Cycle Reclamation

2012-01-08 23:29:05

I have stolen my father’s motorcycle back. He was in town for a couple of weeks, so I made sure I gave his bike back – all clean and fully serviced. But, as he’s now gone again, it’s open season on his vehicles! So, I went and picked it up on Sunday. I’ve been riding it a lot this week already. I know he might be coming home permanently so I have to get my riding in before he’s here for good. Now, I know I can borrow his bike anytime I want a ride, but it’s quite a drive over to my parents’ house. So I ride…

Some might think that August in Houston is way too hot to be out of the air conditioned spaces we live in… and you would be right. However, this year has had some surprisingly cool weather. So, while stopped at traffic lights and stop signs, I feel the heat of the engine and surrounding atmosphere pressing in. Once I get going, though, it’s actually pretty nice. Not cool by any stretch of the imagination, but quite a relief from sitting still in the humid air.

I think I’ll have to go for another ride tonight…


Working from home these last two days has been wonderful. I’ve been able to see my wife each and every day, and go upstairs and sleep in my own bed every night. I just have to keep focused. That’s the big problem with working at home – distraction. Of course, I do get to work on my home network in my spare time between typing in the documents.

This weekend, I have had opportunity to play with ISA Server 2004. I think I like it. It’s quite a flexible Internet proxy, caching, firewall, and VPN server. The interface is a little vague and the on-line help sparse, but once you get the basics down, most configurations are quite simple. There are wizards for everything. It might be overkill for the home network, but it looks pretty good for a medium sized enterprise – assuming you want to put a firewall on a server instead of a dedicated piece of hardware.

Boomtown, Arkansas?

Bentonville, Arkansas is quite the boomtown these days. Of course, if Wal-Mart ever goes under, this town is in serious trouble. I haven’t seen much of the town itself, but from what I’ve seen most buildings are new, including new subdivisions and homes. They’re even expanding my hotel – which took a little effort to get into. I couldn’t even get a car at the “preferred” vendor… I’ll set off a few flags on my expense report for this week.

Not surprisingly, there’s a rather large Wal-Mart Supercenter smack in the middle of town. No other stores, though… wonder why…

New Project? Doh!

Looks like I’ll get to add a new airport to my list: XNA – this is Fayetteville/NW Arkansas airport. I’ll be going to Bentonville, AR for the remainder of the week. While I’m not too pleased that my week of studying for the Exchange exams is interrupted, I am yet at the demand of my employer… After all, they still do write me that paycheck. And while I’m adding another airport, I’m not adding another state as I have been in Arkansas before for my summer job between college semesters. So: now, I’m at 73 airports on my ::: airports i’ve seen ::: page.

I guess I didn’t stay far enough under the radar last week since they found me available. I was hoping for a little more time…


Working from home is great! I finally get to use my office and phone headset and multiple computers to perform my job. Not knowing where I need to be next is still annoying though. I think I may have to stay on this project to help transition people – especially since they are having difficulty with the new environment. At least I get to use my gym membership while I’m home.

Last Full Day In Oregon

2012-01-08 23:29:04

Today is the last day for me in this office. Tomorrow, I will fly home – never to return. I’m kinda sad, but I’m also happy that I’ll be spending all week next week at home. I’ll even be working in my office at the house on project documentation. Then: I’m available for re-assignment… It’s unknown where I’ll be.

That’s the Catch-22 of this job: the changing environment. Project-hopping gives me some great experience and variety when it comes to my professional environment – it also sucks for making long-range plans and having stability and consistency in ones life; and I never really get to finish anything.

So: it’s off to home tomorrow, and next week – into the Great Unknown.

The Bible Is Offensive

That’s what one woman says about a monument in honor of William Mosure, a key funder of the Star of Hope Mission, a Houston-based Christ-centered charity which provides shelter, food, clothing, education and recovery programs to those who have fallen on hard times. This mission has made a significant impact on the lives of thousands of Houstonians in their times of need and is one of the major charitable organization based in Houston. There are several memorials in the court house, yet this woman feels that this one “stands out”. She feels it is a “breach of the Constitution”. Never mind that the memorial has been there almost 50 years now – and it has now become offensive?

Now, I’ll be the first to say that I’m not a Constitutional law expert, but I don’t recall where it is mentioned in the Constitution that it is illegal to have a monument to a person in a public forum – even when that monument represents key concepts of what was accomplished by that individual – in this case, honoring the faith-based charity work made possible by this one man. Nor do I find any references in the Constitution about the display of religious symbols or artifacts. In fact, I can find no reference to memorials or displays in the following text of the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. That doesn’t sound like it gives the judicial branch any power to regulate local memorials – and if it did, why is the word “God” all over the San Jacinto Monument? Or is that next on this anti-Christian crusader’s list of “offensive” monuments? She complains about the county paying $93 per year on electricity to light the memorial, but doesn’t balk at sticking the county with a $41,000 court and legal fee.

The “Separation of Church and State” is not a law nor is it written into the Constitution in any form other that what I have quoted above. It was originally intended as a concept to protect the Church from the control of the State. What Henry VIII did when founding the Church of England was to modify Church doctrine to suit his political whims – he added the tolerance of divorce to the Catholic creed and then made it the official religion of England. The “Separation of Church and State” concept touted in the period around the finalization of the Constitution was based on the desire of the once-English founders of our country to keep the government’s hands off of any doctrine or creed.

This squabbling over religious-leaning monuments is a sickening waste of our taxpayer money. Now, I as a Harris County resident have to pay a portion of that fee (yes, I’ve already paid my taxes and they won’t be going up because of this – but that’s not the point) to have a monument that I like removed. It is offensive to me to hear people use the name Jesus Christ as a swear word. Should I sue them to have it removed from their language? No, you say? That’s not the same? Maybe it’s not, but the level of frivolity is the same.

Windows XP SP2

I have done it. I “service packed” my work laptop. They told me not to, but I did it anyway. I’ve been running it all day and haven’t noticed any loss in functionality, so I guess I’m okay. I even checked the most frequently used ‘business critical’ [hours tracking and expense tracking] applications and they worked all right. The only major “issue” was the inclusion of the new XP firewall on every single one of my existing network connections. Needless to say, since I have a different firewall application on the laptop, I have disabled that functionality on my network connections. I do like the built in pop-up blocker – now I can uninstall my third-party toolbars which did the same thing…

Last Week In The Rain Forest

2012-01-08 23:29:03

I looked at the weather for Houston today: 95 – feels like 107. Yeah. Hot. Here, the weather was: 73 – feels like 73. Nice. Unfortunately, my tenure in Portland is drawing to a close. [Or rather, fortunately since I get to spend some time at home – which rarely happens.] Next week is my last week here in Portland. Following that, I will be producing project documentation from the house – yes: a week totally AT HOME! It will be a welcome time – that is if I can stay focused! All in all, I rather like Portland and Oregon. The people are friendly and the land is beautiful. However, as nothing on this earth is forever, this project is over and I’m ready for a change. After this I’m not entirely sure where I’ll be, but I’m trying to scam a long-term European project. But then: don’t I always try that? Since I keep whining on how I never know where I’m going to be, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to changing that – possibly looking for a new job. Yes, I have been with my company for almost 9 years now [something unheard of these days in the IT industry] and they have treated me somewhat well [at least at first they did] and definitely kept me fed. But they are unable to provide me with any long-term stability. I need that now. I’d like my vacations to be a break in the routine – not yet another trip. I’d like my family life to be more than “just visits on weekends”. I need to feel a part of a community and the only “community” I get is work… and work sucks as a substitute. Enough. I needed to vent. Signing off: I have to catch the shuttle to the Max [light rail in Portland].

Upgraded Again

I have upgraded the Gallery software on my web site so that now I am at the most current version. Not only that, this new version has an RSS feed. If you don’t know what that is, you should probably do a web search as I can’t rightly explain it to you. However, I have a link for you. Put this link in your RSS reader and you will be notified of new additions to my photo gallery: [link removed – no longer present]