Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Time for a new look...

I was getting tired of the old look, so I thought I'd try a new one. I'll have to migrate all the old setup to this new template, but I just don't have the time or energy right now. I'll turn on the default commenting system (doesn't require a blogger account anymore!), and re-add the Haloscan commenting later. Along with all the other things I need to do... that should get done sometime before I come home. Anything that you'd like to see back, remind me...

Love to all!

Friday, February 18, 2005

A post with substance

Ok, unlike my usual rantings, I'll try to make this one worth the time you spend here... and maybe for the times you've checked back only to find nothing has changed...

See... I could just stop right there, and that would be sufficient ... in my opinion anyway. Shelley got a bunch of pictures uploaded from Ryan's birthday party (and other various events... like tearing up the basement...) to the Latest Photos album

But WAIT, there's MORE! I got a brief hop on a UH-60 Blackhawk today, so I've got even MORE PICTURES ... In case you don't know what that is:

Get the idea?

I'll upload all the pictures to the Album after I get them organized, but there are some really good ones in there! Since they are such high resolution, I need to play around with the uploading process. Pixagogo automatically reduces the display size, so that it's not painful to view, but the upload (at a little over 3M per picture) is a slow and tedious process, especially if I uploaded everything I shot... let's just say it's a good thing this is digital. The cost of processing the pictures would have really added up by now...

Remember when I asked my mom to recount her recollection of the "Atari 2600 Xmas"? Here's what she had to say:

Hmmm...my version of the Atari 2600 Xmas, early 1980's. That was a LONG time ago. As my fuzzy memory recalls, although I don't believe it was the actual beginning of your geekdom, I believe it had a significant impact. As the song goes, "all I want for Xmas" was the Atari 2600, and that particular game. Well, of course, he got them both, being the spoiled rotten brat he was, but I only wrapped the game and presented that. Then told him I just thought maybe he could play it on one of his friend's Atari. The look on his face was akin to having told him his dog died (I had seen that face before actually), so I quickly told him that "or, you could play it on the Atari that's hidden behind the TV stand." THAT was the look I wanted for Christmas. The hugs and kisses were worth his official launch into geekdom. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

... damn ... that's pretty much exactly how I remembered it too. I was hoping for a bit more detail that I had either forgotten or was never aware of... guess not. But can you imagine the cruelty of teasing your child like that? I can't wait until MY son REALLY wants something... then I can enjoy the "dead dog" look as well! Who knew parenting could be so FUN?


So have I atoned for my extended absences yet? What? You want MORE? Ok... here's a few more tidbits:

That should be enough to hold you over until I get all of them uploaded...


Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day! Happy Birthday Ryan!

A good friend of mine has been publically dreading this day on his 'blog, and he said there was no reason for this particular date (Feb 14) to be celebrated. That made me curious enough to spend a few minutes searching, and found this reason (among many others):

St. Valentine's Story
Let me introduce myself. My name is Valentine. I lived in Rome during the third century. That was long, long ago! At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius. I didn't like Emperor Claudius, and I wasn't the only one! A lot of people shared my feelings.

Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men to volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families. As you might have guessed, not many men signed up. This made Claudius furious. So what happened? He had a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. So Claudius decided not to allow any more marriages. Young people thought his new law was cruel. I thought it was preposterous! I certainly wasn't going to support that law!

Did I mention that I was a priest? One of my favourite activities was to marry couples. Even after Emperor Claudius passed his law, I kept on performing marriage ceremonies -- secretly, of course. It was really quite exciting. Imagine a small candlelit room with only the bride and groom and myself. We would whisper the words of the ceremony, listening all the while for the steps of soldiers.

One night, we did hear footsteps. It was scary! Thank goodness the couple I was marrying escaped in time. I was caught. (Not quite as light on my feet as I used to be, I guess.) I was thrown in jail and told that my punishment was death.

I tried to stay cheerful. And do you know what? Wonderful things happened. Many young people came to the jail to visit me. They threw flowers and notes up to my window. They wanted me to know that they, too, believed in love.

One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit me in the cell. Sometimes we would sit and talk for hours. She helped me to keep my spirits up. She agreed that I did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and going ahead with the secret marriages. On the day I was to die, I left my friend a little note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. I signed it, "Love from your Valentine."

I believe that note started the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine's Day. It was written on the day I died, February 14, 269 A.D. Now, every year on this day, people remember. But most importantly, they think about love and friendship. And when they think of Emperor Claudius, they remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and they laugh -- because they know that love can't be beaten!

I don't know if it's true or not, but it makes a good story, doesn't it?

Anyway, sounds like the birthday party was a big success. Ryan was surrounded with friends, family, and lots of love... just like everyone should be on their birthday.

Happy Birthday son!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Fishing is usually boring ...

I think I'll start a new photo album and call it: Things I Saw Today, and You Didn't. Most of my pictures already fit into that category, but more than a few of them are more unique than others.

How's this for a fishing boat?

No, those aren't fishing poles sticking up; those are .50 caliber guns on the back, and a SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) on the front. This is just one of the patrol boats that buzz the port here, and I'm sure they do a great job of discouraging the local fishermen from wandering too close.

Tomorrow is Ryan's birthday, and Shelley is having a party for him. My mom and dad are there, and I'm sure he'll get plenty of attention from everyone there. I would give anything to be there.

It's also Valentine's Day, another reason to wish I was home. I owe Shelley way too many special days and nights, and they're really starting to add up. I can only send so many flowers and cards before they start losing meaning.

They just completed some work on the house, so Shelley hasn't had a chance to get the computer hooked back up. I'm hoping she'll do it soon so she can send me some recent pictures. I'll get them posted as soon as she does, I promise!

Got to run, love to all!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

I'm still here!

Sorry it's been a while since I posted... as usual I get wrapped up in my day-to-day activities (or lack of) that I forget to post here. I actually started this post yesterday, but through a series of unfortunate events (... that phrase should bring me some traffic from the search engines ...), I lost the entire post. I just couldn't find the will to type it all over again, so I put it off until today.

Nothing overly exciting happening lately, just playing with the new camera and learning all it's tricks. This things is simply amazing, and I can't wait to start taking more interesting pictures than this:

... though there are a couple interesting things about this picture: It was taken from the 10th floor of my apartment building and they're probably looking through our trash for credit card receipts and other things people are dumb enough to throw away. Rest assured I shred and burn identifying stuff before it gets put in the garbage.

I've got a TON of pictures to upload, but I need to come up with a better system for sorting the pictures. Now that each picture is a little more than twice as big as the old one, a little self-restraint is needed. You won't notice a difference when you're viewing, but I notice it when I'm uploading...

...gets to park wherever he wants...
This was right in front of our building...

...also gets to park wherever he wants...
... but this wasn't ... yet.

That's about all I've got for current events! I do have a little bit of nostalgia to share with you, but I'm going to get my mom to give her version of events first. I'll set the stage for you mom: Christmas morning, early 1980's. The gift was Swordquest:Earthworld, a game for the Atari 2600. For those of you that don't know what that is, think Playstation but with the graphical power of Pong (I know... another geek reference that probably went over most everyone's head). For a visual reference, here's a screenshot of one my favorite Atari 2600 games, Adventure:

While I was searching for that picture, I found a website that had an exact duplication of this game available to play using Flash on the website!

And now a screenshot from a current game on the Playstation:

Just a slight improvement... hmm? Well I just picked up the Atari Anthology which has over 80 games from Atari 2600 on it. That's where I saw the Swordquest games (Earth/Fire/Waterworld), and reminded me of that Christmas morning, so, there you go mom. Let's hear your version of the events of that Christmas, either in the comments here, or email it to me. Then I'll give my version.

By the way, it's only 9 more days until the little guys birthday ... I think it's some kind of holiday too, I don't remember. I'll have to check my calendar.

Love to all!