Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Captain's Log Supplemental - Another plug for Jessica

Jessica Stover put together a trailer for her book, which I keep telling you all is good and no-one has purchaed (shame!). Here is her preview. And by the way, I'm not sure if it is YouTube or what, but the sound seems a little out of sync. It is much better direct from her web site.


Stardate 60413.76 - Car Inspection

This is what I spent most of the morning looking at - the car counter at PepBoys. Knowing that they always are crowded, and waiting until the last day of the month to get my car inspected, I showed up at 0730 this morning (30 minutes before the opened). The up side is that I read the entire New York Times this morning.
I got checked in first, and asked for an oil change and the state inspection. I was told that the inspector gets there at 0900. By 1000 I was getting a little impatient and the manager spotted me and noticed (he had been the one who checked me in, by the way) and asked me what car was mine. He then told me mine was ready ("just pulling it out") and he checked me out. I suspect it had been ready for 20-30 minutes and they just never called my name, even though I was sitting right next to the counter in plain view as the photo clearly shows.

Regardless, the pain that is getting the car inspected is over for another year.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Stardate 60411.12 - Cheryl and Loren at the Chateau de Chillon

Here are some pictures of Cheryl and Loren on their trip. These were taken at the Chateau de Chillon.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Stardate 60409.06 - Sin City Review

Ok, this may have to be the final movie of the day. Just finished watching Sin City, which clocked in at over 2 hours. I have to give it a thumbs-up. I was entertained, it was visually interesting, and I didn't think it took itself too seriously. It was just tongue-in-cheek enough that I could give the more outlandish scenes a pass.

The temperature is finally going back down here in NYC, after a high of over 85 degrees. I went out again earlier for a quick stop at Gourmet Garage and purchased some items for dinner, including salad greens so Cheryl will be happy I'm keeping up my vegetable intake while she is away, and not eating every meal out. With her away on her trip our delicate balance of her cooking and me cleaning has been upset.



Stardate 60408.62 - X-Men III: The Last Stand

And my movie-watching continues! I just got back from seeing X-Men III: The Last Stand. I also went ahead and read both James's review and Jess' review before I wrote my own, so I won't repeat too much of their observations. I encourage you to read what they had to say.

I agree with James that the real violence seemed toned down. Oh, there was violence a plenty, but nothing at all graphic. I mean, come on, Wolverine fights with blades. He stops you by killing you. But most of his fights were treated more like he was knocking people out. I wouldn't have thought this was such a noticeable item, but in contrast the profanity seemed to be pumped up. Now, people who know me know that I haven't met a swear word I haven't liked, but I got the feeling that the violence was toned down for the kids but at the same time the profanity was turned up. Just an observation. Or maybe it was because the movie was PG-13 that the profanity stood out (Jess' observation).

I'm not going to analyze it, because James and Jessica have said plenty and I've shown you above the links to their reviews. In quick summary, I thought a lot of the dialog was bad, I thought there were some places it dragged, and I think the story was not well written. I did like Kelsey Grammer as Beast, except that it seemed like Fraiser was playing Beast. Yes, the special effects and fights were pretty cool but they always are in big budget movies these days.

And apparently, according to James, there is a scene after the credits that I missed as I was worried about the threat of rain and left part-way through them. Oh, well.

I guess I give it a thumbs down.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Stardate 60406.71 - Pale Rider

So I have started my movie-a-thon with Pale Rider. Typical of a Clint Eastwood western, but I think I have to give it a B-. Partially due to improvements in special effects, but there seemed to be large portions of the story left out or something. The fiancee being interested in him seemed to come out of left field, and I find it hard to believe that killing dogs and cattle didn't "break any laws" in the old west. Pretty sure killing cattle was a major offense. It was just spotty, if that makes sense. I think it could have been edited better. It needed to be longer to flesh out the subplots, or they needed to be cut.

I agree with the IMDB review that it is not as good as Unforgiven or The Outlaw Josey Wales. It was entertaining, and I confess that I like movies where the good guys win. Everything in the news today makes me want a good escapist movie where good triumphs over evil in 90-120 minutes.

Unfortunately that ends my Netflix movies, and with the Monday holiday and my business trip later in the week I don't think I'll see the next ones coming until the weekend. But fear not! I have the DVR recording some movies off of the movie channels for me to watch over the next couple of days, so you will get more reviews. Cheryl and I did watch The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe Friday night so I'll put a review of that up tomorrow some time. Now I think I'll end the evening with an episode of Season 5 of Star Trek:TNG.


Stardate 60406.27 - Leaving, On a Jet Plane

So Cheryl and Loren are off and heading out of the country for Cheryl's business trip, with Cheryl's parents in tow. I'm going to be living the bachelor lifestyle this week, which means lots of uninterrupted movies, lots of uninterrupted sleep, an uninterrupted D&D game, and because it wouldn't do to have me home alone all week - a couple of days business trip of my own. And the car needs to be inspected this week. Excitement abounds.

We spent most of the day packing, or at least Cheryl did. I spent most of the day with Loren, to make sure she napped some and to make sure Cheryl had time to pack. So Loren had a lot of Daddy time today, which is good because we won't see each other for a week!

So now I'm off to do the exciting activities of cleaning the kitchen, picking up from the whirlwind departure, and figuring out if Pepboys is open tomorrow and if so are they inspecting cars. Tomorrow I'm also going to see the X-Men movie, even if Jess said she didn't like it.

And I already miss Cheryl and Loren.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Stardate 60401.94 - Presents for Me!

First, here are a couple of pictures of Loren I took this morning before the rechargeable batteries in the camera gave up the ghost. So they are not terrific, but they are the only two I shot before the camera shut down and told me to "replace batteries". In the picture below Loren and Magic were looking at each other but as I approached with the camera they both turned to look at me, so it kind of defeated the point of the picture.

As a combination Father's Day and Birthday present for me, I am going to take a basic sailing course from the Manhattan Sailing School one weekend pretty soon. I've always loved sailing (I've been about 4-5 times), but I've never really known what I was doing. I just followed orders or stayed out of the way. But now I'll know what I am doing. Cheryl and Loren purchased me a book on sailing to read in advance of the class (or at least part of it, as the book is pretty detailed and long).

Afterwards, I may join the Manhattan Sailing Club, where I can participate as a crewman or I can seek certification as a skipper. They have boats you can sign up to skipper (there are 28 J/24 sailboats plus private boats), or you can sign on as crew. It is all pretty cool, and I'm really looking forward to it. I've warned Cheryl to watch out as this may make me want my own boat! ;-)

I'll post more as I receive my textbook from the course and the dates are finalized.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Stardate 60398.28 - One Full Night in the Crib

So potentially proving my theory correct, last night was a warm night and Loren slept the entire night in her crib. She went to sleep around 8 PM, woke up at 9:30 PM for about 5 minutes, then went back to sleep and slept until 5:40 AM this morning.

I really am thinking that it is a temperature thing. When she is cold she wakes up a lot at night and wants to be in the warm bed with us, and when she is comfortably warm she sleeps away the night.

Of course, with babies, it is way too early to assume this is a pattern. And when she goes on the trip with Cheryl out of the country I'm sure all her patterns will be messed up.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Stardate 60396.3 - My Head Hurts

So it is finally warm in NYC (74 today) but I cannot open my windows in the apartment due to the horrific racket from the construction site directly across the street. Man, are they loud today! And this is supposed to last until 2008? At least the reward for them starting at 0700 is that they are finished by 1600. But it is damn annoying.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Stardate 60393.45 - Princess Loren

We purchased Loren a few new toys, and surprise, surprise...I insisted upon a castle for her to rule. Or to destroy as a rogue giantess, whichever she prefers - she likes to take the King, Queen, Jester, and Knight and bite their heads.

We had our first parent-teacher conference today with the school. Not a whole lot of new stuff, just the same basic stuff that the pediatrician told us to do - let her play by herself on the floor, let her cry for awhile to try and self-soothe before picking her up, and try to get her to sit up on her own. We're still fighting with her and the crib at home at night. She starts off in the crib but ends up in the bed during her feeding sometime after midnight. After Cheryl gets back from her trip we'll start the painful, sleepless night process of getting her to stick with the crib all night.

After our parent-teacher conference Cheryl and I went to lunch at Better Burger where I had a fantastic vanilla shake.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Stardate 60390.86 - ...and in with the new!

Here is the new bed. I think I put the comforter on sideways, however, as the stripes don't match up. I'm sure Cheryl will spot other things I should have done before taking the picture (like remove the trash cans, fluff the pillows, or straighten Loren's toys) but it has been a busy day and I barely had time to get the new bed made at all!


Monday, May 22, 2006

Stardate 60388.61 - Out with the old bed...

So Cheryl and I finally took the plunge and ordered a King-sized bed to replace the Queen-sized bed we purchased right after we got married. While Cheryl was pregnant the Queen was a little too small, and as Loren sometimes ends up in bed with us in the middle of the night the Queen is still a little too small. I also don't like anything touching me while I am sleeping, so a King fits me just fine. And a King bed just means more storage underneath, and more room for the cats to build fortresses and play underneath.

And finally, our current bed and mattress are now 10 years old (that's right, we are getting very close to our 10-year anniversary), so it's time for an upgrade. And by the time we purchase new sheets, a waterproof pad (for Loren you fools, I quit wetting the bed a long time ago), pillows, etc. the new bed is costing 10 times what the old one cost.

Small digression...if you are staining your first piece of furniture, don't put it together and then stain it. Funny'll stain the bolts and screws to the wood and they will make a nice seal that is nearly impossible to break. I think when we moved from Virginia the moving company left most of the frame intact because they stripped the hex bolts trying to take it apart. It took me four screwdrivers, one hex wrench, a pair of pliers, and an hour to get the thing completely apart. It was, in our defense, the first piece of furniture either of us had ever stained. We got much better with practice.

Anyway, the new bed should be here Tuesday afternoon. I cannot wait until it is all together.

NYC Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Stardate 60385.94 – Catching Up

Lots to report, as I mentioned earlier this week, so please bear with me.

First, on Wednesday Cheryl’s Mom graduated from Monmouth University with her Master’s Degree. We took the day off and went to see her get her diploma (well, actually it was a rolled-up piece of paper, kind of like an IOU for a diploma – does anyone actually give out the real diplomas anymore during the actual graduation ceremony?).

TV anchor Charles Gibson was the speaker, and singer Frankie Valli got an honorary degree as well. Cheryl’s Mom was in the first group to cross the stage, and since Loren had woken up and was getting cranky and hungry we bailed out early. We then went out to dinner with her family at Charlie Brown’s Restaurant, and Loren was very good and played with her toys and even tried some of the mashed potatoes.

On Thursday I got up at 0400 and traveled to McLean on the 0600 shuttle for a series of meetings. I will never again use Google Maps to get directions from one place to another. I’m back to using MapQuest. Thursday was the second time that Google Maps completely let me down with directions that were, quite simply, completely wrong. I spent over an hour trying to find an office building that should have taken me 25 minutes to find. The last time Google Maps tried to send me the wrong way down a one-way street. I think Google is trying to kill me.

I had dinner Thursday night with the soon-to-be Godparents of Loren – my brother-in-law Andy and his wife Jen. We ate at an Italian restaurant in Falls Church named Argia’s. I still cannot get used to leaving NY and going to places where smoking is still permitted in bars and restaurants. I think banning smoking in such places is a fantastic idea. If people want to slowly commit suicide by toxic vapors, let them do it at home or in their own cars, not in a place where I am eating. Now that I’ve pissed off my smoking audience, I’ll move on…

On Friday I took two of my staff out to lunch at Tom Sarris’ Orleans House. They are at a remote site and get left out of some of the office activities as it is tough for them to break away for a day or part of a day, due to the nature of their work. I had the grouper and it was pretty good! When I got home I told Cheryl I ate there and she said, “That place is still there?” But before I could get home I sat on the tarmac for 90 minutes waiting for my flight to leave Washington National Airport. Storms over Jersey caused a hold on flights coming into LGA. At least I had my newspaper to read, and Delta was nice enough to go ahead and serve the snack and water to everyone while we waited.

On Saturday Loren was baptized at the Church Of St. Vincent Ferrer.
One of Cheryl’s relatives asked about the stained glass windows, and it turns out they are not Tiffany but instead the majority of the windows were contrived by the master craftsman Charles Connick, under the direction of Goodhue.

It was a nice ceremony that went off without any problems, other than Loren getting bored part-way through and then getting very wiggly. But we even managed to get her to wear a necklace for the event, and she didn’t cry during the water pouring on the head portion. Lunch afterwards was in the garden at ZaZa, one of the restaurants owned by our across-the-hall neighbor.
We then had everyone back to the apartment for desert and coffee. We had a total of 14 people plus Loren, and it was pretty stress-free.

But now, it looks like Loren may be coming down with another cold. She was sounding congested last night and this morning, and she did not go to bed easily last night and she was up a few times during the night and then got up for the morning at 5 AM. By about 7:15 AM she was exhausted and she and Cheryl went back for a morning nap while I write what is quite possibly my longest blog entry, ever. I’m just trying to beat the records of people like James and Steve.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Stardate 60378.06 - Lots Goin' On

Lots going on right now. Cheryl's Mom got her Master's Degree yesterday, Loren's Baptism is Saturday, and I'm on travel. Plus Cheryl wants to put up a 6-month status report on Loren!

I'll put up a couple of longer posts tonight with more details and pictures!

McLean, VA

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Stardate 60372.36 - Mo' Memory

If someone does a good job, I'll pimp for them. Today's spotlight is on Memory Suppliers. I mentioned a few days ago that the home PC was running out of memory. I don't know if XP Professional and all the patches and anti-virus and anti-spyware applications finally just blew past the 500MB mark or what, but the home PC was running out of memory. So after a little research I found Memory Suppliers and ordered another 500MB of memory on Thursday.

It arrived Monday.

I was shocked. I chose the cheapest shipping possible, and they still had it to me in 2 business days. That was remarkable.

Even more remarkable, I got the memory installed into the Dell (thanks, Dell, for making a case that is easy to open and memory slots that are easy to find and easy to access). I was done in less than 15 minutes. I booted the Dell, it said "Additional Memory Detected" as it booted up, and a quick check of the system showed 1GB of main memory.

I'm pleased to report that the PC no longer is running out of memory. I ran a memory display as I logged in as Cheryl and after the login was complete it showed 450MB of memory remaining, so it looks like I needed 550MB just for the OS and start-up applications. Amazing. My next PC will have 2GB minimum. Check back with me in a year.

So props to Memory Suppliers. I got exactly what I asked for, earlier than expected, and everything was in working order. Props to Dell for making it easy to install additional memory, even if you bet on RAMBUS three years ago and it looks like that memory type is going the way of the Dodo.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Stardate 60370.43 - Loren's 6-Month Check-up

So Loren had her 6-month check-up today. Everything is going well, and there are no concerns! She is 26.5 inches tall, weighs 15 lbs 9 oz, and has a head circumference of 42 centimeters.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Stardate 60366.95 – Mother’s Day Entry

This is going to be a long one, so everyone who complains about the length of James’ entries better hang on to your hats! Lots to report, so stick through it to the end.

Pre-first, Blogger totally sucks. It just destroyed this entire post and now I'm trying to get it back in place before we leave for Church. If the fonts are off and different sizes, BLAME BLOGGER!

First, Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. If you didn't know today was Mother's Day, then you still have a few hours to call your Mom before she realizes that you are an ungrateful child who cares nothing for her! This was Cheryl's first Mother's Day as a Mom, so I took care of Loren while she went to have her hair done. While she was out Loren and I got Cheryl roses, a card, and a dessert from Gourmet Garage and surprised her with them all. We also sent flowers to our mothers, and my Mom already called to thank me and tell me they were great!

Second, last night was the first night that we went out on a date and left Loren with a babysitter. Yes, we went to a movie a few months ago and left her with Cheryl's parents, but this was the first time we left her with people not related to us. It was a bit traumatic as we left the apartment because Loren was tired and crying. We knew she was in good hands, however, because her babysitter was one of the teachers at her day care center. Specifically, it was the one Loren seems to really like (although she also brought her sister along to help). So we were not worried about the level of care, but more about Loren getting freaked out being at home with her daycare people there instead of us!

To make a long story even longer, we went to MOMA for about an hour, then Cheryl did some clothes shopping, then we ate at The Modern. Let me talk about the shopping trip for just a second. Why do torso mannequins need butt crack? The picture may not show it very well, but all the torso mannequins had butt cracks showing at the store!

Moving on, the food at the Modern was fantastic! I don't mind paying a little extra for really good food; I mind paying a lot extra for ok food. The Modern was a little extra for fantastic food! The portion sizes are small, but that just meant more room for desert. The beignets were awesome! When we got back home the babysitter had had no problems with Loren, and actually had gotten her to go to bed and fall asleep! We will definitely be doing that again.

Third, Jessica Stover put up a great trailer for her book that you really should watch - even Cheryl thought it was funny and you all know she has high standards. After all, look who she married...ha, ha, ha! Jess has also redesigned her main home page, so now Steve can stop bitching about how he has to scroll to see it at 800x600 resolution (who the hell uses that resolution anymore?!?).


Friday, May 12, 2006

Stardate 60362.36 - To Upgrade or To Buy New

I have a Dell Dimension 8250 with a 2.66 MHz P4 and 512 MB of RAM that we purchased back in April 2003. I've already upgraded the video card when I discovered that I couldn't play any new games. So I purchased as a Christmas gift to myself a MSI NX6600GT-VTD128 Geforce 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X Video Card.

But now I think the low RAM is finally starting to be an issue. With no applications running (just the OS and the various task bar items like virus protection and spyware blockers) I only have about 120MB of free memory. That number plummets if I open any type of major application (like any Microsoft product). The system also seems to have some lock-up issues ever since I upgraded to Microsoft's Windows Defender from their Anti-virus software and I suspect it is also a memory hog. But it may just be that I finally have too much running at start up. So I decided to take a look at upgrading the memory.

Apparently what I have now is "RAMBUS In-line Memory Module (DRAM) 533MHz 128x16 8C," which is Dell Part OW485. I have two 256M chips for a total of 512M. There are two empty slots where I can expand. And before I continue, I should say that I am by no means a hardware expert on PCs these days. I had to get help from James when I upgraded my video card.

Well, this RAMBUS memory is apparently not really used anymore because it is expensive. Quite expensive. It is going to cost me a little $200 to double the memory in my PC. That is double what DIMM memory costs. Argh! Apparently RAMBUS RAM got killed not long after we purchased our PC. DDR just destroyed it. Dual-channel DDR systems sealed the coffin.

So I'm going ahead and doing the upgrade and we'll limp along for another year and perhaps 2007 will be the year of a new PC. Ours will be 4 years old at that point. It doesn't seem like it is that old...we purchased it after we moved to NYC but I guess we've been here now for 4.5 years.

Amazing. Time does fly.


Stardate 60360.4 - Just Too Busy

We've just been too busy to take any recent photos of Loren. Especially since by the time we get her home from day care, feed her, and play with her, it is then time to put her to bed. We'll try to get some good picture over the weekend. For now, you will have to be content with older ones, like the one above from our trip out to Sandy Hook a couple of weekends ago and the one below from our living room about a month ago.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Stardate 60358.98 - Loren is Now 6-Months Old

It is hard to believe that Loren is now 6-months old! We met with the Priest yesterday to finalize the Baptism arrangements. All is now set!

Here is a quick pulse check on the state of things:

  • Blogger seems much more responsive today. Many people have commented that they have had issues with blogger over the past few days and weeks.
  • I still don't hear a fast busy tone on my business line when I have voice mail waiting.
  • We are in day 3 or 4 of temperatures around 60 with no sun and the threat of rain. Quite depressing.
  • The proposal I'm working on has now slipped into June, which means I've put most of May on hold for nothing, and now I have to hold June. This is a total repeat of last year where I could not take a vacation in the spring because a proposal would "be out any second". That one slipped for most of that year.
I'll take some pictures of Loren tonight and post them. The picture above is from the end of April when we went to Sandy Hook, NJ for the day.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Stardate 60356.91 - Firefox and Blogger Issues

I am very unhappy right now, and have just spent 90 minutes fixing this blog - time that I will now have to make up for work. Here is what happened, short version.

Do not, do not, do not use Firefox to edit your template under blogger and then open a new tab. If you switch back and forth between the blogger modify template tab and another web site tab, the blogger template window will truncate.

Longer version. I had Firefox opened and was editing my blogger template to add a link. I opened a new tab, then tried to cut and paste something from the second tab back into the template editing window in the first tab. When I switched back to the first tab, the template was truncated. I didn't notice, saved the template, and published it. My blog went to hell. 90 minutes later, I have a new, fresh template up with some of my original links in place.

Shame on Firefox and/or Blogger for this problem. And shame on Blogger for running slower than a drunk grandmother. Speaking of which, is it my imagination or for the past few weeks has blogger had lots of problems? Problems with response times, problems with posting items, and problems just staying up? I know it is a free service so I should not be complaining, but I’m seriously thinking about moving my blogs to some other, more reliable service. It is doubly disappointing because it used to run quite smoothly and response times were really very good. But the past month or so it has just been awful.


Stardate 60355.93 - Oh, Verizon. Why do you vex me so?

Executive Summary - I no longer get the "fast busy" sound indicating that I have new voice mail messages.

I recently changed the service on the phone line that I use for telecommuting. I have service through Verizon. I won’t even start on why it takes weeks for them to actually make the service change when it should only involve making changes in a computer. I’ll move on to after the change.

On April 28th I changed to Verizon Freedom Essentials. This is actually a pretty good deal for me, considering how much I use the phone line. For $34.95 you get unlimited local, regional, and long distance as well as call forwarding, call waiting, caller ID, and home voice mail.

Now, I already had home voice mail on the line as a separate package, prior to switching my service. If you have this capability you know how it works – if you have a message waiting you get a “fast busy” when you pick up the phone. That fast busy tone means you have messages.

About mid-week (May 3) last week I began to wonder why I didn’t seem to be getting any voice mail messages. I dialed into the system and (surprise!) did indeed have messages waiting. But what I didn’t have was a fast busy telling me that I had messages. So on Friday I filed, via Verizon’s web site, a report asking them to fix it.

Here is the saga so far:

Mon 5/8/2006 10:28 – I receive an e-mail from Maria saying she has received my problem and are working on it.

Mon 5/8/2006 10:40 – I receive an e-mail from Maria saying that she needs to know my primary billing number (the line I had changed was my second line, and it is not the primary number on the bill).

Mon 5/8/2006 12:24 – I receive an e-mail from Maria stating that the correct order codes were put on my account for the interrupted dial tone to indicate a message waiting, and that I needed to call the repair department.

Mon 5/8/2006 13:08 – I call the repair department and Marilyn tells me that they will have to re-set my voice mail, and that it could take as late as midnight Tuesday before it will be fixed.

Mon 5/8/2006 20:02 – Benny called me to say he had re-set my voice mail and that he’d call to leave a message, I should check it a few minutes after he called, and he’d call back.

Mon 5/8/2006 20:18 – Benny called back to see if it worked (it had not). He said he may have to refer me to the voice-mail shop, but would try to continue to work on it.

Tue 5/9/2006 09:50 – I received an automated phone call stating that Verizon was unable to determine the source of the problem, but that tests on the line revealed that it was fixed. So I tested it. It still isn’t fixed.

Tue 5/9/2006 10:25 – I called customer service and spoke to “Bob”. He said it looks like the correct program entry to generate the stutter dial tone when voice mail is waiting (“s=YES” ?) is on my line, so he’ll pass it off to the programmers to have them take a look. He said it would be resolved by 5 PM today.

Well, today is Wednesday and it still is not fixed. Granted, I was on the phone a lot yesterday, so if they tried to reach me they probably were not able to. But come on. How hard is this to fix?

I will say this - the Verizon people I have spoken with have been very, very polite. Also, it is much easier to get to an actual person at Verizon than it ever was during my whole Cingular Saga.

But for Verizon, the story continues...


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Stardate 60352.95 - Loren Chatting Away

Here is a video (45 seconds) of Loren chatting away with me. Not sure what she is saying, but it seems pretty important to her.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Stardate 60351.79 - Test of E-mail Posting

Here is a test of posting to my blog using e-mail. Here is Loren’s first instant message exchange. It was with John.

Coe John [17:54]:


Sawyer Curtis [19:11]:

b vbfc

Sawyer Curtis [19:11]:


Sawyer Curtis [19:11]:

xsyhtbyn vc

Sawyer Curtis [19:11]:


Coe John [19:11]:

hi loren

Sawyer Curtis [19:11]:

yhy ggv6

Sawyer Curtis [19:11]:


Sawyer Curtis [19:11]:

Now she is done

Coe John [19:11]:

i'm having a nice day too

Coe John [19:11]:



Stardate 60349.68 - What I'm Watching

The last time I posted what I was watching on TV was October 2005 (pre-Loren), so I thought an update might be in order.

Couple of notes:
  • If a series is ending (like West Wing), I've removed it from the list.
  • I don't count the news or The Daily Show in my averages. They are "free".
  • Cheryl watches much less than an hour a day and has a much lower threshold for TV viewing than I do.
  • On average, I watch an hour a day. I know that the totals below are more than 7 hours, but Deadwood is rarely on with new episodes, and the same goes for Battlestar Galactica. Also we usually save up the Law & Order shows and save them to watch during weeks of reruns. And it is a rare week when all of the shows below have new episodes on - even during sweeps something is frequently pre-empted for sports or something. So I'm sticking with my story that it is an hour of TV a day.


  • Family Guy -– I still think the first season is the best, but I continue to watch. It was at its best when Stewie was trying to take over the world.
  • Deadwood -– If you can get past the profanity, it is actually a pretty good story with really good characters. Short seasons however, and often in re-runs. I cannot even remember the last time a new episode was on - I think it has been at least 6 months.


  • NCIS -– The Navy version of CSI. If I am watching this and Cheryl is in the room she will pay attention, but otherwise she doesn't see it.
  • Law & Order SVU - I have gotten sucked into this one, although it is pretty depressing. Also one Cheryl watches.

  • Lost -– If you don'’t watch it, you don'’t get it. And if you don'’t get it, you just don'’t get it. Cheryl watches this one. Lost and 24 are the two "can't miss" shows for Cheryl.
  • Law & Order -– These usually sit on the DVR until a night with all re-runs and then we watch them. Cheryl also watches.

  • CSI -– My father-in-law got me started watching this show, and I really enjoy it.
  • Battlestar Galactica -– Greatest show on television, but it has really short seasons and they are sporadic.
  • Cheryl watches What Not to Wear, her guilty pleasure, but I usually do not, or I am reading or something else while it is on.

  • Nothing

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Stardate 60348.54 - Sunday Stroll

Knock on wood, as the saying goes but Cheryl seems to be a lot better today and Loren and I seem to be pretty much over our illness. Perhaps this week we will all be back to normal.

It is another nice day today in NYC with a high around 65 (that is 18c for all my international readers). I took Loren out for a stroll along the East River and snapped a few pictures. I was out for about 1.5 hours with her. We also ate brunch out earlier (Cheryl was starting to feel better and was hungry), and then swung by Bloomingdale's to get some tights for Loren's baptism, which is coming up pretty soon.

Not too much else going on. Did baby laundry today, opened the windows to air out the apartment, read parts of the New York Times - in general took it easy.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Stardate 60344.35 - CPR Certified on a Gorgeous Day

Is is a gorgeous day in NYC today.

I walked the 56 block round-trip journey today to day care for the CPR class, and after 2.5 hours of lecture, dummy practice, and an exam, I am proud to report that I am now CPR certified for the next two years, and first aid certified for the next 3.

The course was pretty interesting in what has changed since I took CPR in gym class (more than 20 years ago) back in High School. The number of breaths, for example, used to be 4 but now it is 1 breath every 5 seconds. And the chest compressions have changed, too. It used to be 5 slow but now it is 5 as fast as possible.

They teach you ABC - Assess vitals, breathing, compressions. I did learn some new things, I got a 100% on my exam, and now I'm ready in case Loren chokes on anything. I'd say it was worth the $40. (Just so you know, the CPR picture is from the article I linked above. The other two pictures were taken with my cell phone.)

After I got back I took Loren off of Cheryl's hands (Cheryl is still sick) and I went for a walk in Central Park with her. The park was packed full of people, as we hit 75 here in NYC on a beautiful sunny day.

One of my favorite spots is the conservatory pond, and people were out with their remote controlled sailboats today. In fact, the park was a little too packed with people - I actually had trouble getting out at 66th street as there was a performer attracting a large crowd right in the middle of a 4-way intersection just before the exit. That was a little grating.

And people, when a baby stroller is coming through...move! I can't slip between people with a stroller the way you can when you are unencumbered.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Stardate 60343.72 - Cheryl is Sick and the Weekend is Coming

So Cheryl is not feeling well and has been home from work for the past two days. She has had a pretty high fever (101-103 range) and congestion and tiredness. Looks like she finally got what Loren (and I, but without the fever) had. It is some nasty viral thing (according to the pediatrician) that seems to burn out in about 5 days.

So we are having to re-arrange our weekend plans a bit. For starters, Cheryl was going to take a baby CPR class on Saturday but I'm now going to it instead. I don't know much about it, other than you need it before your baby starts eating anything solid (and in general it is a pretty good idea).

Additionally, the NY VA Tech Alumni Chapter is having a big event on Saturday that we were going to attend, but now we're likely to miss it. I don't want to go by myself when Cheryl is home sick, and I'd probably want to take Loren so Cheryl could sleep and I'm not sure I want to take Loren to a bar where I really only know the few officers organizing the event. In fact, parenting takes so much time I may have to decrease my participation in the organization.

I joined up back when I had some free time and I wanted to meet some people in NYC, but Loren takes so much time I find that I don't want and/or have time to attend all the planning activities for these events, and the other big thing the organization does is football games at bars and to tell the truth, I was never all that into the football team when I was a student. Sure, I went to the games, but I've never been a huge sports fan. For the record, VA Tech was in the Peach Bowl the year before I got there, never went to a bowl all 5 years I attended the school, and I believe they have now been in a bowl every year since. So they sort-of sucked when I was there, which may be why I'm not such a huge fan. Of course, I don't really watch sports at all anyway.

Here's hoping Cheryl gets well soon! We've still got some baptism planning to do for Loren.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Stardate 60340.19 - View Blocker?

So here is what the new Slone-Kettering Cancer Center building (a new breast and imaging center) going up across the street is supposed to look like once it is completed. It is supposed to be 15 stories high, with mechanical equipment on 16. It is going to be 238 feet tall and will consist of 241,000 square feet. We're on the 14th floor (actually the 13th, but there is no 13th floor on our building), so we will look into the glass portion of the center. There are some off-sets from the street (on the 10th and 14th floors), so we're hoping that all of the natural sunlight is not going to be blocked from our apartment.

Of course, it won't be completed until first quarter 2009. Excavation has started, and will run until early October. The foundations will go in starting around August and will last until December. Erection is scheduled to begin in January 2007, and will last 2 years.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Stardate 60337.48 - Babies and Passports

Who knew that getting a passport for a baby was so complicated? Cheryl has a potential work trip coming up, and it is just long enough that it will be really, really inconvenient to try and pump enough milk to last for the duration (not to mention the fact that Loren many times wants to drink herself to sleep, and not on a bottle!). So Cheryl will probably take Loren with her, and we're trying to swing having Cheryl's parents go on the trip as well.

Why am I not going, you may ask? Because once again, I am leading a portion of a proposal effort which may or may not overlap with her trip. And I won't know for sure if there will be an overlap until about 2 weeks before Cheryl has to leave. That is one very frustrating aspect of my work - the uncertainty of things like this.

So we're off to get a passport for her, and I do mean "we" - we both are required to be there (to keep one spouse from trying to flee the country with a kid, I suppose). And I'm quite curious as to how the photo is going to turn out, since she is still a bit sporadic about holding herself upright when seated.

My passport expires next year, but Cheryl just got an updated one last year. It was always a pain with her old one, as she got it prior to our marriage so her name on her tickets never matched the name in the passport and she always had to show the person where the name change addendum had been added. What a hassle. But her new one (which hasn't even been used yet) doesn't have that issue.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Stardate 60334.50 - Warwick Castle

Jessica Stover spent some time in England (did you know she went to St. Catharine's College of The University of Cambridge?) and enjoyed one of the sites that I enjoyed, Warwick Castle. She recently posted a picture she took there, and it made me decide to dig out my photos and scan a few in to post here. So here are a series of pictures I took of Warwick Castle in November of 2002.