Friday, January 30, 2009

Two Guppy Fry

No, we aren’t frying guppies for dinner, baby guppies are called fry. Now I know that there are at least two guppy fry in the aquarium as I’ve spotted them both at the same time. They are still very small, but you can tell that they’ve grown from their smallest size. They are still plenty small enough to get eaten, and I’m not sure they get enough food because they are hanging out closer to the bottom with the rocks and plants. I’ve added a live floating plant but they don’t seem to want to go up there. When I add food, the other fish tend to get it before it gets that low. I bought some sinking food, algae wafers and sinking pellets for the kuhli loaches, and I saw the guppy fry going after that, so, that might help.

24 First Season: Two Discs Down

Well, I couldn’t really wait until the weekend to start watching season one of 24. It is an interesting season, but I bet it would have been better if I would have seen it before seeing later seasons. Kiefer Sutherland looks much more like he did back in the 80’s in the first season! So far I’ve seen eight episodes, which are on the first two of six discs.

The plot line is pretty good though, although it is clearly lower budget and the writing isn’t quite as good as what I’ve seen for seasons five and six. I’m not finding the writing of season seven to be as good as the previous two. But we are only a few hours into it, so it has a chance to get better. I think the hard choice for me will be to decide what DVD set to get next. I really want to see season four, because when I started watching at season five, they referred back to season four a lot. But once I’ve seen season one, I might change my mind.

Kuhli Loaches and some Ghost Shrimp

I’ve added five kuhli loaches to the aquarium. They are great! I stopped by the local fish store in Urbana on my way home from work to pick them up. They are very difficult to catch, and I told the guy to take his time, I’d rather wait than to see a fish get hurt in the process. He bagged them up, but included some ghost shrimp that were in the tank with the loaches. While he was ringing me up for the five loaches, I noticed that there were only four, so he went back to the tank to get another, and ended up with some more ghost shrimp in that bag too.

The kuhli loaches are doing exactly what I expected them to do, hide. But you see them every so often. Once they get used to the aquarium, I hope to see them a little more often when the lights go out. That is why I got five, as they like to be in groups. Just one kuhli loach won’t have a good reason to come out and play, so it will remain mostly hidden. The kids like them. Aidan & Alex both said they look like snakes. And they do, a little, especially to a young boy. I explain that they do look a little like snakes, but that they are really fish, and they are friendly. The boys also like the ghost shrimp.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Amy Found the Baby Guppy

Baby guppies are very small, so the picture isn't so great, but here it is.

Well, the big fish are well fed, so, hopefully that will help the little fry have a chance to survive.

Baby Guppy & Some Black Worms

Well, today we saw the first baby guppy. I'm not intentionally trying to breed guppies, but when you put male and female guppies together, that is what they do. It was very tiny, and I haven't seen it for a while. It may have been eaten. And since it is rare for only a single guppy to be born at a time, I guess more than one baby guppy was eaten today. I'll keep my eyes open for them still though, they are very small and can hide very well. I'm going to try and keep the adult fish well fed, as maybe that will help spare the little guys. I've also added some floating water sprite plant to the tank, which should give the guppy fry a chance, even if they hide well at the bottom of the tank, they'll have a hard time getting food down there.

Along with the well fed notion, I like to feed fish a variety of food. This week I'll supplement their flake diet with black worms. At first, the guppies ignored them, but the rosy reds were gobbling them up. I took my eyes off of them for a while and when I returned, the guppies were chowing down on the black worms. I'm a little worried that I put to many in and over fed the fish. They seem to be doing OK right now. When I get my kuhli loaches, I'll add some algae wafers and sinking pellets to the menu. I'll also feed them some brine shrimp on occasion. Sure, they will live on just flake food, but they will live better with a varied diet including live food.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Pack Meeting Canceled

The Cub Scout pack meeting for Pack 285 was canceled in December because schools closed two hours early. Since the pack meets at Tuscarora Elementary School, it has to follow the school rules on closings, so, when school is closed or let out early, there are no after school activities. While we were disappointed, we just looked forward to January.

The January pack meeting was supposed to be today, and guess what, it is snowing and schools are closed, and you know what that means. Hopefully a way can be found to re-schedule the pack meeting. One idea that occurred to me is that one of the dens could give up a den meeting and use that space for a pack meeting, otherwise, they won’t have another pack meeting until the blue and gold banquet on February 24, when more than three months will have passed from their last pack meeting on November 18. The boys work pretty hard for their awards, and it would be nice to see them actually be awarded to them. That is just how Cub Scouts works.

That doesn’t even take into account the cake bake raffle as the scheduled activity for tonight’s pack meeting. I don’t know about the rest of the boys, but Alex, Amy, and even me, to a lesser extent put a lot of time and effort into getting his cake baked. Alex wanted the tallest cake, so it was started well in advance of the final weather forecast. We’ll have a lot of cake to eat I guess! Amy did come up with an awesome solution though, for the boys to submit pictures of their cakes for display on the web site. That doesn’t solve the “what do we two with a foot and a half high, four tear, eight layer cake”, but it will be nice for Alex to have something to show for it!

To Help Other People…

This morning when I went out to start my car, a neighbor asked me if I could give him a jump start. “Sure”, I said, knowing that I had been running on a weak battery for several months before replacing it recently and could have needed the same then. The neighbor’s vehicle is a large old 70’s style Ford Bronco; my car barely had enough juice to turn it over! After he got it started, I still needed to run inside and grab a few things for work, and return the broom that I used to brush the snow off of the cars.

When I got inside, Alex asks “Why did you help that guy?” I think I hesitated a bit, but answered, “Well, I was a Cub Scout, and what do Cub Scouts promise to do?” To which Alex replies after a few seconds of thought, “to help other people.” “Yes”, I said and continue on with the conversation about how it is good to help others when Amy chimes in and says, “He was one of the neighbors who helped me bring in the aquarium.” I said, “Really, wow, I didn’t know that.” I think Alex got a good lesson this morning. It is one of those times when all seems right with the world.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Guppies are not Sushi

Maybe the rosy reds would be OK! LOL! Seriously, should I be worried when Amy looks at my fish tank and declares that she wants sushi? I'm sure that she isn't actually thinking about eating my fish, it is just a little bit of irony. Maybe the next time Amy gets sushi she should eat it in front of the aquarium.

First Water Change

The first water change after adding several fish to the tank is always scary. Last night I changed about ten gallons of water, which is about the most I can do at one time. I should really be doing about fifteen gallons at a time, but I’ll have to find another bucket. Still, even with changing only ten gallons, I worried that I’d kill the fish or disrupt the biological filter. All of the fish have survived at least the first twelve hours, which is when temperature and PH differences can cause the fish to be stressed or die. The next day or so I’ll keep a good eye on the biological filter to make sure that any chlorine didn’t kill off the good bacteria that break down the ammonia and nitrites. I conditioned the water before adding it, but this is my first time dealing with chlorinated water, so I don’t have a good feel for it. My old water was well water that was very acidic. I brought the PH up with baking soda, which worked quite well. My tap water in Frederick is great for fish, other than the chlorine and chloramines, which should be removed by the Stress Coat + that I add to the water before putting it in the tank.

Averaging one post per day

I would like to post once a day as well, but I didn’t make it a resolution or anything like that. I figured that I wouldn’t post every day, but I’d try to average one a day over the month. So far I’m doing well as this will be my twenty-seventh post for January 2009. Just about every post has substance, but I won’t guarantee that they would be interesting to everybody, or even most people! There is always more that I’d like to blog about, but I don’t always get to it right away, and then it doesn’t get done!

For a while there, Amy was blogging every day. Her New Years resolution was to blog every day. But her post rate has slowed a bit, but still, twenty-one posts this month is more than any month for the last two years other than November 2007 when she was partaking in National Blog Posting Month. I’ve enjoyed reading her blog posts, even when I’m part of them.

Robin needs to blog more! In fact, I don’t even know where her blog is anymore, so, that would be a problem. She does update twitter every so often.

Aidan & Zoe in YMCA Daycare

While we were trying to avoid putting the children in daycare, my work schedule and Amy’s class schedule have left us with few options. Since Amy will be going to school during the day, our youngest two will need to be cared for. I wonder how they are doing and how the drop off went? Based on Amy’s previous reports of how they reacted to being left in the YMCA play room, I suspect that Zoe will do fine, at least for a while, but Aidan might not want to be left. I’ve been thinking about them more than normal I think today. I guess because it is new. Hopefully this will only be for a semester or two.

Twenty-Four: Season One

For my birthday I received the first season of the show 24 on DVD. I got interested in the show at the beginning of the fifth season, and always wanted to know what happened leading up to that point. Most TV episodes on DVD are about forty to forty-five minutes. So, it should take about eighteen hours to watch the complete season. Other than the super bowl, which doesn’t have me too excited this year, there is really nothing going on next weekend, so that would probably be a good time to start watching it. While it may be possible to watch the entire season this weekend, it will depend a lot on the kids. If they are keeping themselves occupied and out of trouble, we’ll be able to watch a lot, but if they are in need of attention, we’ll have to pause it a lot and probably not get it all watched in a weekend. Still, we will probably get most of it watched. Then on Monday night we’ll watch the current episode, and then we should be able to finish up the remaining episodes during the rest of the week. The following weekend will be out of the question as Saturday is booked with the pinewood derby race and Aaron’s birthday party, then on Sunday, Alex has faith formation and then a Scout Sunday mass in the early afternoon. No matter what, I’m looking forward to watching the season that started it all. I’ve found 24 to be a pretty good show that keeps me coming back for more.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Aquarium's Biological Filter is Going

Today's water tests has revealed nitrates. While nitrates aren't exactly healthy for fish, they aren't as lethal as ammonia, which the fish produce as waste and also comes from decay, and nitrites, what ammonia is converted to when nitrifier bacteria metabolize it. The nitrates are produced when the nitrospira bacteria metabolize the nitrite. So, having nitrates in your tank is good, in moderation, the only way to really get rid of it is through water changes, although some live plants will consume nitrate, but generally not enough to avoid water changes.

Right now I my readings are: ammonia, 0.125 ppm, nitrite, 0.125 ppm, nitrate 4 ppm. When things are perfect, you'll generally see 0 ppm to just a trace of ammonia and nitrite. If over the next few tests I see my ammonia and nitrite hold steady or drop, and the nitrates rise, the tank will be ready for some new fish. Hopefully that is when I'll be able to add my kuhli loaches. I'll need to call the local fish store and ask them if they are in stock, I'll want at least 5.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eight Guppies

I know it is way to early, but I just couldn't stand looking at an empty tank. Since the tank is good sized, and guppies are small, they should be OK. I'll need to keep an eye on the ammonia levels in the tank to make sure the fish aren't poisoned by their own waste. So far, my water tests show a trace amount of ammonia, maybe 0.1 parts per million.

Male guppy

So, I've added two male guppies to the tank, with six female guppies. I took extra care in acclimating them to the tank so the fish are stressed as little as possible, because they might have to be stressed with higher ammonia levels for a little while. I follow the rule of three to one females to males because male guppies can fight over to few females, and if they are chasing the same female all the time, it will stress out and can kill the female.

Female guppy

Back when I had my thirty gallon tank, I took a couple of pictures with a thirty-five millimeter camera, you could see fish but they didn't turn out that great. These days, with digital cameras, you can keep taking pictures until you get it right, and you can see it right away and adjust. So, I was able to get some OK shots and crop them down to individual fish.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm Almost Famous

Joseph Durnal Mentioned in Local Newspaper

OK, so I made up that headline! But there I am, complete with picture. I've you've been keeping up with my blog you know that I have volunteered to help with communications during the inauguration. It was a cold day, especially early in the morning, but I was dressed for it. It was also pretty boring, not the inauguration itself, as I was able to watch Obama take the oath of office and listen to his speech, but there wasn't much for me to do in my volunteer role. I suppose that is a good thing though because that is a sign that things were running smoothly and there were no major incidents. My duties were over by four o'clock and I was able to make it back up to Frederick in time to join Amy, Alex, and the little ones on his Cub Scout go see it trip to a local radio station!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

First Fish

Well, I couldn't wait, I wanted to get this aquarium started right away. The problem with starting an aquarium is that fish pee where they live but they can't really live in their pee. There needs to be bacteria in the tank to break down the ammonia, but in a new tank, there is nothing to really get bacteria started. So, in order to jump start things I put a few twelve cent rosy reds in the tank. As feeders go, they are clean, and since they were 12¢ it really doesn't matter much if they don't last long. All I need them for is their ammonia.

I still need to get a master test kit, which is pretty important when you are getting started. Right now I'm just relying on memory and experience from years ago. I planned to buy a kit when I was at Petsmart today, but the salesman just had to ask me if he could help, and I forgot all about it.

I did make the rounds to some local pet stores though, finding that one is out of business. Another, Rick's Fish was right up my alley, but his fish are a little pricey. Pricey fish are not necessarily all bad, if that price is due to overhead of healthy fish, and Rick's had the feel of a place that knew their fish. I will go back there, most likely for fish. I'll probably get other products at the chain stores like Petsmart, Today's Pet, or Wal-Mart.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fish Aquarium

For my birthday, Amy surprised me with a sixty gallon aquarium for fish. I've been mentioning it here and there for some time now, and sometime around Amy's birthday, I mentioned that I would find one to be a good gift. Fish were one of my hobbies growing up. For many years I maintained a 30 gallon tank with a variety of fish, usually centered around a pair or two of angel fish. I'm really not sure why I didn't move the tank when we moved, or even take it when Steve, my stepfather, didn't want it anymore either. I told him to give it away! I do hope that whoever got it was starting out and is now enjoying the great hobby.

Tonight was setup night. I had actually started filling it yesterday, and added the gravel, but tonight, I setup the filter and heater, finished filling it, and placed the decorations, rocks and fake plants. It looks pretty good, but one of the fluorescent bulbs on the cover doesn't seem to want to light. The water needs to settle and let some bacteria develop before I add some fish, but it won't be long. I should be able to add a few small fish in three or four days. I'm not sure what to add though. I'm thinking of rosy barbs or tiger barbs. As tropical fish go, they are virtual indestructible or at least the most resilient for a new tank.

In the coming weeks, I want to add a couple of loaches for bottom feeding, a school of neons or other tetras, eventually leading up to four or so angel fish. Before introducing the angel fish, I want the smaller fish to be well established in the tank, and grown a little from their pet store size. Angel fish can bully and even kill smaller fish in the tank, and this introduction method will give the smaller fish the upper hand.

Much later, I would like to work on a more complete ecosystem. I had a lot of trouble with this when I was a kid, but I think I have more patients now, and even then I understood that my 30 gallon tank was a little small for that. With the right balance of different types of fish and plants, and proper water filtration, you get a balanced ecosystem that requires less overall maintenance. The trick is getting the right balance! We'll see, first, I have to keep the first few fish alive!

The President has been removed

I was surprised this afternoon when leaving the federal building I've been working in for the past several weeks. The portraits of President Bush and Vice President Chaney were removed from the lobby. I understand that his term is almost up, but almost isn't quite all the way. I know it was there this morning, because I was thinking to myself about how long I thought it would take for the new official presidential portrait to be posted, specifically, if it would be there when I arrived for work on January 21st.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inauguration Day Weather Update, 5 days out

With Inauguration Day at the tail end of the 5 day forecast, it is looking like it will be a lot colder than originally expected, thirty-one degrees now. That is OK, I'll be ready for it. They still aren't calling for any precipitation, so that is good. One of the scenarios we were keeping in mind was the requirement for opening shelters in the surrounding areas in the event of a snow storm. The thought being that if snow moved in on the day, that many folks would not be able to leave the area and have no place to go. That doesn't look as likely now.

It's my Birthday

Yes, today is my birthday, I was born on January 15, 1978, making me 31 years old. It is going to be a hectic day. For starters, I have to work, I'd take off but I was just out of the office two days for training. Alex has gymnastics tonight too, so we won't be leaving to get Andrew until a quarter after five or so, putting us there closer to seven o'clock. Then I'll have a birthday dinner with the family at Outback Steakhouse. Outback is my favorite casual restaurant! Come to think of that, do they do one of those birthday songs? After eating we'll drop Andrew off and then come back home. I figure we'll get home around 10 or so. Hopefully everyone will be feeling better by this afternoon!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

TMI: Hugging the Microsoft Toilet

This is one of those to much information posts, but I'm going to write about it anyway. I was at the Microsoft office in Reston Va on Tuesday and Wednesday for a hands on seminar on the new version of Microsoft Identity Lifecycle Management, which isn't officially named yet. Through the night Monday/Tuesday morning, Aidan was up sick several times with a stomach bug. Well, I didn't realize it at first but I must have been suffering from the same stomach bug. After I couldn't really eat lunch, I figured it out. To make a long story short, I had to leave class to get sick in the bathroom. What is funny is that I thought of it as it titled this post, hugging the Microsoft toilet. I was up all night, and I think I nodded off during the slide presentations today, but I was able to keep it together for the labs. I'm feeling a little better, but still a bit dehydrated and quite tired.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Inauguration day weather

It looks like it will be thirty-nine degrees, partly cloudy, with a ten percent chance of rain. Of course, it is still a ways away yet, so that is subject to change. I suspect it will as it is unusual for the weather to be good when I volunteer for things like this!

They are still calling for snow showers on my birthday!

Blagojevich is starting to look not guilty

Here is an interesting defense for Blagojevich, all he has to say is "would the Senate have seated the man I appointed to Barack Obama's Senate seat if they suspected I tried to sell it or trade it for political favors?" If I were the defense, I would call every Senator who voted to seat Roland Burris to the stand, and ask them if they felt that Rod had received anything of value for the appointment. They would surely answer no. It is a defense made in Washington!

The Giants needed Plaxico Burress

I just can't believe that the Giants lost to the Eagles yesterday, but I think I know why. The guy that makes up half of the big play duo was missing. Eli Manning is a great quarterback, but like all great quarterbacks, he needed his big play receiver, Plaxico Burress. It isn't just his statistics that get lost, because just being on the field makes him a threat that defenses can't ignore, opening up the running game or having other receivers get open.

I've been trying to find out if he would have been physically able to play, and most evidence points to yes, but it isn't concrete. If he would have been able to play, the Giants should have let him play. I don't think that being a bonehead off the field should have much bearing his playing status. If he is found guilty, he'll have to deal with that, maybe spend some time in jail, and he alone would have the blame for not contributing to the Giants offense, but the Giants preventing him from playing have to take the blame for this loss.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I'd like a new NFL rule

One thing that I really don't like to see is players showboating by making referee signs. It is as if they are trying to convince the referee that they should call a play a particular way. The following football signals should be off limits to players: touchdown, safety, incomplete, & first down. Also off limits should be the waving arm motion they do to simulate the referee throwing a penalty flag. I think that these things are worse than end zone celebrations when they score. Lets force these players to show the fans and referees some respect and start handing out personal foul penalties for this sort of behavior.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Presidents of the United States of America

No, not the band, but now I can't get the song Peaches out of my head. But here is something you don't see every day. Three former presidents, the current president, and the future president all at the White House.

From left to right. The 41st President, George H. W. Bush, the soon to be 44th President, Barack Obama, the 43rd President, George W. Bush, the 42nd President, Bill Clinton, and the 39th President, Jimmy Carter.

If only Ronald Reagan was still alive to be part of this group. Reagan tops the list of Presidents who have served during my lifetime and Georg H. W. Bush (41) is the best in my book of those pictured. Barack Obama hasn't had a fair chance yet so I guess I'll have to revisit this in four to eight years.

I think this says a lot about the system of government we have here in the United States. Men who once held the most powerful office in the land who have stepped aside and pass the power on to the next.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I've reached the end of the Internet

Years ago, Amy turned me on to a site called BlogExplosion. It is a neat concept for blog surfing. Basically, you surf blogs in their frame, and for each two blogs you visit, you get a visit in return. Back in the day, there were a great many blogs to be surfed via BlogExplosion. Neither Amy nor I paid much attention to BlogExplosion for a while, but recently, we've returned. The service doesn't seem to be as popular as it once was, but there are still many interesting blogs that it will present to you. One thing that I don't remember running into in the past is surfing all of the blogs available, basically, you get to a point where you just can't view any more blogs through their surf random blogs feature. This is probably because not enough other users are earning visits by surfing blogs.

One solution to this problem would be to allow blogs to be surfed even if they have not earned any visits. Writing a bot to check blogs that haven't been active on BlogExplosion recently but have been recently updated would be the best idea. This could help bring bloggers who have signed up but aren't active in the site back, and it would make the service more useful to the current active users.

If you like surfing blogs and you would like some more visitors for you blog, sign up for BlogExplosion.

I'm dreaming of a white birthday

Just noticed the extended forecast is calling for scattered snow showers on my birthday. Since we haven't seen a white Christmas around here for a while, maybe I'll get a white birthday.

I will be keeping an eye on the extended forecasts as I'll need to be prepared for whatever the weather may be on January 20th. I'm still not sure exactly what I'll be doing, so for now I'll just assume the worst, that I'll be outside in poor weather.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I saw a musical and I'm still a man

Not just any musical either, Legally Blonde the Musical. That was my Christmas present to Amy. It wasn't so bad, it was actually kind of good, I didn't fall asleep or anything like that. Amy's Legally Blonde the Musical blog post says it all.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Let’s talk about Israel and Palestine

Starting with my somewhat biased view of the conflict as a Christian and American, which will provide an excuse for others to completely disregard what I have to say. I’ve developed a view that I don’t feel is biased, even as either side will view it as totally biased against them. You really have to read the whole post to get it, or maybe, just skip to the end.

Each side should consider the fact that not all wrongs can be righted. It is a fact of life, that sometimes we must let bygones be bygones. There is a lot of disputed history involving the land of Israel and Palestine which intertwines religion and politics. It is safe to say, that the Jewish people were there first, at least the first well defined civilization, of course, they were ruled by other empires throughout ancient history. The Roman rule at the time of Christ seems to be the best documented, and resulted in the mass expulsion of Jews from the area about one hundred years after the death of Christ, although Jews remained, throughout recorded history.

In the seventh century, Islam was spreading, and the Muslim conquests captured the land known as Israel and many Muslims came to the area as a result, often with no connection to the pre-Jewish inhabitants. At this time, there is no doubt that the land was Palestine and belonged to the Muslims, rightful or not, they were there from the seventh century until the early twentieth century.

The Jews returned in mass numbers in the early twentieth century, especially during and after World War II. This obviously crated conflict as Arab Muslims had the land as their own for centuries. In 1947 the United Nations stepped in to set some borders, which were accepted by the Israeli Jews, but not the Arab Muslims. Although neither side really liked the borders that were defined, this was the point in history where both sides could have lived in peace as independent states. After Israel declared its independence as a state within the UN defined borders, Arab countries invaded, indenting to destroy the state of Israel and create a single state of Palestine. As we now know, this move backfired, destroying the state of Palestine and creating a larger state of Israel. It is important to note that Israel was not the aggressor in this conflict, and many Palestinians fled the area fully expecting Israel to be destroyed and the spoils of war would be theirs for the taking. There is a clear wrong done by Israel here, they took over the land and denied the right for its inhabitants to return. When the war began, the Palestinians were all too eager to have the other Arab countries on their side, but such a deal involved risks, and the armistice borders known as the green line was accepted by those same Arab countries at wars end.

Despite the wrongs of the past the green line was another chance for peace, even if it didn’t include a state of Palestine. But Israel’s Arab neighbors felt differently. In 1967, another invasion of Israel was on the horizon. And while Israel was the first to strike, it was clearly a defensive move, with Israel again involved in a war with its neighbors where it is not the aggressor. The outcome of this war again cost the Palestinians a great deal, land once ruled by their Arab neighbors had fallen into Israeli hands. While I believe that Israel was right to occupy these lands for a time following the war, it was clearly wrong to establish settlements and remain for so long. I’m not sure what I’d do with Jerusalem, clearly there are a lot of issues there and I’m not so sure that the 1947 solution wouldn’t be valid today. The problem here is that the Palestinians were very supportive of the effort to attack Israel, but when the war was lost, simply could not accept defeat.

Israel desperately wants peace with its neighbors and supports the creation of a Palestinian state roughly within the borders of the 1949 green line. Israel wants security for its people, and to right some of its wrongs. The 2005 Israeli withdraw from Gaza is a good example of Israel’s intentions. Israel felt that leaving Gaza was the first step at establishing a lasting peace in the region, but instead, it has created greater security problems for Israel, which will surely delay the righting of another wrong, the occupation of the West Bank. Palestinians are still as close as they have ever been to having a state of their own since 1947, but such a state will likely require a Jerusalem compromise, claims to land on the Israeli side of the green line, and a desire to live in peace with their neighbor.

I’ll part with what Palestinians claim as the right of return, one of the most difficult issues in the region. My argument being, if the Arabs would have won in 1948, would the same right have been given to fleeing Israeli Jews? I have my doubts. The many wrongs done in the region, it was wrong for the Arab countries to invade in 1948, it was wrong for Israel to capture the land, it was wrong for the Arab countries to attempt to invade in 1967, and it was wrong for Israel to capture more land. Israel is willing to right some of these wrongs, but it can not right them all, but most importantly, Israel wishes to right the wrong of denying the Palestinians a state of their own, even if the borders are not what Palestinians wish for.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Microsoft's Obama Hotfix

I want my last name not to show up as misspelled word when I'm typing a document. I suppose if you are Barack Obama, you get special treatment. Microsoft actually released a hotfix for Microsoft office that updates the spell checker to recognize Obama as a correctly spelled word. Obama Hotfix 935305

Missed mass today

This year they changed the time for faith formation class (Sunday school) from nine o'clock in the morning to nine thirty. The idea is that faith formation ends closer to the start time of the eleven o'clock mass. I just can't seem to make the eleven o'clock mass fit into the Sunday schedule and I much prefer the nine o'clock mass, which I miss regularly now that faith formation starts at nine thirty.

Since faith formation is out for winter break, I've been making sure to take Alex to mass, but for some reason today, my timing was based on mass starting at nine thirty, not nine o'clock. So, we arrived a half hour late with only standing room. If it were just me, I would have stood, but Alex could never handle that, so we went home. You would think that I was in the nine o'clock routine, since faith formation has been off for a few weeks, and I've made it to the nine o'clock before, but for some reason, this morning, my timer was messed up.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


I don't normally identify myself as afraid of heights, but whenever I have to do work on a ladder, I remember that I am. Today I will be working on the roof of my townhouse. It is two stories down to the deck below, and two and a half stories to the ground on the other side. When I'm up there I get really nervous about falling. Not a paralyzing fear or anything like that, but it definitely has me being extra cautious. Maybe it is a good thing, in a lot of cases, a little fear is just the thing you need to make the good decisions to keep you from getting yourself killed. I'll keep that in mind as I do my roof repair and put up some antennas!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Why you should back up your blog

So, you have your blog hosted on some Internet server somewhere for all to see. You've built up quite a following on your subject or your friends and family keep up with your goings on regularly. You have no reason to believe that one day it will just disappear and every reason to believe that the administrators running the site hosting your blog are at least somewhat competent and know a thing or two about computers.

Well, you are wrong. A popular blog and online journal host, JournalSpace has gone offline, apparently for good. How did this happen? Apparently, they didn't back up their database. The thought was that the database was mirrored on a RAID volume so it would never fail, even if a disk failed. Didn't they think for a minute that the database file(s) could be corrupted and the corruption would be written to the mirrored disk as well? I find it hard to believe that anyone managing a database server would ever make this sort of mistake, but I guess it can happen.

Something I just had to know

I had occasionally seen Out of Office reply e-mails referred to as OOF and each time I had wondered how they got OOF and not OOO or OO. I have my answer.

Why is OOF an OOF and not an OOO? from the You Had Me At EHLO blog.

Back in the day, when Microsoft ran the Xenix mail system, there was a command called OOF which set a user as 'Out of Facility'. The term was wound into the Microsoft culture to the point that when someone was out of the office, they'd just say, so and so is OOF.

The post also explains why in Outlook you use CTRL+R for Reply, and CTRL+SHIFT+R for Reply All!

MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator

I wouldn't call myself an administrator any more, but that is what the certification is named. My transcripts are updated with Microsoft and I've built my new logo!

I like the nifty logo builder. I think it will come in handy down the road if I end up with several different MCTS certifications. I'm not sure if I'll work on any more MCTIP certs just yet, but I'll definitely do the Windows 2008 Active Directory MCTS, and maybe the Office Communications Server 2007 MCTS.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

President or King?

Reading the news lately, and the associated comments has been interesting. For starters, why is the Obama presidency more historic than others? They keep attaching the word "historic" to everything Obama related.

What I've been seeing is a country that is making the man in the office more important than the office itself. Millions of people are expected in DC to see the inauguration of Barack Obama, instead of the inauguration of the next President of the United States. Those who see the event as something more about the man than the office should use the word coronation instead. Those are attending but would not be if John McCain were the one being inaugurated should be ashamed of them selves, and the same goes for those who would have gone if it were McCain but will not because it is Obama.

What happens when Obama leaves office? Will people still look to him as their leader and not the President of the United States? There is a man named Vladimir Putin who enjoys that kind of popularity. In Russia, they are following a man, not the office, the sort of thing that our Founding Fathers wanted to prevent when the United States of America was born.