November 2002 Archives
Yes, courtesy of my mom's digital camera, Charlie finally makes an appearance on the banner pic. Here's another picture of him, somewhat larger.
I had a pretty good day today… I'm taking a class on VB.Net, and training weeks are always easier than work weeks. I wasn't even supposed to take the class, but all my other teammates were busy. Lucky me, I guess. My observations after the first day: .Net kicks ass. I have never used a software package as polished, as well designed, and as powerfully user friendly as Visual Studio.Net, and that's saying something. VB.Net is everything I spent the last year wishing VB6 were; what I wouldn't have given for structured exception handling, to name just one thing.
We've enrolled Charlie in training. This week was just the owners, no dogs; learning how to teach our dogs, so to speak. Hopefully Charlie will pick up most things quicker than he has housetraining.
On the other hand, Saturday was the grand opening of the small dogs part of the University City Dog Park. The "small dogs" area is larger than most complete dog parks; the "large dog" area will be pleasantly huge, the kind of place where you can launch a frisbee for your Great Dane and not feel hemmed in. We took the dogs, of course, as well as my mom and dad, Conner, and Jen's Grandma. It was a romping good time, we even got on the evening news (briefly), and we may have discovered the secret to housebreaking Charlie (may, I say).
As noted, my parents and Conner were up this weekend to see Jen's play. It was, all in all, a very full but quite fun weekend. I realized this weekend that one of the things I love about my dad is that he's always ready to play. It's most noticeable when he sees a very young child—he gets this mischevious look on his face, he makes funny noises (some of which I have learned to duplicate), he's just a very fun guy to be around. I realized this because he was making a very strange sound this weekend because it seemed to totally captivate the dogs, Charlie especially. I think my dad's willingness to play has been a major influence in my own life; at least, I hope so.
Sunday morning—the morning of my birthday—we went out for a fantastic brunch buffet at the Millenium Hotel with my great-uncle Jim Cholmondelay (a.k.a. "Jim Who?") and his wife Jean. I have to say, it was one of the better starts to a birthday I've ever had. It's hard to go wrong when you start the morning with valet parking, champagne and St. Louis-style potatoes and finish it with chocolate-covered strawberries and more champagne.
Jen's play is (finally) over, so we can all relax a bit. It was a really good play, and despite the occasional hellish moment, I'm glad to have been a part of it. I met a couple of cool people, I learned a lot about how (not) to build a set, and I got to see a great production.
Jen reminds me that I should perhaps list what I got for my birthday. Her wish, my command:
- Monsters, Inc DVD, and a Monsters, Inc. flashlight. (I love this movie.)
- Three stuffed Stitch dolls (Elvis, a Hawaiian, and what appears to be a Vampire). Elvis is currently gracing my desk at work, because he's just too cool. Thanks, Laurie (who also sent me a very nice card…).
- A black wrought-iron stand in which to display the octagonal UofL paving stone my mother gave me for some previous birthday. It actually seems to make quite a nice end table.
- The Official Iron Chef Book from Lindsay. So far it's really cool. Really, really cool.
- A long card (or short letter) from my Grandma Phyllis, and another from my Grandma Nancy. With any luck I'll see the latter at Thanksgiving.
- Money from Jen's Grandma, and I have yet to decide how to spend it—one of life's nicer problems, fortunately.
- A book called The Thousand Orcs from Conner.
It was a really good birthday, actually <inside_joke>(even if I did have to bake and ice my own cake. ;)</inside_joke>.
Oh golly, how could I have forgotten? Tangerine is incredible. Vegetarian comfort food indeed. Chicken fried portobella mushroom is super fantastic.
Today was, weatherwise, the perfect fall day. Sunny, color all around, and just warm enough that you could drive around with the sunroof open and the windows down and it felt good instead of making you think about frostbite.
Which meant, of course, that Jen spent the whole day at work and I (aside from about 90 minutes at the dog park) spent the whole day cleaning the apartment from top to bottom and front to back. In the next two weeks, the following people will be visiting our apartment: Jen's family, Conner, Jen's Grandma, my mom and dad, and possibly Conner again. So of course it was time for a full cleanup, of the variety that hasn't happened since Into the Woods sort of sucked all the free time out of both our lives. I actually have been really tired lately… after I picked Jen up from work I actually fell asleep, ended up taking about a four hour nap (but I feel much better now).
Jen's show opened last night, and it was really, really good. I'm so proud of my wife I could burst. The set looked pretty good, too, if I do say so myself. I even got two entries in the program—Master Carpenter and a Special Thanks. Though they did spell my name right in one case and wrong (Erik) in the other. :-P
Evidently the Yale Law Journal has begun putting some of their articles online. They have a really good article up entitled The Freedom of Imagination: Copyright's Constitutionality, about whether or not copyright (being, as it is, a major restraint on the exercise of free speech) is constitutional. The author decides copyright proper (that is, the parts that deal with unauthorized reproduction and distribution) are constitutional, but that the parts prohibiting derivative works may not be. To support the idea he puts forth a new logical basis for the First Amendment, which is that it is intended to protect the free exercise of imagination. His reasons for the basis are very interesting and, I think, quite persuasive. In fact, this seems like the best suggestion for balancing copyright with artistic interplay I've read yet.
When we got up this morning, Charlie was limping. I took him to our vet, and it turns out he has severe hip dysplasia—his left hip is one of the worst cases she's ever seen, and his right hip is not much better. The left hip needs immediate replacement. Our vet's a GP, not a specialist, so she didn't have any exact figures, but she told us it would likely run between $1000 and $1500. Per hip. Fortunately for us, we've been pouring money into long-term savings (specifically our 401(k) plan), so we can take out a loan against that to pay for this. Thank god for that foresight—it's much nicer to pay back the money to yourself than it is to pay it to a bank.
If anyone would like to send along well-wishes (or a dog biscuit or two) I'll be happy to pass them along to poor Charlie.
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