Monday, March 26, 2007


Crazier every day

Privately, Katie Jo has always been a crazy cat in the privacy of our home. She has a zany sense of humor. And she has a very kinetic level of energy. At school and in public, she's displayed a very shy and demure demeanor. But as she's progressed through the school year, her true personality has started to show through.

She's gotten much bolder lately in terms of how she explores, experiments, and relates to other people. For years, she'd only hide behind me when we met a stranger or even a person that we knew casually. When it came to relating to the material world, she'd be very shy with new things like silly putty or playdo or floam. She would usually wait to see someone else playing with something before she'd even consider it. Now, she dives in with both feet, sometimes when it's not exactly a good idea. Here's a picture of her wearing Emily's dress and apron I brought from Bavaria for her, she even padded Emily's bra. LOL!

She's also taken to technology like a fish to water. She'll be unstoppable once she can ready. Just a while back, she clambered up into my lap after a day at school and insisted that SHE take some pictures with my webcam. Some of the results are the two pictures on the left. She's pretty darn funny if you ask me and developing every day.


Sunday, March 25, 2007


A Day at Ground Zero

It'd been probably 10 years since I was last in NYC. The last time I came to NYC was to visit the Deloitte offices located, then, in the World Finance Center immediately adjacent to the World Trade Center. (The World Finance Center Deloitte was in then was the background building to the left with the round top. Deloitte has since moved to other digs around the city.) I had the pleasure of visiting the WTC, seeing the observation deck, and seeing the marvelous sights of downtown Manhattan.

This trip brought me to Manhattan to speak at the local SQL Server user group and visit some friends and colleagues. I enjoyed trekking around the down- and midtown and seeing lots of sights. The first thing I went to see was Ground Zero and, right across the street, St. Paul's church where the rescue teams worked around the clock after the Twin Towers came down. Although it was rather emotional to see the site, it was also healing to see new construction happening there.
The weather was supposed to be bad. But I was lucky that the clouds went away and sunny skies stayed out almost the entire trip. Later that night, the presentation went extremely well, with a packed house. Afterwards, I and a couple colleagues from Quest (Hey to Danielle Mann!) enjoyed a meal at an Italian restaurant. I even visit Times Square for the first time ever.
At the end of the day, it was a business trip. I was tired, exhausted, lonely and in pain because somehow during all of my walking that day, I managed to turn my ankle. But compared to visits to some other US cities, especially in the rustbelt, NYC is a jewel.
Later gater,

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Thursday, March 22, 2007


Winter Wonderland

Nashville is very pretty in the winter snow. We usually get a few snow falls every winter, with just enough accumulation for the kids to throw some snowballs around, but not so much that the whole town is immobilized.

On one of my February business trips, I was able to snap several pictures like this from the window of the airplane. Of course, the irony here is that most of February was temporate. We usually get our last and biggest snow falls of the season in early to mid-March. But this year, it all came in February and not much at all came in March.
Who can say what the weather will do these days? My brother, who lives near Anchorage, Alaska, has seen a lot of evidence of global warming. They've even had a significant number of glaciers that were in close driving distance melt into oblivion since he moved up there several years ago. Yikes!


Tuesday, March 20, 2007


The Crucible

Dylan did the sound and an interesting pre-play multimedia presentation for the high school's production of The Crucible. Here he is getting ready to do a dry run of the multimedia slide deck. He created it using Microsoft PowerPoint and added in a musical soundtrack and set it to auto-step through all of the slides.

Unfortunately, I had a business trip that conflicted with seeing the full, regular play. But I was able to make the dress rehearsal. Now, you may not know this. But I did quite a lot of acting and stage work back in high school. And I have to say that if my plays were half as tight at dress rehearsal as this one, I'd have been much happier with my acting experience. Of course, most of the problems with my plays were of my own making. I hate memorizing lines!!!
I'm really proud of him and think he did an outstanding job. Way to go, Big D!


Sunday, March 18, 2007


Hamsters really ARE rats...

We have a really cute, placid, and fat hamster named Pippy Lu or, alternately, Lulu depending on which Katie Jo. Normally, hamsters are just little, fluffy balls of cuddly goodness. But every now and them Emily takes it upon herself to bathe the hamster - usually if it's getting a little bit rank. Once you see them wet, you realize that they are indeed rats. Just with cuter fur...

These poor little critters are native to the deserts of Syria (exploring archeaologists first brought them back for their kids in the 1920's). So they naturally don't like getting soaked and actually can get pretty sick if you let them stay wet. So Emily has to spend as much time drying it as she does bathing it. But it's so cute and smells so good when she's finished! It's not quite as cute as Hamtaro - the little kids favorite cartoon hamster - but definitely up there.

If your kids are ever trying to talk you into getting a puppy, take my advice and get them a hamster instead. They're easy to care for, can be very tame, and you can leave them for a week or more at a time. That's good for me since I have to go on business trips. It's not always to pick out a tame one, but there are a couple rules that help ensure you get a very docile pet. First, avoid the dwarf varieties. Second, girls are more tame than boys unless there's another hamster in their territory. (Hamsters are solitary creatures.) Third, the bigger the hamster the more tame they tend to be.

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Friday, March 16, 2007


Thinking about Inventing Your Own Language

Here's an interesting website article that tells you all about creating your own language - So if you're thinking about writing the next great American science fiction novel, then you might take this into account. It's kind'a funny and fun to read. It takes into account things that I hadn't considered such as adding in language components that are foreign to English, but well-known in other languages such as Mandarin.

Best regards,



Wednesday, March 14, 2007


A week in CA

Once again, I was called back to HQ for a big series of meetings for our Q1 yearly kickoff. In previous years, I'd been very active in actually compiling the content of several of the meetings in the SQL Server business unit for Quest, and also for assisting in deciding on key strategy for the SQL Server business unit overall in conjunction with other top decision-makers of the company. (At that time, my title was senior product architect and, later, director of technology for the SQL Server business unit.)

But since I ceded that component of my job so that I could focus more on family time and simplified responsibilities, I was able to attend lots of meetings and, in more than one instance, let my mind wander. I have to tell you that it was wonderful not being under the pressure to be at top performance every moment of the day. My main job responsibilities now are in support of sales and product evangelism. (Mama always wanted an evangelist in the family!) In fact, when things got a little slow, I was able to turn out a nice doodle or three. Here's one in progress...

Our meetings were held on the beautiful grounds of the Walt Disney resort in Anaheim (pictured above from my balcony window). But Disneyland isn't always the happiest place on earth when you're without the ones you love.

In some of very large kickoff meetings, with all 800 sales people, we got to enjoy the musical talent (or lack thereof) of William Hung. She bangs! And may heaven help us all...

I also got to drive a Chevy HHR for the first time. It was a pretty good ride. I like it's looks less than the retro Chrystler PT Cruiser, but it's interior was a notch better. I wouldn't buy one myself but found it to be a very nice vehicle and actually liked it better than the econo-sedans (like the Ford Taurus or Chevy Classic/Impala/Malibu) that are so ubiquitous.
I was also thrilled to be able to see not only my mom and step-dad, but I also got to see my Uncle Ed. I can't think of a group of people from that generation that looks better, has more fun, and enjoys better health than these folks.
I'll be heading back out to Orange County, CA in just a few short weeks in mid-April. I'm looking forward to seeing my mom, step-dad and extended family again.


Sunday, March 11, 2007


I survived (again)...

Ok, so my last post was about how I survived a terrible ordeal. So guess what happens one week after the posting on 3/4/07? You guessed it - it happened again.

My daughter Katie (the youngest) came down with a nasty stomach flu on Friday night. I spent most of the night sitting up with her. She was so bad off that even Kelly felt compelled to come over and spend a few hours comforting her. She couldn't keep anything down and was throwing up everything we put in her.

Despite constant hand washing, I somehow managed to get the virus. I had a headache by Saturday night and on Sunday morning I felt too poor to go to church. I was amazed by how quickly I went from feeling no-so-good to feeling awful. By noon, I was almost comatose with my heart stopping twice for about 10-15 seconds each. Thank goodness, Rachel was here by 10:00 and called 911 for me. I wasn't conscious for most of it, but did have the presence of mind to realize I was being loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital.

I started feeling like I was in the land of the living by Tuesday morning, but somehow, this bug slapped about 50 IQ points outta me. Now, a full week later, I still feel really dizzy, nauseaus, and plain ol' stupid. My current condition reminds me of a nasty handover, except that I didn't have a fun drunk before hand.

Hope you're doing better than I am...



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