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Archive for the 'Family' Category

2005.06.10 anxious/nervous/excited

the day is almost upon us. tomorrow +3 hours from now, i will be married and beginning the next phase of my life. it'll be weird to share a house with someone again, but i'm looking forward to having Sara there all the time.

amazingly enough, i haven't really been nervous or apprehensive about the whole thing until about… oh, 10 minutes ago. i think my nervousness mainly stems from the confluence of events and things that have to happen in the next 24 hours to pull this thing off. plus, we're taking a weeks vacation, and i always feel like i'm leaving something undone in the days/hours leading up to a departure. and there are so many things to leave undone. of course, none of them cannot be picked up when we return, but it's the reality of leaving things in a half-done state that is a bit nerve-wracking.

while we're gone, my laptop will be in the shop, the electrician will be roaming about the house bug-bombing the crawlspace and grounding all our outlets. seems like there should be more going on than that… amazing how the mind blows things out of proportion at the slightest provocation.

nevertheless, i'm trying to maintain my focus on Sara and enjoying the proceedings. tomorrow is all about me & her, so i want to make sure we're not losing perspective with all the other stuff going on.

and despite that selfish focus, i'm sincerely looking forward to being able to get all my friends and family, and new extended family under one roof, and to be able to see and talk to as many of them as possible, especially those i don't get to see very often (which is pretty much everybody, considering our social calendar of late).

so, i'm excited, i'm nervous, i'm anxious, and i'm focused (or trying to be) on the things about this next 30 hours that are the most meaningful. all-in-all i suppose i'm pretty much the typical husband-to-be.

wish us luck!

completely unrelated link: Technorati Profile

- 10:42 am - PL :: 3 Comments
categories ::  Family - Friends - Happy/Love - Love Life - Travel - Wedding - Wife


2005.05.12 a dam bursts:

holy cow. i swore (to myself) i'd stop mentioning with every new post how long it's been since the last one, but jeeze louise, i'm making history here! a whole month gone by without a single post in it, and just over two months since my last post! it's a bipolar first folks (and hopefully a last). i'm going to have to fix the archive index script (see way below) to skip April 2005 for me… weird.

anyway. as you might have guessed by my last few posts, and by my (even for me) uncharacteristic silence, i have been bizz-eee… no, not even that, i've been extremely fucking BUSY for too damn long now. let's recap, shall we?

1) finally bought a house.
2) closed on the house and moved out of the old apartment
4) slowly began to see light again
5) started writing this post

i think somewhere in there around 3 and 4, Sara and i spent a bunch of money buying stuff for the house, she had a couple of bridal showers, so we got crap-loads of gifts, i've been doing honest-to-god yard-work, washing a crap-load of dishes (no dishwasher), trying to get my stuff organized and put away, trying to finish the wedding website, trying to finalize wedding plans, trying not to go insane.

we're getting a load of brick today… how incredibly surreal and weirdly pedestrian and adult-like is that? i spent 8 hours on sunday outside… my world is currently sitting directly on its head.

the work roller-coaster was barely noticed (by me, anyway… Sara would've been freaking out if she hadn't had to study so much for finals), in that my 1 year contract expires at the end of the month… but my newly minted boss finally managed to push the paperwork through for a 6 month extension, so i'm gainfully employed until… er… christmas time.

all this, and the wedding is only… 4 weeks away. i'm not consumed with fear or anxiety yet, so that's a good thing. and hell, i'm looking forward to being able to get away from all this recent hubbub for a week and just enjoy *life* (and being married) for a moment without having to deal with anyone or anything else.

but i'm glad my sis, a new foreign service initiate, is coming into town this weekend and bringing that cute niece of mine with her. and she'll actually be staying in the states most of the year as she does her FS training, so it's conceivable we could see her more than twice in the next six months. and then, of course, she'll ship off to some foreign land, and we'll be hard-pressed to even get to see her once a year.

and my darling has successfully completed her 2nd year of med school and is even now studying for her first set of boards. i think we'll have at most a week after we get back from the honeymoon before she has to start her first rotation. thankfully she managed to get it set up so she doesn't have to leave town to do a rotation for a while.

and last, but not least, after giving up my precious kitties to Paul and Allison, and having been in the house for a month and getting it mostly whipped into shape, Sara and I are looking for two little kitties of our own. we want babies, and we'd like them to be litter-mates, but we are a bit flexible on that last bit.

and thanks to everybody for their well-wishes and congratulations re: the house. we're hoping to have a house-warming party soon, and i'll make sure to mention it here unless anybody out in the wide world has an opportunity to make it down for a weekend (pre-wedding, i'm hoping)

oh, one more thing… i just launched the wedding website yesterday, so go check it out!

2005.01.24 choose your path:

i just uploaded a bunch of new images to the gallery, some old stuff (like brian's and my trip to Chicago in 2000, pictures i only recently unearthed when trying out Picasa), and a lot of new stuff from recent trips to visit family, and from other various things (like my self portraits from my portfolio and "matt reads his favorites" sessions).

also, i presented the list of potential names to the guys, and, aside from Rob's abstention because he didn't like any of the names, we narrowed it down a bit. here's the revised list, with explanations of what the names mean (where necessary):

votes name meaning
2 constructdestruct
1 obfuscate to make obscure or unclear
here, and here
2 criduchat means "cry of the cat" a syndrome where abnormal larynx development causes children's cries to sound like that of a cat
here, some reference to a label
3 cotard's syndrome  this is a condition where a person believes that their friends, family, money, the whole world, or even parts of their body do not exist or are about to not exist
2 catarrhal inflammation of a mucous membrane, especially of the air passages of the head and throat, with a free discharge
1 epitaxis nose bleed
2 gleet urethral catarrh – see: catarrhal
nothing extant
1 worm fit convulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhea
1 scrivener's palsy writer's cramp

i'll give 'em this list next time, and we'll see if rob, brax, or jim comes up with any alternatives, then we'll cull the list again.

- 01:41 am - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Bipolar: News - Cool Links - Family - Friends - Mammon - Music - Personal Projects


2005.01.23 cold moon risen:

jesus, it's been a long day. (see technically, this is still the 22nd for me, so this is Saturday's post).

i finally decided (thursday) to take Sara up on her suggestion, and join her running team. now, mind you, i have no intention of running any races, or doing any of that really crazy stuff. if it's raining or snowing, my ass will be sleeping. but nevertheless, i got up at 8 am, donned my newly purchased running apparel (with that fancy "water-wicking" fabric, bought on sale at Tar-jay), got my ass down to the track at Seneca park, and proceeded to run/walk 3.something miles. ouch. my thighs still hurt.

afterwards, we went out for a celebratory breakfast at Bob Evans–her celebrating that i finally got off my ass and exercised, me celebrating that i did so and didn't keel over from a heart attack. then we went home for about… oh, five seconds… then ran out to meet our realtor to look at a condo and a house we were interested in getting second opinions on. her dad joined us, to help give us advice. turns out, both places were really not great, so we're now moving on to other possibilities. with each additional "unnacceptable," we're moving farther out from the epicenter of our target area, but y'know, there's not much we can do about that without winning the lottery or something. next step, a place sort-of out by bowman field.

i also finally got my papers from the military, and it looks like i'll not be eligible for the VA loan i was kind of holding out a dim flicker of hope for. so, now we gotta find out what exactly we qualify for. then, the "real" search begins.

after that, we chilled at my place for about… 15 minutes, then headed out to a birthday party for her little five-year-old niece. food, family, and er… fun-ish.

the last stop of the night was a birthday gathering for the inimitable puffin, at ZA's. we hung out until the early-to-bedder's (including my lovely fiance) had to beat a retreat, then proceeded to make fun of the ska and rap bands that set up to play a show. we were all getting pretty soused and having a good time, none moreso than neil.

a highlight of the evening was getting to hang out with brian for the first time in god-knows-how-long. but really, the whole evening was great, and i think the puffin could hardly have asked for a better birthday celebration. good food, good drink, good friends, and bad bands.


oh, and my thighs are still sore.

- 02:40 am - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Birthday - Drinking - Family - Friends - Happy/Love - Music - Personal Projects - Wedding - Wife


2004.12.15 eventful:

this'll just be a quick entry to point out a couple things…

1) in light of the "IE gets blowed up real good" bug apparently triggered by the recent bipolar revamp, i've unflipped the switch and gone back to the crappy frames version. if anyone knows why a little CSSP/DHTML might be causing IE to hack up a lung, i implore you to please come forward. for testing purposes, the XHTML valid revamp version is still available.

**update**: well, it looks like i've nearly licked the kick'sploding IE thing. apparently, i didn't do too much testing in IE 6 during initial development, probably thinking that IE5 and 6 rendered more similarly than they do. i still need to do a little layout clean-up work (especially on 1.5) for IE6, but otherwise things appear solid once again.

the culprit? stupid proprietary DOM stuff in IE. document.body.clientHeight was causing IE6 to puke, so i just amped up my browser detect, and called document.documentElement.clientHeight for IE6 only. seems to have done the trick.

those of you IE6'ers out there, please pound on one or all of these (jhb15sporg) and let me know if you're still seeing crashes. i'd be much obliged. ** end update**

2) in other news, the "latest images" functionality of the gallery scripts is coming along nicely, though it seems with each new feature i complete, i think of five more things that could make them even better. what this means is that, eventually, i'm pretty much going to have to do a ground-up rewrite of the scripts. yippee.

in honor of the new functionality (as partially implemented) check out the pictures i took over this past weekend, when i went home to p'town to visit the fam and see my sis and my awesome little niece. be sure to check out the rasnake/old_homestead gallery, as there are several kick ass shots of stuff in and around my parents house. (sometimes, i actually think i'm a good photographer)

anyway, hit that link quick, as it's only good for 10 days–one of the limitations of the latest images feature (as it stands now) is that the number of days images are counted as new is set globally. i'm planning on adding a bit where you can specify a date, a range of dates, or your own number of days for which to show images. should be fun.

**update 12/21/2004** more fixin's have been added to the gallery scripts, adding some of the stuff i mentioned above, and that gallery link above now targets a specific date (rather than xx days ago). still no UI for all the new gizmos, but i'll get to that soon-ish.** end update**

2004.10.23 it's almost over:

last week, my dad forwarded me an email with a political joke comparing John Kerry to one of the hurricanes that hit florida. in response, i copied the text of the new york times endorsement of john kerry for president and sent it to him and all the people on the original email list of the forwarded email. what fun!

anyway, he emails me back, with a point by point breakdown through about half the time's piece, and i responded to his points. the text of my response to his responses follows (if you haven't read the nyt piece, you can reference it to see what the hell we're talking about.

Succinct perhaps, but nevertheless wrong! It is an example of the liberal press and how they are trying to influence the election. I have stopped listening to much of the news reporting, including Public Broadcasting, because they are obviously biased in everything they do.

There was very little in the NYTimes piece that was inaccurate or quantifiably false. I didn't say nothing, just very little. And yes, the opinion included in the piece attests to their "liberal bias", but still doesn't discount or negate the accuracy of the mentioned facts.

There is no greater responsibility to the future of this country, to our

Absolutely! And that is why I will strongly support George Bush as the best hope for the future of America. The liberal agenda of John Kerry and the Democrats will lead to moral degradation and eventual destruction of the American society! I don't have much time left to worry about myself; but, I have grave concerns for my grandchildren.

If you truly believe this, then you really don't know what the "liberal agenda" is. If you consider "doing unto others as you'd have them do unto you" and "love your neighbor as yourself" to be tenets that will destroy our morals and our society, then perhaps you're right.

If one of those qualities includes the willingness to say and do anything that will promote himself, I agree! Otherwise, everything I see in him is negative.

what exactly are you talking about here? aside from the fact that he is a politician (thus you can't escape from some self-aggrandizing) i've seen a man who's taken stands and stuck to them, until he learned–by benefit of more complete information and analyses–that he'd been wrong. i've seen a man who's learned from his mistakes, and who has striven to correct them, rather than someone who merely takes the politically advantageous position.
In contrast, with Bush, you've got a man who takes a position and sticks with it, even if he's wrong, and even if he's proved wrong again and again. He's practically stated that he feels he was "destined" for the role of president, and given it by God Himself (tell me that's not outrageous self-promotion!). And this is a man who can't even come up with a single mistake he's made in the three+ years he's been in office. If you asked, i could name at least 20 off the top of my head.

John Kerry has no morals I would support! He is a pathological liar in the vein of Bill Clinton. Truth is whatever is good for John Kerry!

i would sure like to see an example of this. in what instances has he lied, and what about? name just two.

He used his Vietnam period specifically as a way to make himself look good.

yes, of course. John Kerry went to war and put his life on the line "just to make himself look good."

did he capitalize on his experience during his campaign? yes, of course. This campaign, because of the Iraq war, has been all about who can be a good Commander in Chief, who can make the right decisions, with the primary goal of taking care of the soldiers and not putting them needlessly in harms way. I say that Kerry's Vietnam experience makes him a far better choice for CinC than Bush who never fired a shot at an enemy, never had a shot fired at him, and who has no real idea what it means to be a soldier. sure, he was in the Air National Guard, but his record in that endeavor was just about as bad, if not worse than my own.

Then, he turned his back on his fellow soldiers by speaking out against the war. To me, he is just as bad as Jane Fonda in that respect.

here you're just parroting right-wing propaganda gobbledygook. he did his duty as a soldier, he put his life in the hands of his government, and he came to realize that the war was not what it should be. it was being handled wrong, and good men were dying when they didn't need to be. the Vietnam war was a travesty, and kerry was doing what he thought would best serve his fellow soldiers who were still giving their lives.

He was willing to follow his convictions of what is right – which John Kerry will never do

Bush did follow his convictions, which would have been fine, had he campaigned as a radical right-winger. Unfortunately, he didn't. He campaigned as a centrist, as a moderate republican at best. He promised to protect social security, he promised to continue paying down the nation debt. he promised lots of things, and there were only a few that he kept. And as i said earlier, he may have followed his convictions, but he also is incapable of learning from or even admitting his mistakes, and many of the "convictions" he followed turned out to be ill-advised or altogether wrong. And yes, you are correct, John Kerry will never simply,blindly follow his convictions of what is right. He is a thinker, a decider. He will take as much information as he can get and only then will he make a decision. And you can bet that the decision that he makes 80 – 85% of the time will be the best decision that can be made for the largest portion of this country.

another. He moved quickly to implement a far-reaching anti-choice agenda

Pro-life is not "anti-choice"! I'm for pro-choice as long as the choice is whether to get pregnant! Once a life is created by conception, to terminate it is murder!

this is a very hairy topic, so much so that even in the midst of this email, i'd prefer not to get into it. suffice it to say that yes, i believe abortion is an abhorrent practice. the one point where i diverge from Kerry's stance is in his opposition to the partial-birth abortion ban. i think i would align myself more with Clinton's philosophy of "make it legal, make it safe, but make it rare." because, it is going to happen one way or another, and i'd rather have people doing it "safely" than having a bunch of people going back to the days of the wire coat-hanger in the truck-stop restroom.

also, if you think Bush is the great anti-abortion president, perhaps you should read this.

The next step for "pro-choice" liberals will be the choice for euthanasia – first by the individual; then by the family; then government.

there is governmental euthanasia already. it's called "the death penalty" and individual euthanasia would be "suicide" (not that suicide is expressly legal, but who do you prosecute?)

All these programs are discriminatory! A person should have the opportunity to compete on an equal basis – not given an "edge".

I agree. Unfortunately, there is still inequality in the system. Affirmative Action, though not perfect, is an unfortunate necessity to ensure an "even playing field" for many underprivileged people. And no matter what you might think, not everyone has the same opportunity in this country. Many inner city families struggle against their own lack of social inertia, they were born into and perpetuate a cycle of defeatism that it can be difficult if not impossible to break out of. Yes, it is possible to break out of it, and thankfully many children & young adults can and do, but just because they can, doesn't mean it's easy.

I have suffered throughout my professional career because of so called "affirmative action" programs. Had I been a black woman with my credentials, I could have been the president of a university.

I had it easy growing up, thanks to your hard work and determination. But you had an advantage over non-whites your age that allowed you to progress as far as you have. I don't know the particulars of your struggles, and/or how affirmative action may have hindered your professional development, but i freely admit that the system isn't perfect. Unfortunately, until women and minorities can truly compete on an even field, the program may remain necessary. Even right now, i can't think of a single black person at the office where i work. There are several Indians (as in from India), and even a Russian, but not one black person.

When the nation fell into recession, the president remained fixated not on generating jobs but rather on fighting the right wing's war against taxing the wealthy. As a result, money that could have been used to strengthen Social Security evaporated, as did the chance to provide adequate funding for programs the president himself had backed. No Child Left Behind, his signature domestic program, imposed higher standards on local school systems without providing enough money to meet them.

The financial problems of the country are the direct result of eight years of Bill Clinton's policies. Without the policies the Bush administration put into place, we probably would have had a depression rather than recession.

Clinton presided over the greatest economic period in our nation's history (s'far as i know, anyway). The economy and markets didn't start to decline until late in his last year, probably around the time Bush got elected. The recession didn't start until late March or April of 01, a full three months after Bush took office, and 5 months after his election. <i'm inferring a connection between Bush's election, the election fight, and the faltering economy, for the slower people out there. m@ > Clinton gave us a 5 trillion surplus, enough to protect Social Security for another 40 years, and paid down the national debt by at least half. Under his leadership, we were well on the way to becoming a debt-free nation, which would have bolstered the economy and heralded a new era of progress. Instead, we got Bush, whose answer to the unprecedented economic strength during his campaign was "tax cuts!" After Bush took office, and the economy started it's slide into recession, Bush's answer was still "Tax Cuts!" Does that really make any sense? It sure doesn't to me. It didn't to his Secretary of the Treasury either, who fought to convince Bush the tax cuts were a fruitless idea at best. Paul O'Neil told Bush and the Congress that the tax cuts would have a negligible effect on the economy and wouldn't make any difference in the long-run on the recession. Bush's idea was that if you give everyone a cut, then more people will have more money to spend. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, since prices for everything were rising as the tax cuts were being passed around. The tax cuts for the wealthy didn't help at all, because they don't even spend a large percentage of their income anyway, they just invest it. Their tax cuts didn't "trickle down" (to borrow the Regan term for Bush's tax plan), because they just went straight into stocks or other investment vehicles.

I'm not against taxing the wealthy, and the wealthy are taxed to a greated extent ( higher level), but you can't finance the country on the backs of the wealthy.

The whole idea of the progressive tax system is that those who profit the most from the system contribute the most to it. Besides the wealthy may be taxed to a greater extent according simply to the IRS bracket structure, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Because of the Bush tax cuts (and other tax incentives/loopholes geared toward the wealthy) more often than not, the truly wealthy ($1M annual and up) often end up paying lower taxes than you or I might. I forget the exact figure, but the actual amount of taxes Cheney paid on his income, after incentives and loopholes, was somewhere around 3%. just doesn't seem right to me.

Add to that all the corporate tax incentives and loopholes, and you've got corporations like Enron & Halliburton who can go for 5 years or more and not pay one red cent in taxes. Are they paying their "fair share?" I think not.

Everyone should be willing to pay their fair share. The Robin Hood ethics of Democrats may be noble, but it's still thievery. It also stymies economic growth to take away the incentives of people to get ahead.

What you're talking about is the welfare system where people get "something for nothing" (according to right-wing propaganda). Yes, the welfare system needs to be reformed such that people aren't allowed to "take advantage" of it, and have to do something to receive something. Clinton made strides toward this regard in getting the largest number off the welfare roles since the inception of the program–something about 20 million new jobs created during his two terms, and also through the "welfare-to-work" program. WtW wasn't perfect, but it was a step in the right direction of making sure that we weren't just bankrolling deadbeats. If you manage the system in the right way, and make it more about getting people jobs and training for jobs, and less about just paying them enough to live on, then you'll truly make a difference.

I certainly have never been one of the rich, but I don't begrudge what they have, because I believe I have more because of what they have done!

i certainly don't begrudge the rich what they have either, i just don't like that they are able to wield power because of that wealth, and get out of paying their "fair share" for the privilege that allowed them their success in the first place. It is their duty, as successful products of this society, to give back to that society which made their success possible.

This country was conceived and built on the idea that people should have the right to improve themselves. The government should help people better themselves, as it certainly did in my case. Without welfare while I was a kid, I would have had no chance to pursue an education. However; the government should not be expected to take care of me all my life.

see my points on welfare above. but also, yes, this is why it is imperative that we set up the system so that it truly does the job of preparing people for the workplace, and finding them work to do. of course, that also means that you have to have an economy that is creating jobs, something Bush has proved largely inadequate at doing. He may have added 1.6 million jobs in the last 13 months, but it takes at least 150,000 jobs each month to sustain a growing economy, and Bush hasn't been able to do that. 130,000 one month, 60,000 another, 10,000 another, 110,000 another. This is not the way to grow an economy. The reason unemployment has dropped, at least partially, is that people are dropping off the rolls because they can't find work, or they've exhausted their benefits. Not because of the upswing, or new job creation. New job creation isn't even keeping up with the pace of new workers entering the job force, much less the old out-of-work ones.
anyway, the government should make every effort to make it possible for everyone who wants work to have work. and if you don't want work, then you're a homeless bum with no welfare.

Environmental protection in the US is in better hands than it was with Bill Clinton and the Democrats. I can speak more directly from the agricultural standpoint since I have been directly involved with farmers trying to deal with the repressive policies of the Clinton administration. I believe farmers need to be environmentally sensitive and responsible. There are better ways to accomplish that than "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" as EPA was doing. I was in a meeting just a couple of weeks ago with EPA people in Atlanta planning how to deal with animal waste on farms. I can assure you they are working to address the problem without risking the disruption of food production.

Perhaps the EPA was too harsh with small-time farmers who are being driven out of the market by huge corporate farms already. But the bulk of Clinton's EPA was devoted to protecting the environment from irresponsible corporate interests. The Clean Air act made great strides in reducing pollution and holding companies accountable. I don't know all the particulars, but nearly everyone agrees that the environmental policy the Bush administration has pursued has been the most egregious disaster for public health and the environment in recent years.

And anyway, maybe food production needs to be disrupted a bit. Farmers are getting paid less and less for more and more, and are constantly having to find new ways to produce more from less, correct? And the American waistline is growing bigger and bigger by the day. The vicious cycle of production/promotion/consumption is killing us all.

America's security; 90 percent of the cargo unloaded every day in the nation's ports still goes uninspected.

Which is 10% more than it was under Clinton!

I doubt that, but nevertheless, it's still 80% less than it should be, or could be if Bush hadn't bankrupted our government such that he can't even fully fund "his own" initiatives (Bush initially opposed creation of a Homeland Security department, which was originally a proposal of the Democrats).

When you have been attacked in your homeland, changes are justified. There may have been some inconveniences, but who knows what may have been thwarted by those policies.

Removal of basic civil rights is never justified. If we think we can implement totalitarian policies just because we've been attacked, then we're really not much better than terrorists ourselves, are we? In any event, and to paraphrase a common refrain from the time of the attacks, if civil liberties are repealed then "the terrorists have truly won."

I do agree that this election will have a lot to do with the future of this country. I want what's best for my children and grandchildren in the years to come. I truly believe that John Kerry is not suited to lead it in the right direction. George Bush may not be the best person for the job, but he is the best choice we have at this time.

You sound just like me, but opposite. John Kerry isn't the second coming, he's not perfect, but i think at least he's got an IQ equal to my own or better. At least he will entertain facts and make decisions based on them, rather than decided based on what God tells him, or what he simply "thinks is right." My biggest fear is that, with four more years of Bush, we'll have no friends left and more enemies in the international community, we'll have unbreathable air, undrinkable water, we'll have a national debt that even my 5th great grandchildren won't be able to dig out from under, and we'll have a society in which the rich and the poor are separated by an uncrossable economic gulf. The american dream will become a legend, then a myth. the Poor will no longer be able to come up from the foothills of the Appalachian mountains and make a cozy home for themselves and their families.

Let me just say that I respect your opinions no matter how much I disagree with them. I am sorry that I failed as a father to instill in you the values I hold so dear.

Believe me, you didn't fail as a father. I carry the values you taught me with me every day. They inform my every decision, every conversation, every aspect of my life. My values are as i describe above, distilled down into those two tenets. "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" and "Love your neighbor as yourself." It is only by mutual respect, love, and understanding that we can move this country, and this world, into the future. Without them, we'll see fear, hate, and greed on all sides, and there will be no escape.

- 01:32 am - PL ::
categories ::  Family - Politics - Society


2004.08.31 much ado

seems like the last month has been a major upheaval, lots of crap going on, but it's mostly just busyness, frustration, and happiness.

the band's been practicing, and though i've totally neglected the site since before the last show, we're really not dead. in fact, we've a show coming up this weekend, which i've only just finished making flyers for, that i hope to get up around town tomorrow before practice. our second show with a drummer, and we've been coming up with ideas of how to change things around to make us happier… more on that later.

sara's and my wedding plans are proceeding apace, and we've actually been talking about the possibility of buying a house or condo prior to the festivities (once the lease is up at the current abode). we're getting ready to send out "save the date" cards, and she's been dress shopping. we finally finished "catholic wedding school" so that's thankfully out of the way, and we didn't even have to endure a great deal of that "natural family planning" crap the popesters like to foist on people. yippee.

add to all that fun the fact that sara's finally started back to school, and our schedules have been in major flux trying to adjust back into that whole routine. we're starting to settle in now, so i'm hoping to start getting some work done again.

which leads me to the next exciting thing (for me, anyway). i finally, after years and years of wishing, finally bought myself a swanky new laptop… an AMD Athlon 64 beast of fury and brilliance, that has caused me no end of heartache the past couple weeks mainly due to my insufferable need to wrest complete control over my machines from the great satan (Windows). So i got the machine and proceeded to poke and prod at it, uninstalling as much as possible and deleting a bunch besides. It was becoming a stripped down monster, but then i made some networking change trying to surreptitiously get a 'net hookup at work, and then i couldn't connect to any of my machines on the home network… so, a couple reinstalls later, a much more cautious takeover attempt, and i've finally got it in order again. i'm still installing some of the day-to-days, but it's mostly up and running. thus, this, my first blog post on the new champion. (named the hard drives after the members of Mudhoney, for those who wonder those things)

also, somewhere in there, i got to hang out with my brother who came up to the fair with the FFA, and i managed to get myself in to see the eye doctor, who told me absolutely nothing helpful. in fact, he said that, not only was there nothing that he could do about the problems that i'd come to see him about, but there is another issue that i wasn't even previously aware of, and which, surprise surprise, he also can't do anything about. some retinal specialist, eh?

and the last bit of life complicating news is that i managed to get started working on a little freelance project for some friends (and with an old Corvus coworker–ben), a thing which is currently moving slowly, but positively. i've been wanting to try to take on some freelance stuff, so this should be a good opportunity to see if i can manage to balance the leisurely bits of my life with actual obligations to others.

so, bunch of stuff going on, a lot of it just tedious, time consuming, and schedule wrecking, but thankfully enough of it happy and fun that i've not minded the other bits too much. so, here's to another 'bout of time wrestling.

2004.06.28 let the countdown begin!

my lovely girl and i took off for Paris on May 19th, and had a wonderful trip. we spent just over a week with my sister & her husband, and their insanely cute little self-propelled floor scrubber. the trip itself was awesome, and i'll write more about it in detail later, though not in as much detail as the last time i went, partly because i didn't keep a detailed journal like last time, and partly because, as infrequently as i update, i'm sure you guys don't want to be bored to tears by 8 days worth of interminably long posts. 'cause you know if i wrote 'em, i'd write 'em big.

anyway, the main reason i'll not write more about the trip in this post is because there really was only one event that i want to highlight, and it's possibly the most important event so far in my life (except, perhaps, for my birth). it took a lot of planning, and even some conniving and sneakiness, to pull it off, but i like to think i pulled it off with charm, character, and panache.

on friday, Sara and I headed out on our first full day in paris (we don't count thursday, 'cause we were barely lucid after staying awake for 36+ hours…) to the louvre, which is the only place i had regretted not spending more time at on my last visit. we spent several hours walking around the louvre, until the pictures started really blending into each other, our feet were demanding a break, and our lungs were clamoring for fresh air.

back out in the daylight, we wandered for a bit through the courtyard, then out towards and into the Jardin des Tuileries. some of you might recall the garden as being the location of my favorite view of Paris. when we reached the end of the Jardin, near the huge gate connecting the gardens to the Place de la Concorde, we went into the little bookstore set into the wall, above-which was the spot–my ultimate destination. of course, i'd told sara several times about the spot, and the view of the Parisian skyline that it afforded, with the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Egyptian Obelisk in the large open plaza.

the bookstore was filled with gardening books, and was really just a delaying tactic, though a completely explainable one, considering Sara's mom's gardening/landscaping hobby.

still, there wasn't much of interest, so we left the bookstore and headed up to the spot. hand in hand, we trudged up the incline to the top of the wall. we walked up to the fence and stood there for a minute or two just kind of taking in the scene and hanging onto each other. then i told her i wanted to get some pictures, and i handed her my backpack, so i could dig into it for my camera.

i reached in and rummaged around for a while, long enough for her to get curious as to why it was taking so long. just about the moment, she said "ah… wha…", i set the backpack down to the side, dropped down to one knee, and, with ring in hand, asked "will you be my wife?"

after taking the briefest of moments to recover from shock, she said she would. we hugged, she cried a little, and we just enjoyed the moment for several minutes. i'm certain the french couple sitting on the bench nearby had seen the whole thing, and were either watching us intently, or trying intently not to watch us. we walked over to another bench and sat for a while, talking, and just being close. then we got up and took a few pictures to mark the occasion.

after taking in the view one last time, we headed out of the Garden and onto the streets, walking down to a restaurant in the Marais district that my sister had picked out at my request especially for this evening. we enjoyed the night air, had a great dinner at a classy-yet-cozy little French restaurant, and then made our way back to my sis's place.

i couldn't have asked for a better day, and i couldn't have hoped for all the little plans i'd been working on for the proposal to have gone any better than they did. and i couldn't have hoped for a better girl to have that day with or make those plans for. so, after 20+ years of waiting to find the right person, the countdown has finally begun to end my life as a single man. in June of next year, we're not sure exactly when yet (though, probably on the 11th for all of you who're expecting invitations), we'll get hitched and get started on our long lives of bugging the crap out of each other and laughing about it later. wish us luck.

personally, i can hardly wait.

» France 2004 Gallery

- 05:21 pm - PL :: 4 Comments
categories ::  Family - Happy/Love - Love Life - Travel - Wife


2003.12.18 you'd think *i* was the one in med school:

hi. uh… my name's matt. you might remember me from such hits as "posts on a semi-regular basis," or "lies, lies, and more lies." needless to say, considering the time of year, quite a bit has happened since my last post. i'm not going to try to go into it all in one post, but here's a summary, in the form of an ordered list:

  1. visited nathan in bloomington over a weekend
  2. followed, almost as i predicted, the fun the Courier-Journal was having with Ernie Fletcher's stupid transition team choices, and his lies about them not being lined up for jobs. he hadn't even been sworn into office yet, and already his making questionable choices and getting reamed for it by the liberal media.
  3. got to meet sara's new niece Emma Rose
  4. got a new cell-phone, but had to wait a week for it to work, because of the whole number-portability thing
  5. went home for thanksgiving and finally got to meet my new niece Emma Ruth
  6. made some modifications to the MP3 of the moment thing… anyone notice? — for a while, i was uploading the mp3 directly from WinAmp to the server, and the magic script gnomes were providing a link to it for you to download. i scrapped that in favor of…
  7. more modifications to replace the previous modifications — now, if you see the little "listen (x)" link after the MP3 name, (on my side anyway), you can "tune in" to my bipolar radio stream.
  8. even more modifications that basically entailed me taking the javascript that was driving the MP3otM thing, and converting it all to PHP. — oh yeah, and, it doesn't show up at all if it's been more than 30 minutes since we last listened to anything.
  9. finally managed to get around to buying christmas presents, spent way too much, but found some cool stuff.

sara's working on her 1st semester finals this week, so i've been trying to keep her sane. i'm just looking forward to the rest of the month, at least until she starts her 2nd semester. it'll be nice to be able to hang out with her without her worrying about a test or having to study 90% of the time.

i'm looking forward to this next week as well. christmas with the fam is always an enjoyable time, even if i'm somewhat of a anti-social hermit while i'm there. i've been getting better over the years, we'll see what happens this time.

btw. winamp5 has been officially released.

2003.10.10 alright! i think i'm gonna score!

well now. the last post sparked quite a round of commentary. it's always amazed me how certain topics in certain circles can be so powerfully mobilizing. equally amazing is that often the most vehement and violent reactions are provoked by those topics that have the least chance of ever truly reaching a universal solution or consensus–abortion, religion, church & state, star trek vs. star wars, capt. kirk vs. capt. picard vs. capt sisko, windows vs. mac vs. amiga.

which is not to say that the commentary on the last post was vehement or violent, it was actually quite stimulating, exciting, and informative. if you haven't read them yet, you should.

aside from taking part in political discussions, i've been keeping myself busy. keeping my favorite girl relaxed and happy during her stressful educational endeavor. and pursuing all those other little tasks that i've outlined for myself.

i've nearly finished the database design for My Favorite Martyr. i've finished reading a few of the many books that have been piled up on my bookshelf for the last year or so. i went home for a visit with the family for my brother's birthday (he just turned 16, so if you're in the vicinity of Princeton, KY, be sure to keep a very sharp eye on any other cars on the road.) let's see… the band has recorded the main tracks of the last song of our album, so now we're getting down to mixing in earnest, adding extra layers, and writing new material. i've bought a flash book and am trying to teach myself that. and by god, now i'm very nearly 30 friggin years old. not yet damn it! not yet. but almost.

finally, to bring this back around to the topic of politics (my pet subject, of late), i'd like to be the first to point out my new 2004 Candidate Score Sheet. i'd like to be the first to point it out, but ironically enough, my friend ben has beaten me to it on the community blog he frequents–Lost in Louisville. He beat me to it, 'cause i've been showing it to him the last few days as it's been developing, and i'm a slow bastard about writing a new post. what does it mean when a veteran blogger gets beat to the punch on announcing one of his own projects? i'm not sure, but it's gotta be something profound.

anyway, check out the Score Sheet, and make note of the fact that there's even a link up at the top where you can get a blank version of the chart so you can do your own. if you're really cheeky, you might even email your chart to me (a completed HTML version would be easiest for those of you who know your way around the code, otherwise, just however you see fit.) and i'll figure out some place to put links to them all. sounds like a fun project for the whole family!

ok. enough with tha jibba-jabba. my boss is letting me leave work early–who am i to argue?!



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