29.november.2006 - Upgraded to Internet Explorer 7. No major problems (only one crash). So far, I like what I see.
In other news, I've been paying close attention these past few weeks, trying to determine exactly *when* I feel sad & when I feel happy (trying to troubleshoot the blues).
I've discovered that I feel most-sad right after I bring the little guy back to his mom, tho I don't feel sad every time I bring him back, which confuses me.
For example, last week, when he was vomiting (stomach bug), I brought him back cuz I was concerned about dehydration, and she is better equipped to ensure he gets proper fluids.
Altho I knew it was the right thing to do, I still felt surprisingly sad afterwards .. while walking thru the grocery store (where I went afterwards). It didn't make sense to me, but I still felt sad.
But I've also felt happy this week, cuz I now get him for over-night stays and also on weekends (every other), something I've never had before.
So at least once a week now, I fall asleep and wake up with him. (Sometimes I just watch him sleep. He's pretty dang cute.)
Last week was the first weekend we spent together .. since before the break-up (well over a year ago). I've been patient, waiting a long time for this day to arrive, and it's finally here. I felt happier last weekend than I have in a long time.
He's at a really fun age. You should see him bouncing on the trampoline. His favorite story is the Jungle Book (especially Mowgli & Baloo), which I've read to him hundreds of times.
I think I've been in denial about what was making me sad .. trying to blame it on things I could control .. such as low iron, or lack of exercise, or even too much caffeine.
It's not easy to admit that something beyond your control is making you sad. The problem seems obvious now. Denial is a powerful thing.
23.november.2006 - Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Gobble, gobble. I'm playing Rad dad today. The bug was projectile-vomiting yesterday .. must've caught a stomach bug, cuz he doesn't seem very sick otherwise (still wants to play). He's sleeping now (making like Rip Van Winkle).
Julie is coming over later to cook a bird (15-pounder) .. for everybody who has no family in the area (like me & Battman). Today will be the first time Battman meets the bug.
In other news, Musk sent a note today (from Dallas) wishing us a happy thanksgiving, which included the following BTW:
Just wanted to let you know that I'm planning to open 1 of my 3 jars of cherry vodka tonight. Followed your recipe earlier this year. (The others will be opened Christmas and New Year's). I'll send you an update.
Also .. ran into my climbing buddy (Tom) at the coffee shop this morning, where I discussed with him what I discussed in the previous entry (see below, 21.nov).
He said it was about *passion* .. that climbers (at least the ones he knows) tend to be passionate people, "who live life with gusto."
He did however, concede that people who work for him *do* sometimes seem intimidated by him, and have expressed that they feel he is at times overbearing.
I can see how people might feel this way, tho I'm sure it's cuz they haven't gotten to know him. (He's really a sweetheart once ya get to know him.)
Tom says he tries his best to be mellow at work. "I'm direct," he says. But yes, he does have an intensity about him (which is why I like him).
Ah .. I just heard Julie's bug pull up. Gobble, gobble. See ya.
21.november.2006 - The cover of this month's National Geographic references an article titled The World's Greatest Mountaineer, which caught my attention. Inside, the article, subtitled > Murdering the Impossible, describes the life of Reinhold Messner (born Italy 1944, native language: German). Photo gallery HERE.
If you're a regular, you know I've recently taken up rock-climbing (see entries for Oct 27, 28 and Sept 24), finding some curious attraction in the sport.
Even tho it scares me, something about the sport feels right. I feel at home with it. Hard to describe. Anyway, the article (after a brief intro) describes Reinhold thusly:
His features tend to alternate between two characteristic expressions: the first, a look of fierce intensity ... giving him an air of Zeus-like authority.
The second is his trademark smile--a reflexive baring of his very white, even teeth behind his beard--which gleams on friend and foe without distinction...
It was this description that led me to set down the magazine and ponder. You see, my new climbing buddy (Tom) has this exact same trait. His features also tend to alternate between fierce intensity and gleaming smiles ... (especially when I see him interacting with others)...
... so much so that this aspect stuck out in my mind. Not only this, but when we spent the day climbing at Joshua Tree last month (October 27/28), we ran into one of his friend's (named Kevin), who had the exact same trait - yet even *more* so.
Tom said Kevin was "one of the best climbers in Joshua Tree," who used to have a climbing business. "I used to work for him," he added.
In fact, Tom told me Kevin free-climbed (without ropes or fall protection) the same route I was unable to climb more than a few feet (rated 5.11b) which seemed almost suicidal.
Anyway, we rendezvoused with Kevin later at the Crossroads restaurant. While I sat in a big, cushy chair, feeling exhausted, Tom chatted with Kevin at the bar (tho neither drinks). That's when I noticed the look of "fierce intensity" on Kevin's face (tho I couldn't hear what they were talking about).
Later Kevin came over and asked how I liked my first day of climbing. I told him how I got scared near the top of one route, and when the adrenaline wore off, I was exhausted .. to my core .. so much so that I could lay down on the floor and fall asleep right there.
He flashed the biggest, whitest smile .. downright enchanting. He seemed to take much delight in something I had said.
Later, driving home, I thought about how both Kevin & Tom could alternate between such extremes. It wasn't one look (intense) or the other (smiling), but rather the extremes of *both* coming from the same person that got me thinking .. and which (I believe) led the author of that National Geo article to describe Reinhold similarly.
Then I got to thinking about things people have said about *me* .. saying I've frightened them with a look. Of course, I've never see the way I look, except in a mirror, and have always dismissed these comments as mere hyperbole.
Many thoughts came to mind .. like the time when I was in 6th grade, and the principle called me out of the class for something I'd done (I forget why) and later he told my parents that I gave him a look. "If looks could kill, he said, "I'd be dead." (this was a tough-guy principle).
But I honestly wasn't trying to give him a look (I told my folks) .. altho I didn't much care for him poking me in the chest with his finger. =) I mean, he made a big deal about it .. more so than the reason he called me out in the first place (which I no longer recall).
Anyway, I'm not sure what any of this means. But I do feel it important to heed the advice of the ancients and Know Thyself. So I'm trying to better understand who I am, by comparing and contrasting myself with others with whom I might have things in common.
One more thing: I also like to understand what drives a person to such extremes. In the case of Reinhold, it was losing his brother (Günther) on a climb. (Altho he eventually became a mountaineer, Reinhold started as a rock climber, where he excelled.)
Quoteable quote from Reinhold: If there's no chance of death, it's not an adventure.
15.november.2006 - Two things. First, regarding quitting coffee/caffeine (see entry for November 7), I have modified my strategy (rev. 1) to "go without" every other day .. for the first week or two .. to taper off (to avoid the headaches). This is fairly easy for me to do (every other day).
I've learned it's not the physical energy I crave from coffee (caffeine), but rather the *mental* energy.
I went to the coffee shop the other day, where I planned to order herb tea, and the girl brought over my regular (triple espresso) after seeing me in line. Now I coulda refused, but I didn't. I took it. (Best tasting espresso I ever had.)
Next step will be to go two days between each espresso .. then three. That's my strategy. That's something I can do .. but not quit cold turkey. Weekends are most difficult to go without. I *love* espresso early Saturday / Sunday mornings.
Next item: received email today from Magoo. He's a (paid) contributor (from Arizona) who has authored several of the guides you see hosted here. His note:
Updated the Wireless guide to include information about 'draft n' equipment. This is equipment that companies are making based on the rough draft of the 802.11n standard released by the 802.11 committee.
The official standard isn't due out until summer, but people are excited enough that manufacturers are taking the risk to make it available early. It promises bursting speeds to 540 Mb/s, which is 10x faster than the current 802.11g standard.
I've also added a blurb about HPNA, which are adapters that allows you to network your computers over the phone lines in your house. It's good stuff if you have lots of distance to cover (up to 1000').
I also need to update the BitTorrent guide, but it will be several weeks before I get around to that. The Linux guide is progressing, but I can't yet provide a reliable delivery date.
I'd like to have it ready for the January rush, but I just bought a house, and things are getting serious with my girlfriend. It also looks like I might be getting another promotion at work, so I'm not sure how much time I'll have.
Magoo's guides set another record last month: breaking the 10,000 mark for page impressions (actually ~13,500). They continue to grow in popularity. Congrats on the house and the promo. Good luck with your honey.
14.november.2006 - Had chest crud last week. Over it now, but coughed up chunks of lung (green) the past few days. Talked to others who had same thing. They got antibiotics. But I like to let my immune system get the exercise, and save the antibiotics for when I really need them.
In other news, I have two more developmental milestones to report (after playing Rad dad last week).
The little guy pointed to the toilet and said, "I go poops." After checking his diaper and seeing it was clean, I figured he just wanted to play. So I set him on the throne and sat down on the floor beside him.
A few minutes later, when I checked the bowl, sure 'nuf, I saw he'd left me a present (nice floater). So I broke out a bottle of champagne and we celebrated right there in the bathroom. "You wanna flush?" I asked. (He'll be 2 in a few months.)
The second milestone is that he caught his first football. It was only one of those foam balls, but nearly full-size. And I was standing only a few feet away, but he caught the thing (repeatedly). Look out NFL.
In still other news, been receiving lots of kudos on the guide to Ripping & Encoding CD audio lately (last 30 days or so). Not sure why.
Lastly, I had a dream last night that Barack Obama was on the verge of becoming the first black president (way ahead in the polls), but was assassinated right before the election (similar to what happened with RFK). The dream seemed real. Would be weird if it came true.
What little I know of Obama, I like. Something about the way he communicates gives me hope for our country (which is in a mess right now) .. much like I felt when I heard JFK speak (uplifting).
Political commentators claim his biggest negative is inexperience .. but, in my book, that's a positive. (I don't want someone corrupted by years of indoctrination in Washington politics.)
08.november.2006 - Lotsa mail regarding yesterday's post .. about the difficulties associated with breaking the coffee addiction .. such as this one, which just came in:
Long time reader, first time e-mailer. Found your site way back in my early years of IT .. probably 5 years ago, while searching for help with Ghost.
Thought about quitting, too, especially now that my daughter (16) has started asking me to make her an americano before school. I wonder what I'm setting her up for.
I *love* the taste of my own shots. They're better than what you'll find in most coffee shops in town, including "the Bucks" (to quote the Office), and I'm sure the buzz is part of it.
I'll be following your progress. Just this week I had only two shots instead of three, and got a headache that lasted all day!
The wife bought me an espresso machine for our first anniversary (3 years ago) and it's nice. Long story short, it'll be a lifestyle change to quit.
PS - Nice work on the guides; due to my proficiency with Ghost, I asked for and received a 100% pay raise. =)
I'll let you know how it goes. No doubt I'll find numerous reasons why today should be the exception, and I should have my normal espresso (or at least a double). We all know how the addict's mind works.
I'm sure there will be set-backs. But if I fall off the wagon, I plan to get up and climb back on. Not looking for perfection, merely progress.
07.november.2006 - While researching the blues, I came across much info claiming caffeine might be a culprit. Which suks. Cuz I love my morning buzz (triple-espresso). The girls in the coffee shop often fill my order while I'm still in line.
I readily to admit being an addict. It's not the taste I'm after. Rather, the buzz. Vrrrrroom. I often feel *religious* after an especially good espresso. (Thank-you, Jesus!)
Numerous times I've tried to dismount the java-wagon, but have never endured more than a week. Maybe this is why some call the addiction a mental disorder.
Heck, the mere act of *thinking* about a coffee-less existence is stressing me out. I'm getting the willies just writing this (and my morning fix has already been met). But I need to do something .. and I've always appreciate a challenge (which fosters growth).
I've heard it said you can't simply stop something; rather you need to *replace* it with something else (better, healthier, etc.).
So I've decided to replace caffeine with .. sex! Seriously .. it suks, but I know, intuitively, it's something I need to do (key word: need .. cuz I'm getting desperate).
If I quit for two or three months, and still have the blues, then I'll know it's something else. I've read it can take up to two months to completely detox from the effects of caffeine. (Seems like an eternity.)
The worse part, for me, isn't the headache. I can live with the headache. Rather it's the lack of motivation that gives me the most trouble. Seems like I'm barely alive sans my espresso buzz.
Anyway, I can't write anymore cuz this is distressing. I'm gonna try to go caffeine-free for two or three months .. starting tomorrow (sounds like something an addict would say, huh? .. easy for the junkie to declare he's gonna quit when the needle is still in his arm).
I normally shy away from all-or-nothing approaches. As the ancients advised, moderation in all things .. which is a philosophy (I feel) represents a healthy lifestyle.
The ancients also said Know thyself, and this endeavor - if nothing else - will reveal something about me: if I have what it takes to give up my beloved bean .. for longer than I've been able to do in (many!) years.
02.november.2006 - Adios October. Hola November. Friendly reminder for those of you who live here in the OC: tonight is the First Thursday Art Walk in Laguna Beach.
I can't go tonight, but you might see Miss Julie out on the town, sampling the artistic wares. Moon is almost full, which should make tonight in Laguna even more enchanting.
In other news, I replaced my old desktop image (from DB), with a recent photo of the little guy (aka Rad Jr) .. which is a little thing that (for some reason) feels major .. and is accompanied by a sense of relief. Not sure why, tho. Maybe it means something more. Would love to share it with you (great pic), but I can't.
Had a great day playing Rad dad. He laughed & giggled the most of the day. Yesterday unfortunately, was a nightmare. Again, I probably shouldn't say more. Call me Mr. Reticent.