Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown IS Dead

BREITBART.COM - Legendary Singer James Brown Dies at 73

You knew the techno song would eventually come true....who knew it would happen when he was still working so hard.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Heroes is good.

Really good.

Best 10 episodes on TV since Lost's first season.

Right now I've got the following must watch shows:
  • Lost (Redeeming itself, but fall finale was weak).
  • Prison Break (Predicatable ending, but always fun...and fun is important these days)
  • House (Best comedy on TV bar none)
  • Scrubs (Best comedy that admits its a comedy)
  • Heroes (Episode 10 - the Sylar origin story is easily the best episode on TV this is what Walkabout was to Lost).
  • Nip/Tuck (Still good, but getting old)
The following are if I catch it
  • Jericho (Jury is still out...too slow in many cases for me)
  • Fox Sunday Cartoons (Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad)
And that's it. Right now....Heroes might be the best out of that top list...the writing has been spectatular, the only question is: Can they keep it up?

Friday, November 24, 2006

MSU Shocks Wisconsin - NCB - Ahearn's 25 help Missouri St. shock No. 7 Wisconsin

So, my non-RPI mind says...this is huge for not only Missouri State, but the MVC. Some people think that Wisconsin is the team to challenge Ohio State in the Big Ten.

This is HUGE.

This is what you call a "Quality Win". Wisconsin should rebound and still be a huge team. But this will play when the committee meets in early March.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dead Schembechlers Hitting Mainstream?


Haven't found the cnnsi article yet...assuming there is one.

I haven't figured out if the columnists haven't figured out the punk rock jokes...or if they're just playing along. It's amazing though...through it all, they haven't said what band they usually are....and right now, they're getting more pub than the "day job" band ever got.

We'll know it's over the top if they show up on College Game Day or if footage is shown during the game.

And, in keeping with all things punk....I urge the folks on CD 101 to call out Biafra on his blatent sell out when he inevidably phones in on Thursday or Friday morning.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hollywood, Pollutes...Surprise?!

I guess it takes studies these days.

With the chatter about being carbon neutral and a bunch of other green noble's a wonder anyone has bothered to notice that movies and TV tend to be...well....not green at all. Blowing stuff up tends to be....not green. The high powered lighting systems...not green. All that makeup...not green or animal friendly.

Why it takes university studies to prove the obvious is quite amazing.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Turk Gone

It was only a matter of time, but Gallant is finally gone. Surprisingly, this happened during "The Week". Maybe more people watch the sportscasts and they knew this would make a splash? Why did they wait?

Only one left to go is Dougy Mac. Mr. Mac needs to get that done ASAP.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Hey Doug MacLean...Hire Hitchcock...NOW!

That's all really. Pick up the phone, call up Ken, and see if he wants to coach Rick Nash.

I like Gallant. I really do, but you don't turn down the chance to get Ken Hitchcock.

Doug...the team has looked like garbage. You once called me when I bailed out on season tickets because I made a comment about the coach you hired. I know you're a stand up guy. You aren't happy with the performance the past three games.

If this team loses to the need to make the't wait. On Tuesday morning you should be introducing him.

Hire Hitchcock.

Found the Battlewagon

Plymouth Volare and Dodge Aspen including Super Coupe

Ah yes, the Battlewagon. Things you look for at 5 in the morning when you're waiting for a change to be executed.

The first picture shows pretty much the old wagon, the Volare, wood panels and all. The only difference between that Volare and the old Battlewagon are...this one's wood paneling looks normal, and it's left headlight isn't slightly askew...and it's not cream.

But I do have some memories of that old car. Learned to drive in that car...manual transmission and everything. Look at the great pic of the four on the floor gear shift further down. Simply brilliant stuff.

Anyway, it's long gone and dead...but it holds lots of memories.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Enemy's Playbook

This is tremendous. An easy read, and facinating.

The first mistake one usually makes when thinking of others is to assume they are stupid. This work assumes the enemy is smart and is studying the playbook. It provides some insight into what mistakes the US may have made, and what things they are doing correctly. And some poor assumptions about the resolve of this country....or at least I hope they are poor.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Star Trek and The Singularity

Random thoughts pop up from time to

How did The Singularity impact the Star Trek storyline? I mean, did it not occur, or did humans find a way to control it? Is the Borg an illustration of how it could play out?

It's just an interesting idea since people are convinced it's almost here, and yet one of the great SciFi franchises seems to ignore it....except maybe the one where the Enterprise creates a lifeform.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Blog of the Dead

Blog of the Dead

Grouchy is the author of this site. He frequests the BigSoccer Crew Message board, and runs fun polls and such on the site.

He's also into Zombies.

This is a facinating blog he authored in his spare time as a story. He updates it in "real" time as though each day were happening. Almost like an old style serial that they used to run in the newspapers back in the day.

It's entertaining. I'm no writing critic, but I'm entertained. Well done Grouchy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Real USA Soccer Crowd

YouTube - USA v Italy

I've said it before. it all started during the 2002 Qualifying campaign. The Internet, combined with scattered knowledgeable fans collectively decided to organize as true supporters. It had less to do with exclusive "clubs", and now had drilled down, into the masses.

The US-Mexico Qualifier in 2001 was easily the tipping point for many of us. The cold, the non stop chanting. The blow up doll with the Mexican jersey getting spanked in the North End. It was brilliant for everyone who was there.

No one travelled well to Korea. It wasn't going to happen. But Europe...that's a place we can go. And on Saturday, with the help of tons of travelling support in K-Town, we had support that drowned out the "Forza!" from the Italians.

Is there any wonder the team did so well in dominating that match? Down 10-9? None at all. Not when the opposition is trying to figure out where the fans came from.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

ESPN2HD and Time Warner

Tremendous "hearsay" discource going on the Big Soccer boards regarding Time Warner's relucatance to get ESPN2HD on the air. Or as TW would say...ESPN's reluctance to get ESPN2HD on the air:

Brilliant stuff from these posts:

They're both right....and both very very wrong.

ESPN2 and ESPN2HD should not be separate services.

However, TWC should not be charging me extra for ESPNHD or ESPN2HD. It's one of the reasons I don't subscribe to ESPNHD. It's not worth it.

Basically the whole system is f-ed up and these two nimrods can't get their head our of their collective asses to offer a product that customers actually want. ESPN wants to charge extra for an HD feed...and TWC wants to pass that cost onto me.

What a crock of crap.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Calling Out the Blind Agilists

Otaku, Cedric's weblog: Agile people still don't get it

Brilliant post, with even more brilliant comments.

You see, Agile in many ways is a very good thing. However, the real question is, are you going to get buy in when push comes to shove.

It's really easy to use Agile when you don't have any inflexible deadlines. You can't just say...well, it'll wait until the next work cycle, or provide an estimate based upon 40 hour weeks.

Yes, we can say that things will work out better if we had infinite time/resources/money. But we don't. So what do we do?

We take the best things from Agile that fit into your product and organization. If that means TDD, then by all means use it. If that means sprint based development, then use it.

What the agilists have become, is amazingly unagile in their ability to pick and choose. At least from a leadership position. The people who find ways to apply agile concepts to maintenance queues, or legacy COBOL application projects. Those are the folks who are truly being agile and looking for ways to get things done faster, and with higher quality.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Why the Germans should be hating Klinsmann

So I'm watching the Ticos Germany match replay on ESPN Classic, and I am amazed at how Germany just lets Wanchope beat the trap twice with ease.

Now, if this was a coach living in Germany, I could excuse it. But Klinsmann has to have seen a few qualifiers with the Ticos since he lives in Los Angeles. He's got Univision, Telemundo in LA and at least has ESPN on cable. He could have easily seen a match or two and noticed that the Ticos pretty much play through Wanchope and you need to mark him staight up.

But he didn't pay attention.

Not that a 4-2 victory will hurt the Germans in getting through...but they should have done much better. Letting the one man attack of Costa Rica put away two goals does not spell well for when they take on a tougher team.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Lala - Stumped! Well...not reall

Lala - Discover, Listen, Enjoy

Interesting site...lets you trade CDs you own for $1.50. Not bad. Apparently also to hook up with local used record stores to trade if you don't want to wait for someone to trade the music.

Sorta like BookCrossing only with money involved. Brilliant!

Anyway, I stumped it with a query for Wolfgang Parker. It found Wolf on some compilations however. It DID have Fenster however, which surprised me...although it did not have the Fenster album I own.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Gatorade Hitching Itself to the National Team

Nice pic of Crew Stadium on one fine September evening in 2005. I know whwere I was, but I can't quite see myself ;)

It is amazing how much coin Gatorade is putting into this. They've been running the ad on all sorts of shows. I saw it on the Apprentice, during some NBA games. It's all over the place.

It's so Nike like...yet not Nike.

Friday, March 17, 2006

WBNS-TV Full NCAA Tournament Coverage

A quick review on WBNS' coverage of the NCAA tournament.

First, great props to WBNS for using the full spectrum of the ATSC standard for digital brodcast. For those not in Columbus, or without an ATSC tuner (or digital cable), WBNS turned off their HD signal, and turned on four digital SD channels. What that means, is that DT 10-1 went away, and DT 10-2, 10-3, 10-4 and 10-5 appeared, and each showed the four CBS feeds, for free, over the air.

Even better was that WBNS made a no-brainer partnership with local cable to take the digital signal and show it on digital cable. So if you didn't have a digital tuner in your TV (as I did) you could also use your cable box to check it out.

Now, what is the downside?

Well, for starters, it seems that when you put that may subchannels on the digital signal, that the picture quality begins to degrade. So I think 10-5, as an example, came across rather blocky at times during fast motion shots. I'm not sure if this is the fault of WBNS, or the fault of the technology. FWIW, the digital cable signal also had the same problem.

The other downside for viewers with widescreen tvs is that the signal was all SD. No HD signal at all. I was fine since my TV is 4:3, but others and bars who advertised HD games might have been in for a shocker depending upon how they received their signal....technically it would have been false advertising.

But regardless of the quality issue...this was a great job by WBNS. This is the selling point for digital tuners in TVs. Props to them.

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Yes, Billy Packer it IS your job

Chicago Tribune | Packer won't back off tournament criticism

Billy Packer, continues to show what a moron he is on a daily basis.

Yes Mr. Packer, it is your job to know something about all of the Division I teams. In fact, you probably should know something about powerhouses in Div II and III.

Let me explain with an analogy that the Java geeks that come on here from time to time would understand.

It's not in my job description for me to know anything about the following techologies: Java Server Faces, Struts, TestNG, JUnit, JDOM. In fact it's not in my job description to know anything about any of those. All that's in my job description is the functional task that I am assigned. It's my responsibility to keep up with the technologies and trends that will be used in achieving that function and executing. It's my responsibility to find ways to cut costs and do things more effectively.

Last I checked, Mr. Packer, you were a NCAA Basketball analyst. That means, you are supposed to know something about the players, something about strategy and something about the teams that are playing.

So, yes, it is your job to know something about all of the Division I teams. Your job on Selection Sunday was to comment on the brackets. And that you did. And you were clueless as to anyone other than the teams in the Big East and ACC.

Much like Jim Cramer tells us on Mad Money. If you don't have time to do your homework on a stock, don't invest in it. Take your money and give it to a professional. Let them do the homework for you.

You didn't do your homework, Mr. Packer. Perhaps it's time to give your TV time up to a professional who takes the time to do their homework.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Good Guys 2-0 Packer/Nantz

Wichita St 86-66 Seton Hall
Wisconsin-Millwaukee 82-74 Oklahoma

That is enough to call scoreboard on their entire rant. Still doesn't mean that the NCAA comittee is off the hook though. Packer and Nantz were just about the largest tools known to man on Sunday night and deserve every bit of flack they get for their antics.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Time to dissolve the NCAA "Selection Committee"

So I'm officially convinced of it after Sunday's Selection.

The NCAA Selection Committee has to go. It's not even a question.

The entire process has become colluded by politics and no one cares about RPI, Quality Wins or strength of schedule. Otherwise Cincy and Missouri State would be in the tourney. Both teams ability speak for themselves. Missouri State did everything they needed to, except apparently winning at Arkansas. They beat two tourney teams in Oral Roberts and UW-Milwaukee...on the road.

They got the shaft.

And I've come to the realization that all the NCAA should be allowed to do is define how many teams will show up from each conference.

Seriously, either before the season starts, or after the new year, the NCAA committee should go UEFA on us and start doling out number of bids.Big East, you get 7, Big Ten you get 5. MVC you get 3.

Just flat out let the teams know what they're playing for up front. You finish in the top 3 of your league in the MVC, you're in.

No more of this guess work, no more backroom deals at the 11th hour. Let the backroom deals occur in the summer. Each conference gets to decide how they dole out their bids. If the CAA gets 2 bids and wants it to be 1 to the reg. season winner and 1 to the conf tourney, so be it. If they want to skip the tourney and just give it to place 1 and 2 and have a tiebreaker game somewhere...great!

The system has shown that it's not a system. It's a load of crap. You can't tell me that Missouri State didn't do everything it was supposed to. Utah State shouldn't have had to wonder what it needed to do since it moved conferences. It wasn't in until it played well in it's championship game? What else was it supposed to do? Cincy was OUT because one player hit a 3 point shot? The entire season down to a single shot?

No, it's wrong. It's wrong because those teams should have KNOWN what they needed to do to be rewarded before it was too late. They should have known...make it to the Big East semi's and you're in.

And the argument about "This removes the drama" doesn't hold. CBS already said as much with Nantz and Packer basically saying that the big conferences should have gotten more teams in....the clueless wankers that they've proven to be.

Well here's your answer. Define it at the beginning of each year using last year as your measuring stick. Or use the non-conference schedule as your measuring stick as of Jan 1. At that time, state the number of available bids for each league. If the CAA goes out and goes 60-40 with their non-conf schedule and the collective strength of schedule is 5th best, then maybe they get 3 or 4 bids.

CBS gets what it wants if they power conferences deliver. And the guess work goes away. The committee can seed the teams based upon how the conferences submit their clubs pecking order. So if winning the conference tourney holds more weight than the regular season, they get a better seed.

I can't believe that I'm promoting a UEFA style structure...but UEFA looks like a poster child of a perfect organization next to the NCAA.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Doug Hamilton RIP

Doug Hamliton, one of the pioneers of MLS dies of a heart attack while leaving Costa Rica today with the Galaxy.

One of the pioneers in the league has left us. Crew fans I talked to who follow the league were genuenly shocked as was I.

Condolences to his family and team.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Adoption stuff starting to finalize

On Friday, we readopted Savannah in Ohio. This is one of the final steps to get Savannah a full citizenship. It is very reassuring to have her name actually be Savannah, and to be even closer to being completely done with the tedious paperwork.

Once the citizen stuff is taken care of, the only remaining tasks will be post placement studies. We are very excited to be finalizing this stuff.

Savannah is really shining. She has gained almost 2 pounds and looks very "proportionate". Her hair is growing quickly and she is really taken a liking to both of us. She squeals at us when we enter the room and is excited to spend time with us.

She is not so sure about her brother though. She is starting to smile at him now. Evan of course being the super ham that he is, is always smiling at her. Savannah is very curious and is lifting the rugs in our living room to see what;s underneath.

She is lacking a bit on strenght, so she has a hard time with crawling. She can't get her hips up yet. I believe this is simply due to a lack of tummy time with the foster mommy. She is getting stronger by the day, and navigates the room by spinning and reaching. She can move around, albiet slowly, a few feet quite easily.

Well, it is almost storytime, so I should quit for now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Curling...a new guilty pleasure

Being home with a nine month old and a three month old means a lot of time in front of the TV. As such I've found myself watching USA/MSNBC/CNBC coverage of the olympics. The coverage is very good and I've enjoyed it.

What surprised me is how much I enjoy watching Curling. It's perfect for dealing with kids. Lots of lag time between shots, some strategy to make it interesting and you get to hear the competetors talk strategy.

I suppose it's a lot like watching a more sophisticated shuffleboard, and I am amazed that I can watch it, but it's quite enjoyable. If you have the chance take a peek. It's also very good to have on while you work on your taxes or surf the net, very good programming for multitasking.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Guatemalan Adoption Trip Posts

We finally made our trip to get Savannah last week. We left exactly one week ago and returned on Tuesday.

I've got hordes of thoughts and comments about the trip, but I thought it best to post them in multiple posts ordered by the actual day they happened. I'll be posting over the next few days as I have time. Having two infants is quite a change and Lori and I are still getting used to it and attempting to figure out what sort of routine we will attempt to get to over the next week.

So keep an eye out, posts will be happening soon.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Heading Home

It's early Tuesday and we're cleaning up and getting ready to go home. We have all of our stuff, just getting all of our carry on bags ready to go since Savannah will have a few more needs than the two of us.

About 6:30 we head down to grab breakfest. We eat well since we aren't sure when we'll have a decent meal during the trip. Once we get back to the room we scope out the room several times and head out to catch a cab at 7:30 to get over to the airport.

The airport was slightly annoying. Many sky-cap types who won't leave you alone. Unfortunately, I have next to no small bills to tip anyone. So I ended up giving the guy the shaft on the tip. I told him no, but he wouldn't take no for an answer, I guess he should have listened.

We check in, get our bags hand checked and head downstairs to pay the security fee. I was impressed with all of the security. We had a strict check at the terminal, followed by another check at the gate. It was interesting to have that 2nd check and block off the gate from the concourse.

Boarding was quick and the plane was very empty. We were fortunate to have the first row after first class. On this 737 model there was a lot of room between the separator and the seat, which provided plenty of room to work with changing diapers, playing, etc.

The first flight wasn't bad, Savannah didn't have any big crying fits and was generally tired and perhaps a bit scared. Fortunately, Lori had her in a Snugli and kept her feeling secure.

Once we got to Houston we had to go through the immigration process. Fortunately, we only had a few bumps and were only delayed about 10 or 15 minutes from making it through cleanly. Overall about a 40 minute process.

We then headed towards our gate...and then found that we must be in America...we had encountered stupidity. It could be that when we were in Guatemala we were the "rich" Gringos, and that here, we're just a couple with an infant....but wow did we encounter a real winner at an ice cream stand. She just provided horrible service and was absolutely no help at all. It was sad.

We got Savannah changed and fed and boarded our plane, which was completely full save 10 seats. So, we were very concerned. Luckily Savannah slept the entire flight home where she got to experience cold for the first time as it was 28 degrees when we landed.

We headed through security to see Evan! Grandma and Grandpa had brought Evan to meet his sister. Evan was grinning from ear to ear as he is a very social guy and loves to flirt and chat. We got Savannah changed and fed and headed over to the Max and Ermas in the airport so we would miss rush hour traffic.

After a nice dinner we said goodbye to Evan until tomorrow. We would take Savannah home and get her acclimatted to her new bed and room before bringing her brother into the mix. This way all of us could get a good night's rest after a long trip. We'll pick up Evan around lunchtime after we take Savannah into Children's for an analysis of her illness and begin to get used to dealing with the both of them.

So our adventure is over...but a new one begins with our new daughter! We are very happy to have her home safe and sound.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Textiles, Volcanos and Turkey Soup

Today was our final full day in Guatemala City. We had to meet Eduardo at 10 to go for a quick tour of the city and see some local sights. We awoke around 6:30 and got ready for the day and headed down to breakfest around 9. We were able to have a nice meal before we met our guide.

Eduardo gave us a nice talking tour of areas we passed on the way to the textile museum. We drove past the Guatemalan "West Point" which was a very pretty structure along the road. Looked like a fortress.

Eventually we headed down into the small valley where the Museo Ixchel was located. A very pretty structure with the brick of the building designed to look like a Mayan textile pattern. A nominal fee and we were in, and able to see the exhibits of all sorts of art and textiles to the native Mayan people. It was more interesting to see what tribes they were from and how the styles were different. We were even able to find textiles that matched Savannah's birth mother's tribe by matching up her mother's native language with some of the exhibit information.

We enjoyed the museum and took some pictures before heading up a hotel with a view. The Quinta Real, quite picturesque and contained a great view of the volcanos on this day. One of them was even erupting visibly on this day, spewing some smoke up into the air.

After viewing the volcanos and taking pictures, we headed down the hill and across the city to see a sculpture that was a relief map of Guatemala. It was quite interesting and amazing to consider it was created 100 years ago without the help of satellite or helicopters.

After checking out the places that Eduardo would take us when we come back sometime, we went to a restaurant in Zona 1 that served a Turkey Soup from Copan Honduras. It was amazing. They serve the soup with a turkey leg sticking out of the soup. it was a spicy soup with slight tomato taste. It was served with a corn meal mush wrapped in banana leaves. You take some of the mush and dip it into the soup. It is a great taste that I won't soon forget. The restaurant served us all for about $30, and we had a great meal with soup and meats. The restaurant also had a band which played for everyone and made it a very festive place. Savannah soaked it all up and ate more Cheerios. :) When we were done we headed back and paid Eduardo $30 plus tip for driving us around for 3 hours.

When we got back to the hotel we rested for an couple of hours while waiting for our representative to show up with Savannah's Visa. She arrived around 4:15 with everything we needed to get into the states and have Savannah here legally. We then had her passport and could head over to Continental Airlines checkin counter at the hotel (nice perk). We were able to purchase Savannah's over the water ticket so that she could sit in our lap to come home.

By this time we were getting a little tired and decided to head back up to our room to start to get our bags together for our big journey back to Ohio tomorrow. We would set our alarm for 4:00 so we could get up and grab some breakfest before heading to the airport at 7:30.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Checking out the Market & Super Bowl

This morning we work up to a windy and overcast day. In fact, it felt downright cool at times. We awoke and downed some Gatorade to keep hydrated. Savannah is beginning to really warm up to us and is taking her medicine better today. She is still coughing a bit, but hopefully it will end up getting better. She played peek-a-boo with the bed sheet with us by pulling it over her head and throwing it down on her belly. She is "humming" a little song and tends to make small squeaks and make the classic "pfffft" sound with her mouth.

We went down and finally partook in the complimentary breakfest at the hotel. Lori was interested in trying the fruit, but was skeptical because of her experience the day before. After watching many others eating the fruit, she decided to go for it. As it turns out, it was washed properly and OK.

We decided to go to the Handicrafts Market near the airport today. I thought it would be a good idea to get some cash, and decided to try to use the ATM instead of the changing at the hotel. It turns out this was a good move. I was able to take out 800 Quetzales + a 8.10 Q fee for what ended up being about $106 + a 2% fee from my bank. So for about $108 total. The hotel was providing 149 Quetzales for $20. So a mental note if you happen to be travelling to Guatemala for your adoption and are reading this. Check with your bank, look into the fees for internaltional ATM. Expect the ATM in Guatemala to charge about $1. You will likely end up better off getting your Q that way.

Anyway, we then headed off to find a taxi. We got the folks at the Mariott to get one and went to the market. We ended up speding 100 Q for the trip, but the guy waited for us. So for about $14 or so we had a ride back and forth and the guy waited an hour. Not bad for us, and likely good for him.

The market was nice, be sure to negotiate, and also be sure to price check the Marriott's store. Many of the items at the market can also be found there and it is worth your while to have an idea of the price at the Marrott's store before you go to the market. We picked up some nice items for Savannah and for our use. Lori picked up a nice table runner for around $25-30 after talking the guy down from around $40.

We ended up coming back and thought we'd sit out at the pool, but it ended up being too cold! Instead we went back to the room and watched about 3 episodes of American Idol back to back on the Sony TV station while we rested.

Around 4 pm the sun came out so we went outside and hung out at the pool. Around 5:15 or so we headed in and wanted to grab dinner, but it was closed until 6pm. Instead, we went to the sports bar where the Super Bowl was on. Talk about a surreal experience. ESPN Latin American was on showing the ABC feed with ESPN graphics and an enthusiastic Spanish announce crew. Much like the WWE's Spanish announce crew....only different. The feed also seemed like it had the crowd miked in much louder than we experience here.

We hung out and tried some drinks and watched the beginning of the game. We had to leave as it was much too loud for Savannah. I tried a Gallo beer which is a local Guatemalan beer. It was a tasty lager. Lori tried a margarita and enjoyed it. A table across from us was cheering for Pittsburgh. Many folks just cheered for big hits or runs. I motioned to the guys cheering for the Steelers that they were quite lucky on the interference call against Seattle. They didn't speak English, but sports sign language for "lucky" is universal.

We had some dinner and headed back upstairs. Savannah began to get worse with her cough. I was concerned so we called Dr. Cunningham again at Childrens. He said we should try to find another drug and we were able to find it at the local drugstore using the hotel concerige. Big props to Pablo at the desk for working so hard to find the drug and trying to translate the English name to Spanish. This drug will hopefully work better and help.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Columbus International Adoption Clinic Help

Savannah was feeling ill this morning, and we thought we'd start her on the Amoxicillian that our doc at the International Adoption Clinic at Childrens. However, her cough was getting worse and worse so we thought we'd go ahead and use the calling card we bought to call the doctor at the clinic. When we signed up with the clinic, we were offered the ability to call the on-call doctor and talk to them about the child and get advice.

So we gave them a call and got ahold of Dr. Cunningham. He was very nice and told us to keep her on the drug since it should do the trick. It was very comforting to be able to make that call. Hopefully she will be doing better tomorrow.

A Long Night, But Fun Day

Friday evening and Saturday morning were not so fun.

Lori ended up being sick. Everything you would expect from being sick in Guatemala, happened. The whole nine yards. Savannah somehow slept through it all. We think it had to be due to eating the Guatemalan Chicken Soup at the Marriott. You would think it would be safe, but I guess not. We were later able to have fruits at the Marriott and end up OK, so it seems odd that soup would be the problem, but there isn't any other choice since we ate the same things.

Regardless, this lesson did teach us to drink Gatorade. It was the best drink for making yourself feel good and rehydrated. I think dehydration was the biggest problem I had, just not taking in enough water.

In the morning, I placed an order to the concierge to get some Imodium. Somehow the Imodium ended up on my front car seat and not in our bags on Wednesday night. So that helped us to get ready to meet our tour guide Eduardo at 9 am to take a trip to Antigua.

Eduardo was a very interesting guy and very good for a guide. He charged the three of us $60 to drive us to Antigua and some other attractions nearby. Lori saddled Savannah up in a Snugli and we were off driving the Pan-American Highway heading through Guatemala City towards Antigua.

Our first stop was not in Antigua itself, but at a home/museum that seems a little bit like a tour guide tourist trap in retrospect, but it was pretty cool regardless. The home was lived in, but the family who lived there had opened it up to a weaving business and a museum of Mayan clothing. They even dressed Lori up in some traditional Mayan garb and showed us how the Mayans would hold Savannah.

The home was also surrounded by a coffee plantation where we met the man who ran the farm. it was a bit challenging attempting to talk with him and not knowing any Spanish. But basically, we learned that he had been farming the land for 10 years and growing organic coffee on the hills surrounding the home. They had a nice deck with a view and we saw red coffee beans that were ready to be harvested as well as cotton plants. It was a great view of a nearby town and all of the hills surrounding the town were growing coffee.

So not being coffee drinkers, we sampled the coffee, and it was pretty darn good. I could see drinking it for sure if I had access to a product this tasty. So of course we picked up some. We also picked up a nice blanket for Savannah that we would give her later on when she is older.

We then headed down to Antigua to visit the Cathedral of San Fransisco This was quite interesting to see. It wasn't particularly elaborate, but it had some impressive carvings and murals on the walls. It also contained the tomb of the new Saint Hermano Pedro. It was a very holy place, gave you that feeling of peace. The people haven't updated all of their trinkets however, because the candle we purchased still had him as Blessed and not yet canonized.

We left the church and checked out a local Jade shop where they created Jade jewlery and masks. It was very neat to see and we again found a gift for Savannah later on in life. We will try to give her a gift on each "Gotcha Day" which would be Feb 2.

Once we completed our visit here we checked out a local restaurant where I tried some beef and Lori tried some chicken. We bought Eduardo lunch and I think the bill ran about $30. It was the quality of a $60 meal here in the states.

We did have a slight issue while in the restaruant. We thought it best to change Savannah and took her to the bathroom. However, Savannah had totally blown through her diaper and soiled her outfit. To our horror we discovered that we had neglected to pack her a spare outfit...we should have known better! We ended up cleaning her up and wrapping her in her new blanket. Fortunately this was our last stop and we headed back to the hotel.

We enjoyed our trip back through the mountains and around the Water Volcano. It was unfortunate that it was so cloudy which prevented us from seeing the tops of the volcanos from the ground. Eduardo said we would find a way to see them on Monday when we would meet for another short trip around the city.

When we returned to the hotel we got cleaned up and headed out to the pool area where we enjoyed the sun and relaxed while feeding Savannah Cheerios. We decided to skip dinner and just snack since we were so full from lunch. We rehydrated ourselves and decided to rest up for Sunday.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Visiting the Embassy and Zona 1

We woke up around 4:30 in the morning to try to get ourselves ready to make our 7:45 appointment at the Embassy. The US Embassy is about 15 minutes away from the Marriott in Guatemala City, but knowing us, we'd need all of the morning to try to get everything ready to go and grab something quick to eat.

So around 4:30 we got up and began showering and getting ready for the day. Savannah slept pretty well for us during the time, waking up around 6, which allowed us to get ready and get her ready and fed in the morning. We met our translator at 7:15 and made it to the Embassy without a hitch.

The Embassy was very busy. We waited outside (nice that it's in the low 60s at this point in the morning) and met with a "gatekeeper" person who checked our appointment time and would eventually allow us to head through the security check. What was surprising was the number of locals at the embassy as well to receive Visas to visit or work in the States. There were easily 100 people outside also waiting their turn to get inside and receive a Visa. I was happy to see that there were apparently plenty of people who took the time to find a legal way into our country rather than try to skip across the border. Granted, it's a long way for these folks to travel to the US since without a Visa they would have to drive all the way across Mexico to make it here. Otherwise they can catch a flight.

Regardless, we made it into the Embassy and began waiting for our papers to be filed. We sat while our representative filed the paperwork for us and fed Savannah some Cherrios. There were many families there adopting, probably a good dozen who were in the Embassy at some point in the process. After about a half hour or so, we were called in to the interview. We were asked some simple questions, signed some papers and then waited again.

At this point the paperwork had gone back so that they could make sure that there was nothing that the US doctors saw wrong with Savannah. This report was in the sealed documents that we presented to the embassy. Since there was nothing, we received our recipt for the Visa and an appointment time to come back on Monday to pick up her Visa.

All said, it was about an hour process. We were then able to take a quick trip down to Zona 1 with our representative. She wanted to show us the difference between the poor and the weathly in Guatemala. You could see it in Zona 1, Many old buildings, homes. Seemed to be fairly safe during the day, but at night you could see it was a rough neighborhood. At first glance, when you see the private business guards with the semi-automatic weapons, it's a bit shocking. However, once you realize what they are there for, it's not so shocking. It actually makes you feel nice and safe if you were to shop in those establishments.

We then drove over to Zona 14, where many of the weathly live. We were able to head back into a gated community and see some of the other consulates for other countries and many of the larger homes worth millions of dollars. The differences between the rich and poor is probably very much like what you would have seen in the US during the time of Carnegie and Rockefeller.

One of the other things you notice is all of the American style fast food. McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Taco Bell. It's all here. Camperos was the Guatemalan fast food and it was also everywhere. There are other things that seem odd as well. There's a Hooters in Guatemala City. The Hooters Golf Tour makes a stop here for the $200,000 Guatemala International Open event the week of Feb 13. We saw many adverts for the open on the sides of bus stop shelters. Stuff you wouldn't expect to nessesarily see, but you see it here.

Once we got back we decided to grab some lunch at the Mariott. We were able to sit in a covered outdoor patio and it was very nice to be able to do that. We then head over to the local grocery to pick up some water and see if there was anything else we needed. We had been told not to eat the fruit unless it was in a peel, but were tempted when we saw apples with the familiar Washington State sticker on them that we see here. Again while we walked to the store we saw the familiar armed men guarding the various businesses.

The rest of the day we spent relaxing as we prepared to head to Antigua tomorrow with our tour guide Eduardo.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Meeting Savannah

As we rushed into the Marriott Hotel in Guatemala City, we found an friendly staff that spoke English very well. We were able to check in very quickly and made our way to our room to freshen up to meet Savannah and the foster mother.

Before we knew it, the half hour we had was up and we were heading downstairs to meet them before retiring to the Marriott's "Baby Room" on the 3rd floor. The "Baby Room" was a nice feature of the Marriott. They had converted two rooms on the floor into a giant suite containing a bath/changing area, a microwave and bottle cleaning items, spare food and snacks left behind by families, Internet access, and a lot of highchairs comfy couches and toys. It was very nice to be able to head to the room to gain a little more space and privacy when we met the foster mother and Savannah.

When we arrived in the lobby, we were surprised to see our translator and the foster mother already sitting there (we had been warned that they are often several hours late!). Savannah was sitting on the foster mother's lap, acting very well behaved and in good spirts. Lori felt a flood of emotions hugging the foster mother and thanking her for taking such good care of Savannah. The pictures we received of Savannah during the adoption process did not do her justice, she was very beautiful. We quickly headed upstairs to the baby room.

Meeting the foster mother was a wonderful oppurtunity. We felt her warmth and love for Savannah and learned some things about her patterns and her likes and dislikes. It was a wonderful oppurtunity. We let the foster mother hold Savannah until she was ready to let us hold her. After about a half hour of talking and learning she placed Savannah in my arms. What a feeling of joy to meet her. Once we had done that, we took some pictures, paid for the foster mother's cab ride and provided her with some humble gifts as a thank you for being a great provider for Savannah. You could tell Savannah was in a loving home while she waited for us to come and get her.

Once they left, we retired back to our room. I called the wonderful concierge to place an order with the local drug store for Savannah's formula, baby cereal and some bottled water. We hung out while we waited and eventually decided to take a trip downstairs to find something to eat in one of the three restaurants. We eventually decided on the Champions Sports Bar, which was themed much like your typical American sports bar, with typical American sports bar food....yeah brave choice! It was here we discovered that Savannah enjoyed Cheerios, which was good considering we needed some sort of food to be able to calm her when she was feeling restless.

The food at Champions was OK, we ate what we could and retired to our room to spend some time with Savannah and get some rest for our big trip to the Embassy early in the morning. Fortunately, the first night was uneventful for Savannah, she slept very well. I had a slight battle with the altitude as I ended up feeling deydrated. I kept drinking water about every 2 hours or so, but did get plenty of rest. Fortunately the television was very good in the hotel and gave us plenty of choices to fall asleep to. There was a raw CBS feed (no local commercials) and several South American TV channels (AXN, Sony) that would show American TV shows with Spanish subtitles. This provided plenty of entertaining options.

Flying To Guatemala

We woke up bright and chipper on Thursday morning (3 am to be exact) to try to get out of the house by 4:30 to catch our 6:20 flight. We ended up leaving at 4:45. Fortunately, traffic is nonexistant in Columbus at 5 am. We ended up making it to the airport parking at 5 after 5 and were checked in by 5:30. We were soon boarding a very crowded flight to Houston.

This flight was rather uneventful, except for the larger man who had the window seat in my row. It was quite difficult to snooze. Houston was a nice airport, I had never flown through it before and was impressed with the nice well lit terminal E. We grabbed some lunch at Wendy's before we found the gate for our flight to Guatemala City.

Unfortunately, there were problems with our flight. The plane had problems with the radio and they got us a new one from the hangar. So we ended up leaving an hour late. This put us in a little bind. We were supposed to land at 12:30 in Guatemala City, and meet Savannah and her foster mom at 3:00. As it happened we landed at 1:30 which gave us very little time to get our bags and get to the hotel. Fortunately, the process for immigration was very quick and we were able to get our bags in about 20 minutes.

Landing in Guatemala City was a culture shock. Flying there brought us amazing views of mountains that just appeared out of nowhere. Guatemala City appeared to be on a plain that looked like a mountain that had been sliced off. It was very flat with canyon crevices where the creeks and streams flowed. Once we landed, you could see the tin walled shacks that worked as storage for tools and supplies at the airport. It was amazing to think that the same aircrafts flew out of Houston to here. It was like a time warp.

Similarly, La Aurora airport was a bit of a shock. Walking out with out bags into the crowd we were confused. Fortunately we saw a rep for the hotel which offered a shuttle. However, we were supposed to meet a representative from our adoption agency. That was when I glanced outside of the airport plaza to the passenger pickup area to see a white board with our name on it. A young lady was holding it up ready to take us to the hotel and explain things.

We rushed outside to her car and attempted to pile ourselves and four bags into the Guatemala equivelant of a Volkswagen Golf. That was a bit challenging, but we did it. We then began to experience the streets of Guatemala and the difference from driving in a medium sized city. They know how to use their horns. It's basically a warning that says..."I'm coming and I'm not stopping". If you used your horn like that here, you'd end up in a wreck. Here, the other car wouldn't stop. It was scary that we did not see more accidents, but it was something that they were just used to as part of the culture.

We eventually did make it to the beautiful Mariott hotel where we were quickly able to check into the hotel and make it to our room with a half hour left to freshen up and get ready to meet our daughter for the first time.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

My Barber's Famous

Today I went to get my hair cut and found my Barber was in the local paper, because of his Super Steeler fandom

What's funny is that we had just talked about his Three River Stadium seats last month during the last trim.

He's all fired up for the Super Bowl, of course. And I guess business has gone up a little for him :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sleep Mystery Sloved?

For as long as I can remember, I've slept on my stomach. Occassionaly I'll sleep on my side, but never on my back.

It doesn't seem too odd, except that the reason I don't sleep on my back is that it always seems like I would have a nightmare whenever I would sleep on my back. Even today, if I have a nightmare, I would wake up and be lying on my back.

Now there's something that to the untrained just seems wierd. What possible corrolation could there be between sleeping on my back and nightmares? Why no nightmares when on my stomach or side?

Since we're adopting, we've taken to watching Adoption Stories on Discovery Health Channel. So now the channel is in the "there's nothing on" rotation. The other night, we discovered Mystery Diagnosis. It's essentially true House stories told by the patients and docs.

Last night, on the episode "Lethal Diet", the final story was about a preacher who had heart racing problems. He also had serious headaches and severe nightmares. After going round and round with meds, a parishoner mentioned to him that he should get a sleep test because of the nightmares.

So he goes into a sleep test and they find out that after about 75 minutes, his airways are blocked and for about 30-60 seconds he can't breathe. His oxygen drops and the brain sends a signal to the heart to make it pump harder and push oxygen around. His oxygen level drops 20% which can easily explain headaches and nightmares. They fixed the problem by hooking up an air pump and mask to prevent the sleep apnea from occuring.

After seeing this episode I freaked. Although I had never had headaches, I had experienced the heart pounding. I just thought it was due to the nightmare that made the heart pound. It might just be that I couldn't get enough oxygen into my body. It seems though, that something about sleeping on my back is causing the condition, because I haven't had a nightmare in months and I haven't woken up on my back in months. I'm actually getting very good rest as well, I don't feel excessively tired or have issues with sleep.

So for now, it seems like things are at least OK, since I have a preventative solution of continuing to sleep on my stomach. But on the next yearly checkup, I'm definately going to look into this, or at least see how my insurance will handle it and take steps from there.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Housewives a Comedy?

So I'm watching LOST last night, and I notice during the promo for Desparate Housewives that it won Best Comedy at some award show.

Who made that show a comedy? Sure it gets a chuckle here or there, but there are shows that pass themselves off as dramas or mysteries that are miles funnier than that show. Heck that Grey's Anatomy show is funnier, and I don't think it's calling itself a comedy.

I mean, if House was in the same contest (and I'm guessing it wasn't), it wouldn't even be a remotely close contest. House is hysterical, and it's trying to be a drama first, comedy second.

I don't need CRUD, just Read

So I was thinking again about Java Web Frameworks and realized my problem.

Most Frameworks ship or are "tested" using a CRUD example. Create, Read, Update, Delete.

What happens if all you care about is Read. I'm not going to Create, Update or Delete via this interface, since they all occur via a backend or use a separate administative web application.

All I want to do is Read and present as quickly as possible with an extremely flexible application. So I guess my real question is, what framework provides the best flexibility in quickly implementing Read functionality? I don't want or need the overhead provided by frameworks that need to support the other three parts of a full app.

There are fine examples of this on the web. Most news sites are read only. Perhaps they do some "preferences" settings, but that's nothing substantial. They use something else to do the publishing. Blogger is an example.

The main difference is I need very flexible dynamic JSPs and object references. Perhaps implementing a facade will be the main work that I have to do, but I'd like to find the best framework to help me here. Something like JSF/Shale seems like too much.

Monday, January 16, 2006

G4TV's New PrimeTime Lineup...GeekTastic!

What a lineup!

Two hours of Star Trek The Next Generation, followed by two episodes of "The Man Show".

What a combo! Brillant!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Thinking About Java Web Frameworks

So I've been thinking a lot about ways to solve a problem I'm having at work. Simplifying JSP templates without having to build backing bean/classes for every page.

From what I can tell, and my knowledge is very limited due to time constraints, most of the frameworks that do a good job of simplifying front end development require the developer to build some sort of class that backs that page. As an example, it appears that Tapestry, not to pick on them, requires you to have mypage.html Mypage.class and and a config file to map bindings.

My requirements are a bit different I suppose than most. I have an API that is used to grab various values out of a hidden XML like structure. The structure is basically Containers and Values. A Container can hold containers to better struture the data.

So as an example:

Container - Name=Address
Container - Name=Line Count=0
Value - Name=Text [Joe Blo] - Value
- Container
Container - Name=Line Count=1
Value - Name=Text [
Bubble Gum Avenue] - Value
- Container

Container - Name=Line Count=2
Value - Name=Text [
Youbetcha, AK] - Value
- Container
- Container

Apoligies for the format, Blogger's not XML friendly, and I'm feeling lazy.

So I've got a loosely defined object model, where what the object is and what it contains are defined by the Name of the object. The model is not static depending upon what customer the data arrives from.

So today, we use JSP with pure Java contstucts to pull the values out. I can do a getContainer(name) and do a getContainer(name).getContainer(name).getValue(name). I can do a getContainerCount(name) and use the value to create a for loop and write out each Address line.

What I'm wanting to do is remove this. It seems like Tapestry and WebWork could do this through OGNL. But If I have to author a new class for each of these guys, then my development lifecycle goes up, deployment becomes more difficult (don't get me shouldn't be, but it is), and everything becomes more complex.

However, if it would be possible to say in Tapestry, bind multiple HTML templates to a backing page, and make the config files be loaded dynamically so I don't have to recycle the server, hence making all of the guys on my team have to be up at the wee hours of the morning to make it happen....then maybe Tapestry would work.

Is there anything out there that allows a loose coupling between pages and backing objects instead of having it be very strict?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

House Plot Hole

So I'm watching what was by far one of the most interesting House episodes in a long time today and it stuck me that although the medical plot was excellent, the whole travel plot made about zero sense.

The show is set in Princeton, NJ, a few minutes from Trenton. Growing up about 30 minutes south of Trenton, I know it's about a 45-60 minute ride to the Philly airport, and probably about the same to Newark.

So tell me, why on earth would you FLY to Baltimore?

Baltimore's probably a 2 1/2, 3 hour drive from Princeton. So why would you drive an hour to the airport, only to deal with the travel headaches of the airports? If anything you take the train. It would be like flying from Columbus to Detroit or Pittsburgh or Indy. It is asinine.

Most people around here debate it when it hits about 5-6 hours. Chicago for example. If the flights weren't so inexpensive, most people would drive it because the time benefit isn't there from the flight.

They should have made him fly out to Boston or Atlanta. Someplace realistic in terms of wanting to fly.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Cool CPU with Cooking Oil

Strip Out The Fans, Add 8 Gallons of Cooking Oil | Tom's Hardware

Leave it too a bunch of German Geeks to use cooking oil as a coolant for a computer.

Extremely Geeky. Read the whole thing

Alito Is a Ska Fan

BREITBART.COM - NOTEBOOK: Alito Is a Springsteen Fan

Yeah yeah, it says Springsteen fan. However the truest mark of a man is the ability to appreciate truly creative music.

Any guy who attends a ska festival is OK in my book. You meet a lot of interesting people at a ska show. Much more interesting than your standard crap...or your formerly good band that "sold out" or "made it big".

Regardless, someone send the man some late 90s pop ska as a good luck for his confirmation hearing.