My very first Christmas decoration, courtesy of my best friend!
Decided to spend Halloween at the new house this year. Holy cow, is it different. After spending my entire memorable life in a neighborhood that averaged maybe two kids a year over the past 24 years, this new neighborhood is quite a surprise. I easily went through 56 kids, actually running out of stuff to give away when a group of ten attacked.
Had a pretty good mix of kids, from what I could tell. I think the youngest I had was a boy, probably 3 years old, dressed as Thomas the Tank Engine. Youngest girl looked to be about 4, and a classic Disney princess in pink. Overall, the ages seemed to range from 4 to 13, with an average of probably about 7 or 8.
Can’t say that I recognized very many costumes. The boys came dressed as a whole variety of things, from classic skeletons, to army soldiers, to I don’t even know what. The girls wore mostly dark costumes with frilly skirts.
I can tell, too, that I’m going to have my work cut out for me on the decoration front. Several of the houses around me had some pretty elaborate Halloween decorations, which made for a pretty cool drive down the street. If people go to that length for Halloween, I can’t wait to see what happens come Christmas. I’m sure the street must just sparkle.
Today was a major step toward getting me into the full swing of home ownership. The mold I purchased is finally gone!
From the sound of things, it was quite a mess in the basement with mold growing on the back side of nearly all the drywall, with some pretty significant colonies. The guys also pulled down the entire drop ceiling, in part because of the mold, but mostly because it was easier than trying to cut the drywall and leave the ceiling in place. About the only thing left down there inside the foundation wall are the walls leading down the stairs. Those, unfortunately, extend all the way into the upstairs, so they couldn’t just be removed. They will, however, be drenched with anti-fungal spray tomorrow. Upstairs, the guys were able to pull out all of the old carpet.
So, it’s coming. Next up is for me and my dad to knock out a couple other walls upstairs and start moving the laundry machines into to the basement where they belong. After that is paint, floors, and I’m sure a thousand other little things.
But hey, it’s progress! It will, if nothing else, be nice to be able to go into the house without risking my health.
Congratulations to Valerie and Dan.
Oh, the days when writing a web page meant sitting down, opening Notepad, and typing <html>. No systems, no frameworks, no revision control. None of those things which separate the experienced developer (dare I say “professional”) from the guy who sits down at his keyboard and decides he’d like to make a web page today. Here’s to you, keyboard guy.
(I think I need to get my hands on some frontend code before I go insane.)
Apparently the last time I posted on this blog was two months ago yesterday. I hadn’t quite realized it had been that long.
But, well, in the spirit of posting something here, the past two months have at least been fun. Work has been a bit on the crazy side lately as I’ve been getting the company ready to make an appearance at a couple of trade shows, gathering price quotes on cell phones, and doing all of the various other stuff that I do on a daily basis. Three cheers for small business; it’s never a dull moment.
Speaking of small business, the past week has seen me win a new web development job. It’s a small job in the grand scheme of things, but it’s been a long time coming with a company that I think I can help not only with their website, but with their marketing efforts more in general. Not, of course, that I ever wanted to get into marketing. But, hey, I guess it’s better than nothing. It certainly passes the time.
Tonight was certainly an interesting evening. A couple of weeks ago, I got an invitation from one of my karate students inviting me to attend her baptism. I did that tonight, and it was really something.
To set out a bit of context, this was all happening at a mega-church a few miles away from where I live. Apparently, this church puts on a baptism ceremony once every month or two. It was all rather different than the baptism ceremonies I’m more familiar with, where you basically have a family or two holding their infant while the minister drips a bit of water on the kid’s head. This one was full immersion, families watched from the audience (or joined in), and the entire event must have had more than a hundred people. In the background, music played the entire time, people were singing, and anyone who didn’t know what was going could easily have been forgiven for thinking they’d stepped into a Christian rock concert rather than a church. But back to the girl.
I showed up at the church a few minutes early and wandered around a little bit to see if there was anything interesting there to see. I had driven past this place a number of times on the expressway, but had never been inside. It didn’t take long to discover that the only really interesting thing about the church was its central auditorium, which is where I would be sitting anyway. I found my way to where the girl’s mother had reserved some seats and joined the other people who had come to see her baptism. I think I was the only one who wasn’t a member of the church.
The ceremony itself was a rather long affair, as each of the 100+ people were individually set back into the water. I was a bit surprised by the ages of the people being baptized, which ranged from senior citizens all the way to the six-year-old I had come to see, with an average probably somewhere in the late 20s. The water level in the pool was set to come to about the adult hip, which put it right around the girl’s neck. It was rather fun watching the guy doing the immersion pick her up and turn her upside-down. It was a good way to wrap things up, though; she was right around third from the end.
I was glad that she seemed to like the little present I gave her; a bracelet with a heart engraved with her name. She opened it up and showed it around to everyone in her little group. I apparently gave her the same card as her school teacher, but she didn’t really seem to mind. Both she and her mom seemed thrilled enough that I even bothered to show up at all.
And, while the whole event was a whole lot more than I’d ever imagined, I’m glad that I went too.
I got my official promotion today as part of TSP’s transition into the new year. In my new role I’m doing, well, pretty much exactly what I’ve been doing, but at a pay grade rather more appropriate for the job and my education. As an added bonus, the work I’m doing is actually in my job description now!
I’m also pretty happy about the company’s direction for the new year. My boss closed off 2008 trying to get a lot of the business practices formalized as a way to give the company and its people some focus. From what I can tell, he’s already on solid footing in that regard, both in terms of what he’s doing and what knows he still needs to do. His goals for the company also feel about right, they’ll definitely stretch us but I feel they should be attainable.
So, while this still isn’t the job I thought I’d be doing or the industry I thought I’d be doing it in, it is nice that positive things are happening in my current job.
Every year people make resolutions to do various things throughout the year. On average, it seems like pretty close to none of those things happen. This helps keep the resolution market wide open, since most of the time you can just repeat the pledge (and failure) next year. Some people use weight loss, or smoking, or other such things as their serial resolution. I seem to use blogging.
2008 came and went on my blog in about the same way as ever. I told myself I’d say a lot, but ended up not saying a whole lot at all. What I did say was mostly political, which is really not the point of this blog. Sometimes I fell into the trap of not wanting to write because of how little I had written. Usually, it just didn’t occur to me to write.
The resolution this year is a little bit different because things this year are a little bit different. I’m still going to resolve to write more, and I still expect that I will most likely fail. I have a different outlet for my politically oriented posts thanks to some friends, which leaves this blog free to focus, as it should, on my life. Now that I’m not at college anymore I hope to use blogging as a way to continue practicing writing in the absence of papers and reports for school. If I can really get into the zen of this, I might even find a way to write shorter posts.
So there it is, my internet resolution for 2009. Guess we’ll see how it goes.
So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause.
Thinking about the election tomorrow, this quote jumped into my head and won’t go away. From where things stand right now, it seems almost a foregone conclusion that Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States. His election is bound to be greeted by cheers from his supporters, likely more than any President in recent memory, and certainly far more than John McCain would earn were he to win the day. And yet with Obama, I find myself convinced that his Presidency will be the end of whatever lingering understanding there may still be that our Federal government is a limited government, the end of a great deal of individual choice, and the death of meaningful democracy.
It doesn’t take long when looking through Obama’s website to see how little respect he has for the concept of limited government. From the economy to healthcare to just about anything else, Obama’s site is filled with promises of things that his federal government would do for us. The government run “public-private business incubators,” the creation of a government operated healthcare plan, the promise to “Weatherize one million homes annually,” and so many other of his proposed policies are all put forward without so much as a second thought whether or not the federal government has the authority to do these things, regardless of whether or not any of them are good ideas. Perhaps fueled by Americans’ poor understanding of what powers actually belong to the federal government, Obama has never, to my recollection, even bothered to ask the question. At a time when people are harping on President Bush and his alleged failure to abide by the restrictions put forth in the Constitution, we prepare to celebrate a new President who spoke with a bit of remorse at the fact that the Warren Court “didn’t break free from the essential constraints … in the Constitution.”
Embodied among those “essential constraints” are the limits which give rise to liberty in the first place. Freedom, at its core, is all about choice; choices Obama appears to not want us to have. Obama proposes a sort of “Use It or Lose It” plan to force oil companies to drill on particular oil fields; figuring out why he knows better than the oil companies which fields to drill when, and exactly what his mechanism is for making the oil companies “Lose It” are apparently left as exercises to the reader. And that was just the most obvious example. By taxing “the rich” to fund Obama’s pet projects, Obama does as most Democrats do in believing that they know better than I do what is and isn’t the right thing for me to buy.
But in the end, the thing that has been and remains the most frightening thing to me about Obama is his view on the courts. Repeatedly throughout his campaign, when asked what qualities he believes are important in a judge, his answers have never included such critical things as knowledge of or adherence to the law. Obama seeks judges with compassion, who will stand up for civil rights and the disadvantaged. While these are certainly nice qualities to look for, the proper role of the courts as the “least dangerous branch” requires that such considerations be trumped a thousand times over by the need for judges to remain within the law. Through his votes in the Senate, his statements on the campaign trail, his seven year old attempt to describe the Warren court as somehow being not “that radical,” it is apparent that Obama’s belief in the role of the courts is that America should — in eight years time — be turned over to absolute governance by the judiciary.
Rule by unelected elites is hardly my idea of democracy. The curtailment of free choice is certainly not my idea of liberty. And yet, the nation is sure to celebrate the rise of President Obama just the same. But perhaps if we’re lucky, the 1960s will come calling, to ask us to give them their failed policies back.