Weekend Wrapup

Memorial Day is usually a three day weekend, but this year I managed to make it four.


I took a vacation day on Friday to help chaperone my daughter’s gifted class’s trip to the Smithsonian Insitute in Washington, DC. After some pre-trip jitters from my daughter, we made our way to the museum and had a great day. The only downside was that the return trip, which should only take about two hours took five hours. That’s a long time to ride in a yellow school bus.

Drinks at Turkey Hill: $4.50
Smithsonian Entrance Fee: $0
Souvenirs from the Air & Space Gift Shop: $17.49
Lunch at the McDonald’s inside the Air & Space Museum: $21
Afternoon snack at the Dino Cafe inside the Natural History Museum: $19.80
Dinner at a random McDonald’s in Maryland: $10.76
Spending the day with my daughter and watching her get excited about science: Priceless


Saturday morning started with a trip to church to troubleshoot some issues we’ve been having with the sound system. After fooling around with it for a while, I finally got it working, at least to a usable state for Sunday morning.

In the afternoon, we headed to Tom’s house for a Memorial Day cookout, where we hung out with most of my department and watched dogs and children get soaked from head to toe in bubble juice. We followed that up with a trip to Lowe’s, a visit to the Art & Soul Cafe to listen to my friend Jeff Lease play guitar, and finally a brief soak in the hot tub.


We almost made it through the whole service without the sound system acting stupid, but not quite. Time to upgrade, I suppose.

After church, we went to Toys R Us so my daughter could pick out her birthday present (she chose Wii Music, which I’m looking forward to trying). Then we stopped at Rita’s to buy four quarts of Italian ice  to take over to my friend Tim’s house for our second Memorial Day cookout of the weekend. At Tim’s, we swam a bit but mostly just sat around chatting.


Obviously, it’s only Sunday, so I don’t have all the details yet, but Monday will be my daughter’s 10th birthday party. Well, tomorrow is the family party; her friend party is in a couple weeks (as soon as school gets out). So we’ll be having our extended family here for the afternoon and evening, which would be our third cookout of the weekend for those keeping score at home.

I also wouldn’t bet against a trip to Guitar Center in the morning. I’m just saying.


This weekend, we celebrated my grandparents’ 65th wedding anniversary. Traditionally, the 65th is the platinum anniversary. Five more years and they hit titanium. The 80th anniversary is, curiously enough, oak. Anyway, my wife took pictures.

Here are my grandparents with my mom.

Mom, Grandma, and Pop-Pop 

This one is my mom, my grandparents, my sister, and I. 

Grandma, Pop-Pop, Mom, Becky, and Brad 

And the great grandchildren (the two on the ends are mine):

Great Grandchildren

Happy Anniversary, Grandma and Pop-Pop! You are an inspiration to all of us!


Well, Friday night was an interesting night.

I arrived home from work to find my mother-in-law visiting my wife and kids. This in itself is nothing out of the ordinary; she visits quite often and is always welcome, especially when helping my wife with yardwork as she was this evening.

My wife informed that we were grabbing some pizza for dinner, which was fine by me. I informed my mother-in-law that she and my father-in-law were staying for dinner. My treat. She argued, but I insisted.

My father-in-law arrived shortly thereafter, and I soon went to the local pizza shop, taking my daughter along. When we got home, we found the house empty. This was odd. Very odd. They knew I was coming back with dinner.

I looked out the back window to see my wife and neighbors lined up at the fence that separates our backyard from the pasture behind our house. But I didn’t see my in-laws standing there. I went outside for a closer look, and that’s when I noticed that my father-in-law was out in the field. And my mother-in-law was lying on her back next to him, right on the ground.

I have to admit, this piqued my interest.

My wife looked at me and said, “She broke her ankle.”

This seemed like a hasty diagnosis for whatever had transpired, but whatever. I climbed over the fence and started running out to my in-laws, with the intention of helping my father-in-law carry her inside. No such luck. My wife stopped me and said they had tried. And when they did, my mother-in-law passed out from the pain.

The ambulance had already been called, so I went out to wait with them. When the ambulance arrived, I opened the gate so that it could get out into the field. At this point, I should mention the three horses and one pony that graze in the field.

At any rate, the horses and pony were distracted by carrots offered by my kids and neighbors, and my mother-in-law was safely loaded into the ambulance and taken away to the local hospital, where she was told that her left ankle was broken in three places. And to add insult to injury, her right ankle was sprained.

My daughter was upset for two reasons. First, she didn’t like seeing her Nana hurt. Second, she was supposed to sleep over at her house that night and was disappointed at the change in plans.

My son was upset for one reason only: he was jealous that he didn’t get to ride in the ambulance.

Pa. high school orders shot glasses as prom favors

I’m always so proud to be both (1) from Central Pennsylvania and (2) working in K12 education. From the local education news:

Pennsylvania high school ordered more than 450 shot glasses for its prom, a move the assistant principal now says sent the wrong message.

There’s failure… and then there’s epic failure.

I’ve Done It

I’ve really done it.

I moved my blog to WordPress.

Why? Well, as you probably know, I’ve been using Tangelo, an application of my own creation, for my blog for about four years or so. But I haven’t updated Tangelo in a very long time. I haven’t had a public release since 2006, I believe. So I decided it was time to stop fooling myself and let go. Tangelo is dead, and that’s okay. I can stop working on it.*

And that’s actually quite liberating. Because now I can stop worrying about developing my blog application and focus more on writing, which was the whole point to begin with.

So why WordPress? Because it’s powerful and ubiquitous. It’s built on open standards and it rocks pretty hard.

The cool part is that I still have all my posts. That’s impressive because I started this blog on Blogger back in 2002. From there I migrated all of my posts to Movable Type a couple years later. Then when Tangelo was ready for testing, I moved all my posts again. And the other day I exported them from Tangelo and into WordPress. That’s really quite a journey in weblog terms. The only thing I lost was the old Haloscan comments, and while I could probably salvage them, I don’t see a reasonable way to link them back to their original posts, so adios.

At any rate, here we are. Enjoy the new digs while I get things situated.

* If you’re a Tangelo customer, sorry. But I’m guessing you probably saw this coming. If you need help moving from Tangelo to WordPress, drop me a line and I’ll be happy to help out.

A Top Ten List

A special Top Ten List, dedicated to my son:

The Top Ten Things You Shouldn’t Touch When Your Face And Hands Are Covered With Ranch Dressing:

10. Your recorder (the instrument, not the the electronic device, although that could apply, too)
9. The walls
8. My shirt
7. Mommy’s computer
6. The phone
5. Doorknobs
4. My computer
3. Any guitar in the house
2. My iPod Touch
1. Me

25 Random Things

Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this , go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click post.

PS: If you’re reading this on my blog, this is a Facebook thing, but I thought it might make a fun blog post.

1. I am an unashamed Mac snob, but that’s mostly because I know Windows so well.
2. I’ve known my wife Jen since eighth grade Spanish class, where she couldn’t pronounce her Spanish name well at all. For years after, she thought my name was Nacho. I love her more than anything in this world. We’ve been married since 1994, just before our senior year in college.
3. I adopted a son in 2008. His name is Jonathan and he’s five years old going on four. I was a foster parent to five other children before that.
4. I’m a worship leader at my church. I’ve been involved in leading worship since college, when I helped out at Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.
5. I named my daughter Grace because she is a gift from God.
6. I was in a Christian rock band called Anonymous Joe for two years in the ’90s. I sang and played guitar. My wife played bass.
7. I wrote a complete student information system using REALbasic and PostgreSQL. It was called Kodiak and it will be retired this summer.
8. Watership Down is probably my favorite novel.
9. For years I was obsessed with The Kinks. I still think they were one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time.
10. I can’t tolerate corduroy and I don’t like to wear navy blue pants.
11. My dog and my son both have reactive attachment disorder. It’s funny in the dog. Not so much for my son.
12. Music is an extremely important part of my life. I almost always have music going, whether I’m at my desk or in the car. I don’t understand people who crave silence.
13. I went years without really watching television, aside from whatever children’s shows my daughter was watching (I loved Bear In The Big Blue House and pre-Joe Blue’s Clues). But lately I’ve been into Battlestar Galactica, Chuck, Dexter, LOST, Heroes, and The Big Bang Theory.
14. Jen and I lost our first son on October 31, 2000. He was stillborn. To this day, I hate Halloween. His name was Robert, in honor of my maternal grandfather, who is one of the greatest men I know.
15. I have owned six guitars. I currently own two, a Parkwood H4 and an Alvarez White Fusion.
16. I may have mild OCD.
17. The first concert I ever attended was INXS in Philadelphia in 1989, part of their Calling All Nations Tour. The opening act was Ziggy Marley. I later learned that my friend Tim was there, but we never met until 2005 or so, when he started going to my church and joined the worship team with me. The last concert I went to (as of this writing) was Chris Tomlin in Hershey, part of his Hello Love tour.
18. Speaking of INXS, Anonymous Joe played a show at Javacasa the night that Michael Hutchence took his own life. It was one of our best shows ever.
19. I have a BSE in English and I’m a certified English teacher. I’ve been working in technology since 1992.
20. My middle name is Russell, which is my father’s first name. My son’s middle name is Russell, in honor of my father.
21. I bought my first television in 2008. Actually, two of them. Up until then, I’d never paid for one. I only got hand-me-downs from relatives and friends.
22. I have a tie clip made from the battery of Dwight Eisenhower’s watch.
23. I don’t pay much attention to money. I go to work and money shows up in my account. Jen handles almost all of the finances, because if I did it, we’d be homeless.
24. I am starting a new band called Superficial Charm. I sing and play guitar. My wife plays bass. My good friend Tom plays lead guitar.
25. I am saved by grace alone.

A Long December

“A long December and there’s reason to believe that this year will be better than the last.”
— Counting Crows

In 2008, I:
– adopted a son
started using Twitter
– started a new band with Tom
– bought a house
– sold a house
– paid off my car
– said goodbye to David, at least as a co-worker/boss
– didn’t get the promotion I applied for, but…
– got a new boss
started using an iPod Touch
– set up a home media server with one terabyte of storage
– switched to DSL and satellite TV, dumping Comcast
– bought two televisions, one LCD and one plasma (I had never paid for a television before 2008)
– watched all episodes to date of LOST, Battlestar Galactica, and Dexter (currently working on Heroes)
– bought some new music (I heart Weezer)
– bought some old music (and rediscovered the magic that is Brian Setzer)
– bought a couple DVDs (Cloverfield really kinda sucked, but Charlie Bartlett was cool)
– got a sweet Danelectro vibe pedal
– found a great used tube amp
– really got sucked into Facebook
– became an uncle for the fourth time
– found out my cousins-in-law are having a baby
– helped my wife’s sister and her husband move
– went to Fenwick Island, DE
– went to Ocean City, NJ
– went to Austin, TX
– moved to Columbia, PA
– helped with renovations at my church
– started a website about worship issues
– played Warfish… a lot
– drank way too much caffeine, particularly in the form of Diet Cherry Vanilla Doctor Pepper
– got a coupon for a free Doctor Pepper
– found a new pizza shop
– installed Linux a couple times, OS X a bunch of times, and Windows way too many times
– played at the Art & Soul Cafe four times (I think)
– hacked two Linksys routers to enable bridge mode

How about you?