Archive for June, 2007

Sea cave

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Here’s a cave out in the water right by the beach at Big Sur. Picture left over from our last camping trip. We need to take another camping trip Real Soon Now.

But our trip to Arizona this week will do just fine in the meantime. We got word this afternoon that Scout camp is open again (apparently, the water is once more fit to drink, but I’m not encouraging the Loyal Readers to go overboard on it), so the boys are going and Loyal Reader Number Four and I will go to Arizona alone.

Great day today. I stayed home and only worked a little bit. Instead, all four of us (no help from any of the Loyal Pets) built the Big Screen. It looks great, in my objective opinion. It will certainly shield us from the pool equipment, and there will be grape vines growing on it soon. We also poured concrete for the posts of the screen for the air conditioning equipment. We hope to install that one tomorrow. It will be on a much smaller scale than the Big Screen.

I’m sore tonight, as I imagine all the Loyal Readers around here are. I also have a sunburned neck. Pity me.

By the way, I’ve never mixed or poured concrete before. It seemed to go pretty well, and it doesn’t appear that we’ve done any permanent damage to anything. Two of the three tubes we poured seem to have pretty much hardened by now, and the last one is probably an hour or so away from being that way. Cool.

Otherwise, not much happened around here. Loyal Reader Number One trimmed the carpet around the water softener, a task that had needed doing for months. It’s really nice to finally have it done. And that’s our day.

The game development plans continue to percolate. It looks like Wii software development kits are about $2000, and they don’t seem to be distributed to just anybody who asks for one. However, the WiiWare initiative mentioned the other day by Loyal Reader Number Three may result in a different, more affordable SDK. We can only hope. I’m still wondering what the development platform is.

In any case, we need to start moving on the iPhone game. Time’s a-wasting.

And so am I. Time for bed. See you on Monday (or more likely Tuesday, as web access may be limited for a day or two, but we’ll definitely have it when we get to Loyal Readers Numbers Three and Fifteen’s house, so there definitely will be blogging next week, so drop in).

Grabbing a bite

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Here’s Loyal Reader Number Twelve grabbing a quick bite. I would have guessed the photo was courtesy of Loyal Reader Number Five (and indeed it was sent to me by her), but if that’s the case, whose hand is featured prominently holding the apple? Hmmm? The world may never know. Let’s just say it’s the Mystery Photographer. Or maybe Loyal Reader Number Six.

I’m off work for ten days! Tomorrow’s Big Screen Construction Day (note: Loyal Reader Number Twenty appears to have taken me a bit too literally – I wish it was a gigantic movie screen in a way but, alas, it is more of a big wall), Saturday’s Everything Else day, Sunday’s Church Day, and then we’re off to Arizona! We still have no idea whether the boys are coming with us, though. We’ll try finding out tomorrow. The Boy Scouts need to make up their minds. And tell the rest of us about it.

I’m still working on my software company’s Great Idea. One of my coworkers suggested a rather elementary game called Critical Mass. You have a three-by-three grid and players take turns putting tokens on the spaces. A player can only put tokens on empty spaces or spaces he already controls. When a space has the same number of tokens as it has adjacent spaces, it “explodes” and its tokens move to all the adjacent spaces, taking control of spaces it doesn’t already own. If that explosion causes any of the adjacent spaces to explode, they do. The game is over when the board reaches “critical mass,” meaning that the explosions continue infinitely. It’s pretty simplistic – more of a programming beginner’s program than something really sellable. On the other hand, I’m thinking open-source iPhone application. Or maybe even open-source iPod game. What do the Loyal Readers think?

See you tomorrow.

Mistaken identity

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Here’s Loyal Reader Number Twelve engaging in a case of mistaken identity. Photo courtesy of Loyal Reader Number Five.

Ultra short shrift today. I worked until 9:00 tonight, meaning I got home a little after ten. No time to do anything but grab a quick dinner and go to bed. And blog for a couple of minutes.

Nice to hear from Loyal Reader Number Seven. That’s a lot of new computers all at once! What kind of machine did you get?

I had an idea for a slight refinement of the blimp video game concept. There could be three versions – Blimp Pilot for realism lovers, Blimp Racer for aerosports lovers, and Combat Blimp for violence fans. The latter version would feature head-to-head competitions between two (separately) licensed owners of the game, or computer-generated opponents for solo play. Once in a while, the game would use a Zeppelin, which would blow sky-high when hit. Oh, the humanity!

One more work day before my ten-day vacation! We’re going to see my cousin in Los Angeles, Loyal Readers Numbers Three and Fifteen, and Loyal Readers Numbers Five and Twelve. And Maybe Loyal Reader Number Six, depending on whether he’s available or not. What fun!

Oh, and we’re also building the big screen in the backyard on Friday and Saturday. Wish us luck.

See you tomorrow.

Loyal Reader Number Twenty-One

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Here’s Loyal Reader Number Twenty-One during his recent week with us. Congratulations, LRN21, it’s your Very Special Day! Photo courtesy of . . . some Loyal Reader. Could have been One, could have been Two, could have been Four, could have been Twenty. Who knows? In any case, it’s a good picture.

The internet’s working pretty well on the train today, although I can’t access the blog. Need to call the family shortly after I get to work to have them check on the server. I also can’t access spinfo or the HRVA. Server problems suspected. Reboot prescribed.

(Special Evening Update: Server fine. Comcast service down all day, for the second time in a week. Unable to find alternative service at this time, but actively looking.)

I’ve been having more and more frequent hard crashes of my gadget (my formerly-trusty old Palm M515), each time requiring a hard reboot, which loses everything on the Palm. That’s not a complete disaster, of course, since all I have to do is sync back up with my laptop and everything is restored as good as new. Well, almost everything, anyway. I do lose everything that’s been added or changed since my last sync, which usually happens just before I leave work on either Thursday or Friday afternoon. The crashes usually happen on Sundays, which leads us to ask what is different in my Palm usage on Sundays. The only thing I can think of is that I use the MarkMyScriptures application much more on Sundays than on other days of the week. On a normal day, I read a chapter, update my bookmark, and close the app. On Sundays, I tend to jump around from document to document, update verse markings, and open and close the app multiple times. It’s already proven itself to be buggy and have memory leakage problems, so maybe I need to reconsider my usage of that app. And maybe the hardware is just fine after all, which would be good.

I’ve been thinking yet again about going back to a paper calendar anyway. But every time I do, I miss my Palm. What to do? As things at work get more classified, I may have to abandon the electronics anyway, so I’m looking around.

And we’re all sick of hearing me rattle on. See you tomorrow.


Monday, June 25th, 2007

Here’s Loyal Reader Number Twelve just being herself. Isn’t she just the most adorable baby ever? (Apologies to Loyal Reader Number Three, but this is really a cute picture and she’s really a cute baby, although he was one too, so there’s not need to get your dander up) Watch for Loyal Reader Number Twenty-One’s Very Special Day tomorrow. Today’s photo courtesy of Loyal Reader Number Five.

Speaking of LRN3, I spent some time on the phone with him Sunday evening. Like many students, he’s in the unenviable position of having to make important decisions about his future based on very incomplete information. I don’t know what to tell him to do, other than to follow his feelings on the subject and choose to study something that will be enjoyable and will support his family. Of course, if he knew what that was, he wouldn’t need to talk to me about it. Sigh. You have my pity, LRN3.

What I really want to have happen is for LRN3 and his brothers and sister to get great technical and business educations and come help me build a Really Cool software business. Starting in roughly five years. I think we have the desire and the talent. All we need now is the Great Idea. And to start developing something right now so we can be in a position to start making money in a few years. Sounds simple, no? Great Ideas are now being accepted. Call now! Operators are standing by.

Spotty connection on the train again this morning. I’m struggling to see what’s so hard about buying, installing, and operating commercial off-the-shelf satellite internet componentry. But apparently it is. I have no idea whether I’ll be able to publish this. In any case, I’ll save it off to a text file and will publish it when I get a good connection.

Pretty good weekend. Loyal Reader Number Twenty-Two left early on Saturday morning. We were sorry to see him go – it was a pleasant week. Loyal Reader Number Four and I went to Home Depot and bought everything we need to build the Massive Structure to hide the pool equipment. It should be a thing of beauty. It better be a thing of beauty, based on how much the materials cost. Which was a whole lot less than it would have cost to have somebody else do the work for us.

I also did a little work on the pond. While we (well, mostly LRN4, if you have to know the truth) were digging it, we had a minor cave-in where the Pool People had buried some water lines. We filled it in and continued digging. Well, it caved in again a little bit several days ago, forcing the water level to be lowered by six inches or so. I got a bucket of dirt and shoveled it into hole again and was able to fill the pond back up. It seems fine again. While I was digging dirt, I decided to bury the filter too, which got rid of some of the clutter. LRN4 planted some more greenery around the edges. It’s close to being a Real Pond now. We just need to find some pieces of bamboo to be the filtered water return system, hide the hoses and wires a little bit better, and enjoy the Beauties of Nature. Well, the Beauties of Man-Made Nature, anyway.

This week is scheduled to be fairly quiet, and then we’re off on a week-long vacation. Loyal Readers Numbers One and Two are scheduled to spend next week camping while LRN4 and I go to Arizona, but scout camp is in jeopardy. It seems that the camp officials had to make extensive and expensive modifications to the fresh water system over this past winter, based on a health department finding. They opened back up this spring and things appears to be fine – until the health department came back and checked the water again. They’re shut down again this week. They’re hoping to be open again in a week, but it’s far from a sure thing. So we don’t know whether the boys will be coming to Arizona with us or not. I’d be really sad if they missed out on camp, especially since they missed it last year in the middle of our family move. On the other hand, I’d enjoy their company on the trip. Either way will work.

Better end now. See you tomorrow.