Jenztravaganza 2009

This weekend we celebrated Jenztravaganza 2009, which is the multi-day event that I put on to celebrate Jennifer’s Birthday.  There were streamers, balloons, disco decorations, cats, fancy flowers, dining, dancing, movies, and lots of jennifer’ favorite foods.  She didn’t really give me much to go on in terms of desires for birthday presents, so instead she got a lot of little fun things.  All in all I think she found it an enjoyable celebration.

Her birthday is actually this coming Thursday, so make sure to send her an online birthday card!

An Open Company, Quick Post

I found this an interesting concept.  The question of the day, however, is will it work?

The Truth

I’ve never been convicted of serial arson.

I like to share this fact with my coworkers often.

Brandon and The Baby Cheeses

I have come up with an idea for a hit new TV Special called “Brandon and the Baby Cheeses.”  We’ll film it in stop motion animation and release it every year during Christmas time, which will coincide with the release of the action figures, plushies, t-shirts, ornaments, and limited edition plastic cups from McDonalds.  The story will basically follow Brandon and he learns about the Baby Cheeses.

I plan to follow this special up with a spin-off TV Sitcom “Brandon and Cheeses” which will be detective show set in Venice Beach California.  I think a spring release would be perfect timing for this one.

Yes, I know I am an odd person.

Ahhh, Taxes.

I enjoy doing taxes, largely because modern technology has made them so mind numbingly simple, especially when you don’t have complicated situations.  I also enjoy getting a phat stack of cash back from the government every year.  Now, admittedly it’s my phat stack of cash all along and it would probably be wiser just to get the money up front each pay check.  Yet I’m one of those individuals who prefers to look at taxes as an IRS held personal savings account that I forget about and then it pays out once a year.

This year I was especially good at putting money into my IRS held bank account apparently and there’s a very big phat stack of cash coming my way.  Time to install a Jacuzzi.

The Pull "Click"

Apparently something has clicked.  The great pull I wrote about just the other day must have been magical.  Maybe there was fairy dust on the frisbee? or maybe some of my Irish luck cashed out or my positive karma balance was consumed.

Ever since my amazing pull the other day, I suddenly know how to pull.  I know exactly what I have to do, how to stand, how to move, how to throw.  It’s like something inside my head went clicky clicky and suddenly everything is clear.  It’s quite a feeling.

Now, I won’t claim to be a pulling god or anything… yet.  The distance on my pulls could be better and I still occasionally make a mistake and F it up, but of the 20 or so times I tried pulling during warm up and during my game tuesday, 16 were consistently acceptable pulls. That makes me very happy.

The Ultimate Pull

For a long time now I have always envied the ultimate frisbee giants who can pull a frisbee.  I just cannot seem to get one of those nice long, perfectly aimed throws and every time I try it falls woefully short and then awkwardly rolls.  However, that does not stop me from trying.  I pull two or three times every game I play with the sole intent of trying until I master it.  Well, I won’t say I’ve mastered the pull, but at my game saturday I did what I consider the perfect pull.

It was a smooth, nice floaty pull that landed just feet from the back of the opposing end zone.  A nice straight throw with no angles or curves or anything, just drifting over the heads of everyone playing.

My entire team, including myself, was so amazed at my beautiful pull (especially in light of the way I usually pull), that we all just stared at it in utter amazement, forgetting to run down the field and play defense completely.  The other team turned my awesome pull into a quick score and that pretty much ended that.

But I can still revel in the day that I made my perfect pull.

THEY are after ME!

It’s true.  The corporate monster of Mantech is trying to acquire my services.  The have just completed purchasing a company I used to work for DDK Technology Group and this is the second time they have done that.  Perviously, Mantech acquired Mcdonald Bradley Inc, another company I worked for which I left to go work at DDK.  The acquisitions of these companies always seems to take place a few months after I have left.  This has lead me to believe that Mantech is secretly trying to acquire me personally but that I keep outrunning them by changing jobs.

I’m off to warn the CEO of my current company about the looming mantech monster.

IE Bug: Input type="checkbox" checked property

So I found a fun little bug in IE 6 just now.  Don’t know if it is in IE 7 or 8.

Essentially if you have an element as shown:

<input type="checkbox" id="test-checkbox" />

And do the call:


The result will not always reflect the checked state of the element.  The reason for this is the lack of a “name” attribute in the input element.  IE 6 appears to reset the state of any checkbox form element that is missing a name attribute under certain conditions.  Adding the “name”  attribute solves this problem.

Spent 2 hours on that gem.

iPhone 3.0 Request

So I have an iPhone, just like all the other nerds out there.  Next week apple is going to offer details on their next version of the iPhone software (version 3.0) and as such everyone out there in the blogosphere seems to be writing about what they want in this new version.  I’ve read a few of these lists and agree with some of the items on them such as Cut and Paste, Images in Text messages, and background processing, but there’s one spot I’d really like some work on that nobody seems to think about.  I cannot help but wonder if i’m either missing something or no one else has every thought about this.

So the feature I’d really like to see is: The ability to adjust cache settings inside safari.  See, Safari, the iPhone web browser, appears to have a tiny little cache that remembers almost nothing.  The means that web pages are slower to download overall, plus when safari restarts, any old pages you want to revisit need to get downloaded again, which is slow.  What I’d like to see is a number of settings that you can adjust in safari that let you dictate whether or not the caching is allowed, how big the cache can be, and whether or not to clear the cache when closing safari.  The second one, how big the cache is, is especially important to me.  See, I don’t store a lot of video or music on my iPhone so I basically have like 75% of my iPhone’s memory sitting around doing nothing.  I’d love to be able to amke that 75% assigned to my safari cache and thus increase some of my browsing performance.

Now, all of that said, I know its really a minor request.  Plus since I own a first generation iPhone and not one of those 3G specials, I understand performance is more of an issue for me and less of one for other people.  Yet, at the end of the day, this is just one man’s blog and one man’s request for what *I* want to see.  So I get to make crazy demands.

Live in WoW

Who knew that there was a creature named after me in World of Warcraft.  I played the game for like a year and never even knew about it until just now. My fame on the internet continues to grow!  Soon I shall rule over you all like some sort of gigantic… tree… thingie… I guess.

The Cruise

So Jennifer and I took a cruise on Royal Caribbean last week.  We went from San Juan to Aruba to Curacao to St. Martin to St. Thomas and finally back to San Juan.  It was our first cruise experience and we were nervous of going and hopeful that we would like it.

Sunday found us flying to San Juan.  We left Baltimore just as the snow was beginning to fall in minor amounts and landed in a lovely 80 degree day.  From San Juan Airport we took a shuttle over to the dock and got through the boat boarding with no trouble  except that we almost missed the boat, but made it in the nick of time.  Obviously our stateroom on board the boat was tiny, but Jennifer’s sister gave us some good advice to make sure to unpack instead of trying to live out of your suitcase.  We did this and it was really the way to go.  I’m much more of a live out of the suitcase type of person, but for a tiny room like on a cruise you almost have to unpack to maintain your sanity.  We had dinner that night and met our dining companions, a very nice family from Puerto Rico: Irving, Elise, and Paulette.  They were a very friendly family and really made dining the entire cruise a fun experience.

Monday we spent the day sailing and contemplating calling everyone back at home and taunting them about the snow..  For us that meant exploring the ship, hitting the pool, trying some classes out.  We went to the Cha-Cha lesson given by the dancing instructors which was really just a chance for them to pimp out the opportunity for us to pay for private lessons, but we learned a bit of cha-cha and it was all fun.  That night we had dinner in the “exclusive” restaurant on board the ship that costs a little extra, but it’s supposed to be more fancy.  I did not find it to be anything over and above the main dining room experience though, so I’m not really sure it was worth the extra cash.  After dinner we checked out the on board entertainment, an acapella group called Mosaic who were surprisingly good.  All in all it was a delightful night.

Tuesday found us at our first port, Aruba.  We got up early and went on our first shore excursion: Horseback riding.  Now, I’m scared of horses because there big and unpredictable, but we did this so I could embrace my fear and try something neither of us have much experience in.  The ranch we were taken too was a little run down, a little dirty, a little in need of a fresh coat of paint, but it was ultimately fine.  The horses were old and seemed destine for the glue factory, but I was okay with that.  The ride took us from the ranch down to the island shore, along the shore and then back to the ranch.  We got to ride in the water a bit, across the beach a bit, but mostly just through some random neighborhood.  It was fine and the tour guides did a good job.  We both had fun.  After the ride we were taken back to the ship, had some lunch and then decided to find the beach in Aruba by ourselves.  We got off the boat, asked at the information desk how to get to the big beach, and followed their directions.  It was really quite a piece of cake and in about 20 minutes we had found the beach.  Aruba has just this massively long beautiful beach and we just took off our shoes and strolled down along the waters edge.  It was absolutely delightful and probably my second favorite thing we did the entire vacation.  Aruba’s beach is amazingly beautiful and I’d totally go visit it again.

Wednesday we spent at our second port, Curacao.  For Curacao we didn’t have any shore excursions planned, so we just slept in a little.  After breakfast we got off the boat and wandered into the main town.  It was pretty and all, but neither Jennifer or I are much for shopping, so we just wandered about for a bit.  Once we got hungry for lunch we headed back to the boat.  We then spent the rest of the day doing things on the boat that were usually quite crowded when the boat wasn’t in port.  We went to the jacuzzi and the pool, went ice skating, played mini golf, things like that.  My favorite activity was that both Jennifer and I climbed the rock wall on board the ship.  Apparently I climbed the easy part of the wall so fast Jennifer didn’t even have time to take pictures.  So I did the medium difficulty part while Jennifer suited up to try the wall herself.  Now, Jennifer is both afraid of heights and not one for taking risks, so I was quite proud that she not only tried the rock wall, but made it up to the top.  Two steps way out of her comfort zone.

Thursday we were at sea again, like Monday, so we basically took it easy.  We did some ballroom dancing including putting our cha-cha lessons to good use, saw a movie, hit the pool, and slept in.  We took a nap or two.  It was really quite a nice day and very relaxing.

Friday we hit St. Martin and, well, St. Martin hit back.  Our excursion for the day was a tour of Marigot, the capital of French St. Martin then a few hours at the beach.  The tour was okay and Marigot was nice, but as we got on the tour bus to head to the beach, the rain started.  For most of the day it rained off and on, but the real issue was the 50 mph wind gusts.  Try sitting on the beach relaxing when the sand is attempting to flay the skin off your body.  Not so much fun.  All in all it wasn’t a terrible outing, but it wasn’t to bad.  The beach was nice and we did get a change to stroll down it’s length and see people wandering about without clothing.  All in all St. Martin was our least favorite stop, but only because of the weather, which we do not blame St. Martin for.

Saturday was our adventure day on St. Thomas.  We had planned an excursion called “Kayak, Hike and Snorkel on Cas Cay.”  This involved one thing I have never tried before (Kayaking) and two things Jennifer had never done before (Kayaking and Snorkeling).  It was AWESOME.  The tour people were really fun and very knowledgeable.  They did a great job discussing the Mangrove forest we kayaked in and it was fun to learn all about mangroves.  After kayaking to the island (Cas Cay) we got a little hiking tour that ended with a cool sea scape view complete with a natural blow hole where the water coming in from the waves creates a cool sea spray.  Jennifer thought it was the coolest thing every and we got a bunch of pictures of her in front of it getting splashed.  Also during this they picked up a sea urchin and let us hold it.  Cool as all get out because you can feel it walking in your hand and all.  Cool for us northern folks whom have never done such.  We hiked back to the boats and grabbed our snorkeling gear for the last leg.  Snorkeling was fun.  Jennifer was very wary at first and really nervous, but once she got the hang of it she seemed to settle in to enjoy it.  Because we were moving slower than the rest of the group we ended it bring up the rear with one of the tour guides who stayed with us and pointed out lots of cool things: small barracudas, a southern sting ray, various fishes, bottom living jelly fishes that were bad to step on, and the big dad of them all an adult barracuda nicknamed “barry” who was over 4 feet long.  Big, underwater, and only 4 feet way can be a little scary, but in a totally good way.  I’m scared of Sting rays in the ocean, so seeing one for real was cool.  It let me approach my fear, but stay a good distance away from it.  All in all, the entire excursion was hands down the best thing we did the entire trip.  We both had a crazy amount of fun doing things we would never normally get to do at home, which in my book is exactly what a vacation is all about.

Sunday we returned to San Juan and flew home.  While traveling is usual very stressful I found the trip home to be easy as pie.  Jennifer and I are now professionals at the cruise trip and nothing the San Juan airport could do would bother us.

All in all we loved our cruise vacation.  Initially we were worried about sea sickness, lame excursions, over scheduling, crowding, and general traveling concerns, but they all proved to be completely unfounded.  We will totally go on a cruise again, and probably very soon.

Picture will be up on flickr soon and I’ll link some into this post.

Goodbye LJ

I closed down the LiveJournal site that I have been maintaining for the past 8 years or so as this site basically duplicates it.  That and I never posted to it.  So it was largely a waste to keep it open at all.  There are few friends over in the LJ world that will lose keeping track of me, but I’ll still keep track of them, so it’s all good.

Pure Javascript

I was thinking the other day that web development is way too complicated.  My current project uses Servlets, JSPs, HTML, CSS, and Javascript and moving between each of these can be woefully complex.  So the question that came to me is, why not just do everything in one language?  Web pages could be written entirely in Javascript instead of the HTML/CSS/JS mix we use now.  Add in Phobos and you can replace most of the Servlet/JSP layer with Javascript as well.  So why isn’t this done? Why do we force ourselves to change gears constantly as we develop our sites out.

I suspect part of the problem is the inadequacies of Javascript: it’s lack of true Object Oriented design, it’s classless structure, it’s lack of package organization, it’s inability to support importing of other packages, and other things that are limiting JavaScript.  Another part of the problem is the historical perspective; people have been doing it the way we do it for years, so why change now.  Finally using a single language would minimize all of the strong features of the other languages that we are not using such as CSS value being completely removed.

Yet, there are some real benefits to a single language website.  First, the development readability factor is obvious.  Also consider that by using a single language, better design patterns can be enforced across all of the code.  Another thought that if a single language is used, cross browser compatibility becomes less of an issues because the compatibility problems apply only to that single language, not a set of 3 or 5 languages.

I think there’s some value in a single language approach.  I think I’ll give it a try on a small project in the near future.