Oh the joys of winter

Yesterday we had what some would call a blizzard (and by some, I mean the National Weather Service). It didn’t snow much, but it rained a whole heck of a lot (which froze) and the wind blew somewhere around 40-50 mph which caused a lot of power failures in the area. My parents’ power went out around 3:00 PM yesterday and ours went out around 6:00 PM. Thankfully, our power came back in the middle of the night.

Pretty much everything has been closed for the past two days (and everything is closed today too… even church). I went out this morning to start the car and there was a ¼” layer of ice covering it. In attempting to scrape it off, I actually broke the ice scraper. No wonder the power lines were going down.

Long Overdue

Well, my last blog entry was in December and my last real blog entry was in October. I think I’m pretty much long overdue for an update.

Not much has changed in my life. We’re currently attending Valley View Baptist Church. I know this may seem like a sudden change, but we left Antioch way back in May after a huge leadership debacle. Valley View seems to match up with what we believe and has a huge heart for ministering to those people that need Christ, rather than those who we would like in our church because they make us feel comfortable. Anyway, enough of that.

In more recent news, I have found Facebook. Most Web 2.0 sites out there that focus on “social networking” have really failed to pique my interest, but out of the many I have tried, Facebook makes the grade. If you haven’t tried it out, go on over and sign up. Once you’ve started, search for me, add me as a friend, and then start looking around for past friends, colleagues, and other people you might know from groups you’ve been involved with.

After almost 4 months of working for SitePen, I have decided I absolutely love working at home. I also love working for a company that is focused on the cutting edge of web development and isn’t bogged down with bureaucracy.

Capoeira has been going fairly well. December was hectic, so we didn’t get down to Iowa City much for classes, but we started going again in January. I haven’t learned too many new moves except for the saca rolha which is basically an aú into a corkscrew spin. The difference between the saca rolha and a regular corkscrew spin is that you use it when someone comes in for a cabeçada (a head-butt), you can do a saca rolha to bring the back of your head into their face. It’s a sweet little move :). Other than that, I’ve been learning a lot of sequences.

Kids and God

I found this gem today and thought I’d share it with you guys.  Kids can be so fun and brutally honest at the same time.  I can’t wait to have my own.

Update on life

Man, I keep telling myself I’ll write more often, and then I go a month or so without writing… what is my problem? Let me catch you guys up with what’s happening.

After a year and a half at Master Packing and Rubber Company, I’m leaving my position there to join the gang over at SitePen full time working on Dojo and other DHTML/JavaScript web application “stuff”. My last day at MPRC is this Friday and I start at SitePen a week from today. I’ll still be working on MPRC’s website in my free time and offering them a bit of technical support every once and a while (read: over the next month, I’ll be getting phone calls left and right from them). It’s been a fun year and a half and I’ve learned a ton about business, quality assurance, and website administration and I truly appreciate them giving me the opportunity to work for them. That being said, I’m really looking forward to working from home for SitePen and working full time with the some of the best in DHTML and JavaScript.

We’re approaching our 0.4 release and there are plenty of treats for this release! One of the biggest developments for this release is the gfx package. Gfx is an SVG drawing API that works in both IE and Firefox. Check out the clock demo. Another SVG goodie we’re packing into this release is the charting engine. These goodies are thanks to the wonderful work of Eugene Lazutkin, Tom Trenka, Gavin Doherty, and Kun Xi.

Last Wenesday, my wife took some (over 200) pictures at our capoeira class of our capoeira family. I’ve posted them here. She started taking pictures during aú and handstand exercises, took them throughout the roda, and ended the excursion at Thai Flavors (our hangout after Wednesday night practice).

Why are they in charge? Part 2

To those that may not see the humor in my last post, let me spell out the absurdity of the email sent to me:

  1. My first email wasn’t about the anthrax scares, the war on terror, or anything related to national security. It was about a bill to restrict the use of the internet.
  2. The majority of the email sent to me in response to my email was about anthrax scares in which were carried out in postal mail delivered to representatives.
  3. Email cannot contain viruses, bacteria, or other biological threats (such as anthrax) that are harmful to the human body.
  4. The genius whose name is on this email is supposed to make decisions regarding the use of the internet, yet this email makes it seem like my email got caught in the “decontamination process”. I guess they have a more extensive spam-assassin/bogofilter/insert-spam-filterer-of-choice-here than we do (that’s a joke!).

If you don’t find it as absurd as I do, perhaps you’re one of the majority that voted this clown into office.

Why are they in charge?

I just received an email from one of my senators (Tom Harkin) in response to an action item I filled out and had sent via email from eff.org a month or so ago. Here it is:

Dear Bryan:

Thank you for contacting me. I am always glad to hear from you.

First, I would like to apologize for the delay in getting back to you. As you may remember, in the fall of 2001, a letter containing a substantial amount of anthrax was sent to Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office in the Hart Senate Office Building, where my office is also located. As a result of the contamination, several changes were made to the mail process for the U.S. Senate. Upon the recommendation of public safety officials, all mail arriving at Congressional Offices now goes through a lengthy process of decontamination that includes extensive scientific testing and irradiation. Unfortunately, this process can often take weeks. While this is necessary to insure the safety of all those handling the mail, it has caused a significant delay in my ability to respond to your concerns.

I want to emphasize how important it is to me that I keep in contact with you, and I will always continue to reply to mail from Iowa. At the same time, you may receive a more timely response from my office by communicating through one of my phone numbers or through my website which is listed below.

Now allow me to address your concerns, I appreciate having the benefit of your views and concerns regarding S.2426, the Cyber Safety for Kids Act. Your input on this matter is helpful to me. As I examine this issue, I will certainly give your views every consideration.

Again, thanks for sharing your views with me. Please don't hesitate to let me know how you feel on any issue that concerns you.


Tom Harkin
United States Senator

Please do not reply to this email. To contact me, please log on to my website at http://harkin.senate.gov/.

So, when was the last time someone sent anthrax via email? That would be an interesting trick. So, why are these guys making laws that affect technology and the communication of information when they and their aides (yes, I know that this was probably sent by an aide) don’t even know how this stuff works?

EDIT: I want to urge everyone reading this that hasn’t done so, go to http://action.eff.org/ and do as many of the action items that you can.  Let your congressperson know how you feel about your liberties!

It freaking hurts

So, I was going to go to Capoeira tonight, but I did an aú before we left and I landed on my knee. And the result…

That’s after putting ice on it for an hour or so. Hopefully it will be better by Wednesday… I don’t want to lose what I’ve learned in the last 2 1/2 months because of some stupid injury.

I’m also looking for an alternative to Gallery.  I currently have Gallery 2 installed on my web server and it requires 16M of memory, which Linode doesn’t always have to allocate to me (I have the lowest grade plan).  Dear Lazyweb, what other photo gallery applications are out there that compare to Gallery and are a bit less resource intensive?

Jogo da Vida

Classes have been going quite well and both my wife and I got to play in the rhoda for the first time a couple of weeks ago. We both mostly just did the ginga and threw some meia lua de frente, but it was fun. Last night, Mestre Nô (the Grand Mestre of Capoeira Angola Palmares) was at class. Despite the language barrier (he speaks only a tiny bit of English), things went well and I learned how to string together some of the moves I’ve been learning over the past few months into something useful. I’m looking forward to Wednesday and more training with Mestre Nô.

Last night, my brother, Brent, proposed to his girlfriend and she said “Yes”. Congratulations, Brent! It’s a lot of work, but it’ll be worth it in the end! September and I will be praying for you and Alissa.

A good two years

Yesterday was my wife’s and my 2 year anniversary. I can’t believe that it’s been that long… time flew!! For our special day, I got her a Nikon Coolpix S6. She loved it and it also works with Linux! It can be used either as a USB mass storage device, or as a PTP device. The only problem I’m having is that F-Spot crashes when it tries to detect the camera in PTP mode, so I’m forced to use gThumb in PTP mode (this is on Ubuntu Dapper on PowerPC). Dear LazyWeb… are there any other photo managing applications for Linux out there that compare to F-Spot? gThumb is nice, but not so intuitive to a Linux newbie like my wife.

From my lovely wife, I received a Nintendo DS Lite with New Super Mario Brothers. Isn’t she the greatest? (Not only does she get me sweet gadgets, but she uses Linux!!) Dear LazyWeb… to continue my previous request, what other DS games are worth buying? I’m already borrowing Metroid Prime: Hunters from a friend, so I know that one is great.

Gifts aside, it’s been a great two years and I really truly love my wife more today than the day we were married! I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life.

Edit: I forgot to mention that my wife got Brain Age for the DS as well.  I played it today and it was pretty fun and interesting.  I was quite impressed with the voice recognition portion of it.  The things that gadgets can do these days…