A Mirror into Ken's Past -- 2010

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January 8

Not a lot to say. The October 2009 quarter at the school has just finished (I posted my last set of grades this morning). Next quarter starts in a week, so I have a week to prepare ... No new classes, but a couple I haven't taught in awhile.

Today is Carolyn's birthday, and tomorrow is 12th Night. It's nearby, but we're staying at the hotel anyway. The play the Golden Stag Players have been working on is being performed then.

My energy levels are low, but that's most likely just from a lack of sleep. Oh well. Probably some details about 12th Night and the play next week.

Monday is graduation -- I love graduation, so am looking forward to it. Seeing students at this event is so cool, especially now that I've seen some of them from the beginning, and the changes in how they carry themselves, the pride, etc., are really great.

February 6

Typically, I haven't come back to this because things have been busy.

Twelfth Night was weird. There was a lot of odd tension, caused by a variety of things, including issues with the Royalty. Without getting into any details here (if you really need to know, you can talk to me face-to-face, but I won't put it here), it made things a bit tense at times.

Other than that, though, since I avoided court, I didn't have that stress ... but we did have the usual stress regarding the play. That said, the performance went off very well, everything worked, we got the reactions we were hoping for from the audience (the funny bits were FUNNY, the tragic bits were TRAGIC -- not a sound during some of the speeches), and so on. Today, among other things, I am starting to burn off copies of the DVD of the performance for the troupe ...

After the show, there were some weirdnesses with restaurant and other ... but in the grand scheme of things, just minor annoyances. The hanging out and schmoozing was typical 12th Night fun.

Other than the SCA stuff, there hasn't been a lot to really talk about. CJ and I almost went to Hawaii with our good friends Don and BJ for their 30th Anniversary, but their schedule and ours (well, mostly mine -- school scheduling) just didn't gibe. Figures. Would have been fun, but they went with another old friend of theirs from High School, so ...

However, for our anniversary (end of this month), the spouse was talking to BJ and we're doing Disneyland very much like we did last year (but arriving earlier on Friday and leaving later on Sunday -- more time in the parks!!!) but we're going with Don and BJ. Same hotel (The Grand Californian -- very nice hotel -- maybe this year I'll remember to get some photos of the interior), and so on. The "packets" arrived yesterday, so we have all the stuff. Really looking forward to the trip.

School has been very busy. This quarter (just finished week 3) I have five classes, several of them fairly large. There have been some oddities that have started the quarter off on a weird footing, but it's all coming together finally (or at least mostly coming together). Between students with odd issues, and late starts, and ... then there were issues with some of the software we're using, and ... it's been a bit crazier than usual. Or at least, it feels that way right now. I'll probably look back on this in a year and think "that was EASY!" or something.

Health for us has been good. For some of our friends, not so good. Laura (Chiara in the SCA) has some sort of issue with her kidney (possibly a cancerous growth) that started up before 12th Night. She is finally going in for surgery to get it dealt with. It may require removing the kidney, something they don't like doing because one mis-step might end up causing problems with other organs, and of course only having one kidney could be a problem in the future if something happens to that one. But ... sigh. She's a real trooper and is not complaining about the problem (she's been having fun getting things diagnosed, but that seems to have come together ...). There are some others who have just been ill, and we've lost some folk in the SCA recently (that's going to happen more and more as time moves forward of course, but still ...).

All in all, things are going okay. Busy, but generally a "good busy" ...

February 21

Moving along through life. There are days I wonder how we get from weekend to weekend so quickly. But then I realize I've been so busy during the week that I haven't had time to do much else.

School has been, as noted above, very busy. Not a lot to add there.

SCA -- well, CJ's been busy, because she had the annual "Exchequer's Report" to get done. In the process, last weekend, (was it just last weekend? two weeks ago?) her computer started to go. The network card wouldn't connect to our local LAN, and more. This computer was the first notebook I purchased back in 2001, so it's nine years old, heavy, old, slow and ... we went to Best Buy and bought her a brand new computer, and boy is she happy with it (except the cost, but she really likes the machine, so I think it balances out -- and it's hers, not a hand-me-down, or a loaner, but her own computer that she can do whatever she needs to with). The old computer is going to be donated to someone, with lots of caveats (like the CD/DVD player doesn't work, the battery doesn't hold a charge, etc.), or it will be recycled -- one or t'other. On my end, except for dealing with awards lists and other "usual" stuff, not much happening for me. It's kind of nice to not be an officer who has to constantly be doing reports and such ...

Next weekend we will be at Disneyland, celebrating our anniversary. Looking forward to the trip ...

OH -- I broke down and bought a fedora (I had one years ago, after the first Indiana Jones movie came out -- there were some promotional hats being sold -- decent quality, but mine went through a lot, and eventually got trashed when it ended up at the bottom of a prop-box for one of the plays the Golden Stag Players did years ago). I went to Berkeley Hat on the recommendation of some friends on Monday, they didn't have what I wanted in stock, so it was mailed to me, and I got it yesterday. NIIIICE. I'm keeping it in the box, except when I use it, at least for now. With my hair thinning it's good to have some good hats, and there's a style "thing" going on as well ... I am sure a photo or two will show up here in the near future of me wearing the hat.

My NY client and I are finally working out some long-standing issues with the application, and I think we may eventually (no time-frame here) finish the darn thing. Whew.

And with the help of one my the folk who's been a developer using dBASE for years, my two books are going to be moved to e-Book format. In the back of my fuzzy brain are some ideas for a third book (kind of an expansion to the first one), that may take shape over the next while, as the folk at dataBI are adding functionality and fixing some older issues, as well as dealing with newer operating systems (Vista and Windows 7 add some interesting twists to deploying an application).

I'm writing this as I back up some files on my hard drive to the external drive, so I can clean them off ... the video for the latest play turned out really good, and I burned a huge number of copies, but these things do take a lot of space on the drive.

Dealing with technology -- weekend after the Disneyland trip CJ and I plan to go out and buy iPhones. It's time we made the leap to complete "SmartPhones". Our Palm Centros are fine, but small screens, and surfing the web and all that on them is not really viable. So ... (and my contract with AT&T will allow for me to do it starting March 2nd, but that's a Tuesday or something, and we won't be able to get to the local AT&T store until Saturday). There will probably be either a lot of cursing and swearing, or oohing and aaahing over how cool these things are. (The cursing and swearing most likely from the data-transfer process ...) I've already ordered cases for them (nice leather ones).

March 5

Not a lot, just adding a link to the "Travelogue" (short) of our trip to Disneyland, with a few photos ... Disneyland Trip 2010.


March 26

Spring has sprung. It actually sproinged into existence last weekend. For the first time in ages, March Crown (SCA) was dry and had nice weather. Wow.

Not a lot to say. Lots of little things are happening, but nothing huge. At least not in the grand scheme of life, the universe, and everything.

We have our iPhones and are having fun with them. The move of the data was interesting and not 100% error free, but still ...

On the way to Crown we found the brakes were acting up (figures -- it's about 1,000 miles after the 30,000 mile extended warranty!), but apparently this is a known issue. Taking it in tomorrow (on Saturday) to get that dealt with.

Otherwise, life trundles along ... I was asked a little while back by the President of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter on our campus at work to be the guest speaker for the induction ceremony happening this week. (I did this for the first induction, at the instigation of the school advisor to the group, this time it was by the students, which means that they liked the first speech enoguh to ask me to do it again ...) It went fairly well.

Winding up the end of the quarter. It's been a weird one at work, but in their own way, I guess they all are ... just tired at the end of the quarter. I am looking forward to the break. (1.5 weeks ... and then I get over a week off ... oooh!)

April 25

Today's my birthday ... not a big deal. It's an odd number -- 53. Nothing special about it (except of course I made it this far). What is special about this weekend is that one of our friends who lives nearby has a birthday tomorrow, and we're using the two birthdays as a way to get a bunch of folk together, to celebrate something else ... another couple of friends went and eloped (as it were) and got married a few weeks back. We're throwing a big (surprise) party for them today at Rachel's house, with the premise being that it's for our birthdays, so we can get them there ... heh.

Other than that, not much to say. CJ took me out to dinner last night, but dinner was so-so -- too loud, downtown Walnut Creek area, too many people, too much "stuff" going on, we were seated near the kitchen, service got worse as the evening went on ... oh well. She bought me a couple of Apple gift certificates (one for the iTunes store, one for the Apple store, which is slightly different) and some Truffle Salt ...

On the work front ... the new quarter started last week. Nothing special to write about. I have an interesting mix of classes, but again nothing to write about. I have ended up writing a couple of letters of recommendation for students, which is nice, and kind of fun ...

We have a house guest sleeping on the sofa (partly because of the party today ... she's my wife's student in the SCA, so nominally she was over yesterday and last night to spend some quality time with her teacher). They were up pretty late, so I can't go make coffee (the coffee grinder is LOOOUD, and they're sleeping in). I may pop off to the store to get some instead.


June 20

Well, really, Summer starts tomorrow morning at 4:something a.m. ... but I'm not worrying too much about those little details.

As usual, I've been very busy, so not writing a lot here. I haven't been writing much in LiveJournal either, at least not of any substance.

Trying to recall anything important that's happened ... not much. Just lots of little things. Spending time with friends, with Carolyn, family (the spouse's ...). This weekend is a major SCA event that we decided not to go do (problems with the site, two major events in a row ... needed some downtime). Instead, I spent time scanning a couple of plays (the OCR software that came with my scanner has been handy -- it converts the scanned text to a Word document, and I then spend a bunch of time cleaning up the text -- but it's faster than typing an 80+ page play ...).

School's been busy, we're winding down -- the last two weeks of the current quarter. Been a lot of work trying to keep some students in the "passing" zone, some of them probably won't make it ... you can only do so much for them. I picked up a book that a friend who teaches in Vallejo at the high school level recommended, Teach Like a Champion, and while I haven't gotten very far into it, has already provided me with some ideas that are starting to show some promise on reaching students ...

This summer I have two weeks off between quarters, which is nice. And since I'm full-time it's paid time off. Well, some of that of course will be preparing for next quarter, and all that. But CJ and I are looking at maybe doing a bed and breakfast in Napa (hit wine country) for a couple of days, just to do something with just us. We'll see if we can pull that off, because it's the height of tourist season, and the B&Bs may be full-up (sigh).

Carolyn's brother's kids and their mom have been off in Europe for awhile. They started planning this last summer, apparently. The kids have been having a blast from what I gather, we've gotten some post cards, and while I'm not on Facebook, apparently a bunch of detail is making it out there. 'Becca (the mom) put a lot of effort into this, getting the kids involved in the planning process, which has helped a lot -- they decided parts of what they wanted to see, and why ... got them more excited about the trip. I expect that next time we see the kids we'll hear all about the trip ... it'll be fun.

Zootie's been sick on and off, and has been to the vet a couple of times, but they can't find anything wrong, even with doing blood tests ... it's weird. He's lost weight (4-6 lbs.!), but still has energy, reacts, is sweet, plays, etc. But he throws up sometimes two and more times a day (other days there are no signs of him throwing up). It may be related to the diabetes, but we've upped the insulin (well, the feline version of it) dose, and ... next we'll try changing the food, although I don't know that will help, but ... we want the poor beastie to live as long as he can, and preferably live a good life. Sigh.

Well, there isn't a lot to add ... despite not posting a lot, I just haven't really had a lot to say. Weird. It's not that things aren't happening, just nothing major ...

July 9

General updates ... not a lot to add. Zootie seems to be doing better, a lot less throwing up (whew!). He hasn't gained the weight back, but otherwise seems to be okay.

The quarter ended a week ago, I've had this week off, and also get next week. Carolyn had been thinking about going to a big SCA war in S. Oregon (a lot of friends have been hyping it very heavily, and trying to get her to go), but her step-father's birthday was on Monday of this week, and he had a party on Sunday, so we did that. She took the week off, thinking she'd use it to recover from the SCA event, but ...

Anyway, we decided a little while back that we wanted to do "something" together, just the two of us ... we don't do that often, and as much as we love our friends and family, sometimes it is nice to just go do something together. We went to Wine Country up in the Napa valley ... spent the night at a bed and breakfast, and visited several wineries. Details can be found here: Wine Country Trip. It was very nice.

I really ought to be doing ... something ... productive, but I'm still tired. I never sleep great, and sleeping somewhere other than our own bed (although the bed at the Bed & Breakfast place we stayed at was VERY nice) makes it even harder to sleep, even if I'm really exhausted. Oh well. Probably ought to throw some lunch together ...


October 7

Gadzooks. I have been really busy and not updating things here at all. Sorry 'bout that.

Finished the latest quarter, right now we're in a break, but no real downtime. Last weekend was October Crown Tournament (SCA), Sunday and Monday my mother and brother (Tim) were here, today through Sunday I'll be at Stinson Beach with Carolyn's family and she'll be there through Wednesday morning, and next weekend is a Coronet Tournament (SCA). Then things can start to calm down a little. Monday I start the new quarter at the school.

I have also been evaluating textbooks (I have lots of them on the floor of my home office). And a class I'm teaching starting Monday has an updated textbook, which means updating a lot of handouts, and re-doing every project ... sigh.

When mom and Tim were here I took them over to San Francisco on BART (took awhile to find parking, ended up at the Pleasant Hill BART station, rather than Walnut Creek ...), we then took Muni to the Golden Gate Park. We spent quite a bit of time at the California Academy of Sciences museum (Rainforest, Planetarium, etc.). Had lunch there, although the original plan was to meet Carolyn and head out to lunch. After the Planetarium show, we went back into SF proper so we could spend a little time in Chinatown. Picked up some Pork Buns (YUM!) at the "Eastern Bakery" in Chinatown, and had those with some Trader Joe's Orange Chicken for dinner.

Not a lot to add. No big developments in life, the universe, and everything ... Mom got a couple of good photos that were forwarded to us (see below).


December 23

And once again, it's been awhile since I updated here. Figures.

Winter holiday break at the school, and I've been a lazy bum all week. Well, busy and then crashing. I don't think I realized how wound up I can get from work. I have been sleeping and napping a lot all week, and I get next week off as well. After that we have final exam week, and then another week off, to prepare for the January quarter.

The textbook evaluation process is (mostly) done for now. We ended up going the direction I wanted to (better books, better online software, all good), but our campus isn't making the change until April for most of the classes that I teach. Figures. I have a draft schedule for the next quarter ...

Outside of work ... not a lot to say. It's been busy at times, slow at times. Carolyn's work is making her crazy right now ... I don't want to say much about all that, but she's stressed a lot.

The play my acting troupe is doing is taking awhile to come together, we have one more full rehearsal (in a week), then we perform. It's very good, but a few people are having problems with lines, and everyone's stressed out for a variety of reasons. On the other hand, I am sure the audience will enjoy it. Starting with good material helps a lot. We have had to trim it several times, and we're still around 2 hours (gad!).

Otherwise, life is generally pretty good as we wind up the year (okay, in a week, but knowing how often I update these pages ...), hope its going well for anyone trying to stay up with my life. I do post updates over on LiveJournal, although I've been "friends locking" most of what I post as a general rule. If you are interested in reading it, you will need to create an account there, and then let me know ... I haven't succumbed to Facebook yet, and don't really want to. I have some serious issues about the way they handle privacy (as in, Zuckerberg and company -- the owners/creators -- are not real interested in Privacy, and only deal with it when the users force them to ...).

Generally, health-wise: Doing fine. Carolyn went back on Weight-Watchers awhile back, which means since I do most of the cooking, that we're both on a diet (if I'm doing portion control for her, I have to do it for both of us -- it's not fair for me to eat more ...) -- I could stand to lose a little weight, although I've never hit weights like my father did. I recently started doing some basic exercise routines again (leg-lifts, sit-ups and pushups, along with some stretching before I start). That's helped me feel a little better as well. I have a few joint issues, but nothing horrible, not worth seeing a doctor about (I am doing my best to avoid prescription drugs these days ... watching the commercials on TV and hearing the monster list of side-effects is really scary ...). The cats are fine. Zootie has not been throwing up much for some time (knock on wood).

Our friends are overall doing pretty well, although financially several people are a bit worried. The economy has not sprung back as fast as people need it to, and people are hurting. However, slowly things are moving in the right direction, at least for most people. One person in the SCA passed away that I sort of knew (in other words, not well), but on that front it has bee a little more mellow than in the last few years.

December 28

I succumbed to Facebook a couple of days ago. Between my wife, her family, and most of my friends using Facebook, I gave in. It's a bit too addictive, particularly since there is an iPhone app ... so I will have to force myself to not do as much of it. I am not going to be playing games on it, though. Just look for me under my real name ...

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)

Graduation for Heald College, June or July, 2010:

Ken with two Students

Mom and Tim's visit, October:

Ken at Restaurant

Carolyn at home

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