Sunday, December 30, 2007

An actual post! Not just Pictures!

Yeah, I'm long overdue for some kind of real post, and seeing how I have a wee bit of free time (actually, it's past my bedtime) so I should update a bit. Even though I'm relatively sure that nobody reads anymore. But that doesn't stop me! I'm vain!

So, that whole holiday debacle is almost behind us. I had four days off last week but I had to work Saturday instead, so I actually only had one day off, work tomorrow, and then I have New Years Day off. Kinda like taking a sledgehammer to my internal clock. But I'll take whatever I can get I suppose. I don't actually mind too much overtime, being how I have to recover from Christmas and now, the stupid Honda.

The Honda isn't dead, or anywhere close. But since it's been a while since the last maintenance, the check engine light prompted me to bring it in, and then the timing belt was getting worn (7 years) and it was due for its 60,000 miles maintenance. Anyway, the damn thing is going to run me a grand, which is decidedly less fun than getting a 46 inch HDTV Vizio at Costco. That's where I'd rather spend the grand, thank you very much. But no, I suppose some mode of transportation is good. I suppose.

And for Christmas, yes, I scored me a cheap little GPS, but it's actually pretty decent. Now I just have to google the address, and that's all I need. No more writing down directions, no more having millions of index cards floating around in the car. What I do have is a nice little GPS that hasn't really failed me yet. It's gotten me the scenic route a few times, but I haven't gotten lost or driven into a wall yet.

The other big thing I got was a Aiptek camcorder/camera/mp3 player/PMP/Blender. I really just wanted it for the camcorder bit, supposedly encoding in MP4 but is actually .AC3, so I have to still convert the video file. That officially brings my video camera count to 4. I really just wanted something I can fit in my pocket, easy to bring, and mostly for clips of everyday life. I used to do that with my Minolta but because it had some serious clicking noises, I stopped using the video bit of it. The other features of the Aiptek are virtually useless, but it's interesting to have.

So the kids have been really growing out of toddlerhood now, and they're like kids. Combative, argumentative, overstimulated little monkeys. I love them, don't get me wrong, and they're fun a lot of times, but there are times whereby I just wish I was more patient with them. Zoe's turned into this soap opera star - anytime you disagree or refuse one of her demands, she turns on the tears and cue the wiping away the dry eyes. Her face contorts into a wrinkled bun and she'll just pout and sulk and sniffle and whine. Alex is about the same, except less frequent but more extreme. Mostly when you tell him no on videogames or something like that. He'll just get all emotional with no real emotion behind it.

My wife and I have been having a bit of a tough time, mostly because we haven't really spend much quality time with each other or with them. Between working too much and fatigue, the kids are overwhelming us. We're afraid to take them out alone because of the aforementioned whining, and sometimes there's just too much drama between them.

Oh yeah, my wife went to the ER on Christmas - that was fun. At around 8, the rib area that she was complaining about escalated into full blown agony, so we went to the hospital and got in pretty quickly, because it was apparent that she was in pain. They suspected a blood clot or collapsed lung, so they ran X-rays, CT scan... turn out it was costochondritis, so we got sent home with a treatment plan of ibuprofen. So, I guess it takes a while to fully recover, so we'll see how that goes.

As for work, I don't know if I mentioned this, but I got to be a full time employee, and it's odd that now that I'm making more, I'm taking home less because there's deductions for medical, dental, vision, 401K, ADD... I may have preferred being a contractor since I got to keep more of my money. Oh well, at least now we're covered healthcare wise. Work got a little strange too, since one of my co-workers got fired, one went to Cambodia for a month, and the remaining one has been grossing me the hell out as of late. He's been sick, so he's spitting in the garbage can where we work and walk by. And the garbage isn't lined. Then the other day he took off his socks and propped them on the cart, putting antiseptic cream on his toes and attempting to force bile out of my ears. Needless to say, I was very careful about what I touched for the rest of the day.

Anyway, there's been more going on, but it's late and I'm really not that interesting. I have to get up in about 5 and a half hours, so I'd better split. Lickety.

Christmas Present #2

DSC_0190, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

My cheapo 88 dollar video camera, encodes in mp4 (not really) and is great for on the fly video for me. Takes okay photos as well, and also has an mp3 player, video recording capability, for unknown reasons. But I still dig it.

Resident Evil

DSC_0188, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

An on-rails shooter. Compared to RE4, it's a little less visceral, but still a relatively fun game. I wish they had better sound effects and also better zombie effects, but still loads of fun.

Christmas Present #1

DSC_0187, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Got this GPS from my Mom for 129, and then just 99. I suspect it was an aging model, because it had a discontinued feel about it. It's the Mio C220, and it's hard to find this in stores anymore. Nonetheless, it's a godsend - I never get lost anymore. I've used it the last few trips to places I was unsure of, and sure enough, I find myself everytime. It is awesome.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Grandma and Kids

Grandma and Kids, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Santa, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Merry Christmas

xmas07final, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


DSC_9913, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

My Zoe Bear.


DSC_9936, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Alex picked this up somewhere, he kissed his marble for luck before he threw it.


DSC_9954, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

I like her face when she crinkles it.


DSC_9952, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Zoe yuks it up.


DSC_9951, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

My hands! They've turned into cups!


DSC_9970, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

The superhero ability to fall asleep anywhere.


DSC_9994, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Yummy snowball.


DSC_9996, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

I think it's Alex under there.


DSC_9993, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Snowball! Delicious.


DSC_0004, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Who doesn't like to dream in a helmet?


DSC_0007, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Zoe rocks out.


DSC_0015, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Zoe being squished by giant headphones and not minding much.


DSC_0009, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Cool cat listening to Grandma's iPod.


DSC_0043, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Alex quietly marvels at the going ons.


DSC_0049, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.


I've been glued to my PSP more than usual (which is to say that instead of a face, I have a PSP on top of my neck now) because of a game I downloaded off the Playstation Store. It costs a grand total of $4.99, but it plays like a full featured game, except with mucho customization. In that sense, I mean you can import your own songs and play with it. Like Guitar Hero in a sense, without the big guitar. I play two different songs in two different modes up there. Normal is usually not hard at all, almost leisurely. Hard is exactly that, I don't even make it through half the song without being lost. But it's tons of fun, mostly because I don't get stuck with iffy songs I don't care about, just songs that I like.

So my job status finally went through, and on Monday I'm no longer a contractor with my company, I'll be actually a Team Member. I have orientation on Monday, and the weird thing is yesterday I got an overnight package in the mail, a welcome packet from my company that I could have gotten on Friday or on Monday, but I guess they wanted me to have it yesterday. The funnier thing is that they included huge maps of both buildings - not so much tour maps, but like specific floor maps, including where all the production lines are. And they are all wrong. The production floor and I imagine some of the offices were renovated in the last 4 months so everything's moved. I would imagine anyone following the maps would be more lost than anything, with dated maps that are poster sized. I'm feeling pretty good about being a Team Member, which means medical and for the first time since I had kids, the kids can actually be double covered now. We couldn't in the past because we worked for the same company, and that stupid company got around not insuring two employees if they were married. Nice. Also looking forward to the slight pay bump - pretty proud of the fact that I went back from their original offer (the audacity!) and got my wage bumped up an extra 75 cents (even though I asked for 50 cents). I don't feel too guilty because like a Cover Girl, I'm worth it. Ooh, that's a different metaphor.
And overtime would be more worth it too. The rest of December looks to have more overtime. Yeech.

Getting a little sick, maybe a cold or something, but it's got me fatigued with a dull headache. Hopefully it's short lived.

Anyway, photos.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I don't know about the name per se, mostly because I don't think it means anything (though I googled it and it's the name of Billy Ray Cyrus' daughter, who plays Hannah Montana, which is evidently really big with tweens) but that's the name of my wife's niece new baby. She's pretty cute, a little one with a lot of squeaks and grunts. We drove to three different hospitals before we found them, but it was nice to see the baby. Our kids are now so big that it's a little odd to think that they were that size for a while.

But seriously, my wife had one hospital in mind, I had a phantom one in mind, we went to the wrong one, and finally just 411-ed and deduced our way to the hospital. One of the times that the numbered streets in Bellevue actually helped.


So I've been offered to be an early adopter of Vudu, which is like Netflix of sorts. It's not too bad to try out, spending 99 bucks for the unit rather than the usual 399, and then getting 99 bucks in movie credits, which equals, you guessed it, free. Now I have Blockbuster anyway, and that's doing me pretty good there. So I'm not completely sure if I'm still going to do it or not. All I'm thinking of is how much I can sell the thing for, or whether or not I can turn it into a DVR or media server. Likely not. Probably get me in trouble too.


So I heard from my contractor recruiter person dude that I should be a full time employee by next week, which is weird hearing from him rather than a representative of the company. Work's been going a bit rough. I don't mind the hard work, the labor, the repetitiveness and the odd dependency that management seems to put on me solely, probably because I'm more likely to get things done and right at that. What I do mind is that some of the employees excel absolutely at being slackers. Most of the people I gather go there and work, fine. But my group tends to have a rather unhealthy attitude toward work, one especially brings his cell phone, text messages all the time, and I've never seen anyone pretend to work so hard that it could be its own occupation. He blocks his stances like an actor to minimize getting caught. He'll stick his hand and phone into a box to look like he's arranging something. He's probably the worst worker I've ever worked with. But other than seething quietly with discontent, I don't say much in ways of discouraging him. I figured I'll just put in my time, and if a certain rumor and recommendation pans out, I shouldn't even be in shipping much longer. But since that's simply a rumor and recommendation, I'm not banking on it quite yet.


So I've been watching a ton of movies on the PSP lately, more so than podcasts, even though those are free. So after "Letters from Iwo Jima" and "Million Dollar Baby", I had wanted something a little lighter, so I watched "The Breakfast Club." Yeah, I'm one of those people who've never seen the whole thing, just bits and pieces. And I have to say that it still holds up pretty well after, wow, 27 years. Well, except that the characters are all pretty good looking, and the ending is still very much forced. But it was nice to see a piece of film history as it were. I think Anime's next on the list. But I swear, the PSP has given me a lot of chances to watch movies that I usually pass over due to time contrains. I don't want to watch slower or sadder movies usually, but so far aside from the 2 I mentioned, I also caught "Syriana", "21 Grams", and the very excellent "Zodiac".

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving & Other Assorted Stunts

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and even though there was a much lusted after four day weekend for me, it was in all reality, a bit of a let-down. For all the hype that it was building up to be, it was just slightly better than okay. Which is what this post will probably be.

The days leading up to Thanksgiving, my wife had a limited amount of time to clean the house. When my wife expects company, it's a little bit like a house overhaul. The house just becomes this non-functional Ikea display home. Nothing useful can be found, and things may look pretty, but they sure as hell won't make any sense. All my stuff on my desk was moved to a better home, namely in boxes upstairs at the back of my desk. My phone charger cord was missing, and when I asked my wife where it was, she thought that I probably had it hidden somewhere. So I thought her that it was probably in some obscure box in the back of the closet and it'd be better if she gave it a go. And sure enough, I caught her trying to sneak it back on my desk because it was in some obscure box in the garage. Even now, the apples are still sitting on a rack in the middle of the living room. Weird. I suppose I won't miss anything that I can't see.

But getting a bit ahead of myself. First of all, good news on the job front is that they not only met my request for a pay bump, they upped it a little to keep me contended. Goes to show kiddies, sometimes the worst thing about asking is being turned down. So once the whole background thing checks out, I'll be making a buck 25 more than I am now. This may not mean much to most, but to us bottom dwellers, it's kinda a big deal. Especially when I hit the OT, baby.

Anyway, sometime in the middle of the week, I was dismayed to find out in the morning that I had run out of deodorant. Now that in itself isn't really noteworthy. What makes the story is that I know that I'm a bit of a sweaty bastard, and that if I don't use something, I'll just end up stinking raunchy at work. So I did what a married man would do in that situation, which is to use my wife's deodorant. I somehow failed to purchase my own so I wore "Mystic Rain" for two days, worrying for two days at work that someone might catch on and ask, "Why are you using my wife's scent?"

As we were approaching Thanksgiving, we cleaned up house, got three turkeys (all free), gave away one, and I even experimented in brining. My verdict on brining is a little skewed, since I did leave the turkey in there a little longer than I should have, and it was a little saltier than I had wanted it, but it was okay. Couldn't really say if I would do it next year or not, the trouble that it took to brine two freaking turkeys in giant ziplock bags.

Thanksgiving day itself was okay. The kids enjoyed the company of the other kids, and my wife's daughter got to come visit, which was fine. My brother did something that I wasn't real happy about - he had come and dropped off my Mom, and then said something about going for a walk and then left without saying. My mom relayed that he found it rude that one of the guests had failed to acknowledge him when he showed up. I myself found it ruder that he had ditched us after we made sure that was enough food that was cooked, that we sorted through all our toys to make sure most of it was toddler safe for his son, and that we even vacated a spot outside our house so that he could park there. But despite that shortfall, Thanksgiving turned out pretty nice. The kids had a lot of fun so that was great.

And Black Friday wasn't a big deal for me. I have gotten to that point that I did own most of the toys that I could possibly have, so I just got a couple of used games and that was the extent of it. There's a thing on that I have my eye on, which could either cost me a fortune or nothing at all, depending on my luck. On the other side of the argument, it will either save me a lot of money in the long run, or make me some for the holidays. More on that as it unfolds later this week, I suppose.

Well, back to work tomorrow. I'm still not sure what happens when I go to bed at 3 something in the morning last night and have to wake up at 4:30am later this morning. Probably will hurt a good deal.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Under Pressure

One of the great things in life is that sometimes, coincidences come about to verify your state of thinking. It seems that whenever I get really tense and stressed about something, my iPod will just play Bowie and Queen's "Under Pressure" to kinda underline the tension that I have bouncing about in my head. So either my iPod has some psychic abilities or... I'm really stressed all the time.

Right now I should be editing my very last wedding but my mind wants to do other things, like play the ever so fun Super Mario Galaxy! I plowed through a couple hours yesterday, just lost in the gameplay that was familiar but so shiny and new at the same time. It was like letting you enjoy an old activity in a whole new different galaxy, as it were. The kids really enjoy watching it too, though I doubt they would get a chance to play it because the learning curve is a little steep if you didn't grow up with Mario. But man, is it fun.

I had downloaded Super Mario 2 and 3 from the virtual console to get ready for Galaxy, and I've always liked 2 for some odd reason, even though it's a tough one to play, but what's more surprising is how well I remember 3. I never owned a NES when I was a kid, just spent a lot of time playing at my friend's Patrick's house. From level one, I just remembered where the flutes were, the secret stuff was, all that. A lot of it came back to me pretty naturally, so that was a bit surprising.

I do have a couple pieces of odd media that I have to post, if I find the time and gumption. Other than that, just waiting for Thanksgiving whereby there could be quite a number of people coming for dinner, since we do have two frozen turkeys and a microphone.


The job end is going pretty well, I have my days whereby I want to just slap everyone I work with, and some days whereby I do enjoy working with them. But I'm on the verge of being permanent, and it was quite nice to hear that my boss and the HR rep had actually revised my proposal for hiring in order to accomodate the pay bump that I had requested. I had felt like I pulled enough weight around there to warrant a higher starting wage then they offered, so I sheepishly asked for it in a hemming and hawing way.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Disney on Ice

While hunting for a skating rink a while back, I saw that there were tickets for Disney on Ice: Princess Wishes on sale, so I got the cheap seats (cheap meaning after everything, it was 81 bucks) to go. But anyway, we went on Friday night and here's the recap.

First things first, driving to Everett on a Friday evening is murder. Driving especially after 10 hours of work is just murderous torture. When I get tired, my equilibrium gets thrown off and I actually get a little car sick, so that was starting to get to me a little - but it took over an hour just to get there. But after a trip to Jack in the Box and looking for parking, we walked with the hordes of children to the Arena - and when we got in, the place was crawling with kids. And kiosks peddling overpriced Disney toys. They had a ton of girls' toys, but only one sword for boys, and it was running 16 bucks. So we compromised and got the kids each a Disney mug with a sno-cone, and then found our spot and watched the performance.

Lemme tell you, screw being a rock star, if you're a Disney character and you show up, all the kids go wild. The screaming and excitement that explodes from the crowd is something to behold. Characters like Mickey and Sebastian got huge applause, and with scenes acted out from the movies and acrobats, great sets, and minor pyrotechnics, it was certainly something worth going to.

The look on the kids faces were pretty fun too, they went from elated to somewhat surprised to "my brain is fried, can I go home now?" But all in all, it was quite fun. Made me think about planning a trip to Disneyland in a year or two.


On the job front, I didn't get offered the sales job that I applied for, so I'll probably just take the one job that I'm doing now in a permanent basis. I was really hoping that it would go the other way, but I suppose I'll have to take what I can get.

Speaking of work, here's an incident that happened that irked me to no end. I was standing in line for the breakfast buffet at work, which was a precursor to the meeting that was going to happen right after. So I started up the PSP, and the guy in front of me turned around to see what I was doing.

"Just maximizing my time," I offered.

"You know, those things corrode your brain," he blurted, which caught me off guard. "According to the Christian right, violence in games will make people more violent."

At that point, the air was thick with irony as I wanted to kick him in the ear. I didn't say anything to that, and after a beat, he tried to further the conversation, perhaps to avoid seeming like a meddling, rude, inappropriate prick.

"Do they have Halo for that?"

"No, they didn't license that for Playstation," I replied, hinting at the that ignorant pedestal he was talking from.

And then I had to stand in line behind him some more, thinking about all the comebacks that I should've said.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Missing my Wife.

"I miss my wife," I uttered out loud during dinner, as if to console myself that was the source of my moodiness.

"I miss my wife too", chimed Alex, slurping on his soup.

"You don't have a wife, sweetie. Only Daddy has a wife. Mommy's my wife."

"Zoe's my wife," said Alex.

"Zoe's not your wife, she's your sister."


Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween Pics

I was trying to get this photos of her with her ears protruding out. Like a pirate elf or something.

Zoe's pooped out by the end of the night.

The mall was PACKED.

I wish I got a better photo, but there's another girl in a similar outfit, the same height, the same type hair who was trick or treating at the same time. My wife almost reached for her. She's in the background.

Halloween and Job

No, they're not the same thing, but along with that I have to tell this story now.

I have a co-worker who's a natural born clown. Despite some language barriers, he's managed to solidify himself as someone who can make anyone laugh. He'll make the younger guys at work laugh, and he'll make the 60 year old woman at work laugh. He kinda has a gift for it, even though he tends to be a little blue at times. But somehow he manages to come across as harmless for the most part. He's like 45 and has a family, but he likes to keep things light and laugh about life I suppose.

Anyway, on Halloween day he was joking about another co-worker, who sorta has some problem genetically or acquired through an accident. He's got a bit of a gait, and one of his eyes is cloudy, either stricken with glaucoma or blindness or something, but it causes it to be less open than the other. Anyway, the joker co-worker was saying that T doesn't need a disguise for Halloween, he just goes out and he is Halloween. And Joker asks me, "Hey, you know Halloween?" I said no, and he promised he'd show me later.

So later just when a team meeting was about to commence, Joker leaned over to me and told me, "Hey, I'm going to say hi to Halloween. You watch." Then he turned around and say, "Hi T. How are you." T waves and smiles. And I'm suppressing the freakin' laughter that's leaking out of me. It's not that T's funny looking and I'm childish, but Joker is so brazen and keen on pointing out T to me that it just cracked me up.


Halloween was insane. We bought two hulking bags of candy from Costco and put the freaking bin out for the night while we went to the mall for some safe trick or treating. We chose another mall instead of the usual haunt because it was a colder mall, and the one we've been going to for the past two years is a outdoorsy type mall that's great in the summer, but generally quite sucky the rest of the year.

And boy, the mall was packed. With parents and costumed kids, with a lot of really interesting costumes. I cannot account for how many witch moms there were, including my wife. It seemed to be the standard Mom Halloween costume. The standard Dad costume was the I-Ain't-Participating costume, or sometimes, the "Goofy Hat" department. There were a lot of cute babies with their costumes who weren't even awake for the candy scavenging, and two notable families that really won the virtual prize in my head was the Incredibles family, whereby a family of five was dressed like the Pixar flick, and the personifications were perfect. Dad was a tall guy, there was a mom, a teen girl, a younger son, and a baby with a spiky tuff of hair in a stroller. It was quite perfect. Another family of four were dressed up as characters from The Wizard of Oz, with Mom and Dad as Dorothy and the Tin Man, and the two toddlers rounding the rest up.

Our kids were of course, pirates - a fairly popular theme at the mall as you might imagine. I myself don't care much for the theme, since pirating seems so far removed a crime from everyday life that people seem to forget that it's actually a real profession - but our kids do make for charming pirates. Alex had the whole getup, but Zoe was lacking a sword - which she compensated by bringing the knight sword that Alex had for his birthday. Well, not minutes after being in the mall, I was stuck shoving the sword in my belt. So, I was crazed Dad with sword.

Anyway, Halloween was just that. We went home and had a few more trick or treaters, and Alex was actually disappointed that we didn't have more. But they were just beat by the end of the day.


Back to work. I interviewed last Monday for a position in Sales, and the interview went well, though it might have gone a little too well. It was the first interview I've ever done whereby I'd cracked up the whole room with my jokes, one of which was actually laughing so hard that she cried. I don't know if it spoke about my experience, but I guess I strive better in interviews when I'm more informed.

Either way though, either I'll get pick up in Sales or my current position's been offered to me as a full time employee, which is really great news. My betters thought well of me, which is quite a feat and (boast) a testament to my character, since I've only been working there for four months and my current two bosses didn't come on till mid-September, which means my impression on them has only been 2 months in. My supervisor is training me to release sales orders, even though she doesn't know if I'm staying. But the future's looking pretty secure for me, for which I'm glad. It's nice to know that you have an actual job as opposed to a contract position.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Two Videos, No Words

Alex skates solo!

Kids enjoy their first Car Wash.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Advice to my Boy

This is by no means definitive, but just a few loose tidbits. Maybe a list. Of like 15. 15's a good number.

By the way, you can't make numbers possessive. It's bad English.

15. Commitment. There are many things that will distract you from your commitments, whether it's commitment to another person, to your job, or to your passions. There are always temptations to do something or someone else, but the important thing is to remember that when you made your commitment to someone or something, you have to try with every fiber in your body to uphold that commitment. Anyone can make promises and attempts, but when you make a commitment, you have to try your best to keep it.

14. Excuses. Don't make them. There are always reasons why you're late, why you're stuck in a job you don't like, why you're not getting the results you want. But they are reasons, not excuses. Own up to your faults, and next time around, try to work around them or accommodate them. Making excuses may fool many people, but never yourself. The only way to make progress is to accept your reasons and try to understand why something happened, even though answers may not materialize.

13. Lies. I can't lie, so I generally try to keep out of trouble to avoid having to lie. Doesn't always work, but I do know that lies are like pink dinosaurs. One you produce one, they're hard to hide, eager to surface, and they will eat at you. If you use a bigger lie to cover it up, then it's just a bigger pink dinosaur. And usually people don't like it when you produce a pink dinosaur to them.

12. Monogamy. It can be hard sometimes, when you're holding a perfectly wonderful gumball in your hand when you find yourself in the middle of a candy store. Maybe not the best metaphor, but certainly the imagery is sound. Having multiple girlfriends or wanting to cheat on your girlfriend or wife isn't hard. It doesn't denote manliness if you have more than one woman, it just means that you're too weak to commit. Any idiot can have three girlfriends, but only a real man can have a partner he loves exclusively.

11. Pride. Be proud of what you do, and who you are. If you start out doing the most menial, stupid job ever existed, then own that position and do the best you can. Whether it be an art project for a class you hate, or even sweeping the floor, everything you do reflects on you as a person. Taking pride in your tasks will often go unnoticed, but once in a while, it'll pay off.

10. The Hard Way. The right thing to do and the easy thing to do are almost never the same. Nothing that is easy ever has any real meaning. Shortcuts cost. Freeways are shortcuts. Microwave food are shortcuts. Emails are shortcuts. TV is a shortcut. They will exist amongst us, but we have to know that we'll miss out on the scenic views, the restaurant food, the human contact, and the joy of socialization when you take a shortcut. Of course, this applies for bigger things like responsibilities and tasks. Shortcuts can be taken, but approach with caution.

9. Feed your Brain. Be curious. Ask questions. Understand as much as you can. Learn everything, because you'll only be smarter and wiser. If you're not constantly learning something new, then what's the use of your brain if it only tells your body how to function? How could you ever find out your true potential?

8. Power is everything. Only if you know how to use it. You will find that you will be more powerful than others at many points in your life. Maybe you're the biggest kid in class. Or the manager of your workplace. Or the father of your children. It feels great to be in power, because it means control, and you can make people do what you want when you have power. But to truly utilize power in a responsible way is to empower others and to help others. Suppressing others is easy, but making people feel powerful in their own capacity is true power.

7. Enjoy the simple things. I like the way felt ink writes on white paper. I like the potential of that. I like showers, and how they cleanse the dirt and the day off, like a big reset button. I like the sound of children's laughter, and how it originates from a truly happy place. I like snow. How it floats, how it cruches beneath your shoes, how it melts on your tongue. Find the simple things in your life and never forget how the simple things are the things that satisfy your soul.

6. Judging others. Don't do it. You're usually wrong. I know I am. Be aware of who the people are, and what they're capable of, but then just leave it at that. Putting people in categories may seem like a simple solution to understanding them, but nothing is ever absolute. Be wary of people who judge and generalize people - the ignorant are not worthy of your time. Because they won't take the time to try to understand.

5. Life. Life is precious. Every life has been invested with love in some form or another, and every life is important. From that ant to that soldier on the other side, every living thing deserves a fair chance in this world. Not your place to decide it's not.

4. Money. There's never enough to get by, and when you have more, it's still not enough. But the wise will know that money is just currency. It's just paper and metal. Don't go chasing that mighty dollar, because money doesn't buy important things like time, love, and happiness.

3. Women. You know when you've found that perfect girl? When you can share you ambitions and fears, your insecurities and your strengths, your very core of your being with her, and she doesn't judge you for it. Likewise, she can do the same for you. And also, when there's a balance of control between the both of you, whereby choices have to be discussed and weighed, discussions are plentiful, and compromises are made by both of you. When you turn off the romance and lust, there's still your best friend staring back at you when you wake up in the morning. Beauty fades, bodies sag, but conversations can only get better once you've found that special someone.

2. Swearing. I do a lot of it, and it isn't necessarily a terrible thing. It's just language. But swearing does make a person seem unintelligent and angry. Nobody ever swears gracefully. And the more a person swears, the less meaning it has, which is really something you ever want to do - talk with no meaning derived from it. Attentions will perk up for the wrong reason when you swear, and then they will fade because swear words ultimately have no meaning other than anger. And anger isn't attractive.

1. Listening. Shut up and listen. It will do you a world of good when you realize that you don't know everything, and the sooner you realize that and take the time to absorb what the world has to offer, the more enlightened you will be. Nobody ever got smarter by talking.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

First for Everything

This is a tad overdue, but nonetheless worth mentioning because it was such a wonderful experience.

So part of my unofficial duty as a Dad is to ensure that my family gets new experiences, explore new possibilities and the like. Even though I talked about it from time to time, we decided to go ice skating. We had attempted to go once before, but that time the rink was closed off to practice or meets or something or another, so we did miniature golf instead, which is hardly the same thing. And then last Friday, a last minute peek at the rink schedule showed that every Friday was open for public skate - except the current Friday. But Sunday was looking good, the rink in Kirkland was open, which was a hell of a lot closer than the other rinks. And this was a ice skating rink, not a roller rink in Everett that we tried to substitute but ended up not finding.

So on Sunday, we paid 31 bucks (more expensive than my basic math had estimated) and got everyone in skates. Alex went with his Mommy and I took Zoe, and it took seriously less than 2 minutes for her to start panicking and crying. She told me she was afraid and didn't want to skate anymore. Of course, I was trying to keep her calm and focused on the other kids who were seemingly have effortless fun, but she was too focused on the fear to even give it a chance. She wouldn't even budge with me to get off the ice. Seriously took us five minutes to move a few feet to the next exit off the ice, and she had simply given up. I thought, well, that's that. So much for skating. It took my wife and Alex about 20 minutes to go around the rink once, grip by grip along the wall, but when they made it back I was happy to trade off. Alex was a little more ambitious, despite falling a number of times - he was game for more. At first I was holding the wall too, because I had only skated maybe twice in the rink that I remember, maybe just once even. Anyhow, we inched we way along the wall too, with me catching him numerous times before he hit the ground. I liked it when he said, "Thank you for holding my hand, Daddy" after a near-spill.

Anyhow, after a while I got the hang of it, realizing that the wall was a crutch and really, you need to just convince yourself that falling isn't that bad. You just gotta go for it and push ahead. So I got relatively good at it for a newbie, so I was able to hold both Alex's hands and skate slowly. Zoe garnered up her courage and she went on the ice again, and she had a ball. I catered to her princess aspirations and hummed a ballet type song, and she just had fun. She fell once and I came tumbling after, and to avoid slicing off some fingers I had to fling myself over her and land on my knee. But we laughed it off and went on. It was really a nice time, one of those moments that I want to store in my memory for a long, long time.


So work's been work, and drama mounts, gets boring, and mounts again. Well, today out of the blue, I was taunted good naturedly about my work ethic. I was always doing something, either sorting or cleaning or doing something that was related to my department. They compared me to another worker, who did the same thing except she really did a lot of odd things that weren't in her department, mostly just to ward off boredom and keep busy. Anyhow, these guys like to talk and joke around about women and sex, and also they like to text message. Pretty stupid things. Now anyone who knows me knows that I like to joke about sex, but not necessarily brag about it or be rude about it, which is what my co-workers do. They do it within a lot of people's earshot, and they talk about conquests and stupid shit. I generally stay out of it because I don't want to be associated with a sexual harassment lawsuit, but also because I do find it a bit degrading.

Point is, I kinda had the last laugh because my new boss came up to me and asked if I wanted to join the company as a full time employee, instead of a contractor. She said that she's seen me working hard, so she'd like me on the team. This was a little bittersweet for me because yeah, it was acceptance which I like, but at the same time, it was still a job that I took on just to wait till something better comes along. I'll probably apply for the position anyway, and see what happens. The pay bump that my co-worker suggested is lackluster, but I'll see what I can get away with, I suppose.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Haven't talked much about kids, but it's a bit overdue, so here it is.

The kids have been rather cute lately, picking up odd little things wherever influence seeps in. They spent pretty much most of today chanting, "I don't like Candy Corn, no I don't like Candy Corn" which is rather cute.

And yesterday, they were signing one of the Snoopy songs from "Snoopy, Come Home," one of the lesser known ones that I just happened to rent. The one mystery song still remains whereby the two of them will start singing:

"I'm notttt perrrrr-fect. I'm nottttt Perrrr-fect..." I don't really know where they got it from, but it seems aptly appropriate most of the time, which is pretty ironic.

And one of the best ones so far that I think would be perfect for a trip to the bar is actually from me. Sometimes Alex gets a little overexcited while drinking and he'll choke on the water and cough at the dinnertable. So when I say something like that, it's appropriate. But just imagine what people must be thinking when they're out in public, and out of the blue they'll just say:

"Take it easy with the drink."

They might guess that's why Mommy always says about Daddy.

Oh yeah, yesterday during the refreshing walk, this happened: toward the end of the walk, even though I had my iPod on, I heard them giggling and laughing back there so I glanced back and say that they had a new game. Kissing. They would lean in, kiss, and fall back laughing. It was really cute, and sometimes they would go in, linger, maybe have they mouths open, and then kiss, and then laugh heartily. I thought it was funny - at first.

And then they kept doing it. And we were in public.

I didn't want to overreact about it, being how they've never done it before and it's not like they were making out, but it sure felt a little odd after they kept doing it. I know that it's completely innocent, but in my mind I'm thinking, it's always a bit fun to be doing that. After all, that's why we all do it, don't we? So I just gently told them they were being too crazy and by the time we got home, they were done. But it was a strange moment for me.

Kinda like this I suppose.

Oh, and Alex started Playschool a few weeks back, whereby he'll be at a facility whereby he'll interact with other kids, doing fun activities, and squeeze in some learning. He's been saying some cute things too, when a teacher exclaimed after noticing Alex's head that he was sweaty, Alex replied, "Oh. I'm sorry." Zoe started gymnastics, which is just a bit of jumping and climbing. She's doing pretty well, except she does want to constantly embark on her own agenda.

We were feeding the ducks today and Alex and Zoe were conversing with a two year old. Then Alex turned to the Mom and asked, "What's your name?" "Ronnie," she replied.

"That's a good name," reassured Alex.

We've been trying to teach him about talking to strangers. That's not going that well, as you can see.


I took the risk and applied for a different position at work. I don't know if it'll come to anything, but it's a good company and I'd like to stay with it, although not in the same position I'm in now. I just think things won't improve and my patience will once day implode if I stay at my current position for any longer than 9 months.
Today I took the PSP out to Starbucks and used T-mobile's promotional access to their hotspots to test if the internet connection did indeed work outside of my home. The internet worked just fine, and the Locationfree worked pretty good too. The video was a little muddy at first, but it found a better encoding and that worked just fine. So now I know it works for sure. Doing it from home at 100% quality was a little deceiving...

Not a whole lot going on over here. I am thinking about applying for an entry sales position in my company, just to get away from the manufacturing part of it. This past week has been really something for me. The supervisor has been doing time crackdowns - thus making us feel like little kids who've been late from lunch or sitting around talking. A couple of my co-workers effectively redefined laziness and poor work ethics, and one of the most annoyingly chatty people just filled a shipping position on Thursday. One of those guys that you'd never want working with you because he does Schwarzenegger impressions and can't stop talking about how much shipping experience he has. I think it's high time for me to move on.

I was feeling sluggish this afternoon - the kids had their downtime, but I was ready for a nap and they certainly weren't going to give it to me. I didn't feel like going on just to go out, and I don't feel like fighting the crowds at the malls or spending more money, since I have a poor sense of will power. So I decided that I should take the kids out on the wagon and go for a walk. And walk I did. iPod in my ears, I walked to the local mall, which is maybe a mile and a half or so, got the kids a couple of lollipops, and then walked back. It felt good to do the walking, even though I wasn't really dressed for it. I felt energized and not so sluggish. It might start a new trend. Might not. When it gets colder, I don't mind the walking but the kids might think otherwise.

I've been feeling better about the kids too, trying to really watch my attitude and tone around them, and they are so much happier now. I'm happier with myself as well, knowing that I've been a better parent, a more patient parent, and one that doesn't have to rely on volume and threats to get the kids to listen. So that's cool.

Well, bedtime for me. It's 2 in the morning and guess what? Monday morning I have to get up at 4:30am. Prove positive that I'm not cut out to be a morning person.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I just got my LocationFree Base Unit

And I'm never leaving my PSP. Ever.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A little something something

My wife mentioned yesterday that I never write on the blog anymore, and that much is true. Fact of the matter is, not much is really going on. Work, home, tired. That's pretty much about it. And stuff. I buy a lot of crap that I don't need, if that's worth noting.

The latest victim to my lust is the LocationFree Base Station for my PSP. Haven't gotten it yet, so I couldn't tell you exactly if it is everything it's cracked up to be, but basically it's the same as a Slingbox. It takes the TV cable signal and transmits it over the internet to your laptop. The only reason why I was looking at the Sony LocationFree was because it utilizes the laptop, sure, but it can also use the PSP as it's portable device of choice. So I could be at home watching episodes of DVR programs while the kids are watching a DVD, or I could be watching in some coffeeshop TV from home, right on the PSP. Unfortunately for Dansen, I cannot share this joy because the LocationFree's limitation of one license per unit means that I cannot share my TV with him in Japan. Sorry buddy. The other thing is that if I'm within range of the unit, the PSP will form a direct connection via Wifi to the PSP, bypassing the internet, providing a better streaming experience. Hopefully I should be getting this later in the week.

I worked a 50 hour week last week, and wouldn't you know it, Friday was the busiest day of the week. We were just pushing out units so quickly and doing orders left and right that I was just exhausted when I came home. And of course, the effects of that is directly felt on the kids, which I feel absolutely lousy for. Perhaps in the near future, my wife will be able to work lesser nights because honestly, I'm just too wiped out to deal with the kids patiently on some of the nights. On Friday, I dozed off after I got home before dinner, after dinner, and then went to bed early. I have become a parent I don't want to be.

Today in the morning, my wife and I decided to take a walk to the nearby store just to kill some time and we ended up having to walk home in the rain, which wasn't that bad since it wasn't too terribly cold. So that was interesting. I'm glad I didn't take my camera on the walk with me though. I would've spent so much time stressing about that.

Well, here's one thing worth noting. Last week at my work, there was a former astronaut who was brought in to give an inspirational speech and he was really something. Of course, most of the stuff that he had to say was told in a universal sense, with very little direct implication of our company and what it does for business. But he talked about things like teamwork, aiming high, and one of his stories really inspired me. Basically, this guy was born before space was a possibility, and he had wanted to be an jet pilot. But his eyesight had prevented him from doing so, so he became a goose instead, the co-pilot that sits behind the pilot on the jet. When the space program took off, one of the policies stated that to become an astronaut, one would have to be a pilot to qualify, which he didn't. But he went ahead and prepped for it anyway, tacking on airtime, working in that direction to be space bound even though the pilot policy stood firm. For 10 years. Then they changed the policy and suddenly this guy was qualified to do it. And he flew in several missions to space and basically he said, he worked toward a seemingly unachievable goal for 10 years and in the end, his laser sharp focus, his commitment, and his ambition allowed him to achieve his lofty goals. That was really something.

Anyway, it's bedtime for me soon here, so I better get the gears going.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Glanced at the blog and felt immediately bad that I hadn't updated in 10 days. And so much has happened too, with me having a birthday, and Alex having his first day of playschool. But then I realized that none of my friends update their blogs regularly, even on a monthly basis. Then I felt better. Yes, insulting my readers do give me a sense of resolution.

Anyway, the main reason why I've been absent is mostly to do with the PSP, but some of it has to do with my wife being on vacation. Unlike most of our counterparts, we're not doing anything on our vacation, just taking some time off for some sanity. My wife has been so overworked that this week has been a little better. It doesn't make our boy less crazy or our girl less talkative, but it certainly does make her life a wee tad stressful.

So, just to get the PSP out of the way, it's been a fun little multimedia device for me. And when I say multimedia, I really just mean videos and games. MP3s are for my iPod and having photos on the go is overrated. Most people don't use photos on the go unless it's like porn or something. I've never found that feature especially useful for my phone, iPod or PSP. But yeah, I watched "300" on it, and "The Descent" as well. It's nice to be able to catch movies at work, albeit the feature are interrupted - but the movie still gets watched. And podcasts do have to be converted, but it's worth the trouble for the most part. Just bought a cheap pouch for it today (cheap because the PSP Slim accessories aren't even out yet.) and so now I look like a bona-fide geek, with a PSP hanging off my belt loop. No worries, am married and have kids - doesn't matter how I seem to the opposite sex anymore. Just as long as I'm not creepy, that's good enough for me.

My birthday came and went mostly without incident - since the aforementioned gadget was my gift, I just got some sweets and cards from the family and that was it. Didn't do a whole lot, but I didn't work. Which was nice. Working 10 hours on my birthday isn't exactly my idea of a good time. But that was fine. Alex started his playschool which was very exciting for him, spending 2 1/2 hours twice a week in an environment with a teacher and other kids. He doesn't seem to like to share about his experiences, but he did miss Zoe when he came out of it last time. The first time he went though, it was tough to tell Zoe that she couldn't stay, that she couldn't play. Instead she had to have some Mommy time instead. Cost was a factor, but it was also about getting him ready for school, whereas she still have a couple years to go before we had to think about school.

I decided yesterday that I should start encoding all my home movies to mp4. I had begun a previous project like this, converting all my home videos to DVD, but the thing of it is that it is still sorta accessible, but still not. And I'm never happy with the encode because it gets to be too time consuming. With the mp4, the format is small enough not to kill my HD space, and actually plays on the PSP, though that is not really the main reason for doing it. I just want to have the access to all the videos at my fingertips. Don't know why, but it seems like a nice idea.

DUDE. Today we decided to go to Gene Coulon park because it's a nice park that my wife's never seen, and it had a pretty cool playground that I wanted to show the kids. We then went to Fry's to pick up the PSP case and then we were going to go to Walmart. But I was hungry so we wandered to that neighborhood to see what there was to eat. We saw Arby's, and was considering Popeyes' until I saw the drive thru window and decided that it was simply going to be another different kind of fast food. So we were going to go to Billy McHale's but in the same parking lot was an interesting sort of building - Sorta like a barn or a worn down house. My wife read the slogan "Steak. Crabcakes. Peanuts on the Floor." and I was hooked. Walking inside Jimmy Mac's Roadhouse was a bit weird, the front door looked like a screen door made out of chicken wire, and when we went inside, there were peanuts of the floor alright. The ambience is really something, like we had wandered into a Patrick Swayze movie or something. The menu dropped our jaws at first, most entrees were starting at 21 bucks. But we ordered the half-rack ribs, and the kids were splitting a kids meal.

The first hook were the rolls - they were warm and slightly sweet, and with butter they were just plain delicious. I ate two and wanted more, and my wife ate the other half. And right after we finished it, another tray of rolls came and got devoured. Our meal came and they had divided the single kids meals into two full baskets, which was pretty nice of them. Our half-rack of ribs were huge, certainly more than I had expected. The beans were awesome, and the sweet potato fries were... different, but not bad. The ribs were good, and I just sat there with a smile on my face. I truly appreciate good food and it makes me happy. I'd recommend the place even if it is a bit gimmicky, though I'd suggest going not during their busy time. Because they were busy during dinner time. We were there at around 5 and it was just about right.

So there, all caught up now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Heart PSP

Yes, I actually managed to tear myself away from the PSP to go back on the laptop - I've been playing with the settings and trying to get the encoding figured out and I think I've done a pretty darn good job. Aside from the podcasts that I've converted to fit the PSP, (some podcasts run at 640x480 to accommodate the Apple TV, but PSP max resolution is 480x272, but actually even smaller if you wanna get technical.) I can now fit an hour and a half movie in about 800 MB, so that's four movies on my 4 Gig card. 4 Movies! And it looks fantabulous. I watched Deadwood at work and it was no different than watching it on TV, except portable. The resolution is clear, the colors are nice, and there's no stutter despite reading from the card.

Been playing mostly Chili Con Carnage, a third person shooter with plenty of stereotypes and irresponsible gameplay. The main character goes on a revenge spree when his father is killed on his birthday (present was a box of kittens) when a combine harvester runs him over. And then it's just crazy from then on. It's run and gun with points for style, loads of fun, even though the loading time to get to the game is actually longer than each individual level.

But I am more than happy that I got the PSP instead of the iPod touch, mostly because it's better all around. I love touch screen as much as the next geek, but there's still something to be said about buttons. I can rewind, delete, manage the data instinctively without wondering what to touch, which is good. Think keyboard versus touch screen input. It's cool and fancy, but mechanical memorization still beats pokey pokey.


I don't know what the kids have been taking, but they're constantly on a crazy high. And when they're not, they're either very emotional or just whiny. But I found out that there's a direct correlation between how I treat the kids and how tired I am. We did the simply math of when I wake up at 4:30 in the morning, and when I get home at 4:15 in the afternoon, I've already been up for about 12 hours. And then to have these two kids who are excited to see their Dad and want to punch him in the groin and jump on his eyeballs, it gets to be a little overwhelming. Sometimes I come home and hide in the other room so that I could snack on something without them wanting some. No, I'm not a bastard, I don't mind sharing, but after I snack, I can still eat dinner. Kids are different.

But the kids are a lot of fun when the parents don't take themselves too seriously. For example, I was wearing my Nintendo DS shirt and there's a line graphic of a DS on the back of the shirt, so they like to poke my back and pretend they're playing a game. And their favorite game, unfortunately, is still shaking their little moneymakers and saying, "My butt, my butt..." Of course, I laugh because it's so amazingly silly and wrong.


Anyway, I'm out of thoughts. Getting to be bedtime anyway.

Bored at Work

By the way, it's boxes of instruction manual, a tape machine, and a counter for the number of units shipped. Yes, I was there for 10 hours and we shipped 13. It was a slow day.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Eloped with PSP

I thought about this long and hard last night, about really wanting a PSP and also about how everyone had the Black PSP, and then I decided to hell with it, I was just going to get the bundle today. I've read about the Piano Black PSP being a bit of a fingerprint magnet, and also from the photos I can't really tell if the Black PSP looks like a cool weapon or just a void. So I thought about the White, which was okay if not a bit glaring, and then I realized that the Daxter Bundle was actually Silver, which you can see, is a pretty nice color in itself. It's not just matte or glossy black, and though my iPod and iBook are white, I'm certainly glad it's not the friggin' birth control Star Wars one (I'm a big geek! Look at me!). All and all, I was pretty hyped about bringing the PSP home.

Impressions? It's perfect for me. In fact, I've played with the browser, the photo viewer, the videos on the memory card, and the music from the memory card more than the games itself. The video encoding is a bit fussy, so much so that most of the crap that I encoded in preparation for the PSP doesn't actually work. I think I have to encode it with Ffmpeg or something like that. Anyway, after some experimentation, I think I've found a setting that works just fine. The upside is that the video playback is nice. Smooth, high-quality (as high as you encode it), and nice bright crisp colors and contrast. Reading from the memory card is no problem. The photo viewer is a bit soft, but probably has to do with the resolution of my photos being too high than the viewer itself. The browser is tweaky, certainly doable in desperate times but it's as reliable as Netscape was in 1991. The music player is pretty slick, with some visualization that's slightly off but quite pretty.

But c'mon, the PSP is about the games, right? Although I haven't spent quality time with the games, from what I did play is pretty damn impressive. It is PS2 type graphics, and even a little crisper than that. The environments are nice, the colors are vast, and playing through a little bit of Vice City I just got nostalgic. Newer music (I got Vice City because of the licensed music, Liberty City has generic music), and I would just love to drive around and explore Vice City all over again. The loading time does take a bit of time, but I imagine it's to ensure that the gameplay is preloaded or something. I'm happy to sacrifice loading time for more in depth gameplay. The DS is fun, but a lot of times I feel like it either doesn't go deep enough, or it's too casual of a gaming experience. I'll let you know more as I play more.

I've read a lot about people complaining about the PSP, that it isn't as fun as the DS, that it doesn't have a lot of good games as the DS, and I have to say that it really depends on what kind of bloke or gal you are. For me, I'm more than a casual gamer/computer user, so I know how to utilize the different facets of the PSP, such as movies, music, and the Wi-fi, so it's a great little system for me. For the casual gamer who doesn't rip or encode videos, it's virtually a game machine, and yeah, it's probably not worth it. For the hard core gamer, the gaming is not going to be as immersive as your home console, and you'd probably be more into the hacking and the homebrewing - something that I'll stay out of. I read the reviews of the games and look at the screens before I buy, so there's going to be a handful of games that I know that I'll enjoy.

Anyway, those are the first impressions. I'm sure there's more to come.


I've been more relaxed the last few days - I think I'm glad that I didn't work Friday, or maybe something just clicked in me and I relaxed a bit more. I had more fun with the kids this weekend, just feeling more in control and thus being able to handle the kids better. We goofed around a bunch, and had a lot of fun shaking our butts and chasing each other. It felt good to have fun with the kids, because there's just been too many days of feeling like I'm a man on an island. I think being able to see my wife and be myself on Friday really boosted my spirits.

Well, more to do, and I gotta work early.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Go Ahead, Have a Cardiac Arrest

Because I can totally sustain blood flow to your brain until an AED arrives, at which time I'll be happy to shock you.

Yes, I applied for a CPR class at work because I've always wanted to take CPR - it just seems like one of those things that people should know, even if they never ever use it in their lifetimes. But because of either the cost or the time involved, I just never made it top priority. But if work is paying for it and I get to skip out on some work, then yeah, I'll go ahead and do it.

And I'm glad I did. If you've never had the opportunity to take a class, then at least watch something on Youtube where some people have made some pretty good videos about how to administer CPR. It's not official training and I wouldn't advise "practicing on a stuffed animal" as the video advises, but it's really not difficult. Of course, a class would be better, but you get whatever you can get.

The class itself was taught by a guy who seemingly walked out of a sitcom. He was over-the-top, cracking jokes and actually waiting earnestly for a laugh. He would say jokes at inappropriate times, and his facial expressions were probably too animated for a healthcare professional. But when he was serious, he was fine. And even though the class was aimed for the workplace (since we were working in a place that made AEDs, and it was assumed every third person would know CPR), I got enough of it to possibly do what I had to do if the situation came up.

The notable thing about yesterday's class wasn't so much the training, but the odd things that stood out. They were having some trouble with the video setup, and of course I stepped in and fixed the keyboard (batteries were dead), the sound from the video (kill the other input sources, boost input 1 which was the main audio) and even enact a choking patient while the instructor molested me from behind. I had to feign choking, and he gave me the maneuver, and made a popping sound, to which I responded by pointing to the ground and said, "My keys!" He got some laughs and I thought to myself -- I'm such an attention whore.

But seriously, I think CPR classes are a good idea for anyone who haven't had the chance to take one. Chances are, I'll never get to practice it on anyone. But it's a good feeling to know that I would know what to do if I found myself in such a situation.


Work was a little disappointing yesterday - while I was at the CPR class, they went and assigned the overtime spots, which meant that I missed out and why I'm home today. But more than that, the new co-worker that I was getting along with turned out to be a terrible worker with no work ethics. He had started out strong, but when it was busy yesterday, he just disappeared and was found chatting up another co-worker. Because there's only one real supervisor to the 50 something production workers, there was no real supervision or anyone to yell at him to get back to work. The other way that was going to happen was if one of his co-workers ratted on him.

I know that's the way things are, but I can't help but feel a little responsible because I had to train him. Of course, I didn't exactly train him to do that, but it felt like a trust was breached somehow. In the end, I didn't really say anything about that to him, but I suspect that it'll probably get in the way of my association with him.

It's so hard to find friends that you like.


Kinda having a lazy Friday - My wife and Zoe are sleeping on the couch and Alex is watching E.T. I like that movie but I'm just all blubber by the end of it. In fact, during the CPR training video, I was surprised at how uncomfortable I was seeing children in mock scenarios laying on the ground, pretending to not have a heartbeat. It was more than disconcerting, I was starting to get a little upset.

Probably stressed is what I am.


So I got three PSP games now, and still no PSP. Hopefully this Thursday is the release date, even though I know Sony will likely push it to the 24th or something. Buggers.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sony Open Letter

Dear Sony,

It was always a little fishy that you set release dates for Europe and Japan for the PSP 2000/Slim/Lite but neglected to inform the American consumers on when exactly the US release date is. It was so much of a problem that some retailers accidently began selling the Daxter bundles a few days early before they realized it.

Well, I went by what lack of information was available on the net, namely Amazon which stated that the PSP would be shipped on the 10th of September. Today is the 10th, and nobody seems to be selling the Slim at all, and the few places that do list them are listed as pre-orders, with dates from Sept. 20th to Sept. 24th.

Now my birthday isn't technically till the 25th, but I've been anxious to get a PSP ever since it was announced at E3. However, I'd strongly suggest not goofing around with your US consumers and just set a damn release date and stick by it. It's just mean to mess around with my emotions like that.



Sunday, September 9, 2007


Seriously, the waiting is driving me bonkers. Having to wait another day to get a PSP. I know that I am pretty spoiled, since it is my birthday present and my birthday is technically 15 more days ahead, but after the accidental early release of the Daxter Bundle by Target last week, I was pretty hopeful that someone else was going to slip up and accidently sell one. Oh well, looks like I'll just have to be a good boy and wait. It is however, surprising to me that not a lot of retailers are even aware of the release date, let alone the product redesign itself.

Am I a dick?

It's a rhetorical question, please don't answer that. It's better not knowing.

One of the core reasons for getting a PSP is for the mobile video. One of the reasons for wanting mobile video is so that I can watch podcasts, and even movies on the go, namely during the boring parts of life. For a while, I was watching videos at work on my Palm, badly encoded, terrible sounding videos during my lunch because that was like "me" time. I didn't want to talk to anyone, didn't want to socialize, just wanted to watch my videos. I was content - I'm not one to socialize for the sake of socializing - in fact today when I was grocery shopping, I ran into a lot of former co-workers, but I didn't make much effort doing any catching up. My practical standpoint is that they have their lives, I have mine, and since they didn't intertwine before and most likely won't in the future, I don't like to have to feign interest in their lives just to be polite. It's a very selfish stance I realize, and anti-social, but seriously, we're not social folk. Any extra time we have is prioritized with family or my wife. Or myself.

But the flip side of that argument is that I do mean to use the PSP from time to time when I'm with the kids. Like when I'm at the playground and I'm bored, or when the kids are in the toy aisle spending about half hour just playing with the toys. Yes, I can see some eyes rolling, like in why I aren't playing with the kids, or at least just watch them. Thing is, I do watch them when they're playing, and I try to play with either Alex or Zoe but usually I don't get too involved with either one because I don't want to lose sight of the other. Having two kids in a public place is usually a triangulation thing, whereby I have to be able to see both of them. Does a PSP help? Well, not really, but at least I would be able to watch a low attention span podcast like Diggnation whereby it's just two guys talking most of the time.

I don't know, I'm aware that there are people out there who are so buried in their technology that they fail to realize the world around them, and I'm likely one of them, but it's hard to get out of my admittedly selfish ways. It's a transition I am still not be able to make successfully.

I'm currently trying Memories, with a little accent on the e. I used to remember how to do that on a Mac keyboard, but I can't be bothered to look it up now. Anyway, it's basically an offline journaling program that's freeware, and even though usually I just write directly on the blog, to have a journal that I can partake in offline feels better. Can't really explain it. So I'll try that for a while, write in the journal and then paste it on the blog. Then at least I'll have the blog offline if the whole internet suddenly decided to implode.

Which it will, you know.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Dorky Apple Post

This is more or less a further discussion on Dave's iPod Touch decision.

I do think that they're either going to have notes, or even some kind of mail program on there so that you could compose a draft offline and then sent it when you get to a hotspot. If Apple doesn't include anything like that, a third party would undoubtedly fill that gap. Even though Wifi is seemingly everywhere, free wifi is certainly another thing. Even in Microsoft neighborhoods, there's only a handful of places with free wifi. The most notable one is Marymoor Park, which is a huge park that I guess, a lot of Microsoft employees go hang out during lunches or whatnot, and so they just made most of the park a free hotspot, which is pretty cool. Downside is that parking is a buck, but I suppose that's not that big of a deal.

For me, if I had the money, I would probably shell it out for the touch, since my "Cream of Crop" playlist is in the neighborhood of 5 Gigs, but it would still run a little tight. I wouldn't spring the extra hundred for the 16 Gig, because a 400 dollar iPod just seems a bit high.

I was going to use a analogy with my wife, whereby the PSP is like the well-rounded, practical marrying type and the iPod Touch was like the hot looker that turned heads but overall was more about presentation (though the function was definitely top notch, even if the storage was meager) and gadget lust. But I didn't get very far with that analogy because it made the term "wives" seem like a consolation prize.

But yesterday, my used copy of GTA: Vice City Stories came in the mail which was very exciting, and this afternoon I spend quite some time acquiring a PSP/Mac syncing program in order to coordinate all the media onto the PSP. I encoded a second movie (Van Wilder II: The Rise of Taj) in addition to the first (The Promise) without even knowing for sure if it would work with the PSP. So, all I need is the PSP and I can start having some fun!

I'm totally guessing on this, but Sony had neglected to make a big deal of this PSP Lite and Slim release, so when stores started getting stock on Thursday and Friday, some retailers, Target included, started putting them on shelves prematurely. One of the bundles was selling for 169.99, which is a great price, and some people online got a hold of it. I tried on Thursday but to no avail. Target had since taken that price offline, so I'll be hounding the papers for more details.

Well, geek out.

Alex's Fourth Birthday

It was such a noticable difference - from his first birthday whereby you had to rip a sliver of birthday wrapping to unsuccessfully persuade him to unwrap the present to yesterday, his fourth birthday. Yesterday he would begin to open the present, say, "There's something weird inside..." and then see the present and say, "Wow! That's cool! That's awesome!" He even diplomatically extended that to clothes, even though most boys his age could really care less about the duds. "Wow! Cool pants!" But he made out pretty good, and he was spending some quality time with some of his gifts.

One of his gifts was a portable extension of the kid's learning videogame system, Leapster. We had gotten the system last year, but it was seldom put to use because the interface was actually more complicated and not exactly a cinch to hook up (for everyone else anyway), but the portable one was more of a touch screen, looked better on the smaller screen, and was more logical than a big system. Anyway, he took that in the car on the way to the airport to drop off my Mom, but then on the way to Puyallup, he got sick. Which confirmed for once and for all, he inherited one of my less desirable traits, motion sickness. So, like me, he can be handsome and witty and crazy, but put me on a chair and spin me a couple revolutions and I'm as good as dead.

But we had fun at the Puyallup Fair yesterday, with us eating a whole lotta junk like "pink clouds", or in adult speak, Cotton Candy, and other kinds of junk. We didn't spend as much as we did last year - but that's pretty relative anyway. You can't go to the fair and not have your wallet gouged for the overpriced food and rides. One of the photos on the slideshow shows a fire engine one story off the ground - the kids are running shotgun in that, arms braced and head between their knees. The employees were actually waving to them and talking to them, but they were definitely white knuckling it. We'd like to think of it as a bonding experience, when two siblings experience what is seemingly a life and death situation, they grow closer together.

After that, we went back to Grandma's house and had the bluest cookie monster cake. It was disgustingly blue and doesn't even come off skin well. I suspect it's done some slight pigmentation damage due to the amount of food coloring used. We didn't get to wish him Happy Birthday one last time because they both fall asleep in the car, but I'm sure he had just that.

Alex's Fourth Birthday

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Damn You, Steve Jobs

Seriously, Apple really has me under its thumb. I was doing just fine and dandy and then they come along and mess with my reality, leaving me completely flustered with my options. I'm writing this because Dave evidently counts on me to give him the Apple scoop. I'm sure he's caught the news too, but for those who could care less, here's my lowdown on the Apple updates.


So I'm actually happy that the Nano has video capability, making it one of the first portable and affordable video players. It's not the first, and not the cheapest personal media player out there, but anyone who has an iPod knows iPod is really just half of the equation - iTunes is the other half. It makes getting music, organizing it, transferring it, and getting media for it a cinch. And unlike most other digital jukeboxes, it evolves over time.

The Classic iPod is now at an obscene 160 Gigs, which is something monstrous. I have hard drives that are smaller than that. My music collection alone is only about 15 gigs, and even when all my podcasts are decked out, it's only about 6 Gigs. What the hell would someone do with all that space? I suppose a buttload of movies could fit on that. Who knows.

And of course, the iPod Touch. When the iPhone came out, I thought that if they had that without the phone part, I would be sold on it. And for a while, when the rumors started swirling about a touch iPod, I was pretty tempted, but I was sure that it would just be an iPod, nothing fancy. And then I watched yesterday's presentation. 8 Gigs, Wi-Fi, keyboard, Safari, Youtube. And then today, ironically while searching for the PSP Bundle, I wandered into the Apple Store and played with the iPhone. And I was Smitten.

But anyway, it's all very confusing in my head. I told my wife about it and she's resistant due to the cost, which I don't blame her. It's $299, which is a far cry from the $169 I had tried to sell her on. I told her that with the PSP, with the $169 core, the $25 game, the $40 memory card, possibly the $20 case and some more games, it's easily the same price. I think that amused her even less. But there's my breakdown.

PSP Pros:

Actual Gaming portable, with big boy games.
Cheaper. Kinda.
Multimedia goodness.

PSP Cons:

Data entry for web surfing is phone-like, which is goofy.
Browser is supposedly iffy.
Doesn't do flash video or 640x480, which means a lot of video conversion.


How much web surfing will I do on the PSP?
Will future firmware fix the 640 x 480 problem?
Will I rely on Wi-Fi that much?

iPod Touch Pros:

Seamless integration with iTunes, less conversion
Freakin' touch interface, can download apps for iPod since it's running an OS.
Safari, QWERTY text entry... That's cool.
Youtube integration.

iPod Touch Cons:

No Games! Will Video wear off?
Two iPods is gadget redundancy.
Basically getting it mostly for the video playback and touch novelty.
Youtube is not the complete library, since Youtube is only starting to encode H.264 compatible videos that iPhones and Touch iPods can read. Only 2 of my videos were searchable.

iPod Argument:

How often am I around Wi-Fi and if I'm mostly at home, aren't I already on my laptop anyway? Touch keypad and all, will I even use it?
iPod clickwheel I can navigate without looking, but the touch will need to be flicked - so skipping a song or anything might be too much trouble.
I might get jacked - they are pricey little gadgets.

Well, this actually helped. I think I'll stick with the PSP. Even though the Touch is fancier and has slightly more convenient video options, the fact that I'm not always around Wi-Fi, and the video only benefits of the touch iPod (as opposed to the video plus gaming benefits of the PSP) make the PSP the logical choice. I have to do a bit more maintenance for the PSP, but I think I'll get more mileage out of it. It's like the practical and the pretty. The practical PSP wins out.

But the Touch is sooooo pretty.