Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Best



My mom, an absolute saint, passed away on Monday, December 26, 2005 at 4:04 PM Eastern Standard Time, aged 77 years and nine months.

No matter how much you think you are prepared for this, you cannot imagine the pain of the loss. Tell your parents how much you love them ... right now.

We will see you later, mom. We love you.

-- Don

P.S. She was very active in the Red Hat Society, and the above picture is related to that, hence the hat.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Rocky Mount

I was in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, last week for a job interview * CTO of a software company.

It went quite well, and they're vetting me now.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

All The Best,

* Don

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dandy Warhols

"You Were The Last High" by The Dandy Warhols * best song ever?

Could be.

James Blunt on Saturday Night Live

On SNL this past weekend, James Blunt performed his hauntingly beautiful song "You're Beautiful".

(STRONG CHRISTMAS GIFT HINT HERE)

Lyrics from his web site. Good stuff ...

My life is brilliant.
My life is brilliant.
My love is pure.
I saw an angel.
Of that I'm sure.
She smiled at me on the subway.
She was with another man.
But I won't lose no sleep on that,
'Cause I've got a plan.

You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
I saw you face in a crowded place,
And I don't know what to do,
'Cause I'll never be with you.

Yeah, she caught my eye,
As we walked on by.
She could see from my face that I was,
Fucking high,
And I don't think that I'll see her again,
But we shared a moment that will last till the end.

You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
I saw you face in a crowded place,
And I don't know what to do,
'Cause I'll never be with you.
You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
There must be an angel with a smile on her face,
When she thought up that I should be with you.
But it's time to face the truth,
I will never be with you.

All The Best,

* Don

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lost In The Woods?

Reminder:

To get out of the woods if lost: Walk downhill until you find a stream, then walk downstream until you come to a road.

Simple.

All The Best,

* Don

Friday Morning Music

Coding, headphones on, listening to Usher's "Yeah".

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Baby Shower Cake



Patti made this cake recently for a baby shower. It's all chocolate, even the white ... that's modelling chocolate.

She even made the little Teddy Bear candies.

And the taste was incredible. All from scratch, but of course.

Amazing.

All The Best,

-- Don

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Friday, November 18, 2005

Wedding Anniversary number 27

This past weekend (just after Nov. 10, our 27th anniversary), Patti and I visited the Finger Lakes region of New York for a three day romantic getaway.

Woo-hoo!!

We drove up on Friday, stopping in Williamsport at the incredible Bullfrog Brewery for a wonderful lunch.

Then, we drove past our hotel (in Painted Post, NY) and directly to Ravines Winery to pick up some bottles of their Most Excellent Meritage (rhymes with "heritage") wine. Picked up some other wines, too.

Left there and headed to our hotel to check in, then to downtown Corning, NY (a really nice, quaint little town) for dinner.

The best part? I stopped in a cigar shop while walking to the restaurant and picked up a Fuente Opus X cigar ($20 and worth every penny)! Woo-hoo!!

Nice dinner, then back to the hotel to crash. We were beat.

Next morning ... Saturday ... after breakfast, we headed up to the Keuka Lake Wine Trail. We were electric with excitement (and basking in "afterglow", ifyouknowwhatImean wink wink).

First stop was Chateau Renaissance Wine Cellars. Their red wines were ... uh ... "odd" tasting, but their sickening-sweet white and blush wines (including -- get this -- Dandelion and Cranberry) were, surprisingly, really good. Got about four bottles, including cranberry to enjoy at Thanksgiving. I knew, then, that this was going to be a great day.

Left there and drove through Hammondsport (note to self: Next time, stay at Hammondsport), a very nice little hamlet by the lake. Really nice, almost a "college town" feel to it.

(An aside: GO PENN STATE! "WE ARE..."!!!!!!!)

Went from there to Bully Hill Vineyards, which was more commercial/large-scale/tourist-y. They had a schitck they went through during tasting where the kind of put down wine snobs, which I found offending. I'm not a wine snob, but I am somewhat educated about wine and do appreciate the finer nuances of wine. I mean, why not learn and appreciate a craft where people work hard and pick grapes in the rain (all grapes are hand-picked, mind you) rather than just visit wineries to get drunk. Wine is like love ... to be appreciated rather than just experienced.

Nevertheless, we did enjoy Bully Hill and picked up some more wine (but of course). Patti had enough foresight to have us stop at Wegmans in Corning on Friday night and get some olives, bread, cheese ("Dubliner", our favorite), apples and roasted red peppers, and we snacked before leaving Bully Hill and heading to the jewel of the Finger Lakes, Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars.

Visit the web site, but long story short: Dr. Frank was the genius who figured out how to grow European grapes in the Finger Lakes region.

Let me back up: During the weekend we visited the Finger Lakes, they were having an "event", the Holiday something-or-other, where -- for $45 per person or $50 per couple -- you got a glass and then could taste wines, get some food, etc etc.

BFD.

But the thing is, "those" people where everywhere. Made for some crowds.

(In fact, after Bully Hill, we went to Heron Hill Winery, but it was so crowded that we left without any tastings. It's a popular spot just because it's gorgeous, not because of the wine.)

(A lot like me: women like be because of my dashingly handsome looks and often miss my intelligence, wit, Olympic-like build and cat-like reflexes)

(The heron (it's a bird, dummy) has a very special meaning to me. I'm absolutely amazed at the bird, and when I was going through a "tough time" in my life in about 1994, in a way I can't explain here, the Blue Heron really touched my heart. Then, in 2003, after the tragic passing of my nephew -- Harry -- at only age 16, a Blue Heron flew over me in a moment that cannot be explained outside of "a sign from God". I can't explain it here, but trust me -- the Blue Heron is very special to me.)

Where was I? Oh yeah ... Dr. Frank.

Well, at Dr. Frank's, they put the masses into a separate building, and let those of us who actually know something about wine into a room for tasting. This room was roped off, and only a limited number of people were allowed to enter at a time.

Great, GREAT experience! Fantastic wine (France, watch your back!). The guy explained the history of Dr. Frank's winery, let us taste ... it was the highlight of the day, to be sure. I impressed the guy with my tasting description of Cabernet Sauvignon versus Baco Noir ... yes, I'm that good. *AHEM*

Now, picture this: I'm driving, so I'm tasting the wine. As in maybe a teaspoon per taste. Meanwhile, Patti is drinking anywhere from 5/8- to one ounce per tasting. Five tastings per winery. So after three wineries, she's already had up to 15 ounces of wine.

See where I'm going with this????

We left Dr. Frank's and headed to Hunt Country vineyards (be careful! Do NOT get your "Mords Wixed" when pronouncing "Hunt Country").

Great time there. "Dave", the guy that was our host, was great. We kind of shuffled off to the side and had our own private tasting. He appreciated our knowledge and appreciation for his craft, and he rewarded us with an incredible, in-depth experience. Thanks, Dave, for a great time.

After that ... I can't remember the wineries. I was being careful to not overdo it, but Patti was ... well ... let's just say "the wine was talking" for the rest of the evening!

Yates Cellars ... Barrington Cellars ... Keuka Spring ... Rooster Hill ("Hal", our host, was fantastic) ... McGregor Winery ...

It's all a bit of a blur. The day wore on, the sun set, and we had a great time.

We ended up with 29 bottles of wine. Yeah!!!

Dinner that night was at London Underground, a nice upscale restaurant in Corning. I enjoyed the fillet with two glasses of 18-year old McCallan Single Malt scotch.

Scotch rules.

Sunday we drove home. Stopped in Lewisburg, PA, for a great lunch at a tiny, out-of-the-way restaurant at an antique shop (and I hate hate HATE antiques).

Pictures:

When we arrived at the hotel on Friday night, this Halliburton truck was parked next to us. To find the owner, I just looked for a very weathly-looking person!:



Bully Hill Vineyards:



Keuka Lake:




All The Best,

-- Don

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Today's History Lesson

Check this out

The Treaty Of Tripoli

Wow ... things sure have changed.

Oh ... and notice the part about America being a Christian nation. Good stuff for today's debates about our society.

All The Best,

-- Don

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Handle

From Wikipedia:

when referring to liquor, a handle is a half gallon or
1.8927059 liters or 63.09019667 shots. The name comes from
the handle that is often found on bottles of this size

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Congratulate Us!

Today, November 10, 2005: Patti and I celebrate 27 years of marriage!

CHEERS!

All The Best,

* Don

Words Of Wisdom

Check out this story in Wired:

Eat, Sleep, Work, Consume, Die

http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,68742,00.html?tw=rss.TOP

Sadly, that's about 99 percent of my life right now. *sigh* Oh well ... beats starving!

All The Best,

* Don

Monday, November 07, 2005

Back To School?

I'm this close to going back to school to, eventually, get my MBA. In fact, I may sign on in the next few days.

Any advice or comments?

All The Best,

-- Don

Halloween

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Best Song Ever?

Quite possibly the best song of all time:

"Sugar Pie Honey Bunch" by Four Tops.

If you don't think Motown music rules ... well ... then
you just Don't Know Music.

All The Best,

-- Don

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Columbus Day Kayaking Around Long Island

(Long Island is a tiny island at Lake Marburg in York County, PA)

All captions are *above* the pictures.


Waiting for Chris, my son-in-law, to arrive.



Chris loads my kayak with his.




Arrived, with kayaks at the ready.




Finally on the water, heading for Long Island!




There are a lot of duck blinds on the islands. I also thought the stack of rocks was cool.

(See Joshua 4:21 in the Bible for a verse that immediately popped into my mind)





Of course, we were not alone.





It was overcast and about 60 degrees on Columbus Day ... and mostly calm. We had a great time kayaking, and afterwards I had a good chocolate milk shake at a nearby ice cream shop.

Next time, let me know and you can join us.

All The Best,

-- Don

Two ... Two ... Two!!!!

October 25, 2005 ...

... just two months until Christmas!!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Just A Start

I've just started to put together my resume ... I'm looking for my next contract programming gig:

Hired as consultant by Microsoft to write a White Paper about AS/400 and Network Integration

Was involved in consulting talks with IBM about the design of a free-format RPG programming language

Hired to travel across the United States to speak about AS/400 and Network Integration

Speaker at numerous COMMON meetings

Two-year President (maximum term) of the Dayton, Ohio-area FOCUS 400 User Group, during which time it grew from 20 to 80 members

Have written magazine articles for News-3X/400 and Midrange Computing magazine.

Was lead developer for a custom software solution for a major pharmaceutical corporation that was hailed by the Food & Drug Administration as a model for the rest of the industry.

Was Chairman of a Business Process Reengineering committee in a small medical devices manufacturing company where we reduced order fulfillment from seven days to three.

As CIO for a small importing company, presided over the development, installation and on-going improvement of an internet e-commerce site.

Tonight ...

What are you doing tonight?

I ask because I can guess what you'll be doing just two months from now ... on Christmas Eve!

Woo-hoo! Bring on the cold, the snow, the gift wrapping, the carols ... I love it.

All The Best,

-- Don

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Electronic Paper

I mentioned this in my class on Monday night.
 
 
Ya see, you should listen to me! *smile*
 
All The Best,
 
-- Don

Thursday, October 06, 2005

My First Wikipedia Contribution!

Today I made my first contribution to a Wikipedia article!

I added the "Trivia" section to the entry for Wrightsville, Pennsylvania.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrightsville,_Pennsylvania

All The Best,

* Don

Friday, September 30, 2005

Dream

Last night I dreamt that a huge power generating plant on
the East Coast was blown up by terrorists. Mushroom
cloulds shot several thousand feet into the air.

What's weird is that the last time I had a dream like that
was on February 25, 1993, when I dreamt that a terrorist
knocked over the World Trade Center buildings in New York
City.

*shudder*

All The Best,

- Don

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Satellites

Sat out for an hour last night (Romeo y Julieta corona).
Saw five satellites and one shooting star.

Clarification

The Yankees as a franchise, NOT this year's team in
particular ... The Greatest Ever.

In fact, this year's team is low on the list, ever since
signing Randy Johnson. He has no class. He doesn't deserve
to be a Yankee.

Bernie Williams ... Derek Jeter ... those are Yankees.

All The Best,

-- Don

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Salt Bad for Baseball Fans

A recent study has revealed that too much salt intake is linked to a person not being able to discern a great baseball team.

Among those who eat too much salt, over 99 percent of them failed to realize that the New York Yankees are the best team ... ever.

Many of those tested became dilusional and started rooting for the Baltimore Orioles, and some even jumped on the Washington Nationals bandwagon.

So if you run into a Yankee-hater ... just relax. They're ill.

*smile*

All The Best,

-- Don

Post Up

Funny site: http://www.Engrish.com

Enjoy.

All The Best,

-- Don

Friday, September 23, 2005

One Of My Favorites

"Ripple", by Grateful Dead:

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
Would you hear my voice come thru the music,
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken,
Perhaps they're better left unsung.
I don't know, don't really care
Let there be songs to fill the air.

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow.

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
If your cup is full may it be again,
Let it be known there is a fountain,
That was not made by the hands of men.

There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone.

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow.

But if you fall you fall alone,
If you should stand then who's to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Call For Help

My son is a student at Penn State. He's looking at Med Schools and a possible dual MD/MBA program. He's majoring in Computational Biology.

He was previously in the Cognitive Science program, including Artificial Intelligence.

He's, hands down, THE best computer programmer I've ever met. Jason, he's THAT good.

He needs work.

If you know of anyone that could use an incredible software developer (yes, he knows that language you're thinking of, and the UML, and has great real-world web development experience and Flash and e-Commerce and you name it ...), please email me.

It's too much talent to go to waste. He needs to get through Med School. You (or someone) needs a great talent. Let's make this happen.

All The Best,

-- Don

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Today's libertarian reading

Karl Hess, great libertarian of the past, wrote these words in 1969.

What, oh what, would he say today???

All The Best,

-- Don

Music, Genomes and Pandora's Box

Like music?

Yeah ... right ... you think you like music. But when it comes to music, sorry, but I have it all over you. Don't even try.

But fair enough, I'll have pity on your pathetic existence and clue you in to a fantastic music site: www.Pandora.com

Awesome use of the Music Genome Project.

Of course, the first station I created was "Rolling Stones". Why not ... World's Greatest Rock 'N Roll Band! YEAH BABY!

All The Best,

-- Don

Sunday, September 11, 2005

We Be Jammin'



Labor Day weekend. My friend, Rich, came over.

Swimming, good food, cigars, adult beverages and music.

All The Best,

-- Don

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Today's Musical Note

From "My Fair Lady":

"The Rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain."

All The Best,

-- Don

Saturday, August 27, 2005

"Fair Lady, Dost Thou Liketh Thy Cake?"

Patti made another one of her incredible wedding cakes. You see, the thing is, it's all from scratch and tastes wonderful. Enjoy ...









All The Best,

-- Don

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Four Four Four

August 25 ... can you feel it? ...

... only four months until Christmas!!!

*LAUGH*

All The Best,

-- Don

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Let's Cut Randy A Break

Randy Moss, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings and now an Oakland Raider, admitted in an interview that he smokes pot on occasion.

Okay, say it with me: "So what!"

Let's face it: Marijuana should be legal. There is absolutely no good argument against it being legal. If anything, it should be legalized and alcohol banned.

(Of course, being a Libertarian, I'm in favor of legalizing all drugs. You want to burn your brains out smoking Crack? Help yourself! It's your decision. Natural Selection rules, baby!)

Who hasn't experimented with marijuana?

(Let me answer that rhetorical question: me, Waldo, Chris Burnside, Matt Wise. We're the only four people on the planet ...)

The point is, the hypocrits in the media will have the panties in a wad over Moss's admission ... all the while discussion their upcoming article about Randy over a couple of martinis.

And who is the hypocrit?

Randy Moss is, in fact, a pretty much down-to-earth guy, if you'd spend the time to learn more about him.

But in today's day and age, who wants to do that? Easier to blast him and move on to the next black-and-white moral issue.

All The Best,

-- Don

Friday, August 12, 2005

Software Development

When it comes to developing software ...

... I LOVE OOP!

All The Best,

-- Don

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

... And He Knows It!

Jason rules!

All The Best,

-- Don

It Takes A Village

My daughter has her degree (Business Admin from Millersville University).

My wife has her degree (Culinary Arts from YBI).

After four years of college, my son will have his Master's Degree (from PSU).

I don't have a degree.

I'm the Village Idiot!!! Woo-hoo!!

All The Best,

-- Don

$3,000 To Rent A Car?

Some corporations are, in fact, evil:

A buck a mile to rent a car?

All The Best,

-- Don

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Kayaking at Laurel Lake

Chris and Erika got new kayaks last week, so we couldn't wait to go paddling together. Fate turned a kind hand, as my parents were planning a week at the cabin (at Pine Grove Furnace). So all we had to do was drop in for a night and go out on Laurel Lake the next morning.

Friday, after work, 5:30 pm. Our heavy duty off-road vehicle is loaded and standing at the ready.



Just ninety minutes later, we're at the cabin!




My dad drills out the corn and puts it on stakes for the deer. They come within 20 feet of the cabin at night to feed.



Erika was relaxing with ... uh ... pineapple juice ... yeah. Notice the corn in the oven.



That corn was enjoyed about 15 minutes later. Dinner: corn on the cob (from Blessings farm in Wrightsville and fantastic), fresh tomatoes and focaccia (from the Lancaster Market, also fabulous).



Saturday, after breakfast, my SUV is at the lake. I'm psyched.



Chris and Erika arrive just moments later.




Before heading out, I survey the lake. Looks great, about a dozen other paddlers out on the water. A few brave souls on the beach -- the water is in the low 60's.

When it's warm.





Finally, on the water.




We decided to immediately head around the island. The plants and wildlife are incredible ... a pristine area.




"Traffax reports a traffic jam on the four-oh-five ...".

Looks like we weren't the only ones to appreciate a good day on the water. This is in the area behind the island, away from everything. Simply gorgeous, crystal clear water ... to my friends in Chicago: Eat Your Heart Out!






All The Best,

-- Don

Friday, July 22, 2005

How To Cope

I'm a huge fan of management guru Tom Peters. I have (and have read) several of his books, and I agree completely with his philosophy regarding business, which is basically "be 'out there', be on the cutting edge, take risks and when you fail, make it a big failure".

That last point ... "fail in a big way" ... is important. Because, if your failures are all tiny, then ... well ... you're simply not taking enough risks. Ever heard of New Coke?

I'm taken to applying Tom's (yes, he and I are on a first-name basis ... seriously) principals to my personal life (in addition to my business). I sometimes have a "big failure" in my personal life (e.g. 'D'oh! ... I shouldn't have said that').

But just as important, I allow those around me -- especially those I love -- to fail in a big way.

And that's how I "cope".

You see ... the only people that can hurt you are those you love. I mean, if the deadbeat down the street who only mows his lawn four times a summer (after it grows to a foot high) thinks you're a total idiot ... well ... who cares?

But if you wife tells you that you act like you're 14 years old ... ouch ... that stings.

What do you do?

You realize that they took a risk by speaking their mind ... they took a "big risk" ... and in your mind, it was a big failure.

HURRAY! At least they're taking a risk in your relationship ... a risk to Open Up ... to Be Honest.

Or they're just dropping the ball and screwing up.

In any event, you allow them to Fail and you move on.

It's not so much that you forgive them (although that's always a good idea), you forget about it.

Same with your own past: Forget about it!

Seriously.

Got a messed-up past? Either because of your own failures of those you love? Here's what you do:

You tell yourself that it was a different person.

I'm 100 percent dead serious. That doofus that did such-and-such?

That wasn't me. That wasn't who I am right now. And that's a key point.

It's not about failing to own up to your responsibility. It's about not beating yourself up about the past ... something about which you can do nothing to change.

Do your best. Try hard. Fix what you can.

And ... literally ... forget the rest.

All The Best,

-- Don

UML

I love the UML. It makes life so much better for me.

I just wanted to share that.

All The Best,

-- Don

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Thirty Six Years Later ...

Today (July 20th) marks the 36th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing.
 
Check out this Google site: http://moon.google.com
 
and zoom ALL THE WAY IN!
 
Nice.
 
All The Best,
 
-- Don

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Museum of Unworkable Devices

Perpetual Motion Machines. Fascinating stuff. Anyone remember the episode of The Simpson's where Lisa create such a device?

This ranks up there with Time Machines on my list of things I want to own.

(There can't be Time Machines, or we'd be bumping into people from the future all the time)

All The Best,

-- Don

Don't Look Now ...

... but the New York Yankees have climbed into first place. And all is right in the universe.
 
(Not that I really care that much; my sport is returning in October. "Game on!")
 
All The Best,
 
-- Don

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Don't Use Weather.com

Weather.com sucks. Way too many pop-up ads and those annoying animated ads that appear to float out from the side. ARGH!
 
Enough! I don't use it any more. I use the National Weather Service:
 
 
All The Best,
 
-- Don
 

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Half-Year Update ...

2004 was the worst year of my life.

2005, so far, has been the best year of my adult life.

(I guess the year I was 14 years old was the best. Absolutely minimal responsibilities, plenty of spending money, and time to do anything I wanted).

Here's to 2005 keeping an upward trajectory.

All The Best,

-- Don

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

How Big ??

How big is this picture?



Two feet!

All The Best,

-- Don

Sunday Meal


I might not be as talented as the lovely Patricia Hannigan, but I can sometimes toss together an appetizing meal.

Take this past Sunday, for example. My newly-vegetarian son was home from college, and he and I and the little lady were a-hungerin' for some vittles ... so I entered the kitchen, honed my knife and started to toss together some veggie wraps.

Of oourse, it was a balmy 90-plus degrees outside, so I had the fan running in the kitchen.



And, the whole-house fan was cranking as well ...


(Forgive the mess on the right-hand side of the picture ... a little remodeling work is going on in our house. Okay ... a lot of remodeling work is going on in our house ...)

And, you absolutely must listen to Comic Opera while preparing a meal ...



But the end result was worth the wait:



All The Best,

-- Don

Monday, June 27, 2005

Slump ... Rut ... Crisis ... or Just Monday ??

You know the feeling. You get to work and you ask yourself "Why am I doing this? Why do I work so hard, so many hours? Why don't I live a simpler life? ...".
 
So what is it? You in a slump, something you'll ride out for a few days until you feel better?
 
Or is it a rut, which only gets worse. Something you need to climb out of by making a change (or two)(or three).
 
Or perhaps this is a real crisis.  You know, you need to make huge, wholesale changes. New career, new place to live, the whole kit and kaboodle.
 
Or ... *sigh* ... is it just "Monday"??
 
All The Best,
 
-- Don

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Go Deep, Not Cheap

You don't always get what you pay for.
 
Example: A Toyota is a much higher quality car than a Mercedes. Yeah yeah ... argue all you want about luxury and status ... but truth is, Toyota is better.
 
(Remarkably, near the bottom you find Volkswagen and Audi. So much for "German Engineering"...)
 
My point?
 
We recently purchased some what-we-thought-was-good ceiling paint from The Home Depot (pet peeve: it's _The_ Home Depot, not "Home Depot". ARGH!). The kind of ceiling paint that goes on purple and dries white.
 
Painted the ceiling in our being-remodeled bedroom. The result?
 
Crap.
 
We had to add another coat. This time we went to "Covers The World" Sherman-Williams and paid for good paint. Now?
 
Perfect.
 
Lesson learned. Save money when buying bottled water (tip: DON'T!) and spend the savings in good paint. Don't be afraid to go deep into the wallet now and then to get quality.
 
All The Best,
 
-- Don

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Waste Of Time?

I think not!
 
That is ... my surfing the web ... reading blogs about technology ... checking out web site designs ... learning about "Life Hacks" ... these things do not constitute a "waste of time". On the contrary, these are the things that contribute to my broad wealth of information and insight and make me the valuable asset (I said "asset" ... "...et" ... okay?) that I am.
 
So when you shoulder surf me and catch me at Gadgetopia, don't accuse me of wasting time (by the way ... and you have enough time to shoulder surf? Hmmmm ...) ... realize that I'm expanding my knowledge ... knowledge that will benefit *you*.
 
All The Best,
 
-- Don

Link: How To Turn Your PC Into A Mac

Friday, June 17, 2005

Great Quote

From RickCecil.com:

Great quote from Al Swearengen
Pain or damage don’t end the world. Or despair or fucking beatings. The world ends when you’re dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man and give some back.


All The Best,

-- Don

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Coming Soon ...

... a blog for the Central York High School Class of 1977.

Stay tuned and spread the buzz.

All The Best,

-- Don

Monday, June 13, 2005

Everybody's Gone Surfin' ...

Friday, June 10 at Indian River Inlet. In a word: COLD!

Arrived at Indian River Inlet at 1:30; I had scoped out the low tide on the internet and it was 1:41. Perfect timing.

We arrived and it was downright chilly outside. Sure, it was 80 degrees ... but the offshore wind made it feel like 65. So cold that my dear wife decided she'd sit in the car and read while I froze my tush off.

Went up and checked out the beach patrol's sign. WHAT? Low tide is 5 pm??

ARGH!!!

Oh ... and in big letters: "Water Temp: 57 COLD!"

Great. Oh, and did I mention it was very windy? No waves.

So we motored down to Bethany Beach and walked their wannabe boardwalk to kill some time. Saw some nice sights (guys ... you followin' me on this one?? I'm talkin' NICE sights *nudge*).

Anyhoo ... we had a nice walk, some ice cream, and then headed back to IRI so I could freeze while Patti read.

Got there just before five o'clock. As we came over the bridge, I spotted some primo waves -- small, to be sure, but setting up nicely -- and about a dozen Brothers Of The Board already out there. I was amped.

Quick change (by the car -- you wrap a towel around you like a skirt ... er ... kilt ... and change underneath it. Old surfer trick) into both my rash guard and my shortie and I was set.

Cute, eh?



Trekked under the bridge, past the construction junk, and onto the beach.

Wonderful. No non-surfers in the water. This was heaven.

Or so I thought. More like Antarctica. You have no idea how cold your feet get when sitting on a board in 57-degree water. Seriously frostbite. The only good thing was, after a while they were so numb you couldn't feel the cold.

First wave to come along -- it's been a while, so I'm rusty -- and what do you know? Caught it, popped right up (you don't climb up on a surfboard, you pop up) and rode it in.

YES!!!!!! YES YES YES!!! NOW I remember why this is SO MUCH FRICKIN' FUN!!!!

I spent the next 45 minutes catching waves and freezing, laughing with the other nuts (one guy -- crazy -- was trunking it. Seriously brain cell damage there, my friend). Then my left rotator cuff injury came back with a vengeance, and between that and the cold, I was done.

Now all I had to do was suffer for the ride home because of my shoulder. I didn't know if I could drive ... but I learned something: Two Advil do wonders for rotator cuff pain.

So now (once I get my bedroom painted so I can move my bed out of my exercise room) I'm back to resistance training for my rotator cuff, and planning a trip in warmer weather and warmer water.

But for now, I'm on cloud nine. Or make that "Wave Nine".

Hang Ten and All The Best,

-- Don

Friday, June 03, 2005

100 Things About Me

Since the world revolves around me ...

(You know ... in fact, to each of us, the world does revolve around us. After all, who wants to live someone else's life??)

1. I love attention. But you knew that.
2. I have a big ... Ego. :-)
3. I don't mind the cold, but I hate when it's windy. Even in the summer. Ever try to ride a bike in the wind? Argh!
4. I love my children more than anything in this world. You just cannot imagine.
5. I love our dog, but I'd get rid of her in a heartbeat if it was up to me. I hate owning pets.
6. I have a great dislike for aquariums. Keeping fish is like collecting used coffee filters. B-o-r-i-n-g.
7. When I eat ice cream, I mash it up until it's soft. Then, I coat the back of my spoon and lick it off. Sounds disgusting to watch, but it's a slice of heaven to me.
8. When I eat Jello brand gelatin, I put some on my spoon and then suck it in through pursed lips. Again, disgusting. Don't know where I picked that up.
9. I'd rather surf than do anything else in the world.
10. I love to golf and I'm terrible at it. I don't get angry, because I don't care about my score. I just enjoy golfing.
11. I'm not good at basketball, but I love to play. I can dribble and hustle on defense; that's about it.
12. I ran the 100-yard dash in 10.6 in high school. I'm pretty fast.
13. I like to read.
14. My favorite spectator sport is the National Hockey League. When they come back, I'll be waiting. I love hockey.
15. I love to program computers. Absolutely love it. It's a kick.
16. I hate painting (you know, like painting the walls in your house).
17. I could run a huge corporation. Leadership is just making decisions, and I know how to make good and right decisions. After all, New Coke wasn't my fault.
18. I enjoy bourbon and Diet Coke with lime.
19. My favorite fast food is Taco Bell.
20. My favorite color is black. It's "clah-sick".
21. If I had to do it over, I'd be a surgeon. I have the intelligence, good hands, and I love the idea of healing people.
22. I love people. I love being around strangers and meeting people for the first time. I'm fascinated by differing opinions and viewpoints.
23. I had three mother figures while growing up; my mom, my grandmother (who lived with us), and my sister. Yeah ... I was so spoiled.
24. When I turned 16, I was given the keys to a BMW 2002 and a credit card for gas. I was the envy of every other guy in high school.
25. I once grabbed the pom-poms from a cheerleader during a junior high football game and led a cheer. I did it because some people said they'd give me 50 cents if I'd do it.
26. I once ran in a track meet (the third leg of a 440 relay) in my bare feet.
27. I went to Penn State/York right out of high school (as in that very summer) not because I wanted to, but because I felt pressured to. That's why I didn't finish.
28. I love snow. My theory is that you can tell how old a person is by asking them if they like snow. After all, all children love snow. Don't like snow? You're old.
29. I'm not at all superstitious. I'll carry an open umbrella under a ladder while kicking a mirror, doesn't bother me at all.
30. I've never received an award from any peers of any kind.
31. I dream of speaking at my old high school's graduation some year. I'm sure it'll never happen.
32. My biggest fear is that I'll get some kind of health problem that will prevent me from being so active.
33. I get severely depressed at times.
34. I went to Bible School for just over four years to study for the ministry. I quit when I realized that most churches are just a "business".
35. I converted from being an atheist to Christianity when I was 18. No one pushed me; I was converted by reading the Bible. John 11:37 is the very verse that I read and "the lights came on", so-to-speak.
36. I miss my sister (she lives in Atlanta now), but I'm incredibly happy for her. I think the world of her husband.
37. My brother, Bill, is a better man than I am. Seriously. I wish I had his character.
38. I've never had a real argument with my parents or my siblings.
39. I once helped a guy build a log cabin in the mountains. It was the coolest project I've ever undertaken. That was in 1987; he still lives in it.
40. I had a magazine article published about my friend's life in his cabin. I got $15 for it.
41. I was a part-time sportswriter for four years. It was fun, but took too much time away from the family.
42. I'm in favor of gay marriage. If two people love each other, I couldn't care less about the rest. It's their issue, not mine.
43. I believe everything expressed in the Apostle's Creed.
44. I'd rather listen to the old hymns than attend a contemporary service at church.
45. My childhood sports heroes were Franco Harris and Willie Stargell.
46. I like all music, but I really like the old crooners the best. Sinatra rules.
47. If I won millions in the lottery, I'd buy a yacht. I'd golf and surf a lot.
48. The fastest I've ever traveled on land is 120 mph. In the Spyder. And no, it wasn't topped out. Of course, that doesn't count traveling in a jet just prior to wheels up.
49. I love to listen to opera.
50. When it comes to movies, I really love musicals.
51. My all-time favorite movie is "Chicago".
52. I think Catherine Zeta-Jones is gorgeous.
53. Nothing gets me angrier than any infringement of personal property, whether it be by a burglar, a neighbor, or (especially) the government.
54. I want to go on a cruise with my wife in the next two years. Somewhere warm.
55. Summer is my favorite season.
56. Spring is my least favorite season. Too cold to really enjoy the outdoors; too wet, too.
57. The best date to take a new girlfriend is this: Get good seats at a professional baseball game. You can cheer the team, and there's plenty of time to have great conversation.
58. I know I could make a living by betting on horses. But it'd be just as much work as programming, so why bother?
59. I want a girl with a short skirt and a l-o-n-g jacket.
60. I'm getting a kilt.
61. I like working for myself because of the variety. Going to the same job day after day? Come on! What's the difference between a "groove" and a "rut".
62. My son, Ian, is the smartest person I know. Funniest, too.
63. My daughter, Erika, is the sweetest person I know.
64. I like to read Car & Driver, Men's Health, Utne and Cigar Aficionado magazines.
65. I don't read novels. Ever. Got no time for fiction.
66. President George W. Bush turned me against the Republican Party. But I've always been pretty much a Libertarian.
67. I recently started shooting for fun. Sporting Clays. Like all other athletic activities, I'm lousy ... but I enjoy it.
68. I'd rather a good cigar than a one-hour nap.
69. I started smoking cigars as a libertarian rebellion against the Smoking Nazis. Then ... guess what ... I liked 'em!!
70. My favorite sound is the sound of walking on gravel.
71. My favorite group is The Rolling Stones.
72. I studied karate as a teen.
73. I can still do 25 one-armed pushups. That is, 25 with the right arm, 25 with the left. At 46 years old!
74. I refuse to use chemicals on my lawn. They end up in the Chesapeake Bay and kill the fish and crabs.
75. I like to wear nice clothing.
76. I once sent $25 to the PTL Club for a "free" Bible. D'oh!
77. I drive slow. Seriously. I gave up fast driving about four years ago.
78. I don't "get" NASCAR.
79. But I love Formula 1.
80. I listen to Rush Limbaugh and read Michael Moore. Go figure.
81. My favorite bread is Roman Meal.
82. My definition of "The Good Life" is when you don't own or use an alarm clock.
83. I like Martha Stewart.
84. I can't stand to watch Rachel Ray, however.
85. Lacrosse is pretty cool, but soccer you can have. B-O-R-I-N-G.
86. I think the key to being a good husband is listening intently to your wife ... and then doing what you feel is best for the both of you.
87. All I want is encouragement and to feel like I'm doing great.
88. My father told me he was proud of me in 1995. That was the best thing I've ever been told. There is no greater joy than knowing that your father is proud of you.
89. I went nine years (1985 through 1994) without a television. Never missed it.
90. I can juggle.
91. I can ride a unicycle.
92. I'm very comfortable with who I am. I've truly "found myself".
93. I don't like to take unnecessary risks when it comes to my health. You won't find me participating in Parkour.
94. I think surfing is the best thing in the world, bar none. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is a much fun and as rewarding as surfing.
95. After 26 years of marriage, I still think my wife is gorgeous.
96. The more you are around 10-year olds, the better your view of life.
97. Marijuana and a lot of other drugs should be legal.
98. Natural Law and Natural Selection shouldn't be messed with too much.
99. I'm stronger than you, or better looking, or make more money ... or something. Every one of us has an "edge". To focus on someone else's "edge" over your own is foolish. If you're a millionaire ... fine ... I can bench press more. Doesn't matter now, does it?
100. All that really matters is who you love and who loves you. The only thing in life that amounts to anything is "relationships". The rest is fluff or just showing off.

All The Best,

-- Don

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Buzzwords

ARGH!!!

Since when is it wrong to experience a "problem"?

At a client site recently, the following email came past my desk (emphasis mine):

"_________, I've ran into an opportunity with the HRIS server. It needs SQL SP3a installed before the SQL reporting services. I'll work on it today after hours."

Opportunity?

How about "... had a little problem; I'll get it fixed right away"????

Sheesh! That's no way to run a Mission Critical system *puke*.

All The Best,

-- Don

Water Temperature for May 26, 2005

52.3 degrees.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Yet Another Birthday Gift Idea

Anything by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole. Incredible music indeed.

All The Best,

-- Don

More Music

Out of the Blue and Face The Music, both by Electric Light Orchestra, would make excellent birthday presents (hint to Ian and/or Erika).

All The Best,

-- Don

Gift Ideas For Don's 46th Birthday on May 27, 2005

A UtiliKilt, 34.5 waist and 22 (or so) length. www.utilikilts.com
(please note; my waist is 32, but the kilts are cut weird. Trust me on this one)
 
Any good cigars, including (but, of course, not limited to ...)
  1. La Aroma de Cuba
  2. Punch
  3. El Rey Del Mundo
  4. Camacho
  5. La Gloria Cubana Serie R
  6. Macanudo
  7. Cohiba
  8. Montecristo
  9. Don Lino Africa
Any music CD's by the Rolling Stones, except for Let It Bleed and Bridges To Babylon -- I already have those two.
 
12-gauge shotgun shells for Trap shooting.
 
Any size bottle of Buffalo Trace.
 
Any size bottle of Maker's Mark.
 
That's it for now.

Ocean City Water Temperature

I toyed with the idea of going surfing this weekend in celebration of my 46th birthday, but the weather is against me. It's going to rain -- which is fine for surfing -- but the water is only 52 degrees!
 
Yikes!
 
Guess I'll be shopping instead. Let's see ... cigars ... Rolling Stones music ... new shirt or two ... some new pants ... Happy Birthday To Me it will be!
 
All The Best,
 
-- Don

Great Web Site/Service

My dear friends at 37 Signals (Hey Jason!) have come up with yet another winning web site and service: BackPack.
 
BackPack allows you to store emails, documents, pictures, videos, music, notes, what-have-you (that is, "stuff"), in one place on the web. But it's beyond that.
 
You can set up reminders, which will email you and/or your cell phone.
You can share pages of "stuff" with other people.
The basic package is free.
 
I might write a Palm Pilot component for it.
 
It's really great; check it out.
 
Links:
Backpack: http://www.backpackit.com

All The Best,
 
-- Don

Credit Card Fraud Alert

CONSUMER FRAUD INFORMATION

Example of a recent fraud involving e-mail messages

There have been increasing e-mail and Internet-related fraudulent
schemes targeting financial institution customers. Pennsylvania State
Bank does not request confidential information by e-mail or the
Internet. If you receive what seems to be a legitimate e-mail message
or Web site requesting sensitive information, such as bank account
information, please notify us immediately.

Example of a recent fraud involving VISA Card

A first person account of an actual fraud: "Person calling says, "This
is ____, and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at
VISA. My Badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an
unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on
your VISA card which was issued by bank. Did you purchase an
Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based
in Arizona?"

"When you say "No", the caller continues with, "Then we will be
issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been
watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just
under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your
next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address),
is that correct?"

"You say "yes". The caller continues... "I will be starting a Fraud
investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1-800
number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA)
and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control #" The
caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it
again?"

"Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then
says, "he needs to verify you are in possession of your card". He'll
ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers. There are 7
numbers; the first 4 are your card number, the next 3
are the 'Security Numbers' that verify you are in possession of the
card. These are the numbers you use to make Internet purchases to
prove you have the card. Read me the 3 numbers". After you tell the
caller the 3 numbers, he'll say ,"That is correct. I just needed to
verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still
have your card. Do you have any other questions?"
After you say No, the caller then Thanks you and states, "Don't
hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up."

"You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the
card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back
within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA
Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a
new purchase of $497.99 was charge on our card. "

"Long story made short, we made a real fraud report and closed the
VISA card, and they are reissuing us a new number. What the scammers
wants is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don't give it
to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or MasterCard direct. The
real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as
they already know the information since they issued the card! If you
give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving
a credit. However, by the time you get your statement, you'll see
charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too
late and/or harder to actually file
a fraud report. "

"What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call
from a "____of MasterCard" with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA
scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police
report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several
of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know
that this scam is happening."

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Engine Update

I have the best Toyota dealer in the world. No ... the best car dealer in the world.

They're going to replace the engine in my Spyder under my extended warranty. I pay the $50 deductible, they pick up the rest ... even including a rental car for a week.

Diehl Toyota. I'll never go anywhere else.

All The Best,

-- Don

Friday, May 20, 2005

Blown Engine

I blew the engine in the Spyder.

Dealer wants $5,500 for a new short block.

Guess who's shopping for a used, cheap 1ZZ.

Sheesh ... it's always something.

-- Don

Sunday, May 08, 2005

BWI

Got up at 5:15 this morning -- a Sunday morning! -- to take my dear friend Kelly to the BWI Airport. Sheesh.

Hey Kelly ... can ya help a brother out and, perhaps next time, get an eleven o'clock flight?

:-)

All The Best,

-- Don

Shooting

Wow ... it's been three weeks since I posted anything on my blog. Forgive me, but I've been hugely busy ... in a very good way.

So we just got back from participating in our newest hobby ... shooting. Trap and Sporting Clays to be more precise. Tonight, we went trap shooting at the Isaac Walton League near Red Lion.

It was a blast.

And what was really great was that our son, Ian, came along.

I was anxious to try the Charles Daly Sporting O&U 12 gauge with the 30-inch barrel. Brought along the same gun in a 28-inch barrel for Patti.

My friend, Matt, and his father (Chet) were the hosts. They're both accomplished and talented shooters.

I was up first, and I don't mind admitting that I'm not especially good at shooting clay birds. I did okay after a shaking start.

Then Patti took some shots. She's pretty good, although it took her a while to get into her groove.

Then -- wouldn't you know it -- Ian stepped up and smoked 'em.

(I was so proud of him)

Matt and Chet shot too, but it was almost ho-hum for them.

One fun thing was, we had a second shooter for backup. If your two shots missed a bird, the backup would try to take it out. That made for some interesting shooting, especially when the bird's falling rapidly and is about six feet off the ground.

Had a great time. Tried both guns. When pulling the guns up (to shooting position), the 30-inch just feels better, but I think I did better with the 28. Not really sure yet, so, I guess I'll have to go out one more time before I decide which one I want.

Patti's getting a 28-inch barrel model.

Trap is fun, but Sporting Clays is even more fun.

But either way, it's a great time. And shooting with your son and wife, while enjoying a good cigar ... wow ... what a great evening.

All The Best,

-- Don

Monday, April 18, 2005

Don't Want To Jinx Myself

I don't want to jinx myself ... but things have been going incredibly well for my wife and I for the past three months or so.

I landed a second client, and with it comes a decent increase in income. Good enough that Patti is able to leave her frustrating job as a pastry chef and either: Stay home for the summer and cook and garden, or; get a more rewarding pastry chef job where she can make wedding cakes.

We landed a new mortgage at a lower rate and are saving money there, too.

The pool is open ... we had a great weekend of gardening ... and I'm back on the bike every morning.

Things are going well. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

All The Best,

-- Don

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Dinner Last Friday Night

Patti and I treated The Krichten to dinner at The Left Bank in York.

Arrived at 6 pm for a 7:45 dinner. A few adult beverages, some cigars (Opus X for me) and great conversation spelled the 105 minutes until we were seated. It's always a visual treat to be at The Left Bank -- guys, you follow me??

*smile*

Dinner was fantastic. Shared a small bottle of Pino Grigio. I had the jerk pork, Patti some fish (halibut?) stuffed with lump blue crab meat, and Joe some shrimp. It was all just perfect.

My physician was seated at another table, and I sent a bottle of champagne over with a note, "To Barry, Thank You, from Don". He appreciated that. The guy has saved my life; it was the least I could do.

(That's not hyperbole. Had he not diagnosed and treated my severe depression back in 1998, I wouldn't be here.)

Afterwards, I wanted a tiny, tiny bit of something sweet for dessert -- just enough for a taste. Our server was kind enough to get a very small scoop of ice cream and cover it with a hard chocolate shell. Perfect.

Had a great evening. Thank you, Joe and Patti.

All The Best,

-- Don

Monday, April 11, 2005

Yankee Class

The Boston Red Sox prefixed their home opener today with a ceremony where they received their long-awaited World Series rings.

Congrats to the Red Sox, who after 86 years finally won the Big One. Even though I'm a Yankee fan, I'm happy for the Sox, and especially their fans. It's been long overdue. I only wish they would have defeated the Reds in '75.

But as the Red Sox were receiving their rings, what did the Yankees do?

They stood at the top of the visiting team dugout and applauded.

Class. Pure class. Typical of the New York Yankees.

2005 ... New York Yankees Championship number 27!!!

All The Best,

-- Don

Summer Is Coming

How do I know? I opened our pool on Sunday.

The water was mostly clear, about 54 degrees. The bottom was covered with soot, but I was able to vacuum it up. Some shock and some clarity stuff and by Wednesday it'll be crystal clear.

In keeping with my tradition of swimming on opening day and closing day, I jumped in. Cold is an understatement. So cold, my feet hurt after just four or five seconds. I dipped under the water and climbed out.

WOW ... it was so cold!

But the pool is open, which means summer can't be far away!

All The Best,

-- Don

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

My Wife, My Teacher

I made homemade Caesar Salad on Monday night. My wife gave me the instruction for making the homemade dressing.

How'd it turn out?

Let's just say that I now know how to make some incredible Caesar Salad dressing! Awesome!

All The Best,

-- Don

Monday, April 04, 2005

Remote Desktop

I love using Remote Desktop.

I just disconnected from a server. I'm now going to drive home and finish the work from my office there.

God I love technology.

All The Best,

-- Don

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Quick Statement About Pope John Paul II

I'm not Catholic. I could argue at length with the church's theology.

But think about this: John Paul II forgave the guy that tried to kill him.

Wow. Think about that. Could you do that?

Amazing.

The guy was very instrumental in the fall of Communism. He was very conservative. He stopped Liberation Theology in the late 1970's. He spoke against the excesses of capitalism run amuck. He brought peace to the Catholic church and their relationship to Jews and Muslims.

The guy was a spiritual stud.

All The Best,

-- Don

Friday, April 01, 2005

My Ship Has Come In! - Updated

(This post was updated on April 2)

At last!

Perhaps, just perhaps, after years of waiting, things will start going my way.

Resolved to the daily struggle, I never expected this turn of good fortune.

I won the lottery!

Last night!

Five hundred thousand dollars ... can you believe it???

Of course, the government will take a bite, but I don't care.

Obviously, I'm going to Disneyland!

Lest you think otherwise, this won't affect me one bit.

Show me the money!



-------------------------------------
Okay ... it's now April 2 ... let me break it down for ya:

At last!
Perhaps, just perhaps, after years of waiting, things will start going my way.
Resolved to the daily struggle, I never expected this turn of good fortune.
I won the lottery!
Last night!

Five hundred thousand dollars ... can you believe it???
Of course, the government will take a bite, but I don't care.
Obviously, I'm going to Disneyland!
Lest you think otherwise, this won't affect me one bit.
Show me the money!


Don't hate me *wink*.

All The Best,

-- Don

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Airliner Graveyard Coordinates

If you have NASA's World Wind software, or are using Terra Server, here are the coordinates for the airliner graveyard in Mojave, California:

Latitude: 35.0645484924316
Longitude: -118.164093017578

Enjoy this cool aerial photograph.

All The Best,

-- Don

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

What I'd Like To See Happen

Read the story, below, of my reporting of some guys dumping trash along a creek in Lancaster County.

You know what I'd like to see happen?

I'd like them to get caught and fined. Then, I'd like to see part of the fine be used to send them on a state-sponsored fly fishing trip, to give them an idea of how important the environment is.

Fine them twice what the trip would cost.

Call me naive.

All The Best,

-- Don

Slow Down!

Slow down, you move too fast
You gotta make the morning last
Just kickin' down the cobblestones
Lookin' for fun and
Feelin' groovy


-- Simon & Garfunkel

Coming Soon ...

100 Things About Me.

Score One For The Good Guys

Sunday morning, wife, daughter, son-in-law and myself took a ride into Willow Street to visit the Lancaster County Winery.

We were driving along a creek when we came within 100 yards of some low-life bottom feeding scum who were dumping insulation by the creek.

They spotted us and took off.

And you ask why I always carry a digital camera. Silly you.

I snapped two pictures of their truck. Later, we drove up to the spot where they were dumping and I snapped two pictures of their environmental disaster. Looked like some insulation that had been through a house fire. Four pictures for the DEP!

As we headed home, we happened past a home about a mile from the site that looked as though it had been through a fire. And a lot of burnt insulation was in the front yard. We took note of the address.

I promptly notified the Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection, gave them the information, and emailed the four pictures.

Let's hope those bastards pay. Score one for those of us who Play By The Rules!

All The Best,

-- Don

Monday, March 14, 2005

Cole Porter

Is Cole Porter the best song writer ever, or what? Love his stuff.

All The Best,

-- Don

Monday Evening, March 14

One too many bourbons.

All The Best,

-- Don

Chalk One Up For Freedom

A California judge ruled in favor of gay marriage on Monday.

Finally, a victory for individual liberty. If two people love each other and want to "tie the knot", then who are we to stand in their way?

As long as churches are not forced to hold marriage ceremonies for gay couples (which would go against many religious teachings), then I'm all for this decision.

I wonder, though ... will they be allowed to divorce? After all, that seems to be quite popular among heterosexual couples.

(N.B. I'm not saying that people should never divorce, so don't take offense where there is none intended.)

All The Best,

-- Don

Friday, March 11, 2005

The Roller Coaster Of Life

So yesterday morning I'm all happy because I don't have cancer.

Then, last night, I find out that my preliminary tests indicate that I have glaucoma.

Sheesh. Up ... down ... so now I'm waiting for the next "high"!

All The Best,

-- Don

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Healthy!

Visited the doc this morning. Had to get something checked, potentially cancerous.

It's not!

WOOO-HOOO!! I'm singin' and dancin' today!!

All The Best,

-- Don

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Music Note

Andrea Bocelli singing "Sogno" may be the most beautiful song of all time.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

A Nice Saturday

My wife had the very rare Saturday off work.

Slept in until (gasp) eight o'clock! Whoa ... haven't slept past 6:00 in about a month. That was a good start.

Quick shower and we were off to breakfast. We were heading to a typical York breakfast (two eggs, toast and home fries for $1.89) when we decided for a change. So we pulled into Panera.

I had the "everything" bagel (they didn't have lox *frown*) with the veggie cream cheese, a cafe mocha and some orange juice. I like to drink orange juice in the morning; I always say "It's like drinking sunshine".

She opted for an apple bagel with maple walnut cream cheese and a latte. It was a French style of breakfast. Small and lots of carbs. You can have your low carb diet, I'll take my good bread, thankyewverymush.

Very relaxing.

We took the Rendezvous to the car wash, and then went to the York Expo Center for a gardening show.

Lots of landscape displays, and we got a lot of great ideas for your next project out back: the courtyard, retaining wall and the cascading waterfall into our second pond. Now, we're really anxious.

Spent about two hours there and enjoyed very minute of it.

We then headed south to Jacobus, to visit the new restaurant that Chef Michael opened next to his bakery. Chef Michael was on of Patti's teachers at culinary school, and he was also the chef at our daughter's wedding. He's really great.

Had a two-and-one-half hour lunch, and it was great. The Seven Valleys winery has a shop in the building, and I got a bottle of "Proprietor's White", chilled. Fantastic, and this is coming from a Red Wine Snob.

For the appetizer, we shared some bruschetta and olives. Mmmm ... I love bruschetta (and I make a good bruschetta, if I may say so myself).

I had a panini for lunch, made with Italian meats and cheeses with some onions and tomatoes. Sounds rather plain. Wrong ... it was excellent.

Patti had tomato basil soup and a croissant with chicken salad.

Everything was incredible.

While there, we stuck up a very pleasant conversation with a couple at the table next to us. Turns out they frequent that restaurant ... well ... quite frequently. As in two or three times every weekend! Tremendously enjoyed the conversation.

Heading back toward home, we weren't ready to call it a day; it was just before three o'clock. So a quick mobile call to my parents, and we had a date: we were heading to Ray's Cigar shop at Lancaster.

I'd not been there before. I stopped once, but they were closed. My dad had only recently "discovered" the place and was raving about it.

So we swung by my parents' house, then headed east.

The tourist traffic in Lancaster was heavy, but we were fortunate in that Ray's was just prior to the Outlets.

Ray's doesn't have a walk-in humidor, but it doesn't matter. The interior is very well maintained, and the cigar selection was top notch.

I grabbed seven premiums, including a local cigar that is rolled by a local Cuban defector. Perfectly made, they burn straight and ash about two inches.

We retired with coffees and Cokes in hand to the back lounge, with two huge leather sofas and some occasional chairs. Ninety minutes of bliss as I enjoyed a Torano Silver Anniversary Churchill; my dad entertained the locally-made brand. The four of us enjoyed our wandering conversation in a lounge that was decorated with track lights, brightly-colored walls and a beautiful painted concrete floor.

About five o'clock, we called it a day and headed back to York. While dropping my parents off at there house, my dad rewarded me with four frozen York Peppermint Patties!

Patti and I headed home, got into our "lounge clothes" (chic-speak for pajamas) and turned on Food Network. Since Iron Chef America made me hungry, I sliced up a selection of five different cheeses (including a delicious "Dubliner" that we picked up Whole Foods) and some cold, leftover pork loin, and we "picked" at our dinner.

As I wrap up this recap, Emeril is entertaining us with "March Madness Food", Patti is knitting another dishcloth, Penny is chewing a bone, and the cat is -- what else? -- sleeping on the sofa.

Great day. Entertaining, relaxing, and rewarding. Days like this make you realize that life can be great.

All The Best,

-- Don

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

500 Miles Per Gallon Of Gas Is Possible

Read this and then please tell me why the Bush Administration doesn't make this a priority? Is this not as important as winning World War II?

All The Best,

-- Don

Way Cool Software

I've wasted the last two evenings looking at satellite pictures using NASA's cool World Wind software.

Download it; it is just too cool. I've "visited" Niagra Falls, the Florida Keys, Las Vegas, my basic training barracks at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, the Grand Canyon, the Golden Gate Bridge, Rich's cabin in the mountains (you're found!), Vail, New York City, my home in York, the cabin at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pole Steeple, Stone Mountain, and tons more.

Cool stuff. I feel like John Ashcroft!

All The Best,

-- Don

Gmail Personal Server: It's Back!

Several months ago, a hack was posted that allowed you to use your Gmail account as a personal file server, accessible from any PC that you wanted (as long as it had internet access and the hack installed).

Gmail made the hack inop when they changed something inside of Gmail. Probably did it on purpose, much like Microsoft's famous "DOS isn't done until Lotus doesn't run" scheme in the late 80's.

Well, now it's back. The only limitation is that this time, it's only for Windows XP.

All The Best,

-- Don

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Kilt

I want a kilt. I'm getting a kilt. They are too cool.

Check this out.

I'll post some pictures after I get it.

All The Best,

-- Don

Just Five Weeks!

Just five weeks until I open the pool! I have a tradition; I get into the pool on opening day and closing day. Last year, the water was 56 degrees on open day! Brrrr.

It's the surest sign of spring around our place.



All The Best,

-- Don

Friday, February 25, 2005

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Married To A Chef!

My wife is not only gorgeous, she's a chef.

My wife makes dessert. Your wife probably brings you a sundae from McDonald's! HA HA HA!





All The Best,

-- Don