My XBox Live Gamer Card
Sunday, September 7. 2008
Last night Travis, William, Kellan, Jennifer and I watched the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. I can't count the number of times I've watched it, but it was a first for the little boys. They'd seen part of it but not all of it. I generally glean something new from it each time I watch it, but last night it raised the following question for me.
"What kind of friend am I?"
We don't really know the back-story on the friendship of Sam, Merry, Pippin and Frodo (at least from the film. It's been so long since my last read of the books that I don't remember if it is delved into more deeply there). Regardless of back-story, it is evident that Frodo has engendered a special kind of loyalty from his friends--even the two party-dudes, Merry and Pippin. At the end of the film when Merry and Pippin see Frodo and then cause a distraction to aid in his escape to the river, they are risking their lives to help their friend. And then of course there's Sam, the most faithful and true friend someone could have, he doesn't just risk his life, he goes on to what is almost guaranteed certain doom to aid his friend in his quest.
So I come back to the question "What kind of friend am I?" Am I the kind of friend that engenders the kinds of sacrificial loyalty in his friends? Am I the kind of friend who would be as sacrificial as Merry, Pippin or Sam? If I'm not, what do I need to do to become that type of friend?
I ask the same questions for my boys. What types of traits do I need to encourage in them as they grow into man-hood to help them become those sorts of friends.
It has certainly given me something to think about.
Saturday, August 30. 2008
One of the most difficult things about XBox Live is finding people you actually like to game with regularly. Shortly after I got my 360 I was perusing the forums on xbox.com when I came upon this thread about 30yo+ gamers. As I read through it I came upon this post...
I'm 36 and LOVE to play GRAW. I play almost every day from 9-10PM (EST) for 2-3 hours.
I have several friends (just a few because it is HARD to find friends online as it is in real life) and we usually have GRAW NIGHT - each Friday when we play from 10PM until 2-3AM next day.
HollowPoint11 - I've sent you a request but could not add a message since the xbox.com does not allow you to add the message to the request.
Everybody - you are welcome to send me requests - we will play and have fun...and you can always remove people from your friend list if you dont like them, right? :)
I'm level 4 if that matters.
By a guy named AlexOdin
I responded to his desperate plea for friends, and very soon thereafter was playing GRAW every Friday night with an absolutely super group of people, people who I actually looked forward to playing with, people who I came to think of as friends.
Several games have made our primary Friday night rotation. After GRAW it was Gears of War, and then Call of Duty 4. With occasional diversions in Halo 3 or Team Fortress 2.
Not too far into our gaming a website was put up and My XBox Friends was born.
So, if you're an older gamer (the rule of thumb is 30+) and you'd like to find a group of people who enjoy gaming, and enjoy each other, come check out the website, say hi, and get to playing.
Sunday, September 9. 2007
I just got home from spending the evening with two of my best friends, and several others. It was a spectacular evening of good friends, good fellowship, good fun and good food (and some good drink as well, but it breaks the alliteration!)
We started off at the Corn Maze on Sauvie Island. I've never done it before and it was a lot of fun, even though we got quite lost for a bit on the second half of it. It was a beautiful night for getting lost in a maze, and we had lots of fun as we wandered through and around and around and around.
After we successfully made egress from the maze we headed off to A & D's home for dinner and drinks. The meal was fabulous as always (Thanks sis!) and the company was loads of fun.
Thank you both so much for your kind and generous hospitality and for putting up with me. Your friendship means so very much to me. Thank you very very much.
I am looking forward to many more evenings where I laugh so much, my cheeks hurt afterward.
Tuesday, September 6. 2005
Nine of us took off for our semi-annual ride on Friday. We headed north, all the way to the Great White North. It was a fun, and sometimes frustrating trip. By the time my bike made it back to my garage I had done 1100.2 miles over the four days.
Honda Pacific Coast-Chad
The Trip (Overview)
Saturday: Deception Pass to Tofino, BC (Vancouver Island)
Sunday: Tofino, BC to Bear Creek Campground (an hour beyond Port Angeles, WA)
Monday: Bear Creek Campground to Portland.
Music: The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Bad Company
Total Miles: 263
These rides take place twice a year, May and September. I have missed the last three and it has been far too long since I've ridden with my friends. I was incredibly pumped about the opportunity to do this again.
Henry, Wade, Chad, Dave, Paul, John, and I meet in the Rentrak parking lot at 11:30, for a noon departure. I was excited to try out some new technology on my bike. My friend John brought me a Cramp Buster for the throttle. We slid it on and got it adjusted "just right." While I was playing with Cramp Buster the other guys are looking for Joe. Joe is a wonderfully nice guy, however, he's often late! Wade got a call from him and told him we would meet him in Castle Rock at the Hwy 411 exit. Then we saddled up and headed north on I-205 and then I-5 to Castle Rock, Washington. At Castle Rock we stopped for gas, some food and to look for Joe. We successfully found gas and food, but not Joe. A few phone calls later we discovered he was a bit north of us, so we set up a new meet in Napavine where we would return to I-5 after our Hwy 411 excursion.
Once again we headed north, this time on a far more interesting road than I-5. It was a good warmup for some of the roads we would travel over the next few days. What seemed like just a few minutes later, we were in Napavine, and stopped again to look for Joe. Still no luck. We told him we'd meet him in Olympia at the US 101 turnoff.
We jumped on I-5 again and headed north for Olympia. When we reached the 101 turnoff we took it and stopped at the Arco station on the corner. I pulled up behind a car with no driver, so I figured the driver was inside paying for his gas. I sat and waited, and waited and waited the passenger in the car was fidgeting, I was fidgeting and getting impatient. Finally an older gentleman came shuffling out of the AM/PM and headed for the car. "Finally," I thought, and then he started pumping gas. All around me bikes and cars were moving to pumps and getting the fuel they needed. I was still sitting behind and old guy and his wife. Eventually he'd filled his tank. I expected him to get in and pull away, but no, he shuffled back into the AM/PM. Shoulders slumping heavily now, I had visions of dieing before I ever reached the pump.
Eventually he did return and got in his vehicle and left. I pulled forward, and climbed off my bike to investigate the pay terminal. Unlike most stations that have card readers in their pumps There was one pay terminal per pump island. It talked about an ATM fee for retrieving money, since I was buying gas I ignored it and gave it my card. Up popped a message, "This transaction will cost you 45 cents." I muttered and expletive and then decided I'd waited too long to give up and find another gas station, so I bit the bullet and agreed to the charge.
After getting the gas I joined the group, parked in the shade, and said "hello" to Joe who we had finally caught up with, and thought of the immortal words of Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 2 "They fuck you at the drive through, ok!" Well that only needs to be slightly shifted to express my views on Arco.
While on the subject of gasoline, don't ever let anyone tell you that self-serve gas is cheaper. The cheapest gas the whole trip was in Oregon.
Saddling up we headed for 101. Traffic was a bit heavy, the exit is a bit tricky, and as Chad found out, when you're earphones get messed up inside your helmet and your trying to figure that out, and ride, something's going to happen! He missed the exit. None of the rest of us, but Wade, realized he wasn't there and we continued merrily on our way up 101 until I only had three bikes in my mirrors when I was quite sure there should be seven. The four of us pulled over, and shortly two more showed up. That left Wade and Chad missing. We waited and waited, and started to worry a bit, and waited and finally their headlights showed up heading north on 101. When they stopped we heard Chad's story about the earphones and the helmet and the missed exit. Apparently if you miss the 101 turn off it takes quite a while to get turned around again. Mostly I'm glad that was all the problem was.
101 North along the Puget Sound is a gorgeous trip up along Hood Canal, Dabob and Quilcene Bays. We took a turn-off for Port Townsend and had a beautiful ride into a lovely post card of and Olympic Peninsula Port. We rode right up to the 6:00pm Ferry to Whidbey Island, and rolled off on our way up Hwy 20 to Deception Pass camp ground, where we met up with Dale, pitched our tents, and went to dinner.
The last time we'd been at that campground, there was a wonderful restaurant, Island Grill, just up the road toward Anacortes. It was closed up tight, which was a bummer, so we headed the opposite direction and found a Mitzel's American Kitchen. The food was sorta kinda adequate, but nothing to write home about.
After dinner we headed back up the road to camp.
Music: Boston, Bonnie Tyler, Collective Soul, Damn Yankees
Total Miles: 202
We had a horribly early start. We needed to be at the Ferry terminal in Anacortes by 7:45am. We saddled up and headed out of North on Washington 20 from Deception Pass Campground. The ride into Anacortes was only about 20 miles and we all stopped at Safeway to buy some food for breakfast and some much needed Starbucks.
There was quite a line at the Ferry, but one of the advantages of being on a motorcycle is that they let you load first. So we made like a bunch of queue jumpers and headed to the front of the line. The Ferry trip out of Anacortes was gorgeous. It was just about two hours from leaving Anacortes to docking at Sidney By The Sea, BC.
From Sidney we headed south on 17 to the north end of Victoria and then North on Canada 1. Just north of Victoria we stopped at a gorgeous viewpoint looking down on the Mill Bay. Paul to the opportunity to answer the call of nature on the edge of a very very steep drop off. I'm sure all the telescopes and binoculars below us on the bay were trained in his direction.
The weather started closing in a bit as we headed North. When we got to Ladysmith we got sprinkled on and some of the guys stopped to put on their rain gear. Continuing North we stopped for lunch at Tim Horton's in Nanaimo. It was a reasonably good meal, and if there were nothing else around I'd probably visit again. In Nanaimo we talked to some of the locals and they suggested that we take 19 out of Nanaimo and miss a lot of the traffic and stoplights that we would face if we stayed on 1, so we bypassed moth of Nanaimo on 19.
We headed north on 19 until we hit 4 and turned west on 4 toward Port Alberni. We stopped in Port Alberni for a butt rest, liquor, beer and cigars. Then continued west on 4 toward Tofino. Up in the mountains West of Port Alberni, the road turns to dirt and gravel for a total of about 17 kilometers. I'm not a huge fan of dirt or gravel, but the V-Strom handled it beautifully. Even when the road wasn't dirt, the farther west we went the more beatup it got. The country was gorgeous, mountains and streams and lakes, a couple of the guys even saw a bear cub.
At the end of 4, the road Ts. Left takes you to Ucluelet, and right takes you north through the Pacific Rim National Park, and eventually Tofino. When we got to Tofino, Joe was in the lead and took a left turn into a development there, then turned left into someone's driveway, honking madly and waving. The rest of us rolled in behind him, and he introduced us to his friend Denise, and then told us we were staying there that night.
My heart sunk. I really really don't like imposing on people, much less imposing on someone I've never even met. But we were told there wasn't a camping space available in Tofino that weekend, so Joe made these arrangements with Denise. We set up our tents in the back yard, and wandered the 100 yards to the beach and the Pacific Ocean. Some of the guys drove into town, to buy some food. A freshly caught halibut was being grilled, salad was made, folk started eating and drinking. I ate a bit, but then bummed a shower from our hosts.
After the shower I noticed that a deep fryer had been added to the mix and one of our hosts was deep frying fresh halibut. It was the most amazing fish I think I have ever had. I ate far too much, but enjoyed every moment! I headed for my tent about 9:30 and felt the first rain drops. I didn't think too much about it and hunkered down in my sleeping bag.
Wade came knocking and said, do you know your towels still on top of your tent? I had forgotten all about it. He was kind enough to put it someplace dry. Fortunately that mades something click in my head and I realized my riding boots were still outside. I got up and grabbed my boots and stowed them safely away.
It bucketed most of the night.
Music: ZZ Top, Whitesnake, Styx
Total Miles: 272
It hadn't been a good night. I didn't sleep well, and kept waking to check for water in the tent. My wonderful little two-man tent (Eureka Apex II) that fits very nicely in one of my Givi Keyless hard bags, had served very well. I hadn't staked out the rainfly or opened the vents or anything, and I only had one tiny puddle of water inside. Groggily dressing and getting out of my tent into the grey morning, I felt the first twinges of a migraine and sighed.
I've been getting migraine headaches since I was very very young. Fortunately I outgrew the vomiting, but the headaches are just a nightmare, and when they get very bad, I end up having to go to a dark and quiet room where I whimper and scream until I fall asleep. I've gotten some meds, they work some times, but not usually, and I've never found a "regular" over-the-counter med that works. I usually get warning that they're coming and usually take preventative measures to be somewhere safe and sound when they get really bad. But how do you do that when you're with a eight other guys who all have to be at a ferry dock 200+ miles away in seven hours?
I hate packing wet gear, but we didn't have much choice, so the wet tent and tarp all got packed away. When I got to my bike I found that I'd left my warm weather gloves out, and they were now soaked. and my helmet had tipped slightly in the night and the cheek pads were a bit wet. That was ick!
So on top of this onrushing headache I now had to face a damp helmet. This day was not starting well. Because we had a deadline--the Port Angeles ferry was leaving Victoria at 3:00pm--we decided we were going to do the first bit in one great rush, no stops until we hit Port Alberni where we would stop for gas and breakfast. I gritted my teeth, climbed on my bike and headed off with the rest of the group.
By the time we reached the turnoff onto 4, I was completely miserable, and I knew that the road only got worse. Eventually I hit the gravel and hot needles started jabbing into my eye over every bump. There were several times when I thought just how easy it would be to ride my bike off the road into Kennedy Lake as we rode past.
I thought we'd never reach Port Alberni, I was trying not to puke, but desperately needed some coffee. We stopped for gas and then headed to Tim Hortons. No one else knew what a mess I was until I staggered into the restaurant and sat down. I made it through my coffee and part of my cinamon roll when Henry said he had some meds that would help. I asked him what and he said 800mg of ibuprofen I took one, but didn't believe it would help. Then we saddled up and my buddy John hung back with me to make sure I stayed safe.
Within an hour I was feeling much better and by the time we reached Ladysmith I was actually hungry. I took another 400mg of ibuprofen and had a bit to eat. Then we headed off for Victoria.
We were thrilled. The ferry left at 3:00pm and we were going to be in Victoria by 1:00pm so we would have time for a nice liesurely lunch somewhere. Parking our bikes down on the Ferry dock we went and bought our tickets and were told, "please be at your bikes at 1:30." We were stunned. There went our liesurely lunch. We dashed across the street to the hotel, ordered our lunches to go in the bar, and took styrofoam boxes back to the dock and ate on the back seats of our bikes.
We've waited in line at the I-5 border crossing, and it's not fun and the Customs and Immigration folk seem harried and humourless. We went through Immigration sitting on the dock in Victoria, and the officers were wonderful, friendly, and had a sense of humour!
The ferry trip to Port Angeles was gorgeous and every one relaxed in the beautiful weather. A couple of times it looked like we would hit a rain squall but we never did, and I was fortunate enough to see some large form of aquatic mammal playing in the ferry's wake.
Docking in Port Angeles we quickly went through Customs, and ran into Chris Howard who had ridden up on his brand new, shiny black, 2005 V-Strom.
It was here we said good-bye to Dave who was heading over to I5 to bomb home quickly enough to catch an early flight out of PDX the next morning.
Our plan was to camp at the Sol Duck Hot Springs in the Olympic National Forest, so we stopped at Goodwill to grab shorts or trunks for the guys who didn't have them, then we stopped and gassed up and headed out on 101W.
It was a beautiful ride along the south shore of Lake Crescent. The speed limit was too slow, and the road a bit slick but it was simply gorgeous. When we got to the Sol Duck Campground we spent some time talking about the cost of camping there and the cost of access to the hot springs and the cost of a meal in the lodge, and decided that our money might be better spent in the free Forest Service campground about 14 miles up the road in Bear Creek.
We made a couple of turns around the campground and picked a nice spot and pitched our tents. Then walked up the road to the little road-side cafe. Walking in it didn't look like much, but we have had very good experiences in places that didn't look all that great. We found our seats, and checked out the menu and ordered. My prime rib was not the best I've ever had, but it was still very very good. I think that the rest of the guys also fully enjoyed their meals. Then the pie and ice cream was ordered and I think everyone who had it really enjoyed that.
We wandered back to camp and around the campfire we talked about the future rides we'd like to do. Then we headed off for bed.
At 12:30 my cellphone rang, I was too groggy to get to it before it stopped ringing but I listened to the message that was left. Apparently something was wrong with the GroupWise server at work. Jason said he'd call Barbara since he couldn't get me. At about 1:20 my phone rang again. Once again, fumbling in the dark I couldn't get to it in time. This time it was Barbara saying she hadn't found anyone to help with the GroupWise problem. I sighed, and started sending emails to Jason and Barbara letting them know I'd do what I could. Then I got dressed and found my way to Chad's tent and woke him up. Poor Chad was up for four hours working on the problem.
Music: Abba, Aldo Nova, Blue Oyster Cult, Def Leppard, Everclear, The Eagles, ELO
Total Miles: 363
We woke up bright (well everyone but Chad who'd been up a good chunk of the night) and early, saddled up and headed toward Forks where we found a lovely little restaurant for breakfast. After a very good breakfast we headed south on 101 to the Hoh Mainline where we headed off across the Olympic National Forest. This was a fantastic little road, and the beautiful weather just made it even better. Eventually we hit 101 again and headed south some more until we got to the Moclips-Olympic Hwy. This was an even better road than the first was was stunningly beautiful ride. Once again we found ourselves on 101 and we continued our trek south.
When we got to Hoquiam/Aberdeen, we stopped for gas, restroom and a snack. Chad and Dale peeled off here. Dale to head to his home near Seattle and Chad to get home quickly to deal with the problem GroupWise server.
South of Aberdeen the south-bound traffic improved dramatically and the ride became a bit more interesting than it had been while dealing with RVs headed home after the long weekend. Eventually we found ourselves in Astoria, where we got gas and then headed into Warrenton to Doogers for a wonderful lunch. Unknown to us, Doogers has hired every beautiful girl on the North Coast of Oregon, and not only was lunch good, we had some incredible scenery of a different kind.
After lunch we said goodbye to Chris who was going to continue south to his family's home farther down the Oregon Coast. The last of us saddled up and got on Oregon 202 and started heading toward Portland. Our greatest goal was to avoid Hwy 26 east-bound on a holiday. At the turnoff to Vernonia we waved goodbye to Wade. Our route was tortuous but, but loads of fun (except for those 15mph turns which I still don't handle with any ease).
Stopping in Newberg the remaining group said their goodbyes and we wound our way through Wilsonville and onto I205.
When I rode into my garage my odometer said 1100.2 miles for the trip.
As always this trip will be permanently etched in my memory as a wonderful wonderful time with lots of good company.
Monday, November 19. 2001
Well, it's over...
Watching the World Trade Center towers crumble was also watching our dream crumble. We were raising $1.5 million. We had a $1 million pledged. we had another firm with a terms sheet that was apparently willing to put up the other $500,000. However, one week after the bombings, that other company called us and told us that in the post 9-11-2001 environment there was no way they could provide us with the money we were after.
We were crushed. We wanted to still make a go of it, so on October 1, we laid off my friend and partner of seven years, John; my friend and partner of two years, Scott; my friend of three years, Brian; and two wonderful employees, Doug and Kyle. We were now looking for $400,000 to last us six to nine months. We couldn't even come up with that. So on November 1, 2001 we all said goodbye to the dream.
Now I'm looking for work. If you are interested in hiring a really talented hard working computer nerd with incredibly diverse skills, I'd encourage you to look at my resume.
Tuesday, December 26. 2000
Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. My family and I certainly did.
Last Friday was an excellent day for us and our fledgling tools.
We got the lab at a local highschool working quite well. Late in the day we brought in some people to put a load on the system. Things worked better than expected and we were all pretty pleased. Then, unfortunately, the server crashed. We're working on diagnosing the problem as I sit here typing this, but we're pretty sure we had some sort of motherboard failure. We rebooted successfully and started evertything working again, and were quite pleased, but the hardware failure cast a pall on everything we had accomplished.
Chris and I were still very pleased, but my friend John was very unhappy, and he let us know about it when we got to work. Usually when John and I "discuss things loudly" I'm the one who is in the wrong. However, this time John was wrong, and nothing Chris and I could do would convince him that his viewpoint was wrong.
During these discussions our angel (who had also seen the failure) arrived to discuss some other matters. We asked him what he thought of the situation on Friday, and he saw things correctly (i.e., the way Chris and I saw them!).
The really cool thing about that whole situation is that everyone is still friends. We have made commitments to eachother and while we disagreed quite vociferously, we remained friends.
I'm sure it won't be the last time that some of us hold "animated conversations." However, the confidence that these guys are my friends will get us through those situations.
Tuesday, December 19. 2000
We're installing a new test site tomorrow. There are thirty machines for us to connect with our tools. We needed to build a new server for these folk. They have some unique space requirements (they need about 72Gb of storage). This calls for RAID.
We didn't get the parts for the server until yesterday, and we were unable to get some of the drives to work. We ordered a couple of more drives UPS Red and had them here this morning. We again attempted to get the server running and still had trouble. It appeared that the SCSI support on the mobo was bad. So, we replaced it. Then we discovered that the new board wouldn't support the 600Mhz processors we were putting in. Fortunately we were able to flash the BIOS. Then we discovered that one of the new drives that we were sent was bad. Fortunately we had a drive we could use as a spare and it worked. So, after three hours of thinking life pretty much sucked, all of a sudden it didn't.
We also needed to provide support for a specific network card which we had thought we had support for. I couldn't get the card to work. I tried various and sundry drivers in the vain hope that one would work...no luck. I was finally able to glean enough information about the NIC, and presto it worked perfectly. So, after three hours of thinking life pretty much sucked, all of a sudden it didn't.
We use a proprietary tool that requires a specialized license file. We were sent a license for this project over a week ago, but we couldn't get it to work. I called the company last week and they told me they would get back to me yesterday, they didn't. They did, however, call today, and we were able to get the licensing issues straightened out and everything works great. So, after a few days of thinking life pretty much sucked, all of a sudden it didn't.
I don't usually put personal stuff here but...
I have a friend who has Cystic Fibrosis. He has lived far longer than the doctors original thought he would. He's married, has a couple of kids and is starting to get pretty sick. He's being evaluated for some lung lobe transplant surgery. My wife just called a few minutes ago to tell me that he is in the hospital with a bad infection. The doctors don't seem to be too worried, but for some reason I am. So, if you are the praying type, please pray for my friend Larry.
Monday, December 11. 2000
When I got to the office this morning Billy was already here! I cannot really express how thrilled I was to see him.
Remember I talked about some hard lessons that we had to learn. Billy was probably the most difficult one for me to stomach.
When I first met Billy I knew him as Dameteries. I met him playing a game called Ultima Online. We spent quite a bit of time hanging out together in the virtual world of Britannia. It wasn't long before I discovered that he lived here in Portland, and that he was pumping gas at a local service station. After a couple of months of business, we realized that we needed some help in our shop. I knew that Dameteries would love to quit pumping gas and that he was fairly technologically savvy, so I had him in for an interview. We hired him immediately and he became an integral and important part of our team.
As the big deal we were involved in progressed, we hired more people. Many of whom we became very close to. When we finally realized that the people who we were dealing with were not going to be able to accomplish what they set out to do, we were significantly overstaffed. We let several people go, but then, last November, it became apparent that Billy was going to have to go too. It broke my heart to have to lay him off.
In order to dedicate the necessary development resources to our new products we have had to add an employee. We called Billy back, he gave two weeks notice to his employer. His first day after a year-long layoff was today.
When I met Billy, his name was Dameteries, his W2 says his name is Doug. However, he will always be Billy to us as that was his Quake handle.
There is more big news today. We received our new articles of incorporation...
...HyperLINq Technologies, Inc...
is now a reality!
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