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Monday, May 29, 2006

Work, in-law, Wedding and "NO!"

So many things have happened... However, unlike CherkyB, who succinctly remembers all the details in the funny aspect of life, I only can vaguely summarize the main events in the past few days:

1) work is taking over again...

2) My in-law arrived last Wed night from Taiwan! He had been living in Korea in the past 2 years with my brother-in-law. My brother-in-law will return next month.

3) I went to a Jewish wedding on Sunday.

4) RyanC started saying "NO!"

In the short time my in-law has been here, he has relocated and rearranged all the plants in the front-yard (by moving some to the backyard), per wife's instructions. He has also sanded the fence (did a great job there with the the smooth fence surface!) and will probably start and finish painting before I stop coughing. I think he will get bored in a few days when he finishes all the house chores that I had planned for the rest of the year. Well, it's okay. RyanC continues to be fond of grandpa so he's been attaching himself to grandpa more and more. I suspect in-law also enjoys RyanC's company because little boy reached for grandma as soon as they met at ~2am that night when we got back from Denver International Airport. Wife said he already changed RyanC's diapers a few times while I was away at the wedding. The only thing that he hasn't done is to take care of RyanC as he randomly wakes up at midnight, 3am or 5am -- that's still my speciality since "NO"-boy is somehow more attached to me at those times.

Since my in-law was here, I didn't feel too bad about leaving wife and kid at home to go to a co-worker's wedding on Sunday. Wife and kid was invited but wife didn't want to go (being 8+ month pregnant) and then I didn't really want to take the chance with RyanC ruining the wedding experience. The wedding was at Stanley Hotel at Estes Park, CO. I had not realized that is where "The Shining" was based on until I saw the posters at the basement of the main hotel. It was the first Jewish wedding I've ever been to, which was pretty exciting to see different customs. It was also the first time I heard a concert with classical music, which was part of the 45-minute music portion of the ceremony. I liked the music though I would have preferred more comfortable chair. I believe it was also the first time long island ice-tea made me feel nothing so I don't really remember too much. Good thing I got a ride so I didn't have to drive. Okay, I didn't really forget that much.. It was a great wedding and I just can't seem to describe the details with words...

RyanC has been getting better at communicating with us. He points to his mouth when he wants food/water. He points to items that he wants to have and sometimes whines/cries when he doesn't get it. He laughs and giggles when making a mess. And he says "NO!" whenever we ask/tell him to do something. e.g. "Ryan, is it bed-time?" "NO!" He is practically a teenager! He just doesn't ask for money yet -- though he enjoys taking my wallet and emptying all the contents all over the floor. I had thought he started saying "mama" or "dada" but he seems to make those sounds without really knowing what they meant... but he sure knows "uh oh" and "NO!" well. I think he is ready to start blogging and do a better job than daddy.

PS. Dell still has not shipped my Sigma 30mm 1.4 lens.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Open Sesame!

RyanC knows how to open doors!

When I first heard about it from my wife yesterday, I was a bit skeptical because I thought he was still super shorty -- and it seemed too coincidental that he'd open the unlocked front-door around the time when the ice-cream truck comes by and then start dancing to tune of the music.

When I got home yesterday, I put the little guy to the test and asked him to open the bathroom door. He struggled a little bit to tip-toe and reach for the handle but he got it! Repeatedly! ARGH! This meant we could no longer count on containing him in his bedroom when it comes to bed time! Hence, I stayed with him until he fell asleep when it came to sleep time...

Later in the night, hours after we put RyanC to bed, I noticed that his door was ajar. I walked inside and did not find the little boy anywhere on bed. Fearing the worst, I turned on the light and found my boy lying face down on the carpet -- not too far away from the mattress. He was sleeping soundly. Apparently he figured out how to open the door but did not come out for some reason. Lucky us...

I borrowed a Canon 50mm 1.8 lens today to see how well this cheaper lens (~$80) works compared with the pricier 50mm 1.4 ($300+). Initial impression is that this lens does not seem as sharp as the 50mm 1.4. The autofocus felt almost just as fast for regular snap shots. It's not too bad for the price though! On another note, Dell still has not shipped my sigma 30mm 1.4 lens. I have stopped checking every few hours....

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Weather changed from cloudy in the morning to hot sun for the rest of the day, with some drizzle in between... typical CO weather. It was hot in our hose as temperature reached 84F in the afternoon -- didn't turn on AC because we kept on thinking it'll get cooler and it just got hotter and hotter.

We ended up staying at home today since I was too exhausted to drive to Denver after the bloody morning. RyanC had another nose bleed episode during morning nap and this time he got blood all over the carpet and door. It was messy but the boy was okay. When we did laundry to wash his bloody sheets, we were lucky to find out that the 4 layers of sheets used were all bloddy and they were just enough to protect the mattress from getting bloddy. Why do we use 4 layers? It's really because we were too cheap to buy a water-proof mattress cover for RyanC's mattress -- so we just added more sheets to protect against overflowing diaper conditions. It was amazing to see that detergent and oxy cleaned up all the various bloody spots.

I finally got something done for our own yardwork though. I mowed the lawn and trimmed the edges when the weather cooled in the evening. This was the first lawn mowing for our yard this year - sure dragged it out long enough!

Also got some more shooting done when horses showed up in the farm behind our backyard earlier in the day. One of the perks of our house's location is that we get to see rabbits, horses, dogs, and cows occasionally. In the early days when our grass was severely overgrown, the horses would reach over the wired fence and eat our grass. The following pictures were taken at with the Tamron 28-300mm zoom lens at 300mm. The first picture shows the view of the horse where we had trouble telling head or tail initially.


If all goes well, tomorrow we will head to Denver for some food and groceries!

Bloody Morning

Snapped a few more pictures of RyanC this morning in the cloudy day and this is one of the very few focused ones. In the good old P&S Digital camera days, I used to have trouble capturing "the moment" and blamed it all on the camera not being able to keep up with RyanC's active movement. dSLR was going to be the key -- as I often explained to my wife. The great thing about dSLR is that the moment can be captured with its faster operations. The harsh reality is that I now have difficulty attributing my problem to the equipment - it really might just be me! I have been taking a lot (~25-50%) out-of-focus pictures since my hand shakes at the last minute or I recomposed the frame after focusing.

I am only counting the pictures where the key subject is out-of-focus and not the ones where the background seems blurry (that's intentional with the aperature settings). Maybe I need one of those $1k+ lenses with IS (Image Stabilization) where it helps with hand-shake! The thing is... if I buy the really nice lens, then I might really prove that it's just me and not the equipment. I am not yet ready for such confirmation in my life.

My inquisitive readers may wonder, how come only show one picture from this morning? Well, the other focused ones show too clearly of RyanC's running nose and drooling and I am saving those for when he grows up and brings a date home or something...

RyanC is still sick from the daycare so he has been fussier than usual - in fact, even daycare people noticed he was fussier on Friday. Maybe they had been polite in not telling us until it's RyanC's last day at this temporary daycare arrangement. At last, wife is finally done with the 2 week jury-duty! This means she will be tired from taking care of fussy baby instead of sitting in court-room. It doesn't sound like they are going to get together to write a book about their case like Scott Peterson's jurors did -- that may change if some national media starts getting interested in case involving someone suing a company for their car causing car-accident.

RyanC woke me up this morning at 2am and then 5:30am. At 2am, he apparently only wanted some water before he fell back to sleep in my arms -- he even refused grapes. But there was a bigger surprise at 5:30am. I found RyanC with major bloody face and that the bed sheet had bloody spots as well. ARGH! The blood was mostly dry so it must have happened earlier. This is the 2nd time it's happened to him -- I better turn the humidifier back on again. I tried to wash his face clean and it took multiple attempts as he violently pushed my hand away or cried his head off. Usually I'd just hand him to mommy since she knows best (i.e. best to clean him up and not let his crying interfere with the cleaning)... but she was still sleeping. So I fed RyanC some grapes and he calmed down eventually.

Hmm.. I am supposed to take a nap so I can drive the family to Denver for lunch and grocery shopping...

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I got sick last weekend from something RyanC caught at daycare. My symptoms are running nose and sore throat. Poor little RyanC has been having problem sleeping so it's extra tiring for me -- especially since my arms and back are still sore from the yardwork.

I've turned into a browser-reload maniac in the past few days. It all started when I found out about the surprise shipment of my dSLR (Canon Rebel XT) last Friday, which is 3 weeks earlier than Dell had estimated. I was so excited that I've been clicking reload on the DHL status page every hour -- even though DHL says expected delivery is May 17th... There is something about being able to track a package constantly that makes it irresistable...

On May 12th (Friday), package went through sort at Atlanta, GA
On May 13th (Saturday), package went through sort at Columbia, MO

I then googled the driving distance between Atlanta, GA and Loveland, CO to see how it compares with Atlanta, GA to Columbia, MO. ~12 hours so that meant the package could arrive on Tuesday - one day earlier than "projected". I clicked on reload furiously on Monday but there was no update. I then repeated these inquiries on late Tuesday (or rather, early Wed AM) and still did not see an update. Darn DHL should have provided information on when the package LEFT their facility!

At this time I was depressed so I started googling for DHL missing packages. Some of the negative postings freaked me out and I started thinking maybe I should have ordered from another place that uses FedEx. I went to bed thinking that I may never get my dSLR. It doesn't really make sense how I was preparing to wait for 6+ weeks to save 3 buckets of KFCs and yet I got extra nervous with the package not getting to me ASAP. It might be because I had already borrowed some lens to get ready to test my new camera body! (My Sigma 30mm 1.4 lens is still not yet shipped according to Dell)

Woke up early Wed morning and checked DHL tracking site and there was still no update! I then went to work and clicked reload every few minutes -- hoping that my eagerness can speed up the delivery. It worked - or so I would like to think! At 9:30am I found out that my package reached Loveland and is out for delivery! This is when I started hitting reload more frequently... I would have stayed home if I didn't have all these meetings scheduled where I was a required attendee -- not because I say much but because they want someone to do work...

At 11:15am the package was delivered according to the tracking indicator so I rushed home to pick up the camrea. I didn't want to take a chance with losing the package as it sits in the front door. Normally I wouldn't worry this much but I really got tired from clicking reload - and my wife is still on that never ending jury-duty stuff! Luckily, my precious dSLR was patiently waiting for me when I got home. Yippie! Oh wait, except now I keep on checking on the order status of my lens to see whether Dell has shipped it yet...

It didn't take me long to snap 100+ pictures after getting home from work earlier than usual. RyanC was having running nose and was also drooling all over himself as he ate the California Kitchen Pizza (white cheese, thin crust), which is our favorite easy-to-make food lately. I took pics of RyanC until he cried from wanting to grab my new camera. He should have been thankful that I didn't use flash to make him look totally dazed.

Anyways, here are some non-flash pictures that didn't go completely out of focus when using Canon 50mm 1.4 lens, which should be similar to the lens I purchased. I still have a lot to learn about photography -- just like everything else.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Return of the Blah

I am exhausted. My arms and back are sore...

It's been 8 days since my last update. I was aiming to match CherkyB's record of non-posting but instead I shatterd it. Why was I aiming to match the non-posting record? Well, it started with the Friday following my post when I realized that my body was still feeling the effect of that pint of Easy Street and I didn't feel like doing anything. I thought to myself that I'll wait for da funny blog update of the dedicated (well, not so-dedicated with recent trend) fat camper for further inspiration -- I waited and waited and then hectic life took over. Hence, this long absence did not make me a better story teller/writer so my bored readers may continue to be disappointed.

A few things did happen during this time...

The first involves the beginning of RyanC's stay at day care on May 9th. Our 17-month old kid had never been away from us until this point. Naturally it was really stressful for us as we dropped him off before wife headed to court. Oh yeah. What started this was a jury-duty summon that arrived for my 8-month wife. As obvious it seems, we were amazed with her luck as she got picked as final juror (7 out of 70 ppl that showed up) despite her pregnant state. (Who would want a potentially cranky house-wife deciding the fate of their case while a baby is kicking/flipping around inside her tummy as she listens to others yack?) In fact, not only did she get selected, she got a case that is projected to take 10 business days to finish -- not the nominal 1-3 day jury service. We thought it was so unlikely that we went out and bought a lottery ticket to see if the trend woud continue -- but her luck ended there.

Anyways, back to us scrambling to find a day-care and then dropping RyanC off on the morning of May 9th. We had planned on staying for up to half an hour to get him used to the new environment so we sat on the carpet with him watching a few kids playing with toys. I was looking at this little kid that had a dry-cough and wondered if RyanC will get sick from hanging out at daycare. That's when RyanC found this button-pushing toy interesting and walked towards it. He got so involved with that toy that he wouldn't have noticed us leaving if we hadn't pulled him to us to give him a goodbye hug. We were still concerned about how well he would adopt so we called in two hours to hear him doing "really well" according to the supervising adults. In fact, RyanC did so well that when we went to pick him up, he wanted to go back inside!!! Mommy had to take him to the day-care playground outside to keep him from fussing too much. He had a lot of fun playing with the sand and then dumped sand over his head with this little plastic shovel. That was a somewhat disappointing day when we realized this little brat didn't really care of us as much as we thought he might be.

The second event involves mini-crisis at work but that's normal so I don't really feel like writing too much about it despite it taking up most of my time recently.

The most recent even occurred today. I moved 4000-6000 lbs of grass rolls while helping a friend with yard work, which is something that I am terrible at. This is the most weight I have ever handled in one day! The trailer had 3 piles with each having 50 rolls weighing at ~40lbs each. Some of them must have weighed more than 60 lbs because they were wet and dense. Of course I didn't do all the work myself (friend's kids and neighbor's kids were helping) but that was still pretty amazing for me. I normally don't lift heavy stuff after my back got injured from bike-hiking in Moab 8 years ago... Yes, I used to be "active" in mountain-biking when I only stayed on the bike for downhill and hiked the bike when facing uphill. I refer to these trips as my "bike-hiking" trips since I don't really ride as much as others do. Anyhoo, I must have pushed the bike uphill in a bad way or something -- my back had never been the same since that trip. Surprisingly my back held up pretty well today while carrying these rolls so I only got sore back. Other than the scratches on my lower arms, my arms are super weak and I am not sure I can keep on typing in pain. I am going to stop for now...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Easy Street

I actually had an outspoken moment today.

We were sitting around eating pizza (NY-style thin crust) at our favorite pizza place, which has good pizza and is close to work (perfect combo). It was one of those normal days when I was enjoying my slices of four-cheese and white pizza, which aren't as greasy as the pepproni or other types that drowns in oil. A few people were talking about this SS coworker and how he was telling them about him being a navy seal and his encounter with this celebrity news person etc. So they asked one of the guys that knew SS from the old days whether he was really a Navy Seal... Before the guy had a chance to answer, I blurted out:
SS was a Navy Seal? But he is Canadian!
That was funny to some people. I still don't understand how a Canadian can become US Navy Seal. Oh well... must be my ignorance.

This afternoon some of us scheduled a happy-hour get-together with an ex-coworker that had left for our main competitor. It was a loss for our company since the guy was really nice and he's always professional despite owning a nearly impossible job. I enjoyed working with the guy so I invited myself to the list when I first heard about it, which was a month or two ago.

It took several reschedules to arrange this happy-hour. The most recent reschedule occurred on Tuesday, when the organizer sent out an email that morning saying he has an obligation to play golf on the evening that he had scheduled and asked if our new competitor can reschedule to Thursday. While there were some grumbling etc, everyone finally agreed this would work. I spent most of today waiting for another email to reschedule but it never came... so the happy-hour was really on!

It should be noted that happy-hour gatherings for coworkers is usually a time to vent and complain about on-going work so it's really like not-so-happy hour.. That is also one of the reasons why spouses usually don't like big gatherings with coworkers. "All you guys do is talk about work and complain" is the most often heard statement from spouses/significant others. Hence it was no surprise that there are no spouses or significant hours at today's happy-hour. I can picture someone explaining to me "it's called happy-hour because our spouses aren't present" but that guy is at some loosely attended fat camp so I can't confirm that's what he would really say -- fat camp biker will probably say something witty about this later.

Anyways, the nice thing about having happy-hour with a competitor is that we cannot talk about work -- especially since we are trained to protect our well-known secrets. Because of this mutual-understanding, this was the least whiney happy-hour I have been too! We were talking about everything but current work-work! At least that's what I seem to remember after downing a pint of Easy Street Wheat Beer and gobbling various wings, artichoke dips and nachos. I was told this wheat beer for those people that don't really like beer so I tried it. Unfortunately, a pint may have been too much since I can't remember if I really liked it or not. ARGH!

After two hours of easy happiness, I returned home to my happy family. Recently RyanC has not been running to me like he used to when I first get home. Instead he runs in opposite direction when he hears mommy informing him that daddy is home. See, we have been playing this game where I say "Where is my boy?" and he would giggle and laugh and wobble away from me as I hunt him down all over the house. It's really funny to watch him kick his legs in high gear and runs to hide. It started as one way to get him to exercise a little so he doesn't just eat all day. However, it has the unintended side-effect of seeing him happily running away from me most of the time - I might as well get ready for the future though.

Easy Street Wheat.. hmm...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Exit Plan

Once upon a time in a dungeon far away in the west coast, a wise man (who wasn't drunk at the time -- at least not to my knowledge) told me:
You should always have an exit plan.
I have always followed that advice by making sure I can always get out of the work I'm doing now. This same wise man also told me to get a kingsize bed upon hearing about my marriage -- yet that's the one advice that I took too late. Our recent king-size bed purchase has made it clear that some people simply see "the truth" earlier than others. I am slow but I'm trying to catch up.

So.. today I started working on my most recent exit plan since it's about time. Now, don't get me wrong. I love my current job. I enjoy working on nearly impossible situations where some geniuses will recognize the low ROI (Return On Investment) and refuse to work on them. It's not because I am smarter since I'm obviously not getting paid as much as those geniuses -- in fact, I get way less $/hour than these smart people. Sometimes I don't know why I continue to spend so much time at work -- though CherkyB will probably say that I'm spending that time at work to avoid family so I can make preserve my happiness in marriage... but I digress...

In any case, there are multiple options to choose from (or so I would like to tell myself). My exit-plan involves moving onto the next project or going onto the "future" project. The next project is going to be another fire-fighting experience since the smart people are already planning to move onto the "future" project. The future project is just starting so I have a chance to work on stuff that may not materialize, which ought to be good for bragging rights before it eventually gets canceled/redirected. Recent history at work shows that the path to promotion is to work on "future" stuff and not the #1 immediate priority that everyone seems to talk about but so few people actually do significant work for. Hence, knowing that I probably should move to the future project, I started investigating the slightly less glamorous option. Some people eat their favorite food first. I tend to save the best for last.

I scheduled an appointment with the manager that I'd like to work with if I should choose to move to the next project. We discussed several possibilities and they all sounded like viable options - for getting out of the current work. The scary thing about the possibilities is that the next project sounds even more "exciting" than the existing one! Like moth flying into fire, I was naturally drawn to the hot opportunities presented... wooo!

But I must resist... I still need to evaluate the other exit-plan options -- just in case I need an exit-plan to get out of the immediate exit-plan. Unfortunately most of those "future" folks are out of down discussing future possibilities so I will need to wait till next week. Patience is a virtue in the strategy of exit-plans.

So... back to my current job... today I also got updated on another possibility of getting sent out of the country to work on something important. We always seem to have important issues. It's almost as if we didn't have important issues, then we wouldn't be important anymore. Well, this email thread included a bunch of names I didn't recognize so it must be pretty important. If it turns out that I am really needed there, then we are going to need some help with RyanC or I can't go.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Drink & Blog

How come I didn't post on Saturday and Sunday? To put it simply, it was my failure to imitate CherkyB's inspiration for blog.

Here is the longer version of what happened:

I was getting ready to post Saturday afternoon about the yummy garlic grilled corn when I remembered da funny blog master's inspirational words from a few days ago: "I write blog as if I were at happy hour drinking and telling stories". At that time, I had replied that "I am usually focused on munching the appetizers at happy-hour so I don't get a lot of practice telling stories". Later my slow thought told me that maybe da man was telling me to drink and then blog so I added 6-pack beer to our grocery list earlier in the day. Realizing that I had not consumed the beverage before blogging, I left the computer room to go downstairs to place a mug in the freezer to chill.

Now, normally I don't drink but I've learned a lot from watching foodtv so I felt like an expert as I poured the beverage into the chilled glass 15 minutes later. I carried the mug around the kitchen like a thief walking through minefield - one reason was because RyanC had left a mess on the kitchen floor and we hadn't cleaned it up and the other reason was because I realized that if I make noises then the little guy might start investigating daddy's drink and decides that he should have some. I must have been pretty successful at keeping quiet. I can't remember what happened next..

The next memory I have was of me sitting on the sofa watching tv with an empty mug on the table. It should be noted that I usually do not watch tv as part of my daily routine - internet has made tv less interesting unless a good show is on foodtv. I didn't feel like going upstairs to write blog. I didn't feel like moving much. All I wanted to do was to sit on the sofa and stare at the tv. I don't remember what show was on. I don't remember what wife and RyanC did. All I remember was that I liked sitting on the sofa...

That pretty much ended Saturday as I continued to spend most of the time on the sofa. I think I may have even watched tivo'ed One Tree Hill or Oprah. I also finished "Forever Odd" book and I can vaguely remember what it was about - but that's not unusual. It was a peaceful day. Everything was normal -- except that I totally forgot about blog...

When I finally woke up for good on Sunday, I felt guilty about not posting blog. I got on-line and noticed that the master has not updated his blog either -- so I felt better about my non-update. I started creating my post and that's when I heard the familiar shout:
Your turn!

I walked out of the computer room to look for the little poopoo boy to change his diaper.

It turns out that we were supposed to go to JC Penny to spend our $10 coupon and we also had to go to the library to pick up reserved DVD "Proof" and book "5th Horseman". We planned to be out for a few hours since we also wanted to go to ToysRUs, Target and Walmart -- and of course the plan changed due to the little boy. RyanC fell asleep in the car and we didn't want to wake him up since it was around his nap time anyways. We had hoped that he'd nap later as he did the day before but apparently the car ride was too comfortable for him.

So we sped up our trips, skipped Walmart, and came home earlier than expected. I volunteered to stay in the car with RyanC as we parked in the garage. He has been super fussy due to teething so it was good to see him rest comfortably. I then started reading James Patterson's "5th Horseman" page-turner while sitting in the parked car.

An hour later, the boy woke up from the nap and pointed to his mouth, demanding some food. It was pretty exciting when he first pointed to his mouth indicating he wants food -- but recently it's been non-stop as he seems to want to eat all the time. Looking at his chubby face, I thought maybe we have been spoiling him too much recently. But he seems so eager to have us feed him!

At this time you probably think that I forgot about the blog but I didn't. I simply had to wait the next opportunity, which would be when RyanC goes to bed. However, I also remembered something about drinks and blog and got another drink ready after putting RyanC to bed that night. This time I didn't end up on the sofa most of the night.

I ended up browsing the web aimlessly and then did some work. I think I may even have IM'ed da blog master when he showed up -- how I managed to forget about my own blog evades me...

It is obvious that I need to stay sober for blog or I'll never remember to post. It was unfortunate that I cannot follow da funny blogger's inspirational methods. This means I will need to find alternative means to improve my blog delivery and content.

PS. Our garbage was picked up today as scheduled despite the immigrant protests.