A Mirror into Ken's Past -- 2006

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January 3

The first entry for a new year ... been a weird new year so far. I've been having way too many bouts of insomnia, leaving me a bit out of it some days. It's not a pleasant feeling.

That said, January 1 included the final rehearsal for the play the GSP are doing next weekend. It was a mixed bag. Good energy and pretty solid performance in the first run-through; second time the energy was still mostly there, but people got lost and had to work to get back on track. One of the problems with doing improvisational theatre, I guess. This is our first time. Overall I think the troupe is doing really well. This is a funny show, and they've worked hard to get it where it is.

Other than that, well, the one contract I was making decent money off of is in a "holding pattern", although there have been some small bits of work. I am waiting for some information for the next form ... but it means I'm not contributing to the mortgage this month (partially because I did spend a lot on Christmas ... between getting the wife an iPod and some accessories, including sound-cancelling headphones; and the usual stuff like the $400+ I spent at Harry and David for the family and ourselves ...).

I guess soon I need to really get serious about the resume and job hunting again (sigh).

I have started work on the next book, and while still coming back and adding things to the first few chapters, and still playing with the outline, it's starting to look like maybe after 12th Night (major SCA event this coming weekend) that I can make some real progress with it.

So, it's a bit of a mixed bag. Oh well. I am keeping busy, but I wish I could get over the insomnia -- several nights in a row and it gets harder and harder to think clearly during the day. I always have some coding project or projects of my own to play with, and there's usually something on one of the websites I maintain that I should do. <g>

Resolutions: Actually, I haven't done New Year's Resolutions that I can ever recall. So, I don't have any this year, either. I could resolve to win the lottery, but I'd probably fail at that one. I had a friend post over on LiveJournal that she resolves not to eat the pope, and to remain a mammal, and after two days she had been doing really well on both those resolutions. Hee. Well, I thought they were funny ...

Outside of myself: My wife still hasn't gotten her gall bladder surgery scheduled. This week she has off, but hasn't been doing anything but sewing (she's doing an outfit for herself for the first time in years for 12th Night).

Friends: Mostly doing okay. Nothing major to report ...

January 9

This entry is pretty much all about West Kingdom Twelfth Night (SCA), so ... (the following is taken from my Live Journal entry from earlier today, and modified just a little for here ...)
12th Night. Always a busy, crowded, but usually fun event. This year was no different. I won't try to go into everything because it may bore some folk to tears ...

As always at 12th Night, I hardly saw my wife, because she was hanging with some folk, I was hanging with others, the usual.

The play was great. The troupe did an amazing job, and the performance was one of the best we've ever done, if not the best. Energy was up, etc.

There was a little scheduling foob. Not major, more of a comedy-of-errors type situation. Shortly after October Crown, when we knew who the incoming Royalty were, we started talking with the Royalty and the autocrats about scheduling the play between courts if possible. Everything was agreed with the idea that if the outgoing King and Queen (Jade and Eliana) were done by 2, we could go on and then try to be done by 4 with the court room set back up (thrones in place, etc.). Well, court ended at 2. However, Jade had forgotten (I assume) and the heralds were never told (communication foob) by anyone ... and Jade went into automatic mode and announced that court would resume in 30 minutes. The wording sounded like he had more business (as opposed to "Coronation will begin ..."). Sigh. So, I started telling folk that we weren't going on until after the last court, which was the second option. Oh well, we tried ... But wait -- a few minutes after I got word out to most of the troupe, Fabian (the Crown Prince -- soon-to-be-King) came running up to me and said "Wait! You're supposed to be going on! We're not ready for Coronation!" D'oh! So rushing like mad we found everyone (called some of them on cell phone) and got in there to get the thrones and such off the stage, and put the sets up ... Even with starting about 25 minutes later than planned due to the need to add the curtains, we were done with the performance, and had the stage cleared and the thrones back and ready by 4:15 or so. The Coronation Court still didn't start until much later.

Unfortunately we had a communication foob as well with Vyncent and Vittoria who were going to do the minor "musician" bits that were in the scenario. They showed up after the play was over, in appropriate costume ... they thought we were performing after all the courts. It was a shame, although it didn't hurt the play any. We had to let them know that we didn't think ill of them, or anything and still liked them.

Prologue -- Seamus drove to 12th Night by himself, and he got to thinking ... and he came up with an idea, but didn't tell me about it. He told everyone in the cast, but ... he sat out in the audience and looked like he was just wearing his normal 12th Night clothes, not his costume (which was under what he was wearing). When the prologue started, I was startled by a "I'm tired of this!" and so on ... basically improvising as he went, and after a moment's pause, it was obvious I was supposed to retort and so ... I did. We had a little "spat", he went backstage and changed into his costume, and I finished the prologue with some of what I had planned on saying. I was told by various troupe members later that they were proud of how well I came through that little surprise.

Ken/Hirsch doing Prologue
Photo by Carolyn J. Eaton

Anyway, the performance was great, the troupe was ON, and the audience had a great time.

Misc. Bits -- I went to Jade and Eliana's final court partially out of a general sense of duty (I am a peer ...), but also because I was heralding Antonio and Caterina's combined Pelican ceremony. Before their ceremony was the first Pelican ceremony of court, and so after that was over, rather than taking my seat, I went and stood behind the thrones, and messed with the minds of some of the heralds back there (Wilhelm turned to me after I messed him up at one point and said "I don't think I should do court with you anymore!" -- SCORE! Hee). The ceremony for Antonio and Cat was very nice, went well, and I was pleased to be part of it.

There was the scheduling foob as noted in the "Play" description above. But all in all that went well.

I missed the arts display again. Sigh. The display was scheduled for the same time the play was this year, so what could I do?

Lots of oohs and ahhhs over my spouse's scroll for Keegan ... the portrait blew a lot of people's minds, and she's gotten inquiries on where to find studies of that style ... heh.

I showed up late for Coronation, as I was taking stuff back to my room. Got there just a couple minutes before the massive "All Peers swear fealty at once" cluster-f***. It was an interesting idea, but ... a bit messy. Peers stumbling over each other, when it was over a couple of peers nearly got skewered by knights who had their swords out for the usual bit at the end of fealty for them (saluting the Crowns). But, as far as I can tell no one got hurt.

Anyway, it was a good day. Talked to both Jade and Fabian a bit, which I don't often get a chance to do ... and of course lots of schmoozing and being a social butterfly all day, one of the fun parts of 12th Night.

Misc. Garb stuff -- I am not someone who specifically goes looking for really great garb at 12th Night, although I certainly appreciate the effort that goes into it. My spouse looked good in her new outfit. She was worried about the fringe looking "too western", but I don't think it was a problem. Other spiffy outfits: Genevieve looked marvelous as always. Her apprentices were all dressed to the 9s, and flashy and looked great -- she has every right to be proud of them all (including Elena, Marguerite, and Johanna). Moira Ramsey and Vigdis vestfirzka both looked marvelous in their new Italians ... but I was looking for those. Duchess Cyneswith looked marvelous as always. Rose de Le Mans startled a lot of folk by wearing "boy's clothes". She looked rather good in them. I recall her saying someone (male) told her that her clothes were making them question their sexuality ... Hee. I can't say who else was wearing new clothes ... I don't always pay attention ...

Wulfric's Half-Life Party -- only Wulfric would do the math and come up with this, but he's been in the SCA half his life, and been a laurel for half of the time in the SCA. So he and his lady threw a party in their room. This was a fun party, and it was an "open" party ... I guess some of the other parties shut down or something, because more and more people showed up, some of whom Wulfric didn't know ... but it was an open party. What was funny to some of us at least was that the party was shut down (well, moved to the first floor) around midnight or a bit later! Hotel management came up with two or three (I think I saw three) security guards! SECURITY? With THAT crowd? Well, okay ... there were some other parties that had to be shut down (moved) on the same floor, as we saw the Great Keg Migration of 2006 happen ... anyway, the spouse and I went to our room at that point. During the party I had some really good chats with Teresa -- someone I don't often get to just sit down and yak with much, and with the newest kid in the GSP lineup, Cryn. The usual schmoozing and such. When I got there it was pretty much members of the GSP so we did do a lot of talking about the performance and all that. Good party, dude! I've never been to one that got shut down by management before!

Bad shit happens to good people: Unfortunately, Toni/Genevieve had her car broken into (she was staying off site) Saturday night, and everything in the car was taken, including her really good jewelry, her 12th Night outfit, all of the presents people gave her ... sigh. Several folks are keeping an eye on eBay and local pawn shops and such. I hope she can at least recover the jewelry, if nothing else. Sigh.

Sunday morning ... -- got up, packed, got things to the car, and all that. Had breakfast with Juan and Rose (our former apprentices), then searched the freaking hotel to find out where the heralds' meeting was. I went long enough to explain the changes in the Court Reporting policy, then CJ and I took off. Got home, pet the cats, unpacked, pet the cats, dozed on and off in my comfy chair for awhile ... watched some of the videos the spouse got for her birthday ... then crashed hard. Not hard enough, I didn't sleep quite as solidly as I would have liked, but oh well. Still slept, which is good.

Photos and such ... There should be photos at some point, me in my houppeland, and CJ in her new dress, and eventually photos of the play, and ...

January 25

Bleh. The last couple of weeks have been weird, largely because since 12th Night, there's been a minor (but annoying) bug running around, which CJ and I seem to have gotten. Even weirder, because she so seldom gets colds. My sinuses were dripping down the back of my throat, causing minor congestion in the chest, that seems to have mellowed, but now it's draining out the nose, which is frustrating. Not horribly, and not in large amounts, just enough to be annoying. Sigh.

CJ's birthday dinner at 12th Night was fine. But her family wanted to do something (her sister Gail, her mother and step-father) ... we checked notes, and the only date of the weekend after 12th Night that we could all get together was Sunday, which happened to have been taken by the GSP Cast Party. So we waited until the next Friday, and had them over. I made dinner (which went over well -- a couple of recipes I'd never tried, so that added to it ...), and we had a pleasant evening at our place.

Let's see ... on other fronts ...

Work: The "big" contract is on hold, but I still get a bit of work here and there (a couple hours here, an hour there ...). The contract with my former manager is just picking back up a little -- some QA work, with a Pre-Alpha stage software package. (Meaning it crashes easily, and is VERY far from complete ...) Had a bit of fu with that -- I found a really bad bug (enter the serial number for something in one of the test scripts, and the software crashes because that serial number isn't in the database ...), and both Tim and Charles assumed it was a problem with my setup. Finally Charles got around to testing it himself and saw the error, and I've been "absolved" ... as it were. Sheesh. So, this morning I've been going through the ten test scripts I have (making lots of red-ink marks on them, as they need work) ...

I also got a new contract, although it's not a big one, upgrading an old dBASE III+ application to Windows. This is a weird one -- the original programmer(s) believed in lots of small programs that call each other, so that's been strange to try to hunt things down to follow the process through. Plus my contact doesn't seem to answer email all that much, seems to prefer the phone. Oh well. I'm slowly making my way through that, but want to make sure I am doing it in a sensible fashion, proper OOP, and all that, to make it possible to upgrade/fix and enhance later on (as I have a feeling I may be doing, if I do this well ... more money, can't hurt ...).

Books: I started the second dBASE book, have four chapters in a "first run" state, and just haven't managed to get back to the fifth chapter. I hope to do that soon, maybe after I get more done on the contract with my former manager, and get more done on the new contract.

Health: Last week CJ and I went and got our eyes examined, and new glasses. Hers arrived yesterday ... that was fast. Sheesh. Mine, as it turns out, are taking longer because I ended up with "custom frames", which means that they have to be made special. Wha'? I didn't want that ... sheesh. All because I wanted them in black, rather than the copper color that the ones "off the shelf" were. I didn't realize when I ordered them that this was an issue, or I would have gone for other frames. The woman who took care of me didn't tell me that. Sigh. Oh well ... bifocals (Progressive -- no-line), transition/UV activated tint, and anti-glare. Expensive, but hopefully worth it.

CJ still hasn't gotten her gall bladder surgery date, so I'm sending her a daily email reminder to call the freaking hospital and keep bugging them ... don't know how well it will work. I have a feeling most of the time she's just blowing the message off because work is so crazed. But, maybe it'll help.

I need to start working out a bit, I've gained weight over the holidays and not started losing any ... it's noticeable. The 12th Night photos I've seen, my paunch is noticeable. Sigh.

Misc: Not much else. Keeping busy, trying to not go crazy.

March 2

Have been looking at CSS and all that, trying to simplify my HTML by using style sheets, and such. Most of the changes to this site won't be real obvious. But it's been interesting. There are some spiffy routines I found that I can get to work in tests, but not in an existing document. I am probably missing something blaringly obvious, but oh well.

Since I last posted ...:

CJ still hasn't gotten her gall bladder surgery date. I don't know that she's trying. It's frustrating, but what can you do?

Glasses: The new glasses have driven me crazy. The one thing I should have been told was that Progressives force you into tunnel vision. I have always relied on my peripheral, and that's completely out of focus most of the time. I have to turn my head to see things in focus. Argh! I hardly ever use the bifocal part of the lenses, either ... It's taken me a few weeks to sort of mostly get used to it. I don't like it, though ... sigh.

Work has been sporadic. The dBASE III+ upgrade is mostly done, but I am waiting for the folk at dataBI to finish the latest version of dBASE so I can have a runtime installer that includes some of the appearance stuff I'm relying on (XP Theme stuff). I did get some contacts for possible other work, and this weekend I will be doing a small job testing (Software QA) a website. I have another possible new application, but I think the person I talked to is out of town. I need to find out ...

Books: Still working on the report book. I am nearly done with Chapter 6, and anticipate finishing that today, and getting Chapters 7 and 8 done (those won't be too complex, I believe) soon if not today ...

I guess the biggest thing we've done recently is that CJ and I went to Disneyland with Don and BJ last week. We left Wednesday morning, came back Saturday afternoon. Spent most of our days in either the main Disneyland park or California Adventure. Rode rides, watched shows, ate a lot, had fun ... nice time. Nothing spectacular to write home about, but it was good (albeit very tiring).

Sunday was our wedding anniversary -- we did that one at home, although I cooked dinner. It was our 12th. Oh, and I got CJ a copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's, which is one of her favorite movies, although she didn't own it. We of course watched that ... pretty calm day.

On the SCA front, it's the quiet season for us. The major event recently was the Estrella War in Arizona, which we don't bother to attend ... it's a biggie for the war junkies and such. However, this time of year is very cold at night there (it is dessert, after all), and frankly I've done it once, although it was years ago. Not really interested in doing it again. Otherwise, mostly the same-old stuff ...


March 20

Happy spring, I guess. I always thought the official equinox was on the 21st, but apparently due to scientific reasons, it's today instead. What do I know?

What's been up? Not a lot.

CJ still hasn't hounded Kaiser enough to get her surgery. She's doing okay, mostly because we're tending to a lower-fat diet in general, but still ... she really ought to get this dealt with.

I have a new contract which is cool -- I'm being flown to Wisconson to teach some programmers about dBASE Plus. That's the first week of April. In the meantime I have a contract in San Jose where I'm meeting the CEO (small company) on Thursday to go over details, and I will bring a contract to him to sign. Another person in New York is theoretically burning a CD of stuff for me to look at so we can discuss a contract upgrading his DOS apps to Windows.

It's been weird, but what the hey?

Saw the Flying Karamozov Brothers yesterday with Don and BJ -- was supposed to go with CJ, but her Aunt Carolyn had a stroke early last week and was hospitalized. She went to Sacramento with her sister to spend some time with family.

In an attempt to work on health, weight, etc., I moved the Nordic Track upstairs over the weekend to the bedroom. I am not ready to start using it, I need to get myself in better shape first. However, because it's there it's a hard reminder that I need to do other exercises. My current goal: do exercises such as situps, leg lifts and pushups, and when I return from Wisconsin to start on the Nordic Track 4-5 days a week. Because I can, I am using Live Journal to keep track of that, and I hope by doing so to also remind myself to keep doing it ... guess we'll see how it goes.

Started playing with my work website a bit because of the teaching thing in Wisconsin, and I'm researching the whole independent teacher thing. It looks lucrative (I looked at the site for someone who has done dBASE training, and also does C++, and other languages, and he charges much more per week than I am for my first time out ... but ... what the hey? It gave me something to look at -- if I'm adding it to my own repertoire of things I do, I should research, right?).

And one more thing -- I've been trying to covert some old VHS tapes to DVD, but have been having the difficulties apparently most people have. I was lucky in that I found the Adobe newsgroups for the software I've been using -- Premiere Elements™ -- but still ... it's been a bear. I had to purchase a converter, which may solve some of the issues, but ... my big goal is to save the Golden Stag Players videos, some of which are fairly old now, but also to try to save some other favorites that haven't shown any signs of ever appearing on DVD (sigh) and I know the tapes are deteriorating.

March 24

Minor updates, and I'm bored. I don't get bored often, but I just don't feel like doing any of the various "things" I could (should?) be doing. Sigh.

Been working a bit here and there on website stuff, trying to get some of the fancier code to work and such.

A bit of work on prep for the trip to Wisconsin, obviously next week is crunch.

I was supposed to meet with the CEO of a small company in San Jose on Friday, and was most of the way there when he called and told me that he's being picketed by a union and didn't think I'd want to deal with that ... so I turned around and came home. He does want to do this project, but the timing has been weird (he opened a branch in Sacramento, and now this ...). Oh well. It'll get there, I'm sure.

A bit of work on looking at marketing things -- based on some conversations with Tim ... started looking for local business networking meetings, and next month may start attending some of those hosted by local Chambers of Commerce.

I've been sleeping poorly. I guess there's some anxiety or something. I have some potential contracts, but except for the one in San Jose, they're kind of up in the air. The one in San Jose has just been a timing issue, as he really wants to do that, but ... I am feeling a bit stressy. I'm not pulling in a lot of money, therefore not carrying my weight with mortgage and other stuff (although I do buy a lot of groceries, it's not exactly the same ...). CJ's been great through all this "independant contractor" stuff, very supportive, although I think there are times she gets really frustrated with it. That's part of why I'm looking at going to the business networking things, and all that. Of course, if things don't pick up soon, I will definitely have to get off my ass and get a real job. I would hate that at this point, but ... I do need to bring in money.

This evening we're heading to Woodland for the first major SCA event of the year (for us, anyway) since 12th Night. March Crown is going to be rainy, and the site has this nasty rice processing factory across the street from the fairgrounds. So, we're hotelling this one. I hate camping in the rain -- worse I hate packing up wet camping gear (and we have a lot of canvas!), so I'm glad CJ decided to hotel it.

Next week we're seeing another play at A.C.T., and we got renewal stuff for next season. We're going to re-up. This has been fun, and herself is happy to re-up. The schedule for next year includes an Ibsen and a Moliere. She's constantly amazed that I'm a theatre geek and I haven't seen or read most of the plays we've been seeing (actually none of them, and in some cases I haven't heard of the writers, either). Problem is that while I have a BA in Theatre, we focused in the department on practical stuff, and not reading lots of scripts. I didn't take literature classes (except for the required Shakespeare classes all drama majors have to take), and so didn't read a lot of plays outside of the ones we did for classes and for the drama seasons we put on in College. I was in college for goodness' sake -- who had time for a lot of recreational reading? Oh well. So, yeah, there's a ton of stuff I never read and have never seen, and I'm not familiar with names I probably should be ... doesn't matter. I understand what I'm seeing, and I'm enjoying the performances, so it's worth it to me. Add to it the social aspect -- we're going the same night as my ex-girlfriend Donna (whom as I've noted before I get along with well) and her husband who live in SF. We meet them there and go to a restaurant for dinner (they know the restaurants in SF pretty well although I dare say there are probably some they haven't tried -- but that's life in the big city, and have good taste, so we've not hit a clinker ...). All in all, even though it's a Tuesday evening and therefore sometimes a late night, it's worth it.

April 12

The last few weeks have been quite busy.

March Crown saw some good people win the tournament (Radnor and Ysabeau -- it's been 14 years or so since they last reigned, and they were good then, and I've always had good feelings about both of 'em). Other than that it was a cold/wet event. Some folk got rained out, that kind of thing. There were good things about the event, but ... Mists Coronet (we didn't attend, as I flew out the next day) saw the wedding engagement of Leohtulf and his lady Gillian, and himself making it to the finals (the guy who won is well liked by those who know him, and I haven't heard anything bad) ... good news on that front -- I hope the two will be happy.

Other than that, some focus on work, as I spent last week in Wisconsin teaching three folk how to write dBASE applications in dBASE Plus. The only problems with the trip: nothing to do in the evenings (I was in a town called Baraboo, and there were no movie theatres, etc.); and Saturday I spent the whole day in the airport in Madison (about 45 minutes drive from Baraboo, but they have an airport) due to a mechanical failure in the morning on the plane. Bleh. Otherwise, it was a generally good trip. I am glad I did it ... I have asked for a review for the work website, we'll see if I get one. There are things I know I can do better (more hands-on, for example), but still, I felt it went well, and I got the impression from my three students that it did.

Got some work for the contract that saved my life last year (well, that's a bit dramatic, now isn't it? Let's just say that without that big contract I would have made very little money, and leave it at that). Not as much as I got last year, but every little bit helps. A possible contract in San Jose (although I am beginning to have my doubts), another in New York, and another possible with someone else ... I will also try attending some Chamber of Commerce "meet and greet" type sessions to get business cards out there. Overall feeling better about work-related stuff.

Health: started doing some exercises a few weeks ago. Basic stuff, leg lifts, situps and pushups. Am up to 10 of each. Yesterday I started using the Nordic Trak again at 5 minutes. Oof. I had forgotten how much of a workout that was. I just have to remember -- it's good for me. On the other side, CJ still hasn't gotten an appointment for her gall bladder surgery from Kaiser. I know work is busy, but ... this is her health. Sigh.

May 12

Gad, has it really been a month? I've been so busy, and most of what I post is over on LiveJournal these days ... It's been feeling like Summer, even though that's still officially a month off. We basically sprang from Winter directly to Summer with no Spring. Annoying, but oh well. Would have been nice to have some cooler weather before it got hot ...

SCA: Beltane was really good, although the 5 day camping event wiped me out pretty badly. I either came down with a bad case of exhaustion, or picked up a bug. It was a good event, the first couple days were great because they were completely unstructured. CJ and I were part of the Coronation Ceremony as cupbearers, which was kind of cool (present cups to the new King and Queen with a wish to drink deep to the health of the Kingdom and to a happy reign). A really cool person (Bryne McClellan) was knighted (first female knight in this Kingdom in a long time, and the only active one). A friend in Alaska was given the Queen's Order of Grace, and I gave my old token to her (via the Princess of Oertha who was visiting and accepted the award for her, she gets to present it to my friend Sorcha (mka Beth Hayward) for the Queen). Other than that, most of my SCA activities have been History website, awards list, heralds website, and getting ready for Collegium tomorrow where I'll be teaching for the first time in a couple years (got burned out).

Business: happening, slowly, but it's happening. One contract in the works, another waiting for some breathing room, but I may be able to actually crank that out while working on the other. Should get back in touch with him on that. A couple others fell through the cracks -- sigh. It happens, but it's frustrating. The Chamber of Commerce stuff has been interesting, although I felt like crap Tuesday so didn't go to the first one in Concord I meant to attend. Bleh. But oh well.

Health: Exercises, was doing okay, but this week was mostly a blow-off (not feeling great, see above). On the other hand, I plan on upping the Nordic Track to 6 minutes on Monday and picking up where I left off. Carolyn finally got a date for her surgery -- late July. It's been about a year since her first attack ... amazing it's taken this long. Kaiser is so weird this way.

Book: I am hoping to jump into Chapter 10 again, and see if I can get the new book back on track. I keep sidetracking myself, got a new custom class worked up but found a bug in the software in the process, so had to go report that. Bleh! Sheesh. Oh well ... it's always something.

June 2

Man, I've been so busy that I've not been updating here. As usual, more on LiveJournal, but ...

The weather's been just as weird as ever. Leaning more toward summer, I think it's done raining, but the humidity lately has been up around 50% (that was what weather.com said it was yesterday!). Gad.

Work: Two contracts in the works, with a possible third that is local (via the Chamber of Commerce sessions in Pleasant Hill). The one that's the biggie at the moment has been weird. It's upgrading an old DOS app by a guy who learned to code using dBASE with no formal programming background. The app does everything the company needs (well, mostly), but it's so klunky ... It's been interesting to see responses from the guy who's the CEO of the company when I say "we can remove this step altogether, I think, and it will be so much easier ..." and getting extremely positive responses back. I do think I undercharged though -- it's becoming a huge project. Oh well.

SCA: Not all that much. Nothing really to report ... events have happened, classes have been taught, overall things are going okay.

Health: CJ finally has dates for her surgery and a pre-surgery appointment. Late July ...

My health is mostly pretty good. The exercise thing is helping. I am up to 8 minutes a day on the Nordic Track, and starting on Monday I jump to 9. Doesn't seem like much, but slow improvements are better than fast ones that end up causing muscle damage or something. Also doing leg-lifts, situps and pushups (12 each). It's starting to show ... a bit of muscle definition in my arms, some possible fat-loss (if not now, soon, I'm sure ...).

Book: Haven't gotten around to that chapter because of work stuff ... mostly.

Misc.: CJ's lily plants were put in the pot in front of the house, and have tried to take over the patio. We nicknamed the mess "Audrey 3" (if you've seen Little Shop of Horrors you'll get that ...). Photos below -- one of one of the Jerusalam Lilies coming to bloom, the others are getting there.

June 15

Not a lot to add to what's gone to date, but a little here and there stuff.

Work: two different jobs, one mostly done, but need some more feedback-to-user type stuff, but the guy I'm working with is going on vacation next week ... other job, got over a major hurdle, but now have to force my mindset back into that code (which is hard -- it's tough stuff -- trying to automate a bunch of stuff that's been done manually in the most bizarre and complex ways ...). Otherwise, no new contracts on the horizon, but ... oh well. What can you do? I keep trying. I'll keep doing the Pleasant Hill CoC stuff, and perhaps try some of the other small business things in the area.

Health: exercises are moving along and I'm feeling/noticing some differences, including a bit of stomach loss (which is good ...), a bit of muscle gain in my arms, and so on. I can charge up the stairs after the cats (playing) not get out of breath again. I'm doing 15 each of the "floor exercises" (situps, leg-lifts and pushups), and am up to 12 minutes a day on the Nordic Track.

Book: The chapter that's been flummoxing me has gotten partly written. I had a flash of inspiration and cranked for several hours last Saturday. I need to try to finish the chapter, but at least I got some headway ...

CJ went to Tex-ass last week for work. It was a hard week, and she fell off the smoking wagon. I hope she really is stopping again. Sigh.

I got an email from an old college friend who was doing a search on the web, concerned about identity theft, and found the bio here -- Kent Widmayer. He married the girl (well, young woman, let's be real) he was dating in College (Liz), and they're now in N. Carolina. Liz was a nice young woman, she and Kent were made for each other, they were both shy, very nice people, and very smart -- but managed to work out the shy bits and, well, obviously it clicked well, because they're still together. They have kids who are off to college now (one to UAF where we both graduated and he met Liz) ... gad. Kent was a computer geek before we called each other geeks ... he helped me out with my computer classes sometimes in the last couple of years of school, and was my roommate one summer when I stayed on the campus for the summer -- 1982 .... I think that's when he and Liz met and started dating. I also mention Kent in 1983 and 1984 at least briefly. He was a good guy, and I'm glad to hear that he's happy.


June 21

Well, today is the solstice and all that, and it came in HOT just to remind us that it really is summer. Gad. The A/C is struggling to cool the house down from the theoretical 93 degrees it's supposed to get to, today. Bleh.

General catchup: Got over some of the humps, I think, with that nasty code I was fussing with. Whew. Now to get everything hooked up, get all the code that has to interact to talk properly, deal with changing values and updating totals, and so on. But, at least it's coming together. Sheesh.

Another job helping a guy update a 5.7 app is in the works, a check for 20 hours work is in the mail, as I understand it. I'll be happier when it arrives, but I've not exactly done much work on this, mostly time on the phone.

More chamber of commerce stuff, going to another mixer this evening ... hope something good comes out of it. It's been frustrating, the last contact I had never quite panned out. Sigh.

Oh well. Not a lot to add. Still exercising daily (except Monday after a couple of bouts of Insomnia I felt pretty lousy and wasn't up to exercising, seem to be past the insomnia), and so on.

August 2

Wow. It's been over a month since I updated here. Lots of stuff over on Live Journal.

Work Fu: The DOS App that I've been working on is ongoing (almost seems like a never-ending project). I think the invoicing part is nearly complete. Finally. Not done yet, but nearly. A few more things need to be looked at ... The difficulty is that there are so many exceptions to "the way things are done" that it makes me a bit crazy.

The guy who sent me a check in June ... well, he's so busy all the time that I hardly ever hear from him. I think I've done a total of 3-4 billable hours of the 20 he's paid me for, and haven't heard anything since. Sheesh.

The import routine is pretty close to, if not completely done. Luckily he pays invoices pretty quickly most of the time. Although he tends to disappear on me and not respond to anything for awhile. Oh well.

The application for the guy in Pleasanton that I did back in January/February -- was waiting for the final version of the current release of dBASE. The CD arrived last weekend. I wrote the guy an email, and got one back -- he's on vacation this week, but next week I should be able to deliver (and get paid!).

I joined the Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce -- I'm now a full member. Have been working on an ad that will go into the September issue of their newsletter -- as a new member I get a free insert, but a color insert isn't exactly cheap. I wanted color to make sure it stood out. The PDF for it is here (click the link), just to show off -- a couple friends and my wife helped me out with it.

The Wife's Health: Carolyn had her gall bladder surgery last Thursday (today's Wednesday), and has been doing great. She didn't need the prescription for Vicodan that she was given -- at all, and has been walking mostly upright albeit slowly. She goes back to work on Monday, but between now and then she should be in pretty good shape. She had a spot on her liver that the doctor removed -- turned out to be benign. We were pretty sure of that, as it showed up on scans and such and she was tested for cancer. However, it never hurts to be safe, and the doctor figured that since he was right there anyway ...

Friends: Among other things, John (SCA: Leohtulf) and Sandy (SCA: Gillian) got married a few weeks ago. We were invited to the wedding and were pleased to go. They're both good folk, and it was a nice wedding. They went to Cabo for their honeymoon (with a few trials and tribulations getting a passport at the last second, despite paying the passport office lots of money with lots of time to get it done ...). Tim and Laurie bought a house in Ben Lomond ... Of course other folk have their ups and downs as usual, but overall our friends seem to be doing well.

The Next Book: Slow going. I made a huge start on the one chapter that was holding me up, but haven't come back to it ... I feel almost like a slacker on this one. I'm right around half-way done and just can't work up the enthusiasm to finish it.

My Health/Exercise: The exercise thing got a hit during the nasty heat wave (see below), and hasn't quite caught up. I did hit my first plateau -- 20 each of the floor exercises and 15 minutes on the Nordic Track each day. However, due to a variety of things, I've only kept up with the floor exercises. Once CJ goes back to work, I should be able to get the whole thing going again. Because she needs her sleep, I can't really do the Nordic Track, because it's noisy, and if I don't do it in the morning, I am not going to ...

Health-wise I seem to be in pretty good shape, although I keep forgetting to call the dentist and make an appointment for my twice-a-year checkup/exam/cleaning ... d'oh! The postcard's right there, too, but I get so busy ...

Otherwise: We had the nastiest heat wave, but then so did most of the rest of the country, which only let up last week -- we had record highs (in Walnut Creek we're talking about 106-107 degrees, in Livermore it was hitting 116-117!) for nearly two weeks. EEEK! Now that the fog's coming in at night (at least enough to cool things down, even if it doesn't make it over the hills, although it sometimes does) we're much happier, as are the cats. Oh, and CJ went back to Tex-ass again a couple weeks before the surgery (it was cooler there than here!).

My mother's family is doing a cruise up the Inland Passage next year for a combined 70th birthday (I think it's 70th or 75th) for my uncle and the 50th wedding anniversary for the same uncle and aunt (Uncle Hollis and Aunt Priscilla). The problem is a) we did that last year; and b) it's expensive; and c) we're trying to go to England with Don and BJ next spring. Sigh.

Not really much else to report. Been busy, but a bit frustrated with the work thing, but oh well. I hope the ad for the Chamber of Commerce newsletter really helps.

August 30

And time flies once more -- nearly a month since my last update here. Let's try a bit of catchup ...

Work Fu: So far, the work has been pretty much the same. I haven't actually had much income except for a royalty check, for a bit. Sigh.

However, I have the one app for the customer in Pleasanton ready to deliver. This is the third time, which is frustrating, but ... it's been my fault for some of it, and miscommunication for part. I thought I had understood some of what I was doing for the customer, but the first attempt at delivering the app showed that either I had understood but he hadn't, or vice versa. Either way, along with some odd screen appearance (he's using Large Fonts in Windows, which can mess up an app that isn't designed to handle it), I had to bring it home and fix/update some things. Spent a lot of time on the display stuff, preparing for other potential hazards in that area (the other app I've been working on, among others). Once I got that done, earlier this week I took it back to him. However, somehow some code either crept in, or in the previous version was ignored -- not sure -- and that caused a problem because the program wouldn't even start this time due to a bug. Sigh. So back home to figure that one out. This time, tons of testing later, it should work, it BETTER work ... grumble, mutter. Among other things, I know I'm a better coder than that, all I can figure is that perhaps I just got a bit lazy ... sheesh. So this afternoon, one more time ...

The "never-ending" application is slowly coming together. I need some info from the accountant at the company who has been on vacation, to finish that part of things. I have a bunch of reporting stuff to deal with (too much manual stuff being done ... argh!) but every time I start to look at the code, my brain boggles.

I took a class last week on Online Marketing -- basically website design ... and in among everything else have been redesigning the GSP website to use Cascading Style Sheets for formatting. This is all fine in theory, but in practice it's a bit of a headache. However, it's coming together. I finally worked out some of the issues of getting a side-bar/navigation part working with a content part, although I still haven't worked out one minor frustration there. Now on to other parts. I have some code to do some spiffy looking "Web 2.0" style boxes/borders, and when I test it independently, it works fine, but when I try to insert into my own web page(s), it fails. Sigh. Irritating ...

The Wife's Health: Carolyn recovered easily from her surgery early this month, and has had no problems/complications. This is all good.

My Health/Exercise: Pretty good overall. I am still exercising, albeit slowly in the "increase" part ... I am starting the upward climb toward 20 minutes a day on the Nordic Track (bumped it up to 17 minutes this week) ... Saw the dentist yesterday for the bi-annual exam/cleaning. No problems of enough importance to do anything about this time. That's always good. Some minor gum issues that brushing differently might help.

Not a lot else to report. SCA is still happening, mostly pretty tame ... of course the fact that due to the wife's schedule, my schedule, all that, we haven't been to a lot of events. We day-tripped the latest coronation (Purgatorio), and that was fine, although there was some minor fu, there's no real need to go into that. Nothing that really directly impacted us.

This week Carolyn is off to Tex-ass for her job. She's not thrilled but it's what she needs to do. Lots of stupid meetings to try to resolve some communications issues ... yipee. Luckily she convinced them not to send her for two weeks. That would make both of us crazy.

And the cats are doing fine. They're on a diet, and they hate it ... but otherwise, doing okay.

September 12

Bleargh! I picked up a head cold last weekend, and it took most of this last week to get rid of it. What's seriously annoying is that I'm still not completely done with the darn thing. Sinuses that will NOT stop draining ... I feel almost human, but ...

I started to get back into exercise again yesterday morning, but I also had had some intestinal weirdness over the weekend that is mostly resolved, and I didn't want to push it. Floor exercises only.

What's even more frustrating is the attack of insomnia last night. I ended up going back to bed this morning after getting CJ up and feeding the cats. Sheesh.

Work: Still dealing with the one job that should have been done ages ago. It's so frustrating getting together with this guy. Sigh. The other job -- the never-ending DOS App Upgrade is still being worked on. Sheesh. I have the big stuff in pretty good shape, but there's a ton of processes that are either manual, code, or a combination of both, that I need to work out, and get done. Mostly it's reports. I feel like this thing is never going to be finished. Sigh.

I redid my work website last week (well the hard part had been worked out before that), although I need to work on better wording on various pages of the site, it looks cool (Golden Stag Productions), I also need to spend time getting keywords in there so that the search engines will find the site better.

Not a lot to update about otherwise.

Family: My mother and brother (Tim) are heading off to their timeshare this coming weekend, and that means passing through the Bay Area. So on Saturday I'm meeting up with them to do lunch, hopefully at the Back Forty restaurant (BBQ). I need to see if they'll be open, because they've got a new building in the works, and I'm not sure when they open at the new site. I don't eat there often, but if you like BBQ, it's good. If that doesn't pan out, we'll work something else out. So I will see them for a few hours before they head out. CJ won't be around as she's got an SCA scribal thing.

Golden Stag Players: My theatre troupe -- we got together on Sunday for our first rehearsal. However, due to life, the universe and all that, we won't rehearse again for nearly a month. We have the next three Sundays being taken up either by wedding fu for a pair of the actors in the troupe, or by SCA events ... oh well. There aren't a lot of BIG parts in this, and the two folk with the larger roles have proven themselves in the past, so I'm not TOO worried (and it really only cuts off a couple of rehearsals at the most from our regular schedule ...). It does go to show that as Rosanne Rosannadanna (SNL) said many times: "It's always somethin'."


September 27

Well, it's been officially "Fall" since the weekend, so I suppose I should update.

SCA: Last weekend was Mists Coronet, and my friend Leohtulf came into the finals again, but lost in the last fight (three out of a possible three, the winner must take two ...) of the finals to someone else, who is a really good guy -- Brion of Bellatrix, whom I've known since he was a teen. Nice guy, bright, his father is well known in the SCA across the Knowne World. Anyway, he and his consort live nearby, so we may be helping a bit with the reign.

Other than that, not a lot. The usual brouhahas and such, but nothing to write home about.

Work: Weird as ever. However, one of the big problems with the app in Pleasanton may have been resolved, and they're down to testing the rest of the app. I hope that's done soon.

The "never ending" app has been slowly getting there. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm pretty sure it's not an oncoming train ... so I may finally finish this one.

The Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce Breakfast meeting was good this time -- the speaker had lots of useful networking stuff, and I even updated my View Ken Mayer's profile on LinkedIn because of her talk ... Hopefully some of her advice will help out with my business (of course I need to follow through with it, but she provided us all with copies of one of her books on Networking so ...).

Carolyn and Family: CJ's doing great. However, she has to go to Texas for a couple days, so we're not doing October Crown (SCA) this coming weekend. Rather than the full week, she's going for just a couple days. However, it screws our weekend, as she's leaving Sunday morning, flying back Wednesday morning. Oh well. That's how these things go. At least she's got the job.

Her family: let's see ... her sister got a new job in SF, better pay, and not dealing with hassles at the last job. However a huge commute. There are other hassles there, some personality issue or other, and she may try to get moved to the Lafayette branch, which would bring her closer to us (by a huge amount). Guess we'll see how that goes.

In a couple of weeks we have the Stinson vacation trip, which hopefully will include photos. However the Step-Father-in-Law can't make it, because he's doing a trip to China with his brother (partially business, and partially just to hang with his brother). We're looking forward to it, although it means we're doing much more of the shopping than normal, because Tom (the SFIL) normally does the bulk of it, so ...

My Family: Saw my mother and brother a couple weeks ago (as noted in the previous entry) and all seems to be well with them. We had a pleasant lunch, a few hours of chatting and they had to leave. Apparently it was a nice vacation.

Otherwise, well, not a lot to say. I'm stressing a bit over money, because I've not made as much this year as last ... and it's depressing to boot. I will be working to make things get better, but if they don't soon, I may have to give up on this independent thing, and find a real job. Sigh. Oh well ...

October 17

Back from Stinson Beach, the annual Eaton Family get-together. The weather was a bit cooler than normal, and Tom wasn't there (and we missed him -- he's a great guy, and while we wish him well on his trip to China, we did miss having him at Stinson). Exhausted. The kids ran me ragged, like they do, but that was because I let them. Bill (their father and Carolyn's brother) and his wife Rebecca are always telling me that if I've had enough to let them know ... but I'm having fun, they're having fun, so ...

Not a lot to tell, it wasn't an exciting time, but it was fun. Unfortunately Gail and Carolyn both had a hard time unwinding this time from work-related stress. I suppose if the sun had been out more it might have helped. Tough call, though.

Because it was Baseball Play-offs (for the World Series), and Rebecca (Bill's wife) is a hard-core baseball fan (and hence Bill is into it, and so are the kids), we ended up watching a lot more baseball than I cared for, but ... that's how it goes.

I have a few photos I'll post below, but didn't take a lot, and because it was overcast, I have a feeling most of them won't come out well. There were other photos taken, including Carolyn's mom, Bill, and Carolyn's friend Isabelle's husband Greg, so we'll see if/when any of those turn up -- there may be more photos from the trip added.

Today I'm trying to catch up on things, getting back into the work thang ... herself is home so she could have a recovery day (probably a good thing, she slept until 8:30ish this morning, so I guess she needed it ...).

November 2

Carolyn picked up a cold at Stinson (last day, we got home and she started feeling it ...). I went through the next weekend thinking I'd escaped. I hadn't. But I thought I had a lesser version until this last week.

I hate colds, but especially the lingering ones. I think I'm finally over the worst of it, but I'm not holding my breath. The good sign is that I slept all night without a coughing fit, and without having to blow my nose. That's something, anyway.

Last weekend two of the folk in my acting troupe got married -- Meg and Daniel (Walkyr). It was a huge wedding with lots of folk, and was a lot of fun despite a lot of hassle. Carolyn had helped draft patterns for their outfits, and on Saturday (the day before the wedding), she had to spend 12 hours or more fixing his outfit. (Nothing like waiting until the last minute to start sewing, is there?) Despite that, the wedding itself came off well, the day was nice, everyone looked great, etc. So it was worth it. (I took some "Dayquill" before going, but ended up coughing and such on and off during the day anyway, not horribly, but ...)

Other than that, not a lot happening, which is good. I have to get a bit of jewelry done for Investiture that I had promised a couple of friends (matching pieces, sort of, the Order of the Silver Ivy ... the pieces should look like one fits inside the other when done), because the weekend after this coming one is Investiture and this is part of the "usual business".

Work -- not a lot to say. Still grinding away at the "never ending project" for the gentleman in New York, the guy in Pleasanton is being slow at finishing testing of his app ... which means I don't get paid (and it's not a huge amount of money, but ANYTHING is good) until he's done, and ... No new contracts. The guy in San Jose decided to go with an "out of the box" solution. Sigh.

December 8

When I forget to post anything, I forget ... it's been awhile ...

I finally finished the job for the guy in Pleasanton and got paid. I finished the first part of the "never-ending-project" and got it to the gentleman in New York, only to find that I had started relying on something that was broken, and had forgotten to deploy some files, and his app wasn't working. It was crashing out on him, but what was worse was that no error messages were displaying. Finally figured that one out (after trying to find out what configuration he was using ...) and he's testing (after getting the missing files in and some bugs fixed). Dunno when I'll get paid the rest of what he owes me. Sigh. The folk in Wisconson came through with a couple minor jobs because the main coder there has come down ill and may not return to work (she was getting older, and close to retirement anyway), so those little bits of money have been nice. Otherwise, I'm feeling pinched money-wise. It's not a great feeling. I fear that my attempt at being an independent developer may go down the tube and I will have to get a real job. Sigh.

On the SCA Front: lots of little things. Have been going over to the home of the Prince and Princess of the Mists, which is only something like 3-4 minutes from our place on most Wednesday evenings for "fighter practice" (which is also hang-out and schmooze night) -- it's sort of reminiscent of the old Quid Non things, where people wandered in and out, and all that. Very pleasant.

Carolyn gave me a belt buckle and tongue that she had been saving as a Christmas present, which is cool. She's making a new outfit for me for 12th Night that will be black, so I decided to do a black belt. This has been a bit of an expense, because I wanted to go with period belt mountings and all that. And then getting the right dye, and figuring out how to finish it, and all that. The Prince of the Mists, as it turns out, is a clever and helpful guy, and has been giving me a big hand with all this. I hope to get the buckle and tongue attached to the belt with his help next week. Should probably talk to him about that.

The Golden Stag Players are gearing up for the play for 12th Night. Unfortunately since we started late, people have been late on everything, including memorizing their lines, costumes, sets ... sigh. It's been frustrating. I know it'll come together, but this is not going to be our tightest production by a ways, I fear. What's worse is that I know they can do better, but I just don't know what I'm doing wrong as director ... sigh.

Also regarding the GSP, we decided that it's our 15th Anniversary and that we should do shirts. So I worked with them to get specific text for the logo and all that. I then went to "Zazzle" -- a website that allows you to design your own shirts and sell them. Pretty spiffy, although the interface is a bit frustrating. Anyway, got it all done, and now people are annoyed that it's not customizable. Sheesh. There's no pleasing these folks. I had no offers of help, and had to pull teeth to get people to even vote for the front of the shirt, and now that it's available they're bitching. Argh.

Other than all that, well, CJ's doing okay. Her job has been keeping her busy, with yet another trip to Texas last week, but possibly the last trip, or at least a lot fewer of them in the future. There's a big major merger going on with her company and another, and so everyone in her company is a bit nervous about retaining their jobs. She so far has not gotten any notice of a layoff (these layoffs are occurring with many months of advance notice -- the ones she's told me about were told that they were working for the company until August, 2007, or in one case March, 2008!), and she's fairly sure that it won't happen. I guess we'll see, but of course that makes us both a bit nervous. Sigh. There are no guarantees, even if you have something in writing ... not anymore.

The holidays are on us, and while I always love them, I'm feeling less thrilled this year. I'm sure a lot of it us the fact that I'm concerned about money, feeling a bit like a failure with the business, and so on. I had hopes ...

I finally got the one chapter of my book that was making me crazy done, although I need to go back and modify a bit at the end of it, before sending it off to the one editor I have who's actually editing. Sigh. I don't blame the other guy, he's busy, and not as familiar with the subject ... but it's a little frustrating. I started the next chapter only to get partway in and find that one part of what I wanted to demonstrate wouldn't work with the code/report I was working with, which means pretty much starting over. Sigh. And to put a wishlist request in for the software to be able to handle this better ...

Well, I need to go get cat food as well as my own lunch, so I should be going ... That's it in a nutshell, anwyay. My life is not bad, but it could be better. Worse is that some of what needs improvement is my own fault. Sigh.

December 26

Well, Christmas has come and gone, and there's less than a week left in the year. Time just flies sometimes, having fun or not.

Re: Book -- my intent is to get going on the next chapter today. I haven't heard anything from my current clients, or any potential new ones (but then it is the day after Christmas, after all), so ..

Short Christmas recap: We did Christmas at Gail's (my sister-in-law's), which has become fairly common, as her dining room/kitchen/etc. area is larger than ours. We could have done it here, but CJ was just as happy to not.

So, the morning of Christmas Eve day I made a nice pasta sauce, and she made a carrot cake for dessert on Christmas day. She wrapped presents (I had done mine earlier in the week), all that good stuff. We trundled down to Gail's in Livermore, and had a nice evening ... watched a couple movies after dinner and went to bed. Christmas day we had a nice simple breakfast, had some munchies all day (with too much sugar in there), and opened presents and watched some movies. Had a pretty traditional Turkey Dinner, and eventually it was over and we loaded the car up and came home. No big highlights in the presents -- nothing to write home about, but it was all nice.

Not a lot to say this morning ... I just can't think of much that's worth mentioning. Oh well. Let's see ... I finished the belt mentioned in the previous post, but there are things I would have done differently (such as not rushing the first part, and getting a couple things placed not quite right -- it'll look fine, but ...).

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)

SCA - 12th Night (January 7, 2006):

Ken/Hirsch doing Prologue for the play
Photo by Carolyn J. Eaton

Audrey 3 -- CJ's Lilies:

Audrey 3
June 2
Photo by Kenneth J. Mayer

Audrey 3 Blooming
June 2
Photo by Kenneth J. Mayer

Audrey 3 Blooming
June 7
Photo by Kenneth J. Mayer

Audrey 3 Blooming
June 7
Photo by Kenneth J. Mayer

Audrey 3 -- FEED ME
June 10
Photo by Kenneth J. Mayer

Audrey 3 -- FEED ME
June 10
Photo by Kenneth J. Mayer

Audrey 3 Blooming
June 10
Photo by Kenneth J. Mayer

Ken's Mother and Brother's Visit, September:

Tim, Ken and Grace Mayer
September 19
Photo by Timothy C. Mayer

Stinson Beach -- Eaton Family Vacation -- October 11-16:
There were enough photos with Bill sending me some, that I moved these to another page ... Stinson Beach Photos

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