Rediculous Quote of the Day

Yesterday, on my way home from work, I heard new Titans safety Chris Hope (just signed from Pittsburg) being interviewed on the radio. He said something to the effect of:

“First and foremost, I have to give thanks to God, because He has spared me from any serious injury through my entire football career… knock on wood.”

It’s not an exact quote, but that’s basically what he said – Thank God and knock on wood.


Back In Business

Well, I got my computer working after all. I did find a Knoppix disk in my closet, but it was an older version and it didn’t support my video card, so it wasn’t much help. However, I used another CD of utilities that I have to check the disk and I found that it had some corrupt data, but was not entirely dead.

I ended up having to switch a few things around inside the computer so I could run a disk repair program (which took about an hour to run), and that fixed the problem. Now it boots up as usual and I didn’t lose anything but a couple hours of time.

I can practially hear the sigh of relief as you read this…

Dead Computer

My desktop computer refuses to boot today. I suspect that a hard drive has failed, but I can’t tell for sure until I get an alternate boot device. I don’t feel like replacing the drive and re-installing an OS just to test it, so I’m going to use a copy of Knoppix to see if the drive is readable.

Knoppix, for those that don’t know, is a version of Linux that runs right off a CD. There’s no installation, and it doesn’t make any changes to your computer – you just set your computer to boot to the CD ROM drive, put the disk in, and start it up. Then you can use the Linux operating system to do a number of things, including analyzing your hard drive to see if it’s working properly or not.

The only problem is that I can’t seem to find my copy of Knoppix, and I don’t want to spend two hours downloading it (it’s free, but it’s large so it takes a while to download). I know I have an image of it on my desktop at work, so I’ll probably just put this off until tomorrow evening and bring home a CD or DVD from there.

Obviously, I can still get on-line. I have several computers in the house, and most of my critical stuff is backed up on a server with redundant hard drives in it, but my desktop has all my necessary programs installed and configured just the way I like it. Hopefully, I won’t have to re-build it and re-install everything (although I’ve thought of doing that anyway, just to clean it up a little).

Honestly, I’d love to switch to using Linux permanently, but there are still a few critical programs that I haven’t found comparable replacements for outside the Windows world. Plus, I don’t know if Mary would like using Linux, so I’d probably have to keep Windows on her machine anyway. I’m still more familiar and comfortable using Windows as a desktop platform, but I think that is mainly because I don’t use Linux that way very much – most of my experience with Linux is using it as a server only. I’m pretty sure I would get comfortable with it after a while, though.

Hopefully, tomorrow evening, I’ll get my computer running again.

Louisville Zoo

LionsContinuing with the birthday theme… Yesterday was Mary’s birthday, and so I decided to take the day off and take the family on a day trip. We went up to Louisville, KY to check out the zoo there because we had seen a few of their exhibits highlighted on a show called “Ultimate Zoo”, which used to run on Animal Planet.

We left as early as we could, considering we didn’t know we would be able to go until that morning (Mary had another comittment that got canceled at the last minute). The drive was pretty nice and easy, although Owen didn’t quite understand why it was taking us so long to drive to “a different zoo” as he kept calling it.

As members of the Nashville Zoo, we get free or discounted admission into other zoos that are part of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. In this case, it was free, so that was very nice and made it even more worth the drive up there.

Owen holding a LorikeetIt was a pretty nice zoo. They’ve got a lot of animals that we don’t have in Nashville, like lions, giraffes (although we are getting those soon), polar bears, jaguars, and gorillas. The gorilla exhibit was one of the ones we had seen on “Ultimate Zoo”, and it was pretty impressive. Unfortunately, due to the cool weather (mid-50’s), there were several animals that were not in their exhibits, including the tigers and hippos.

They had an aviary with Lorikeets just like we have in Nashville, and I took Owen inside to see them. I actually got him to hold a bird on his arm for a while so I could get some pictures. He was a little nervous, but did pretty well with it and I think he enjoyed himself in there.

They also had a train that went all the way around the zoo, and Owen and I went for a ride on that. He sat very still and quiet for the entire ride, and I wasn’t sure that he really liked it, but then I had to remind myself that he’s just like me, and I tend to enjoy things quietly instead of getting visibly excited all the time. He did, in fact, enjoy it and he mentioned the train several times later in the day.

Believe it or not, there were more and larger hills than we have at our zoo, so we got our exercise. I had the camera, of course, and my new backpack proved to be a great improvement over the previous bag. I was glad I had gotten it. Now I need a bigger memory card, because I filled ours up pretty quickly.

Afterwards, we headed back towards home, and stopped for dinner at Red Lobster in Rivergate. Owen slept in the car pretty much all the way back to Nashville, so he was well rested and happy at the restaurant. We had a nice dinner and then came home to put the boys to bed and settle in for the night. It was a good day.

Happy Birthday

OwenMy birthday was a couple of months ago, but I just got one of my presents this weekend. My parents had given me a gift certificate, and I decided to use it to get the Canon 200EG Backpack for use with our new camera. Don’t worry – I didn’t pay the list price. It was on sale at, but it was backordered, so I had to wait over a month for it to arrive. It finally came on Friday, and I really like it so far.

I already had a regular Canon bag for the camera, but it wasn’t really all that comfortable to carry around for very long. Since I like to take my camera to the zoo and parks and places where I do a lot of walking, I thought a good backpack would be nice. It’s got a lot more room than I need right now, but I hope to get some additional lenses at some point. Plus, it’s nice to have extra room for snacks and other stuff when we are out and about.

Happy Birthday Joey!We did actually go to a birthday party yesterday – for Joey Boyd, the little boy that Mary used to babysit. He’s a year old now, and we bought him what every one-year-old should have – a big tub of Legos! Owen had a blast at the party, and we had a lot of good food and a nice time just visiting. There were only a few kids there, so it was mostly the parents sitting around talking while the kids played endlessly with the balloons. Owen is still playing with a couple of the balloons this afternoon.

In other news, it looks like the acquisition of my company will finally close at the end of this month. There’s still not much solid information about what that will mean for my job there long term, but I’ve been told that not much will change initially. I’ll just be glad when the deal is finally done and we can get past all the uncertainty and waiting around.

IvanThere’s not much else to say, but I thought I’d throw in a picture of Ivan, since I haven’t posted any in a while. He’s awful cute. He’s become very expressive lately, and it’s funny to take pictures of him because you can get photos that look happy, confused, angry, tired, and surprised all within a few seconds.

For the most part, Ivan is a very good kid, much like Owen was. He’s a little more active, but still fairly content and happy most of the time. We’ve had even more people talk about how much he looks like me than we did with Owen. I guess that should be taken as a compliment, since they also tell us how cute he is!

I think we’re going to go out for the afternoon and get a little exercise. The weather is still somewhat cool, but it won’t be long before it will be biking weather again.

Real Snow

This past weekend, we got what I guess could be considered real snow. It covered the ground pretty well, and lasted for a couple of days. The only downside was that it was a drizzly, wet snow that wasn’t very pleasant to be in, so we didn’t send Owen out to play in it at all.

The reason it lasted so long is that it was very, very cold on Sunday. I think it was down in the low teens at night, and in the mid-twenties during the day. The strange thing is that it was in the 70’s just a few days before that. As much as I dog the weather forecasters for their lack of accuracy, if we didn’t have them to give us some idea of what’s coming, we would probably be caught by surprise a lot.

On Saturday we had a visit from some old friends, Mark and Keri Kornelsen. They used to live in this area, but moved to Indiana a few years ago, and we see them about once every year and a half. They came over to our house for breakfast and we had a great time visiting and letting their daughter play with Owen.

I went out just before they arrived and got some fresh bagels from Panera Bread, which just opened up on our side of town. Let me tell you, that place is good! If you haven’t tried it, you need to.

My mom was also here for a visit this weekend. She flew in late Saturday morning, and she left around noon today. We didn’t really do anything in particular while she was here – we mostly just relaxed around the house, and that was nice. I had to work some of the time that she was here, and of course we went to church on Sunday, but other than that we just watched some movies and played with the kids.

One place we did go was to Las Americas to introduce mom to pupusas. Mmmm… pupusas… She liked the food, if not the music and atmosphere. I’ve taken my dad there before, but I don’t think the rest of my family has been there. Keith & Kevin – it’s about time to plan another trip to Nashville!

What Have I Been Doing?

Yeah, I know – I’m getting slack on the updates. It seems like all I write here lately is “Sorry I haven’t updated – I’ve been busy”. But it’s true. I have been busy.

I spent the evening last night upgrading the anti-spam system on my new web / mail server, as well as adding a virus scanner. It’s such a shame that we have to spend so much time and money defending ourselves from things like that. On the other hand, if I had no morals, I would definitely be in the on-line scaming business. There’s a lot of money floating around in cyberspace these days…

I still have to get a good automated backup system going, and we’ve got a couple of website projects in the hopper. The fun just never ends.

I also got our taxes done this week. I usually try to get them in by the end of January, but we were waiting on some paperwork this time. We’re getting a decent refund this year, which will more than pay for the camera I bought in December. The rest will go towards paying down the debt on our house.

Wednesday night, church was canceled due to snow. It wasn’t a heavy snow (at least not in our area), but it was bad enough to keep most people at home, I guess. Tonight, we’re supposed to get even more snow. They are saying we’ll get 2 to 4 inches of accumulation, but a friend of mine who works for The Weather Channel said there is a 10% chance that we could get 8 inches. Now that would be something! If that happens, we’re going to have to find some way to go sledding somewhere. I’ll try to get some pictures and post them later.

Speaking of pictures, I haven’t been using my new camera nearly enough lately. Mostly because it’s been too cold to spend a lot of time outside, and I’m not very inspired to take a bunch of pictures in the house.

There’s a lot more that I could write, but as I said before – I’m busy. Maybe later.

Two Weeks

I can’t believe I let two weeks go by without posting anything here. It’s been a busy two weeks, though, so I’ll try to summarize.

After returning from my trip to D.C., I had to move all my stuff from one office to another and get up-to-speed on what the development team is doing. It was nice to get back with the old group and I was able to contribute some ideas almost immediately, which made me feel good about the change.

Outside of work, I’ve been busy moving this website and several others to a new server. It took nearly a week to get it done, but the transition was pretty smooth. I had one problem with moving someone’s e-mail box and actually lost some of their e-mail but they were very understanding and it didn’t seem to be a major crisis or anything.

I also did some wiring in my house this week, adding some phone, ethernet, and cable lines to a couple of rooms that didn’t have them. I had to belly-crawl under the house a few times, which wasn’t exactly fun, but the whole job only took a few hours so it wasn’t too bad. At least it’s winter and it’s not really hot down there.

Owen Kelso - Child Country StarSpeaking of the weather, what’s up with this unusually warm January? It’s been in the 60’s several times, including today. We went to a park and I took a few pictures of Owen but they didn’t turn out all that great because the sun was out and there were so many harsh shadows. Most people think that bright sunny days are good for photography, but you actually get much better results when it’s overcast, because the light is much more evenly distributed.

This one made me laugh, though, because I immediately thought that if Owen were a second-rate country singer, this would be his album cover photo…

As if I don’t have enough to do, I’m also working on setting up individual blogs for Owen and Ivan. Not for them to post, but for us to post things about them. Instead of creating a traditional website for each of them like we have done for Owen in the past, I thought I’d just use the blog format and that way we can post photos and information that way, and hopefully it will stay more up-to-date then Owen’s old site did. So, you may see fewer posts about the boys in my blog at some point, but that’ll be because I post that kind of stuff on their own pages. Make sense?

I can’t believe it’s already the end of January. This year is 1/12th over!

Trip Recap

I had a pretty good trip to DC this week. The training was very good, the hotel was nice, we had some pretty good food, and of course you saw the pictures of the monuments at night – very cool.

The photos were actually somewhat difficult to get. Since it was so dark, the exposure times were long (3 to 6 seconds), so I couldn’t hold the camera for most of the shots. I didn’t have a tripod (didn’t want to drag one around), so I mostly set the camera down on a ledge or on the ground and set the timer so that I wouldn’t vibrate the camera even by pushing the button. A co-woker who was with me was very patient as I laid on the ground adjusting the camera and proping it with the lens cap, etc., trying to get each shot just right.

We saw a large convoy of vehicles leave the White House, but there’s no way to know who was in it. Just witnessing all the security and infrastructure of that place is pretty awesome, though. We walked about 5 miles or so around the National Mall area before getting a taxi driver to take us somewhere good to eat. By the time we got back to our hotels, we were pretty tired.

And yes, Friday was my 30th birthday. We got out of class early, so my co-worker and I went to the National Air & Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. It’s basically a gigantic hangar with hundreds of airplanes, rockets, and spacecraft, including the Concord, the SR-71 Blackbird (the fastest jet in the world), the Space Shuttle Enterprise, and a number of experimental planes.

After that, though, it got pretty dull. As previously mentioned, the only flight to Nashville was at 10:00 PM, so we ended up sitting at the airport for several hours, and I watched a movie on my laptop. Our flight was actually a little late, so I didn’t get home until close to midnight. The flight was pretty bumpy, too, because we flew over/through a cold front, and it was much colder when we landed than it was when we left.