Monday, August 25, 2008

Winging my way Los Angeles and back again

Day 1 –
I am currently sitting on an overcrowded airplane on my way to Los Angeles for my Aunts funeral. This is the first time, in a very long time, that I am taking a trip without my family. Generally, if I am on a plane trip, I am accompanied by my wife and the young ones, going to some place sunny and fun… Like Disneyland. Unfortunately, that will not be the case this time. My trip so far has been uneventful and was able to get some work done while I waited at the airport. Stuff that I just simply did not have time to do while I was at work. So, I took the two hours that I am sitting on a plane to write some emails, update a spreadsheet or two, and a couple of updates that I forgot about. I guess that this is a better use of my time, than just sitting here, looking at the back of someone’s head. Speaking of planes, this is one small fracking plane. I hit my head on the roof when I walked in, on the cabin when I stood up to go to the lavatory, and when trying to exit. Talk about small.. Dude.. The bathroom was smaller than my closet. I think that Frodo would have had issues trying to use the facilities. I also came up with a realization…I need a larger battery…seriously….

Day 2 –
Today is the day of the funeral. My sister, her husband and I went to Brunch before the service, really good food. I forget the name of the restaurant, but it is at the bottom of the hill in Hollywood. Then we went to the Los Angeles athletic club for the memorial service. I was told that it this was going to be a celebration instead of a traditional funeral. Well, it was just that. A friend of the family did a sort of MC routine that at times was really funny, telling stories of my Aunt when she was on Broadway, dancing, performing in the theater, or performing ballet. However, it was not all fun and games. At certain points, it was just plain sad and even I felt a well of tears forming. There was a lot of studio and theater people present, obviously, who all told stories of my Aunt. Some funny and some not, which brought a tear to everyone’s eye. I was probably the youngest person in the room by at least 15 years. Which was sort of difficult, since a lot of things that they were talking about happened before I was even born. Everyone had something to share, which ended with a hug and smile… and then we broke for dinner.

Funny story… during the reception, I was talking to this group of people, who one of them was a producer, who’s cell phone rang. Okay.. I had mine vibrate, not to disturb anyone, but okay... So, he answers it and is like “Hey Ms. Portman, how are you feeling???” I was like –huh- So, when he gets off of the phone, in which I inquired about the call. “Portman.. As in.. Natalie Portman?” He nodded and proceeded to tell me all about how it is such a pleasure to work with her. He also said that Nicole Kidman, Alec Baldwin, and Uma Thurman were also fantastic to work with. However, I was like.. “Lets go back to Natalie for a minute” .. we talked for a bit more, before our drinks were empty and we parted. When I was leaving, I went over and shook his hand and let him know that it was a pleasure meeting him and that I was disappointed that Natalie never called.. "Wink-Wink"
It has been a very very long time since my sister and I just sat down and talked. We sat in the backyard, staring up a the Hollywood sign, drinks in hand, and talking about everything that is going on in our lives… Dad, Mom, work, my kids, husband/wife, and each other. At times, we were brutally honest with each other. We both found out that there was a lot of miscommunication and ill feelings between each other. It sure was nice to get a lot of things off our chests. At the end, we felt like we were a family again.

Day 3 –
Today is the day that I head back home. My wife and girls are anxious for me walk through that door. I was told that my youngest had a hard night last night with me gone. She was constantly looking for me or expecting me to come home from “work”.. I called several times while away, but she did not get it. I did pick them both up a little something as a present from daddy, while on his travels. A monkey that you can wear around your neck that makes wildlife noises. This should totally annoy my wife. However, before that, Sis and I did get to stop by Bill’s.. Bill’s place is a fantastic deli that has THE BEST sandwiches you have ever eaten in your entire life. My sister made a special point to stop there for lunch before my flight out. I was trying to come up with a way to take several sandwiches on the plane, perhaps to sell for a nice little profit.. but, could not figure out how to make this happen. Sure beat the dry crackers and two droplets of soda that they give you during the flight. Well, I will have to settle for what I was able to pack in the belly to hold me over. And… Yes.. The plane is still overcrowded and small… Same plane, I think…

Friday, August 15, 2008

My So Called Life...

Some of my friends are wondering if I am still alive... So, I thought that I would eliminate the mystery. Yes, I am alive, just really busy. I have worked the last 3 weekends, besides putting in a full week of work. I am also in Budget season for 2009. So, I have had to work a couple of hours at night to answer question that my Director may have regarding the budget plan that I put together. (Love Excel) There is no shortage of projects or upgrades to keep me and my team busy. The good news is that we have very few actual problems. I like not always fighting fires, unlike Cori. At Cori, it always seemed like the walls were crumbling down around us. I guess that was the price to pay for being on the bleeding edge. (Yes, they installed beta and RC products into a production network). I tried not to, but, I can see how people always blame the network for any issues. I was guilty of doing it myself and I could see how the network guys always were so short with people about it. I now understand. Here, I have applications the monitor the ping times of systems, bandwidth on the switches, CPU on the switches, ports, every little network/server/device, everything that I can think of. And I always seem to get... "The network is slow!" It is like saying "The Internet is Down!" It just slays me... No, the internet is not down and the network is not slow, it is your crappy application that you are trying to run.. Wow.. Okay, I got a bit off topic here.

Family is good. The girls still have a full line up of activities, Hula, Swimming, and Ballet. I am also looking to get my youngest into a martial arts. Just not sure of the time or place. Plus, we visit my parents almost every weekend. As you are aware, dad is not doing so well. He says that everything is fine, but you can tell that it is not. As he says, "It is all downhill from here." Mom is saying that his back is hurting more and more. I told him that he has some really kick ass pain meds, take them.. It is not like you are going to become an addict. Plus, he is really not eating much. Dad was a big guy and now he is down around my weight. Not good... But, he has a really great attitude, even if it is for show.

Well, the girls have a Hula performance this weekend, which will be a lot of fun. The girls really are excited about the performance. The nice thing is that I get to see the entire show, ranging from the little people all the way to the experts. And.. DUDE!!!... They are good.. pretty.. AND GOOD!

Also, we are getting new carpet for the house, once every decade you really need to put some money into the house. :) Lowes was having a sale on installation, $250 bucks for the whole house. So, we are doing all 4 rooms. So, we are in the mix of packing our house in order to have them come and install the carpet. I cannot believe the amount of pure crap that we have accumulated over the past 12 years of living in this house. We have put in a rule.. If you have not touched it in a year, it goes bye-bye. Got to tell you.. I have thrown away more programs (stuff that wouldn’t run on Windows98, not to mention XP), computers (P200), and parts of stuff I did not know that I even had.

Oh.. And playing DAOC, which is fun getting together with my teammates and creating havoc.

So, all in all, doing well - Just Busy...

Friday, August 08, 2008

My Experiences with the Game Dark Age of Camelot

It has been suggested that perhaps I need to expand on an entry… So, here it is…

I only play a couple of hours a few times a week, so I am not one of those people is always on playing… Like a few of my friends on EverCrack…(you know who you are). To begin you select your Realm. I choose the Albion, the realm of the Knights of King Arthur. In the relative short time of me playing with my buds from work, we managed to achieve 40th level, 50 being max. I am having a good time with my character. I am playing a male Briton Heretic, named Leifland. I am currently working on some crafting of leather, studded or cloth armor. Others in our group are spell crafting or doing alchemy that can be applied to the armor, which I am making, to increase our abilities and resistances. There is not much to it.. Just time and money… Lots of Money!!! But, we hunt in order to acquire items that we can sell, gold, and aurulite (a sought after money source). There is not much grind that I have seen with other games of this type. We are able to hunt, farm, and acquire XP very rapidly in a player vs environment (PVE). In DAOC there are three types – PVE, Relm vs Relm (RVR), and Player vs Player (PVP). The PVP aspect of this game is difficult and at times very frustrating. Here is why… In the Battlegrounds, each Realm starts out with a keep. There is one keep in the middle that you can either attempt to capture or defend, based on who holds the keep. That is a lot of fun, except when you are engaged in battle with the keep defenders and the other Realm thumps on you without teaming up for the common good. However, you can do the same and have from time to time.
The game is totally open, so you are able to go anywhere and do almost anything. If you see a hill and want to climb it, go for it… Nothing is stopping you.

As I have said previously, well worth the free trial. And if you choose to play, look me up…