Long Lost Friend

Don’t you love it when someone you’d been thinking about but haven’t been able to find for years all of the sudden calls you out of the blue? I know, it probably doesn’t happen to you often, but it happened to me last night. My best friend from my high school days called me. I had lost track of him several years ago. Both of us moved a few times and somewhere in there missed a phone number or two and we lost contact.

It would be very weird, I suppose, if he turned up to be living in Northern Virginia, but that would be stretching things a bit too far. Anyway, I’m most glad to have heard from him and look forward to talking to him again.

Dive Turkey: V

We have made a decisive move to plan the next Dive Turkey – D.T. V. This one will be in Curacao – a place none of us have been yet. There is supposedly a lot of good shore diving as well as some boat diving. Best of all, though, is that there is a Hilton with a dive shop – I can use my points for something good, now!

Anyone out there who dives and wants to go?

Finally: A Work Complaint

I know – it’s been a while, but my new job isn’t perfect. I’ve been asked to cancel my reservations for the conference I was planning on attending in California next week. What’s really compounding this issue, though, is that Laura was going with me, so I have to cancel both tickets.

The biggest issue with this is that the conference starts Monday and today is Friday… talk about poor planning on their part – especially since it constituded an “urgent need” on my part.

I won’t go into the politics here since some of them might read it, but I’m certain that because of my place relative to others in the reporting chain that I catch all the crap that flows down – and this is certainly a pile of it.

Worth Its Weight In Gold

I have a new tooth. I got it yesterday afternoon. The very last tooth in the back had a chip on it. It wouldn’t really have mattered except that it made the tooth sensitive and painful. So: enter the new crown. I had to wear a temporary for little over a week before the final crown was ready. I can now say that I have a gold crown. Not that of a king, mind you, but one in my mouth. Oh, I know it won’t look all nice and white, but who’s looking on the inside of my mouth?

My jaw is still sore and the tooth is still sensitive, but I can already notice a definite improvement. I can now chew on the right side without pain. It’s definitely worth its weight…

Happy Easter!

Hope you all had a happy Easter today. Mine could have been better – that is: if Laura were here, it would have been perfect. I did have a good time today, though. I was invited to several families’ Easter lunch/dinner times so I had plenty [too much, I’m sure] to eat.

Our church did an Easter egg hunt this morning and I took tons of pictures for it using my new lens, which works GREAT by the way. So, now, I have to go through a couple hundred photos… not onerous, but still lots of work. I will probably end up deleting half of them… well, maybe less. I ran out of room on the card soon and had to go through and delete some bad ones already. I even had to borrow a card to continue shooting.

Did I tell you I love taking pictures?

Working Weekend

This weekend, Laura is visiting her family in North Texas while I’m stuck at home alone. Funny thing, though: I seem to have more to do this weekend than I usually do. I have a list, you see. This list is not a “demand” list but a simple list of things which I could do to keep myself busy… It’s strange how many of those have me doing yard work.

Anyway, my new data server motherboard has arrived and I promptly installed it this morning [yes, it arrived TODAY – a Saturday delivery. Gotta love those ASUS server support folks.] Of course, it doesn’t work fully. I can get to my mirrored C: drive, but not my large RAID 5 array, nor will the network interface work. Back in the box it goes.

I was so upset with the board that I actually went outside and weeded the whole front and side flowerbeds. Guess it was a good thing Laura made that list…

The White House

Thanks to friends of friends, my parents, Laura and I got to tour the White House on Friday. We didn’t get to go into the West Wing, but the East Wing instead. You would think that the house is big – and it is if you consider it just a residence, but for what it is, the residence and offices and ceremonial and diplomatic greeting rooms of this nation’s CEO, it’s really rather small. Some of the modesty of our first president is reflected in its construction, but there is also style as well.

I feel honored to be able to walk in the halls that our current and former presidents have walked. The sense of power is almost tangible.

The New Lens

I have finally saved up enough money to purchase a professional quality lens. It’s the Canon 70-200mm F4L USM lens and while it’s the cheapest of the Canon “L” series lenses, it’s also one of the best. I will now be able to use it to photograph small children or sports [which would be easier than children, I think] since the focusing mechanism on this lens is extremely fast. I haven’t had a chance to take it out for a full test since I just got it yesterday, but I have learned a few things.

First, I learned that my old Tamron 28-200 must have been flawed in some way because the 200mm view that I see through my new lens is much bigger than the 200mm view that my old lens gave me. I think it did not go all the way to 200 and may have stopped at 180 or so. Second, there is a switch on the lens that does something cool. If your focusing objects are 3m [~10ft] away or more, you can set your focal range to 3m – infinity and the focusing speed will be lightning fast. If your objects are closer, you can move the switch back to 1.2m – infinity and the speed will only be extremely fast [still very fast, but there’s a noticable difference between modes].

So, I have to find a way to go out and really put the lens through its paces.

Hog Heaven

We rented a pair of Harleys to ride on Thursday [which was a blessing as we had to use them to go car shopping!] and that happened to be the day of the best possible weather for the whole week. We [my father and I] took the girls [Laura and my mother] for a ride through some parts of the countryside. I have to say that there is much more to Northern Virginia than I thought and it’s not your typical urban sprawl. There are some very picturesque secenes which we rode by that Laura and I may have to go find again and take pictures of.

I loved the bike, too. I think I’ll have to add the HD Heritage Softtail to my list…

Car Replacement Therapy

In order to properly deal with our vehicular disability, Laura and I purchased a new car. We had previously been car shopping and evaluating with the idea that we would need to make the purchase at the end of Summer. However, that time was pushed forward to this week. We had some specific criteria when it came down to chosing a new [new to us, that is – we weren’t just looking at new, but used as well] car. Those critera were: 1) the human-driver interface [seat] must be supportive and comfortable, 2) it must be dependable and have a good longevity record, 3) have all wheel drive, and 4) be blue. [the last one was somewhat negotiable, but, hey – it’s on the list.]

In the course of the last 10 years as a travelling consultant, I have had the opportunity to drive quite a large range of cars from a variety of makers. One or two of these makers we have eliminated on philosophical grounds [due to issues the companies support and promote that we do not] or based on bad service/reliability records. Many more, however, we have eliminated due to the fact that sitting in the seats for any length of time made my back hurt. There were a few, however, that both Laura and I found acceptable: BMW, Subaru, and Mitsubishi [although they don’t have many all wheel drives, their seats were quite comfortable]. Having owned a BMW before and driven Laura around it in, we were both in agreement that those seats were at the top of the list.

So, first stop was the Subaru dealer. While the seats we okay, they were not stellar and the car she liked, the Outback, was somewhat hesitant off the mark. So, with the immediate demise of the car, we didn’t have much opportunity to look elsewhere, we knew a place that sold certified “pre-owned” BMW cars. We had long been looking at the X3, which is their small SUV and took this as an opportunity to drive it. The seats were wonderful, but for some reason, the X3 was not built as solid as is usual for a BMW vehicle. We had to pass.

On our way out, Laura suggested we test drive the 330xi, which is the small 4-door sedan with all wheel drive. I was a bit surprised, and immediately agreed [I am a fan of the 3-series and just love them]. We took it to lunch. There was no denying that it was extreemly sollid, no rattles, very stable and in all ways a BMW. The seats were so comfortable and included a power height-adjustable lumbar support and had seat memory [bonus!]. Laura loved it, so we bought it. It’s a 2002 and has 40,000 miles on it, but the lifetime on a car like this will go well past 250,000 miles if treated properly.

It’s not what Laura had her mind set on, and I told her that I would take this one as a hand-me-down so that in due time she can get her some kind of wagon/hatchback car. Oh, the things I must suffer…