Oh yeah, I found a 500GB hard drive…

Um, so, right after re-doing the Home Com­put­ing Mas­ter Plan, I found this 500 GB hard dri­ve lying around.  Okay, so it wasn’t “lying around,” exact­ly.  It was hid­den inside a $25 SATA dri­ve case.  I’d put it there when I got the bare dri­ve from Dri­veSavers (along with my $2,000 flash­light) with all my Pre­cious Data on it.  I’d trans­ferred all of that to my (then) new NAS, and appar­ent­ly dropped the now redun­dant dri­ve off the edge of my memory’s cliff.

So I found it the oth­er day when I was clean­ing up.  I prompt­ly popped it out of the dri­ve case and popped it into the NAS.  Eight hours (or so, I went to sleep) lat­er, We now have just shy of 1 TB of redun­dant stor­age in our NAS.

I believe that is step one of the new Plan com­plet­ed. Cost: $0.  Well, amor­tized over the last year.  If you go back to last Jan­u­ary, the cost was: one $2,000 flash­light.

Securing virtual territory for the kids

I was look­ing over all the domain names I have reg­is­tered over the years, and remem­bered that I had reg­is­tered full name domains for each of my chil­dren.  Some­day, the log­ic went, they will want their own web sites, and they will be grate­ful that I had the fore­sight to grab these while I still could.

A sound idea.  But what about secur­ing their user­name rights for web pages, web apps, and web ser­vices.  Should I grab AIM accounts for all of them?  Should I go ahead and reg­is­ter a Flickr name (i.e., Yahoo!) for each of the boys?  Gmail?

What do you think?

I’m Back!

One new job lat­er, I’m back.  It is clear that I won’t be post­ing at the same (tor­rid?) pace that I was when I was at home eight hours a day.  I’m not even clear if I’ll be post­ing from work at all (maybe just Tweets), which leaves me between two and three hours at home each night to: fold laun­dry, wash dish­es, pay bills, canoo­dle with the wife, watch Tv, post some­thing mean­ing­ful to the fam­i­ly blog, post some­thing to this blog, and work on any num­ber of “oth­er” projects.

This past week and a half “watch Tv” has risen pret­ty high on the list, giv­en how exhaust­ed I am after a full day of work­ing.  Plus, I was sick.  So there.

In any case, I had some­thing to say, so I’m back.  Less fre­quent­ly than before.

Why I’m waiting on a new computer

Got a new job, got an old iMac (800 MHz G4!), gonna get a new com­put­er!  Right?  After spend­ing two sol­id days re-mas­ter­ing the Home Com­put­ing Mas­ter Plan, I think I can safe­ly say, maybe.

The first thing that has to hap­pen is item num­ber one in the Mas­ter Plan.  We need a new disk for the back­up sys­tem.  We’re start­ing to get full, and they are cheap ($135) so there’s no real rea­son to avoid it.

The sec­ond thing that needs to hap­pen is that I need to get a pay­check.  We need to see exact­ly how much I’m bring­ing in after tax­es, com­pare it to exact­ly how much we hem­or­rhage each month, and fig­ure out if we can buy a new com­put­er, and whether that is before or after we plug the leak in the base­ment, or clothe our chil­dren, etc.

And so, I wait.  Slow­ly.  Just today I have had two encoun­ters with the Dread­ed Beach­ball on my Mac.  The first took twelve min­utes to resolve itself.  The sec­ond one was final­ly end­ed with a Forced Quit after twen­ty min­utes.

Wrapping up the sports season of a lifetime

Now that col­lege bas­ket­ball is over, I can mark the end of the most amaz­ing sport­ing sea­son I am like­ly to ever enjoy.

First the Red Sox win the World Series (again).  Then KU’s woe­ful col­lege foot­ball pro­gram pulls the most amaz­ing per­for­mance ever out of its col­lec­tive bum, ends the sea­son 12–1 with a vic­to­ry in a BCS Bowl… prob­a­bly the best KU foot­ball sea­son ever.  Then the Patri­ots make it all the way to the Super­bowl (where they lost, sure, but it was a fun sea­son to watch).  And final­ly, the KU men’s bas­ket­ball team goes all the way, win­ning the Nation­al Cham­pi­onship, and pos­si­bly com­plet­ing the best sea­son ever for KU’s sto­ried bas­ket­ball pro­gram.

It has been a lot of fun.  It’ll nev­er hap­pen again.  (Pos­si­bly because I’m trad­ing my base­ball fan­dom for a return to soc­cer.… base­ball has lost me with all the scan­dals.)

Riding the rails from Lawrence

When I was a wee boy, grow­ing up in Argenti­na, we used to take the train all the time.  We’d walk to the sta­tion, wait for the train, get on, and go places.  I don’t remem­ber where we’d go, and frankly, I don’t think that was too impor­tant at the time.  I was on a train.

Years lat­er, in Madrid and New York, I’d take the sub­way all sorts of places.  When I came out to the Mid­west, I met peo­ple who had nev­er been on a train, much less com­mut­ed on one.  It was for­eign to me.  And to them, I guess.

But now that I’ve lived here for more than a decade, I real­ize that I’ve been on trains… well, I can count the times on one hand.  More impor­tant­ly, my chil­dren have been on two trains in their lives, nei­ther of which real­ly count.  One was fake Thomas at Thomas the Tank Engine Days in Bald­win, KS.  The oth­er was the light rail in Den­ver, CO.

Last night I found out the Lawrence has a work­ing Amtrak Sta­tion.  It gets vis­it­ed by the South­west Chief (video) twice a day, once on its way to Los Ange­les, and once on its way back to Chica­go.  Even bet­ter, it stops in New­ton, KS, which is a half hour from Wichi­ta, where Grand­ma lives.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, a trip to New­ton would have to start at 12:32 am, arriv­ing at 3:25 am.  And the return trip picks up at 3:01 am, arriv­ing back home at 5:49 am.

Not exact­ly the trip to take a five-year-old on.

Oth­er stops on the way include Chica­go and KC in one direc­tion, and Las Vegas, Flagstaff, and Los Ange­les in the oth­er direc­tion.  It might be a fun trip to make when the boys are old­er, and we can bud­get for a vaca­tion (the trip to Grandma’s would cost $162!).

Or, I could wish real­ly hard for Amtrak to start anoth­er train on a 12 hour off­set from the first.  That’s right, Con­gress, dou­ble Amtrak’s bud­get!  Please?

Flickr now does long photos (aka video)

I’m sure you’ve seen this already, but it is cool.  They call them “long pho­tos” which is pret­ty cute.  They adhere to all the same access stan­dards as pho­tos, as far as pri­va­cy feeds, search­ing, etc.  The length is short (90 sec­onds) and the size is small (150 MB) but I think most of my videos fall with­in those con­straints.  Or would if I could use iMovie on my ancient Mac.

Thoughts I had while watching Kansas win

Watch­ing the game last night, there were a lot of non-game relat­ed things I want­ed to touch on.  This might be of more inter­est to those of you who haven’t been fol­low­ing KU bas­ket­ball all sea­son.

  • God.  In all the play­er inter­views before the game, dur­ing all the plays of the game, dur­ing all the cel­e­bra­tion after­wards, in all the arti­cles about the game, and even in what I saw of the post-game pressers, God was men­tioned three times.  Just three times.  I find that sur­pris­ing­ly low.
  1. Mario Chalmers point­ed to the sky a lit­tle while after his game-tying three point shot.  This is the clas­sic, “Thank you, God” ges­ture used in sports all over.  Or maybe he was point­ing to the Jum­botron.
  2. Ron­nie Chalmers, Mario’s Dad, car­ried a lit­tle bit of scrip­ture in his pock­et ((Source: Luke Winn’s ESPN Tour­ney Blog, about halfway down the arti­cle)), and read it to him­self qui­et­ly towards the end of reg­u­la­tion.
  3. Cali­pari, the head coach of Mem­phis, told a reporter right after­wards that he told God, dur­ing Der­rick Rose’s one-of-two final free throw appear­ance, that if they both went in, it was meant to be, and if they didn’t, it was not meant to be.
  • Ed High­tow­er was the Ref­er­ee for the game.  I remem­ber him well from our sev­en years in Iowa City.  His main stomp­ing grounds is the Big Ten, though he’s doing more games in the Big 12 (where we are now) late­ly.  Inci­den­tal­ly, he was also the Ref for the last time KU won the Big Dance, in 1988.
  • When they set out the lad­ders for the net snip­ping, the lad­der was rather mod­est­ly embla­zoned with the company’s name, Wern­er.  They did get a Greg Gum­bel announce­ment as the Offi­cial Lad­der of the NCAA Tour­na­ment, but real­ly, I would have made sure the cheap seats knew who made the lad­der.  And nobody fell off.
  • Relat­ed ques­tion: who makes the scis­sors that are used?  Those things are sharp.
  • Anoth­er relat­ed ques­tion: Do the ladder/scissor com­pa­nies cheat?  Like how burg­ers in com­mer­cials are faked up to look bet­ter than they are in real­i­ty.  Are the steps gummed up to ensure nobody slips?  Are the scis­sors ground extra-sharp, to a lev­el no home­own­er would be allowed to have?
  • Bill Self, the KU coach, is report­ed­ly going to be offered the Okla­homa State coach­ing job (his alma mater) for some­thing like $3.5 mil­lion a year with a $6 mil­lion sign­ing bonus.  That’s $10 mil­lion for show­ing up for a year.  Most peo­ple seem to believe he will stay at Kansas, but get a nice salary bump from his cur­rent $1.4 mil­lion annu­al­ly.
  • How classy is Roy Williams (coach of Car­oli­na, for­mer 15-year coach of KU)?  He stuck around for this game, and even allowed a Jay­hawk stick­er be stuck to his black sweater.  He even wore it dur­ing a half­time CBS inter­view.  I think any ani­mos­i­ty Lawrence had for him is gone now.
  • It took a lit­tle while for arti­cles about the game to get pub­lished, but sev­er­al were out with­in hours of the end of the game.  Which means these sports­writ­ers must have notes, ideas, even par­tial arti­cles writ­ten before the game even begins, right?  A col­lec­tion of these “What if” drafts could be fas­ci­nat­ing for a sports fan to read.
  • There’s only one Luther Van­dross song I can stand ((Offi­cial CBS crap­py con­troller with com­mer­cial, or Unof­fi­cial YouTube sure to be pulled edi­tion)).
  • We will prob­a­bly pick up some sort of Cham­pi­onship DVD Com­mem­o­ra­tive Video Pack­age Sea­son Thing when they come out.  I nev­er did under­stand that.  But hav­ing watched these kids for two years, hav­ing watched every game this sea­son, know­ing their sto­ries and watch­ing them play last night, I think I’d like to watch it again in five, ten, fif­teen years.

We watched KU win the National Championship

We watched the game at home, live (not delayed via TiVo), as it tipped late enough that we were done with all par­ent­ing duties.  Our boys were tucked safe­ly in their beds, dreams of Jay­hawks danc­ing through their heads.  They both wore their new KU shirts to school, and the lit­tlest one (he’s 22 months old) insist­ed on show­ing every­one his “J Awk,” even if that meant tak­ing his hood­ie off repeat­ed­ly.

We were hop­ing to watch in HD and lis­ten to the local guys on the radio, but when we start­ed the game, the video was behind the audio by almost five sec­onds.  That means the “shot was good!” before the play had even been set up on screen.  Some­thing hap­pened at half time though, and it was all synced up, so we got local col­or for the sec­ond half and the over­time.  The local announc­ers are so delight­ful­ly biased (and I still believe Pack­er and Nance were entranced by the idea of Mem­phis) that it makes up for their being fur­ther from the floor/booth stats.

Watch­ing this game was awe­some.  It was just the two of us, Sweet­ie and I, but we were up and down, ner­vous, groan­ing, I know I cursed at the screen repeat­ed­ly, Sweet­ie was tense, lit­er­al­ly on the edge of her seat.  We could hard­ly believe it when Chalmers’ shot went in, and when it was all over we rushed out­side to hear the scream­ing and honk­ing and fire­works from down­town.

Then we watched it over again (thanks to TiVo) with the TV audio, just to see it once more.

Here are my thoughts on the game.  Please note, you may have to know some­thing about bas­ket­ball, col­lege bas­ket­ball, and/or KU bas­ket­ball to grok much of this.  Sor­ry.

  • Here in Lawrence they are call­ing it “Mario and the Mir­a­cle,” a ref­er­ence to KU’s last cham­pi­onship team, dubbed “Dan­ny and the Mir­a­cles” after Dan­ny Man­ning (now a KU assis­tant coach).  But I much pre­fer the sim­pler, more apt, “Super Mario.”  In my two pal­try years in Lawrence, I’ve seen Mario Chalmers take a clutch shot like that a num­ber of times.  And not one arti­cle before the game, not a sin­gle one from the Nation­al Media, sin­gled him out as any­thing oth­er than part of a guard four­some.
  • All sea­son, Hell, all of his two years, Dar­rell Arthur has been hailed as this great, ath­let­ic, won­der boy.  All of his two years I have failed to see it.  Some games he has been good, even great.  Most games he lets balls slip through his fin­gers, he fouls a lot, he con­tributes a few points.  But this game he was excel­lent.  20 points and 10 rebounds, and a cool hand from start to fin­ish.  His poten­tial is so high that he’ll prob­a­bly jump to the NBA, but this was an excel­lent part­ing per­for­mance.
  • Sher­ron Collins, instru­men­tal in the game, is a play­er I love and hate.  I cussed him up and down the floor both in this game and the Car­oli­na game on Sat­ur­day.  He is mad­den­ing­ly bull­head­ed, but mad-skilled, and for every time he dri­ves the lane against four guys and los­es the ball, or pass­es to nobody, or drib­bles it off a teammate’s foot, there are those times he strips the ball, weaves the trees for a score, or drains a  three at the cru­cial time.  One more year in school and he will be some­thing to see.
  • How impor­tant was the review of that three-point­er?  If the offi­cials didn’t have the abil­i­ty to go back and exam­ine that play, KU los­es and the game gets a huge aster­isk (at least, here in Lawrence).
  • Only one ana­lyst gave KU the nod before the game.  Jay Bilas, of ESPN, has been pick­ing KU since Octo­ber.  Every time he was asked about it dur­ing the tour­na­ment, he reaf­firmed his pick.  Right before the game, he said it again, though he hedged his bet a lit­tle.  Hats off to him.
  • They are call­ing this team the best team KU has ever pro­duced, and they are call­ing KU “Basketball’s most sto­ried pro­gram.”  That makes this the best team ever from basketball’s most sto­ried pro­gram, in case you were won­der­ing.

This may have been the most fun I have ever had watch­ing sports, right up there with Argentina’s win in the World Cup Final in 1986.