One Man's Eyes

I'm an early 30's engineer with delusions of adequacy. From here, I'll share my perspective, usually through words, sometimes through pictures, of the view of the world from one man's eyes.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Find your Photos

Alright, this one is cool enough that I have to add my own comment to the blogosphere. Flickr, the online photo service that I and most of the free world use to share pictures, has added a cool new feature. As noted on the Flickr Blog, you can now use Yahoo maps (Yahoo bought Flickr several months ago) to tag your photos with location data and display them on a map. I've tagged a few of the pictures I took on our vacation in July and you can see my map here:

My Flickr Map

Other applications have made this possible in much more roundabout methods, but this integrated solution that combines Yahoo's Mapping capabilities directly with Flickr is a big step. Some are complaining that Google Maps are better, which is true. But, Yahoo is never, ever, going to use the mapping API from their arch rival and this move is also going to drive Yahoo to improve their Mapping side as well.

What's also cool is that, if your pictures already have the location info in them (and there are ways to do this) you can have Flickr automatically read that and add it to your map directly.

I've been hearing about this and I'm pretty excited that it's finally here.

Now, a word of caution - be careful what pictures you tag and what locations you tag. So far, I'm only tagging pictures taken away from the house. I know where my house is and what pictures I've taken there, the world doesn't need to see that on a map.

So, start tagging those pictures and start remembering where you took them.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hair Today, Gone....Well, Today!

It was long overdue, but we've finally done it - Our son had his first haircut today. I hadn't realized just how scruffy he had gotten until after all the extra hair was cut off.
As seems to now be tradition for us, for his first cut, we took him to Cool Cuts 4 Kids down near Baybrook Mall. He took right to the race car high chair and behaved pretty well throughout the process. No crying or fussing. He even did OK when they brought on the clippers to clean up around his ears.
As you can see, he's clean cut and ready to go. He looks much more like the boy he is becoming than the baby he was. Posted by Picasa


Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Time of Change

Well, today marking a new phase in my life. Over the last few years, I've been reconnecting with my spirituality and I've been much happier for it. This year, my oldest daughter is starting CCE classes at our church. Since she is going to be there, my wife and I agreed that it would be good for one of us to volunteer to help out as well. So, it has fallen to me. I'm going to be teaching 1st graders this fall.
Today, I was at the church for the first of several training sessions for my fellow Catechists and I. The lessons today were very good and a useful preparation for me. I have no teaching experience in my background, so this has been especially important.
I'm doing this in part becuase I care about my faith and I want to share that. But also, because I know that I don't know my faith yet as well as I would like in some areas, and this will force me to stay on top of my own continuing education as well.
You know, now that I think about it, I have taught individual classes on different topics from time to time, mostly at my work. It's certainly been true for me that you really learn a lot yourself when you are preparing to teach others. I'm looking forward to these classes this fall.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Stuff Portrait Firday, Finally

Alright, after much prodding from Shell that I participate in the Stuff Portrait Friday phenomenon, I'm going to give it a go.

1. Stuff that annoys the living shit ouf of you:

Traffic. There's plenty of it to go around here in the Houston area. It only takes a few really really poor drivers to screw things up for everyone.

2. My Space

This is my computer desk in my "office." Here is where I come to relax for a bit at the end of each day and unwind from the trials and tribulations of life.

3. Something in your life that keeps the makers of Xanax in business

Xanax is supposed to be about reducing anxiety. So, what makes me anxious? Why this five year old girl I know as my daughter. She's an amazing little girl, but I know she's going to go far beyond her mother and I. I am anxious becuase I know it's only going to get harder.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Sick of being sick

Remember that post about my boy being sick? Well, he just couldn't keep it to himself. I've been home sick for the last couple of days, the wife has been sick, and even the daughter has caught some of it, though thankfully not as bad as the rest of us.
Momma and I went to the doctor yesterday and we're doing better today. The boy finally was well enough to go back to school today himself, which means Momma and I finally get a chance to rest and recover. The daughter had a touch of it, but she never got bad enough to have to stay home or get drugs. It's been a rough week on the homefront, but things are finally looking up.
I've probably spent the better part of the last two days just sleeping (13 hours straight last night). Today I'm finally feeling well enough to start doing some things around the house (with everyone sick, it turns into a disaster real quick).
The one thing I have finally managed to do today is update some pictures on the FLICKR account, including stuff from our vacation - back in JULY. I know, I'm a slacker, but you get what you pay for. So, enjoy.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Sick baby = no sleeping daddy

Since my son got tubes for his ears back and the beginning of the Summer, he's been doing quite well....until this weekend. I think the extra mixing of kids with the start of the new school year was too much and he came down with an infection this weekend. Apparently it's the trendy thing among the 15-24 month olds in his class right now. The wife took him to the doctor today and our old friend, Omicef, is back in the house.

As such, he's been sleeping even worse than usual, which means I've been sleeping much worse than usual. Now, his ears will get better, but the antibiotic gives him the worst gas, so he'll be waking every couple of hours in need of Mylicon drops. Now, that stuff is just liquid gold. I think the 1 fluid ounce bottle is about $10 or so. In the last five years, between two kids, I bet we've gone through 30 such bottles easily. I wish I could just get it by the gallon at Sams instead of the dinky bottles that it comes in. It's a racket, but it works for him, so I pay away. Good thing I love those kids :-)

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

She's off to school

The day has finally arrived - our daughter started kindegarten today at the new school. My wife took her in early and stayed with her until it was time to go to class. I told her to get there as soon as she could. It was a good thing, too. She was able to find a place to park. When she was leaving, cars were parked all up and down the major road that runs in front of the school and it sounds like the neighbors didn't care for it too much. She'll do it again tomorrow, but on Monday, the kids are required to just be dropped off.
She made it through the day alright. She already knew two kids in her class from the Montessori school she's been at, so that certainly helped. It sounds like the first day was pretty much just getting used to being in the school. She's staying after school in the YMCA's on site care and that seemed to go pretty well also.
My wife made the mistake of trying to park in the front when it came time to get her. Even though school had let out an hour before, she still had to wait 15 minutes for the queue to move up enough for her to get to the parking lot. But, she learned that she can park in back from now on to pick up from after school care, so that should go better tomorrow as well.
While she hasn't been napping at home on the weekends for a long time, she had still been taking naps at the old school. No naps anymore at the new one and I think that's going to start catching up with her so she'll start going to bed earlier. She was tired after her first day and had a little upset stomach, but she was feeling better by bed time.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Weekend Roundup

Well, I've survived another weekend. This time, my parents came to visit us - well, acutally, they come to see the grandkids :-)
The wife and I were able to get a few things done around the house and we also got to go out to dinner and a movie - JUST THE TWO OF US!!! We finally saw the new Pirates of the Carribean movie. We enjoyed it, although it could have been trimmed up tighter than the 2 1/2 hour run time w/o losing anything. Still, I'm definitely looking foward to number 3.
Our daughter starts kindergarten on Thursday (yikes, it's really here!) and there was an open house at her new school today. The school is brand new and looks amazing. We got to meet her teacher and some of the other parents of the kids in her class. She is already going to know two others that have been going to the Montessori school with her these last several years. She's been at the Montessori school since she was one, so this is going to be a big change for her. Overall, she seems excited, especially since she already knows some other kids. Her cousin and some other kids that she knows will also be there in the other kindergarten classes (I think they have eight of them), so there will be plenty of familiar faces. Thursday is the big day. I think Momma and I are more nervous that she is.
Finally, we finished the evening with the traditional birthday gathering at Pancho's. My father-in-law, sister-in-law, and her husband all have their birthdays at this time, and they always pick Pancho's for the birthday dinner place. The food isn't the best, but, there's not many places that you can gather with eight young kids that don't involve animatronics. We had a good time and now it's just time for settling down and getting ready for the new week.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

New Addition to the Family

Well, now that my parents are here for a visit, I can let this out w/o spoiling the surprise anymore. Up to now, the new vehicle in our household was a nine year old Chevy pickup that I drive. The family car had been a Honda Accord that is now ten years old itself. Both have served well and I expect several more years out of each of them. However, getting around with two kids, especially if we want to take any kind of trip, was getting pretty cramped in the car. Our vacation a few weeks ago with the rental van clinched it for the wife. We had been talking about holding off for another year, but having the van for a week lead to the wife to push me to start shopping.
We considered most of the options, but it very quickly came down to the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Finally, a day of test driving both of them back to back made it clear that the Ody was the better fit for us.
So, last Saturday, we went down to Clear Lake Honda, did some quick negotiating and got our minivan. It's a slate green metallic EX with leather and we when ahead and got the DVD. The kids have already taken to the new ride and my daughter in particular is in to the DVD system. The first thing she does is pop on the head phones. I'm sure we're going to have to work on that, especially for short trips. But, for now, we're still figuring out how things are going to work.
One adjust is parking. While the new van will fit in the garage, it is a good bit longer and wider than the car. I had to rearrange the garage a bit, and I've gotten the wife into the habit of folding the driver side mirror before she pulls in. I imagine it will get easier as we drive it more. Although, driving it is proving very easy. The van takes everything we've liked about the Accord and added ten years of refinements and improvements. I expect that this will serve well as the family hauler for the next ten years at least as well. I see many road trips in our future.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

CopyPod saved me!

Alright, I have to post about this one now that I know it's all working. When I lost my hard drive a few weeks ago, one of the things that pissed me off the most was losing my Itunes database. I had pretty much all of my actual music backed up, but things like playlists and ratings for each song were lost. I have over 3800 tracks in my Ipod and, after much work, was down to about 700 that still needed a rating. Of course, the Ipod knows all this stuff, but, thanks to Apple, I couldn't pull the information back from the Ipod.
Well, after some searching, I found a program called CopyPod that claimed it could do just that - pull my files from the Ipod and rebuild my Itunes database. So, yesterday I took the plunge and bought the program. It has turned out to be the best $20 I've spent in a long time. With a writep from the website, I was quickly able to configure the program and it spent the next hour or so pulling the tracks from my Ipod and then rebuilding my Itunes database. At this point, I am essentially as good as before.
And that is pretty damn cool. So, if you get an Ipod, I highly recommend keeping this program in mind, as it could save your collection someday as well.

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