Thursday, December 30, 2004

Here is a temple to Selune I designed with the Dundjinni program. I am posting it here because I have run out of personal home page space from TimeWarner RoadRunner. They only provide 5M and I am already out of space.

Temple of the Cresent Moon (Selune): Ground Floor
Posted by Hello

Temple of the Cresent Moon (Selune): Upper Floors

Here is a temple to Selune I designed with the Dundjinni program. I am posting it here because I have run out of personal home page space from TimeWarner RoadRunner. They only provide 5M and I am already out of space.

Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Stardate 58990.31 - Perspective

I know that airline travel stinks. I am Platinum with American so I always, always try (and usually succeed) to get upgraded to First Class for all my domestic flights, and my company policy lets me fly business internationally. And I know that lost luggage sucks...just read my note about August, Georgia and my luggage woes there. And I know that the issue with Delta and USAirways is big news. Thousands of bags of luggage lost is a big deal. But the TV news reporters keep following up the terrible events in southeast Asia and the huge death toll with people crying in airports because they have no luggage. And I keep could have been much worse. You could have been on a beach in western Thailand. I know that the people in the airports feel crappy, but there has to be some perspective. And the TV news isn't helping the people in the airports when they are shown immediately after survivors of the disaster in the Indian Ocean. Not sure who is to blame, or even if anyone is, but the justification for people's misery is in start contrast when they show 25,000 dead and follow that up with someone who was without luggage for the weekend.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Stardate 58983.18 - Happy Holidays!!!

No-one reads my blog, but happy holidays to any random reader who stumbles upon this note.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Stardate 58950.07 - Augusta Georgia

Just took a horrible, horrible trip to Augusta Georgia. Left Monday with lots of rain all over the East Coasts. Flights were delayed, and I ended up getting into Augusta late. My baggage didn't make it. I went to the hotel, but missed it in the rain (and the directions were awful). After a stop at a gas station, I found the hotel. Yes, men can ask for directions if it is late and they are pissed off enough. I checked into the hotel at about 2300, and the wonderful stink of cigarette smoke wafted out of my room as I opened the door. I called the front desk, and they told me they were full and that was the only room they had. Bastards...if my reservation is for a non-smoking room, that means you HOLD a non-smoking room for me. I will never stay at a Microtel ever again.

My luggage finally made it at 0845 the next morning. Of course, my meetings started at 0800 so I was a little late. Every time I was back in the hotel I kept my window open to air out the pit. Oh, and Microtel doesn't charge you that extra $1-2 for items like shampoo, they expect you to bring them along. Great.

Went to downtown Augusta for dinner Thursday night. What a pit. Nearly abandoned, with only a couple of restaurants open. I thought this was supposed to be the main drag, but it was empty. Like something from Dawn of the Dead. We found an excellent restaurant (one of 2 we saw open) with cheap, cheap food and beer (compared to NYC). But the place really was deserted.

And I left on Thursday, in the rain again, and tried to get on the Atlanta to LGA flights from 1430 until 1730, when I finally got out of there. And of course, my luggage once again did not make it onto the same plane as me.

All in all, a pretty crappy trip. I don't recommend Augusta as a tourist stop.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Stardate 58892.76 - Went to South Korea

Got to travel to South Korea for business. Really liked it. Great local food, I stayed at a great hotel, and I got to do a lot of sight-seeing in Seoul. Next time (if there is one), I'll venture further out from my base of operations.

And I know I was staying at a nice hotel when Colin Powell checked in the day before I left.

Stardate 58892.75 - Election and Sidewalks Gripes

Well, the election is over. It was closer than many of my Red friends thought it would be, but didn't go the direction I wanted it to. My wife is Blue, and I am an independent. An independent who cannot believe that Bush was re-elected. At least I live in a Blue state. But onto my latest gripe, sidewalk etiquette.

There need to be rules for people waking on sidewalks. Essentially, they need to be treated like a road, with the same rules for merging (from stores, for example), passing on the left, and slower traffic getting to the right. People need to pull over when they want to stop and look at a store. People need to not walk 4 people abreast, taking up the entire sidewalk. And for God's sake, if I am walking so fast as to have passed you, do not freak'n push in front of me if you catch up to me while I am waiting for a light change. I passed your slow ass once, and now I am going to have to pass it again. Argh! "The world is full of stupid people" as the song goes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Stardate 58649.0 - Politics as Usual

From: CBS 2: Top Stories

"Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter Mary is a lesbian, drew criticism from both proponents and foes of gay marriage Tuesday after he distanced himself from President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage."

Am I the only person who thinks this is politically motivated to either a) Paint Cheney as not Satan, or b) Soften up the ticket's (and/or the GOP's) anti-gay tradition? Why wasn't he saying this back when the amendment was being proposed? Or at any time over the past 4 years? Is it not suspicious that he brings this topic up so close to the election?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Stardate 58590.94 - Why the NRA is Stupid

First, I need to point out that I was raised in rural Virginia, on a small, 11-acre farm with about 10 sheep and 2-3 goats. My Mom owned (and still owns) a .22 rifle, used mainly to shoot groundhogs that constantly invaded the garden. I have personally fired everything from a Walther PPK to both 9mm and 10mm pistols (the 10 is my personal favorite) up through an AR-15. I am not against gun ownership, and after my apartment was broken into during college I even kept a .22 pistol around (unloaded and with a trigger lock on it) for about a year, loaned to me by a good friend who happens to be an NRA member. Hunter safety training was even mandatory in my High School for all 8th graders. I have a great yearbook photo of a row of 30 or so students, prone in the gym, on mats, all holding rifles. So don't call me a pinko-commie; I don't have a problem with people owning guns.

Now for my rant.

In the July 26, 2004 issue of Time magazine, there was a brief article on John Kerry and the NRA. John Kerry is no stranger to guns. At the Gunslick Trap Club he recently used a Beretta 12-gauge shotgun and "coolly dispatched 17 of 25 clay pigeons" (Time). The NRA is anti-Kerry, however, because he "...Hasn't fought for gun owners' rights once in 25 years." (Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive VP).

What extreme views does Kerry have with respect to guns? "He has supported banning assault weapons and armor-piercing bullets, requiring background checks at gun shows and regulating gun sales over the Internet." (Time)

How on earth can the NRA be against background checks? How can any sane person? How can the NRA be against regulating gun sales over the Internet? Again, how can any sane person? I also think civilians with armor-piercing bullets is a bad idea. How can any police officer think that is a good idea? I am personally on the fence when it comes to assault weapons in private hands (lots of definitions of what constitutes an "assault weapon", for example), but at a minimum they should be licensed, registered, and difficult to acquire or re-sell.

Someone once told me that the NRA has to be so extremist because there are people just as hard over on the other side, and with two extreme views we end up with policy somewhere in the middle. But in my mind, the NRA risks becoming an ineffective parody of itself when it is publicly against reasonable controls such as background checks and regulation of Internet sales.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Stardate 58588.5 - Back from Thailand

I've decided to change this blog somewhat. I started this effort as an experiment in seeing what the hell blogging was all about, and because my job as a technology consultant demands that I know a little bit about pretty much everything. But the blogs are terribly uninteresting so far, and I don't think even my friends are reading them.

But I tend to have a lot of opinions on pretty much everything, so I will start to write things that I feel strongly about.

My wife and I just returned from 2 weeks in Thailand (actually 3 for her, as she was attending the AIDS Conference there for a week prior to our vacation). A couple of observations:

  1. Thailand is very inexpensive. My lunch on the last day was traditional Pad Thai, a bottle of beer (Beer Chang rocks!, and a 0.5L bottle of water. With a small tip, it was 100 Thai Bhat, which is $2.50 US.
  2. As I am clearly not Asian, people did attempt to overcharge us a couple of times, specifically taxi drivers. It was better to get a Taxi driver who spoke no English, because he would use the meter, than it was to get one who spoke English, because he wanted to negotiate a much higher fee than the meter would indicate.
  3. No one walks anywhere in Thailand. We live in NYC and walk everywhere. Whenever we were walking in Bangkok or Chang Mai, we were constantly approached by Tuk-Tuk drivers, sometimes Taxis, and the taxi-trucks who wanted to drive us around. We had a hard time explaining that we just wanted to walk.
  4. Cathy Pacific is a nice airline to fly, and as I was in business class I really enjoyed it. The JFK to Hong Kong flight is quite long, but my wife was on Singapore Air on the longest commercial flight in the world - Newark to Singapore clocks in at about 18.5 hours. And since she was traveling on the UN's dime, she was in coach. The coach section was quite nice on Singapore Air, but it was still coach. I was traveling on Air Miles (I am Platinum on American and consequently the One World Alliance) and decided to spend the extra miles and do business.
  5. I had a celebrity sighting on my LAX to JFK leg as I was returning to NYC. I saw Graham Norton (sp?) of the Graham Norton Effect and a friend( They were in First Class.

Those are all the observations I have time for today. Now that I am back in NYC and am frequently annoyed by people, I'm sure I'll have some rants and raves to write later.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Stardate 58498.55

Lots of planning for the Dnaliaht trip going on right now. We are looking forward to the vacation. We have secured transport on UFP shuttles, the local shuttle flights are squared away, and the accommodations should be locked in today or tomorrow. I need to do some reading as to the sights and activities available so that I have some good schedule items picked out for the trip.

Really, really looking forward to getting away from the DS9 grind for a while.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Stardate 58479.66

Finally! Back on my ship after 10 days TDY. Had to get some immunizations for the trip to the Dnaliht system this morning, and my arm is still a little sore. Now I'm on a communications link back with DS9, listening to an acquisition brief. Not my area of expertise.

Busy, busy day today and probably tomorrow as well. I am already looking forward to the weekend and being off duty for a short time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Stardate 58474.00

Still at DS9. Had a training class Wed-Fri of last week. Quite interesting. It was a lot of survey data that the Bajorans contributed to, rating me as a leader. My self-perception pretty much tracked with their assessment. Those qualities Starfleet instills, the decisiveness, ability to quickly make a decision, organization, etc. are not universally accepted as the most important. Lots more cerebral values with the Bajorans, like vision and inspiration. Good to know if my role here on DS9 continues.

My trip was extended by 1 day to complete assessments on staff here. I'll be glad to get back to the Excalibur tomorrow. I've now been away for more than a week.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Stardate 58452.59

Here I am, back at DS9 again. Not being here full-time means that when I am here I am innundated with meetings and people coming to see me. I really just want the day to be over soon. Was up at 0430 this morning, and got to DS9 around 1100. Pretty tired. Tried to see Shakespere in the Park last night but was thwarted by the Puetro Rico parade. Couldn't get into the Park from the standard beam-down coordinates, so Cheryl and I went and grabbed a bite and a drink. Romulan Ale packs quite a punch - I forgot that drinking it on an empty stomache is a bad idea. So I am ready for the day to end.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Stardate 58441.23

I am off via UFP transport to Bajor today. I arrive in the Bajoran capitol where I pick up a Starfleet shuttlecraft for my quick trip over to DS9. Probably will not make it to Starbase 375 on this short trip. The Excalibur needs to remain on patrol here in Sector 0001, so I will not take her over to DS9. These next couple of months will be busy with many trips to DS9 and the long trip to the Dnaliaht system.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Stardate 58438.64

Received a communication from one of my old XOs, CAPT John Coe, today. He is currently the commanding officer of the USS Appalachia. Had a good, humorous exchange of stories on some recent difficulties we have both had with a couple of crewmen.

My first XO, CAPT Cheryl Wimer, also send me word recently of a home she is having constructed on Earth. Great pictures. She is currently the CO of the USS Sutherland.

Sometime I need to get the old crew together to reminisce.

Stardate 58438.24

A little background information is probably appropriate. I am the Captain of the USS Excalibur, currently assigned to the Earth Defense Fleet after several years of combat in the Dominion War. We have also participated in several combat operations against the Borg. The Excalibur was the only starship to have survived Wolf-359 (or we were 1 of 2, depending on how you count).

I assumed command of the Excalibur on Stardate 41780.5, when our Captain was taken over by an extragalactic intelligence. I was a LCDR at the time, serving as XO. I was promoted to CAPT in 2367 and formally given command of the ship, which was an Ambassador-class at the time. I have been Captain for 14 years. More history is available from Starfleet Command at

My wife is a UFP Envoy-General, assigned to the New York offices of the UFP. Being part of Earth defense is a nice break after many years of combat. The crew is able to enjoy a lot of shore leave, and combat action is minimal. I am spending a lot of time traveling back to DS9 these days, where I work extensively with the Bajorans. I even have an office on the station. In fact, I have to get to a conference call with my DS9 team right now.

Oh, and my wife has an official trip to the Dnaliaht system coming up in a few weeks, and I will accompany her for most of her trip. I am looking forward to the break from my official duties.

Stardate 58438.17

At Starfleet Command's request, I have started to make my log available externally. This will be a mix of official and personal information.

Out of Character: I started this blog to screw around with RSS and some RSS readers as research into technologies my client was migrating to (I work for a technology consulting firm). I started writing in character as the Captain of the Federation Starship Excalibur. Later, I dropped that hook and started writing normally. So while I've often thought about deleting these earlier entries because, lets face it, they are pretty dorky, I've decided to leave them up but have added this little explanation for those who are checking out my oldest stuff. Clear?