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Sunday. Travel.

Immediately after getting out of bed, I packed. Enough for just a couple of days, and I wore "nicer" slacks and a shirt, because wearing them was easier than packing. Reinflated the tire (I really must get that fixed when I return), and then Bethieee and I went to The Globe for breakfast with Adrianne.

The owner was in a mood, probably because of going out of business. Often the food was pretty good, and it did the whole woo-woo hippy vegan niche well, but... often they were out of stuff on the menu, they took the concept of "slow food" a little too literally, and owner and staff were often rather, unprofessional. So it's not a huge surprise, but I hope something fills the niche.

The ground approach to the airport was pretty backed up. So we "cheated" a bit, and went to Arrivals instead of Departures. Much less backed up, and all I had to do was jump out, and then walk up two flights of escalators. No problem.

SWA is trying something new with their boarding process, with numbers, instead of just ABC groups. I don't think it's very effective, it didn't board the plane any faster, and the ground crew had to keep explaining it.

The flight was uneventful. I fell asleep before takeoff, and woke up just before landing. My pickup was my brother [livejournal.com profile] pheonix_jade, on Holiday leave from the Army, with his lovely wife [livejournal.com profile] hearts_treasure riding shotgun, and my sister [livejournal.com profile] jatg and her gf [livejournal.com profile] clymerchick riding in the back seat.

My parents' home smelled of baking bread. Rocking back and forth in the kitchen there were 3 breadmachines, churning out the loaves. My parents give a loaf of bread to each of their neighbors each year.

That evening, we went to my mom's sister's home, to swap presents and socialize. Had a geeky conversation with my cousin Galen. He's an admin for the A/V network that links up all the Utah schools. It used to be this complex telco-like A/V distribution system, but now it's all just IP everywhere. MPEG4 over IP, SIP over IP, and just regular IP. Mostly they own their network all the way down to the metal, with leased dark fiber and, where necessary, their own microwave links. They use a lot of MySQL, so we swapped business cards.

That night, I stayed up way too late chatting with people back home.

Monday. Christmas Eve Day.

The annual drive down to Springfield for Christmas Eve with my nieces and nephews got canceled, as the kids had bad chickenpox and my sister [livejournal.com profile] wyckhurst just had run out of time to get ready, what with sick kids and an exploding business (The Good Mama, go shop there today!).

And it's just as well, because that afternoon it started snowing and blowing. Not the hardest I've seen, but still, not to drive in if it can be avoided. Over the day, my dad&mom, and Lma&Annette, and Jett&Lis dashed in and out on shopping errands, racing the snowfall.

We all sat down for a lovely filling turkey dinner. My brother Brent joined us as well, having fought the roads and the lack of snowplows down from Ogden.

We all watched the new Futurama movie, and it was surprisingly good.

I stayed up late into the night, hacking, and cursing at the MySQL build process and the documentation.

Tuesday. Christmas Day.

After breakfast, we all sat down and exchanged presents. I got toe socks, a bag of forest camo pattern hershey kisses, a warm red scarf made out of a very soft lofted microfiber called "minky", a Borders gift card, and a card from my parents with some dead presidents.

Other cool presents: My dad got from Lma a tie made from digital camo material. (He collects and wears ties that evoke his kids, kids-in-law, and things and places that are important to him.) He also got a great quilt from my mom. Lis got from Lma a pair of digital camo combat uniform pants, in the smallest shortest size the Army provisions. They fit perfectly, and will be great climbing pants. Jett got for them a huge sheepskin rug. It's Very Nice. Jett gave necklaces to my mom and to Annette, that are tough enough to be around kids. (My mom volunteers in the church nursery, and Annette works at a daycare.)

And the day isn't over yet...
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Hs
Originally uploaded by wyckhurst
My sister Suzanne had to cancel the annual family holiday gathering at her house. My nieces and nephews have a pox upon them. Poor guys!
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My cousin, Dean Evans, is a standup comedian. He's very good at it. He's going to be in Seattle on December 20th thru 22nd. Everyone in Seattle should go see him.

image )
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Today is my Mom's birthday.

She did a better job, and worked to do a better job, of being a mother, than most of the mothers of most of the people I know. She managed to raise a pack of intellegent, strongwilled kids, who have all turned out turned out hale and able to take on the world. I call that a success. She well deserves now being able to relax with her husband, her roses, her quilting, and her grandchildren.

Happy Birthday, Mom.
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I remember being little, watching and helping my dad and my grandpa make wooden stepup stools. We had stepup stools in every room. I have one in my room right now , that my geriatric cat uses to get up on the bed. And down in the kitchen, is a heavy-duty one, made by my grandfather.

Now you can own one as well. My dad is manufacturing them (no, really he is, in his workshop on the family compound, not outsourced somewhere) and my sister [livejournal.com profile] wyckhurst is selling them.



I'm 6'3" and I still use mine. You need one, trust me.
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Today my family welcomed a new member. My brother [livejournal.com profile] pheonix_jade married [livejournal.com profile] hearts_treasure today at the Logan Utah LDS Temple. When looking at LMA with all his friends, each of the married ones standing with their wife, my sister turned to me and said "LMA married the pretty one." And I have to agree.

Welcome to our wacky family, Annette!
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My dad took me flying in his Mooney 63-M20C today. We left from Morgan County airport, flew north to Logan, then turned around and came back. The weather was clear and bright.
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Friday night I got back home, arriving on schedule and without event from SJC to SEA.

Saturday was originally going to be spent going geocaching and then soaking with a friend. But that got changed because it looked like Linuxfest Northwest was something that I should be at. But then that got rescheduled. But I was still so flattened from being "on" for the previous five days, I spent the time decompressing. Late in the afternoon, I swapped a few IMs with [livejournal.com profile] papertygre, and then we went to [livejournal.com profile] ocicat's bd party, and then later gaming with some of her friends from CMU who had just moved to Seattle.

This morning, [livejournal.com profile] papertygre and [livejournal.com profile] alacrity gave me a ride to the airport. He was heading to Las Vegas for a tech conference, departing a couple of hours before I was.

My flight from SEA to SLC was the best kind. Uneventful. I slept most of it, and winked and grinned at the toddler seated next to me the rest of it.

Why am I in Utah?

My brother [livejournal.com profile] pheonix_jade is getting married on May 1st.

Tomorrow my dad is going to take me up to Weber County Airfield, were we will do a bit of maintenance on his Mooney, and then go for a flight.
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Today is my younger brother's birthday.

Happy Birthday, Brent!

Those of you who've met me, you've probably noticed that I am tall and tend to loom. Well, Brent looks a lot like me, only he's half a head taller, twenty pounds heaver (and it's not fat), his hair is buzzed short, and he's covered with tattoos. I'll let that just bend your brain a bit...
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A decade and change ago, when I was an undergrad student, I walked in one day to the university bookstore, went up to the information desk, and talked to the clerk there, and had a conversation that went something like this:

Mark: There is this book, that I wanted... but I forgot what it was.
Clerk: I've got it right here. (hands me the book)
Mark: Thank you. I'll pay for it now. (hands her my credit card)
Clerk: Thanks! (runs the card, prints the receipt, etc) There you go!
Mark: Thanks!


There was a guy nearby who watched and overheard this transaction, who looked really really confused.

What he didn't know, was that the clerk was my sister, [livejournal.com profile] wyckhurst, and we had talked about that book the night before.

Sadly, I don't remember which book it was...
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Yesterday I went out with [livejournal.com profile] pheonix_jade, shopping at B&N and then lunch together. I picked up some books I had promised to a friend, and enjoyed hanging out with my brother.

That evening, while my parents and I were watching TV (reruns of NCIS and of House), the internet connection went down. The cottage house, where the cable model and router are, was without power. My dad called the power company, and walked the street the cottage was on, assessing the extent of the blackout. A short while later, a power company repair truck showed up, and the guy found the problem. A bundle of mylar balloons had gotten up into the lines, and shorted them, blowing the fuses on two poles. He pulled the balloons out with an insulated grabber, and then installed new fuses, and the streetlights and houselights turned back on. The outage didn't affect too many people, most of the houses on that street were empty because their people were out of town visiting family.

Also that evening, I dug out one of the house's more obscure storage areas, and extracted boxes of my old comic books and D&D stuff. I'm going to bring them home with me, put them into standard long boxes, and store them with my other comic books. Most of my AD&D stuff (a full set of the original AD&D hardback rulebooks, an almost complete set of the modules, and about ten consecutive years of Dragon Magazine and the first several years of Dungeon Magazine) is still missing, hopefully it's stashed in one of the other storage areas, and will get excavated next holiday. Most everything with an ISBN, I logged into LibraryThing.

Today I finally succeeded in hacking "Location:" into my preferred LJ client, an old version of ljupdate.el. The latest version can do it, but for reasons various and assorted, I don't want to upgrade.

Also today, from a different storage area, I got a box of "treasures", mainly the plush animals of my early childhood. Those I'm going to pack into something good (I'm thinking a basic cedar box) with some packets of silica gel, and put into my own storage locker. Also retrieved was a box of books, original editions of the first four DragonLance trilogies (Chronicles, Legends, Heros, and Tales). All well read. All now logged into LibraryThing. Those as well, will go into storage.

Christmas

Dec. 26th, 2006 11:17 am
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Christmas Eve Day was Sunday. That afternoon I dressed up some, while the rest of my family got into "Sunday clothes", and we (Mom ([livejournal.com profile] wurtmann), Dad, myself, LMA ([livejournal.com profile] pheonix_jade), Jett ([livejournal.com profile] jatg), and Lisa ([livejournal.com profile] clymerchick)) headed down to my parents' assigned LDS chapel. We stayed for the first hour of services, a series of musical performances, ended with a surprisingly well done chorus and audience together rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah.

I enjoyed it, but I would have enjoyed it more if my constant headache hadn't decided to really flare up. I was very glad to get to the bottle of analgesic when we got back to my parent's house.

After that we headed down to Springville to my sister's place. We have had a xmas eve dinner party there every year for many years now.

While heading down the freeway, with Jett in her car in front of us, one of her tires suddenly went flat. Apparently it was one that had just been recently fixed. So she pulled over, and we pulled up behind her, and Dad, LMA, and myself quickly swapped in her spare.

Suzanne ([livejournal.com profile] wyckhurst) and Bill ([livejournal.com profile] sighted) were ready for us. My nieces and nephews were fun and energetic little monkeys. Bill and I talked "shop" a little bit (he works at Novell, he was initimate part of the effort to teach the Open Source Way to the company and its staff, and now he's exasperated and unsure of what happens next). We ate dinner while smelling the wonderful huge pie that Lisa had made baking in Suz's oven. Presents were given, kids where excited, and lots of pictures were taken.




The next day, Christmas, was nice and slow. My brother Brent surprised us by showing up. His schedule had changed for the better, and he wasn't out of town after all. It may be that instead of moving to Seattle, he will be in San Francisco for a few months, working for one of the best tattoo guys on the continent.

In the afternoon, we got together and swapped gifts. Quite a change from the Christmas Days of my childhood, where many of the gifts were from Santa, and the opening of stuff was first thing in the morning.

The presents I gave where a linen chinese cut shirt for Jett, an obscure food processor item for Mom (so she can make salsa with the handcranked food processor), and a handful of truffles for everyone. I got a big candy bar from Brent, and a car survival blanket kit from Mom (a cover made from bright orange denim, stuffed with a fleece and with cool old English hospital wool blanket from the mid-1960s.). The denim and the wool had been weird thriftstore finds.

One of my mom's sisters came over to visit for a while in the evening. It was nice to see them again.


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So I've arrived safely. Only an hour late. I managed to miss two turnings. I missed the interchange of I-82 off I-90 in central Washington, and ended up going thru the Haniford area instead. That way is technically shorter, but I think it's slower, because one can't keep up interstate cruise speeds on it. The more embarrassing is I missed the interchange of I-84/I-86, and didn't realize my mistake until I ended up in Pocatello. Whoops. That added an hour. I have not idea whatsoever how I missed seeing either of those. I must have gotten too involved in listening to Violet Blue's podcast (I DL'ed the entire past year to listen to).

But anyway, I'm ok. Pulled in, unloaded my stuff, said hi to my dad, said hi to my mom, made myself a homemade bread and chilisause sandwich, petted Wulfie, and established my network connection. Mmmm... internet goodness.

I'm to be bunking in the same room as [livejournal.com profile] pheonix_jade, who flew in this morning.

Today

Nov. 16th, 2006 01:38 am
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I made it to Utah safely, slept on the plane most of the way. I like flying SWA.

Once again, I managed to not check any luggage, my carry-on was packed solid, what with the need to have a pair of dress pants and shoes, a tie, and a white shirt. (I've found the way for me to wear a white dress shirt again without breaking out in mental hives, and that's having one that was tailor made for me. Even so, I don't wear it easily.)

My dad picked me up at the airport, the timing was eerily perfect, he pulled up to the pax pickup just as I walked out of the terminal doors.

The house looks very different without the pine tree. When we first moved here in 1982, the top of the tree came to the handrails of the back deck. When I last saw it a few months ago, it towered a good twenty feet over the gutters, and it was obviously sick, with big yellow patches, dieing from the bark beetles. The pictures Dad took of it's removal were pretty cool. The guy started at the bottom, and methodically climbed it, lopping off each branch as he passed it going up. When he reached the top, it had been denuded to a bare trunk. And then from the top, he climbed back down, chopping off sections. When he reached the bottom again, he lopped the stump off at the ground. No more tree.

My parents new cat, Gracie, is a sweet and lovely little 7mo grey mackerel tabby.

[livejournal.com profile] jatg came by to say hello.


The funeral will be on Saturday at 1pm. I'm still not clear on how much intention she had on what she was doing. Was she just fcking around with her medication patches? Or did she really intend to end herself? I don't know. I'm not sure I ever will, or if I want to. The more I learned about her, the more I realize she was one of "us", for various assorted values of "my tribe". Strong willed, underconfident of her rich talents, thoughtfully obstinate. What a loss, what a waste.

OD via medicated patch. The body's instinctive reactions are not effective. You can't vomit out the poison.

My eternal headache is in full bloom.
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depart Wed Nov 15, SWA 1352, SEA to SLC, 11:40AM to 2:40PM
return Sun Nov 19, SWA 555, SLC to SEA, 3:55PM to 5:00PM
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The first fatality of my grandparent's great-grandkids has happened. Suck. I guess I'll be flying to Utah this week.

To compound to the unfairness of it, this is the second "died too young" in that branch of my family.
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Pink Octopus

My sister and my niece. This is one of the best kid costumes I've ever seen.
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I got a "comic book" cgi working today for [livejournal.com profile] jett, and so her 2005 24-Hour Comic, Puzzles is back online. And even better, it's sequal, her 2006 24-Hour Comic is also online, Loose Threads. Go read them, and then comment on her LJ here.
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My youngest brother [livejournal.com profile] pheonix_jade is currently undergoing US Army Basic Combat Training (BCT) at Fort Leonard Wood. Every day or so, he writes a short letter and posts it to me, and then I transcribe it into his LJ. Every now and then, I create a "mail relay" entry, where any comment followup will get printed out and mailed to him, so he can get feedback that people are actually reading and caring.

So friend his LJ and read, and get a little view into the world of Basic Training.
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My dad occationally sings bits of music from his youth, back before he lost most of his chromatic hearing. It's always odd to finally hear the actual pieces.

The "mellow rock" music station at the Online Cafe that I'm sitting in right now is playing one of them. "Have I Told You Lately, That I Love You?"

Update. I am now amused that it is playing a cover sung by a female vocalist of "Poor Poor Pitiful Me". A moment of research in the Covers Project database suggests that it's an old recording by Linda Ronstadt. Didn't people actually listen to the lyrics?

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Mark Atwood

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