Friday, September 28, 2007

My son got caught....

Doing good!!!  Four times this week in fact.  He is also leading the school in Accelerated Reader points.  Nice to have things going well for a change.  :-)  His attitude and behavior has dramatically improved and he is doing so much better at pulling out of his anger/tantrum episodes. 

We started Soccer this week.  It has been fun to watch him run around the field.  He tries really hard to do tricks and things, always looking for oddball ways to get around obstacles.  :-)

Annual sand sculpting contest is this weekend!  Pictures will be coming soon.  They have artists come from all over to compete.  What they can do with sand is simply astounding.

Have a great weekend!

"Until you forget what you think you know and what you think is possible, you will never know what is truly attainable."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Internet Security Tip:

I am a network security engineer. I love my job as it provides me new challenges every day and it is pretty rewarding for me. I love puzzles and I get plenty! My job has made me fairly paranoid too. This week I ran across something that you should know about. If you think that your security tools, like anti-virus, are protecting you, you could be very wrong. I found a website this week, a legitimate church site, that had been hacked. The thing was that no one knew it. It was hacked and altered but not in a way anyone would notice. All the pages had a javascript appended to them. You could not see it, but it ran every time you went to the site. It was a trojan and your anti-virus programs would not have stopped it. Why? Because there were no signatures for it. Malware authors can obfuscate most code, and often in an automated way, so that Anti-virus vendors cannot keep up. Sometimes you could get a different version of the trojan every visit to the website, as that trojan is modified on the fly. The major anti-virus vendors did not recognize the trojan, nor did they stop the follow on programs, such as a key logger. The key logger waits until you go to a bank website, then it sends your credentials back to the criminal. The criminal may then empty your account, or sell your accout for $400-$1000 US cash. Hacking is a lucrative underground business. What used to be for fun is now for profit, and the payoff is huge.

How do you stop this? Well, you are not going to like the answer. YOU are the only way to prevent this. That is right, YOU are the answer. The first thing to do is to make yourself two accounts. One account is for everyday use. This account cannot install programs, or make system changes, etc. If you run malware as this user, the malware cannot do much of anything with the system, if anything at all. The interesting thing is that neither can you. If you want to install new software or make system changes you will need to login with your other, administrator account. Once you are done, log out and log back in with the normal unprivileged account. This is a pain, but it goes a long way to making sure your system stays yours, and that your personal or financial information is not stolen.

Just because some website says you need a plugin, do not install it. Plugins are hackins. Plugins often do not update themselves or even notify you of issues. If you are browsing with admin privileges and you have plugins, then hackers that hit those plugins will get administrator level access to your system.

More later...I'm going to bed. Volleyball kicked my ass tonight.


Three weeks of school...

have flown by. My son said the other day that his behavior has been great in school, and his teachers second that. He says it is because he doesn't want to get kicked out of the Math and Sciences Academy (MSA). The MSA is a special program that has limited space and elementary school students need to compete to get into. Last year my son expressed an interest and was accepted. His behavior/emotional issues can be extreme at times and we were told that if the pace was too fast or too stressful that he can move back to his other school. He said yesterday the reason he is trying so hard to behave in class is that he doesn't want to get kicked out. This is one of the first really big items he has really fought for.

I changed my work schedule in a big way to try and make other accommodation's for Brandon this year. My goal is to give him the very BEST environment for him to succeed this year. While we unfortunately need to be out the door at 5:45 am to be at day care by 6am, I am getting home by 3pm. This allows me to get him home to play with the other kids in the neighborhood, get dinner ready, get to practices, and just spend more time with him in the evenings. So far it has been a template for success. He has had a few blowups at home over homework and some other stuff, but none of it has been too bad. He is a great kid and he is doing better with his tantrums and stuff.

Soccer starts for Brandon this week. He gained quite a bit of weight over the summer, nearly 20 pounds. Soccer is going to be quite interesting this year.

Home stuff....We don't spend a lot of time at home, or at least we didn't until the change in schedule this year. Correspondingly, I haven't spent much time putting up pictures, looking at buying furniture, etc. I have furniture, it just never occurred to me that I could add other accessories or even replace some of what I have with some better or more functional items. My girlfriend and I were talking several weeks about about how she would like a pub/bar/counter height table. There are such things? So I started looking, and what do you know? There are! Being a tall person this is pretty appealing to me. I love the tall chairs and stools anyway, it just never crossed my mind that I could get this at home. I now have a counter height cherry wood table! It is dark and it makes me feel at home, stable, comfortable, at ease. I love to sit at my new table. I'm there now, watching the sun come up, sunlight dancing through the leaves, leaping off the early morning dew, squirrels racing at breakneck speeds, and sipping coffee. Which leads right in to the next item. I have new dishes. :-) Jade Moon from Target. They were on sale last week. They are dark on the outside but glazed aqua blue in the middle. They go great with my table and are just awesome to look at. To put this in perspective, I'm still using the plates and things I got as wedding presents in 1990. That is a lot of perspective right there. My son says it feels like we are eating in a sushi restaurant now. Sushi being one of OUR favorite things, he is right, it does. I have also been hanging pictures. I have a number of painting and photographs that I haven't put up because I didn't think I would be here for that long. So funny how way leads on to way, or sometimes doesn't. So here I am, and some of my pictures are now up. I'm playing with some of the photographs. I sent one to Sam's to make a poster out of it. 11x14 first. It turned out well. I had a frame for it, but the frame was broken (trivia: name the group, the album, and the year for an album name that mentions broken frames...of course that is enough for a google search right there). I'm also playing with some of my photographs, changing some to brush strokes and other special effects, and then getting prints of them. There are several online photo places you can send your pictures to and pickup prints locally. My favorite is SAMS. One hour pickup for up to 8x10, reasonable prices, and good quality thus far.

We had a great night last night over at Susan's with some friends. Brats, beer, and Battle of the Sexes game. We were supposed to go camping, but the weather looked like it would turn bad and we decided to cook out instead. Still a great time. Maybe camping and scuba diving next weekend in the outer banks. We'll see!

We're doing a Battle of the Sexes Meetin event at Lasertag on October 2nd! Come on out! We start coed indoor volleyball this week too. I still have a lot to learn at volleyball, but I have a lot of fun playing.

Nothing earth-shattering here, no deep thoughts, nothing to add to the four noble truths, the golden rule, or anything else, just life on a daily basis.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Random stuff....

Sometimes my son is so disappointed in me, and for good reason. Last year he and I were at an unfamiliar house and I went to make him some cereal. I grabbed an unmarked Tupperware type container of a white granular substance which looked like sugar to me. I've seen it stored this way before and it made sense. He started eating his cereal and promptly spit it back out. "SALT! YUCK!" :-( I felt so bad.

This weekend I made some waffles. Last week I made garlic bread. I like a lot of butter on both. Apparently the butter was cross contaminated with son walks by me through the kitchen muttering under his breath and shaking his head, "garlic, waffles, syrup...DISGUSTING." He was right, but I ate the waffles anyway.

Several years ago, my son, his mom, and I were in a restaurant. There were fake sharks hanging from the ceiling. Being the not so great father I am, I made a remark that they feed misbehaving children to the sharks. My son pipes up "Those are not real children." I am befuddled by the statement, so I look up to see what he was talking about. Just above us, a great white shark had the South Park kids stuffed it's mouth. Brandon's mom said, "Those are bad kids." And they were both right.

Stuff from Church today:
"The Truth will set you free." Yes, it will. Something I got from the book "Emotional Unavailability" several months ago is that Honesty is not Truth. Neither is Sincerity. If you need to rationalize a decision, especially when it can deeply affect another person, are you sure they are not rational lies or manipulation? I love you, I adore you, I trust you are things that are not said or practiced enough in our society.

Something you should know about me if you are ever inclined to invite me to some sort of trivia event. I know almost nothing about pop culture. Seriously. People in the office start talking about this show, or that person and I am likely to say "What is that? Who is that?" I have no idea. I like movies, but I couldn't tell you who was in them. I may recognize them from some other movie, but that would be it. There are only a few TV shows I watch, but those are on DVD or off of itunes and I never watch them on real tv. The advertising kills me. I don't know anything about any of the people behind the music I like, I wouldn't recognize them if they showed up on my door, and I'm not likely to even know them if they introduced themselves. I may not even recognize the group name if they tacked that on. They would probably need to start singing or playing before I caught on. I remember Jack Johnson telling a story about his wife once. Apparently their toilet was stopped up, he was not home, and she was waiting on a plumber. The door bell rang and she answered the door with "Are you the plumber?" The man at the door said yes, and came in and tried to fix the toilet. The man was Jimmy Buffet and had stopped by to see Jack. I would have been the same way. My friends and my family are my superstars. They are the ones I want to hear each day. They are the ones I want to see and take pictures of. Even the fellow bloggers out there, I look forward to reading what you have to say, sharing in the triumphs and the obstacles you go through. Real people. Real lives.

The weather here has changed, and for the better. My son and I walked out this morning to get bagels and I was electrified. Autumn is coming. The air was crisp, humidity free, and slightly cold. The sky was so blue it dazzled me. My lungs gulped in the air and all I wanted to do was spend the day outside. After Church we did just that. We packed a quick lunch, some wine, snacks, and headed for the beach. Not the tourist area, but a wildlife refuge between Virginia and North Carolina. :-) It was awesome.

We went rock climbing Saturday. That is always a blast. It has to be great for Brandon because dad never says "No, you can't climb that!" Susan and I also got to go out Saturday night to a Meetin party. Even better news is that I now have three babysitters to call when I need one!

Photo montage coming, playing with some other packages....

You can see the effect the erasers had on my son's face in this one.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

One last post for today....

CONGRATULATIONS to Jeff and Melanie!!!!!
They are going to have another girl!!! WOOOOHOOOO!

While you are here, scroll down until you see the erasers! It is worth a look....


Corporate life....

If you work in the corporate world, are not a CEO or other executive type, and Dilbert could be written by spying on your office, then you need to visit this site:
Despair, Inc.

If you ever get annoyed at the beautiful pictures and cute motivational sayings of some motivational posters, then the site above will have you rolling on the floor. I love what the founder says on the site, "Because, in our world of instant gratification, people desperately want to believe that there are simple solutions to complex problems. And when desperation has disposable income, market opportunities abound."

:-) I really hope you enjoy it...I laughed for quite a while remembering a company I used to work for. I used to put these posters up in my cubicle, but they made me take them down. It really wasn't good for morale when the employee of the year has "Sacrifice: Your role may be thankless, but if you're willing to give it your all, you just might bring success to those who outlast you." prominently displayed on their desk....


Creative with erasers...

What my son thinks up when he is "bored":

You should notice that this was not haphazard. Everything is in a particular order for color and symmetry.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Summer 2007....

One of the best ever for me for many reasons, but the biggest would be finding someone that I am so compatible with on so many levels. She would say "Guys are so easy!" And she would be right, we are. We just finished up one of the best days at Busch Gardens ever. The park closed at 7pm though and we missed dinner there, but we made up for it with a pizza from Andrea's when we got home. The four of us, (Susan, her six year old son, Brandon and I), had the greatest time. Brandon even became a roller coaster lover, at a cost of $15 to me.

Nickelback's "Photograph":

"It’s hard to say it
Time to say it
Goodbye, goodbye"

Pretty much describes what I feel about the summer right now. It is fall and so much is going on with school and work that the summer will forever be a memory from this point forward. I have this cool slide show to help remember some of the highlights though:

Oh, and Susan and I just saw Nickelback in concert on the 28th. It was a pretty good show...but I think we liked rush better.

I truly hope everyone out there had a pretty good summer! On to fall, and then to snowboarding!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Skyline Drive...The Blue Ridge Mountains

2007.08.19 - Skyline drive. Maybe I'll add music when I figure out how, or picasa gives me the option!


The Worst Best Memories

Time heals all wounds is what they say,
But it doesn't feel like that today,
Can't stop looking back down memory lane,
The worst best memories and companion pain.

At seventeen I knew the lines,
Integrity in Love and sacrifice,
But even this would not suffice,
Against lust, wanderings, and avarice.

Time come over me like summer rain,
Come wash away memories of pain,
Time swallow me like ocean tides,
Erase the worst best memories inside.

At twenty one I took an oath,
two as one, one life for both,
Twelve years and vows were not enough,
Both mate and child you forsook.

Time come over me like summer rain,
Come wash away memories of pain,
Time swallow me like ocean tides,
Erase the worst best memories inside.

My Heart and Soul at thirty-four,
Found someone that they adored,
We sacrificed and gave our all,
Manipulating hearts large and small,
Hidden thoughts and actions bared,
Showed it was not for us you cared.

Time come over me like summer rain,
Come wash away memories of pain,
Time swallow me like ocean tides,
Erase the worst best memories inside.

Searching, reaching, trying again,
Looking for a perfect blend,
Someone, a partner, to stand beside,
Making the best best memories inside.

Time come over me like summer rain,
Helping Love bloom inside again,
Time swallow me like ocean tides,
Making the best best memories inside,
Memories that last forever this time.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

watching the clock...

Just something I wrote to my amazing girlfriend on Friday...

Tick tock goes the clock,
marking what, we know not,
on it goes, it never stops,
life and death and life again,
on and on this world spins,
the moon wanes, then waxes back,
the sun never gets out of whack,
the seasons progress chronologically,
plants and beasts respond obediently,
And God being Creator and Ruler,
Will decide when it is over,
So stop watching your clock my friend,
Live, Laugh, and Love every second.