Week in review – September 28th, 2008

The weekend is here…

For those of you paying attention, I haven’t posted anything for two weeks. There’s a couple of very good reasons for this – I’ve been busy 🙂

This weekend we are planning to visit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens again – it’s always a good place to go as long as it’s not hot or raining. I can take more pictures 🙂 Also want to go somewhere to eat since we’ve not done something fun like that for a bit. Tonight I get to work one of my usual midnight to 4am maintenance windows – as we move towards the Christmas season we start a traditional freeze on these activities so only four or five more of these to go this year (yay).

Atlanta High Museum of Art
We’re members of the High Museum and it’s a great place to go in Atlanta. They have had some excellent exhibitions throughout the past couple of years but nothing is as exciting as the Teracotta Warriors (First Emperor) that’s coming here on November 16th through April 19th 2009. Details are here. For us, the membership is well worth it.

So the previous weekend (13th), we travelled to a far-off place for the wedding of one of our friends who chose sunny Clearwater for the venue. It was a great trip for many reasons, not the least of which was getting to see friends again that I certainly have not seen in months. Sometimes I feel I’ve been dwelling in a cave (no, bin Laden is not here) because I’ve relegated a social life to somewhere near the bottom of my priority list of late for several reasons, most relating to work and our joint hectic schedule.

One thing I loved about the trip (and here, you’ll either consign me to the madhouse or understand completely) – the drive. We drove to Clearwater expressly because we like to control our own schedule and it was a good opportunity for Claudia to work and me to decompress. I like driving. I’d hate to do it for a living, but for pleasure, nothing beats it. Even the dull 450 miles to Clearwater was good for me. Sure, it took 8 hours but in that time, we had uninterrupted time together and didn’t have to deal with airport madness and being shoved in an uncomfortable aluminium tube and propelled through the atmosphere by exploding gases.


Even when on vacation, there’s work to be done 🙂 Some light reading in the hotel before going to the wedding mass. Pity she’s not doing physics since I could make a bad joke about atomic mass. Well, I made the bad joke anyway so it looks like you’ll just have to suffer with it 🙂

After the mass, we gathered again at the resort to prepare for the reception and it gave us another chance to catch up. Since not everyone was assembled Friday night, Saturday was our only real opportunity to get together.
Group photo

Still working with the camera – I took several hundred pictures over the course of the weekend and the more I use it, the better things tend to get. Good thing with digital that you don’t have to process everything. I did get carried away with a sunset and took about 150 pictures of the sun as it inched inevitably towards the horizon.

Monochromatic Claudia
She’s not just my sun, but moon and stars too….

More stuff from the reception…

Claudia, Crystal and Jennifer
Claudia, Crystal and Jennifer enjoying the post-dinner period to socialize.

Don't drink the small ones
Don’t drink the stuff in the small glasses – bubbles for the reception.

Tampa Botanical Gardens
I posted some of the pictures from the gardens (they are free) at the flikr.com site but this one made me laugh. Buried towards the back of the gardens is an art centre and this sculpture provided some entertainment.

Enjoying the strangeness
I published a picture of the whole sculpture on flikr.com.

Tinto’s stuff
A quiet couple of weeks on the cat front. Whilst we were in Tampa, I used a pet sitting service so had someone come in each day to make sure they had food and spend some time with them. It was a good trial for the upcoming December trip when we’ll be gone for a couple of weeks. All went well and it was well worth the (reasonable) cost for my peace of mind.

Tinto has given up on the vegetarian life. This week he has brought a mouse, a lizard and a chipmonk. The mouse was dead but undamaged. The lizard was quite lively and even had his tail, unusual in cat captures. The chipmonk was just funny.

I got home from work mid-week to find the cat hiding in the closet under the shoe rack. Then I noticed his new playmate – a small chipmonk, perfectly unharmed except for missing about the last inch of fur on his tail. I ejected the cat and captured the chipmonk. After torturing it by asking it to pose for pictures, I took it to the woods and released it. Hopefully his fur will grow back 🙂

So no more leaves from the cat.

Pre-release chipmonk

New laptop
Just before we went to Clearwater, I got a new laptop for my travels – an Acer Aspire One. It’s an 8.9″ screen, a decent sized keyboard, Intel Atom processor, 1Gb memory and a 120Gb hard drive. It’s ideal for travel and gives me the ability to backup my photos to it and also upload them on the road thanks to wireless networking. Battery life is acceptable at 2 hours or so and since I carry my camera bag, it and the power adapter fit in there perfectly. I couldn’t be happier with it.

Photo experimentation - a trio of technology
My work Dell laptop, the Acer and my Blackberry.

Toe love
(yes, it’s random – and in the first 24 hours, became the most viewed picture on my flikr site briefly)

I seriously considered the Lenovo S10 that features a 10″ screen and similar specs otherwise, however at the time Lenovo posted an 8 week anticipated delivery date and of course I was itching for the new technology.

Incidentally, the CEO of my company has a great museum in his office – a TRS-80 with dual floppies (16B or 6000) from the 80’s, one of the old Apple Macintosh, what looks like an Altair (late 70s) and my favourite, a Sony Aibo (links to Wikipedia).

Atlanta Fuel
So having lived in the cave for a while, we returned to Atlanta and went about our business – only to find that thanks to hurricane Ike hitting Texas, Atlanta has been slowly running out of petrol. Currently the situation is pretty dire with perhaps 1 in 10 fuel stations having petrol with the inevitable queues of tens of cars for each pump. Estimated times to queue for petrol can reach an hour or more and of course this being the US, it’s a crisis 🙂 I filled up once this week and will have to do so again this weekend but that will keep me going for the week. They reckon in 1-2 weeks, fuel supplies will be back to near-normal. I suspect working from home may be on the cards soon.

Work stuff
Always a pleasure. Last week I returned from vacation (four days without a Blackberry) and let’s just say it was a busy week. Steve III was on vacation for a couple of days so two of us covered some pretty interesting activities logging somewhere just over 110 hours in the week.

This week has been much better and quieter. I’m participating in some hyper-exciting (geek alert!) architectural changes to our system platform and I am very much looking forward to seeing these embryonic ideas bearing fruit. It should provide us with a significant market advantage and allow us to attain higher levels of service and availability. Some of the technologies we’re going to use are pretty amazing and these are definitely interesting times.

Some days, I feel like this too
Some days though, it feels like this…


Clearwater beach sunset
One of the sunset photos from Clearwater.

No book or movie reviews this week. I haven’t read a single page or really watched anything noteworthy.

Click here for my photo collections.

Have a wonderful week ahead. The better weather is with us as it gets cooler and the nights actually begin to threaten a chill. Definitely time to break out the shorts 🙂

2 thoughts on “Week in review – September 28th, 2008

  1. I always love your cat stories!! I must confess that I would probably scream and faint if I found a mouse, lizard or chipmunk in my house. You are very brave.

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