Slowing down a bit…

My blogging has slowed down to a snail’s pace lately.  Mostly, it’s because I’ve been getting out and living a little more than sitting in front of this damned computer.  Here’s what’s been going on:
  1. First and foremost, I’ve started exercising.  2-3 times a week, trying to work up to 1-2 hours during my sessions.  At the beginning of last year, my company had a ‘biggest loser’ weight loss competition.  I started out at 215, and dropped about 5 pounds over 2 months.  Unfortunately, I gained 20 over the course of a year.  Not good, not good at all.  My goal is to drop to 200 lbs or less.  My initial goal is to try to loose a pound or two a week, and keep sustaining that rate.  I’ve made it 4 weeks, and I’m beginning to notice that I can push myself a LOT in my workouts now… I’m keeping my fingers crossed…
  2. Second, I’m doing another form of exercise, I’m playing guitar.  I try to put at least a half hour of practice in every night, longer when I don’t work out at the gym, and longer still on the weekends.  I’m going to play classical guitar for one of my friend’s wedding, and I *certainly* don’t want to screw it up.
  3. Third, I’ve started going to concerts again.  I have a friend who *loves* going to concerts, and I find that I’m enjoying seeing bands play again.  This sorta ties into point #2.
  4. Finally, I’m really focused on work.  One of the things that exercise does is it makes the brain sharper (contrary to all the muscle head stereo types).  I’ve used that focus to help get my work in order and get more done in a day.  I’m also a LOT less tired now that I’m working out

Well, life has been busy, and it will continue to get busier.  I’ll write more as things change.

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Maybe WordPress is a good blog area after all…

I finally figured out how to do the image linking.  Simple really, but I’m kinda thick sometimes.  After uploading a picture, if you want the image to be a link to the full size image, click the image to be inserted into the blog/page to bring up the options, change the Not Linked menu item to ‘Linked to image’, then insert the image.

This allows the thumbnail to be put into the page, with a link to the full picture.

Here’s some examples… Click on the pictures to see the full image:

Cat yawning Cat in the box Cat hiding under blanket

More incentive…

If you check out my photos, you’ll notice that I uploaded a couple of new pictures to my ‘guitars and amps’ collection.  I finally got a couple of pictures of my guitar that I’ve had on layaway for a while.  The pictures are to remind me to pay it off soon!
 
Now, why would I put a guitar on layaway for a long time?  Sometimes, you just get a special one that you *KNOW* you should not let go of.  And this one certainly is one of those!  It’s got a very interesting history…
 
The guitar is a 1999 Goldtop Brazillian rosewood-necked McCarty from Paul Reed Smith Guitars.  In 1999, PRS did a run of 250 McCarty’s with a Brazillian rosewood neck.  They all were supposed to have see-through finishes to show off the wood.  Well, somehow, *one* Goldtop was made.  Apparently, the guitar was finished before the factory realized that it was not ‘supposed’ to have been made.  Normally, the factory will bandsaw a guitar that is not correct.  Fortunately (for me at least ), this guitar was finished, so they decided to ship it out to a perferred dealer to sell quietly.  I do not know which dealer that was (unfortunately).  The guitar got passed around, and during that time, some kind soul decided to change the pickups.  A gentleman by the name of Glenn in Orlando, didn’t like the McCarty pickups, and had gotten his hands on a set of PRS #10 pickups.  These pickups are *ALMOST* as rare as this guitar.  Well, Glenn put the #10 pickups into this McCarty… It was a match made in guitar heaven.  I have know idea *WHY* Glenn decided to sell it, but it ended up in a shop down here in South Florida.  I played it a couple of times, and I absolutely fell in LOVE with the guitar.  It played incredibly well, and it have a very distinct tone.  I had the option of buying this guitar or getting a GREAT deal on a Modern Eagle.  The heart won out, and I put away the goldtop. 
 
Now, I’ve just got to pay the darned thing off!

Starting to feel the effects of exercise

This is going to be one of my more prosaic posts. 
 
After the new year, I got on a scale.  I hit 233 lbs, and I was *NOT* happy.  That’s the heaviest I’ve EVERY been.  And unfortunately, I know why.  Life’s rollercoasters have been taking a lot of down turns lately.  Between trying to sort out my living situation, a really suck-y Christmas, and just one disaster after another happening on the personal life, I was ready to give up.  I had been sitting on the couch at night just eating popcorn and chex mix.  Something had to change, and giving up was *NOT* an option.
 
So, about two weeks ago, I started to set a fairly easy exercise schedule.  Three times a week, for a half hour to an hour a session.  Tack on a half hour to hour of guitar practice, and no more popcorn and chex mix, plus cut back on the pasta.  It seems to be helping.  I’ve calmed down a LOT now that my energy is being channeled somewhere else.  I’ve lost a pound a week, which is my goal.  I can keep the three nights a week thing up fairly easily.  Hopefully, this marks a turn around in my life (again!)

TV Show Review: Love Monkey

I’m not, by nature, a TV person.  I like the new BattleStar Galactica and Firefly (please, please, please keep that series going!) and live sports, but that’s about it.  Unfortunately, there may be a new show for me to get hooked on.  Love Monkey.  The premise is interesting, if highly unlikey, an honest A/R rep for a record company and his rather odd love life.  (Not *that* odd, he is straight)  What’s interesting is that it was fairly easy to identify with the guy, Tom.  In the first episode, the guy looses his job and his girl, all in one day.  The interesting part about it is that he has a ‘best girl friend’.  She hits him with some real interesting truths about his life, which *really* hit home with me.  It doesn’t hurt that she sounds exactly like a person I know…
 
All in all, the show started off interesting… Hopefully it will be available for purchase or reruns…

Very bad couple of days…

All I can say is that 2006 has started off on the *WRONG* foot.  Between my housing problems, work problems, and other ‘life-in-general’ problems, I’m surprised that I’ve made it through so far.  Fortunately, things feel like they are turning the corner.  I still don’t have a place to live yet after April, but work is going better.  The other problem, well, we’ll see if they resolve themselves this week or not…

Late recognition of a blogging anniversary

It just hit me that I’ve been blogging for over a year…  I started blogging back in December of ’04!  A *LOT* has changed in that year.  First off, I’ve been able to stabilize a little.  I’ve gotten MUCH better at planning my finances, and haven’t overdrawn my bank account once!  While this doesn’t sound positive, it’s been a major change for me.  I have not been very careful with money, and probably never will be the frugal person that many of my friends are.  BUT, in a couple of years, I’ll be back on track to my ultimate goals.
 
Second, I think that I’ve grown in my career.  A year ago, I was a cocky, know-it-all programmer.  I’m still a cocky, know-it-all, but I’ve tried toning the attitude down a bit, and learn a LOT.  I’ve also started learning what it takes to be a lead, either team or project.  I don’t hold either position, but I’ve been working on what it will take to do either job.  As my company grows, and the department I work for grows, I hope that I’ll be able to contribute on a management level.
 
Oh well, enough of the midnight musings!

Apple disappoints again…

Yes, we all know that that Apple announced a new iMac and a new MacBook Pro at this year’s AppleWorld.  There’s some *VERY* interesting things going on with these new boxes.  First off, it’s a step backwards.  WHAT!?!  The ‘old’ iMac that has been out for 3 months is a 64-bit processor.  The Intel Core Duo’s are *NOT*.  They are 32-bit processors.  Two of them, but still, not a dual 64-bit core.  In fact, the Centrino/Pentium M and Core Duo’s are based upon Pentium III cores!  Wow!  Where was this Pentium III speed 4 years ago?
 
Ok, the above information is interesting, but *NOT* how Apple disappointed me.  10.4.4 is what has disappointed.  I have a Mac mini that runs well enough, but I have a huge problem with a couple of devices.  I have the M-Audio FW-1814.  It’s an awesome firewire-based audio converter.  I also have the iSight.  It is also a firewire device.  Well, the Mac Mini only has one firewire port.  This presents a problem.  There are two ways to connect two firewire devices to one firewire port… either daisychain them, or get a firewire hub.  To make a long story short, neither one of these methods workd with my Mac Mini and said devices.  One of the updates for 10.4.4 was the audio and firewire drivers.  Unfortunately this didn’t help the problem.  I uninstalled the drivers, reinstalled the drivers, etc… No joy. 
 
I don’t understand *HOW* the mac mini is supposed to be a jumping off point to a media center… 1 firewire port, and 2 usb ports?  and one of the usb ports is taken up by the keyboard and mouse?  Plus, most devices don’t like being plugged into hubs… 
 
And finally, while I’m bitching about Apple, I’m going to throw one last little barb in… I *LOVE* .NET 2.0!!!!  Apple needs a language/libraries like that.  I tried working with XCode, but was supremely disappointed.  Plus, with the odd direction that Java on the mac is going… (why pull Cocoa support for Java application rendering?)  I just wonder if a ‘modern’ language will integrate into the Mac?  *Dave now ducks as the C++ and Mono people throw stones*
 
Basically, for me, the Mini has turned into a very expensive paperweigth.  Oh well, live and learn.

Apple’s finally caught up to Microsoft…

WHAT!?!  Shouldn’t that headline be the other way around?  With Microsoft releasing Vista and the MTV Urge service fairly soon, Microsoft will catch up with OS X Tiger.  Integrated search, widgets, and a beautiful new rendering engine will be VERY nice.  But there’s one place where Apple is playing catch up with Microsoft.  MSN Spaces has had ‘Photocasting’ since day one.  In fact, the new iWeb looks VERY much like the Spaces *WEB* interface.  I love Spaces, especially since it’s free
 
But, Microsoft, more features!  More photo space, maybe podcasting space would be nice.  Maybe integrate it with the Live platform (merge contacts, calendar, and spaces…. sweetttt)  Also, fix the bug where RSS isn’t being displayed correctly in Firefox.

I now have a new place to live…

Well, one less issue to tackle.  I’ve mentioned that my apartment has gone Condo… Today, the uncertainty of what was going to happen for me has been lifted.  I had thought about several options, two of which involved moving out of South Florida.  Fortunately, I was able to find a solution that doesn’t require that!  The apartment complex next to my current complex had an opening for a VERY nice apartment.  Two bedrooms, two baths, a nice screened in patio, and a garage.  What more could I ask for?  Maybe a better price, but it is one of the cheapest of that model that they have (in fact it is *THE* cheapest).  Now all I need is to get a nice ‘housing adjustment raise (hint, hint)…  Also, my commute *may* get a lot shorter soon!