Friday, February 24, 2006

The way the mind works...

Have a song or smell that triggers something within you? Almost as if you relive an event each time you hear that song or smell bread in the oven?

I have a lot of those, but not many make me relive portions of my childhood as strongly as the intro to Extreme's Warheads. It's not the song itself, but the opening 30 seconds or so...
"Recruit! When I give you the word, I want you to fall in on those yellow footprints with your body at the position of attention...NO LOLLY GAGING AROUND MY AREA. Head and eyes straight forward! You understand me!?"

"Yes Daddy"
The hardest thing we can do in our life is recognize the challenges another has faced. It's easy to berate them for their errors, their failures, and to blame them for "what we have become". I fell into this trap for many years with my Father. I blamed him for a lot of what I felt I missed as a child.

I would not be the person I am today were it not for scenes like the one above. I wouldn't recommend bringing your kids up that way, nor am I bringing mine up that way, but it is similar to how I grew up and it was a major factor in who I am.

Dad survived his tour of Vietnam, mostly, and a lot of it came back to haunt him, and us, for his entire life. He lived it though, he never gave up who he was, and he was (often overly so) direct about that. Although many of his other habits I've ducked, that one stays with me. You can't give up, you have to keep trying.

Or as he used to say; Improvise! Overcome! Adapt!

Ooo-Rah.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Alienware Update...

And for once its not bad news. Have to admit after the last bout of headaches, its been running well. It's survived FEAR, WoW, and a few others. No complaints, aside from those already voiced.

I'd love to be able to turn this into a "boy was I wrong" post, but I still don't like how I was treated as a customer and the hoops and costs I incurred to get it all running after paying the "Cadillac" price for my laptop. I wont go blogger nutz either and start flaming either.

It's fixed, it's working, and that's the ending I'll be happy with.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Requirements Creep..

The birthday events are over. My daughter turned 6 this past weekend. Now, despite my wife saying that big birthdays were only going to be every 5 years, this years events started on Friday.

So on Friday the school sings Happy Birthday to all the kids who's birthdays are happening or will be missed by weekends or holidays. Then, I go to and meet her for lunch. This is my second time doing lunch with my Daughter and her class and I still feel like Gulliver amongst the Lilliputians. Good food day though, they brought in Papa Gino's pizza.

Saturday we have her Martial Arts party, a good time. Fun watching kids trying to pick up marbles with chopsticks. Also hilarious watching the parents afterward trying. Saturday night, the grandparents are over for their turn. More pizza.

Sunday we do a fajita lunch with the God Parents. In the early afternoon the final final surprise arrives, 6 of her cousins come to spend the night (we babysat for one family so the parents could have some time to themselves). 9 kids in the house with ages ranging from 16 to 2. Star Wars, Wallace and Grommit, and of course, Pizza for dinner.

Right now its eerily quiet. No kids around, just me. Everyone has gone out. The dog and the cats are all asleep and the energy has gone out of the house. Time to get some lunch...

Lunch? Omlet. I'm tired of pizza.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The same, but different...

Funny how things people say can grate on you. My wife uses this one often; "It's the same, but different". I'm still trying to figure this out. How can something be the same and different at the same time? It's either the same, and it hasn't changed, or it's different and it has changed. We've had this discussion more than once, and I'm about to lose.

Last night the unthinkable happened; I said it. Unfortunately it was the only way to illustrate a point. I got to thinking about my kids, how we're bringing them up, and how I was brought up. The circle of life if you like the phrase. In that way, my kids are growing up the same way I did - they have a roof over their heads, parents, etc. Nothing new there.

Except that I've taken to ensuring that they will be primed for going into public school and for dealing with some of the too common media events. Do your children know what to do when a friend starts playing with their parent's firearm? Hint: Its not try to disarm the friend. Mark me paranoid, but these are skills that could save children's lives.

Anyway, their experiences, the parenting my wife and I do, will all make them different people. So in that way, they will be different; well same but different. Each generation makes their mark, changes things slightly, and starts the process again.

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

And in the end, every kid grows up being "the same but different" from their parents. Interesting to see how the differences add up. Chaos theory at its finest.

I can already see the smirk my wife is gonna give me when she sees this. *laughs*

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Exercise causes dreams?

Sounds like a bad spam title. Lately though, I've been having one dream after another - still not impressed eh? For the last almost 6 years if I had a dream a year, it was a lot. I had no memory of dreaming when I awoke. Got me into no amount of trouble with my eldest Daughter as she was figuring them out.

Daughter: "Dada what did you dream about last night?"
Me: "Nothing."
Daughter: "Daaad, just tell me"
Wife, quietly: "Just make something up..."

Had that sequence play out more than once. Someone has unplugged my dream conduit. I'm getting all kinds of weird ones. I think my favorite was the government installation where they needed a crane (huge thing, think building sky scrapers) to lift the roof and put it into place (think Kinex) because it had started raining.

I wonder if you put all the dreams to a cohesive story if you can get a book deal? All I do know is that recently I've been focused on dropping the last 5 lbs. I've been working out 4 or 5 days a week and practicing martial arts 7 days a week. Other than that, diet perhaps? *shrugs*

Monday, February 13, 2006

Keep it simple....

Sometimes you forget that the most elegant solution is the simplest one. My todo list has had an entry for creating a list of upcoming birthdays for us. Since the Palm's fell into disuse and neither of us has any need for a calendar program, we've been falling back on manually keeping up. You can guess how well that's been going. The current (incomplete) list of birthdays we track is 67.

So I had put it down to work up something. My original notes had a XML solution that would have some kind of script generate the upcoming birthdays. You can tell this was during my learning phase with XML and XSLT (/wave poker site). As I look at those notes now, man what was I thinking. Talk about obfuscated...

Last week I took 30 minutes and jammed out a nice, simple, web page with some dynamic javascript. I took some hints from the TiddlyWiki guys and some of my own documentation and put together something that takes an array of birthdays and computes how many days left before they hit and displays the upcoming ones.

Simple.

Already in use and easy to use. No funky XML. No pre/post processing. Nothing I can't teach the wife to edit. Sometimes you really do get lost in the geekiness. A lesson to (re)learn often I think.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

WoW Valentines Day Quests

Okay, that was fun. Not much XP, but some neat toys...

There are two major threads in the event. The first is the "gift of [something]" I forget. Adoration, etc. You go to an innkeeper, buy some cologne and perfume (yes, you'll need both) and a stack of the Gifts (they come in 10 packs). Then you find a guard or NPC in the city (Stormwind, IronForge or Darnasus) and give them to them and get some cute gifts (more in a sec). The second thread has you out hunting the source of the perfume and cologne (that was fun, don't think the end is the end - look around).


Spoilers!

More on the Gifts and Guards... In each city, go and hang around the bank. There will be one or more guards you can give gifts to. Each guard can give you two things; a pledge and a card. You'll need 5 of both. Then go find the NPC in each city that gives you the 3rd thing you need (again, you need 5). So you need at least 15 gifts to make this work, per city.

Once you have all the bundles, put them together and you'll get the "big gift" for that city. Each has its own 60 minute buff (AGI, INT and STA iirc). You can then combine the "big gift" from each city, into an alliance gift and turn that into your favorite leader. Personally, I just dropped it off in IF and camped... I'm toast after flirting with guards all over the WoW world... lol.

The lag sucks. But the quests were cute. I earned my annoying award sitting at the Gryph guy in IF and hitting each person with an arrow to give them a pet for a few minutes. No wonder the game is lagged... lol

Enjoy!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Psychological Phases of Fitness

Big surprise, I've been quiet during a long work out week. Awhile back I made a purchase at NaveSeals.com (two shirts with "The only easy day; was yesterday" on'em to celebrate the year long battle the wife and I had with our own goals) and got on their mailing list. Unlike many store-spam lists the NavySeals list covers information for those heading to BUD/S (or aspiring to) and those of us just looking to improve. Yesterday's article covered The Five Psychological Phases of Fitness written by Stew Smith. I'll summarize them here, you should go read the article.

Phase 1 - The decision to get healthy/fit
For me, this was when I hit 240lbs. That was it, it was time to tone up and lose weight.

Phase 2 - Doubt
I hadn't thought about this, but he's right. After a little while, you hit a plateau, haven't lost as much as you want, etc. and start to think "I can't do this". It's important to stay motivated and focused on your goals - you can do it.

Phase 3 - Conquered Doubt
A logical step from Phase 2. Once you get motivated you decide that your going to win - a lot of things change, mostly in your mental attitude, and the rest follows.

Phase 4 - Identity change and self-confidence realization
I had blogged about this last year; the change from "I can't" to "I can" in your mental attitude.

Phase 5 - Continuing
My kind of list. The journey never ends, you just need to find goals to keep going.

A very nice summation and read.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

5 more levels...

Wonder how many people stopped reading at the title? *chuckles* Actually, 5 more pounds, but I've been noticing lately how many gaming terms cross over easily into real life. If I have to "grind off 5 more pounds" people know what I'm talking about - gamers may even wince.

Ever want to frag the boss? Actually, I have - no, not in real life. We had a hell boss once and one of the managers jumped into our daily gaming session with the "evil bosses" name. I'm still not sure he survived more than 10 seconds after a respawn.

How many people do you know that are Gold Farming? Okay, a small stretch on this one, but I can think of a few folks that fall into this category. And in many cases, I'm rooting for them to farm well so I can have a job offer! *laughs*

Ah well, back to the grind.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Non-Geek Tools?

You were expecting this weren't you? Although some of the other ones weren't exactly 'geek tools' (email and web surfing isn't geeky any more, is it?) there were a few others I didn't post about;

WinAmp - My MP3 player, streaming, ripping, tool. I love the "make a mix based around this song" feature that was recently added.

Pandora - Great site for listening to music you may not normally hear. Configure to what you'd like to hear and let it go. (Although I haven't used it, heard a bit about last.fm servers were down when I went to check it out)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A picture is worth...







Saw this picture in one of my emails yesterday. To me, it said an awful lot about the war and the people in it.