearly makes the prospect of following Christ a sacrifice. Just as Christ's cross involved the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus is telling us that we are expected to be able to give up anything and everything to follow him.
I don't feel I have a cross. I do not have a cause where I know I am happy doing God's work through selfless sacrifice.
When I think of disciples, I think of evangelizers. These people are so "geeked up" (where did I come up with that term?) on the good news that they cannot help but preach and spread the word of God. These people go to Haiti or feed the homeless in their home town and they feel comfortable talking about God. They share the good news. They do not care if people look at them funny or physically threaten to harm them. They just share the good news because they HAVE to do it.
I do not feel comfortable talking about God with strangers. My friends all know I am a Christan and they know they are always welcome to come to church with me, but I do not feel all that comfortable talking about God with those of my friends who are not regular church goers. I do not feel 100% completely comfortable talking about God with people that I know are Christians. You certainly will not see me preaching on top of a mountain top or baptising the masses in a river.
To be fair, I do not feel comfortable talking to anyone about anything. I am the biggest introvert that I have ever met.
My side business (Auction Automations) may be the closest thing I have to a cross. We help various charities raise money through silent auctions, and we certainly are not doing it at a huge profit. It might be considered a cross, but I am not passionate about it. Truth be told, I complain about the long extra hours of work with very little pay almost all the time. And, we are trying to position ourselves so that we can partner with people in such a way that we make money at this, so our hope is that the hard work will pay off financially eventually. Just because we are bad at assessing our own worth and therefore give all these charities a very reasonable (reasonable for them) price for what we do does not mean we are attempting to do God's work.
Of course, sometimes God uses you even though you do not realize it.
You might look at my blood donation as a cross. As many times as I am able I give blood. I make the sacrifice happily. In fact I do not consider it a sacrifice. It may be a cross, but it is such a small one, I hesitate to even bring it up.
My church is starting a "Capital Campaign". If you are a member of a church, you probably know what that is. Basically, it is the church rallying the members to give more for a specific purpose. It is supposed to be above and beyond your "regular" contribution. The last one our church did was to finance a nice new (expensive) education wing on the church. This one is to attempt to paid down the mortgage on the church so that we can free up finances for God's "real" work. The plan is to raise 4 million dollars over three years. I am not sure how realistic it is. The pastors seem to think in our area with our wealth and God's ability to do anything, it should be no problem. 4 million dollars sounds like a lot to me, but what do I know?
And my original reaction is: "I am already giving what you guys said I should be giving. Now, I am supposed to give more?" Frankly, that is a stupid reaction, but it is probably the typical human reaction. And, I will give more. What do I care? I have too much money, why not give it to pay down a mortgage on my church. I literally will not miss whatever I give to the church.
But, the capital campaign is not just about money. The other part is that it is supposed to give you an opportunity (don't you always have the opportunity) to focus on and pray about what you can give of yourself (your time and your talents) to help out the church.
For me, money is easy. Identifying talents and committing to share those talents is something that I dread.
And to make matters worse, Pastor Chad wants to come talk about it with Tracy and me. As I mentioned before, I don't feel comfortable talking about anything. I do not want to talk with Chad Johnson (no relation to Ocho Cinco) about this whole thing. I want to just write a check every once and awhile and be done with it. This is horrible, but part of the reason I was attracted to this church was its size and the fact that I thought that I would probably be able to hide among the masses and not be bothered all that much with "serving". Yes, I know that is horrible. Yes, I am bad person. But, yes, for the most part it worked. I come to church most Sundays, give a large amount of money to the church, serve as an usher once in a great while, attend a few adult education classes while my kids are in Sunday School (our church calls it AHA ... Abiding Hope Adventures), and pretty much go unnoticed when it comes to doing any real work.
And back to the whole not having a cross... this is an opportunity to rectify the situation. I know I should change; need to change, and so God is sending Pastor Chad to help me do it. I guess. Part of my problem is that I have no idea how to identity what I should be doing. This is a probably I not only have with the church, but my "professional" life. I do not know what I should be doing spiritually or professionally, and I don't know HOW TO FIGURE IT OUT. So, maybe Chad has some ideas.
Of course, maybe Chad is just going to talk about money. Money is easy.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Someone is actually interested in my blog. I am so excited.
It is my sister and probably just put herself in as a follower as a pity move, but still, I'll take it.
Or maybe it is because I follow her blog, and she felt obligated to follow mine in return. Still, I'll take it.
Now that I have a follower, of course I added the Follower Gadget (see the right hand panel at the bottom). It may be lame to show all your followers when there is only one. I can live with that. Of course, if YOU add yourself in, I'll have two.
By the way, yesterday, the Sox lost, the Brewers lost, and the Cubs lost. I am not happy about that.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
The freeking cubs lost at home tonight. I thought they looked worse than the 7 to 2 score indicates.
I have lost about 10 pounds since August 4. Half of it was over Sheppy Quest. Don't worry, I am sure I will find it again. Maybe what I should do is have one Sheppy Quest a month. If I can lose 5 pounds a month for a year, I should be at my ideal weight. I can probably even do it in 10 months. It depends on which chart you look at.
The picture at the top of this blog entry is from me heading home west tonight. Kids, do not try this at home. Taking pictures with a cell phone while driving should only be attempted by trained professionals on a controlled track. Anyway, I think it turned out pretty good. It will be interesting to see what it looks like on a regular sized screen.
This time of year is bad driving to and from work when you have to go east in the morning and west in the evening. I think the picture exaggerates how bad it is, but not much. This is the only city I have ever heard the concept of a "sun glare delay" on traffic reports. I guess part of that would be the gloomy places I have lived. It is so sunny here in Denver most of the time. That was not the case in the mid west. They probably have a similar phenomenon in Florida or California.
My sister in an email referred to her kids as the cutest. They are not. Mine are cuter. Hers are the third fourth and fifth cutest. I guess I cannot blame her too much. At least she does not have ugly kids like most of Tracy's side of the family. Oops... Did I say that out loud?
I have too much money. Does anyone out there want to take some off my hands?
I want to drive the Zamboni. I want to drive the Zam bone e.
I'm not crazy. I'm just a little unwell.
I have been thinking about shaving my head. Sometimes I practically do it (or have some random woman do it for me), but never had the courage to go all the way bald. If the Cubs or Sox (the white ones) win the world series, I will get my head shaved (ha).
The B.E.Peas will keep you rockin' on da dance.
Dum dum diddley dum dum diddley dum dum diddley diddley.
I cannot believe it is already October.
I am also not a very big baseball fan. Generally speaking I cannot watch a ball game on TV from start to finish, but in October, I do find myself watching full games if a team I am interested in is playing. Last year was great as the Rockies made it to the World Series. This year I will probably watch until the Cubs and Sox are out of it. I sort of suspect they will both be out early, but you never know.
Go Cubs go.
Go Sox go.