Saturday, August 26, 2006

The American Tobacco Trail

Most excellent new maps of the American Tobacco Trail have been placed on the Triangle Rails to Trails website. Chloe and I did a three mile leg from Olive Chapel Rd to Goodwin Rd and back. The highlight, of course, being the trek through the tunnel under US64. For a 5 year old I think Chloe is a fantastic cyclist. She's very quick and had no trouble keeping up with me.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Got Him

Police have caught the guy who kidnapped my coworker. Where's Cynthia!?

Back to School

School starts today. We're still on the traditional calendar here, but there's a push on to convert all the elementary schools to year-round. Yesterday we met the kids' teachers. The kids, while not 100% enthused, seem to be ready for the transition. Chloe especially is excited to be starting kindergarten. Evan will be allowed to bring his bunny in to help him transition to 2nd grade. He will have his two teachers from last year supporting him this year as well (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) as he transitions to an "inclusion" model. We've been nervous about having him removed from a self-contained classroom, but it seems like the school's administration and faculty have put a good deal of thought into planning for Evan's needs. I think he'll probably do ok.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

GTD + GMail = Productivity

I'm something of a productivity nut. The best system I've found so far for organizing my life is GTD. Now someone is providing a Firefox add-in called GTDMail that leverages the power of GMail to create a free, web-based, googlicious GTD organizer. I love Gmail, but it's not currently where most of my mail lives. And I'm not a Firefox convert. Have nothing against Firefox, but for me IE gets the job done and as an IT professional I'm confident I can keep my system secure from whatever latest nasty has been written to take advantage of security holes in that browser. So... I'm not sure if I'm going to really use this tool, but I may give it a shot. I currently use Outlook at work as my "trusted source" for storing all my information. Problems with this model: "my work" can suddenly become "my old job". When I'm home, or travelling, access to my work Outlook is problematic. If I were to keep everything in Gmail it would always be available (well, if I had a computer and internet access, but pretty soon that will be ubiquitous anyway). Problems exist with this model, too. Can we really trust Google to "not be evil" with all my data? Can we trust DHS? Also, most of my input into my system comes from work, much of it as emails which I receive in Outlook at work. What to do? Write a rule that forwards everything to gmail. I'm sure some security policy at work would make that verboten. Forward individual items to gmail? An extra step. Finally, my homebrew system using Outlook email and tasks is working pretty well. But still, I like the idea of gtdmail.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Missing Coworker

A coworker is missing. I don't know her. She works in a different building from me, but I'm familiar with her site and the parking deck she used. There's been some minor crimes in the garage in the past, but this is a whole new level of scariness. Cynthia is in our thoughts and we all hope she is found safe soon. The company has said they are rapidly ramping up security in the garage and that we should see a noticeable "increased security presence" starting tomorrow.

Kids are Cool

Both my kids are impressing me daily with how they are maturing and learning. I read Mummies in the Morning to Evan tonight. He read a paragraph aloud with me. First time he's read for me without being prompted. Very cool. He still claims he, "Hates reading. Reading is stupid!" But I'm seeing the light go on whenever he gets a new word.

Both kids helped wreck the front patio by making a vegetable "stew" in a big bucket. Key ingredients included mud, leaves, sticks, and copious amounts of purple fountain grass. They then dumped this stew all over the patio.

The weather has gotten tolerable of late. Sat outside for a pleasant chat with our neighbors. We all confessed to having googled/zillowed our fellow cul-de-sac denizens. Funny. All the kids are excited this week about learning what their new teachers will be for the following year. We find out tomorrow whose ours will be.

RSS Feeds are broken

This makes me sad. I so cleverly created an RSS feed for my Netflix queue so I could easily see what was coming. But, apparently it's broken, so I've removed that element for now.

Update: I put the feed back and it appears to be working now. I noticed that the feed from blogger to my Google homepage also seemed to be broken (or at least not updated) earlier. When I checked it just now it was updated, so on a hunch I thought the feeds would be fixed here. And they are. I'm not sure if this is a coincidence.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Back to Work

Today was my first day back to work after a week and a day of vacation. Why the extra day? My company gives us an extra day off every other week. I like this. Technically, it's not really extra time off as we work nine nine-hour days to make up for the missing 8 hours in each 80 hour (2 week) block. And yeah, that means there's really an extra hour that the company gets. But no one seems to care. It's nice getting every other Monday off.

Hey kids, don't download this song. Looks like that link got taken down. Funny WeirdAl piece. Maybe someday I'll hunt it down again.

Monday, August 21, 2006


I always find it very annoying when I read comments on popular blogs (e.g. Rocket Boom) and the first (or third) post just says, "First!" Like we're supposed to care? Anywhoo, this is my very first blog posting. I'm not yet quite certain what the purpose of my blog is. But it seems like a blog is something I'm supposed to have.

I've been facing some challenges at work lately. My boss tells me, essentially, that I need to improve my "judgment" when communicating with others. I think, like a lot of geeks, that I just come off as arrogant sometimes. I tend to not put people first when communicating in my daily life. I recognize that and lately I've been trying to improve. I'm reading lots of self-help type stuff which is highlighting for me a lot of flaws on my personality. So when my coworkers look at me strangely these days when I go all out to be nice/pleasant/kind/gentle, etc, I tell them not to worry. It's just me trying out a new Rob. Rob version 2.0. I needed an upgrade.