A Mirror into Ken's Past -- 2004

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(Note: I have decided to add some minor formatting changes, but am not going back to earlier files -- from 2004 on I will be using the changes that appear, an attempt at making it easier to see different entries, that sort of thing ...)


Winter

January 1
A stormy beginning to the new year -- quite literally. The rain was coming down so hard it was amazing. Normally I drive at or slightly above the speed limit, but today, I had no choice but to drive between 45 and 55 MPH, as hydro-planing was a serious possibility out there ... I went down to Dublin to see a movie with John (Leohtulf) and his brother Keith (?). We had a good time, did lunch first, and then saw the movie. I can heartily recommend The Last Samurai. CJ went to a "stitch and bitch" at Valerie's, and we were going to do dinner with Don and BJ, but just got the phone call and BJ still has more sewing to do, so ... oh well. Bummer, but that's life (s'okay, I'm still full from lunch, but ...). Otherwise, pretty mellow. The rain has let up (it did while we were eating lunch), and the storm has moved on. We're gearing up for 12th Night (major SCA event this weekend), and that's about it on that front. On the work front, we released an update to dBASE Plus (release 2.2) with a new Project Explorer (still dealing with fixing bugs in that, but oh well) on New Year's Eve to everyone's surprise (our customers new we had hoped to do something like that, but we actually got it out there ...).

January 8
Just a quick summary ... today is Carolyn's birthday, and we have her brother and sister over. We're all going out to dinner later, and then we're taking Bill back to the hotel he's staying at in Oakland. I was going to do this earlier, but got caught up in code (big surprise).

SCA -- Twelfth Night was last weekend, the third to be precise. The players got together and rehearsed the Friday evening before, our first attempt at a rehearsal with the full set and costumes, and everyone got a bit nervous, I think. The actors dropped lines that they had done flawlessly the week before, and one scene was dropped. Sigh. On the other hand, whatever caused all that (and I'm pretty sure it was nerves), they pulled it together for the performance the next day, and it went quite well. The only frustration there is that the video camera died. Figures. So, for the first time in a long time, we don't have a video of the show. I did decide to take photos the night before, which was good. All of the details about the play can be seen at the Golden Stag Player website, click on the "Plays" link in the menu on the left, and then click on "The Braggart Soldier" for the play itself. You can see photos, the script, details about what we did, all that.

Otherwise, within the SCA, things are trundling along about as one would expect. I'm being kept busy with the various projects, and making headway with my coding for the Laurel Precedents project (having finished the data entry, for now, yesterday).

On other fronts, now that the play is done we can relax a little. We normally would have a cast party this coming weekend, but between Carolyn's birthday falling that close to the weekend (we're doing dinner on Saturday with her mom, step-father, and sister), and the fact that the principal actor, and several other folk who were intimately involved in the play will be going south for a different SCA event so won't be around, we're postponing for another week. I guess we'll decide what's next at that point.

Work is just as crazy as far as payroll and such as before, and as I understand it, they're still interviewing candidates for CEO, as well as others coding like crazy to fix the bugs in the new part of the product. What a way to start a year. Oh well ... at least we're still getting paid ... well, suppose I ought to get back to the fambly, since it's obvious I'm not getting the 100 or more bug fixes I was supposed to get so I could verify them this afternoon.

January 12
Relaxing weekend. CJ's mom and step-father had dinner for us at her sister's. In addition Sanford and Hilary came down (he worked on Gail's trees, which needed trimming, which is something that's associated with his job ...). That was a nice end to a loooong birthday for Carolyn. Normally we do something around 12th Night, and that's it. So, Sunday we watched the Babylon 5, Season 4 DVD set, well, almost all of it. She did some little things she's been meaning to do, I was mostly a vegetable.

In the process, however, my old roomie from waaaay back dropped me a note - Sidney Makar. His 15 year old daughter found his name (and probably the photos) in this bio, and he got hold of me. He's part owner of a restaurant in Anchorage (Denali Steak House, Too -- at least, that is what I got from his email). He's been with the same lady for 12 years, but she doesn't want to marry him. He has four daughters. He's been married twice (I knew he'd married my ex-flame from High School Jane Jonas and that they'd gotten a divorce) ... The two messages I've gotten so far have been short, but it sounds like he's doing okay. That's great to hear. It's been a long time since I have seen him, and that was kind of uncomfortable (since we'd had a big row the time before that ...). I recall that last meeting was where he drove to Fairbanks shortly after he'd married Jane (my former girlfriend), and visited very briefly with Courtney and I, or maybe just with me ... memory fails on that. Anyway, I passed on John McKay's info, as he and John knew each other long before I met either of them.

Other than that, well ... not much else to note. It was good to hear from Sid, maybe we'll chat a bit. I have gotten the Laurel Precedents database close to ready to roll. I'm working with some of our user community on a way to deal with taking the HTML and passing it along to Word in a sneaky way, but running into odd little bumps along the way. Coding issues. Probably really dumb ones, too. (All that coding stuff got worked out a day or so later, and it seems to work pretty well.)

January 19
Well, it's Martin Luther King, Jr. day, which for some folk (including CJ) is a holiday. For me, it's not. But of course work isn't fast, because Alan hasn't gotten us any new bug fixes, etc. Oh well. There's always something to do. The Laurel Precedent database is in beta ...

We had a nice weekend. Saturday we went to Campbell to see the Gaslighter production (A Melodrama version of Cinderella and a 'burlesque review' which since it was the kid's matinee wasn't very burlesque-like), because Jeff Boylan and a couple other actors (Hendy Lund and her husband Rob Appleton) were in the show, and then we went to Hendy and Rob's place for the cast party for the play we had done a couple weeks earlier. The play was fun, because with the cost of the ticket, you get 'all the popcorn you can throw', and a soda. Of course the folk from our troupe that were their played with the actors (which we were encouraged to do), picking up on the cues faster than they expected. We had a good time, and over half the cast or our show was there. The cast party went well, everyone had fun, and we got a chance to unwind and talk about the show, and everything else under the sun ... Sunday was more mellow, we pretty much stayed home. BJ came over for awhile because her husband Don went to fighter practice, and she wanted to work on some design stuff with CJ ... watched some movies, didn't do much else.

Today, however, we're going to go see Return of the King (again), but this time at an IMax theatre with my friend John Wheeling ... That'll make those battle sequences really interesting ...

January 27
Heard from my old friend Chuck Hart today. He's apparently doing well, has three children, one aged 20 (gasp! time marches on, eh?). He visited this autobiography, and sent me some info:

How are you doing? Last time we talked you were between jobs, and I was new in a low paying one with "promise". I am doing well now, supporting my daughter and I on music. I sell CDs and DVDs at Borders Book & Music in Anchorage. The stereo is still my strongest instrument, but I am raising three musicians. My son plays the trombone and wants to learn guitar. My oldest plays the violin (but never the fiddle); she makes it sing so sweetly I cry. My middle child plays marimba, xylophone, bells, tubular bells, tympanis cymbals, drums, clarinet, and dinks around on the piano. She plays at churches all over town. You, Jane, Barb, and Greg gave me an appreciation of how much of a gift it can be to play an instrument. Your inspiration has had a direct influence on my children. There have been times when food and clothes were scaled back in order to budget in music, lessons, or instruments; we are better for it. Thank you.

I have my middle musician, Becca (16) is living with me. She is going to Dimond, and in addition to band she takes Japanese. Her little brother, Chaz (12), lives near Dimond High with his mother, and I get to see him when and if she happens to be agreeable. (She is agreeable a lot when she dates.) My 20 year old violinist, Sara, attends Olivet Nazarene University. It is a fundamentalist school, but she is studying social work so the indoctrination is tempered somewhat.

I am happily single, and not looking until 2011 (after my son graduates from Dimond). I have friends that I see quite often like Dan Swoboda, and other newer friends. I live near my brother and we see each other 4-5 times a year.

The cabin across the bay from Homer has changed dramatically. Mom & Dad live there from late April to mid-September every year. There have been several improvements, and additions. Now everyone on the spit uses 4-wheelers to get around, for the seniors it is a godsend. Dad put in a dock on the inside beach, getting an Army Corps of Engineers permit via the Americans with Disabilities Act. The whole spit uses it.

I did two wedding cakes this summer. One was in Homer for my 19 year old neice. The other was a historic cake and made the Anchorage Daily News with two large pictures. It was the first wedding cake for an Alaskan gay couple who were really married in Vancouver BC as soon as it became legal there.

I am so excited to be in contact again that I am babbling and will quit now. You are my last member of the old "Songbrook" gang to email. I correspond regularly with Barb and Jane, and last week began with Greg.

It's nice to know he's doing well and seems to be happy. The last time I remember talking to him was a phone call, he was not very happy (or at least that is how I remember it), so ... Apparently his daughter loved seeing the photos on the site and such. I'm sorry we didn't get any photos of the cabin (mentioned above) down at Homer, beautiful area, same for photos of Songbrook (our short-lived folk group).

Quick summary of movies: The IMax version of Return of the King was fun, but I'm not sure it was worth the extra few bucks to see. They didn't have a special print done to take advantage of the height of the screen ... we saw Big Fish on Saturday with CJ's sister Gail. That was fun and interesting. I wasn't sure where it was going to go (which was actually a pleasant surprise), and the effects were good, too. That's about it.

January 30
Well, the end of the first month of 2004 is nearly over ... Lessee ...

I'm not even going to get started on real-world politics which are too weird for words these days. In my own little world ...

Carolyn has started her own journal (Blog) at: http://www.LiveJournal.com, with her specific user id of aastg. I think Keegan probably got her interested in doing this. She has her own journal at: loupnoir. Various other friends who have signed up to do Live Journals are:

And some other folk in the SCA, mostly (but not all) members of the Golden Stag Players ... I didn't feel like listing everyone, sorry folks. If you want to view Carolyn's 'friends' list, you can by clicking on the link above for her Journal ... It's always fun to read some of the threads.

I found, for example, that Tim and Laurie are moving from the place they've lived for many years now, to a place next door to a couple of other friends. They'll still be renting, but apparently the rental price is better, and it's a nice area. I thought about joining the fray, but I'm fine doing things here ...

Work: Well, not much to say, at least not that I can say publically. Work is ... pay still happens.

SCA: Sort of a down time for us. The only events happening until March are mostly small local things, which is fine. Carolyn could use the down time (and I can too, but not as much as she can). Her work is leaving her pretty crispy ... she's been working late (coming home at 7:30 or even later some evenings), and ...

February 1
Yesterday we spent with Don and BJ, a good portion of the day was driving around looking at houses. We went to new housing developments in Antioch and Pittsburgh, and tried to find some in Vallejo (but missed 'em completely). The idea was simply to get a feel for what housing costs were for new houses, how much space 'x square feet' is, that kind of thing. It was fascinating. It was a bit scary, but fascinating, none-the-less. It was also kind of fun. Daydreaming on my part has been being able to afford some of those newer mid-sized houses. Carolyn is serious about trying to buy a house if we can this year. She thinks we can pull it off. I am a bit dubious, but ... we'll see how it goes.

February 6
CJ had to go to the DMV this morning to get her California ID card renewed. This meant I got to take her there. Of course, after standing in line for way too long this morning, it will take another 6 weeks for the card to arrive. She did this today because on Sunday she's flying to Texas and didn't want hassle over her ID card being expired ... of course, if they check the date, since she still has the old one (and a receipt for the new one), she'll probably still have some hassle, but oh well. Otherwise, a slow week. CJ has been dealing with a variety of things SCA-wise. It seems like since it's just before Tourney season starts, things have to have their little implosions. One of the long-standing members of our SCA household may be leaving the household ... I guess we'll see how that goes. Otherwise, well ... not much else to add at the moment.

February 13
Well, CJ's been in Texas since last Sunday. Been a long week, but like usual I tend to keep busy. I've been working hard on the Laurel Precedents database, trying to "Normalize" the data. The hard part with this is that the Precedents were compiled over 30+ years by multiple people, none of whom checked to see what categories others had used before them. This has created a bit of a nightmare on my end, because I ended up with well over 1500 categories. That seems a bit excessive. So I've been trying to trim them down (combining categories, especially ones where there's only one entry), but not being as familar with the inner workings of the office, and/or interpretations of things, it's not as easy as it sounds. I have the categories down to over 800, and trying to reduce some even further. I gave up doing it the hard way last night, and printed out the category list, and made notes on it.

On other fronts, not much else is happening. I've had some pleasant email chats with Chuck (my old friend from Alaska) ... This evening along with Carolyn getting home (well, she gets in this afternoon), we are having a couple friends over for dinner (Gaius and Aelia/Krista). One of them is diabetic and lactose intolerant, so that throws our usual friday-night-dinner out, as it has two of the cheeses he can't have in it. Figures. Oh well, we usually go shopping the afternoon Carolyn gets home. Tomorrow is planned as low-key, possibily go out for dinner (it being Valentine's Day after all). Sunday another friend (Toni Whyte) is coming over to discuss costume and other things with Carolyn. But in general, nothing spectacular or truly interesting.

February 16
Monday, President's Day, and I don't get the day off. Carolyn does. Figures. <g> It was a nice weekend. Friday went well, Gaius was his usual charming self, and we had some good yucks. CJ used the Food TV website (http://www.foodtv.com) to find some possible recipes that didn't have cheese, and a diabetic could eat. Turned out okay -- a chicken dijon dish that wasn't bad. The sauce could've been a bit thicker with more flavor, but ... it worked fine. They brought desert (a pie from Baker's Square! and ice cream). Saturday (Valentine's Day), rather than just staying around the house, we popped off to Don and BJ's around 4 and hung out there, had pizza ... lots o'yucks. Wached some episodes of The Tick on DVD. Sunday, Toni came over, and we had lots of chatting, and she and Carolyn got some groundwork for a huge project they're doing. It's not huge in the aspect of "big", but in the aspect of detail and what's involved. Basically, they're making a dress (that Toni will wear) for the SCA, but they're doing it as close to period in style as possible. Now, for the most part everything Toni does is very close to period, but the one thing missing is the embroidery. Carolyn is doing that, and Toni will make the dress. They decided not to give themselves a specific target event (such as this coming 12th Night), but to just work on it until it was done to both of their satisfactons ... So right now Carolyn is happily drawing and researching ... and I'm doing my usual, bouncing from work-related stuff, to non-work related ...

February 19
Okay, so yesterday I broke down and created my own journal at the Live Journal website (noted above). I am not sure how often I'll note things there, but I may do more of the "diary" type stuff there rather than here. My journal is at: goldenstag. Not real exciting at the moment, but it's just getting started. A lot of good folk are out there, so ...

Anyway, just a short update. I met the new company CEO today. Nice guy, and I didn't get the same vibe off him that I did from our former CEO. I have some higher hopes here, if he can convince the investors to keep the company alive, we may actually survive all this. That'd be nice.

February 25
LiveJournal has been lively, but that happens with these things from what I can tell. Brief summary ... since seeing the CEO on Thursday, Carolyn and I went to a friend's place on Friday in San Jose (yep, twice in two days) for a Mardi Gras/gaming party that was quite fun. Saturday we saw her sister and did dinner at a restaurant here in town that we hadn't been to since it opened before Christmas. Too much going on, and a tendency to go to the places that you know are good. It turned out to be a really good restaurant that I know we'll be revisiting ... Sunday was mellow, hang around the house day.

I went through some heartburn finding just the right present for Carolyn and my 10th Anniversary which is tomorrow. Last week on Wednesday I went into downtown Walnut Creek looking and searching, and being seriously disappointed. I'd have thought that with all the chi-chi shops that they have in the downtown area that I would have had an easier time, but oh well. However, on Friday (the 19th) I managed to find something close to what was in my mind's eye ... and I think (hope!) it's something she'll really appreciate. She says she's gotten me something really nice (she agonized longer than I did over what to get) but it probably won't be here in time for the actual anniversary. I think I can survive. <g>

The important thing is that we have a nice, simple little celebration for the two of us. We had planned on going to the Parks hotel in Lafayette where we got married and having dinner there (they have a couple of nice restaurants), but after visiting the new restaurant here in Moraga on Saturday with Carolyn's sister, and really liking it, we are going to have dinner there (the restaurant is Ristorante Amoroma).

And to those before or around the time of our wedding (because I can't imagine anyone who was actually there saying it) who said that we wouldn't last a year, well ... I thumb my nose in your general direction. The first ten years weren't hard at all, and I don't feel like there's any reason we can't stay the course. So there.

February 28
The (First Decade) Anniversary went well two days ago. CJ was thrilled with her present (ruby pendant with a small diamond at the top, with matching earrings), and we had a really good dinner at Ristorante Amoroma.

I hadn't been able to find a fitting card for Carolyn for our tenth anniversary. I believe strongly that part of what's kept us together is a good sense of humor, so I spent some time on Thursday and transcribed the following from "The Best of Saturday Night Live -- Steve Martin", typed it up, and put it in the package with the jewelry. She spent quite a bit of time just reading and re-reading it and laughing (it is one of her favorite Steve Martin bits) ...:

To My Love
by Steve Martin, Saturday Night Live, 1989

Every man needs a woman, and I need you
To lift me when I'm sad,
To comfort me when I'm down,
To clean me when I'm drunk,
To walk beside me when I want to look like I'm not gay,
To walk in front of me when I need someone to act as a human windbreak,
To kiss me when I'm horny,
To massage me when I'm tense ... and/or horny,
To make me horny when I am not horny, and then to watch me fall asleep.

I need you darling
To clean between my toes when they are not clean to my satisfaction,
To pick the nits out of my hair when I have head lice,
To try milk for me when I am not sure of the expiration date,
To be there when I need you to be there,
     And to be out of town the rest of the time.

My darling, although it may seem sentimental,
I want to take this moment to tell you I love you,
Because I don't want to lose half my stuff.
And even though you are far away across the ocean,
I always have this (point to ring finger with no ring) to remind me (notice ring not there) sorry!
Good night, my love!

CJ sent this off to her brother (in email), who told her that it really does sort of sum up most men in a relationship. I did it as humor, but Steve Martin does sort of hit things on the head, just in a very funny way.

Yesterday the present CJ got me for our anniversary arrived. Kewl. She got me a Canon Powershot A80 digital camera (4 Megapixels, and more features than I will ever use, but spiffy!). I spent time yesterday evening after our usual Friday Night dinner playing with it. Today I made sure I could download photos to the notebook (USB doesn't work on the desktop machine -- odd hardware weirdness with my OS and the machine), and get photos from there to the desktop. I also went out and got a case that could hold the camera (small) and cables, etc. I posted (below) two photos I took Friday night of the cats using the camera. Turned out pretty well.

March 1
I got a nice email from Barb Adkins (from High School, and shortly after, including my old folk group) this afternoon. I will be updating some stuff in there with a bit from her. Basically she heard about this site from Chuck, and she checked it out. She read the stuff in the 75-77 area and told me it was all true, and she felt guilty about things, including breaking up the old folk group we had. I spent some time telling her that she really shouldn't be feeling guilty for a period in our lives when we were all messed up (teens), and the stupid things we did to each other. But I also told her that I forgave her. There's no need to carry around guilt for 30 years ... I don't think anything she did was all that bad -- of course, 20/20 hindsight is what tells me this. At the time I wouldn't have (and didn't) said the same thing. <g> Anyway, back to the 1977 time period of this bio to update it a bit ...

The Next Day ... not much to say, but ... it was nice to hear from Barb. The weird part for me was the timing. Yesterday, when the email arrived, I was listening to Layla (Derek and the Dominos) -- the most beautiful and soul-wrenching heart-break song ever written/performed by anyone (in my opinion). (In case I hadn't mentioned it lately, I'm a fan of Eric Clapton ...) Granted, the breakup I had with Barb wasn't that bad (by a long shot). But the timing was just a bit ... interesting.

Anyway, there was a second email from Barb where she was relieved she'd gotten the apology off her chest, she gave a bit of background. It sounds like she's happy, and that's always good to hear about friends you haven't seen in years. She's happily married in Florida, which is where she lived before moving to Alaska. Seems like she went to the same church with Mark McWhirter in Stockton years ago, and she spent more time reading this bio, and was glad to hear about folk we know in common. I'm glad she's doing well, and I really hadn't thought about the bad stuff involving her for a long time. On the plus side, she might have the old Songbrook tape we made after we broke up, and just before Greg and I went to college. If she does, hopefully it's in good enough shape she can make a copy. I am a bit nervous about listening to it if she does have it, because something tells me that the way I remember us sounding isn't how we really sounded ... but we may see.

On other fronts, not much else to say (except I think I'm fighting off a minor cold), besides for the SCA inset here:

SCA: On the SCA front, with tourney season gearing up (March Crown, etc.), I thought I'd mention a few things ...

I got an invitation to the 25th Anniversary party for Duke Radnor's knighting. That's rather cool, both the 25th Anniversary, and the fact that I got invited. He's a really great guy, and since I don't exactly hang around with that crowd all that much (the fighting community), it's nice to know he thought enough of me to include me. It sounds like it'll be a nice party. This will be in the evening at March Crown.

Coming up: Herald's Collegium (next weekend, we're going to that during the day, and hanging out at Carolyn's mom's place in the evening, stay over, do breakfast and come home on Sunday); March Crown is the weekend after that; Collegium is two weeks after that; followed by Mists Coronet the weekend after. So it's going to be a busy month. I don't think we're camping at Crown or Coronet, though. Crown the site is too noisy and weird to camp at, and Coronet I have strong reservations about camping at, because we've nearly lost the sunshade there, and it's still going to be rainy season, the site is a wind-tunnel, and ... so we may hotel both of those. A bit more expensive, but less hassle.

On top of all that, my former apprentice (Juan) is trying to put together a performing arts collegium, and bringing the Coxcomb Academy to this part of the world for a weekend. That would of course involve the Golden Stag Players as well as whatever else we do. This would involve some fund-raising, which might need Carolyn to draw up some tshirt designs. However, if we go that way, we'll have a nifty new idea for dealing with the shirt sales (saving us a huge amount of hassle). More details if that happens.

March 9
So, minor updates. Last weekend we did the Herald's Collegium, and had fun there, and then left for Carolyn's mom's place. Had a pleasant dinner and evening, and spent the night (good thing, we drank too much ...). Tom did a nice pasta dish (mushrooms and chicken), we had a couple bottles of wine, Tom hauled out the Grappa he brought back from Italy ... I don't recommend that stuff. It's fermented grape stems, not very good flavor, but high alcohol content. It'll get you drunk fast, but blech. There was also some Limoncello (lemon-flavored liquor) that was rather tasty. Slept fairly well, but the hangover the morning was not fun. Luckily it wasn't the worst hangover I've had, and some asprin, water, and breakfast (Tom's buttermilk waffles -- yum!) got rid of it.

After that, we came home for a few minutes (long enough to change, pet the cats, check email, that kind of thing) and then went to Don and BJ's. We went to go see the movie Hidalgo, which was fun. I don't expect it to show up for next year's Oscars, but it was a good flick. Dinner, some schmoozing, and home again in time to catch the first episode of The Sopranos (new season, I think it's the penultimate one).

Misc. stuff: I started some coding last week that rapidly got more complex than I expected. That seems to happen to me on a regular basis. I was playing with something one of our users wanted (they're trying to do a dBASE scheduler with an appearance similar to Outlook (Microsquish), because their users are used to that layout. I have the calendar working fairly well, it's now getting the scheduling of events worked out. Trickier than it sounds ... and I'm having a hard time forcing myself to really delve into it. Figgers.

I used the nifty camera Carolyn gave me for our anniversary on its first BIG run on Saturday at the Collegium. That was fun ... Took tons o'photos, and used a bit over half of them on the History website. It's going to take some getting used to (reset times, time between pushing the shutter button and it actually firing ...) but you can get some good photos with it.

March 16
Well, CJ and I went to the first big SCA event of the year, the Crown Tournament. We had a blast, got invited to a private (only another 170 people!) dinner for a knight who was celebrating the 25th anniversary of his knighting (this is Radnor, the guy who gave me my Award of Arms, Rose Leaf, Leaf of Merit and Pelican ...). It meant we weren't home for the weekend, but that was worth it.

The Girl Scout cookies showed up. Yipe! So much for trying to lose weight. Well, okay, they won't last long, and then I can start. Well ... something like that. (We ordered five boxes from the girl who showed up at our door a month or so ago ...)

The coding project mentioned above is close to done, I hope. I have been having a hard time dealing with the internationalization issues (making it accessible to non-English speaking users), but it's getting there. Unfortunately the guy who's been instrumental in helping has been a bit of a prick, but oh well ...

The big thing now is wondering if the company is going to survive. I don't know when the meeting with the investors and the new CEO is, except it's supposed to be this week sometime. I hate waiting ... If the investors buy into it, my pay will go up, not just to where it was before pay cuts, but to a reasonable amount for a Senior Software Quality Assurance Engineer, and Tim will be hired back on full time at a better salary. I can only hope at this point that the investors will feel like it makes sense to invest even more, and that the CEO can then pull us out of our nose-dive (if they decide to go for it, we'll have a year to head toward profitability ...). If not, gawd I hate job-hunting ...


Spring

March 27
Thought I'd update here this morning. I've been using Live Journal for the "daily" stuff, but felt that I should sort of summarize here.

That weird little coding project is now done -- it's a scheduler, and it's finally reached the point where I believe there are no bugs (or at least nothing major). This was tricky, because it had to deal with internationalization (some of that I have done before), but even more of a problem was dealing with international date formats. Each country/language does things differently it seems. You can't just say "It's a European language, so ...". However, one of our users found you could make calls into Windows itself and get the date to be returned in the appropriate format. Rather cool, and it saved a lot of work in the long run. I guess time will tell if anyone actually ends up using it. I often don't know what parts of the code I create for folk get used. It was an interesting project, however, even though frustrating at times (but aren't they all?).

Job: we're releasing the product today for our "Gold" site, and it will be possible for the New York office to burn CDs for new users. Now is (I guess) where we see if the investors are willing to put the money in for the next year. I sure hope so. This is really frustrating (not knowing if the company will survive).

I posted the following little screed over on Live Journal. I was so weirded out by a commercial I saw that I had to comment on it. No one on LJ has commented back, but that happens sometimes:

So, I'm watching the tube, waiting for the spouse unit to get home from work (since she's leaving for Texas on Sunday for a week, gawd knows when she'll get out of the office) and a commercial came on for a product called "Cortislim". It's another diet pill, that's supposed to deal with water retention among other things.

The thing that got me is that the spokesperson said, with a completely straight face, that it was reviewed in Redbook, Ladies Home Journal and Psychology Today.

Now, I ask you, are Americans REALLY stupid enough to think that Redbook and Ladies Home Journal are reliable and reputable MEDICAL JOURNALS? And if the main focus of Psychology Today is diet pills and such, then perhaps they should be changing the title of the rag.

There are times I really despair that Americans are truly that stupid. Now, I'm obviously not talking about my friends -- who are more intelligent than the average American (at least most of the time <g>) -- but holy cow ... this is a bit depressing.

So, there's that little bit of vitriol out of my system, anyway. It's disappointing that Bill Mahar is taking a break in his show on HBO (Real Time) until the end of July, what with all the ... er ... interesting things going on in the political arena (ex. the 9/11 committee hearings have been surprisingly interesting, although I am not really surprised by much of what is being said -- it would have been interesting to see his take on those ...).

On the other hand, some other shows are on that are worth watching: Deadwood (a western) shows some promise, although it's a bit gruesome so far. Sopranos is back for its penultimate season. Starting this week (April 2) Bullshit! (Penn and Teller) starts back up on Showtime. Sometime soon Jeremiah should be finishing the second season. So at least there's some stuff to look forward to.

We rented Second Hand Lions last week, which turned out even better than I thought it would. With the cast of characters (Michael Cane, Robert Duvall, Haley Joel Osment ...) it had potential, but it was a good story too. Well worth seeing.

As is usual for me, I have a bunch of projects, some of them get worked on while others languish, but that's life. Some of them depend on other folk, so I have to wait for them to do things. These usually go in cycles ...

And tomorrow Carolyn goes back to Texas again for her job. She'll be back on Friday (April 2), and hopefully it won't be too stressful. It looked like it was going to be really bad because they were supposed to go into full implementation, but that's been pushed back a month or two, so she can focus on fine-tuning some of the project while there.

April 12
Not much to add, although the usual insanity keeps occurring. We did Easter Dinner (yesterday) at Gail's place, with Carolyn and I, her mom and Tom, and Tom's youngest San and his wife Hilary. All in all, it was a nice day, although I've been having enough insomnia/sleeping issues lately, that I wasn't the most scintillating person there.

CJ's trip back from Texas was rather difficult. The plane she was on had hydraulic issues, and 20 minutes into the flight turned back to San Antonio, and to be sure the plane could stop the runway was covered in foam, the firetrucks were out, etc. Then due to storms she was stuck at the airport for something like 5 hours before she could leave. She normally gets here about noonish, she didn't get in until around 11pm. She was not happy ...

Ever since CJ game back from Texas her sinuses have been acting up (allergies), and with that comes snoring. For some folk this wouldn't be much of a problem, but between insomnia, and being a light sleeper, it has been difficult to put it mildly. I feel horrible about making her sleep on the sofa, so have gotten up and done so myself. The problem is, I find it hard to sleep there. So I'm running low on sleep a lot lately. Bad ... but oh well. She tells me its okay if she sleeps on the sofa because she's able to do so with less problem than I. (It's very soft, and my back ends up hurting, and generally I can't get really comfortable on the darn thing ...) I still feel bad about making her sleep out there, which is why I often end up not sleeping much (because I end up out there instead).

Catchup: I started getting up at 5am so that around 6, when CJ goes to work, I would start exercising. The reasons for that include: a) the main reason I stopped using the Nordic Track was because it was hot in the afternoons, and I couldn't do my exercising without the heat messing me up; b) I hurt myself in the fall, just as I was about to start back up on the NT, etc. So, I figured I'd do it in the morning when it wasn't so hot, even on the hot days. The idea was great. Then I started. First, it has been long enough I am basically having to start over (after working up to 30 minutes a day, I had to start at 5!), and I had to drop the pressure level (on the fly-wheel) to 3, which is the recommended start point on the NT (it can go to 1, and up to 9). I had it at 4 when I stopped, and the difference is rather amazing.

Okay, that was fine and dandy. Then just as I was getting going, one of the mechanisms for the skis started acting up, and was slipping (not catching on the flywheel axle) -- you can hurt yourself that way. I had to pay $58 to replace it, and then get some tools (socket wrench set) to repair the NT. The repair itself went okay, but sheesh. Yet another thing to go wrong. Now I'm getting back into it, and am at 6 minutes, and today or tomorrow will try jumping to 7. Doesn't seem like much, but that machine really works out the body, and the heart has been racing when I stopped.

Work: Still no word on the situation with my company -- dunno if the company will survive.

CJ has decided to go ahead and start house-hunting anyway. That's been a bit disconcerting. We got pre-approved for a loan with really great credit ratings and all that. We have a house-hunter (realtor) looking for places for us, although she just went on vacation. I am a bit stressed over that (see insomnia bits above). It just feels wrong to me, with not knowing what's up with the company, and whether I'll have a job in a couple months, to be buying a house. But ... oh well. Sigh.

Misc: started going through the Laurel Precedents database and removing duplicate entries for an eventual revamp of the database design (more efficient, but ...). Whatta pain. Some of the folk who did the compilations of precedents did odd things with the categories they cross-referenced them in, and so on. It's making me a bit crazy. A bit at a time, I suppose ...

April 19
What a weird weekend. Things were mostly okay, except that on Saturday CJ spent four hours looking at housing listings online. When she wasn't doing that, I was working on the precedents. (Oy! I'll come back to those ...)

However, Sunday was even more fun. Our agent got back from her vacation and sent us a couple of listings. Neither of them looked all that promising. However, one of them had a link to another listing in Concord. We decided we were interested (right in our price range, enough space, and a garage!) and let the agent know. A while later our friends Don and BJ called, and wanted to know if we wanted to do something (particularly since they are heading to Hawaii on Friday ... sigh -- if we could have afforded it, we might have gone along, but ...). So, they came over and we decided to go look at the place, not thinking that it might be open for inspection (in other words an open house). We got there, a bit of a drive, but it is a quiet area. We looked at it and fell in love ... nice place, three bedrooms, two car garage (nice size), quiet, it's a townhouse. The living room area is a bit odd, but still ... overall it's nice.

Carolyn walked up to the agent at the townhouse and said she wanted to make an offer. I think it surprised her. I know it surprised Don and BJ. I wasn't that surprised, but still a bit surprised. However, I liked the place, and was okay with it. We talked a bit about getting together to do the paperwork for the offer, then left with Don and BJ to do lunch at Tony Roma's.

CJ felt bad about not going through Angela (the agent who got Gail her house, and who sent us the original listings), but wanted to make the offer. So after lunch we came back to the house with Don and BJ, and she called Angela. Oh my, we had to take off to Livermore to go see her to fill out the paperwork for the offer. She was very cool about things, filling this stuff out to give us the best shot at getting the place. She is taking it in this morning to Concord to the place there to make the offer on our place. We then went to CJ's sister Gail's place (not realizing she was having a barbeque ...) and chatted with her. We unwound a bit ... then drove home to watch Sopranos and Deadwood last night before crashing.

It's a bit disconcerting ... it's possible that today or tomorrow we may be on the way to becoming home-owners. Eeep. I'd feel better (heck, so would CJ) if we knew what my company was going to do, but she believes that she can cover the payments for awhile if I end up not working for a bit, giving me time to recover and get a new job if necessary. Of course, we both hope that's not necessary.

Don and BJ have told us that if we get the place, they'd be happy to spend a weekend with us painting the walls that really need painting (some pink in the living room, one of the bedrooms has a bad underwater mural ... the kitchen cabinets need repainting ...) before we move in. This of course assumes we can get the place. We'll have to see. Sigh.

Don and BJ will be going to Hawaii on Friday. If things had gone better for us, we'd be going with them, but oh well. Sigh.

Regarding the Precedents, the last set were pretty odd because the guy who cross-referenced them did a piss-poor job. Oh well. The most recent set I just printed out is 229 pages! That's for a tenure of just a bit over a year. What a wordy guy! Damn. And in the process I have used up most of the toner in my work-horse laser-jet printer, so I need to go get a toner cartridge (not exactly cheap) today. This is the seventh of ten sets of Precedents that I'm going through precedent-by-precedent to clean up duplicate entries, and ensure proper cross-referencing. Of course I'm not actually doing the cross-referencing at the moment, that's another step further down the road. The first step is to clean up the duplicates. This is a rather frustrating process. I just hope that it's worth it in the long run. This is a mo'fo of a project.

Speaking of projects, in and amongst all this I need to get my shit together to start and complete the paper I'm supposed to do for dBCon -- a dBASE conference in Montreal in July. I also need to pay for hotel and plane reservations, since gawd knows if the company is going to. If they do, I'll just have to ask for reimbursement. The payment that I get for the paper won't cover all that, either. But this is the first time these guys are doing the conference, and they can't afford to pay air-fare, hotels, food ... for the speakers. I understand, it's just frustrating as all get-out.

April 28
Been busy, but frustrated. It's ... been a wierd time.

CJ and I have been househunting. She's mostly enjoying the process. I keep getting frustrated by it. The reason? I keep being too positive about some of the places we've put offers in on. So far, nothing has been even close. We got turned down on one because we have 100% financing. The reason? There is one very specific type of loan that is 100%, that has a huge amount of defaults. We're not using that type. Sigh. One place we really liked -- the realtor hadn't updated his website yet -- they'd accepted an offer the day we looked at it. If he'd updated his site, we wouldn't have even looked. Grumble, mutter ... I think CJ is enjoying it because among other things, her job is at the complete opposite side of the home-buying process. She works for a savings and loan, and understands the calculations behind a loan better than most folk in the industry. So for her this is truly fascinating, seeing it from this end. Weird, but true.

Oh well. On other fronts, I got the hotel and plane reservations for the trip to Montreal, and just sent my passport application in (it's easier than dealing with birth certificates and such). Not cheap, sigh.

Got hit again on taxes from a few years ago for that brief stint where I was a "contractor" for the company I'm working for. This time from the state. Grumble, mutter.

Been still slogging through all those Precedents. One of these days I'll actually be done with that. Sheesh. Some of them are really hard to deal with because of the way they were laid out by the person who collated them.

My birthday came and went. I'm now 47 officially. Yipee. No biggie. We kept it quiet intentionally. I don't feel like making a fuss over my birthday until I reach 50.

We're getting ready for Beltane, and for this trip, since it's not far (well, only an hour or so) from Colin and Keegan's, we're driving there and spending the night on Sunday, then coming back Monday, rather than driving back on Sunday. That should be nice -- they're good folk, and we don't get to see much of them. Don and BJ should be coming back from Hawaii tomorrow, while we're driving off to set up camp for Beltane. Too bad, otherwise they might have come up to Beltane. On the other hand, choice between an SCA event and a week in Hawaii? Easy choice. Hawaii wins. <g> As much as I love the SCA, the longer I am in, the less I feel I need to attend every event ...

Oh well. Back to the grind, I guess.

May 7
I've been so busy I haven't really dealt with all this here. We had an offer accepted on a townhouse in Walnut Creek on Thursday of last week (April 28). That was unexpected. We had to rush out at something like 10:30 in the evening to the Kinko's in WC, and sign something our Realtor faxed over (acceptance of counter-offer), and fax it back. This was while we were doing stuff to get ready for the big event on the weekend.

We came home a bit wierd around the edges. In the morning CJ called one of our household members and she dealt with lunch food, which is what CJ was working on for the event when the call came in -- what she was working on would've kept her up way too late.

We then went to the event. When it was over, since we were "near" Albion, where Tim and Keegan live, we drove the 66 miles or so from the SCA event site to their home, and spent the night. That was fun. They've been doing a combination of having a house built and working on some of it themselves. Exhausting for them, but satisfying as well. It's a huge plot of land (22.5 acres or something around there), the house, the cabin they've been using for the last few years (which will become Tim's workshop), and orchards and ... lots of room for the dogs to run. A view of the ocean on clear days. Very nice. The house will be gorgeous when it's done, and that shouldn't be too much longer from what we could see.

We drove back Monday evening. When we got back we unloaded, showered, all that. Tuesday got weirder. We had the house inspection scheduled, we did that yesterday (Thursday, May 6), we had paperwork to deal with ... eeek! (And more paperwork as we go ... it seems that for escrow to close we have something like 3 inches of paperwork!!!!)

We're still freaked our offer was accepted. This is a nice area, and another townhouse just up the street sold for nearly 35K more than we offered on this place. We're wondering how we got the place. We only offered 5K more than the seller asked. Other places we offerred 10K more and didn't get them. If all goes well, escrow closes May 25, and the owners (who want to "rent-back" until June 19, meaning they pay the mortgage as if they were renters for that time) move out around June 19. This will give us time before our lease is up here (June 25? something like that), to move, get it cleaned up, all that.

The inspection is a bit scary, because there's a lot of stuff that needs work (the townhouse was built around 1971). As to the things that need work, some of it needs to be done before we move in, but we're not sure what is covered by the current owner, the Home Owner's Association (yes, we have one, since it's a town-house ...), or by us. Not to mention what might be covered by insurance. Having done some research, it appears that cable will be okay (for TV), but no broadband internet from the cable company (yet), which is what I have now. I should be able to get DSL, but may not be able to know for 100% certain until after we move. (Just like when we moved into the place we're at now -- that was a nightmare.)

The biggest drawback is that Carolyn has to work out how to get to work. She thought there was a bus about 1.5 miles from the place, but she was wrong. That means either walking 3 miles to BART, or my having to take her there and get her when work is done, until we can afford a little cheap car for her to drive there and back (and she would have to get her driver's license).

Part of me is on the verge of just wigging out over it all, because it's a huge thing. We bought just as interest rates are starting to go up, but locked in as low as we can. Even so, buying a place in the SF Bay Area is really expensive. For what we are paying for a 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath, two-car garage townhouse, we could, in many places, get something almost mansion-like. I realize that in the long run owning your own place is good. We (CJ and I) have no tax breaks, and this will give us a big one.

I do wish my company would get its shit together and deal with the payroll issues. I mean, I'm still getting paid, but not what I should be. Sigh.

I guess I'm putting off exercising, because I'm exhausted. My darling cat (Zootie -- see photo below) has decided that he needs huge mondo pets at midnight, 2 or so and 4:30 or so in the morning. I've been getting up at 5. ACK. Not enough sleep on top of it all. I may give up on the Nordic Track for today. I've been good, working my way up to 12 minutes so far, maybe up to 15 by the end of next week.

May 19
So, things are coming together on the house purchase. Last night the "Home Financing Specialist" -- that's what's on her business card -- came over with the loan and escrow paperwork. We spent about an hour going through three inches of paper, signing, reading, initialing, reading, signing, talking about things, signing ...

Mostly, I just listened, and let Carolyn make the decisions. She's got a better mind for this, and understands the loan process anyway. In just a few days, escrow will close, and there we'll be -- home-owners -- up to our eyeballs in debt for years to come, but home-owners.

The seller of the house is being generous when it comes to repairs, which is good. Our realtor was a bit nervous that he'd back off the sale, but he's handling the big stuff, or the Home Owner's Association is ... We do need to have a plumber in to look at the toilet in the master bathroom, though -- that seems pretty important (the wax seal needs to be replaced).

On other fronts. Lessee ... last week CJ came down ill with a nasty flu bug that had her home for three and a half days from work (she went in on Monday and came home early). Boy, it's really bad if it takes her out. The weird thing is that I didn't get it. The down side is that I didn't get much exercise in. And this week I've been trying to catch up, but also finish some stuff, and haven't been as good as I should on that front either. Dammit. I will get there. I have to force myself to do the exercise thing. Sigh.

I managed, after lots of frustration, wiping out my eyes, and all that, to get the Laurel Precedents database in good working order, and have posted it/made-it-available ... I haven't heard from anyone yet, but people are notoriously bad about letting you know that they have even looked at it, even if you request that they do so. Of course, the fact that it's only been online and available for download for a couple hours ... <g>. Anyway ...

Preparing for the move is hard, because among other things we don't have all that much more room in the new townhouse than we have in the place we're moving out of. That means dealing with paring things down, whatever we can do for space. I will be building paperback bookshelves in an alcove in the master bedroom, and hopefully I can get most of the paperbacks there (less deep, and just a bit taller than the books themselves, means I can get a lot more books in one place). That means I will need to find a home for about 8 Scandinavian Designs bookshelf units. I am sure it can be done. We do have a two car garage at the new place, although we're going to try to use half of it for the car. That still gives some room to use for storage, which is good. It has a workbench built-in as well.

I'm trying to be positive about everything. It's hard, since I am not sure what's happening with my company. Sigh. We're going to get together with CJ's sister's financial wizard to see what we can do to our paychecks (W4s?) to make it possible to have the money for the monthly payments and such. Oh, and CJ got a 10% raise and a promotion at work. That's pretty cool. So, it will all work out for the best.

Friends: Teresa McCartney's divorce is being a bit hard on her, since her soon-to-be-ex-husband doesn't have much in the way of a job; meaning no child support. But she's managed to weather all of this in much better shape than a lot of folk, and her oldest is 18 now.

Leohtulf seems to have found a nice lady -- I hope that works out. He's trying to take it slow rather than jumping in, because too fast and it will kill a relationship in many cases. Leohtulf and I, and CJ and his brother, are going to try to catch Troy next week, I think. (That's the movie that just came out ...) I've already missed several movies in the theatre that I wanted to see, but that's life. Too busy. Anyway, it's kind of fun talking to him in IM, because part of him just wants to ramble about her, but you can tell he doesn't want to bore his friends, either. Ah, young love, I remember it. <g>

Tim and Laurie have moved over to near (next door, actually) Rob and Hendy in Ben Lomond. They were having too much foo with their landlord, so it was a good move. They are hoping maybe they can eventually buy the place they've moved to.

Don and BJ went to Hawaii a couple weeks ago. That was really good for them. Don has been under a lot of stress because he's a manager with CalTrans, and one of his workers fell off the bridge and died ... (he hadn't hooked up his harness -- wasn't even wearing it). He was really stressed because a) he knew the guy and was friends with him; b) he had to tell the widow; and c) he was concerned about his job ... the trip to Hawaii was really good for them. They've been really nice and helpful during the whole finding a house bit. But then, they're just nice and helpful people.

Not all that much happening with our friends right now. The usual stuff mostly. Anyway, I'm sort of rambling at this point, so I should stop.

May 27
Feeling a bit scattered (which I guess comes through in today's entry ...) today. Packing. Lots of packing. Escrow closed with time to spare, the loan was paid, the deed was transferred two days ago. We "own" the place (well, the bank owns it, really ...). EEEP!

I've been packing. It's hard, because our current place doesn't have all that much room, and there's no place to create a "staging" area -- a place to put the full/packed boxes. So I can't just pack everything until the weekend before we move. But I can make a dent here and there.

CJ and I are meeting up with Leohtulf and his lady (and his brother) to go see Troy (the movie) this evening, well, we're going to Fuddrucker's for dinner first, which will give us a chance to chat a bit.

CJ still hasn't, to the best of my knowledge, set up the phone and all that for the new place. It's because she's trying to do it at work, and the shit is hitting the fan with things there (just crazy, some of the folk not doing their job correctly as usual ... and CJ gets to deal with it all ...). On the other hand, she got a raise at work, which is great.

Speaking of work, I still have no idea what's up, but Charles, my manager, is feeling really negative about the whole thing. I hope he's just seeing more of a problem than he really is, but he suspects that at the least most of the managers (including himself) may be on the short-term with the company. I am hoping he's wrong. On the other hand, I have no idea. I'm trying to remain positive. It's hard, but since we just bought a house ... I know that unemployment isn't going to be enough to pay the mortgage. Sigh. I guess I could find out about that job market again soon. Grumble ...

I took the car in for a checkup today. They're doing a major bit of work -- maintenance on the car, since it hasn't really been into the shop for more than an oil change and/or smog check in a long time. Whew. Good thing I took it in ... the rear brakes are in bad shape. The guy at the shop said that if he could he'd fix the brake rotors so we don't have to replace 'em, but worse case he can replace them. Misc other things are being done, including replacing the spark plugs and wires, and more ... Good thing CJ has some money saved up. This won't be cheap, but then at least we found out about the problem before it became a real problem. It's 3 pm now, and the car should be done between 4 and 4:30 ... I hope. The shop is in walking distance (just down the hill, walked up it this morning after dropping the car off ...).

And next week, on Friday (the last Friday in this townhouse ...) I am seeing the dentist. Examine/cleaning, and determining (most likely) that it's time to get a crown done on the last bottom molar in my mouth. I'd rather do it before the nerve dies, because then it will require (I assume) a root canal, and I really want to avoid those. Oh well.

On Live Journal one of my friends found a site that creates an image of you based on parameters you give it. The site is: http://www.abi-station.com/illustmaker/index_en.shtml. I created a couple of them, and you can save them as a .gif. Then I took the one I liked best, edited it a bit in Paint and PaintShop Pro, and got this:

Anyway, it's cute. I trimmed the beard a bit, lightened the eyes, added the white/grey in the hair and beard, played with the mouth shape a little. Relatively close, in its way ... If you already know what I look like, you can see a resemblance, anyway. It's definitely got a Japanese feel to it, but it's not surprising as it is a website created by someone in Japan (I believe). But it's still pretty interesting and kinda fun. It is, however, a real time-waster.

Teresa is having to find a place to live, on top of no job, no money coming in, two kids, etc. CJ is helping her out some, which is good. I don't know to what extent she's going to help ... but probably a deposit on a new apartment or something, I would guess.

Oh, two days ago I added a photo of our cats staring at a lizard rather intently through the screen. It's very cute. But then, cats are cute ... at least usually. I added it to the photos at the bottom of this page ...


Summer

June 1
This weekend was a heavy-duty packing weekend. The books are done, we have stacks of boxes everywhere. It was a warm weekend, but a productive one. We spent the evening on Saturday with Don and BJ, had an "American" dinner since it was Memorial Day weekend, consisting of hot dogs, baked beans and for desert we had ice cream ... Pretty basic, but good. And it was the company we were after anyway. <g>

In one week we'll have moved into the new home -- actually a week from yesterday, so six days from now we'll be moving. This evening we pick up the keys and all ...

I modified the paragraph that was here completely, as things changed a couple of hours after posting. I got my "termination packet" -- a cover letter stating I was terminated, and that it was because of a "reorganization" and downsizing (downsizing from 12 employees? To WHAT?); several checks (including the money they've owed me for a couple of years -- five weeks of pay ...); and a list of hardware they want me to return to New York. Sheesh.

So, I've been posting my resume on online job services again. So far nothing (most of the "in California" stuff is showing up way too far from where we're moving ... I'm not commuting to Los Angeles or San Diego ... and the jobs that show up here that I can get to have nothing to do with what I'm looking for ...). What a great start to the summer. Sigh.

June 1 will not be a happy day for me for a couple years ... sigh. Oh well ...

June 4
Trundling along ... lots of resume postings, lots of searching job sites. The folk at my former company have been bad about communication. They have not been cooperating in getting the computer equipment back. One of the other former employees sent them an email which he then sent some of the rest of us that said:

In your letter to me dated May 28,2004, you make this request: 'Please make arrangements to ship the items on the enclosed list to the Vestal, NY office at your earliest convenience.' It is with deep regret that I must inform you that this task will never be convenient. However, I will be happy to open my door to your agent and to assist him in retrieving any dBASE Inc. equipment that remains in my possession. Please have your agent contact me to make an appointment.

My feeling is that if they want the equipment, they have to send me boxes for the monitors, and I will gladly send everything back (they gave me the UPS account number to help out). However, that's as far as I am going to go. If they won't send me the boxes, I am not going to do anything else ...

Some of the users of the company's software have set up some newsgrops, so that they can assist each other out, and discuss things. I've been staying out of the discussions, but finding it interesting reading.

So ... on the first we were supposed to get our keys to the house. That didn't happen due to some idiocy -- communications foobs between the realtors and such. Had to wait until the end of the day the next day. The third (yesterday) they were paving the driveway (it's nice to know the Homeowner's Association is doing improvements, but the timing was a bit interesting ...). So, today I am taking our framed artwork over (don't want the movers to deal with it ...), I have taken measurements for some things, and tomorrow I am spending time there building bookshelves that will go into the master bedroom. I posted photos (below) of the house before we move in. Not sure if I'll post photos after. I just thought folk would like to see what we were getting.

A couple observations, it being one of those mornings ...

I have noticed, with pleasure, when you let friends and family know of hardship they try to help out. Sometimes it's easy to forget that. But with the SCA, and with family members, just being told that they care helps. This job loss is not fun. However, we are set up, because CJ had realized the possibility of exactly this situation occurring. She has money saved up. I have the money the company paid me sitting in the bank, with no plans on rushing out and spending it all right away. I can work on finding a job. But when I posted to folk on SCA-West (the SCA list server) that I was looking, I got a bunch of offers of assistance in email. How cool is that? Networking may be what gets me a new job. I realize some of our friends can't help out, but even some of them have simply said "Sorry to hear it. Is there anything I can do?" or even just a "Hug" sent through email ... I often just ignore that kind of thing, but it really meant something this time. The first couple of days after getting the termination paperwork from my job I was in danger of slipping into a bad depression. All of that really helped keep me from there. I can't thank everyone enough.

The other observation I was going to make has to deal with the odd bits of moving ... I was looking at things that still needed to be packed. Over the last few years, Carolyn and I have moved twice before, and in the process we purged a lot of stuff. So the purging process is both easier and harder now. It's easier because there's less stuff to purge. It's harder because there's less stuff to purge, and you have to be harder on yourself. The prime example is something that I just dropped in the trash yesterday. It was hard. When I worked as an instructor at the Computer Learning Center, sometimes students gave me gifts. One of them gave me a really nice cloth rose. I have kept it all these years. It's gotten sort of ratty, especially since when we got the cats as kittens at least one of them chewed on it a bit. But there's the sentimental value. I had to force myself to decide to throw it away ... sigh. It gets harder ... Oh well.

It will all be worth it. Owning our own home means we are not tossing money away to someone else that we'll never see again. (The flip side of course is that we can't ask the landlord to fix something ...) Well, some of it will be going toward interest and all, but there's the rest. The equity we will be gaining, and the tax write-offs. It'll be hard for a bit, until I get back on my feet job-wise, but I have hopes that won't take too long. Time to start gearing up and get moving on things this morning ...

June 10
Well, we've moved into the new place. I have just one more trip to the old place to go (some more framed art, two stools, that's it ...).

Job searching is tricky, since I don't have an "always on" internet connection. However, we do at least have a working phone now.

We had some trials and tribulations in the whole moving process. They go something like:

Among everything else, I made a decision this morning that if my former company doesn't send me the monitor boxes so I can ship equipment back within 6 months, I'm keeping the equipment. I am still hurt, and pissed off with them at the whole thing. It's bad enough being laid off, but it's the way they did it. I got off easy, though, apparently. Some of the folk laid off haven't gotten all the money owed them yet. At least, last time I heard anything. Having been incommunicado for this long (and three days is a long time) is hard. Starting to feel like we have most things under control, but now the job hunt has to go into full drive. Starting next week after CJ goes back to work, I have to really buckle down and work at finding a new job. I hate not working, so that will hopefully motivate me a bit ...

June 13
It's being a lazy Sunday. I think both CJ and I needed that. She did a bit more unpacking (sewing stuff), and is now working on an SCA Award Scroll for a friend of ours. I've been reading/napping/reading ... decided to pop upstairs to the computer, and do something.

We're in the new home. We're pretty much settled. We have a bit more unpacking left, but for the most part we're pretty well in. We need to get the art up on the walls. We need to contact the handyman that our realtor suggested we contact to do some minor work around the place (part of the close of escrow included some money from the sellers to cover repairs, we should do that soon). The bookshelves we built a week ago for my paperbacks worked out pretty well. I have enough room to expand and all the paperback books are in them. That was a pleasant surprise. We need to get some work done on the closet in the master bedroom so the clothes that should be in a dresser can be put away. (I hate living out of suitcases and such.) Lots of "little" things.

Zootie (the cat) may have scratched his eye, which is causing some irritation. I hope it's something that can be fixed, because he's a sweet cat, and to see him in pain, or having problems with his vision is sad to see.

The car is in the shop (transmission leak ...), and has been all weekend. Sigh. Oh well. Hopefully they will fix it in the morning so I can pick it up and take the cat to a vet (have to find one nearby).

Resumes are going out. I applied at one company for four different jobs (all similar/related), and another company for another job just today. I keep tryin'. Hopefully I'll hit soon.

I guess there's not a lot else to add today, but felt like saying something.

June 20
A brief update. We went and did the Wine Train yesterday in celebration of my step-father (in-law)'s birthday, which is actually a couple of weeks off, but ... that was a lot of fun. The joy has been lessened a bit though ...

While we were out, news came that a good and dear friend in Alaska, Kylson, died at an SCA fighter practice, of "an apparent aorta rupture or massive coronary." I am quite saddened. I can't really say much right now, because everytime I try to write something, I got stuck ... if you've read more of my bio, you will get at least a feeling of how I felt about him.

June 22
Sigh. This is hard. I've never been this grief-stricken over someone's death before. I'm over the worst of it -- the crying jags are pretty much over, although when I think of him, or I read someone's tribute to him, my heart hurts all over again, and tears start forming ... I guess what makes it so hard is that to a certain extent Kylson was almost a big brother to me. I wrote up something for the West Kingdom History website, I created a memoriam page for him on the site, and my entry goes like this. I realize it's not the best writing I've ever done, but when your heart hurts ...:

Many have said many of the things I feel now, and am still feeling. I have known Kylson nearly as long as anyone in the SCA, for awhile, better than many. The following rambles a little, for which I apologize. It's been hard to write what I wanted to say. The words below are a poor attempt to say some of what I need to say.

Kylson was truly a gentle giant. He was fierce on the field of battle, but he was also an honorable man on the field. He was a big man physically, but even more importantly, he had a big personality. Kylson never apologized for being who he was. Sometimes that upset people, but for the most part, Kylson's affect on people was positive. He was who he was. He had his foibles, he was not perfect ... but he was a better man than most.

He was loved by many, as can be seen by the many tributes written about him. As his lady wife has stated, "... known to many, but understood by few ...". I think over the years I have come to understand much about Kylson that many people never saw. In a way, he was a big brother to me ...

In an attempt to keep this from being too long, I will only recount a few of the reasons this man meant so much to me:

The year I was named a member of the Order of the Laurel (1983): Kylson accepted it for me from the hands of King Paul and Queen Rowena. Then he made sure that he was the Lord Defender who presented it to me in person two weeks later, by winning the Lord Defender tournament in Oertha. I remember that evening well, because even though I knew for most of the two weeks prior that this was going to happen, I cried during the ceremony, kneeling at his feet. The next morning, at an Organizational Meeting for the soon to be Principality, as I walked in Kylson sang "My Awards Go Jingle, Jangle, Jingle" - just to make sure I didn't get a swollen head from it all.

The year I graduated College (1984), and I came to Anchorage (SCA: Eskalya) for spring break to try to get some job applications out there, Kylson and his lady -- he and Anne had not tied the knot yet -- let me stay at their home for most of the week. During that time, Kylson held at least one bardic at a friend's home, made sure I could get places, ate, etc. The bardic of course stuck out in my mind. I was very heavily into bardics at the time. The next week I found out that he was creating a new household in Oertha with his lady and some others, and he extended an invitation to me to join. He knew I was moving back to Eskalya in a few weeks time after I graduated. I was totally blown away, but was very happy to accept membership in Kylson's household. I never regretted that.

During the two years before I moved from Oertha to the Mists (SF Bay Area), my time in Quid Non was amazing. The one thing that I never knew though, was that my joining the household was Kylson's idea. I thought for years that it was Anne's. I mentioned to her one time that it was so nice of her, and she told me point blank that it was all Kylson's idea. He never took the credit (or perhaps the blame) for that.

In that time, Kylson made sure during the weeks before I found a job, and I was going through some other emotional turmoil, that I had someone I could talk to, and that I didn't go crazy. He went out of his way to make sure I had a place to live, that I was able to visit he and Anne (I didn't have a car), and so on.

He was always there as a friend. He was always supportive. When I left Oertha, the hardest thing to do was leave such good friends as Kylson and Anne. He was as close to me as family (in some ways closer than my own family). As family members sometimes do, we didn't stay as closely in touch as we could have, but every time I saw him again, whether I went up north or he came south, the ties always felt as strong as ever.

If he helped a person out, he never wanted any kind of repayment. He was a giving man, and wanted people to be happy. He helped me through several things, and I never could find a way to pay him back -- but I honestly believe he would have been appalled that anyone wanted to pay him back. He just saw someone in need, and helped.

He had a big heart, and he always went the extra mile to make sure people were comfortable, happy, and welcome. He helped people through crises, and during it all, he smiled, he told jokes, he sang.

When Kylson and Anne got married a few years later, the wedding was at Anne's parent's place over near Yosemite. I was thrilled to be invited, and to find a ride and be there.

Over the years Kylson touched many lives. He was a joy to be around, because he loved life. He loved people. He shared his joy with everyone around him.

Anne mentions in her missive that "... some did not appreciate his sense of humor ...". His sense of humor was baudy sometimes, crude sometimes, but never malicious. Hell, even though I found some of his jokes crude they were still funny in their way. I was never truly offended by them, because it was Kylson telling them, and you could tell he just wanted to share his joy.

I know others have mentioned his singing -- it was what he was Laurelled for, and it was one of his great joys in life.

His greatest joys were his wife and his son. I can never say enough good things about his wife, and this is not really about her anyway. But watching Kylson change when he brought her to Alaska was amazing. I never thought of Kylson as someone who would be a really good father. But a year after Darien was born, I spent some time in their house. I saw Kylson with Darien, and any doubts I ever had went out the window. He tried to be "macho" and not show the tender side, but he couldn't mask it very well. Watching him play with Darien, and watching this giant of a man being so tender with his son. Wow.

While saddened by his passing, my memories of Kylson will always be positive. He was a great man, he was a kind man, a gentle man. I always felt that Kylson was a friend. Even when I hadn't seen him for several years, the next time I saw him it was as if no time had passed.

I last saw Kylson in Hawaii a year ago (March, 2003) due to a bit of serendipity, during the week after March Crown. We (my wife and some friends) had a nice dinner with Kylson, Anne and Darien. It was a pleasant evening. Now I wish we could have made it last longer.

Kylson will be missed. But the memories are good. He was a positive man, and we should try to remember that about him.

-- Maestro Hirsch von Henford, OL, OP
Member of House Quid Non, formerly of Oertha ...

So the memorial service is being held in Anchorage on Sunday, and oddly enough, I'm going. I say "oddly enough" because financially it's a bit tough -- we're spending a lot for me to go to this, and I'm only going for a day -- I will actually be in Anchorage for less than 24 hours. But Carolyn feels that I really need the closure that attending the memorial for him will give me, and she's probably right. I wish I could spend more time, truly visit with some of my old friends, but I have too many responsibilities here (including the fact that I have to job-hunt ...). Maybe we can visit Alaska again soon, but ...

June 30
I'm back from Alaska, and mostly rested now. Monday night, after getting back I was so exhausted that I almost literally blacked out in front of the TV, and after waking up said "Guess this is pointless" and went to bed. I am mostly back to being myself after two nights of LOTS of sleeping ... guess I'm getting too old for no-sleep weekends.

Monday night after I got back, I posted the following about the memorial service. I found out later that the Bardic Circle lasted until about 4am, then it devolved to dirty jokes (Kylson would have loved that), and then just hugs and such. By that time I was at the airport, trying to stay awake until I was on a plane.

Since obviously most of the folk in the Mists, Cynagua, the Far West, and the Marches weren't there, I thought I'd recap what I remember (keep in mind I have had little sleep for two days, most of that catnapping in the airport or on the plane home) -- if someone wishes to post this on the Oerthan mailing list, please do so ...:

I arrived Sunday afternoon and went straight from the airport to the fighter practice that was being held in Kylson's honor. I got there and saw a few folk I knew (Oertha's changed a lot since I lived there!), and chatted. Eventually other folk from outside of the Principality arrived, including Fabian Arnett ..., Magnus Artkus, Mari Alexander, Brocc of Alderden, Colin MacLear, Francis Bull of Kent, William Kearney, and of course I was already there. And local folk showed up of course, some I knew, some I didn't ... Those who were inclined got into armor, the fencers were fencing. Folk were schmoozing. Kylson would have approved. Someone told me it was probably the largest fighting practice in Eskalya in some time.

Anne (Kylson's widow) arrived with their son Darien, and spent some time with folk, before going back to her home where the memorial was being held that evening.

I drove to the home of Viola where I was crashing for the night, after stopping and getting some lunch.

Hung out at Viola's for awhile, read a bit, talked with folk a bit.

We all headed over to Anne's home, parking in the nearby church lot, and down the street. Some small sunshades were up on the lawn. Lots of ice chests full of pretty much anything you could think of to drink. LOTS OF PEOPLE. Everything started out on the lawn and driveway, outside. However, food was inside (made sense, keep the bugs off ...). Also inside in one hall were photos of Kylson. LOTS of photos of Kylson. Wow. His Knight's scroll was hung in the main area right outside the living room with all his awards hung on it, including the Princess' Champion baldric.

People chatted, had food and drink, looked at photos ... and it was amazing to see who came to this. From ancient Oerthan history came Marya Nordama, one of the founders of Eskalya ... many people I hadn't seen in years were there. Wow. There were of course people I wasn't very familiar with (if at all ...) because there have been lots of new folk in Oertha since I was last there.

When it got close to 9 o'clock, Anne got up on an ice chest and spoke for a short bit, understandably choking up a few times in the process. Then her mother spoke a little about what a joy Kylson was to have as a son-in-law, father to Darien, and family member, she gave a little prayer. Kylson's cousin Joel sang "Oh, Danny Boy", and there was not a dry eye in the place. However, many attempts were made by people to remember the positive things about Kylson -- all the joy he brought with him everywhere he went. At 9 we all raised whatever we were drinking, and gave a very loud toast to Kylson.

Some of Kylson's squires and former squires sang "A Dram for the Piper". Lots of happy memories were dragged out. Dresden drank a glass of beer for Kylson, after explaining why: He's older than Kylson and always expected Kylson would outlast him -- he made Kylson promise to drink a beer in his honor after he passed away. The table was turned, and Dresden instead drank in Kylson's honor.

There were tears, yes. (Hell, I'm starting to tear up as I write this ...) But there was much joy. People sang, and sang, and sang. The bardic circle was great, as you would expect in Oertha ... Of course over the evening people went home. I stayed until around 2 in the morning before heading off to Viola's home after getting a chance to talk to Anne a bit ... then flew home today, and here I am ... still grieving, but feeling better than I have for a week ...

I don't know how long the bardic actually lasted, as when I left it was still going strong with about 15-20 people still singing.

Spider Robinson wrote at least once in his Callahan's Crosstime Saloon novels that shared pain can lessen the pain for the individual. I have never seen a greater example of this.

No one could ever hope to replace Kylson in our hearts, in our minds, in bardic circles, on the tournament field, the dance floor, as a husband and father, as a friend. No one should ever be expected to. The memorial service was a great tribute to a man who touched many lives, and hopefully he will be remembered with joy. Hopefully some of the pain many of us feel has been dulled at least a little by this.

Hirsch

There's little else to add. The trip was good for me -- I saw old friends, met some folk I didn't know, and shared my grief, my pain, with others. I feel like the grief and pain really have lessened some from the experience.

There is another memorial planned for this coming weekend at the West/An Tir War, and then one more planned for the central Bay Area in mid-July. I may not be able to go to that, or at least not for long, because we have other plans for the evening, but I will try to go.

"Here's a health to the company, and one to my lass.
Let's drink and be merry, all out of one glass.
Let's drink and be merry, all grief to refrain.
For we may, and might never, all meet here again."

-- Health to the Company (Traditional)

July 7
Catching up really quickly before heading off to Montreal tomorrow for dBCon 2004:

Things have been a bit crazy, but that's life. Last week after returning from the trip to Alaska I spent some time talking to a Career Counselor, and paid him $200 to re-write my resume. He did a nice job, so that was worth it. I just hope it helps in the job hunt.

In the process of emails about Kylson's death and memorial services and ... I ended up getting back in touch with Jenny Downs, now Jennifer Rader. She remarried four years ago, has a daughter by her current husband, as well as her son by her first husband. She calls her husband "a keeper" in one of our messages. Except for working too hard, she seems to be happy. (She mentioned 15 hour work days ... ick!) I'm glad to hear it. I have always been fond of her, and it's nice to know she's doing well.

I also just heard from Faith (who's last name I never knew), who was when I last saw her Chris Cushman's girlfriend -- this was before I went to college, between 1975-77. She's been married for awhile I guess, her last name is Holton. She's living in Virginia and works in DC (as in Washington, D.C.). She was trying to find Chris's email address which has disappeared on her computer and stumbled across the bio. She says she's still as shy as ever, but to say "Hi" to the old gang (if any of you are continuing to read this, there you go! I have a working email address for her if you would like to connect ...). I never got to really know her as she was rather shy, but it was nice to hear from her. She particularly enjoyed reading the story of the chase when Sidney "abducted" her ...

Tomorrow I fly to Canada for dBCon 2004 -- the dBASE conference set up by a couple of the users of the product I have supported in some fashion or other for the last 10-12 years. Since the tickets were bought before I was laid off from my former employment, I figured I might as well go. Besides the speaker's fee will cover most of my cost of getting there, hotel, etc. I might even be able to write some of it off on my taxes. I'll be back on Sunday, most likely exhausted yet again -- I have another 6am flight back. The advantage is getting home at a decent hour (noonish), the disadvantage is I'll be completely wiped when I get home. Oh well.

July 13
I don't have time to do much this morning before I have to go in for an interview at the Unemployment Office. Sigh. They want to "help me find a job". Like anything they do is going to be better than the professional I am working with. Sheesh.

Oh well. The conference was good. I found that Montreal is a really nice city, although a bit crowded (some of that may have been because of the Jazz Festival). It was not a heavily attended conference, but it was fun, educational, and informative. About 10% of the attendees were from Europe (Holland, Germany, Scotland, Spain ...). That was pretty cool all on its own.

I may have gotten some work from one of the folk I met at the conference, but I haven't heard back from him (he may still be in Montreal, etc.).

I will be adding one photo from the conference by one of the attendees that shows me talking to a couple of folk. The paper I gave seemed to go off well, which is cool.

I have had the first part of a crown done for the last molar on the bottom jaw in my poor beat up mouth. The rest of that gets done on Thursday of next week. Then I will have four crowns in my mouth. Oy. Well, it's better than having to have root canals done, I guess.

The job hunt continues, slowly. I have gotten the resume from the Career Counselor, but so far it hasn't done me much good. However, I have only had it for a short time.

I'm sort of rambling, so I should probably just stop and get that photo in here ...

July 16
The week has been an odd one. Very little in the way of job leads, but some possible work as a contractor/developer ... Nothing concrete yet, but lots of advice from others who I met at the conference (and some who didn't make it). Charles (my former manager) is setting up a company and I may get some work via him.

In the long run, I think I'd be happier working at a company and getting a regular paycheck, but contract work is work, so I have to keep that in mind.

Last night Carolyn's brother was in town and so we and her sister went out to Chevy's over in Pleasant Hill, had dinner, nice chats, and when the conversation went completely political, I buggered out and played on the computer a bit. <g> I came back down later, but the conversation had turned to reminisces of old friends and acquaintances, and so I went to the other room and read a bit ... nothing personal, but I don't know any of the folk they're talking about, if they need to rehash old times, that's fine, but it bores me to tears. So ... (Don't get me wrong, I really love Carolyn's family ... but the reminiscing is a bit much at times ...)

Tomorrow is most likely "stuff around the house", until we get ready to go out and do dinner at Venezia in Berkeley, and see Oak, Ash and Thorne (also in Berkeley at the Freight and Salvage) with a bunch of friends (Jeremy and Dawn, Donna and Andrew, Toni). That'll be fun. Then Sunday will be the first of two Golden Stag Player auditions -- hopefully the first will be the better attended, but we'll see, I guess.

August 6
Been a little while since updating here. I've been spending more time updating Live-Journal than here. Oh well.

To sum up: Still no actual real job. On the other hand, the contract with the gentleman in Ohio is coming together. I went and got some books on consulting, working for yourself, etc. One is by Nolo Press (lawyers!), and has some possible contracts I can cobble together into something that might be acceptable. The job market on the other hand sucks big time.

Last week, on Thursday, Carolyn's brother was in town again on another layover, so he came over and she cooked dinner, and we hung out. He's coming over again tonight ...

We also went to Arts and Sciences last weekend (SCA) and had a good, if not chaotic time.

And to be sure I am not bored, I am starting an Open Source project with the dBASE Developer's Community. Wow. Busy, busy, busy, but no big details to report on.

Last night the local peacock came and visited us. He was sitting on the gate. Scared the pemmican out of my cat (Zootie), and I think Rebo just went and hid. He's much bigger than the pigeons they usually see out there. He wandered around a bit, and I managed to get some photos from my office window of him ... (see below).

August 14
And things haven't changed all that much since last update. However, I have been making progress on the book proposal, working with a couple of folk to get something that will be useful for a majority of the dBASE developer community, from beginner to intermediate, and possibly advanced ... I have more revisions to do based on commentary from one of them sent a bit ago, but I am feeling a bit crispy today. Was thinking about popping off and seeing a movie, leaving CJ to have some downtime by herself (well, with the cats). She doesn't get much of that ...

Dealing with the business side of things has been frustrating and weird. Even with the Nolo Press book for guidance, setting up a Single Proprietor business is a bitch. Oh well. I hope to hear about the contract with Belmont County ... I'll check on Monday again with my contact there. He was sounding pretty positive, as a whole ... (The contract had a couple minor tweaks, but otherwise was mostly sections taken word-for-word from the Nolo Press book, which they give permission for. He (my contact in Ohio) passed it through their legal folk, and is pretty positive this is not going to be a problem, but we're dealing with government, so it has to go through their hoops to be approved and signed and so on.)

I spent some time working with a free HTML/DHTML/CSS/JavaScript menu that someone put together awhile back, and have revamped a couple pages of my website, and may do more soon, to use that. Once you get it figured out, it's not too bad, but the documentation is pretty terrible, and so it's hard to figure what you can/should change, and what's a bad idea, or why, when you change something, the whole menu disappears (in the case that messed me up, I had left off a single quote around something). Once you get past all that through trial and error, it's pretty easy to use. (He says, having sworn a lot while trying to figure it out ...)

The open source project is still in discussion phases. Trying to figure out what will be the best approach is a bear when you have a lot of people involved. Most of us are looking at some coding concepts that don't fit into what we've done before, so that's rather daunting, to put it mildly.

We got together with the acting troupe last weekend (Sunday) and will do so tomorrow (and probably at least one more session after that -- next weekend or the one after) to work on the script for the play we're planning on doing for 12th Night. This'll be a funny one. It's a commedia, and we decided to say "who cares about PG ratings and all that?" so it's probably the most risque thing we've done so far. It'll be a riot, though. We're already cracking ourselves up over some of the sight gags and such.

August 24
This last couple of weeks has been more of the same ol' same ol'. The contract with the gentleman in Ohio should be being approved at the County Council meeting this evening. If it is, then I will be working for awhile on that project (kewl!). Next Day -- the contract was approved. They have to mail three copies, I have to send them back two signed copies, and a Purchase Order needs to be sent to show there's money in the account to cover it. And awaaaay I go ... First actual contract! (Of course, I have to now look at tax issues, but ...)

In the meantime, lots of other things are keeping me busy. The open source thing is slowly coming together (as I expected ... slow ...). Various other tasks that I keep giving myself are happening. I have a rough draft of the first real chapter of the dBASE Programming book out to a couple of friends in Montreal to check out. I know it will need work, but once this chapter isin good shape, the rest of the book will be relatively easy (time consuming, yes, but ... most of this is stuff I've written Knowledgebase papers on over the years).

I did have an actual honest-to-gawd interview for a job, but it was a Unix job, and I have no Unix or Linux experience, and the networking stuff was stuff I wasn't familiar with. It was through some networking (Leohtulf heard about it from someone and told me and ...). The best part of that though is that it shows how good the resume is. That means that the $200 spent on the resume rewrite was a good thingtm. On the other hand, the job market still sucks in general.

Oh yeah. Last weekend I hung a bunch of our artwork. Didn't put it all up, but that's a good thing. There isn't really room for all of it, and the walls would have been overloaded. But we do have some of it up, and that makes the place feel more like it is ours. I mean, CJ's been paying the mortgage, and I've been giving her half of my unemployment checks ... The contract from Ohio will be a really good thing for awhile. However, I will need to work out the tax issues ... (Like can I get an extension on the tax prepayment that I am supposed to do by Sept. 15? I don't have that kind of money sitting around ... 40% of what I expect to make off the contract is substantially more than is in my bank account!) Once the taxes are covered, I should be set ...

We didn't work on the script for the new GSP play last weekend as a couple of folk were moving, and the troupe needed a break. This coming Sunday we'll be doing it, but we have lots happening in between. Friday we're going to San Francisco with CJ's sister to see Sonny Landreth -- a blues guitarist, who is quite good. Saturday is Valerie's official house warming party. And then Sunday ...

I also got an email from my mother reminding me that we had talked about she and Tim (my brother) coming here as part of a vacation trip they're taking, and spending some days with us next month. We're working out details, but will probably skip Mists Coronet weekend, so we can spend it with my family (well, we're missing October Crown to spend time with her family at Stinson Beach again -- although we'd planned to be able to do both, the site for Crown had issues and the date shifted ... figures!).

On top of everything else, through a series of "what about" type questions, we're doing a cruise up the panhandle of Alaska in May with Carolyn's mom, stepfather, sister and brother. That's all been a bit weird, but what the hey? The difficult thing is for CJ -- she has a phobia of ships. It has to do with watching A Night To Remember when she was a kid, and they've terrified her ever since. She's gotten the worst of it under control, but I don't think we'll be spending any time below decks ... One of the best things is that we'll get to see Glacier Bay, which I have wanted to see for years. It's one place I've never been in that part of Alaska.

September 4

Busy week. My contract came through, and I got a bunch of preliminary work done, and got one of the main parts of of the project done by Friday. Of course, we'll see how well I did when my contact in Ohio gets the CD and tests things, but ... Anyway, I sent my first invoice as well.

On other fronts, Chapter 3 of the book is coming together. The first two are basic intro and "installing" stuff, so I will come back to those later.

It's Labor Day Weekend, and my wife is out with some friends at the Marin County Quilt and Needlework show. I've been taking it easy today. I needed some real downtime, not really sitting in front of the computer. So, I've read, I've messed around, and yes, I've played a bit with stuff on the computer, but nothing really important.

I'll be going to a Small Business Training seminar on Thursday that's free, and sponsored by a local assemblyman. What the hell? If I can learn a little something that will help, great. And it'll get me out of the house on Thursday.

Quick recap of last weekend: Sonny Landreth -- great music, a bit too loud, my ears were almost in pain by the time it was over. But otherwise, really good. Valerie's party -- we were only going to be there for a couple hours, but ended up staying until 10. Probably the fact that Don and BJ showed up helped ... And on Sunday we got the script into good shape. We start rehearsal next Sunday ... And CJ flies to Texas for a week on Sunday (gawdawful early in the AM), and a friend from the dBASE world is going to be in town Sunday evening and we're doing dinner ... and then the weekend after that (with CJ coming home on Friday), my mother and brother will be showing up for several days ... in this tiny house, we'll have two extra people living here for, I think, five days. Gack. Oh well. We'll work it out.

That's about it, but felt I should say something ...


Fall

September 22
Well, as usual, I've been not updating as often as I might, and things have been busy ... (this is a long entry)

I have put a lot of work in on the contract, getting the more complex stuff done, although now I have an import and export routine to deal with, which will take some extra work. However, it's coming together. I have billed for about 1/3 of the contract (a little over, actually) so far, but I am sure I'll bring it in under budget (maybe just barely, but ...).

On to other things: Carolyn was out of town last week for yet another trip to San Antonio for work. She got back Friday, and I got dinner and we did our usual date night. She did some cleaning up, I did some cleaning up, because among other things my mother and brother were arriving on Saturday. It's important to note that we missed Mists Coronet because of this visit, not that big a deal, but something happened we would have liked to be there for. Such is life. (Details in a bit.)

Saturday morning, we popped off to "Bed, Bath and Beyond" to get some bedding, as she wasn't happy with what we had for guests. Okay. Then we got some stuff for dinner, and lunch (knowing they'd be here after lunch).

They arrived around 3ish. Mom is now 70 years old, and in pretty good shape for someone at that age. But then, she's still working at Sears, and so on. Tim looks older than I do (he's younger than me by a year and a half) -- hair is grey, mustach is grey ... But otherwise he's in decent shape.

We spent the afternoon and evening chatting, and had dinner and ... It was a bit weird, but not too bad. Carolyn made a suggestion for what to do the next day (go to Muir Woods) which sounded good. The weather was going to be nice, and so it was a great idea. Carolyn made blueberry muffins for the morning, so we had a quick breakfast ...

Set up the sofa bed for mom, and the futon in the office for Tim. That seemed to work okay, with the drawback that I couldn't really do anything with the computers easily. No biggie ...

Sleep. Good. Not enough, but oh well. We got up, did our morning ablutions, got some breakfast (coffee! Blueberry Muffins!, etc.), and it started to rain. Not bad when it started, we figured we'd be okay. By the time we got in the car it was getting heavier. By the time we were on Highway 24 it was a torrential downpour! Gad! The worst thing is that the windshield wipers on our car are giving me grief, and we figured we could wait until next month to get it dealt with (have to take it in for at least a day -- they have to pull the dashboard apart to get to the wipers) -- the only way that they work is if I push the "wash the windshield" button. Argh. We got to the tunnel, decided we should go home and regroup.

We got back, and about the time we got our coats off the rain let up. Sheesh! One wonders if this was a message ... "Don't Go To Muir Wood Today!". SO ... Carolyn and mom and Tim talked a bit, and with some interest in history, we decided to go to Sonoma, and visit some sites there (General Vallejo's home, a mission, etc.). That was kind of nice, and the weather had let up almost completely -- no rain, some clouds, a bit cool, but not bad. We had lunch in downtown Sonoma. Did a bunch of window-shopping. We stopped at the public privy in the park in downtown Sonoma, and then took time to look at the very nice roses ... Tim and Mom took a ton of photos (I took fewer, but there will be some below) during all this.

We decided to go back via the Golden Gate Bridge. Carolyn took time to look at a map, because we wanted to bypass Santa Rosa if we could (traffic is bad there because the highway is only two lanes each way). That didn't work -- we couldn't find the freeway we wanted, and ended up getting to 101 near Santa Rosa, and had a lot of stop and go traffic for awhile. However, we did get to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, but going into The City that way, there are no stops for tourists to get out and look, take photos, etc. Figures. No easy way to turn around, either. So, we said "screw it" and found our way to the Bay Bridge, and came home. Time for dinner ... I popped out and got a couple things for dinner, and we had a nice, pleasant evening. Somewhere in there I checked email to see what the results were of Mists Coronet (details later).

Monday morning, Carolyn went to work, and mom, Tim and I slept in (no sense in my getting up at that point, the only thing I would want to do is catch up on email, and since Tim was asleep in the room with the computers ...). Once I got up, I went downstairs and got the paper, waiting for mom to start moving so I could start coffee (didn't want to rudely wake her up with the sound of coffee grinding ...). While we ate breakfast and all that, we talked about what to do. Carolyn had made a couple of suggestions Saturday, and we decided to do both of 'em.

So, we went to the BART station and to the Embarcadero Street station in San Francisco. We walked the block plus to the Ferry Building, and took the Ferry across the Bay to Sausalito. That was nice -- I had never done this before, so it was a bonus for me. The weather was good, and we were prepared for the wind off the Bay and through the Gate. We got to Sausalito, and got more film for mom, as she and Tim were shooting lots of photos (Tim with the digital camera, mom with the film camera). We then looked for a place to grab some lunch. Nice deli there, and we got sandwhiches, sodas, and went across the street to some benches near the Bay, and ate there with a great view. We then window shopped a bit, stopping at a candy store that had saltwater taffy (one of my all-time favorites). I bought too much (well over a pound), but I always do. Good thing these shops are not near where I live! Mom and Tim bought some too, but were more restrained. Anyway, we wandered a bit, mom found a mug for a neighbor who was housesitting her dogs. We eventually caught the ferry and got back at around 2.

We then went straight back to BART for the second part of the trip. We got to the Powell street station and went upstairs and bought tickets for the Cable Car over to Fisherman's Wharf. The line was surprisingly long considering it was a Monday and it's fall ... but oh well. We had some good chats, watched people, etc. Eventually we got on a car, but were the last folk on. This meant hanging on the sides. EEEP. I was in front, and Mom and Tim had their cameras in one hand, hanging on for dear life with the other. It wasn't really that bad, but it was interesting. About halfway to the wharf (a longer trip than you might suspect, because the cable car does some interesting turns to get there), someone got off and mom got a seat. Her arm was definitely feeling it, but she did well.

When we got to Fisherman's Wharf, and got our bearings, we slowly made our way past the tons of shops and such to Pier 39, which is really the place I wanted to go. If I had realized the ferry went there from Sausalito, I would have gotten our tickets for that destination, but oh well. Live and learn, eh? Just outside of the Pier 39 area, we found a public phone. Since it was 4, I felt that since we weren't going to be home for dinner, I should call and let Carolyn know, leaving a message on the answering machine (since I was a dope and didn't bring my PDA with her work number in it, and she had the cell phone ...), to let her know. The phone didn't like our home phone number for whatever obscure reason (I think the '3' was broken, but ...). So, I tried. I didn't get my change back, either. Sheesh!

Anyway, we had fun looking at the sea-lions (who are entertaining, even though they don't have a clue ...). We wandered into the Pier 39 area, saw a mediocre stage performer (juggler) ... did some looking at shops, but I think Mom and Tim were pretty much "shopped out". We stopped at a fish and chips place, and had an "okay" dinner (not great, not bad). Wandered back in the direction of the cable cars, because Ghiridelli Square was over there. Went in, wandered some more. I think we were all feeling a bit pooped by then, but it was a good day.

We finally went over to the Cable Cars around 7ish, and got in lines that were much longer than expected (by me). And we had a really bad musician serenading us (couldn't play the dobro guitar well, no rhythm, it was out of tune, etc.). Got to a car, and the only room left was standing/hanging out the side. We did that earlier, so waited for the next car. Got inside and seated on that one, and back to BART, back home by 9ish. Whoof.

Chatted with Carolyn, explained that I'd called, but ... and so on. Gave her the liquorice saltwater taffy I had bought for her, which she scarfed (I didn't realize how much she likes saltwater taffy ... hmm ...). Went to bed, a bit sore (back, feet ...).

Tuesday, Carolyn went to work, and again we all slept in. Got up, and Tim and Mom packed, we had some breakfast, put the sofa bed away, etc., and they headed back to Oregon. I spent the day feeling groggy and got NO work done. But that's how it goes sometimes. We had a good visit. Hopefully a few photos will turn out, and I'll post those below ... I haven't bothered to download them from the camera yet. Today, besides updating here, I've been doing smaller parts of the work needed for the contract ... smaller forms for some of the lookup tables and such. The folk in Ohio are dealing with the aftermath of flooding, and so don't have much time to look at what I'm doing, so it's okay that it's the smaller things right now.

SCA: So, this last weekend was Mists Fall Coronet Tournament. A friend of mine has made it to the finals four times prior to this weekend, three times for the same lady (a friend who is happily married, has a kid, etc.). I had agreed that if he ever won, I'd be there to help, and would run court or whatever he needed. Well ... he won. This would be his fifth final round, and apparently it was a good one, although he doesn't remember all the details (at least not as of yesterday afternoon, but he sounded pretty fried). Leohtulf is a good guy, and I am sure he and Quentyn (the lady he's been fighting for) will be fine as Prince and Princess. I found out Sunday (as noted above), dropped him a quick note to call me, and there you are. We chatted yesterday afternoon for about half an hour, but he was fried, and was calling from work (I think he used part of his lunch break). I will be doing his Investiture Court, and we'll see what else he would like me to help with ... I am very happy for him, as I know it's got to be frustrating to get that close that many times, and not quite make it. Once, it's cool to just get there. Twice and more, you start wondering what's wrong ... <g> Anyway, I am sure it'll be a fun reign. I intend to force a bit of humor in wherever I can, just to make sure.

October 13
We have been busy. But in that busy was our annual Stinson Beach trip, with Carolyn's family -- Bill (her brother), Rebecca and their kids Stephanie (6 1/2 years old) and Patrick (4 years old); Gail (her sister); Marge and Tom (mom and step-father); and for a couple days Tom's son Sanford and his wife Hilary.

Nice time, lots of beach time, which meant that while the family was a the beach, I spent a lot of time on the computer, working on some code, and also working on chapters to the dBASE book I'm working on.

There are a bunch of photos at the bottom of this page. One of the highlights of the trip was the day that some friends of Bill's buzzed the beach in some vintage (WWII) planes -- one is a P-51 Mustang and I think the other is a Spitfire -- it was pretty cool, they did some tricks and then buzzed off into the distance. The first flyover we didn't know they were coming and it was a surprise; the second one we knew about because Bill called all afire about the first one. It made his day, let me tell you ... the rest of us got a kick out of it, but it made Bill really happy.

All in all a good time, good food (of which there was WAY too much), and so on.

Mostly caught up today. Carolyn took an extra day off work today, for a whole week. She did some calligraphy and is doing her Scribe's Night with Brynne as I type.

We watched the debates (we've seen them all ...). Interesting, but a bit disappointing. There were places where Kerry could have been more pushy about things, more of a fighter. Oh well. I think he's made a better showing than some of us thought he might, and he is much more of a contender than he was before the debates, IMO. We'll see. Well, I'm running out of steam ...

We're day-tripping October Crown this weekend, because we really ought to go, but since Carolyn can't get another day off this week, we're not camping. Just as well, as the site will be crowded (we're sharing it with fire fighters for the fire up north -- cute, eh?). We're going both days, though.

It looks like the contract I've been working on will be winding down soon. I intend to get some more work in over the next couple days, and maybe wrap it up by the end of next week. We'll see how all that goes. I have more coding to do, and some documentation, and ...

October 19
Rainy ... today is rainy. A big storm from Alaska has moved its way to N. California. Lots of rain, some wind. I don't know how "bad" it is, I do know the skiiers will be happy -- two feet or more of snow is expected in the mountains from this.

On the weird front: last Friday I wrote to the company I was working for until June (although they've now changed their name to dataBased Intelligence ...) to see if I could get a discount on the upcoming new version of the software, as I was hoping to avoid paying full price. I was also expecting to be completely blown off/ignored. I got a nicely worded message back that they'd be happy to send me a FREE copy when its done. Free? Well, okay, I'm working on a book about dBASE, and that's free publicity for the software if I can get it done and out there.

I also heard from them about possibly being a "dBVIP" -- basically their version of the TeamB thing I used to do. This would mean access to the beta version(s) of the software -- a good thingtm when working on the book, among other things. Told them I'd accept under the condition that if I have to get a "real" job I won't be in the newsgroups as often as I could be now. I was also told that there might be some work on the side for me, but we'll see if that surfaces. I will want a solid contract there ...

SCA: We went to Crown this last weekend, as noted in the previous entry. We day-tripped both days. Had a good time Saturday, hanging out with the former apprentices (Juan and Rose) in their camp, with Juan's apprentice and others from the Golden Stag Players.

The tourney gave us a few heart-stopping moments, and without going into all the gorey details, of the possible three semi-finalists, I am glad that Alden won for Constantina.

All in all, a pleasant day, despite the issues the site had with sharing the site with the fire departments dealing with a huge fire over near Lake Berryessa, and a bunch of rescued Collies (long story, but basically some jerk was mistreating them ...) who had to be quarantined, and were barking a lot.

A bad moment occurred out in the parking lot, getting ready to go to dinner with Juana and Ivar and Geoffrey and Kira before heading home, I realized my peerage medallion was gone. This is a nice (beautiful) piece of cloisonne, that cost me a pretty penny when I bought it a few years ago. The chain was not broken, but the clasp was undone and the chain was just hanging from my neck. The jumpring didn't open -- it's soldered shut. We didn't find it. AGH!

We did dinner, went home. I was grumpy for most of the evening ...

Got up, went to the event for the peerage meetings, got there a few minutes into the first. They went okay, no major fu/difficulties/confrontations (thank goodness -- there was the possibility of something ugly happening, but it never quite surfaced ...). After the Pelican meeting, the clerk of the order stood up and asked if anyone had lost ... MY MEDALLION! Whew! Talk about relief! It had a few small cracks in the back that I don't think were there before, but the enamel shows no signs of wanting to pop out/off the medallion. I was not looking forward to trying to replace that ...

Besides all that, things are just trundling along. I'm waiting for my contact in Ohio (for my contract) to get back to me about the CD I sent (and they got yesterday), and any bugs that need fixing. I have to get around to the final documentation as well, and getting the project file ready to go ... but it all seems to work except for one request. I am not sure if I understand it, but I haven't spent much time on it. I keep hoping a new contract will surface, but if not, I will have to (as I promised my wife) see a head-hunter about finding a job. And in this job market, that's tough (despite anything the Bushies have to say).

October 26
As I sit here, waiting for the awards list to upload to the heralds' website ... (dialup is such a pain in the ass, after having gotten spoiled with DSL and Cable connections for five years ...).

I have spent most of the last week ill. Low-level, probably a flu -- temperature on and off, headaches all the time (I took probably too much aspirin, trying to remove the headache pain ...), and a feeling of lethargy that was pathetic.

I finally tried to force the fever to run its course quickly Sunday evening by doing the "hot bath" thing -- a trick I discovered in College. Soak the body in very warm water (the hottest you can stand) and you can often force the body to finish the healing process by cooking the virus out. It's uncomfortable, because you end up with your heart racing a mile a minute for awhile, and a nasty sweat ... but ...

Problem is, the bathtub in this place was not designed with adults in mind. At least not average sized adults. Maybe petite ones. I cannot lie down in this bathtub comfortably. My knees are way up in the air, and with the small of my back touching the bottom of the tub, the water at its highest (before it starts draining) was not over the top of my chest. Grumble ... but I tried anyway, I figured most of my body was surrounded by the water, so ... (The bathtub is now on the list of "when we can afford it, this must be replaced!" items for the house ...)

Got out, and no signs of accelerated heart-rate. Shit. Figures. Went to bed, because I was tired. I slept for a bit, and woke up with my heart beating faster. Went back to sleep (don't ask me how!). Woke up drenched in sweat. Ick.

Yesterday (Monday) I was still feeling a bit out of it, but today I am almost back to normal ... almost. <g>

I need to get cracking on finishing the code for the Bellmont County Folks, but also of course have a bunch of other things to do.

Play rehearsal went well on Sunday, despite some dopey issues. The usual stuff (late people, etc.). Hopefully it'll just keep getting better. Well, probably ought to go get crackin' on work-stuff.

November 2
Today is election day. Gawd I hope things don't go down the tubes ... with Kerry I feel we at least stand a chance of recovering; with Bush it just feels like four more years of things getting worse ...

Regarding work: I am nearly done with the contract for Belmont County. There may be something in the works from my former manager at dBASE, Inc., but I guess we'll see. If it does happen it should be soon, as it's for a lawyer who needs the data ready to work with by trial date in January. I sure hope I can get another contract -- I kind of like this, but it's hard to find work.

I've been going through various software I've written over the years doing little updates such as adding the icons and button images I paid for awhile back from a company in Germany. Some good stuff, and really nice looking, so what the heck? Also some other minor cosmetic things ...

SCA: Working with Leohtulf and Quentyn on their Investiture ceremony, as that's happening in 11 days ... trying to get all the ducks lined up so there are no (or few) surprises that day, and it all runs as smoothly as possible. Little bits and pieces of things here and there. Last week was a monster week for the history website -- CDs from several places, photos emailed from several others. Oof. Worth it, but it was a lot of work. The hardest part were the Oerthan photos -- included a shot of Robin turning in the Princess' Champion baldric at the end of the reign, less than a month after Kylson died. Sigh. Oh well ... I will recover from that in my own time ...

Health: doing okay. Recovery from whatever bug I had last weekend is pretty much done. Sleep -- well, that's always an issue, and lately with the time change (Daylight Savings ...) the cats are off a bit, and it takes them longer to get used to the change, since you can't explain it to 'em. This means Zootie is waking me up (or trying to) well before the alarm goes off. Sigh. I'm being gentle when I push him off the bed, but still ...

November 10
General updates ...

Election: Well, Bush won. Dammit. There are lots of things I could say, but what's the point? Others have said them, often more eloquently than I could. Disappointment. Annoyance that the jerk is claiming a mandate with a win of 51% of the vote. Say wha'? 51% is not a mandate. 75% might have been. He claims that he got more votes in that election than any other president. Well, shit, of course he did. But Kerry got more votes in that election than any president except G. W. Bush this year. The turnout at the polls was higher than its been in years ... Manipulation of numbers ... sigh. Realistically, he got just over half the votes. He got enough to win. That's not a mandate. (At least this time he won the election, rather than getting appointed to office by the Supreme Court ...) I have some real concerns about the way things are going in the country, and our standing in the world politic. This jerk has pissed off most world leaders ... well, anyway, as I said, others can and have said many of these things (and a lot more) better than I can.

Work: just when I thought I was done with the contract in Belmont County, some bugs surfaced. Well, sort of bugs, perhaps design flaws. D'oh. One was easy (forgot to hook up some code to bypass a timeout routine for one form); the other was more of a bear. I haven't written network-based apps in a long time, and forgot to deal with row locks ... duh.

My former manager Charles believes he may have work for me soon, but if he doesn't get the deal inked soon, there won't be time to actually do it (it's for a legal firm in the south bay who have a bunch of data to get into the machine and be able to view/report/query it ... and they have a huge trial based on this stuff in January ...).

SCA: This coming weekend is Leohtulf's Investiture. Have all that pretty well in hand ... The play for 12th Night is coming along nicely. The actors are memorizing their lines earlier than usual, because this year I put a date in the schedule that they will be "off script", meaning that the Stage Manager gets to cue them ... We're have a grand time with the show, because we removed a bunch of "filters" so it's not PG ... heh. A bit rude, but it's funny ("You can get away with anything, as long as it is funny!")

Health: Okay. I need to force myself to do more exercise. The bug I had is gone. Last week (new) my crown came out while I was eating a jelly bean. That was cute. Had to go in on Thursday and have it put back in ... not fun, but oh well. Hope the insurance covers most of that.

House: We had to replace the small fence in front, because the Home Owner's Association (HO-ASS, as my wife calls 'em) decided that it was leaning too far, and since it was visible from the street ... That was $500 down the drain. Oh well. It does look better. The annoying thing is that I haven't had a chance to seal the wood since it was put up -- the weather's been chilly, and/or rainy. You can't seal wet wood against water ... seems to kind of be a catch-22. Sheesh. In the spring we'll probably replace the rest of the fence. Our handyman has the information he needs, so all we need to do is give him a couple days notice ...

Time to start dealing with Christmas stuff, I guess. I have to get a gift for Hilary, wife of my step-father-in-law's son Sanford. They're nice people, but I don't know them well enough to have any clear idea what to get her. Waiting to hear back from the step-father-in-law and step-mom ... I have a stack of catalogs to go through, as I found things in them for various folk. I have no clear idea what I'm getting my wife this year, either. Usually I have some ideas ... well, I have some, just not sure if they are the route I'll go. She's always happy with what I get her, but I like to make things special. We are hosting Christmas this year for ourselves, Carolyn's mother, step-father, sister, Sanford and Hilary. I think that's it, as Bill and Rebecca are going to Vermont this year. Gad. This tiny place with that many people? Oh well, it'll be interesting. I think Carolyn feels guilty about Gail or her mom hosting things all the time, and feels like she should "do her share".

Of course, before Christmas comes Thanksgiving. Most of the family is going to S. California this year, but we can't afford it, and frankly it would be overkill. So we're doing TD (Turkey Day) here at home. Besides, we have a party that Saturday ("Orphans Thanksgiving" -- hosted by a friend who does this for folk who aren't doing TD with their families, and/or want to get together and play games, eat, hang out ...), and then play rehearsal that Sunday now ...

November 22
Monday morning. Just finished up the last items I need to deal with for the contract in Ohio (burned the CD, got the 'final' instructions together, etc.). Will mail that when I go out for lunch today.

Now that the contract is truly done, I need to either find another contract (not easy), or a real job (also not easy), because the thing my former manager is trying to get together is ... er ... not happening quickly (if it is going to happen).

In the process of getting things together for Christmas, I discovered a really annoying issue with some promotional offers. Getting something for Carolyn, I decided to get the same for myself (don't want to give anything away just yet), and in the process, there was supposed to be a promotional bit. One per. Except it's "One per ORDER", not "One per ITEM ordered", so rather than "two" of this promotional item, I only got one. If I had generated two separate orders, I would have gotten two of the promotional item. When I called customer support for orders, I was told "Sorry". That's all ... ARGH. No attempt to make me happy ... freakin' lousy customer service, I have to say. GRRR. Oh well. Grumble mutter farb.

So, we were going to do Thanksgiving at home by ourselves, as the rest of herself's family is going to Catalina Island for Thanksgiving (S. California). Oy. We can't really afford it, what with the thing in October, and the cruise in May, and my job situation (not to mention herself usually works on the Friday after TDay) ... However, when Valerie came over yesterday to help with costumes for the play (more on that below), while I was at rehearsal elsewhere, she made an offer for us to come over and do Turkey Day at her place on Thursday, so I guess that's what we're doing.

Tim and Keegan posted a really spiffy recipe on Tim's Live Journal late last week, and I may try that (minor variation, perhaps) for our "Friday Night Date Night" ('Sour Cream Chicken" ... sounds yummie ... but I may need to get a few things, like a pot I can put in the oven, and a real thermometer for the oven and ...) ....

The Play: Coming along nicely. This latest rehearsal (yesterday, as I type) was rough, but it was the first day completely "off script". Some of the actors have actually been working mostly off-script for a couple of weeks, but this was the official date, and it of course flummoxed a few folk, and one of them only really has Act One memorized. Sigh. Otherwise, it's coming along fine. Physical schtick is great, the costumes are coming together, the sets have been transferred to James to paint and work with (although I think I need to go get the third door from Don and BJ's garage ...). Other than that, lots of little projects keep me busy (keeping the brain active is a good thingtm) ...

December 8
So ... it's been a couple (three) weeks ... figures.

Crazy. Life's just crazy. To sum up ...

I tried the recipie that Tim and Keegan posted. Good stuff. We had it for last week's "date night", although we had Don and BJ over (good thing -- there was lots of food there). I am beginning to feel like I am understanding the basics of actually cooking now. Slowly. Not that I have ever felt I couldn't cook, per se, but ...

My contract in Bellmont County, Ohio is really done. Got the last check and cashed it. Minor bug fixes last week. Looking for a real job, I sent my resume to 8 or so head-hunters, to no avail. I thought head-hunters were supposed to try hard to get people jobs. Nothing. Not a nibble. Only one of them wrote me back, and that one said I was overqualified for the two jobs she had. Sheesh. I send resumes in to jobs from Dice and other job services, nothing ... depressed? A bit. I am not hurting, but I don't want to just waste money, either ...

Christmas is coming. I have most of my presents done. I have one person that I might want to get something for, but otherwise ... and that one's a bit of a touchy situation for details that don't need to be mentioned.

I've been making progress on the dBASE book. Can't say it's even half-way done, but it's getting there. A bit at a time.

It's rainy and icky out. Figures. But then, that's winter in the Bay Area. It's not officially Winter yet, but soon enough.

The play is moving along nicely. We've had some hiccoughs, but when don't we? This time we've had some personality issues outside the troupe, but I've been assured that they won't spill over to the troupe. The sets are running behind, for whatever reason (not pointing fingers at anyone, these things happen). We're trying to have a preview show in a couple of weeks, but we need the sets. We have a place, which is good (and not horribly expensive to rent -- the Clubhouse/community center here in our own townhouse complex ...).

Most days I feel like I haven't had enough sleep, and I suppose to an extent it's true. It's tiring, but that's just "how it goes". I'll catch up. I'll get a job, things will work out. But what a weird-ass year this has been. It's been hard on CJ too. She puts a brave face on, but she's a bit nervous about money ... and I understand. That's why I want a real full-time job, rather than the consulting thing. That's cool, because I can work from home, but a real job is a bit more secure, and she's all about security.


Winter

December 21

Well, so far, the job market still sucks big time. I have heard from one of 7 or 8 head-hunters, and all I heard was "of the two jobs your resume matches, you're overqualified". That's not exactly what I need to hear.

I actually started looking into going back to College to get teaching credentials. That may or may not go anywhere, as it will be expensive, and right now, the last thing we need is to have more money going out the door. The reason I am considering it, however, is that a) California needs Credentialed Teachers; b) I need work, and went to college originally planning on being a teacher. The problem I am running into is tuition, and the fact that it's going to be 12-18 months of school. That doesn't pay the mortgage. Sigh.

Christmas is going to be a little smaller than planned ... Sanford's mother decided that since she bought San and Hilary a truck, they need to spend all day of Christmas at her place in Sacramento, so we won't be seeing them.

As we near Christmas, the spirit slowly is infusing me, but it's been slower this year. It's hard to feel real upbeat when there's no guarantee of money coming in ... Sigh. I am sure I will find a job, but it's been really frustrating.

AND the damn computer locks up on me periodically, for no apparent reason. That's not fun ... sigh. If the business would take off, I'd be happy, but I'm not a great businessman.

Oh well. I am really sure things will work out eventually, but it's been frustrating.

Posted on Live Journal this morning:
Yesterday I got this nearly (for the spouse anyway) panicked email that said her pilot was dying, if not dead. By "Pilot" I mean the original Palm II, that we upgraded to a Palm III many (8-9) years ago. Over the years, mine died and was replaced ... and then replaced again. She kept using hers, and was perfectly happy.

Yesterday she wasn't able to use it. She could turn it on and off, but the pad where you use the stylus to communicate with it was not communicating.

Well. A while back, while pondering what to get herself for Christmas, I had seen her doing something on her Pilot, and noticed the old (worn) case, and realized how long she'd had it. I thought to myself "She'd LOVE a new one, faster, more memory ... etc." So ...

I bought a couple of Tungsten Es (I wanted to upgrade mine, too), but didn't make a big fuss out of the upgrade on mine. I figure I can write part of it off as a business expense. She didn't say anything about the upgrade to mine either. I am sure she noticed -- the difference in the case (I got the aluminum one for mine), the difference in the size of it ...

So, I hinted that maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing -- her Pilot dying, that is. On the way home, since she'd missed what I was hinting at (saying something about going out and getting an address book/calendar), I said that maybe she should open her Christmas present this evening. She then figured it out.

After dinner, she opened it. The box had the new Tungesten E and a nice leather case for it. Charged it up (plugged it in), then watched some of the "Appendices" from the Return of the King DVD set. (The first item on the second disc of Appendices ends with some tear-jerker stuff ... final days of shooting for various actors, and such ... sniff. You've been warned if you haven't seen it already!) After that, we took her old Pilot upstairs to the computer, hotsynched it to save the data. (Whew, that worked! She hadn't hotsynched in awhile ...) Then we hotsyched to the new one, dealt with software incompatibilities (color screen, differences in the OS ... I had already dealt with some of that for mine), and then while I got ready for bed, she played with it for a bit, getting used to it. The character recognition software is a little different than we're used to, and takes some time to adjust ...

I think she's a happy camper. <g> There are some other presents for her, but that was the biggie.

December 31
Last day of the year. I have very little to add here at this point. No real need to summarize the year, as the details are all here (well, most of 'em anyway).

Christmas was fine. Dinner worked, CJ's mom and step-father, as well Gail were here, had a large pile of loot. We went through it all. Overall no real clinkers, and some nice gifts. People were pretty happy.

Because the computer has been locking up for unknown reasons, we're looking at buying a new computer (can't figure out the problem). Sigh. Oh well. Add to this that my chair in the TV room downstairs had the spring BREAK, and it's just "everything's falling apart" ... at least it feels like that some days. Oh well ... I can still use the chair, but the computer is a different matter -- over time the lockups will get more and more impossible.

No real resolutions, as I have never believed in wasting my time on them. Carolyn says she's going back on weight watcher's after the new year starts, and I need to start exercising again. That's about it ...

Despite it being such a weird and frustrating year, I am trying to keep my spirit and hopes up for next year. It's all I really can do ... next entry here will be in the new year ...


If you want to contact me (corrections, updates, or just chat), you can drop me a note by clicking here:


A Few Photos

(These are thumbnails, click on them to see larger versions with text explaining them)


Ken (standing, left),
director

Frosty Car

Ken at
12th Night

Carolyn at 12th Night

Goober Twin 1

Goober Twin 2

The Cats spotted
a Lizard


Photos of our New Home -- Before We Move In (taken June 1 and 2, 2004):


Front - CJ and Gail

Front - CJ and Gail

Family Room

Family Room

Kitchen from
Family Room

Kitchen --
Utilities Closet

Kitchen

Living Room
Fireplace

Living Room

Living Room
View - Back
'Patio' area

Office/Computer
Room

View from
Office Window

Master Bath
From Office

Master Bath
length ...

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom
The Alcove

Master Bedroom

Garage

Garage

Garage


Wine Train -- June 19:


San and Tom

West and San

CJ and Hilary

Marge and Gail

Tom


dBCon 2004 (Montreal) -- July 9-10:


Ken chatting ...


Peacock! The local Peacock visited our place, August 5, 2004,
probably looking for the elusive Pea-hen he knows has to be around somewhere.


On The Gate

On The Gate

On The Garage Roof


August 26: A Rose

Crimson Glory

Crimson Glory


September 7 -- Cats
Carolyn wanted face shots of the cats for Live Journal Icons ... so ...


Rebo Face Shot

Rebo Face Shot

Zootie Face Shot

Zootie Face Shot

Zootie Sleeping

Zootie Watching
Kitty TV


September 5-15 -- Rose Study -- As They Grow

Day 1 (Sept. 5)

Rose Bud Starting

Day 2 (Sept. 6)

Rose Buds

Rose Buds

Rose Buds

Day 3 (Sept. 7)

Surprise
Breakout

Rose Buds

Rose Buds

Rose Buds

Day 7 (Sept. 12)

On the Verge ...

Rose Buds

Rose Buds

Day 8 (Sept. 13)

Blossom!

Not Quite ...

Day 10 (Sept. 15)

Blossom!


September 19-20 -- Ken's Mom and Brother Tim Visit, Some "Tourista Stuff"
September 19 -- Sonoma, General Vallejo's House, Downtown Sonoma ...

Sonoma

Sonoma

Sonoma

Sonoma

Sonoma

Sonoma

Sonoma

Sonoma

Sonoma

Sonoma

Sonoma

Sonoma

Sonoma

Sonoma

September 20 -- San Francisco Bay -- Ferry to Sausolito and back, then to Fisherman's Wharf

Ferry

Ferry

Ferry

Ferry

Ferry

Ferry

Sausalito

Wharf - Sea Lions

Wharf - Sea Lions

Wharf - Sea Lions

Wharf - Sea Lions


Annual Stinson Beach Trip -- October 7-12


Oct. 8 - Foggy, but fun

Oct. 8 - Fambly

Oct. 9 - View

Oct. 9 - Fambly

Oct. 9 - Stephanie and
Patrick

Oct. 9- Sandpipers

Oct. 9 - Becca
and Patrick

Oct. 9 - Looking at
Planes

Oct. 9 - Plane

Oct. 9 - Sun

Oct. 9 - Plane

Oct. 9 - Plane

Oct. 9 - Plane

Oct. 9 - Plane

Oct. 9 - Plane

Oct. 9 - Plane

Oct. 9 - Birds

Oct. 9 - Crab

Oct. 9 - Crab

Oct. 10 - Waves/Surf

Oct. 10 - Waves/Surf

Oct. 10 - Waves/Surf

Oct. 10 - Waves/Surf

Oct. 10 - Waves/Surf

Oct. 10 - Waves/Surf
and silly dance

Oct. 10 - Waves/Surf

Oct. 10 - Waves/Surf

Oct. 10 - Butterfly

Oct. 11 - From Mt. Tam

Oct. 11 - From Mt. Tam

Oct. 11 - From Mt. Tam

Oct. 11 - From Mt. Tam

Oct. 11 - From Mt. Tam

Oct. 11 - From Mt. Tam

Oct. 12 - Sunrise

Oct. 12 - Sunrise

Oct. 12 - Sunrise

Oct. 12 - Sunrise

Oct. 12 - Sunrise


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