Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007


Here's hoping Santa left something shocking under your tree this holiday season...

Click here to view more Christmas pictures of the kids.

Christmas Card 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The 'Hose Have Come A Long Way

When I was a youngster, I was the ballboy for the Presbyterian College Blue Hose men's basketball team. They've come along way since those days in the NAIA. Currently, my cousin's husband does play-by-play for PC and is on a 12 day roadtrip with the team.

Check out this cool feature on the NCAA's newest Division I basketball squad from ESPN's Page 2.

They are playing here in Raleigh in January and I'm hoping to pull a few strings so I can see them take on NC State. Any reason to root against the Wolfpack, right?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

American Football, or Rugby?

Check out this play from the Trinity Tigers on the last play of their DIII playoff game against the Milsaps Majors. It looks like the coach had his boys practicing Rugby. What's amazing to me more so than the actual play is that not a single player committed an illegal block in the back or hold on the play.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Molly's Birthday and Max's Soccer Photos

It was a busy photographic weekend, with my shooting pictures of Max's last soccer game of the Fall season and Molly's 4th Birthday which we had at Impact Athletics (where she takes gymnastics).



Pictures on Flickr, as always.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Wee Bit More Wii

Here are some videos of the kids playing Wii. In the first, they are playing doubles tennis and in the second, they are playing baseball. Believe it or not, Molly is really playing right alongside Max. In the baseball video, Molly is "pitching" while Max is batting and in the tennis video they are playing doubles on the same team.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wii want to play

Max Wii

So for almost a year I've been debating about whether our next generation gaming platform would be a Wii or a PS3. We had a huge stock of PS2 games that I thought would be nice to keep backwards compatability to, but you want to know what finally helped me make up my mind to go with a Wii?

When Sony's lawyers classified me as a thief, I decided I never wanted to give them any more of my money. So Wii it is...

Liz Wii

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Myrtle Beach in October


Max tracked out from year-round school on Friday and we thought we'd take advantage of his non-traditional school break to head down to Myrtle Beach for a couple of days of fun in the sun. As Sunday, September 30th was sort of the "last day" of summer for most of the beach attractions, we pretty much had the place to ourselves the entire time we were there.


We got a great rate at the Hampton Inn at Broadway at the Beach. None of the restaurants or attractions were crowded, and the kids pretty much could walk on to rides at the NASCAR SpeedPark (Max's favorite) withou any wait. Even the weather was warm enough to swim in the ocean so it turned out to be a just about perfect October beach holiday.

I've posted some pictures from our trip over at Flickr.

IMG_7381 IMG_7135 IMG_7195

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Disco Inferno

It's amazing what you can find on the internet, if you're bored enough.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Big Computer Downgrade (part 2)

As I mentioned earlier, I downgraded the computer this weekend to Windows XP. For no other reason than the fact that I've never catalogued it before, I thought it would be interesting to log the changes I had to make to the base install to get everything working the way I want it.
  • First things first...install the Ethernet drivers and get on the internet.
  • While I've got the Dell Resources disk open, install sound card drivers, SMbus drivers, and AMD processor driver.
  • Now that the internet is working, download the video card driver.
  • Hit Mozilla.org and grab Firefox 2.0. Bye-bye IE. Grab the del.icio.us extension for Firefox so I have ready-access to my bookmarks.
  • Reboot so the video drivers and other changes take effect.
  • Install the monitor drivers for both the primary (Dell E228WFP) and secondary (ViewSonic Va912b) monitors.
  • Fix Firefox default download directory to not clutter the desktop.
  • Anti-Virus! Free-av.com
  • Turn off Windows Firewall (I've got a NAT for that)
  • Install Windows automatic updates, reboot, then go to windowsupdate.com get the "genuine advantage validation tool" to prove I'm not a piraate and then fill up the basket with 87 upgrades/updates (most of which are security updates).
  • Install SlingPlayer for Windows so I can watch the Rugby World Cup while I work on the computer.
  • Grab iTunes with Quicktime and then download the DiVx codec
  • Get rid of Steam, an online gaming service unwanted installed by the video drivers.
  • VLC player for Windows
  • Got my first BSOD (blue screen of death), rebooted.
  • GooglePack with Google Earth, Google Desktop, Adobe reader, Skype, Spyware Doctor, Picasa, Google Photos Screensaver, Google Talk, and Real Player
  • Printer drivers for the HP 3930
  • iSproggler for my iPod
  • Grab the latest Jave Runtime, reboot and then download Azureus
  • Go back to windowsupdate and grab 7 more updates including the .Net framework to fix an error with the ATI video drivers and IE7 (why, I'm not sure)
  • Format the D:\ partition and re-allocate windows virtual memory to use this dedicated swap space
  • DirectX 10
  • Nero 7 Ultra Edition, and added LAME MP3 encoder serial
  • OpenOffice.org via BitTorrent
  • Firefox extensions and themes: BetterGmail, DownThemAll, FireFTP, ForecastFoxEnhanced, IETab, iFoxSmooth, Linkification, LittleFox, ReloadEvery
  • SDP Downloader and URLSnooper
  • CutePDF Writer
  • AnyDVD, Cucusoft DVD to iPod, and WinRAR
  • Setup the printer for sharing as well as the C:\ drive
  • TweakUI for XP
  • Intellitype & Intellitouch drivers for my mouse and keyboard
  • MAME32
  • Heatsoft Automatic Synchronizer
  • Downloaded Ubuntu Feisty Fawn distro boot disk and began my dual boot linux installation.

The Big Computer Downgrade

I spent this weekend downgrading my computer from Windows Vista to Windows XP.

I bought a new computer a few months ago with Windows Vista on it. I didn't really want to go Vista but needed a computer and at the time, Dell wasn't offering XP on their Dimension line of desktops.

Vista is an absolute DOG. It's so bad, that Dell has even started re-selling XP again because the support nightmares that Vista has produced for them. Almost from day one, I regretted this purchase. I came very close to actually asking for a refund from Dell, but I decided to keep the computer.

I thought long and hard about going out and buying Windows XP to downgrade my computer but I absolutely refuse to pay Microsoft for a second operating system for this computer since the first one I paid for was so worthless. Finally, this weekend, while cleaning out a filing cabinet, I found the Windows XP recovery disk from the last PC I bought (which is now running Ubuntu linux) so after a quick backup of all my important stuff, I spent Sunday morning downgrading my computer.

So, to answer one of the questions posed in an old Microsoft ad campaign. "Where do you want to go today?" Apparently the answer for me is "back in time!"

Monday, September 03, 2007

Seven Foot Politic Live Recordings

Every long weekend, I always make up this whole list of projects I want to accomplish with my holiday weekend...like an extra 24 hours is actually going to help me complete days and months worth of tasks that I've been procrastinating on.

Well, this Labor Day weekend I did not finally migrate from Windows Vista to Ubuntu Linux, nor have I yet pruned the hedges. I've hardly mopped the hardwood floors like I'd been promising, and I certainly didn't take the oversized garbage off to the county landfill. But I did get to one task that has been at the back of my mind for a while now.

I pulled my old cassette deck out of storage and opened up the boxes of cassette tapes of live concert recordings that have been secreted away in a closet since we moved from Texas in 2002. I may never get through the 1000+ tapes packed in those boxes, but I do hope to digitize some of the more interesting and obscure recordings before they are lost forever (case in point, I had to explain to Max what a cassette tape was. He'd never seen one before! Just wait until I get the turntable down to do the same with my LP collection!).

The first few tapes that I digitized were live recordings of my brother's band Seven Foot Politic. They were a ska/rockabilly/swing band from Athens, GA and that's Griffin pictured at left surfing on his upright bass! These recordings were all mad in the second half of 1994 as the band was just starting to find themselves musically and are extremely rare (probably less than 10 total copies ever made). If you are interested in hearing what Seven Foot Politic sounded like back then, I have made the recordings available via bittorrent here. (If you notice no one is seeding, drop me a comment from this post and I'll be sure to restart the torrent on my end).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Meet the RailHawks

Today, we took the kids to a "Meet & Greet" for the Carolina RailHawks professional soccer team. You might recall that this is the team who I had a hand in naming last summer.

Here are some photos of the kids getting the players to autograph their RailHawks' shirts.

Friday, July 06, 2007

HOWTO: Fix the "Error - 2002: a bad public movie atom was found in the movie" problem with mp4 video in iTunes / Quicktime on Vista

Ever since I got a new computer, I've been going mad having problems importing video files into iTunes. About 50% of the time I try to import a video file into iTunes, nothing happens. If I try to open this "bad file" in Quicktime, I get a ""Error - 2002: a bad public movie atom" message in a popup box.

The crazy thing is this file works fine on any other operating system besides Vista.

I've searched all over the web and I've not been able to find a definitive solution to this problem. From what I can gather, it has something to do with some sort of interaction between Vista, Quicktime, and iTunes and how the three of them deal with the ID3 tags in the mp4 file. I was on the verge of just boxing up my computer and sending it back from whence it came until I stumbled upon this hack.

So here's a workaround that seems to be working for me. If you're having this same problem and this works for you, please leave a comment so I'll know that I've really solved the generic problem and not just some strange situation on my computer.

Step 1: Grab the Tagger software (and make sure you have a current JRE installed)

Step 2: After unzipping/untarring the software, double-click on the executable JAR file "tagger.jar"

Step 3: Use the "File | Open" menu option to open the MP4 you are having trouble importing into iTunes.

Step 4: Edit one or more of the tags using the Tagger software and click SAVE.

Step 5: After Tagger finishes writing the new file with the new tags, add the file to iTunes like you normally would.

I hope this works for you like it did for me. Let me know...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Graduate

Max graduated from kindergarten this week. Here's a few pictures from the little graduation ceremony they put on at Morrisville Elementary School.

Max says he "feels like a first grader" now and is excited about next year. Of course, no one has told him about "homework" yet so they may change when he tracks back in to his year-round program at the end of July.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Another 4 minutes of fame

Jarrett Campbell & Dean Linke

During halftime of last night's RailHawks v. Charleston Battery match, I was one of the halftime guests on the broadcast. Click here to listen to my interview with RailHawks play-by-play man Dean Linke (note, I'm the second interviewee in this segment).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mr. Pushbutton

Yesterday at work, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of one of my co-workers with the Square D Company. Larry "Mr. Pushbutton" Sunday has been with our company 6 years longer than I've been alive! Talk about dedication. Check out this hilarious video shot "a few years ago" with Larry demonstrating just how tough Square D products can be.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I'm So Vain...

...you probably think this post is about me.

Well, it is. Kind of.

Last Friday, my Carolina RailHawks played a match on Fox Soccer Channel. During the game, the commentator gave my supporters club, and me specifically, a shout out on national television. I guess you should subtract those 15 seconds from my 15 minutes.

Must See TV

Game shows and reality TV in the US just sucks in my opinion. I NEVER watch these programs. But if someone could come up with a truly novel idea, like this Japanese "human tetris" game show, I'd watch.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mr. Wizard Dead at 89

It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that knows me that Mr. Wizard's World was one of my favorite shows on TV growing up in the 80s. I was sad to learn that Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert passed away yesterday at the age of 89. However, I am happy to know that he will live forever on DVD. I can't wait to introduce Max to all these cool science experiments. They should be right up his alley.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Stone Mountain

I just realized I hadn't posted these pictures I took during our trip to Atlanta and Stone Mountain back during the first weekend in May.

Created with Paul's flickrSLiDR.

You can see the individual pictures at Flickr.

Bob Dylan's Influence on Today's Music

I knew that Bob Dylan was a great songwriter, but I never really knew how influential he was on today's artists until I saw this short documentary:

BTW, I'm not sure whether or not we should accept his apology for the Macarena.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Slide over!

We took Molly to her first movie this weekend (Shrek the Third) and look who we found at the cinema!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Liz and I have been on holiday for a couple of days while my mom has been watching the kids. We've been cooling our jets in Asheville and just generally relaxing. We didn't do anything terribly exciting (no, not the Biltmore Estate) but that wasn't really the point of this trip.

We did see Blades of Glory, which had me laughing harder that just about anything I've seen in a long time. The rest of the time, we basically milled around art galleries and shops and ate some good food (no requirements for chicken fingers on the menu without the kids).

We saw a quaint little artisan village called Black Mountain and we visited the highest summit east of the Mississippi. Here are a few of the cool artists we saw:

Thursday, April 05, 2007


My friend Lisa "blog tagged" me today in a post about what music she was listening to, so now I'm obligated to list what's spinning in my music player (do mp3 files spin?  I guess if there's a hard drive in the iPod...)

Tuesday was a big "new release" day I had been looking forward to for a while so at the top of my list are three CDs that came out this week:

A few other albums that are getting a ton of airplay right now:

More than anything though these days, I listen to podcasts.  I'm presently subscribed to about 35 podcasts so simply trying to keep up with them keeps my iPod almost continually engaged.  Here's a few of my favorite podcasts at the moment:

Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bologna, Venice, and Work

Most people don't believe that my business travel to Europe is actually work, but here's a photo to prove it...

Of course, while I was here, I did get a little chance to tour a bit in the area around Bologna where our offices here in Italy are located. I've put some pictures from the trip on Flickr.

All the pictures were taken at night and are a little dark (I swear I was in meetings from 8am to 6pm everyday). The highlight of the trip was when a group of us, on a lark, decided to jump in a couple of cars and travel to Venice (about 100 miles away) for an evening stroll around Piazza San Marcos and along the Grand Canal. It was pretty quiet (as we didn't arrive until after 9pm), but it was beautiful beyond description. I can only imagine what it must look like in person during the daytime. I can't wait to return. It is one of the most intriguing cities I've ever visited.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Hard at Work

For Christmas, my dad got a new laptop and he passed his old one down to Max. As you can see, he and Molly are already putting it to good use. The really sad thing is that if you pan this photo back about 5 feet, you'd see Liz and I doing practically the same thing on our respective computers.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Finally, Back to the Soccer Park

It's been too long since we went to the soccer park (almost 3 months!). We finally got back out there today on a beautiful and breezy Spring Saturday. I shot some pictures of the UNC Women v. Duke scrimmage as well as some of my friends' son's game.

But you're probably more interested in the kids...


IMG_1928 IMG_1943 IMG_1987


IMG_1945 IMG_1939 IMG_1944


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cory Doctorow Speaking at UNC & Duke (2/22)

A few months ago, I was having a dinner discussion with some colleagues and we were playing the "if you could sit beside someone famous on a long flight, who would it be?" game. There were the typical responses like glamorous models, politicians, sportsmen, etc. but the funny thing was that none of my colleagues even knew the person I set forth as my perfect in-flight conversant -- Cory Doctorow.

Doctorow is a favorite science-fiction writer of mine, a blogger I read every day, and someone whose passion for pushing the envelope on the freedom of digital rights I truly respect. Cory's presently launching his new short story collection "Overclocked" and making several appearances in the Triangle next week.

First, Cory will appear at UNC's Wilson Library at 2pm on Thursday, Feb 22 giving a lecture on copyright. He then will be giving a lecture at 5pm at Duke University entitled "From Myspace to Homeland Security: Privacy and the Totalitarian Urge" as part of the Provost's Lecture Series on Privacy. The Duke event is at the Love Auditorium in the Levine Science Research Center.

Both events are free and open to the public and Cory will be selling and signing his new book at both events.

If you can't make it to hear Cory speak in person, you may enjoy this excellent hour-long interview with Cory by NPR's Rick Kleffel
which covers a lot of ground related to both Cory's writing as well as his views on digital rights.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Snow Day

We discovered one of the big problems with year-round schools today when Wake County schools got a "Snow Day" for the light sprinkling of snow we got here in the Triangle but because Max is "tracked-out" at the moment, he didn't even get a day off of school out of the deal.


IMG_1885 IMG_1824 IMG_1855

I've posted a few pictures of the kids playing outside over at Flickr.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful!

One of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs has always been "When the Coast is Clear" from the Floridays album. Since neither of us are really ocean swimmers nor do our complexions play well with long afternoons in the sun, Liz and I both seem to enjoy the beach more during the offseason, when "the tourist traps are empty."

When we saw the weather forecast for the North Carolina coast this weekend was highs in the low 70s, we threw the kids in the minivan and headed to the beach for the day on Saturday. We spent the afternoon out on the beach at Fort Fisher and then visited the NC Aquarium south of Wilmington. If this is what Global Warming is all about, it doesn't sound that bad! :)

It was Molly's first trip to the ocean, and the first one that Max can remember so it was quite an adventure. I've posted quite a few pictures from the trip over at Flickr.

IMG_1680 IMG_1715 IMG_1599

Thursday, January 04, 2007

You Just Can't Do This With E-Mail

Try this with someone's email address....from The Sun in the UK...
A Welsh steelworker addressed a Christmas card to an old friend by drawing a map showing the approximate location of the town his friend had moved to -- and the crafty Royal Mail actually delivered the card in nine days. The map sported the addressee's name and a dot in south-west Cornwall with the legend "SOMEWHERE HERE."