personal comments edit

Friday night, the Fourth of July, Jenn and I went down to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes baseball game and took part in the fireworks show after the game.

Now, when I say “took part in,” what I mean is, “we actually hand-lit the professional fireworks show.”

My boss, Greg, is a licensed pyro and was hired to do the show down there. He needed some help, so a couple of the guys in my department and I stepped up. Hey, it’s fireworks - up close and personal.

Jenn and I got down there about 3:00p, just after Greg. Greg brought Mike, a guy who used to be in my department but defected to go to the Security department (bastard). We sat around for a little while to wait for the rest of the guys to show up. Eventually, Eddie, Justin, and Brad arrived and we started setting up.

We dug out a trench (thank goodness the thing was already dug from last year; all we had to do was clear it out a bit), set up the boxes of fireworks, and then… waited.

A lot.

At some point around the 6:00p timeframe, Justin’s wife showed up with food - oh, yeah. Eddie also made a burger run, so there was no shortage of chow.

Around 9:00p or thereabouts, Justin, Brad, Mike, and I all got into our fire gear (fireman coats and helmets with face shields). Around 10:00p, the baseball game ended and Greg fired up the first “fusee” (basically a road flare that you use to light the fireworks with)… and we waited while the baseball people got their crap together.

Shortly after, Greg lit a second fusee (they took too long and the first got put out), handed it to Brad (my fireworks lighting partner) and we lit the first box.

It’s like a damn war zone when you’re lighting these things. You have to stay on your knees, crouched down (so your head doesn’t get blown off by one of the mortars), carrying this road flare that’s dripping molten plastic, and paying attention to Greg, who tells you when to light the next box. You’ve got earplugs that help out, but you can feel the impact of each mortar as it fires off. Burned (and burning) particles come raining down on your head and back (that’s why you’ve got helmets and coats) and your lighting partner has to brush them off of you so you don’t get burned.

Scary shit, man, but fun like nothing else.

I mean, it’s dangerous stuff, but we were all being totally safe and careful, and I think what made the whole thing fun was knowing that we were able to blow stuff up in a fun, yet reasonably controlled, environment. It’s that rush you get when you’re blowing things up with M-80s when you’re a kid… but way bigger, and way better.

So, that was my Independence Day. Good times.

Saturday and Sunday I didn’t really do anything of note. Jenn and I did our usual household chores, shopping, etc. Rented a couple of movies (Tears Of The Sun and Save the Last Dance), bought xXx in Superbit format. Got me a nose/ear hair trimmer. That’s it.

This morning Jenn’s cell phone rang at 4:46a and I never did get back to sleep. I’d kill her, but I’m too tired. And now I’m in training, getting ready for class to start.

sql, personal comments edit


The instructor made a Starbucks run before class and got me a VentiTM Mocha Frappuccino®. I’m feeling pretty good and ready to learn. Amazing, the power of Starbucks.


We’re on break.

Things are starting to come together. We’re doing a review of some of the database server stuff, and I actually do recognize the stuff we’re talking about, so I think that’s a good thing. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a test of any nature, so the idea of taking these Microsoft certification tests sort of freaks me out, almost like I’ve forgotten how to study or learn.

I think the real problem I have with testing, especially when it comes to computer-related stuff, is that there really isn’t a time when I’ll be programming or doing something and I won’t have access to help documentation or books. You don’t have to memorize things. You use the facilities that are available. But in tests, you don’t get the books… so you have to do the memorization. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to do that. I hope I do well.

This is the last SQL Server class I’ve got scheduled, so I’m going to try to get the self-test software, study up a bit, and schedule the test. I only get reimbursed the $125 for the test if I pass… I’d best pass.

Thank God they’re multiple choice tests.

Okay, back to class.


I did my standard Fred Meyer deli lunch, having a “jalapeño cheese stick” and two “pizza sticks” because they were out of burritos. I also looked around in the photo/electronics section (as is my wont) and didn’t see anything I needed.

During lunch I continued reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the UK edition, which I started this weekend. Compared to the Tom Clancy book I finished, this is a walk in the park. I’m glad to finally get into a book that I can enjoy and read quickly - I have a better time with it and don’t feel like there’s a whole lot of work for very little payoff. I’m already like 200 pages into it, and I haven’t even really dedicated a lot of time to it.


I’ve not written a lot about the class because, frankly, it’s not the most interesting material, and for those non-technical folks out there, it’s even worse. Basically, what I’m finding out here is that there’s a lot for me to learn, especially in light of the fact I need to take some tests on this stuff and actually pass without using the manuals that I am accustomed to using.

I was able to get my hands on the self test software that goes along with the courses, so I’m hoping that I can take some time and study that maybe next week while I’m in Bellevue sitting bored. I also need to do some of the labs from the class I took a couple of weeks ago (that I didn’t get the chance to do labs in).

I wish I had a CD burner on my laptop. I’ve been downloading this self test software and whatnot to my USB drive (thank goodness I’ve got that!) but they’re pretty large files and I need to offload some of that to CD - if anything, for archival purposes. I may have to go in to work sometime this week, maybe during lunch, and burn off this stuff to CD. Gotta do it at least by next week, since I’ll be in Bellevue.

I should hook myself up with wwwstat so I can see how many people are checking out my site. I’m starting to gather that I have a lot of you lurkers out there who read me but don’t leave comments (shame on you!).


That’s it! I just finished the lab, so I’m outta here. If I get home in time, maybe I’ll work on some of the labs I missed out on…

… or maybe I’ll just read Harry Potter. :)

movies comments edit

I went to Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, & Blonde yesterday.


If you’ve seen the first one, then you’ll find that this is such a total re-hash of the original’s jokes that you wonder if they didn’t just take the first movie’s script and massage it a little. And the thing about that is the first one felt sort of fresh and fun; it’s not fresh anymore because it’s a sequel.

Not to mention in the first one I could suspend my disbelief enough to say, “Yeah, okay, maybe she’s a big dork, but she somehow was able to make her way through law school. I’ll buy it.” I’m sure it could never have happened in real life, but it was acceptable in the movie. In this latest adventure, they take the valley girl into Washington DC where she proceeds to throw out every bit of protocol that 200 years of government has worked to establish and somehow, magically, it all seems to work out for her. Representatives who would normally have considered the financial impacts of certain bills and voted the way that would make the economy (and their own pocketbooks) work somehow decide that it’s time to “do the right thing.” Sorry, folks. Welcome to the land of the pork-barrel project. Doing the “right thing” is a gray area, and rarely is it what you and I would consider “right.”

Anyway, all of that pretty much shot my suspended disbelief in the head. I sat there, checking my watch, wondering when they were going to get anywhere or maybe do something funny or original… and it never happened. So, if you’ve seen the first one, cherish it, and maybe consider renting this one on a night you feel like getting drunk.

If you haven’t seen the first one, rent that and call it a day.

Can I say anything positive about it?


Well, I always like Reese Witherspoon, and her Elle Woods character is reasonably entertaining to watch. She’s fun and quirky, and watching the stuff she and her dog get into is funny.

I just think that next time (and, at this rate, let’s hope there is no next time) they need to start with only the idea of Elle Woods, from scratch, and write from there. Unless you’re Mike Myers, rehashing the same thing is probably not going to work for you.

personal comments edit

A while ago I was talking about how I was going to order some Zaino car wax because I had heard some good things about it and it was reasonably affordable.

Well, I placed my order (I did snail-mail, since at the time that’s all they offered, but they just recently put up a web-based ordering system, so next time…). But I thought of a question that I wanted to find out the answer to - they mention on the site that they have applied the polish “in the Arizona sun,” so I started wondering if that was in direct sunlight or what - I mean, you can really mess up your finish if you do that with normal polish, right?

Thus, I emailed the company’s support contact and asked my question.

The president of the company wrote me back and answered. (You can apply it in direct sunlight, but you will use up more product than if you don’t. He recommends against, but it doesn’t mess you up like regular polish/wax will.)

That’s customer service.

personal comments edit

I finished reading that damn Tom Clancy book last night. After fighting through 1067 odd pages and reaching the conclusion, I feel pretty cheated. I’m of a mind to write Mr. Clancy and tell him that if he wants me to work that hard to get through a book, he really needs to make the payoff worthwhile. As it is, I’m having a tough time justifying the $6.98 bargain table price on that one.

I was thinking a couple of days ago about friends moving in and out of your life… and no sooner did I say that, then all these people started sending me emails. My man Gerb, he and I are like best buds, I hadn’t heard from him for, like, ever. Got an email from him to say he’s moving into my neighborhood, which is cool because we can get together and hang out. Another friend of mine, Brent, fell off the face of the world about a year or so ago, leaving no contact information at all, and he just dropped me a line. Even Jenn is getting into the mix - she got in contact with her old roommate from a couple of years ago. Jenn hasn’t talked to her since they moved out, so that’s good.

The Fourth of July weekend approaches at an altogether too rapid pace. I’ve got two weeks of training coming up, and I’m not even close to finished with the stuff I need to get done here in the office. I suppose it’ll all be here when I get back.

Friday (the fourth) I’ll be setting up a professional fireworks shoot with my boss (a licensed pyro) and a couple of the guys from my department. That should be fun, and with any luck I’ll actually get to light one or two of them off between taking turns manning the fire extinguishers.

Beyond that, there’s nothing on the schedule, but there are still the standard household maintenance jobs to perform, so before I know it, the weekend’s going to be gone (again). Hopefully I’ll get in a little time to start the new Harry Potter book. I’ve had it sitting here for a while but needed to finish that Tom Clancy bomb before I started a new book. Now’s my chance.