Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

I'll get it right this year

September 23, 2009

14 years ago today the wifal-unit and I tied the knot.

Happy Anniversary of:
17 years to Shindo last month. (What an old man!)
12 years to Toolman 10 days ago. (What an old looking man!)
14 years to Sixftunda in 2 weeks. (Have you seen this guy’s hat?)

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Almost came & went, but it's still the 10th

September 10, 2009

What were you doing 38 years ago?

I was arriving.  And there was much rejoicing.

I’ve yet to reclaim the throne of my people and fulfill the prophecy, but hey, there’s still time, right.

Thoughts of recent yesterdays

August 26, 2009

This week is seeing a variety of things arrive for me.  Yesterday, Beginning Google Web Toolkit arrived.   It’s a book on GWT which is one of the things I’ve been tinkering around with lately.  (Someday I’ll continue the what have I been programming lately posts.)  I got it for like $3 from one of Amazon’s partners.  This is very much a beginners book, there’s not much it offers me I haven’t already figured out.  I should have probably went for a more in depth book, but the price and the relative newness of it wouldn’t let me pass it up.  With GWT 1.7 release, things are moving toward a better event model handling approach, so nothing is new enough to address that yet, besides blogs and YouTube videos.

Monday, A Victory Denied arrived from MMP.  This is looking to be just as cool as A Victory Lost.  I’ve read through the section on combat so far.  So far, it’s very similiar to AVL rules-wise, but has enough differences to stay fresh.  Elite Russian units popping up in an attack should be enough to keep the German player holding their breath everytime the Russian rolls an attack.  The unit activation differs slightly from AVL also.  The activated HQ can activate other HQ’s within its command range which can then activate units.  Also the activation for Panzer Groups is a little different also.  I’ll try to do a “live” box opening sometime, though the contents are pretty close to what AVL had.  I’m looking forward to getting this on the table with #4 in the future.

Not exactly this week, but Thursday saw the arrival of a shiny new toy.  I eluded to this last week of something arriving to take up some space in our newly cleaned garage.  The story goes that our old Grand Caravan has slowly been degrading.  We were without air conditioning for going on 2 years now, not wanting to sink the money into it.  Then, it started flooding on the inside.  The van had been sitting outside for most of the spring and summer.  Over the last month, whenever I would drive it after it rained, I would be assaulted by water coming in from under the passenger side dash.

The final straw came when I went on a business trip and had to leave the van parked where we met.  When I came back, it seemed like near sink fulls of water were pouring in.  I had to pull over and open up the door.  I’m the first one to admit I can be somewhat dense, but this finally convinced me that with “cash for clunkers” going on, I’d be an idiot not to let the government help buy me a new car.  I sure wasn’t going to get that much trading it in on my own.

So we began our search.  We looked around the area.  I really wanted to buy an American car, especially after dealing with Taylor Kia.  But amazingly (just like when we ended up with the Rondo) there wasn’t any super good deals that knocked our socks off.  Then, the wifal-unit did some research into what cars were eligible.  One that was was a car that we had both always really liked but thought would be way too expensive.  She looked up the nearest dealer and found that the prices were at the same level as the other vehicles we were looking at.  So a little trip, a few test drives, a little bargaining, an amazing deal, and a whole lot of pain dealing with the Ohio BMV to get proof of my previous registration and we replaced our clunker.

Here it is:

Front view of our Clubman

Front view of our Clubman

Side View of our Clubman

Side View of our Clubman

Anticipation

August 16, 2009

Got the garage cleaned out today.  A horribly hot day for such an endeavor.  I can actually fit two vehicles in it for the first time since spring.  While my initial reason for wanting to achieve such a feat was so that PitCon ’09 could take place out there if the weather wasn’t too hot, but the reason changed to something more selfish.  Hopefully we’ll pick up that reason Monday night.  If not then, it will be Thursday.

Wednesdays are for whining

July 3, 2009

Wednesday was a real good day for the most part.  I was on vacation for one, that’s always a plus.  I grilled, that always makes me happy.  We got an early start and went to the Botanical Gardens.  I’m not a sissy boy but walking around in a peaceful setting is pretty relaxing.  I’m looking forward to going back and sitting for a while reading or having a picnic.  I felt somewhat guilty.  The wifal-unit loves the flowers.  Her gardens at the old house were a site to see.  While she loved looking, I could tell it made her miss hers.  At the current place, we don’t have anything to compare to what she did at the old house.  As far as, beginning it up here, that takes some mula and we need to figure out where the sprinkler system runs before digging up anything.  So for the time being, that’s on hold.

The gardens are right nearby my old stomping grounds, Mind Games.  While over that way, I decided to stop by and take my normal browse.  I had last made a stop soon after we moved last year.  As I pulled into the little mini-shop building’s parking lot, I could tell something was wrong.  As I parked in front, my suspicions were confirmed.  Mind Games is no more.  The sign was gone, nothing but empty shelves pushed here and there were visible inside.  My mind struggled to put it all together.  Wishfulness had me thinking maybe they moved again.  After getting home, an internet search didn’t pull up much.  A link to Google maps made it seem like Mind Games now resided at someone’s residence in a Toledo subdivision.  The streetview didn’t make me agree with that.  I finally came across one tiny link that had someone posting in January that they were closing and having a big sale.  Then came the responses of people saying how that had been their store in the past and how they stopped whenever they were in town.

I guess I should be happy they lasted as long as they did.  I have a lot of good memories about that store.  The first time I ever went there was with my good bud Bill, when they were a much tinier store up farther on Reynolds Road.  In college I went there many an evening with Rich to browse what they had.  That’s where I bought my now silent Advanced Squad Leader rulebook.  They will be missed.

After finding out about that on the internet, I remembered it was the start of the NHL free agent market.  Looking through things, I saw what I had feared.  Hossa was no longer a Wing.  I had figured they wouldn’t be able able to resign him, but I hoped that maybe he had developed just a hint of loyalty to the Winged Wheel.  But nope, he moved on.  Money-wise, he’s not getting that much more than what I heard the Wings were offering, a little over a million a year more.  So that surprises me a little.  What really sucks is he went to the Blackhawks.  A team in our own division.

It was a joy to watch him during the regular season over this past season.  I’ve got no ill feelings toward him.  It will be tough watching him play against the Wings.  All I have to say is that I hope he has as much playoff success as he did for the Wings during the past playoffs.  And that the Wings eliminate the Hawks every season he plays.  🙂

Victory!

June 11, 2009

Last Saturday was game 5 in the eldest girlywog’s soccer season where I’m also coaching again.  Our record was 1-3.  We were playing the team we played the previous Saturday, which I had to miss because of illness.  We ended up losing that previous game 4-3 in a hard fought battle.

In my two coaching stints, it seems like my teams really rise to the occasion against teams that have annoying players.  This team had one.  She backed it up with her foot in the previous game as she had scored all four of her teams goals.  But my players were irate at the elbowing and tripping going on by her and others that wasn’t getting called.  For all I know, she could be the same player that caused such anger with my players during the last season, the MO is very similiar.

So I pulled out an old Red Wings trick from the late 90’s, the “left wing lock”, or my variation of it.  Basically we allocated one of our midfielders to pay a little more attention to the biggest threat on the other side.  That player, codenamed “The Beetle”, had to make sure they were back on defense and make sure there were no easy passes to the threat.

Things started off well, with us applying enough pressure that one of their defense reached down with a hand to stop the ball.  We score on the subsequent penalty shot, 1-0.  They were able to tie the game near the end of the quarter.  The second quarter saw us put on the pressure and take a 3-1 lead before, once again they scored near the end, 3-2.  It was at this time I was informed that this was exactly how the last game had gone, us controlling play and them scoring late.  I believe they tied it early in the third quarter but we retook the lead and entered the fourth quarter up 4-3.  The fourth was a war.  My team was working hard the whole game but you could see the determination on their faces to beat this team, to beat that girl.

Within the first two minutes, the other team got a penalty shot on us.  I can’t remember exactly why, so most likely it was a legit call.  We had one of our best goalies in, but that girl was taking the shot.  She shanked it wide and our lead still held.  She was quite mad and frustrated for much of the rest of the quarter.  It was back and forth the whole quarter but we just could never get that insurance goal.  Our “beetle” perservered and our defense was excellent(the eldest girlywog has become quite a defender).  The last 2-3 minutes of the quarter was spent in their end of the pitch and we held on to win 4-3, giving the other team their first loss of the season!

I was so proud of the kids.  They wanted to beat that team and they played the tactic I employed to near perfection, the annoying girl was held to one goal.  I guess the coaching lesson in all this is to promote good sportsmanship as the number one thing.  Don’t give the other team an excuse or rallying point to rise make it their mission to unseat you.  I’ve seen it happen twice now.

This Saturday is the final game of the season, and most likely my coaching career.  If the eldest girlywog plays soccer next fall, she’ll be in the next age bracket.  I feel that age bracket needs the type of coaching that will actually be able to teach them real skills and strategy, things I don’t really know.  I really enjoyed this season again.  I was a little bit stressed to start out, but once again we had a great set of kids.  We’ll have a pizza party after the game to celebrate the end of the season.  Hopefully we’ll have an even record again.

As I hoped at the end of last season, I hope we didn’t do anything to dampen any of the kids love of soccer and that they had a good time.

Big day

April 26, 2009

Big day for the youngest girlywog today.  First Communion.  It’s one of those regligious events for those not in the know.  Both sides of the family coming over.  The wifal-unit’s been on a cleaning rampage.  (I’ve helped…some.)  I’m glad it’s here so the rampage can stop.  Looks to be a beautiful day for it.

Why does my yard look like crap?

Cheap is good, free is better, but usually not a reality

April 1, 2009

We ended up buying a Kia Rondo.  Other than a jerky shifting issue, we’re pretty happy with it so far.  We were almost able to get the payments to where we wanted, but not quite.  Unfortunately, the 2 for 1 deal didn’t pan out, so we still have the van with no AC.  That will most likely become my work vehicle until it dies.  Hopefully, it lasts quite a while.  One new payment is enough.

The 2 for 1 deal turned out to be a joke in my opinion.  It’s just a gimmick designed to get you through the door, a bait and switch if you will.  From the way I figured it, I could have separately bought a Rondo and Sedona for the same price as the 2 for 1 Sedona.  I wasn’t seeing how you were getting a car for free.  Oh well, maybe I’ll be able to get a plugin hybrid once their price comes down years from now.

The big bonus with Kia, like Hyundai their parent company, is the warranty.  One annoying thing is after you agree on everything and you’re doing the paperwork, they offer you the option of extending the bumper to bumper portion of the warranty to match the engine.  I would have loved to have that, but we’re on a tight budget at the moment and it wouldn’t work.  Likewise, we would’ve preferred the Sedona, but the Rondo was more economical.  It’s what they call a crossover.  Smaller than a van, but I think it’s got enough room for the shopping expeditions.  I’m hoping that when the time comes to get rid the van, we won’t feel the need to replace it with another van.  Then I can get myself a flashy car!  The wifal unit was worried about us not having room to pack visitors in the Rondo beyond one more person, but it’s not like we’ve really done that with the van very often.

I messed up by not having checked into what kind of interest rate I could get ahead of time.  I guess I figured with the current state of the auto industry they’d be able to get the best out there.  Unfortunately, the rate they set us up with is higher than what I found when I checked after the fact.  I’m tentatively trying to find out if I can switch without paying an early payoff penalty but I’m not getting much cooperation at the moment.

Other than the loan, Kia’s been pretty good to us so far.  Our salesman picked up the Rondo tonight and dropped off a smoking ’09 Mustang loaner.  I’ve got to get a picture, this thing is so sweet!  Hopefully, they’ll be able to fix the shifting issue.

I was quite sad to see my Grand Am go.  It’s been with me since ’95.  I drove it to downtown Manhattan on my honeymoon, training classes in Cincinnati, back and forth between Indiana, it never let me down.  But it just didn’t seem to make sense to continue to pour money into it at the age it was.  The new car purchase wasn’t out of desire.  I’d still be driving the Grand Am today if it wouldn’t have been giving me problems.

The night I dropped it off at Kia, it still looked nearly as good as they day I bought it from Don Ayers.  It almost brings a tear to my eye thinking about it.  What a great car it was.  I hate to think what will happen to it now.

What the Grand Am said to Ubuntu while coaching Pit…

March 18, 2009

After a brief respite, car trouble is back in the picture again.  We’re scrambling to figure out how much we can handle in another payment.  Tomorrow we’re checking out a buy 2 get 1 free deal at Kia.  I’m skeptical that you really get a “deal”, somehow they get ya coming or going, I’m just not sure how.  We’ll see.  Anybody ever hear anything about this deal, or Kia in general?

I haven’t been watching the “On this day” of past blog posts but when starting to write this I noticed that a year ago I was working feverishly on fixing a playoff bug in Pit that had delayed the start of the playoffs.  Ah, what a run it was.  I remember the day I fixed the bug, spending a hidden hour away in the little cafe of the student union.  I miss those hidden hours in the cafe, don’t miss the job.

I’ve been running Ubuntu for around 3 weeks or so.  I’m loving it.  I hope to post something about it and how I went about it, just haven’t had time to sit and write those long posts that you love.  I found some nice resources on the web that helped me install a variety of things.  Though “apt-get” makes things pretty easy as long as you know what you want to install.  I don’t have the skills currently to use apt to find the things I want.  I installed Subversion, Trac, and MySQL.  Eclipse was just a simple unzipping of the downloaded file.  Such a contrast to installing Visual Studio on Windows.

One thing I missed from when I had my Mac was being able to play songs from my iTunes library from my desktop on my Mac.  I could’ve had this ability on my laptop had I ever installed iTunes on it.  So I started looking at how I could recreate that on Linux.  I went through an elaborate install and patching of Wine with git.  Then installed iTunes.  It appears to run for the most part, but it won’t discover the library contained on my desktop.  I ran this ourTunes program and it saw the library but gave some sort of error.  So I’m guessing maybe Apple did something in iTunes 8 that causes issues for such things.  Why can’t they release a linux version?  I haven’t been able to find some other program that is supposed to be able to discover the library.  What’s it through, bonjour or something?

The time has come for signing up for Spring soccer coaching.  While I think I should probably avoid the stress that comes with the job, it looks like I’m going to sign up again.  The guy I coached with last Fall are going to try to link up again.  This will definitely be it for me.  If the eldest plays next season, she’ll be in the next age bracket.  I think she needs somebody who knows what they’re talking about to coach her if she continues with it.

V-day and code tinkering

March 2, 2009

The year has been flying past so far.  Here’s some catchup.

We had a very nice Valentine’s Day here.  The amazing wifal unit had a pretty cool gift awaiting me on the table when I woke up.  In one of those clear plastic box like thingies that roses come, were six(!) bottles of Bell’s Hopslam lying ever so gently on a bed of peanuts.  There were six there, but there was another six hidden in the garage.  What an amazing women!

We had some shopping to do that day and ate an early supper at Applebee’s.  The FloydWing’s don’t normally partake of dessert when eating out but we decided to splurge given the day.  We let the girlywogs get an ice cream float and we got this triple chocolate thing that came with ice cream on the side.  This thing was to die for!  It was a brownie-like piece of cake (I don’t normally care for brownies), covered in a chocolate sauce, that had some other kind of chocolate caramel sauce hidden inside it.  And it was warm.  If anyone was watching us eat this thing, they probably thought something was going on under the table.  It was so good!  I’d recommend you save room the next time you’re at Applebee’s.

I took President’s Day off since the girlywogs were off.  It was a pretty good day.  I got up at my normal work time to get some personal development time in.  I played around with the Spring Integration tutorial that talked about in an earlier post.  I’m still trying to figure out how the heck step 10 worked.  I made the Gateway interface, referenced it in the config.  There was no class that implemented the interface, but somehow it still worked.  Blows my mind.  I’m gonna need some additional exploration with that.  I’ve found another tutorial that I hope to go through soon.

I also started some work on an idea I’ve had for years.  I’ll devote a whole post to that someday.  Needless to say I used part of the Google Collections Library to make reading a file as simple as stepping through a list.  This article shows how to use the AbstractIterator from the library to wrap a Reader and step through a file line by line.  Some pretty cool stuff.