Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Family Values

That crazy person was me, after meeting my little neice Ava for the very first time.

I certainly don't miss the snow in Canada, and I love everything California has to offer, but the one downside of living 2,500 miles away is the greatly-reduced face time with family.

I think it's time to buy a webcam. I really want this little girl to know who Aunt Andrea, Uncle Danny, and her cousins are.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blech !

My common stocks are now officially 50% of the value they held a year ago.

Good thing I didn't put all my eggs in this one, very volatile, basket.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Fun

It is amazing what you can do with two completely artistically-inept people, two pumpkins, and a $10 pumpkin carving set from Target.

We did a pretty decent job, humungous mess from doing so aside. A cool activity for an on-call Sunday at very least !

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


In Krav Maga class recently, our instructor was demonstrating some takedowns and submissions for us to practice. One such technique involved kneeling in front of one's opponent, and performing an effective controlling maneuver to neutralize the threat.

As he knelt, facing the female senior member of the class, he clutched her wrist and asked, "From this position, how would I get her on her back ?"

Without missing a beat, she answered,

"Flowers and candy."

All martial-arts-mandated decorum was completely lost after that.

Friday, October 17, 2008

There's More to SoCal Than Disneyland

Over the past three summers, we have made it a family tradition to load up the car and travel to Orange County to visit Danny's sister and her husband, and to enjoy some of the local attractions available. We have done the requisite Disneyland and Universal Studios theme parks, as well as some of the malls in the area. This year, we decided to do something different.

When Danny was a child, his parents took their family to a theme park called Knott's Berry Farm. He remembered that it was a fun place that he and his siblings enjoyed immensely. I had never heard of it, however I welcomed the opportunity to explore something new. It turned out to be some of the most fun our family has ever had.

We went on a Friday, and because of the current economic downturn, the park was mostly empty. We rode almost every ride, some several times, and only had to wait for one of them. Jacqueline made us all proud by fearlessly riding two (non-looping) rollercoasters, which is an amazing feat, considering she would not even get on a coaster with kids half her age 3 years ago. The fact that she agreed to go on these two rides, and even asked to go on more than once, makes us very proud and happy.

Here are some silly hat pictures !

Nice sombrero, but boo-worthy jersey (because of Kobe Bryant).

It's Nemo ! And he's sitting on Jacqueline's head !

And after this awesome day of thrills and fun, I finally put it all together: Knott's Berry Farm is not only a great amusement park; it is also the maker of my absolute favorite raspberry shortbread cookies.

How cool is that ?

And of course, our main reason for the trip was Danny's sister and her husband, and their beautiful bundle of joy.

Danny's family is notorious for producing the cutest babies, with the most plentiful cheeks anyone has ever seen.

Sweet little Juliana is no exception.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Cry For Help

"Why are you doing this ? You're treating him like an animal !", exclaimed the shaking, traumatized administrative assistant. "Why is he handcuffed on the floor ?"

"Ma'am", explained one of the many police officers on the scene, "This is standard procedure, for his safety, your safety, and for ours. We cannot risk him hurting himself or anyone else."

"He would never try to kill himself", she beseeched, as the deep knife wound from his wrist to his forearm bled slowly. "He has worked with our team for years. He's not like that !"

"We are taking good care of him", the officer assured her, as the Fire Department arrived on the scene.

I relayed the details of this conversation to my ERT coordinator in private in the stairwell. Although I was first on the scene from our team, I was not able to treat the patient because I didn't have my medical bag or gloves with me. The Security officer's bag was completely devoid of all the supplies I required. All I could do was stand by, somewhat helplessly, and watch as the surreal scene unfolded.

The coordinator and I proceeded to the data center, where the patient had received the long, deep slice to his forearm. It looked like a scene out of a CSI episode -- blood spattered all over the data center floor, a bloody Xacto knife sitting surreptitiously on the shelf, and a blood trail throughout the hallway, out the door, down the ramp, and along the carpeted cube-area floor to where the patient was being restrained by the police.

The call had come in as an attempted suicide; first reported on a concerned bystander's cell phone. Our ERT was alerted some time later by the administrative assistant, who had called us on an internal phone. I found out later from the Security supervisor why the patient had been handcuffed.

Apparently, as he was being led to the cubicle area by another concerned bystander, the patient had noticed a second Xacto knife on that person's desk. He had picked up that knife, and without a word, had continued slicing his wrist and arm, with purpose and conviction, just as he had done in the data center moments before.

The police had arrived, just as the Good Samaritan was attempting to remove the knife from the distraught patient's hands.

Some say that the patient may not have really wanted to kill himself. He had made the first cuts in a data center with several people in the immediate area. He had told the first bystander, the one who had called 911 on his cell phone, his intentions. Perhaps, with the economy in the toilet, and foreclosures and personal bankruptcies abound, our patient was crying out for help.

We will never know what was going through his mind at the time.

As is standard procedure, the patient was commited to a "5150 hold", with a mandatory 72-hour hospital stay, and counseling.

I hope that this man, this white-haired, kindly-looking gentleman, gets the help that he needs.

Monday, October 13, 2008


After the week from hell, I was pleasantly surprised today by the group that had requested all the work that I had done for them. As I am salaried and do not receive overtime, they recognized all the hours I had put in for their project, and acknowledged it; to the tune of a nice, fat bonus, and some very sincere thanks.

This is what makes it all worthwhile.

I love my job. And I really, truly mean that.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Rough Night... Rough Week

The night from hell has turned into the week from hell.

Attempting to solve multiple issues with an untested technology forced into our network by an overzealous product group, while simultaneously paying attention in class, proved not to be very effective in either endeavor. What started off as a simple hardware swap turned into several extra hours per day, troubleshooting, debugging and discussing with others on how to proceed.

Thankfully, all issues were resolved yesterday, coinciding with the product group's deadline. As the class had wrapped up early, I went into the office for a few hours to work on email, then headed out shortly after 5pm for the journey home.

I was actually in a pretty good mood. The problems of the week were supposedly behind me, the training class was over, and I was ready; ready to go home, to make a kickass dinner, then to relax with Danny and some HD sports.

Until I looked at my car.

It had a FLAT. TIRE.

After all the shit I had endured this week, with pressing deadlines, pushy project managers, failing hardware and a demanding training course, Fate just had to rub salt in the wound by flattening my rear tire, thereby preventing me from going home in a timely manner.


I called Danny up, told him the news, and promptly busted out laughing. What else can ya do ? It was either that, or cry.

I am taking tomorrow afternoon off. Awesome Boss has already approved it.

I am so done with this week.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Rough Night

You know you have had a rough night at work....

When you crash into bed at midnight after fixing some failed hardware, and then proceed to dream about feeding your cat's Prozac pills to said failed hardware.

I am dead serious.

Need more coffee.
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