Archives: January 2007
Tue 30 Jan 2007
James Raymond Wootton
Guess what... yup, time for another of my ancestors. In my systematic posts in ahnentafel order we are now up to #20... my Father's Mother's Father's Father.
That would be James Raymond Wootton who was known as "The Little Sheriff" of Central City, Kentucky. He was apparently known for being "smart" at catching the criminals, and for having a pack of bloodhounds that he used for that purpose and had trained to only eat from him so nobody would poison them.
He was also a member of some sort of Freemason/Shriner type fraternal organization. At this point I have not identified WHICH such organization he was a part of, but I know that the hat, belt, sash, sword and scabbard that made up his costume and which you can see in this picture are currently located at my father's house. I quite well remember in my teenage years taking them out and looking at them... and probably putting them on... I mean, come on, OK, the hat with the feathers is a little goofy, but it was a real sword!
Anyway, he was born in 1850 and died sometime before 1918 when my grandmother (his granddaughter) was born. He married Susan Catherine Groves in 1873. My great grandfather was their fourth child.
He sounds like an interesting character, and I wish I knew a bit more about him. But for now that is all I have.
Mon 29 Jan 2007
A few days ago Brandy found my missing lens in the grass. Once all the snow had melted away it was a lot easier to find it seems. It was almost exactly where Amy had hit me in the face with a snowball. Right where I thought it would have been, but I had looked there a number of times while the snow was still there with no luck. But Brandy found it.
So a few minutes ago when the contacts started bothering me I took them out and put the glasses back on. Ahhh!!! Much better! No more contacts for me for awhile. Probably until next time I break my glasses.
I'll still get new glasses eventually too sometime, but it now drops way down on the priority list again.
Once again while I hate to post two DVDs in a row, nothing drove me to post in between. So here we go.
This time I am once again on my quest to watch all of the 100 Years 100 Movies list the AFI put out in 1997. They just announced that they are going to revise the list this year for the 10th anniversary of them originally putting out the list. I need to get my pace up! I started this process at #100 soon after they put out the list. M*A*S*H is #56. Which means I have watched 45 of these movies in 10 years. I need to watch the next 55 a lot faster if I'm going to watch them all before they revise the list! Who am I kidding, I'm not going to get them all watched that soon. But I'll finish off the old list (it'll probably take another 10 years) then I'll go back and pick up whatever new movies they add since then. :-)
Anyway... M*A*S*H. It was nominated for some awards when it came out. It made #56 on this AFI list. I must admit I don't see the appeal at all. Now, maybe it is because I watched the TV show a lot when I was younger and was used to that, but it just did nothing for it. But I'm not sure that is really it. It is more that this movie was not a single coherent story. It was more like several separate episodes of the TV series (or a TV series) . But they weren't funny. And there was never enough length to really get to know the characters. And you (or at least I) never really cared about them at all.
It was neat seeing Radar, cause of course unlike all the rest, he was played by the same actor in the TV series. But otherwise, it felt like there was nothing to see here. It plodded forward. A few things happened. Hearing the theme song with the actual lyrics rather than the instrumental version used in the TV show is neat. But that really is about it. There is the shower thing with Hot Lips, there is the whole fake suicide thing the theme song was written for, and there is a stupid football game thing at the end. And then it ends.
Woo. Anyway, no need to see this one again. Once was more than enough. Before I started this I actually thought I'd seen it before many years ago, but after seeing it I realized I'd only seen bits and pieces on TV... and I'd always switched to another channel after watching only a few minutes at a shot. Now having watched the whole thing, I understand why.
Sat 27 Jan 2007
DVD: Stephen King's The Stand: Disk 1
I'm not sure how long ago it was at this point, but we got this a bit ago and watched it. Brandy liked the mini-series when it was on TV in 1994, so here it is. This disk is the first half of the mini-series.
In this first half, a bunch of people die from a super-flu and then a bunch of those who are somehow immune start getting dreams which lead them to either Boulder, CO or Las Vegas, NV depending on if they are good guys or bad guys. At least that's how it seems after the first disk.
There are definitely some creepy bits what with all the dead people and such... and Molly Ringwald sings in it. I'm really not sure which of those is more disturbing.
I'm not going to be rushing to see it again any time soon, but it is entertaining enough that the second disk is on the agenda.
Fri 26 Jan 2007
On Thursday for the first time I did a locate thing with the phones when all the phones were actually in different places. I had called Brandy a few times and she hadn't answered, so I checked the locations. She was at home. Amy was at school. I was at work. (Although about to leave for an after work social thingy bop which was fun.)
I like the locator things. I still want to do an auto updated real time map of my own phones location with history going back a few days. That would be cool. Maybe someday.
Thu 25 Jan 2007
The first tiny scratch in the finish of my iMac that I bought just under a year ago showed up today. Well, I noticed it today. Thought it was just dust. But it won't come off. It makes me sad. Now, you have to look closely and pay attention when there is a pure white screen at that spot to really notice. It may have been there for months without me noticing. But now that I *have* noticed, you know I'm going to always notice. I'm just that way.
Oh well. It really isn't a huge deal, things age as time goes on, and when I'm ready to replace Cronus in early 2009, this will be the least of this machine's problems.
But I still hate it when the "new thing" isn't quite new any more.
No Longer Little
This is this year's school picture of my "little" sister.
Just under 16 months until she is as old as I was when she was born.
Time sure goes by quickly, doesn't it?
I was a bad brother and missed her birthday this year though. Ended up IMing a happy birthday a few days later. I'll send a belated present soon, although I haven't decided what it will be quite yet.
I definitely miss being close enough to visit Cynthia and the rest of my family (both sides of it) on a regular basis. Sometime this year we'll have to organize a quick trip (or trips) to see my DC family, Brandy's PA family, and my OH family. The three are so far apart though it is hard to make a quick spontaneous trip for that sort of thing though.
Tue 23 Jan 2007
I Like Backups
I am glad I have automated daily backups again! My iTunes library got fraked up somehow on Monday. I Moved two files from yesterday's backup and everything was fine again. Backups are good things. Just gotta get the weekly offsite backup going now too.
Mon 22 Jan 2007
The View From My Window
OK, so it is a low quality cellphone picture... I don't make a habit of bringing a "real" camera to the office. But you get the point... Skyscrapers, Puget Sound, Mountains... and a view of my car if I choose to park on the top floor of the garage as I did today.
This is the second office move since I have been in this job. Averaging 6 months between moves, that isn't too bad. I started out on the 5th floor, then moved to the 1st, now I am on the 3rd and for the first time have a window. Woo! Go windows! (It's also a little bit bigger than the last one, which was a ittle cramped sometimes.)
Anyway, just moved into the new office this morning. So far I like it.
Sun 21 Jan 2007
DVD: John Tucker Must Die
I was going to try to post something else before I posted another DVD, but in several days I haven't had anything to say yet. Closest I came was talking about how Roscoe really liked to roll around in the snow. But I didn't even have a picture even, so that was about all I had to say on that. And I just did.
Oh, the movie... this was (if you couldn't guess) an Amy chosen movie. We watched the "unrated" version on the DVD rather than the theatrical version. Which basically meant a few more swear words and a little more sexual innuendo. I gather anyway. Didn't actually watch the original to compare.
This is about four teenage girls who conspire to ruin the reputation of a guy who cheated on three of them (with the others of them) and then later when that fails to break his heart using the fourth girl as bait. Given that sentence, you can probably pretty much work out how the rest of the movie works out.
As with most of the movies that are Amy picks lately, this gets essentially the same summary from me... it was slightly amusing and I didn't want to run away screaming, but it was not memorable at all and definitely nothing I would ever pick on my own. But I fully acknowledge that if I were an 11 year old girl my opinions might well be quite different. I believe Amy watched it at least twice before she was ready to send it back.
Thu 18 Jan 2007
DVD: Trans-Siberian Orchestra - The Ghost Of Christmas Eve
The other movie that my mom wanted to see while she was visiting was The Constant Gardener. But when we got home the night we were going to watch it, it was already late and she was tired. So instead we decided to watch this much shorter DVD that Ron had given me for Christmas after he saw my post about going to the TSO Concert in December.
It was basically a cute little story about a run-away teen at Christmas illustrated with TSO songs. It was a good little mini-concert with many of their "standards". Very similar to the first half of their live concert, but a different story. Good stuff though, and my mom enjoyed it. I think she would have liked the concert too if she had been here for it.
Anyway, it closed the evening out nicely. My mom ended up taking The Constant Gardener home with her and watching it partly on the plane and partly once she got home. She said it was good. After she returned it to Netflix, I put it back at the end of my queue, to watch in a decade or two when I get that far down on my queue. :-)
Sun 14 Jan 2007
An Eye in the Snow
So, a little over an hour ago I was playing with Amy in the snow, throwing snowballs at each other. When I came in, I noticed the left lens of my glasses was gone. Somewhere in the snow.
Given that back in January 2005 I lost my main pair of glasses in the ocean and have been on my backup older pair ever since... this means I'll be wearing contacts for a little while.
I prefer glasses, contacts are such a major pain. I'll probably go ahead and make an eye doctor appointment and get new glasses in a few weeks. But for now... no glasses for Sam for a little bit.
I'll try again to look for the lens in the snow tomorrow (it is dark now), but it could basically be anywhere in the back yard. And then yet another look will be in order once the snow melts. If I find it, maybe I'll wait a bit longer for new glasses, but not too much longer... I should have a backup pair anyway.
Sat 13 Jan 2007
Henrietta Alethia Anderson
Time for another ancestor...
Henrietta Alethia Anderson is my father's father's mother's mother.
Born in 1846, died in 1911. Lived in South Carolina her whole life. She was college educated, including some post-graduate work. She married Christian Eber Smith in 1870 and had eight children, of which my great grandmother was the second. She was a charter member of a local Presbyterian church. She went by the nickname "Nettie".
And that is about all I know.
I do have the picture though. It is from a book of descendants of James Mason Anderson... Henrietta's grandfather. My dad sent it to me for my birthday last year. It has a lot of good stuff in covering 7 generations in this part of my ancestry from James Mason Anderson all the way to my dad, including some new info on people I've already posted. I'll get that info added into the wiki eventually. But not today. I got myself a new scanner a few weeks ago though, specifically so I could get some things from this book and a few other paper resources I have put online.
As usual, more info available on my wiki by clicking on her picture.
This is my 1000th post on this blog. The time between my very first post and this post is 1281.087 days. So I've been averaging about 0.781 posts per day, or one post every 1.281 days. Otherwise expressed as one post every 30 hours, 44 minutes and 46 seconds. Or so. I love extra meaningless digits.
For those looking quickly and wondering why my 1000th post has the id "1004" instead of 1000, it is because there were several posts which were accidentally double posted over the years. The second copy was immediately "closed" so it isn't actually visible, although I have them in the database cause they did sort of happen, but not really. So this is the 1000th real post. Well, strictly speaking the very first post was a default first post by the software, but I left it live, so it counts. :-) But those invisible duplicates don't. I know I could have decided they did, but they don't darn it! :-)
Anyway, I roughly try for one post a day, so I'm a little behind that, but not too much behind. So I'm doing OK.
Now, what I post isn't often the most interesting stuff in the world. Lately even more so than at other times since I started it is just little personal notes that for the most part nobody but me and my immediate circle of friends and family would ever be interested in (and often not them). So there are not really any regular readers that I do not know personally. But that is quite OK. I've tried at times writing little bits of commentary on news or tech or whatever, or posting links to fun things I see online... but both take a decent amount of time to do well that I do not have... not to mention there are many hundreds of better places to get that sort of thing. So... I do more the diary sort of thing with the occasional bits about what is going on with my life, things I'm doing, movies I watch, whatever... just random stuff that strikes me and I want to say. And that is fine with me.
And there are now 1000 of such blurbs. Woo. Go me.
Fri 12 Jan 2007
DVD: An Inconvenient Truth
This had been on my list to watch, but it was WAY down the list... like I'll see it in a decade or two down the list... but while my mom was visiting she wanted to see it, so I moved it to my top of my list and we watched it while she was here. Well, my mom and I did. Brandy went to sleep and Amy opted out since I told her it was a boring documentary. :-)
For those not familiar, this is of course the Al Gore global warming movie. I had of course figured it would be a boring Al Gore movie and just have the usual sort of green activist sort of stuff and end up annoying me. I was wrong. After the first few minutes the movie had me hooked. There is no NEW information in this movie... at least not for anybody who has been following such issues and reading articles on it as they pop up over the last few years. But it was just all put together in one place in a very well done, compelling package.
I believe I actually told Brandy the next morning that it was the best movie I'd seen in the last 18 months or so. Now, I'm not sure that is entirely due to this movie being absolutely incredible, but also due to the mostly non-memorable nature of the other movies I've seen in the last couple of years... but it was really good. It had my attention the whole time. It manipulated my emotions in the way it meant to, and presented a lot of information in a nice easy to digest way. And Al Gore showed humor and warmth which if he'd shown in 2000 might have served him well.
I highly recommend this movie. Go rent it. It is important stuff.
Having said that, I wouldn't necessarily say that I'd end up promoting any of Al's specific ideas about how to deal with any of it. I'd probably disagree with most of it, as I'm not a fan of government regulation of stuff and he is. But it is still an important issue and this is an important contribution.
Thu 11 Jan 2007
A Year in the Jungle
At about 17:30 UTC on 11 Jan 2006, plus or minus a few minutes, I walked into work for the first time at my current job. Given the irregular length of a year when measured in days, that means today at about 23:17 UTC (plus or minus a few minutes) I will have been working here for a full year. I have set this post to go live at exactly that time.
It has been a good year. I can't believe it has gone by so fast!
What with the being across the country from the family for six months, selling the house, moving twice and everything else that has been going on it has been in some ways a tough year. But in many others it has just been great. Sure, there are still things that need to be worked through. But compared to where we were in the time period between March 2005 and December 2005 it is completely night and day. That last nine months at the previous employer was just horrible. Especially the last three months or so.
I still miss the house in Florida and being an owner rather than a renter... even though this house we are renting is pretty nice and I like it too... and we lost a couple of pets that we loved very much... but aside from those items, I can't think of a single other thing that isn't better now than it was a year ago.
So. One year. Good deal. Bring on the next year.
Enough 5mm hail to accumulate, switching to snow, with all kinds of slush and drivers who see snow not all that often. The normal drive home is about 17 minutes with no traffic. With traffic it is maybe 25 minutes usually. Today it took four hours and thirty-two minutes to drive the 10.9 miles home. Average speed... 2.4 miles per hour. And a full 16 times longer than normal! Woo!
Of course, I added an extra 30 minutes or so because I decided to go a quarter mile out of the way to stop at Burger King before I got on the highway. That decision cost me half an hour... perhaps a little bit more. And it also made me greatly regret getting a king sized Coke after the next 90 minutes in the car... before I escaped at the very next exit and managed to find a Starbucks to help with that issue... but that probably actually SAVED me some time, because I bypassed a couple of miles of bumper to bumper interstate to go on side roads to find the starbucks and ended up making better time than I would have on the Interstate.
Once off the Interstates there was one really steep hill that some people were having problems with, but I made it up the hill and then managed to get home...
Meanwhile, one hour or so after I left work, Brandy and Amy left a mall (after trying to go, seeing the traffic mess 90 minutes earlier and deciding to just wait a little while longer) that was 2.5 miles from home. They made it a little more than half way home (taking about 3 hours to get that far) then had to leave the car by the side of the road because they were on a hill that had become completely blocked by two large trucks (one of them a tow truck) who had gotten stuck on the hill and all the dozens of other cars that people had left because they could go no further. So they got out and walked the little bit more than a mile left home. They got home about 1 or 2 minutes after I did. They saw me pull into our street when they were almost there. Ha! I beat them!
Anyway, school has already been canceled for tomorrow. There is a good chance I will end up working from home tomorrow unless everything has been all cleared up by then. (Which it might be I guess, it doesn't actually seem THAT bad... I've seen much worse back east, but of course they know a bit better how to handle snow it seems.) In any case, we'll have to go retrieve Brandy's car as soon as things seem to have normalized a bit. For the moment the weather people say there is more yet to come, and it won't be above freezing again for several days, so what is coming down won't be going anywhere fast.
Tue 09 Jan 2007
Somewhere, Bill Gates is Crying
This thing is incredible, and it is just the first release. Easily instantly the best smart phone on the market by far. Blows away the Treos and Blackberries and Windows Smartphones that are out today. As usual, even when the existing phones have the feature, it just isn't anywhere near as polished or slick as Apple makes it. You can also see places where certain things are not yet there... but you know they'll be there in the next revision or two.
Corporate email probably won't be adding support any time soon, which sucks, but for a personal phone for everything other than syncing with work email and calendars... I know it is often good to wait until the second revision, but the UMF and RDF on this one is strong...
It won't be out until June though. So that gives a bit of time to digest and plan. We're on Sprint right now. Getting this would mean getting Cingular. Changing providers is a bit of a pain. Especially since we have a family plan for the three of us plus Brandy's mom and Brandy and Amy may or may not want to switch too... But I have six months to work on them. :-)
I just stuck it on our list of things to budget for and it is actually quite a way down the priority list. At the moment there are 7 things on the list at a higher priority level. And more will probably jump ahead of it in line before we get to it, so it may end up waiting until 2008 rather than 2007. But waiting will be difficult. This thing is sweet. I must have it.
And then get a new one every year when they come out with better ones. :-)
Full coverage of the keynote at Engadget with all kinds of details on the phone. Apple's official iPhone page is now up too.
Oh yeah, I want the Apple TV thing too, but at a much lower priority. It is cool, but it is not an "I want it NOW!" item.
Sun 07 Jan 2007
I haven't posted in a few days because we have been busy hosting my mom, who visted for awhile. I picked her up at the airport about 2 UTC on Wednesday and dropped her off at the airport today at around 18 UTC. In the time in between (which I took off of work) we ate out a few times, watched a couple of DVDs, saw Amy's school, saw my work, visited Pike's Place Market and the Crossroads mall, visited a college roommate of my mom's (and her family), visted two of my cousins (one from my mom's side, one from my dad's), drove around some, walked the dog a bunch, went to a couple of museums, saw a symphony performance, and went to the top of the Space Needle. It was a busy 4 days and 16 hours. And a good time for the most part. My mom is now heading back home to Ohio.
Tue 02 Jan 2007
Ghosts of Florida
A little before the holidays we got a nice friendly letter from the IRS... they had examined my 2004 returns and decided I owed them about $1000 more. This turned out to be directly related to the fact that for 2004 my employer at the time decided to report a significant portion of my income on a 1099-MISC rather than various lines on the W-2 and then when the error was pointed out to them refused to correct the mistake because their 2004 books were "already closed" and it would cost them money to reopen them. At the time H&R Block looked at all the evidence I had showing why the income should have been on the W-2 and agreed with me, and determined that the best thing to do would be to file as if my employer had reported the income correctly even though they had not done so. We had the evidence to prove our case if it ever came to it.
Well, the IRS did indeed finally decide that they thought there was an issue. We made an appointment with the Block back in December, but their offices lost power due to the wind storm we had back then, and so we had to reschedule for now. At the time we made the first appointment we told them that the only papers we had redily available were the new letters from the IRS, since the rest of the documentation was in boxes in storage... actually, worse than that, when the movers packed our stuff in Florida, they took a lot of my paper archives (including the tax stuff related to this) out of labeled boxes, and dumped them into new... completely unlabeled... boxes. We have several hundred boxes in storage. Packed in tightly. Mostly now unlabeled, even those we had carefully labeled before the move. Somewhere in there is all the documentation surrounding the 1099 vs W2 issue from 2004. It can be gotten, but no time soon. The IRS wants their money by this Friday or they threaten top do nasty things. We told the H&R Block person all this when we made the first appointment. They told us to come in anyway and bring what we had, they should be able to get the rest of what they needed from their files.
But when we got there this morning, they had forgotten all of that. First they sat us down and tried to get us started on doing our 2006 taxes. No... that's not it at all. Once they knew what was really going on they switched us from the trainee who had been assigned to us to the manager of the branch. She asked us for the papers which we had explained on the phone that we didn't have. She said that they couldn't really do anything without that... at least the return itself. We pointed out that they did the return, so they should have it on file. But guess what, they don't have a national database. Our files are in Florida. They can't get them in Washington. Then they went to try to look up the number of the office they used in Florida, so they could have that office FAX them a copy of our file... but their systems weren't working, and they couldn't get it up to even look up that branch's phone number. I suggested they call their own national 800 number and ask or maybe call information, but they ignored those suggestions. At this point, they also pointed out that the office in Florida probably only kept the actual final form, not copies of the various documentation we brought them, not even the 1099 and W2 itself, let alone the supplimentary material we had brought in. Which they now thought was probably not enough after all. In the end, they basically said they could do nothing for us until we found the docs, despite having said the opposite when we set up the appointment. (Otherwise, we would not have bothered coming in.)
So, currently plan is: call the IRS tomorrow (they are closed today for President Ford's funeral) to set up a payment plan to pay what they say we owe (about a grand). H&R says we should arrange to pay as slowly as the IRS will allow us (rather than just going ahead and paying it all at once) because of how the policies are structured on what money you can get back in what timeframes if you later appeal. Then, we need to find our documentation, then come back to H&R block and they will help us appeal these payments and eventually get the money back.
What a pain.
Brandy is very mad and upset, and full of talk of lawsuits against my former employer, who caused all these tax problems by refusing to correct the incorrect forms in the first place, not to mention all the other ways in which they screwed us financially and otherwise. Also of trying to get the IRS to fine them for not correcting the paperwork in the first place. She has some good arguments for why doing all that would be good... but I so much just want to be done with it all. I want to pay the money and then never think about it again. But she is probably right and when we KNOW they have cost us not just this thousand but thosands more (perhaps even tens of thousands) by other things they did... and most likely not just to us, but to other employees over the years... not to mention the costs to their customers, which must be immense... And somebody has to fight back sometime rather than just saying "thank god we escaped" and never thinking about it again like I'd kinda like to do. Dunno. Guess we'll think about it.
But in the mean time, have to suck up and pay the IRS since it will likely be months if not years until the box with the papers we need to prove that we don't really owe this 1000$ surfaces.
Bleh. Didn't I hear something about the 16th Ammendment never being properly ratified making all income tax illegal? Oh yeah, too bad that is all BS. Would be nice if true. :-)
Mon 01 Jan 2007
A couple minutes ago it officially became 2007 (UTC). So Happy New Year's everyone!
Amy's having a sleep over with one other girl from school tonight. She should arrive in about an hour. I'm not sure what exactly they have planned as it turns midnight in the various time zones tonight, but I'm guessing it involves the Disney Channel.