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Joined: 14-Sep-2004
Birthday: 6-Oct-1977
Total Posts: 233
Realm: Central Valley, California, USA

I love reading (mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy), and listening to and playing music. (I play Tin Whistle, all Clarinets, all Saxophones, and Piano.) I like to write, but don't do it as often as I would like to. I love anything Scottish. I love Celtic Knotwork! I also play Role-Playing games, which makes me a total geek...as if being in band all through high school didn't already take care of that. :) Oh yeah, and I AM the IT department at my company, which means that I am also a major computer geek. :)

I have a wonderful wife named Kim, and at the time of this writing, we've been married for over 5 years! She is amazing, and I am blessed daily by her! (And I try to be a blessing to her as well.) On December 15th of 2008, Kim gave birth to our first child, Iain Calum, and we're seriously in love with this kid, even if he's a pain a lot of the time. :)
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pensive mood...
Posted by sir_tal on Oct 27th, 2004 5:29 PM
What have I ever done to deserve this? Nothing...not a blessed thing. Oh, I speak not of injustice. I speak not of being opressed. I speak of grace. I speak of being given that which I do not deserve. I deserve far worse. In my life, I have said and done things that would make most people cringe. If the blessings that have been showered upon me depended on keeping up my end of a bargain, then someone missed a lot of stuff when tabulating what was due me. I know this in my heart of hearts even without looking at what the Bible says resides in the heart of man.

So what has happened to me that could cause me to praise the Gifting God? Well, were I to count my blessings, the words would fill this journal, crash the website, and take more time than I have left on this earth, but I speak of something specific today. My wife, the radiant Kimberly.

She is the most wonderful person I have ever met. Are we newlyweds that I speak so? Yeah, we've only been married for 1 year, 4 months and 6 days. Of course, we dated for almost 5 years before that. Everything about her is wonderful. Everything about her is an answer to prayer, whether I had the foresight to pray for it or not! Every day, I discover new ways to be thankful for her! Holy Father, when I asked for a wife, I had much lower hopes....I expected far less, and for that, I apologize, for I doubted Your generosity, Jehovah Jireh...my Provider. I doubted your Perfect love for your creation. I forgot what it says in Your Word about You knowing much better than earthly fathers how to give good gifts. But thank you, Awesome Father for your blessing in the form of Kim!

So what makes her so awesome? Everything...the little things...the big things....everything. This weekend, I got sick and Kim was so caring, thinking about me. She calls me when I'm at work, just to say hi sometimes. And while I can't always stop what I'm doing right then and talk, I always appreciate it. Today, she took a day off from substitute teaching to make sure the house was clean, and the laundry was done. Even though she didn't need to wake up when I did, she still woke up to make me my lunch. I know that part of the reason is that we are trying to avoid eating out to save the money, but she knows I could have made my lunch. She always makes sure I have clean clothes and a lunch. She balances the checkbook, and takes care of the budget. She is so unbelievably awesome.

Yet, it's not all about what she does for me. She's absolutely gorgeous, and she has a nobility of spirit that is rare in this world. When she enters a room, it brightens, not just because she's beautiful, but because she's generous with her dazzling smile, even when she's tired. She writes thank you notes to people.

She is everything I asked for in a wife and much, much, much more, and I love her dearly.

And I know there's some of you out there that are saying to yourselves, "Enjoy it while it lasts, kid." Here's something to think about, if you're saying that to yourself: Which stopped first, her doing those things for you, or you really making sure she felt appreciated for those things? When was the last time you stopped everything and told her how much you appreciate all she does? When was the last time that you told her, in a way she could understand, that you loved her and you are grateful for all she does? Why do we have all these jokes about men forgetting their anniversaries? If we can't even remember one of the most momentous days of our lives together, then why SHOULD she pack our stinkin' lunches? smile.gif

My in-laws just turned 50 this year and have been married for 25 years, and my mother-in-law still does all that stuff for my father-in-law. Isn't that awesome? Men, let's appreciate our wives. When you come home from work today, or when she gets home from her job, give her a big hug and kiss, and tell her that you love her and are appreciative of all the work she does to make your house a home. See if you don't get a smile from the love of your life. smile.gif


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Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity...
Posted by sir_tal on Oct 21st, 2004 10:23 AM
As I posted in the Book Stop forum, I am reading a book by Gary Zukav called the Dancing Wu Li Masters, which attempts to explain quantum physics without all the math. Einstein himself said that the general concepts of what physicists are doing are completely explainable to nearly anyone, and Gary Zukav took that and ran with it.

This book is great. Totally interesting, and easy to understand, for the most part. It just explained Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity in a way that was so easy to understand!

The speed of light is a constant. This means that no matter what speed you're moving, the speed of light remains the same. This is totally different from how Newtonian Physics sees the world. If you're travelling at 60 mph and a car comes at you at 60 mph, then the car is moving toward your position at 120 mph. However, light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second.

If you travelled directly at a light source at 4,000 miles per second, the light would be coming at you at 186,000 miles per second, but you would measure it exactly the SAME as if you were standing still. No matter at what rate you're travelling, the speed of light remains constant.

At it's most basic, measuring speed requires a ruler (rod) and a clock. (distance and time). In order for you to measure the same speed of light no matter how fast you're going, the INSTRUMENTS must change. What Einstein determined (and it's been proven), was that the length of the rod gets less as you approach the speed of light until at the speed of light, it disappears completely. Likewise, time slows down as you approach the speed of light until at the speed of light, it stops completely, and mass gets greater as you approach the speed of light until at the speed of light, mass becomes infinite. The length and time make total sense, when you think about it. You need length and time to measure speed, and if the speed remains constant, but should be changing, then the length and time must be changing.

What's wiggy about this is that to the person travlling really fast sees no difference in his length or time...the motionless observer sees the traveller's ruler get shorter and sees the traveller's clock slow down.

And this has been proven! In 1972, the most accurate atomic clocks known to man were put aboard aircraft and flown around the world at supersonic speeds. When the aircraft landed, the clocks were compared to their earthbound counterparts, and the clocks that flew around the world were slower than the ones that stayed motionless! There are other tests that prove the Special Theory of Relativity, but that just blows my mind!!!!

Well, have a good day!!! smile.gif


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Man, I am so sick of Spyware and Adware!!!!
Posted by sir_tal on Oct 20th, 2004 12:01 PM
I work in IT, and my job is technically Hardware Deployments, and hardware and software troubleshooting. The annoying thing is that this includes spyware removal. I cannot believe how HUGE of a problem this is becoming. There is apparently large money in creating programs that sneakily install themselves on people's computers. So here is my little guide to safe computing. It won't get rid of all problems, but it will definitely help!!

=====Chris' Guide to Spyware Avoidance=====
1. Don't click YES on anything unless you know EXACTLY what it's doing. If you go to a page, and something tells you that you need to install Such-And-Such in order to view their page, my advice is don't do it. Unless it's something like Macromedia Flash viewer, or Shockwave Viewer, it's better to not answer yes. Heck, I don't even answer NO to those things. I click the little "X" in the upper right hand corner of those boxes.

2. If something pops up saying you've won something...you haven't. It is very important to know what is happening on your computer. Sometimes things pop up saying you have a new message. Don't click on these. More than likely, they're trying to install spyware on your computer. Just hit ALT+F4 to close it. You might end up closing something else, sure, but it's better than trying to remove VX2 from your system...trust me.

3. Get a spyware removal program and run scans on your computer fairly regularly. The program I recommend is Lavasoft's Ad-Aware. Ad-Aware is a sweet spyware remover that can get rid of almost anything when it's run in safe mode. (PM me if you need instructions on how to boot your computer into safe mode.) http://www.lavasoft.de is where you can get this nifty program. Make sure to "Check for Updates" before you scan for maximum effectiveness.

4. Try to avoid installing free things from the internet unless you know from a reputable source that they're safe. A lot of the "cutesy" programs install spyware on your computer as well as the program you originally wanted. That means things like Comet Cursor, or Smiley Central are definite "no-no's". WeatherBug is another that is not good. I know, they're cute. A lot of people like to install those things because they give you cute little smileys in your e-mail, "ALL FOR FREE!!!" Any economist will tell you, "There's no such thing as a free lunch", and they're right. You might not hand money to them for the program, but you're paying because they're making money off the ads that pop up on your machine, and likely, they're using your computer to send out ads to other computers. Stay away from free programs on the internet unless you know from a reputable source that they're safe.

5. Stay away from Kazaa, and other file-sharing programs. They're becoming illegal anyway, and many of them carry spyware components onto your computer. Computer geeks can probably point you in the direction of some spyware-free ones, though I won't mention them here. smile.gif

6. Befriend a computer geek, and be sure to use them to answer questions. If you're not sure if something is safe to install, ask them FIRST. It's much easier to answer a question then to spend money to have someone clean your computer. I personally charge $30/hour for computer work I do at home, and my co-workers tell me I'm cheap. Sometimes, I've had to spend 4 hours cleaning spyware off a computer. That's $120 when if I had been contacted, I won't charge a dime to tell someone that a certain program is not safe. I don't charge to answer questions because I don't make my livelihood by fixing computers. I charge for my time partially as a punitive measure. Someone who has paid me $90 to fix their computer will be more likely to ask me next time their decision might cost them a hundred bucks. wink.gif A good friend who is also a computer geek will also likely work for food. wink.gif Feed them dinner, and they'll spend an entire weekend working on your computer. wink.gif

7. Finally, and this is very important. If you have Windows XP, install Service Pack 2. There are a lot of Security fixes in Service Pack 2 that are essential to safe computing. (Pop Up blocking, ActiveX Control blocking). If you don't have Windows XP, my advice is to stop using Internet Explorer. I use Mozilla Firefox, and it has proven to be an EXCELLENT browser, with built in Pop-Up blocking, AND it doesn't install stuff automatically!! I have dropped my spyware problems to nothing on some of my clients' computers by switching them to Firefox. If you continue to use IE without Windows XP Service Pack 2, you're going to continue to have problems, sadly.

Thus ends Chris' Guide to Spyware avoidance. smile.gif We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

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What a Monday...
Posted by sir_tal on Oct 18th, 2004 4:26 PM
Well, it's not been all that bad I suppose. smile.gif Started out by making everyone in my department mad at me...well, the important people were mad anyway. An auspicious beginning, I know.

Lunch was nice...took a co-worker out for lunch for her birthday.

However, I have school tonight. Final class session for this class, which means I have a presentation to give. It's a group presentation, and it's not going to be tough. I'm always pretty good at public speaking. I don't LOVE it or anything, but it's not usually too hard for me. However, I forgot everything I needed for this presentation at home, so my wife will be dropping everything off before I leave for class tonight. smile.gif

Yesterday was cool. I went to Best Buy to spend my amassed Birthday money. smile.gif I bought Equilibrium, which was a really cool movie. I also bought Time Bandits, a movie I had not seen in many years. It wasn't bad at all, though I remembered it a lot differently. wink.gif I bought Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which is really fun. What a way to get out your frustrations than by laying waste to a city with guns and vehicles and such. smile.gif

Finally, and most niftily, I got Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Collector's Edition on DVD! WOOOO! I love this movie, and I've been waiting for the perfect moment to get it on DVD. This set is nice. It comes with a bound manuscript of the entire film, which is pretty darn cool. It also comes with a collectible Film Cel all matted nicely. Finally, there are two discs of Python goodness, which is really neat. However, Disc 1 was fairly mangled when I pulled it from the nify box. C'mon guys, the packaging SUCKED! At any rate, I've contacted Columbia TriStar, and they informed me that I need to take it back to Best Buy for exchange, so I'm doing that today on my way to school. (sigh). So close to the Holy Grail of Python Movies. (Pun definitely intended.)

Hope your Mondays are going at least as well as mine. wink.gif


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A sad journal entry...
Posted by sir_tal on Oct 14th, 2004 8:09 AM
I'm not looking for sympathy here. I'm just...well...I guess I'm just explaining how I feel because it's not easy.

Last night, I was out to dinner with my dad and sister to celebrate my belated birthday. My sister tells me first thing that a friend of mine from awhile ago passed away on Sunday.

When I was in grade school my parents divorced, but my dad continued to live in the old neighborhood for a couple years. Well, after my dad moved out of the old neighborhood, I had to change schools. I had just finished my 7th year of school, and was going to move out of the area I'd grown up in. To be honest, it wasn't a good neighborhood, but I'd miss it all the same.

When I moved into the new school, I knew no one. And I was a shy, quiet kid who had enough friends in his books, and didn't care if he knew anyone. But at home, at the beginning of my 7th grade year, I had met a goofy kid named Justin, and we had become close friends. It was at a time in my life when I didn't have many friends, and Justin and I spent a lot of time together. From my 7th grade year through my Junior Year of high school (I know, doesn't seem like a lot of time) Justin and I hung out a lot. When my mom moved out of that neighborhood, I would see Justin every once in awhile, but not often, and we grew apart. A couple years later, I saw Justin and invited him to church. We fell into our old friendship, and soon we were laughing and joking around just like we used to. But even then, distance and life eventually took Justin one way and me another way.

My sister kept in touch through some mutual friends with Justin, and he grew up much differently than I. I didn't see him very often, but I heard about him. Well, at 26 years old, Justin passed away of a heart attack of an enlarged heart. He is survived by his brother, parents and all 4 grandparents. The funeral is today, and I am going. I'm sad, but it's not a devastating sadness. I just think about how happy I am to be married to a wonderful woman, and how Justin died a bachelor. I just think about all the things we dreamed together when we were young, and about how Justin died before realizing those dreams. I remember talking about what we wanted to do with our lives, and Justin never got to see his plans and ambitions achieved. It's hard, to hear about someone dying at such an age. I mean, I'm 27, and I feel like I've been around for awhile, but I know I'm still a kid. (As everyone at work reminds me.) smile.gif I'm not thinking constantly about his death, but rather, I'm reminded of his life, and the time that I got to share in it. I don't have a good ending for this, so I'll end in an oft-used admonishment:

Don't wait to tell someone you appreciate them. Tell your parents you love them. Tell your friends how grateful you are that they're around. Tell your dog, for crying out loud. Celebrate life now, while you have it. Don't wait to talk about old times until the people you spent those times with are gone. Reminisce now...it's ok to do that. Well, I'm off to work and a funeral, but thank you for reading.


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