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Feb. 2nd, 2010 @ 09:01 am (no subject)
Going to be another long day today. Kickoff strategy meetings and all kinds of fun stuff like that. Can't you just feel the excitement? At least things are going relatively well at the moment, in general.

Tonight, I'm planning on going to the dojo. This is assuming that I'm not falling asleep standing up by the end of the day. I really do need to go though, my training has really been suffering lately, for lack of attendance on my part. With school, work, and the kid, it's just really hard to get out of the house a few times a week and make it all the way out to Somerville. And then, of course, be thrown around for a few hours and drag myself back home. It's frustrating because I actually do really like it, but it simultaneously takes up too much time for what I have and I can't dedicate enough time for it to be really worthwhile.
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Jan. 27th, 2010 @ 10:17 am on perspective
Current Music: The Choir - Hey Gene [Flap Your Wings]
As far as problems go, mine are the kind that people many people would gladly trade their lives for. Why then, does this stack of annoyances grate on me so?

I think maybe I lack perspective. I think that I am allowing myself to succumb to stresses in life that usually don't best me. I'm overwhelmed by circumstances of my own making, and it's really getting to me.

Thing is, I'm not really sure what to do with that. I know my life is great overall, and I am thankful for it. I really am. But -- and there's always a but, see -- within that good life, and perhaps because it's so good, I am getting siderailed by things that really don't matter.
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Jan. 26th, 2010 @ 09:19 am (no subject)
Man, work has been busy. I feel like I'm juggling a lot of the time. I just keep telling myself that it's better to be busy than unemployed right now. Also, we're going to be hiring one or two more folks, so that should help. I can hope at least.

The family is finally feeling better. That's a month that I don't ever really want to go through again. It's really nice to see Luc back up and about, alert and attentive and chatty. His sleeping and eating schedule is all out of whack, but that's to be expected I suppose, as he's making up for lost time again.
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Jan. 9th, 2010 @ 10:14 pm Calling all pack-rats
To all my nerdy and packratty friends: I need a USB harddrive for a small project. Anybody have one I can have? It doesn't need to be very big at all, really just 30GB or better, and I'm not sure it's worth spending money on a new one, especially since the new ones available today would be overkill in size. Sorry, you won't get it back when I'm done. I'm willing to trade something or another -- you can have the run of my own parts bin if you like. Thanks!
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Dec. 31st, 2009 @ 10:29 pm What Just Happened?
Current Music: Joy Electric - A Glass To Count All The Hours [The Otherly Opus]
We've only a few hours left in 2009, and I wanted to take some time to reflect on this most momentous of years. Of course it's also the close of a decade, the third such closing I've seen in my life. While this was certainly one of the most monumental decades of my life-- what with graduating college, getting married, getting a job, buying a house, having a kid-- this past year certainly takes the cake. I want this journal entry to be a reflective record of some of the more incredible matters. Read it if you like, it is public after all. But this is more for my benefit than anyone else's. But if you do read on, I hope you like text.

At the beginning of this year, I said that it was going to be my year, mostly because of the silly coincidence that the final two digits coincided with my long-held moniker, zeronine. If only I knew what was in store.

Looking back over my journal entries reminds me that I was still doing some final work from the bathroom remodeling project on New Year's Day. Well, mostly final anyway. I still haven't put up crown molding. Maybe next year.

But what's more important about this memory is that in the midst of this project, right there at the beginning of the year, Deb and I found out that we were pregnant. I was covered in drywall dust when she came home with the news. The swell of joy and abject terror that I felt in that moment cannot be conveyed. I knew we had a rough road ahead of us, as the doctors had warned us that Deb was at risk for various complications and there was just a lot that could go very wrong early on in the pregnancy. That's actually the main reason that we found out so early that she was expecting -- they brought her in for tests at the first hint of something. After well over a year of trying, there we were, just a few months away from meeting this new person in our lives.

The pregnancy itself went pretty well. We got to switch to midwife care at a hospital outside of Boston proper (which would be easier for us to get to). Deb had slowly shifted her work schedule closer and closer to home as she grew bigger and bigger, and all signs pointed to a nice healthy boy. She was going to take August off from work entirely, an extension of our annual trip to SoulFest. I had saved up my vacation time since January. We had everything planned out. But as just about all of you know, our little boy had other plans for us. Seven weeks from the due date, Deb went into preterm labor and we rushed into the hospital. I had planned on packing our hospital bag the next day, I kid you not. The doctors were able to put the brakes on the process for a bit, but all of a week later, and still six weeks from the due date, we were on our way again. By this time, we were a bit more prepared. After the adventure of the previous weekend, we had rushed to get the essentials in order. The bassinet still hadn't come in the mail yet, and wouldn't for another few days.

But even for coming out so early, Lucien was big and healthy. Five pounds ten ounces, with an apgar score of 9.9, he surprised pretty much every nurse and doctor he met. Never needed an incubator or oxygen, never really caused any concern. Even so, he was in the hospital for 11 long, grueling days, during most of which we weren't allowed to stay there with him and had to shuttle back and forth. That was hard beyond compare, and I could drive the route to Newton Wellesley in my sleep at this point. But we had such great support from friends and family who came in to visit us and him. And finally, we got to take the little guy home.

And life hasn't been remotely the same since. Now Deb's a housewife and full-time mom, with a science degree that'll surely come in handy when he comes trudging in with whatever he just dug up out of the river out back. But today, Luc's getting close to eighteen pounds. Think about that: the kid tripled in size in four months. That's quite a feat by anyone's measurement. And while we've certainly had our ups and downs like any parent-and-child setup will, he's really been a great kid. Sociable, friendly, happy, content, healthy. He's met two of his living great-great grandparents at this point, which is pretty awesome. Who knows if they'll still be around when he's old enough to remember them. He even got to play baby Jesus at church this year. It's amazing to think that he's a whole new person that wasn't here this time last year. Well, he was a bean. He's still my Bean.

As amazing as having Luc enter our lives was, and I could never discount that, that was far from the only big thing that this year was about. Man, where do I begin?

We continued to update the house, and I hope I never have to move. Luc's impending arrival caused us to get our old single-pane, sash-and-counterweight windows replaced throughout the house. Ever since we'd really started trying for kids in earnest, we'd been living on just my salary, since Deb had been planning to be a full-time mom when the time came. This left us with a fair chunk of funding that we could put towards big projects, and the windows were one part of that. It took some wrangling and negotiation on my part, but I managed to talk Newpro down into our price range (and not a dollar more), and we have nice new triple-pane windows throughout the whole house. It's warmer and quieter here than it ever was. Well, quieter in that we don't hear outside noises or the wind whistling through.

We also finished up a few carpentry projects around the place over the year. I finished off the pipebox in the guest room, and I built a new closet in my study that has proven to be a much better use of the space than that old sink ever was. But we still did put a sink into the laundry room. A sink that turned out to be a lot more expensive than we'd ever planned on, but it's still good to have down here.

And of course, all of this was so that we could build out Luc's room. I still haven't put doors on it yet. I was supposed to do that this week while on vacation from work, but the whole family caught a cold that put the brakes on a lot of those end-of-year plans. Even so, the nursery is awesome, with a really sweet Super Mario Bros. theme throughout. Accordingly, the plush collection exploded to even more ridiculous levels than it was previously. So much so that we couldn't physically keep everything up on the entertainment center anymore.

The other big purchase this year seems to have caught a lot of my friends off guard. After driving ancient cars since, well, forever, this summer I actually bought a 2005 Cadillac CTS. Thanks to the previously mentioned multiple-years savings plan we'd had going, I even managed to get it without financing it. I hate being in debt, and this was a really big deal for me. Also? It was a fantastic feeling to drive into a Cadillac dealership in a twenty-year-old Chevrolet, wearing my standard t-shirt and jeans, and announce my intentions to pay cash for a new car. They probably thought I was a drug dealer. What I think most people don't realize about money is that in order to have it, you pretty much just have to not spend it. The very reason that I could afford to buy such a car for cash is that I had done the same to my previous car, kept repairing it until it was literally falling to pieces (and somewhat past that point), and very sternly set aside money for years. When we found out that Luc was coming, Deb looked at me and told me to go get a new car. We both knew that once he showed up, I wouldn't want to touch the money we'd saved for anything like that. So I shopped around for months, test-drove about a dozen different makes and models and years, and completely fell in love with the CTS. Again managed to talk the dealership down into my budget, and I didn't budge past that. As it turned out, I picked up the car all of two weeks before Luc showed up. Since the carseat lives in the Subaru, Luc has actually not even ridden in it yet. Though with the way I intend to treat this car, I hope it to still be around when it's time for him to learn to drive. That's not to say he gets to drive my Caddy, of course. But it'll be there.

Hm, everything really does come back to Luc here.

This year was also a big deal for school. I am now closer to the end than the beginning in two important ways. Firstly, I have taken six of the requisite ten classes, leaving two years left on this countdown clock. Secondly, I finished up the last of my required core material and now am free to take interesting electives until the end. Which led directly into the second class I took this year, a special topics class on MultiTouch computing. That was a lot of fun, and I got to write another game. If the youtube videos ever do make it out, I'll be sure to repost them all over the place.

Speaking of posting all over the place, my technological landscape shifted a good bit this year. This very journal slowly withered from neglect. What's most interesting to me is that while this is being entered into LiveJournal, most of the people who are going to read this, or even know that it exists, are going to see it on Facebook. My entire social circle seems to have migrated there, and almost none of my friends update here anymore. Used to be that I couldn't go half a day without missing a huge amount of content on my friends page here, but these days if I forget for a week, I can still catch up without hitting the previous-entries link.

The other big technological change is that I have finally got a smartphone. Having carried a Palm Pilot for years upon years now (I can't even recall when I got my first one), I very strongly resisted the pull for some time. Nothing had come along that was compelling enough, but the rise of the Android platform this year was enough to draw me over. I ended up with a Motorola CLIQ, and I've been fantastically happy with it. I have a few gripes, like I wish it had a better onboard calendar app, but overall it has changed how I interact with the world. I can now fact-check on Wikipedia while I'm just wandering around someplace. I can look up some name or term or oddity on Google to see what's what. I can update my journal or my status on Facebook wherever I am, and I can do the Twitter thing, something I hadn't done before. I can make note of a book or album or anything with a whole suite of apps that are just dying to assist my commerce. Having an always on ubiquitous computer in my pocket really is a big deal. It's also a pretty decent phone, which was important to me. Of course this has all jacked up my cellphone bill, but I've been able to drop down a few related others that more than make up for it.

While I've been moving forward technologically, I'm sad to say that I've been falling back physically this year. I have no illusions about it -- I simply have not been physically active enough this past calendar year. Sure, I've had plenty of excuses, but in the end, I know what I've got to do to get things in gear. I started the year in some of the best shape I've ever been in, and just let things slip. Thankfully, not far as I was years ago. So I know where I need to get to, and I know how to get there. I don't make resolutions, but that is something that I'd like to do this next year. My aikido practice has also suffered, and I'm not progressing like I ought. I feel stuck, and it is absolutely due to the fact that I don't get out there often enough. I want to fix that but still make time for my family.

I've been pretty busy musically, too. I got my music up onto bandcamp and got into the whole indie music distribution market. Somehow, in the midst of everything, I also released an album of ten songs in there. There are parts I don't like about this music, but on the whole I am very happy with it. Happier than I was with the last album, and I've actually sold a few copies of both now. To get things out to a larger audience, I started up a project on Kickstarter that was miraculously fully funded on the same day I posted it, thanks to some very generous friends. But even after that, a few more people joined on, including a couple of strangers. Now I'm two weeks from closing out a successful project, I'm working on material for a new album, and I feel more energized about my music than I have in some time. It's a good season.

I played fairly regularly at Park Street in the Sunday Night Band this year. Most of my appearances have been on the keyboards, where I try to pull in a lot of synthesizer elements that most other people seem to be scared to do. To my knowledge, I'm the only one to play a vocoder in that 200-year-old church. That's pretty sweet. I also hopped in on guitar a few times, and did a few offeratories. One of which was "The Ballad of The Blamed", one of my all time favorite songs. It felt great to share that song with everyone, and people seemed to at least enjoy it. I hope it touched someone the way that song has always grabbed me. I would really like to do that more often. I love playing live again, and maybe I should find more avenues for that.

I've played so many great games, seen a lot of good movies, and read a few great books this year. I wouldn't even know where to start on these lists. Maybe I'll come back and make a best-of-the-decade list or something at a future date.

Work has been nuts this year. Funny, for most 28-year-olds, the work life is probably the highlight, or at least the most-consuming aspect. Maybe that's why I haven't been promoted in a while. ;) In any case, I have been Busy. I dove into a few big OpenSource and Internet communities, and I'm even starting to make a name for myself in some of them. My research proposals finally got funded this year, after ages of trying and failing. Granted, nothing came through quite how I expected it to, but the sum result is that I have more than enough to keep my head spinning this year, and probably next. I've been getting involved in more standards body work, too. Not directly voting on things, but I've engaged the communities on a few things and at least made my voice heard. That's been exciting to see. I can only hope that I can keep it all straight going forward, and by the grace of God I will.

Which nicely brings me to a closing here. I fully believe and know that it is purely by the grace of God that I survived this year. Every amazing blessing, every shocking challenge, every breath.

It's been a hard year, with lots of adjustments to my well-arranged life, lots of stresses I hadn't known before, and an overwhelming flood of just plain old stuff happening. But it has been an amazing year. As many as these words are here, they don't do it justice. I am in awe of my life, and I hope to always be.

I haven't the foggiest what 2010 will bring. Lucien's first steps and words? Probably. New music, new project at work? Likely. Friends, family, trial, despair, confusion, elation, and so much in between.

Well I guess I do know what 2010 will bring. It will bring life. And I say to you, 2010:

Bring it.
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Dec. 26th, 2009 @ 11:35 am (no subject)
A few days up in maine for the holiday. We've had a really great time up here, got to see all kinds of family and show off the real star, Luc. Kid's a natural crowd pleaser. He's totally worn himself out though. Will be good to get him back home and somewhat on a schedule. I'm really looking forward to a week of vacation and just being away from the office. I need this decompression.
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Dec. 19th, 2009 @ 09:49 pm (no subject)
poor, neglected journal. so much is going on in my life. but what can i say? i tend to speak in short bursts. the internet has gone more ADD than it was before, as odd as that may seem.

my life? oh, it's quite busy. school's done for the semester. it's a great feeling to not have homework for at least a few weeks. i think on the whole this class went pretty well. the project was definitely fun, though it was a lot of work. i'll have to toss up youtube links once the videos all go live. just four more classes between me and a master's degree. huzzah to that!

luc's growing like a beast. he's probably close to 17lbs right about now, if not over it. deceptively sturdy little guy. we've also found that he really likes a crowd, and that the feeling is generally mutual.

speaking of the little guy, he's playing Jesus in the Christmas Eve service on Thursday at Park St. which of course means that i'll be playing Joseph, the world's most famous step-dad. should be a fun service, but i really just hope that luc behaves. :)

only a few weeks left of 2009. what a heck of a year it's been. but i'll save that post for a little closer to the new year. there's a lot that needs to go into it. for now, i think i'm going to settle in with a nice chilled glass of scotch and spend some time with my lovely wife, before we get snowed in tomorrow.
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Dec. 6th, 2009 @ 07:38 pm i don't get my cat
orion has a chunk missing from his tail fur. it's like a tuft got ripped out. neither deb nor i recall hearing him getting caught on anything, but we also can't figure out how he could've done it on his own. we found the clump of fur that used to be attached there, too. the underlying skin seems fine, just bald. and it seems mechanical, too -- no signs of disease or irritation. he just has a notch in his tail.
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Dec. 5th, 2009 @ 06:18 am life is quite different
In many ways, my life is unrecognizable from what it was in the not too distant past. I'm sitting up on the couch at 6am on Saturday after a long and busy week, and I am holding a sleepy baby that just spit up all over me moments ago. Who knew that this is where i'd be? It has really been quite the year, but more on that some other time when I'm not typing with my thumbs.

I should update this journal a bit more. I like the chronicle that it leaves better than the microblogging lifestream. Measured thought still has its place.
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Nov. 21st, 2009 @ 09:46 pm Kicking the starter
Time to toss this out to the old Livejournal again. The Kickstarter project to get Psycliq up on to the likes of iTunes and Amazon (you don't need links for those, right?) may have met its funding goal already, but I am not content to rest on my laurels! I'm posting updates at least weekly of various things that I'm working on, and the backers of the project get to see them. Just moments ago, I posted a second preview of the Christmas song I decided to do this year. The more I can raise off of this project, the more cool things I can do for you all. Some backers have even gotten some bonus gifts from me in person, but you won't know about any of that unless you join. Kickstarter's set up so that as little as $1 nets you access to all the updates, and $5 or more starts getting you some fabulous prizes. Anyway, go check it out!
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Nov. 9th, 2009 @ 12:41 pm (no subject)
i did in fact make it home on friday night. it was a long flight, but it was absolutely wonderful to get home. i really missed both deb and luc. after all, this was my first extended absence since he was born.

i think i managed to escape any travel sicknesses, including the swede flu. nobody wants the swede flu.

the cliq survived quite well on its first outing. the ubiquitous connectivity is fantastic, though i'm not overly impressed with battery life. mind you, i'm still convinced that we need to get back to the days of my old palm V which could go a month between charges. i like that feature a lot.
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Nov. 6th, 2009 @ 12:16 pm missed flights
So after a pretty great conference and trip I managed to miss my flight home this morning by about ten minutes. A stack of little things just pushed my arrival later to the point that my lack of planning was overtaken by reality's events. What can I say. At least I managed to get on another flight that wasn't too much later today. And I'll still be getting home today, just a few hours later than I had planned or would've liked. On the upshot, this does give me an excuse to tool around on the cliq here. Nice not having to pay for airport wifi access, though if memory serves it might even be free here.

In any case, I'm still alive and eager to get home to my family tonight.
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Nov. 3rd, 2009 @ 09:15 am (no subject)
Always interesting trying to get the attention of a room full of nerds with smartphones, laptops, and free wifi. Looking forward to a fun conference. IIW9 here we go.
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Oct. 31st, 2009 @ 03:18 pm (no subject)
New niece is here, Chloe Marie. She is super cute. Family's doing well and Owen is adjusting to being a big brother.
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Oct. 30th, 2009 @ 01:52 pm hello world
There is even a livejournal app for this thing. Go figure! But my battery is already low. Guess I have kinda been pushing the shiny new network connectivity today. I'm sure it'll be more reasonable once I calm down a bit.
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Oct. 26th, 2009 @ 09:09 pm anybody have a grandson they're not using?
from freecycle just now:

Looking for a used electric guitar or grandson. Maybe you have one collecting dust. We would appreciate it. Thanks
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Oct. 22nd, 2009 @ 09:51 pm (no subject)
new joy electric album!

oh ronnie, you had me at "pre-order".
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Oct. 22nd, 2009 @ 09:29 am (no subject)
Current Music: Say What? - Don't Let The Devil Get You Down [Fresh Fish]
i am sore and generally dragging my sorry self around today. went to the dojo last night for my once-a-week practice, and i got really beat up. lots and lots of koshinage. koshi hurts.

plus, i haven't done very well on sleep the past couple days, even though Luc's been getting marginally better at staying down for a while. his growth slowed down this past week, but he's still gaining weight so i'm not particularly worried. we're still taking him into the doc tomorrow to make sure everything's good though.

the new fiscal year is rolling right along. seems like it's taking a while for a lot of things to get running, but a lot of that is that i've got a lot of things going on at once. it's sometimes hard to keep track of it all, but i'll manage here.

i'm still dumbfounded by the success of the kickstarter project, and am starting to work on getting rewards figured out. i think i'm going to order some download cards ahead of time. if i have a few spare moments this weekend i think i'm going to try and work on new material. which, of course, the backers of the project will be able to hear as soon as it's live.

class tonight @ UML, get to see everyone's labs and hear project ideas. then i think it's basically work-on-the-final-project, plus read a few papers, from here on out. that's the part i was looking forward to all along.
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Oct. 20th, 2009 @ 12:36 pm (no subject)
ok, t-mobile. you have me intrigued.

i just got off the phone with t-mobile asking about an upgrade. as a long-standing customer in good standing with no contract, i was figuring on being offered all kinds of fun bonuses for sticking with them. instead of being shuttled up to a manager and being handed a package, the clerk told me that i'd be very happy if i would just wait a week.

i'll wait until your upcoming secret announcement, but it better be worth it...
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Oct. 19th, 2009 @ 07:37 pm (no subject)
i'm on my third shirt of the night. what the heck, kid? he will not let my laundry rest. high efficiency washers are a good thing, i guess.

in other news, we made it down to the mall tonight to look at phones. i got to play around with the new motorola cliq phone, and i'm pretty impressed. the one i was using didn't have a web account tied to it so i couldn't really play with the browser, but i got a feel for the rest of the functionality, and i like it. it's a little chunky, but it's honestly smaller than my old phone-and-palm combination. i have to keep that in mind, as it'd be taking the place of both. i also think i can get a good deal on it because we're off contract and other companies are trying really hard to get customers to move over right now, too. we'll see what they can do for us. deb looked at a new phone, too. something a lot less fancy, but she says she likes it. this is basically going to be our christmas present this year, so no video games for me. deb will likely have room leftover in the budget. plus we have to buy things for luc this year. not that he'll notice yet, mind, but it's the thought that counts.
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