Taliesin's Journal

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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 17 years! She is amazing, and I am blessed daily by her! (And I try to be a blessing to her as well.) We have and homeschool our 4 children.
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I'm sick of being the only one who cares...
Posted by Taliesin on Mar 16th, 2009 9:27 PM
When I was in high school, I "accepted Christ". I find out later that the more accurate verbiage was that He accepted me, but I digress. And I am thankful, regardless.

Back in the early 90's, it was common to be "sold out" for Christ, or "on fire" for Christ. Not saying this is good or bad, though it did cause a great many of us to have to come to grips with not having that excitement that we equated with being "on fire" as we grew out of our care-free younger years.

Back then, there were many times where we told our friends, "hey man, keep me accountable. 'As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another', you know. I struggle in this area, and I'm being honest with you so that you can can best help me stay on the straight and narrow", etc, etc. I'm sure these things are common in every generation.

What I found, though, was that what my friends REALLY wanted was a Christian they could sin with, who wouldn't really remind them that they are called to a higher standard, and that walking the Christian walk means giving up a lot of things. You see, a lot of big, mainstream churches like to talk about how tough the Christian life is, and then spend all their time trying to make it as easy as possible. When you read the Scriptures, you find that it IS a lot tougher than we originally thought, and what we thought would be a simple decision turns out to be a lifetime of denying ourselves what our flesh tells us we REALLY want. My friends wanted the semblance of being held accountable without having to make the tough decisions on who to spend their time with, how to behave, jokes to make, etc. When it came down to really being reminded that we are to attempt to live holy lives, they got mad when I did what they asked.

So now I'm 31. I thought I left high school FAR behind, but it turns out you never really go too far from it. There's a great deal of immaturity in all of us, and it comes out at inopportune times, making us look rather foolish.

I have a friend who I thought was my best friend. He came (back) to our friendship after he was having problems with the girl he originally left it for. She was now his wife, and she was now leaving him (She was not a Christian, and he was). When he dropped the news on me, I was flummoxed, and I dropped everything to meet him at the pub for a pint or three to talk. All of what had passed, things that were said to me; it was all forgotten, because he needed a friend, and now.

The divorce went through, after 3 years of pain on his part, begging her to come back, etc., etc. He wanted to reconcile, and he put himself through hell and back obeying the Session and making impassioned, heartfelt pleas to her to return. It was all to no avail, though she toyed with him, to be sure. I was there as much as I could be, knowing that he'd be weak at this point, and knowing that he needed a friend.

Fast forward to now, where he's decided that he wants to begin a relationship with another non-Christian. What's more, he's decided he wants to flip the bird to me, God, our Church, etc., regardless of the fact that I was there for this friend when he needed someone to be there for him. All was forgiven when he needed a friend, and now, he could care less again. He lies to me when I ask him what's happening, and he never bothers to talk anymore.

I've got a lot going on right now with my family. We just had our first child in December, and he's taxing my wife and I, and our relationship... I don't have the time I once did to encourage my buddy as I once did. I don't have the time to go down to the pub as often as I would like. I can't sit and play video games as I used to be able to do every now and again.

But that doesn't mean I don't care. I'm just sick of being the only one.

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Like I needed another addiction!
Posted by Taliesin on May 4th, 2005 5:13 PM
My time has been eaten up lately, it seems, by so many things. That's why I have been absent for so long from these boards and journals. I missed it. smile.gif

First, there's my wife. I have been married for almost 2 years, and LOVE IT! I am married to the most wonderful woman I have ever met, and I look forward to the years I will get to spend with her. As a result, I willingly spend a lot of my time with her, and I probably don't spend enough!!! smile.gif

Second, work. Work is not my favorite thing to do, but I do enjoy it. Liking what you do for work is a good thing, definitely, though I am getting to the point where I could really use a vacation. smile.gif

Finally, my other love....Video Games. I'm 27, and my parents had hoped that I would have grown out of this by now, but I don't think it's going to happen...sorry ma! smile.gif Lately, my video game time has coalesced into one video game. (1 game to rule them all, 1 game to find them all, 1 game to bring them all, and on the Internet bind them.) The game is Matrix Online.

Since the Matrix movies were released, there has been a lot of talk about making some video games. First was Enter the Matrix, which was a cool game with some cool combat and such. However, its weakness lay in the fact that it was entirely linear. No choice in the matter...first you do this, then you do this, etc.

The Matrix Online is completely non-linear. You start out as someone who has just been awakened from the Matrix. From here you can do your first missions from the Humans, or Zion. After you do some missions, you will get a chance to do missions for the other organizations in the game, the Machines or the Exiles. The story of the Matrix will continue in this game via live events, where a group of people are actually going to play characters from the movie. Morpheus, Niobe, Seraph, the Oracle....they're all here.

What is so addicting about this game is that you can do almost anything in it. You can interact with other player just talking, dancing, kissing, hugging...whatever you want to do. You can walk around fighting the Exile gang members that populate the game world. You can do missions to advance the storyline...you can actually take part in the storyline. Players have met Morpheus, etc.

The game is a lot of fun, and I look forward to seeing where the writers of the Matrix Online will take the story. I look forward to the time when I am a high enough level to be a major player in the game. Should be fun.


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Hoody HOO! TiVo-like computer is complete!!!
Posted by sir_tal on Jan 6th, 2005 6:15 PM
This is sort of a continuation of the last journal entry. I have been listening to Celtic Radio on my main stereo system for a long time now, and I love it! But now, the main thrust of the project is DONE!

I got the tuner card, software, hard drive, and remote control for my computer for Christmas. I finally got everything installed and set up last weekend, and the result is even better than I thought it would be! I can now pause, rewind, and record Live TV. The software I am using, Beyond TV has their own programming guide, where you can just click on a show and set it to record that particular show or every occurrence of that show. With a 200 Gigabyte hard drive, I can store something like 108 hours of Television. And the best thing about it, I don't even have to pay a monthly fee!!! WOOO!

Anyway, I'm happy that I finally got it all working. Now all I have to do is get my Satellite installed so I can stop using this stupid antenna. I hate antenna. Especially with TiVo. With antenna, you know, you have to set up the stupid antenna to receive each station, and each station requires a different position of the antenna. This means that if I want to record something on both the WB channel AND Fox, I have to fix the antenna properly between each recording. If that doesn't defeat the purpose of TiVo, I don't know what does!

This weekend is the magical install date of Dish Network. Again, hoody hoo, and I hope you all had wonderful holiday seasons and happy new years!


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Personal Celtic Radio project...
Posted by sir_tal on Nov 8th, 2004 4:07 PM
This project I'm working on is actually bigger than Celtic Radio but...well....I'll tell the story.

My wife and I have wanted to get cable or satellite for awhile, but with our current budget, and how little free time we have, we have been unable to justify the extra cost. People tell me, you could get a TiVo system! For those that don't know, TiVo is a system that lets you record your favorite TV shows, and then pause and/or rewind live TV. I'm really loving the idea of a TiVo system, but I have some problems with it.

Namely, money. I HATE extra monthly fees. Now, I'm resigned to paying the extra money a month for cable or Satellite. You're getting a big service, and you've got to pay for it. However, TiVo and other related services charge MORE money for their services. Apparently, TiVo feels the need to charge you for access to their programming guide. Now, if you have satellite, you've already got a handy dandy TV-Guide-Like menu, and now you have to pay for TiVo's as well??? It's like $13 a month, which translates into almost $160 a year. Wait a minute, you're paying for the TiVo equipment already, and now it's going to cost you $160 per year MORE? If you use it for 2 years, you've paid $200 for the equipment and $320 for the service for a grand total of $520. Whoa. If that's peanuts for anyone out there, then in the words of Virgil Solozzo, "I tip my hat to you." (Oh, and I realize that many cable/satellite subscribers got their equipment with their cable or satellite package for a small extra fee and get their service for only $5 a month extra, but it's still the principle.)

So do I have another option, I asks myself? Oh yes. I happen to have an extra computer laying around that is speedy enough to play games and handle almost anything I want to put on it. (I built this computer myself, as I'm an IT guy.) smile.gif So, says I, I can just add a TV Tuner Card, Remote Control, software, and VOILA! Computer-turned-DVR! (Digital Video Recorder.) The software for recording TV charges nothing for access to their programming guide, so aside from the initial expenditure for the equipment, I pay nothing else. (Aside from my monthly cable/satellite bill.) So what does all this have to do with Celtic Radio? I'm coming to that, my friend. smile.gif

This weekend, I was listening to CR while doing some programming homework, lamenting the fact that my laptop has horrid speakers for listening to music. So I begin to think to myself, "If only I could get Celtic Radio through my home stereo, which would sound MUCH nicer." All of a sudden, it hits me. I CAN!

I've got the computer all set up on my main TV up front, all ready for me to buy the TV Tuner card, remote, software, etc. I hooked it up and set it up all nice in my entertainment center to see what the video and sound was on my TV/Home Stereo.

In order for this computer to work as a DVR, it needed a connection to the internet to get the programming guide. A $20 Wireless Network card took care of that last weekend, and now I have a fully functioning, Internet-connected computer hooked up to my TV and Stereo. I install iTunes, my preferred CR listening device, and BOOM! Out comes the sound of Gaelic Storm over the much nicer speakers of my home stereo! I turn the TV off, and continue programming on my laptop while listening to my favorite music. WOO!!!

Now if only I could get CR in my car... smile.gif


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GAH!!! Laptop problems...this is a good one!
Posted by sir_tal on Nov 3rd, 2004 6:50 PM
So here's what happened.

Sunday - 10am: I turned my laptop on, expecting a couple of hours of homework before I put my CD/DVD shelves together. However, when I turned my laptop on, the screen backlight wasn't working. I could see that the computer was displaying graphics, but with no light on behind the screen, I couldn't see it that well. This happened once before, but it started working again 20 minutes later, so I know this panel is faulty. I'm an IT Professional, so I took the blasted thing apart and put it back together. (A technique that has worked with many a laptop screen.) Didn't work. Took it back apart and checked all the wires. Everything seemed to be plugged in pretty securely, and when I turned it back on (before putting it back together), it still didn't work. So now I had to call HP tech support.

Sunday - 11:15am: I call the HP number and get someone in India. She was very nice. However, she wouldn't take my word for it that I had performed the necessary tests. So then she asks me to "please press and hold the power button for 3 minutes. Press it down, and I will tell you to release it." OH CRAP! I've got the laptop in about 40 pieces. I'm scrambling to find the power button, when she asks me. "Sir, do you know where the power button is?" "Uhhh...yeah.....um.....gimme a second." Finally, I get the laptop power button put back on, and I press it in. Didn't do a thing. So she tells me I am going to need to ship the laptop. I say, "I'm an IT professional. Can you send me the LCD panel, and I'll return you the defective one?" "No, because it may be a problem with the video card...blah blah." So I get the information to ship it and hang up with her. Now I need to put the laptop back together. 20 minutes later, I get it put back together. I turn it on, and the freakin' backlight works!!! GRRRRR.... Oh well, I think. I need to get this defective screen replaced anyway. She told me to ship it WITHOUT a battery, AC Adapter, or any CD's in the drive. No problem. I grab a couple of files that I'm going to need to work on this week and pack the laptop for shipping on Monday.

Wednesday - 12pm: My wife calls. "The laptop is back," she says. Ok...great! I've got some work I need to do on it. "Can you unpack it and tell me how everything looks," says I. She agrees and I hear the sounds of the laptop box being opened. This is how the conversation went:

Kim: "Hmmm...this paper that was packed with the laptop says that the hard drive was imaged, and repacked and sent back."

Chris (with much feeling): "WHAT!?!?!?!"

Kim: "Yeah...says here that they duplicated the problem, imaged the hard drive, and sent it back. Let me start it up..............ok, it's booting......it says, 'Welcome to Windows XP.'"

Chris (almost successfully fighting off the urge to swear uncontrollably): "GIVE ME A PICKIN' BREAK!!!! What is that about????"

Turns out that's *exactly* what they did. Apparently, standard HP practice is to immediately image a hard drive back to factory defaults, which means the user loses everything on his/her hard drive. However, my major beef is that THEY DIDN'T TELL ME THIS!!! Again, I'm an IT Person. I happen to know that there is no reason they needed to re-image my hard drive and lose everything I had on there! So I call HP, and I get a not-very-heartfelt, "I am sorry." Whoopteedoo! I don't care if you're sorry. I care that I got my laptop back with nothing useful on it, and the same dang broken screen I sent them still installed on it!!!!!

Now, it can be argued that I should have backed up my data before sending it. Sure. But they didn't tell me they would image my hard drive. If this was an accident, I could have dealt with it. Accidents happen. But their imaging of my hard drive is NOT an accident!!! It is a policy of which they did not inform me, and as a result of which, I lost everything I had on my hard drive. Now, I can get all the programs back. I have the CD's for most of them, and the rest of them can easily be downloaded. But all the creative writing, all the work for my Hackmaster RPG campaign, and all the save game files I had are gone! Everything. And I have to spend countless hours reinstalling Windows XP Professional, and setting up all those programs again!!! Dag NAB it!!!

So now you all know my story. My recommendation? Don't buy from HP if you can avoid it.

Want the rest of the story? Ok. Their case manager is calling me back sometime tomorrow to talk with me about my situation. What is the best I can hope for? The best I can hope for is that they fix my screen. I can do nothing about the lost data. It wasn't backed up, and is worth nothing to anyone but me. That data doesn't represent lost wages, or damages. Nothing out of my pocket. Just personal time and work that no one but me cares about. So essentially, the best I can hope for is that they'll replace the screen that they should have replaced in the first darn place, but I will say that it is maddening to have lost my data all for NOTHING. To have the same faulty screen back is a slap in the face, and I can tell you that I will have nothing to do with HP anymore. And if I have anything to say about it, my company will not be buying any more HP servers. (And since I handle purchasing, I do have something to say about it.) smile.gif Have a good day!


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