Archive for April, 2006

Porta nigra

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Here’s a leftover from the Roman empire in Trier, Germany – the same place I photographed Hiawatha a few weeks ago. In fact, this was taken the very same day. As if that mattered. At least it explains all the litter, which, as we know, was totally gone a few hours later.

I hear your puzzled cries. Why, you ask, is there a post on Sunday? Could it be that this is a Very Special Sunday post? And I answer: could be. Or it could just be that I forgot to post anything on Friday and need to make up for it. We’ll just have to see, won’t we?

We’re all pretty preoccupied with the Big Move. We’re still trying to figure out the myriad details, and considering that we don’t have much information other than a start date yet, everything is pretty much speculation and conjecture at this point. Still, S and C can be pretty fun. We’re getting hours of entertainment.

We’ve had our first showing of the house already. A neighbor heard we were moving and brought a friend over for a look. They were hoping to convince us to sell without a realtor, and at a bargain-basement price, so nothing came of it, of course. Still, it’s nice to have some interest. We keep hearing how houses are selling well again around here, and today we heard that property values are not very good in the bay area right now. That’s good news! Let’s just hope there’s some truth in there somewhere.

We got authorized to start with the relocation people, so we expect the house to go on the market sometime this coming week. Other houses in our neighborhood have sold recently in just a few days, so we just might all be ready to go at the beginning of June. Or, we might not sell it for months and I’ll have to go to California by myself in June. Who knows? It’s okay if it doesn’t sell right away, of course, since we don’t have any idea where we’ll live anyway.

I finished Psmith, Journalist the other day. As previously mentioned, it managed to be humorous and entertaining without being really funny. This episode has Psmith talking the hapless assistant editor of an incredibly boring, poorly written old lady’s newspaper into changing it to a crusading journal that protects the Oppressed Masses. They get into various scrapes but expose the bad guys and come out well in the end. I can’t say I’ve really turned into a fan of Wodehouse’s Psmith books, although I enjoyed them. I conditionally recommend them to my Loyal Readers, especially the ones who already know and like Wodehouse’s work. Wodehouse neophytes would probably do well to check out the Jeeves books first.

I’ve added a few more Wodehouse books to the list, over there on the right. I’m reading Something New now, but I’m not far enough into it yet to have developed an opinion. I’ll let you know later. Stay on the edge of your seat in the meantime.

Well, the Very Special Sunday Post is swiftly coming to an end. See you on Monday. Hopefully, we’ll keep to the schedule this week.

Reader number nine

Thursday, April 27th, 2006

It’s Loyal Reader Number Nine’s time in the spotlight! You’re famous now – try to use your newfound influence in constructive ways. The interesting thing about this shot (which, by the way, was provided by LRNN himself, and is thus one of the rare morrowlife photos not taken by Your Humble and Obedient Servant) is that it was taken on Alcatraz Island, a landmark well known for its proximity to San Francisco, which is thought to be part of The Bay Area, which is where we’re moving soon. If you look carefully, you can see all kinds of prison-related rubble in the background. The rubble in the foreground is, of course, LRNN.

No posts for the last couple of days. Sorry about that. On Tuesday, we went down to Washington to attend our friend Jeri’s wedding, and I was dog-tired when we got back and functionally illiterate for the evening (insert joke about my level of literacy on all other occasions here).

I stayed home from work on Wednesday and did a little bit of work around the house along with a little bit of recovering from my launch campaign, so there’s no excuse for yesterday.

Speaking of dog-tired, I think we can all agree that’s a term that evokes correct images of a dog’s life. I’ve frankly become a little suspicious of people who tell me they’ve “worked like a dog.” I have a dog and all she does is eat, sleep, and poop. Is that what these people have been doing? However, “dog-tired” pretty much describes my dog most of the time.

Speaking of dogs, The Girls (Jeri’s dogs) are with us for only three more days. We’ve taken to calling them The Halfwit, since they’re each about a quarter-wit on their own. It’s a good thing they’re cute or they wouldn’t have any friends at all. They won’t come when we call them, so why bother having names? They won’t sit, lay down, play dead, or do anything else on command. They don’t even so much as turn their heads. They circle around the dining room table like sharks while we eat. They go outside and can’t seem to remember why. All in all, they make Belle seem like the World’s Greatest Pet.

We’re glad they’re with us, though. Jeri’s a great friend and we’d do anything for her. I just hope she isn’t a Stealth Reader.

Got my report date to Sunnyvale figured out today. I’m starting on the fifth of June. That gives me a whole month and a little to tie up any loose ends around here. I’ve been working on the house a little and have a whole lot more to do. Compared to Loyal Reader Number Four’s to-do list, however, mine looks pretty easy.

I only have one more trip to Europe before the move. I’m going to Paris on the 17th and 18th of May. I have one more systemwide upgrade on United to use up, so I guess I don’t mind the trip, even though it’s right on top of Loyal Reader Number Four’s birthday.

I finished a PG Wodehouse book yesterday, but will leave the morrowlife Book Club wrapup on it until tomorrow. See you then.

Rock sculptures

Monday, April 24th, 2006

Here are some more of those rock sculptures we found during our wonderful family camping trip late last summer. Yes, I know they’re just piles of rocks. It’s not what they’re made of that counts, it’s what the artiste has done with them. They’re artistic piles of rocks.

Well, the die is cast. We’re moving back to California, something we thought we would absolutely, positively never do. This time it’s the Bay Area. My new job will be at the Lockheed Martin facilities in Sunnyvale. I’ll be a software engineering manager working on the Anti-Ballistic Laser project. I’m excited about the career change and looking forward to the move, although it’s really hard to leave. The company here in Newtown is making it as easy as they possibly can by coming apart at the seams all of a sudden. We hear there will be massive layoffs and big management changes in the next few weeks. We don’t know when the new job will start, but we kind of hope for it to be in the first week of June. The final offer just came in this evening, so I haven’t yet formally accepted it. After I do that (tomorrow or Wednesday), we can start negotiating the start date and other details.

We think we’ll probably end up living in or near Modesto, which will be a very long commute (although not really longer timewise than it was in Virginia) but hopefully a nice little community in a beautiful area (for the desert) with very reasonable housing prices. We need to get out there and look a little bit before we make a final decision, though.

Tomorrow is our friend Jeri’s wedding. Congratulations Jeri and Art! Reader Number Four and I are going down to Washington to be there. We’re really excited for her. We’re dogsitting her two, umm, dogs for the week while she and Art go on their honeymoon. It’s already kind of interesting to have that many animals around here. She’ll come pick them up on Sunday.

There are so many things to get done before the move that I hardly know where to begin. Fortunately, Number Four has helped me out with a list of things I need to do to the house right away. Fortunately, I have a few days of comp time to take over the next week or two, so I should have time to get all the projects going. Then maybe I can find the time later to get all the projects completed.

Well, it’s late and I have to be ready to go tomorrow morning at 4:00, so it would be a good idea to quit. More move details tomorrow.


Friday, April 21st, 2006

Loyal Readers Number One and Number Two are camping tonight. Sadly, I’m not there. However, here’s a recent picture of Reader Number One with his tent. It was a little cold.

The campaign is officially over! We cleaned the office and loaded up the trucks today, and I’m heading for home tomorrow morning. Hallelujah! I’m really ready.

Wrote a couple of poems – I work exclusively in limericks, with a special talent for Epic-length work – in support of Reader Number Four’s act in Saturday night’s talent show. I really hate talent shows. I’m not really sure why either. Maybe somebody was killed before my very eyes at a talent show I attended as an infant. Or maybe they’re just terrible. Who knows? Hey, that would make a good mystery novel – “Murder at the Talent Show.” The main character could be forced to come up with an act for a talent show he doesn’t even want to attend, much less take part in. A woman would scream during his lame act – she’s found a body behind the piano! Chaos ensues and the murderer is caught by the hero at last, but not before nearly making another victim of our hero. How exciting!

It’s late, I’m sleepy, I have to get up early tomorrow morning, and the sooner I sleep, the sooner I will wake up and go home. So good night!


Thursday, April 20th, 2006

Here’s a picture taken from my balcony on Easter Sunday. Yes, it’s slightly fuzzy. Sorry about that. I had to zoom all the way in to get the picture, including using the digital zoom. Not too sharp, but I like the picture, so my Loyal Readers will just have to live with it.

Success! We flew our spacecraft this afternoon, on the first day of the launch period, at the first moment of the launch window. That’s very unusual for Atlas. It was picture perfect. Absolutely beautiful! And the best part is that I get to go home on Saturday!

Tomorrow we pack out and ship the stuff home. Since we’re in the USA this time, we don’t have to lease another Antonov. A bunch ‘o trucks will show up in the morning and drive away in the afternoon – some to Newtown and others to Sunnyvale. I need to get a few personal items into the Newtown shipment, like my new DVD player.

Had a big dinner with the spacecraft launch team at the Sunset Grill this evening. They’re in a very pretty location – right on the Banana River. It was pretty busy when we got there, so we stood around for a while waiting for our table. During our Standing Period, somebody rang a ship’s bell and they started playing loud music to go along with the sunset. It was a very pretty sunset. They had a guy playing a guitar and singing. He was pretty good but didn’t get much applause. I hope he at least got paid. After he was done, they started playing rock music from the 80’s. We all enjoyed identifying the songs and bands and, in most cases, cringing (link warning – cheesy 80’s music) at the thought that we ever listened to them.

Happy birthday to my brother Chris. I got my dinner group to sing the birthday song to him, after which he told me all the people in his meeting enjoyed the music. Perfect.

Time for bed – I have a lot of packing to do tomorrow. See you then.