Monday, November 29, 2004

Thanksgiving (and my jeans still fit)

Sorry, Miranda, looks like most everyone posted on Sunday. I was busy with my honeydo list. We've got guests coming for Christmas - DD's in laws from Canada. They've been to our house once before on a Vegas trip, but we are doing Christmas Eve dinner here. Time to pull out the old Catholic white no meat cookbook.
But since they have been here my wife wants the house to look different, which of course means work. Pulled out the front room carpet and put in the Pergo in Spring. Got the patio cover up. But she wanted more lights (easy to do, attic is accessable) and to cover the fireplace.
Our fireplace is brick, painted white, and big. Fills part of a wall in the family room. She wants brick covered up with drywall, and maybe some tile. So I spent yesterday drilling and putting up wood strips that the drywall will go on and chipping up the old hearth tile. Evening out the uneven bricks, filling the air with brick dust and sawdust and noise. Now I just need to put up the drywall, her job to paint and make it pretty.
In to work on Monday, and you can see how anxious I am to get to programming.
Oh, the white no meat cookbook? It's an old Catholic thing. No meat on Friday (well, new pope said it's OK now, but old folks still don't), and special meals on special days. Christmas Eve is one, to fill you up waiting for midnight mass. I just remember that it was all white. Some kind of dull fish. Cream of mushroom soup. And some flat wafers made out of the same stuff as communion wafers, but bigger and we got to put honey on it. The only thing I would eat. I didn't like fish, at least not the dull probably boiled east coast fish, do like some grilled salmon with honey ginger sauce now. Still don't like mushrooms. They got the wafers from the church, (plotke? - old Polish term) so Google pointed me to a church in New Jersey that's selling them, no email response to mail sale offer.
The in laws are from Canada, east - Hamilton, between Buffalo and Toronto on the lake. Well, most cities in Canada are on a lake - kind of like Michigan. So they are old area people. My daughter said no salmon, get some kind of white east coast fish, but they would probably go for the mushroom soup. So on to new (well, old really) culinary adventures.

Monday, November 22, 2004

More fun at work

I forgot to mention a blog someone referred me to: I hate this job blog. I sent him an episode at work a few months ago, and just sent him words on the last two session. Doesn't look like he's keeping it up to date. Must be having too much fun at work. Oh! ther is a fun at work blog. But that one looks like Ava isn't having too much fun at work, hasn't updated in over a year. Sorry, Ava.

Another rainy weekend

Another rainy weekend. I didn't enjoy it, as I've come down with a bad cold. Went in to work this morning and left early. My wife chased me to the doctor today, thought it might be something treatable like a sinus infection, with antibiotics, but no, just a cold. I had to switch doctors a few months back, my old doctor really was an old doctor and he just retired. The office I go to, selected from the big book from my insurance company, has more doctors, so I told them to just pick one. I ended up with one younger than the last, but fortunately he has a Physician's Assistant helping. She (the PA) is fairly young. Been a nurse for a number of years, and went back for more training to become a PA. Doesn't want to do all of the time to become an MD. But in Nevada PAs get to prescribe and do most things an MD can do. So far I've been in four times, never seen the Dr just the PA. But she is very nice and intelligent. Plus she is very good at taking time and explaining things. I had some tests last time and she took almost a half hour to go over the results. On insurance I'm usually lucky to get 7 minutes of Dr time, must keep up that quota. So the medical change thing ended up OK.
Looks like winter's come again. Snow on all the mountains, it's down to 41f right now. Different plants blooming. Still getting tomatoes from my garden, though. Switched from air conditioning cool over to heat exchanger heat. Last month was really nice, windows open all the time, no air, no heat needed yet. Lowest electric bill since we moved in.
I'm a computer programmer. Sit at work all day in front of a computer and press keys. Well, mostly think, then press keys. I also get to go spend time upstairs in one of the phone rooms watching people use my programs, finding bugs, things they do differently, things that need changes. I used to bring in my Ipod so I wasn't distracted by the noise around me. But lately I've been listening to French radio stations over the internet. Why French? Well, went to France a few years ago and I really loved the place. Plus I don't understand French at all. So when listening I don't understand the commercials so they are more like songs without background music. The guy next to me listens to Russian radio - same reason. I'll have to get his station list and try it.
The one I listen to most is French Lazy Radio. About 60% American songs, a little above easy listening but calm enough to ignore and work. One thing I find amusing is their attempt to translate some things over to English. Reminds me of those emails telling me I've won a million dollars, just send my bank info. You can tell that English is not their first language. Well Lazy Radio had some problems last week and this is what displayed:

Their logo is that little guy sitting in the beach chair. Can you guess that English is not their native language? But they are probably better than most of the phone people where I work, so no complaints just observations.
Wow! Exciting News!!!Sitting here I just got an email from Mrs. Dora Newman, 'We are Diplomatic Corp that works as a courier service and also holds special and valuable consignments for reputable clients that are honest and trustworthy.' and look, they have something for me - 'In your case, the funds in the package is USD15.6M (Fifteen Million,Six Hundred Thousand U.S.Dollars)'. And nobody in Nigeria had to die to get it to me. Just want my bank info for the transfer. Just in time for me to give notice at work. But maybe I better wait for the money to show up first, huh?
I started this blog back before I got this full time job. Had lots of time back then to take pictures, and I enjoyed sitting in front of the computer writing. Now that I'm forced to be in front of one for ten hours a day (yea, not an eight hour day here) I don't seem to want to sit at home and spend more time.
Too many word postings, and not enough of the reason I started, pictures. Maybe over Thanksgiving (yes, we are working Friday) I'll drive around and take some. Should be putting up the Christmas (no, not Hanukkah) decorations at some of the hotels. The Bellagio always does up the lobby and atrium very nicely.
Here are two 'low water' yards in my neighborhood (yes, I will get to other neighborhoods for pictures soon).

Some of the rock work looks good, and some just seems in poor taste. Which one do you like better?

One of the newer homes in a small grouping has done a really nice job:

So much for desert landscaping. I'll take some shots of how my yard is growing in.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Another exciting week

Not much going on around here. I've been out of it with some outside activity.

Just reading an article in the New Yorker magazine - not totally safe in our new 'keeping ignorant' path, as they did officially endorse Kerry for Pres, and in this issue the front part sounds too much like sour grapes - after skipping past the editorial section. Just finished an article on motherhood, and the apparent interest in $$$$$$$s worth of goodies to make life easier and safer for baby. Evidently there is a web site, baby Kate's blog, that goes into exquisite detail on the items purchased, or just desired, for baby.
Makes me wonder how much we will spoil the grandkid. DD (is that the correct term?) was over last night discussing DGK (again, is blog terminology going to letters like cell phone instant messaging?) and how much time we will spend babysitting while our daughter is teaching at school, bringing the kid by periodically for nursing duties.
Yea, right.
See if I change any diapers. Probably will get rooked into it, but not jumping at the thought.
My favorite cartoon was seen in a Sunday paper section, don't remember which one. It shows a mother walking with a smaller daughter saying 'I hope when you grow up you have a child just like you are so you can see what you put me through'. And in the next panel the daughter says 'funny, that's what grammy says she told you'. So, now I get to fill the kid up with coke and sugar and send them home to run around in circles. And I kept all of the old high school pictures and report cards. So when the kid does something and mom yells, I can pull them out and say 'lets look at what mom was like at your age'. Revenge is a dish best served cold?
But we are looking forward to more relatives in the neighborhood, no matter what I say.
Guess I should start a baby blog, with those 14 week sonogram shots.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

News at home

We had exciting news at our house. Tuesday our daughter came over with her husband. She's the third grade teacher that we followed to Vegas. She had a present for us, and as my wife opened it and dug through the tissue paper I heard her scream - it was a baby rattle. Followed by some 'I'll be at Grandma's' clothes. Yes, our first close up grandkid. At least the first we'll change diapers for. Due May 13.
We do have three in Sweden with our 'adopted' doctor son. I think I wrote about Ulf before, he came over for two months as a summer exchange student. When we lived in Temecula we signed up for several programs, and had a few foreign students over the years. But Ulf really found California to be different than Sweden. He was 18, so I guess it was over 20 years ago. He came back almost every summer. We took him to the beach, and he really liked it when the waves were up. He would stand out in the water off Newport Beach up to his waist and loved having the waves break over his head. He would stand in the water for hours.
Ulf went on to become the youngest cardiologist in Sweden. He now flies all over the world to give talks to other cardiologists about studies and things he has found. I didn't realize that Sweden was such a good place for research studies, but with socialized medicine and all hospitals being government owned they can follow patients for years and keep track of their progress. There are very few private doctors in Sweden. Ulf complained that with his student loans - the government paid tuition but he needed living expenses, books, etc. - and government controlled salary he was taking home a lot less money than the factory workers he was seeing.
He talked about moving to California, but part of his requirements there was compulsory military service. I don't know if every Swede does that, or if it was part of his student stuff. He became an officer in the Navy and did his one month every year thing. At least he didn't end up in Iraq for a year (sorry, just one relapse in rants). Now that he is older he still talks about moving, but California would require he do a residency all over again, and he doesn't want to do those 35 hour shifts.
We finally visited him in Sweden when he was married several years ago. He is the 'typical' tall thin blond. He was looking for a California girl, found a few tall blonds, proposed to one, but ended up back in Sweden getting married to a tall blond Swedish airline stewardess. The kids will probably end up being tall blonds too. Their wedding was in an 800 year old church. The reception after was very interesting. We sat next to the bride's friends, two stewardesses from England. The only other native English speakers there. They put up with our American English.
All the Swedes knew English, most quite well. In Sweden they have three TV channels, and most of the shows are American still in English but with Swedish subtitles. So they can get an English lesson just by watching. The get MTV from London, so most of them speak English with a British accent. They all made fun of Ulf for having a 'California' accent. I don't know why that was funny, they all watched Baywatch - I remember seeing it on several times at a few houses. The Baywatch sun and sand were quite different from Sweden, as was Pammy, but then she seems different than most girls. But, everyone wanted to practice speaking English with the Americans. So we were almost as popular as the bride and groom.
We had a great time, and look forward to going back soon. Their first son showed up two years ago. And a few months ago twins came along. Alex Joe Sunestrand and Sven Sunestrand. So I do have a 'grandson' named after me. I think he is the only Joe in Sweden. They brought the oldest, out on a visit last year, just before the latest pregnancy.
Our other grandson popped up a short time ago - I related our son's wedding in September. Well, in addition to gaining a daughter (in law) we gained a grandson at the same time. I wanted to get a photo of him sitting on my knee, but the wedding party was kind of busy and I missed the chance. It would have looked like Mr. T sitting on Mad Dog Murdock's knee, so picture it in your own minds. Except Etiene doesn't have shoulders that big or a mohawk, and I'm not as thin as Murdock. But it was the best comparison I could come up with on short notice. He lives in the San Francisco area, so next time I see them I'll get a shot.
This then is the first grandchild we will end up seeing on a regular basis as they grow up. That is unless our daughter makes her threatened move to Portland, to get away from the poor Nevada school system (of which, as a teacher, she is part of). And unless we make our threatened move to New Zeeland.
Well, looks like I just can't get away with a short post. But look, one with no pictures and not even a single link.

more more at work and home

Last Monday we had an IT staff meeting. I usually work from 7 - 4, but was in the middle of something at 4:30 when told that I should stick around. Seven programmers, five IT techs, the two owners, the president and the ceo all in the conference room. This was my first contact with one of the owners. I have already relayed (several times) contacts with the other.
What resulted was a three hour session telling us all how useless we were, and how things better change or the next meeting will be with a whole new staff. It was very uplifting.
The owner I had not seen before did most of the talking, telling us how when he started eight years ago he wrote all of the programs by himself, and had no problems and how the f**k he could have seven programmers and get complaints all day about crashes and errors and bad reports when he did it all himself perfectly. The other owner only spoke up a few times, because it was a technical meeting and what the f**k he didn't f**king know f**k about f**king computers (I think I'll switch to one *, less pressing the shift key, you can fill in the f and *k yourself). But if * we * couldn't * get our * act together * well we * could * find * another * job, as he * was * done with * putting the * up with * from * us and he * well would * find another * crew to * do * the * stuff * we * couldn't.
There were probably a lot more * between the other words, but again I forgot my tape recorder.
End result, after three hours (5pm - 8pm), we had better shape up. Real end result: most of us left that meeting and spent the rest of the evening at home cleaning up our resumes. We've had * enough of all the * words.
Yesterday my manager (only been here a month or so) asked if we had seen Sunday's paper. He said they were advertising for all of our * jobs, except for his. And he would not be surprised if the owners came in on Wednesday or Thursday and 'canned our asses' and replaced us all, except for him, so we better get moving. I thought we were doing well the past week, but it's all in the perception. Again, his uplifting style resulted in us all moving faster (to send off those resumes we cleaned up).
One programmer has already given notice, and I know of a few interviews people are going to this week. (that reminds me, I have a call back to do myself)
REally exciting, huh? Anyone out there want a job?

Friday, November 05, 2004

Political repercussions

Wow, an exciting week. Somebody at my house was really stuck on the elections. After weeks of watching every TV show and complaining about the Republicans, we ended up with a group over to watch election returns. I picked up two bags of Chinese food from a local place we just found out about. Not much cheering going on in front of the TV, but the food was good and I got two new lights installed in the garage and cleaned out that slow drain in my bathroom sink (I wasn't going to sit and watch, no matter the results) and the group sadly broke up around 11.
As a result of it all, we have now cancelled the subscriptions to our newspapers, one local, a real Republican paper, and the Wall Street Journal. I like the WSJ as it has some fairly detailed articles on things you don’t normally hear about. But they were pretty one sided in this election. On the Friday before the election one editorial stated in bold letters that the Journal does NOT endorse any candidates, and then the seven other editorials on the page proceeded to denigrate Kerry and talk about how great Bush was. It was pretty evident from the two editorial pages the direction they were leaning in, no matter what they said about endorsement. We’ve also stopped watching the TV news, and now put on the commercial free cable music stations. We can watch TV as long as it’s the food or home improvement or movie channels.
We’ve even started to look into New Zeeland. That sounds pretty maximum, but we look at a bigger Republican majority in the house and senate, along with a probable appointment of several Supreme Court judges. All lead by the movement in the country to repress civil liberties, and impose religious ideas upon us all. It is the vote of the citizens that put us here, and continues to move us into a repressive direction.
So we have decided to join the majority of the population, and live in ignorance. We know it affects our lives via taxes and loss of job opportunities and increased repression and National Guard troops at the airports and National Guard planes shooting up public schools (yea, just read about it) and creation of national databases on what hotels I stay at and planes I fly on. We can live without knowing about these things being put in place, and just surface to vote based on stupid single micro desires. Some people at work came up with these reasons for their vote: 'I don't want gays to marry', 'God doesn't want the killing of a fetus that can't cry', 'The world is safer now that Sadam is out', etc........ Don't look at the big picture, or the economy which really affects your life, or the over 1100 troops killed, or .... (come on, you've heard it before, too many times and IT DIDN'T MATTER TO THOSE PEOPLE ANYWAY).
The other choice is to leave. Then we will be subject to whatever laws are present, but can kind of look at it as non-voting outsiders. We’ve considered Canada, Vancouver is kind of nice. But after all these years in San Diego and Las Vegas I don’t want to face the cold and snow again. I love France, but probably could not work without knowing how to speak and read French, so that isn’t a quick option, but it is there. And their political system is even more screwed up than ours, with numerous strikes and all. For English speaking countries, England is nice but cold. Australia is full of beer drinking Aussies (nothing against Aussies, but...). New Zeeland has Hobbits, and now that the Dark Lord is down from his tower it should be a pretty nice place. And I hear they encourage computer people to come in. We are looking into weather and our dogs and house prices. Probably a trip in the Spring (their Fall) to find out.
On to something completely different:
In reading some of the comments on Annies Little Red Boat I came across a few web sites that are rather interesting (???). One sounds like a great idea, a cheap way to found your own country: Sealand is currently the smallest state on earth. It doesn’t look like a place I’d like to live, not many trees, but no taxes or Big Brother to watch over you.
Two sites that show you can put up a web site on anything, busstops IN THE Ukrane and pylon of the week show how simple you can be, and thanks to these references, along with all the others, probably with lots of hits.