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Archive for December, 2010

Last Thursday, I had my 1,000th workout at the gym in the building where I work.  Friday was off, Saturday was Christmas and yesterday was Boxing Day.  Today, it was back to work.
And of course, that meant back to the gym – for workout 1,001.  When you say you’ve done something one thousand times, it sounds like such an achievement.  When you say you’ve done it a thousand and one, you put it back into perspective.  To me, it’s not: “Did you win the race?”  It’s: “When did you run again?”  Or as some would say: it’s not the goal, it’s the path.
Today was my last day for a while.  I’m going on a detail for work back to Baltimore, Maryland.  The detail is 120 days.  I’ll be leaving in January and back in May.  I’ll be documenting it (the trip) on this blog.  I’m not sure what to expect.  With the exception of Saudi, most of my trips away from my family have only been for a week at most and I’ve usually stayed in a hotel room.  I’m told I’ll be in some kind of longer-term accommodation.  I’m not sure what that means exactly.  I think it means a hotel room with a small kitchen.  We’ll see…
I’ll be taking some books with me, but mostly I’m planning to work, workout and blog.  Again, we’ll see…
I don’t know how many times I’m going to  get opportunities to visit the east coast, so I’m hoping a bit to get a chance to visit some of the Civil War battlefields – Gettysburg, Antietam and Manassas are the one’s which come to mind.  Gettysburg is a must.  The other two are names which have always struck me when I’ve heard them, but not being a “true” Civil War buff, I don’t currently know much about them.  Again, I’m not sure what I’ll find when I go looking, but I hear their names calling to me across the haze of history through the fog of bitter conflict.
Reading
Last Friday (X-mas eve), I finished reading “Shit My Dad Says” by Justin Halpern (2008©).  This is one seriously funny book!  More than once, I laughed until I cried.  It is just sooo hilarious.  I highly recommend it!
Movie Reviews
Yesterday, I went to see “Tron: Legacy” with my son James.  It’s a sequel of TRON, a movie which came out way back in 1982.  The funny thing is I remember seeing the original, but it could not have been before 1987, because I didn’t start programming until late 1986, so the movie would not have meant anything to me before that.  As it was, I felt I was inside a little club of folks who knew something about a world that most people didn’t.  I knew about TRace ON (TRON) and TRace OFF (TROFF), CPUs, bits, bytes and the whole speed of light, MHz cycles (light-cycles), etc…
Anyway, this version is not nearly so enthralling.  The animation / special effects are superb, and the story is fairly deep, but it just wasn’t entertaining enough for me.  Pleasant, but not enjoyable.  Reminiscent, but not inspiring.  I’m not sure how to describe a movie you expect to touch you one way, which does mean something, but just doesn’t quite reach you there.  I’m glad I saw it.  It’s worth the $7.25; but, I’m glad I didn’t pay full price and definitely glad I didn’t splurge for the 3D version.
After I got home from TRON, I had dinner and watched a terrific movie with my Hil: “Julie and Julia“.   It’s a movie about a woman who decides to write a blog about cooking her way through a cookbook written by Julia Childs.  Meryl Streep plays Julia Childs and she is fantastic.  The movie is wonderful on many, many levels: a story of newly-weds starting out, a woman finding herself, a new blogger, a new writer, a woman deeply in love with her husband and with living life, cooking (of course), and food.  Some of the levels are Julie.  Some of them are Julia.  And, some of them are both ladies (and all of us as viewers).  I would say this though, it was an intimate movie which I enjoyed watching at home (with just my wife).  I’m not sure it would have been as enjoyable on a big screen and with a crowd of strangers.   Just an observation.
And one final movie review: “Miracle On 34th Street“.  This is simply my favorite Christmas movie of all time.  If you haven’t seen it recently, you need to see the original (in black and white).  It is incredible “Americana” at it’s best.  The details are everywhere.  You really can see history in movies which are meant to be contemporary when you view them 60 to 70 years later.
Art is supposed to speak to us individually.
Enjoy all three – then drop me a comment and let me know if they spoke to you, too.
Oh, yeah.  1,002 may not be for a while, but tomorrow I start jogging at home – after work…  I guess that will be 1.
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Before I forget (and you have to read too far), I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and Saturday is the big day itself…
Today I had my 1,000th workout at the gym we have at the office.  It’s taken a little over 5 years and six weeks.  By my count, I’ve missed 15 days in that time.  Seven because the gym folks failed to show up to open the door and the other eight were on me (mostly an odd day where I just couldn’t face it).  I’m not including weekends (when I’ve had over-time) or sick days, vacation days, etc.  I’m also not counting the days where I walked, jogged, or otherwise got a workout at home or somewhere other than the gym at work.  If I was in the office, I went to the gym, too.
Shortly after I began at the gym (in Nov 2005), I had an “incident” and had to go to the emergency room.  They shaved my chest in anticipation of zapping me to restore a normal heartbeat.  In the end, the doctors were able to restore a normal heart rhythm with an IV, so they didn’t have to go all PG&E on me.  It only takes a single experience like that focus your attention on what has to happen to stay alive.  So, now I’m on drugs for this, and pills for that, and every workday – I’m there at the gym.
Every day I get to see my kids and hold / kiss my wife, it’s an extra day to enjoy the wind, rain, sun, a roof over my head and a relatively full belly – all the graces of God.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
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I’m Just Askin’…

I read today that it costs about $150 to $200 Million to build ONE F-22 Raptor aircraft.
I read today that we’ve built fewer than 200 F-22 Raptors (about 180 are deployed and in service).  The total cost of development (and purchase) is about $65 Billion.
I read today that the United States has 11, 12, or 13 aircraft carriers in service (depending on your source and what’s considered “in service”).
I read today that the average US aircraft carrier can carry about 85 to 90 aircraft.
Given the number of F-22’s we have in service and the number of carriers we have in service, that means we have about 12 to 15 F-22’s per carrier.  So the other 70 odd aircraft must be of some other type.
I guess 12 to 15 are enough to protect the carrier and do all of the other missions required of the F-22.  But it sure doesn’t seem like many fighter planes to me…
I read today that the US graduates about 700 computer and information security majors a year.
I read today that there are about 25,000 graduates in parks, recreation, leisure or fitness majors every year, and 55,000 English graduates.
I read today that it costs about $22 thousand dollars a year to attend college in the US.
Now, it seems to me that if we are really serious about getting ahead in information technology and computer security, we could trade one single F-22 for ALL the computer science majors four years of education and they would graduate debt free.
Now, it seems to me that if we are really serious about getting the best math and engineer graduates into our classrooms, we could trade one single F-22 for ALL the math and engineering majors four years of education and they would graduate debt free.
A “full and free ride” would encourage a lot more folks to go into technology and security (or math and engineering).
Now I don’t know if two F-22’s are worth 700 computer security graduates or 55,000 English graduates or “X” number of math and science teachers.  I just think about what the trade-off for an unnecessary war in Iraq and a continuing war in Afghanistan are costing us as a nation each year (and I’m not even talking about lives lost and injuries suffered) and I have to ask myself…
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Here are another couple of my own poems.  The first is titled: “For Those Still Here“, and comes from my musings about the cancellation of manned space flights to the rest of the solar system and beyond.
The second is titled: “Seasons Change“, and was written while I was stationed in Hanau, West Germany.  I was sitting on the window sill in my room, watching the snow fall on the street outside our kasserne and thinking about not being home for Christmas, missing family and friends – feeling lonely and sorry for myself.  But, I was also getting “short” (due to complete my term of service) and so it also seemed a hopeful time…
Enjoy.
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Here are two more poems for times gone past.  The first is titled: “Whispered Names” and the second: “Mountains & Valleys, Rivers & Streams“.
Do we regret having lost friends and loves?  Do we regret the friendships and love?  Maybe it’s a little bit of both…  Is it “better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all“?
Enjoy (or maybe just consider).
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It’s Gettin’ Deep In Here

Here’s another of the poems I wrote many years ago.  This one is titled: “The Deluge“.
Enjoy…
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Thank You – Senator Bernie Sanders (I) Vermont!
Today, America was treated to a mini-Fillibuster.  Senator Bernie Sanders, the Independent from Vermont, spoke out against the up-coming tax reduction extension (of the Bush deficit expansion plan passed ten years ago) for those making over $250,000 per year.
For about 8-1/2 hours today, an Independent – not a Democrat, not a Republican, got up and spoke the truth to America!  The 2% of the wealthy who would most benefit from this extension of the tax reduction don’t need it.  The 98% of America who would benefit from the deficit reduction DO need it – that is, we (your fellow Americans) do need you to pay your share to get the country back on its feet and start us down the road of building our future greatness.
I would like to remind the 2%, you can share the future greatness or you can share the decline of the America we have known for the last 100 years (and certainly since the end of World War II).  If it means a better America, for me, for my children, for my fellow Americans, I’m willing to let the the entire Bush tax reduction end.  Yes, it will mean I’ll have to pay more in taxes.  Yes, it will make my personal economic situation more difficult.  But, I feel my country and my children’s future are worth a little more taxes.  How ’bout you?  Please let me know when you rediscover your patriotism and love for America.
Until then, it seems there is a new LION in the Senate!  Thank you, Senator Sanders!!
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