Saturday, May 21, 2005

21 May, 2005

The server room move (from 16th Ave. NW to 29th St. NE) went well. We began at about 5:00 PM on Thursdsay evening preping.; by 7:00 PM the 17th Ward group had shown up to elp us move equipment. We packed the equipment and arrived at the NE Columbia center at about 10:30, and we were completely unpacked by 11:00 PM.

The boys left, and we decided to press forward, mounting the UPS's and servers. We got everythigng that need to be up and running mounted into the racks, (and the rest put into storage) and we powered up the servers successfully at about 4:00 AM. We were satisfied with our testing and ready to go home by 4:30 AM. We were all back on the job by 9:30 AM on Friday morning (only 5 hours later), and we had the network functional and Columbia centres up and running by lunchtime. Overall the move was successfull. I'm really pleased with the skill and effort of my team. I work with committed, very smart, talented people. This was the single largest risk item I've ever worked on -- it was also quite possibly the most successfull.

Erin is feeling the effects of pregnancy more and more. She's doing quite well though. This morning she commented that about what the baby would look like. Gracie looks like me, and Matt looks like her... who will number three look like. Erin goes in for her first ultrasound on Tuesday morning.

Matt has really begun to speak in phrases -- and I'm noticing that he's becoming less and less frustrated (no surprise there -- we've always know that his frustration comes from not being able to express himself in a way that we can understand him). His phrases are really cute -- he's really cute. He's started to go to bed a little better. Erin bought a crib tent for him, so he's not getting out of bed anymore. At first the tent angered him, and we still had to lay in his room for 30 mintues to get him to fall asleep; but he's getting so that he's not so bothered by it now.

Gracie went to her kindergarten orientation this week (at Marion Carson elementary school). She had so much fun. It's really too bad she's got to be shipped all the way to Varsit. Erin and I are both a bit nervous about putting her on the bus -- she's becoming a little bit sensitive to being left alone lately.

I think it started when we went to Utah, and put her in primary with a class and teacher she didn't know. I dropped her off, and with a kiss, started to leave the room. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that she was feeling nervous. By the time I made eye contact with her, I could see plainly that she was very uneasy being left alone. I smiled and continued to walk to the door -- I could see that she way trying to be brave, but the more she could see me look at her, the more her eyes welled with tears and her lip trembled... until finally she bowed her head into hands and cried. It was so sad. I ended up sitting with her for all of singing time, then we went back to Brad and Amy's place instead of going to class. Ever since we've been back from Utah, Gracie has been very reluctant to go to class. She insists we check on her frequently during singing time, and from time to time I have to stay with her in order to keep her there.

This behaviour is very unlike her -- her nature is to be very free spirited and somewhat un-attached. She's hasn't had trouble with babysitters, or visiting in the homes of families she doesn't know. Erin and I have both been confused at this recent behaviour. When Erin took Gracieto her kindergarted orientation, she started to get a little nervous, but Erin quickly put her at ease by pointing out all the fun things to do. Erin said that despite some momentary hesitation, she did quite well.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Practically Assailable

Dad gave me an audio book commentary on Moby Dick. It's been enjoyable. I read Moby Dick in 1996 (almost ten years ago now) -- and I'm interested all over again. To this day I haven't read fiction as stirring as this:

That intagible malignity which has been from the beginning; to whose
dominion even the modern Christians ascribe one-half of the workds; which the
ancient Ohites of the east reverenced in thier statue devio; --Ahab did not fall
down and worhip it like them; but delirioulsy transferring its idea to the
abhorred white whale, he pitted himself, all mutilated against it. All that most
maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with
malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle
demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly
personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the
whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole
race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his
hot heart's shell upon it.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

May 7, 2005

Spent part of the day at work today -- not doing my regular IT duties, rather I helping with the renovations to the NE Columbia Centre. I learned how to to inside wall framing with metal studs (not that it was really hard). I'll feel pretty comfortable doing my basement, when the time comes.

I framed out the new server room, my new office/the IT area, and Dave's office. I find this kind of work very relaxing... it's nice to do manual labor, good for the mind.

Came home at 4:00 PM, and took Erin and the kids to Market Mall. Gracie was hoping to buy a mother's day gift for Erin (actually three gifts: a necklace, a ring, and a dress) -- but we couldn't find any jewelry that we thought she'd like, nor did we thing that we should buy her a dress, given that she's pregnant.

After a couple hours shopping (interrupted by a 20 minute stint in the play area), we abandoned our original gift ideas, and decided to get some new tablesettings. Erin couldn't decide what she wanted, so we left the mall empty handed. Honestly the best give I think I can give her, is just being out with her and the kids for an afternoon.

We went out with Sean and Libby Haslam last night. We had dinner at the Outback, then went to the new movie, "Kindom of Heaven". The dinner was great, the movie was decent. We always have fun going out with the Haslams.

The World Factbook

While researching Wikipedia today on the "Gaza Strip", I came across a reference to the C.I.A.'s World Factbook. This thing is really amazing (see Wikipedia's description).

Monday, May 02, 2005

May 2, 2005

Cathy's birthday today, we all went to Joey Tomatoe's for dinner. To be honest, I really don't like that place; I think the food is way overpriced... and it's good, but not that good.

Matt appearantly had to major breakdowns today. Erin tells me that at one point he was actually foaming at the mouth. Poor kid.

Matt has taught me a lot about parenting -- mostly that I should never be critical of a person's parenting skill (or appearant lack of it). I suspect most of what I previously would have judged as poor parenting, is more likely than not the result of a very frustrated parent who's doing thier best. Matt is so cute when he in a pleasant disposition, but he's very difficult to deal with at other times.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

May 1, 2005

Stake Conference today; an interesting one. It was the first "satellite broadcasts" stake conference, transmitted from the Foothills Stake Centre in Calgary to 93 other chapels in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and part of Western Ontario. Elder Marlin K. Jensen who conducted the meeting pointed out that even a small congregation in Yellowknife was watching. President Monson, Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Jensen came to Calgary to conduct and speak at the conference.

The conference was given in two parts, a Saturday priesthood leadership meeting, and the Sunday general session. The Saturday priesthood training went from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM (an hour longer than scheduled), but it felt no longer than about an hour and a half. All three gave very good instruction, but I was particularly inspired by Elder Bednar's comments (at both sessions).

Elder Jensen conducted both sessions, and spoke only very briefly (about 10 minutes) to open the priesthood session. Elder Bednar spoke next for about 45 minutes, then President Monson for about an hour. There was a 20 minute break, then they all spoke again.

Elder Bendar is the newest of the Twelve, and by far the youngest. He's got a very accessible speaking style, yet very doctrinal. He's an excellent teacher. He told us of the process of being ordained an Apostle, and taught about priesthood keys in a very clear, insightful manner. He taught about how priesthood keys should be used, and how they should be received. Several times he spoke about how "with God, nothing is impossible."

During the general session, he used a theme (developed by Elder Maxwell during a previous General Conference) about how the individual brush stokes of a masterpiece painting are unremarkable when viewed by themselves; but after the painting is completed, and the individual brush strokes are viewed collectively, the masterpiece is revealed. He taught the family scripture study, seminary attendance, family prayer can be likened unto the brushstrokes, and that for most of us, there likely will not be one prayer, or one seminary or Sunday School lesson (i.e.: one single brush stroke), that we can "point to" that made the masterpiece (so to speak) -- but that after the years go by, and all the brush strokes are viewed together, then the masterpiece is revealed. To illustrate he pointed out that his children may not remember a single morning's scripture study, but they remember that they had scripture study every morning.

At the close of his Priesthood talk, Elder Bednar gave his witness of the Saviour. I'm not sure why, but there was something different about hearing him bear testimony of the Savior in person, than hearing all the Prophets and Apostles bear testimony at general conference. I can't really explain why, but I was more real, more honest than others I've heard.

Overall it was an uplifting conference.
P.S. The production of the conference was quite remarkable. A large semi-trailer was driven up from Salt Lake, with all the camera, sound and satellite equipment required to perform the broadcast. Technically and logistically, it was amazing.