Yesterday, Erika went through the house with the camera, taking pictures of the place for a friend of hers. She put a lot of effort into organizing them into a gallery, making notes on each of the pictures. I thought I had taken a lot of house pictures, but wow – I think just in that one day, she’s used the digital camera more than I have since I bought it!
I know, I know, I talk about the squirrels a lot, but to me, this really is why I got a house. I walked downstairs this morning to find Mr. Squirrel staring back at me through the back door. I’d caught him getting ready for breakfast.
I’ll forever call all squirrels Mr. Squirrel – Dad & Caryl got me started on that. The family dog, Lizzie (Borden), knows what Mr. Squirrel means. Whenever you say, “Hey, Lizzie, Mr. Squirrel’s outside. Do you see him?” or anything like that, she makes a beeline for the nearest window.
This morning, Erika and I set up a little squirrel patio. The squirrels were having to balance their way down the top of the fence you see at right in order to get to the food. Ordinarily that’s no big deal for squirrels, but a lively barking dog lives the other side of the fence, and he seems to have a penchant for squirrels. The squirrels got all skittish every time the dog came flying up to the fence, so we figured we’d give them a couple of ledges on the peaceful side of the fence.
Sure enough, within half an hour, a squirrel sat down on the ledge and started eating corn, as evidenced by a pile of corn crumbs on the ledge. Since Erika & I are on the Atkins diet, I left out a couple of granola bars on the ledge, since we weren’t going to eat those anytime soon. Next thing you know I’ll have a neon sign “Squirrels Welcome, Open 24 Hours.”
We opened presents with Erika’s family last night at Jason’s house and had a blast. I’m up early as usual, and peace and quiet rules the neighborhood.
Now for the perennial Geek Christmas ritual: shopping for batteries. Between the digital cameras, the remote controls, the electronic bathroom scale, and the smoke detectors, I’m getting tired of swapping batteries back and forth to cover the one device I need at the time. Rather than picking up another 20-pack of disposables from Sam’s, I figure now is the time to splurge. (Why I’m telling you this, I have no idea.)
Anyway, it struck me that rechargeable batteries, while unglamorous, would make for a great Christmas gift for geeks. We’ve been trying to figure out what to get Jason, a fellow geek that usually has everything. I know the women in the family would be horrified at the thought of a “gift” so geeky, but I think most of us geeks would really appreciate a set of 10 or 20 quality rechargeable batteries that really lasted.
Imaging Research did a great battery comparison that contains more information than you ever wanted to know about the top rechargeable batteries. Surf away, and happy holidays.
Everybody says to design a room around a particular object: pull your room colors from a painting or piece of art that you particularly enjoy. I went surfing through Ebay the other day looking for the starter piece for my home office, and found it in a Lichtenstein-designed tour poster for U2′s Pop tour. I’m a fan of Roy Lichtenstein’s bright colors and strong shapes. I know, I know, it’s low-brow cartoon-style art, but I like it.
That piece, while not even framed on the wall yet, triggered a second purchase, a bright yellow metal trash can from Ikea. Next will be the room color (no clue on that yet, probably something Disney-ish) and a 50′s modern desk. I’d love to find a piece of salvage metal that I could use as a desk top, something big and swoopy. I’m a big fan of The Emporium, a Houston architectural salvage shop, but I think I’m reaching too close to contemporary on this particular piece.
The coolest thing so far about my Audiovox Thera PocketPC phone isn’t the integration with Microsoft Outlook, the speakerphone quality, or the form factor. (Definitely not the form factor – this thing’s pretty bulky.) No, the coolest thing is that it runs so many Windows CE applications, like Microsoft Chess. I love playing chess, especially against computers because I can go through a game rather quickly while waiting for something else. I find myself playing chess while standing in grocery store lines, while sitting in car washes, and even while my desktop computer boots up.
The computer spanks me, despite being set at just level 1 out of 10, so I see a long future relationship with this little fella. I can’t give it up until I beat it, at least at level 1, and I don’t see that happening soon. Maybe I should make that my New Year’s resolution: to beat my handheld computer at chess.
And if you’re listening, Microsoft, next time throw in a level zero. Us mere mortals like to experience the thrill of victory every now and then.
I don’t think Renee and I have a whole lot in common other than our vague geographical proximity. Nothing against her – she’s adorable and I enjoy watching her movies. But I’m watching her on Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton, and something she said struck me on a personal level.
Talking about her first job, she said, “I was terrified, and I thought, my God, now what? Now I have to go out there and do it. Now I have to go to that set tomorrow and pretend like I know what I’m doing. And nothing has changed. I swear to God, every time I go out, I have that same feeling. That now’s the time I’m gonna get caught and fired. That now’s the time they’re gonna figure out that I don’t know what I’m doing, that I’m not an actress, and that I’m faking it. Honestly. So, anyway, it worked out okay.”
That’s how I feel: sometimes I wonder how I’ve gotten away with this whole programming thing for so long. I don’t look in the mirror and see an ASP expert or a SQL guru by any means, and when I take tests or go to classes, I’m always surprised by how much better I perform than the other coders.
This week in Java training, I was blown away by how much faster I completed the exercises than the other students. I don’t have any C/C++ experience, and the other students did. However, I just smoked ‘em, and that surprised me. I don’t see myself as a superprogrammer, but I seem to do pretty well.
It made me think about my life as a whole, to ask myself how I’m doing in relation to my visions and dreams back in my teens. I wish I’d have kept a blog back then, so I could go back and read it now.
This flu is really kicking my butt. I don’t even feel like myself, it’s so bad. I didn’t realize just what bad shape I was in until I saw this snapshot of my trip to the doctor’s office. Folks, make sure to get those flu vaccinations – you don’t want to end up looking like me.
I didn’t think turning 30 would be so bad, but looks like I’ve really taken a turn for the worse. I’d better go moisturize, come to think of it.
Wow, about time: this morning, we captured Saddam Hussein, who was cowering in an underground hole. Hopefully the attacks on our troops will let up now, because we’d all like to move on.
The tricky part, of course, will be handling him. They’ll put on a trial that will drag on for years, and he’ll get stuck in a prison somewhere. It’s almost a shame he didn’t put up a fight and get shot during the capture process, because as long as he’s alive, people will be fighting for his freedom.
And of course, we’ll probably never know how he handled the weapons of mass destruction, if there were any. It seems almost comical that he would cower in a hole with two guns and $750k in cash if he really did once have weapons of mass destruction. What a fall.
Spent part of the week up in Dallas, and a coworker came to work with the flu. Now, my chest is all tight, my body hurts, and my head hurts. Matter of time. Not a pleasant thought.