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Post-Modern Tommy [18 Jun 2007|05:33am]
[ mood | amused ]

I uploaded this a few days ago, but wanted to wait to mention it so as not to spam with too many LJ posts at one time yesterday (or something). After showing it to my friends on silc, youngoat asked me:

18:36:05 <youngoat> Sorry if this has been covered previously in this channel, but how long has Tommy been possessed?
18:36:34 <zhmort> Ever since I sang beatbox to him in zmary's womb.
18:39:04 <youngoat> Haha. Good job. =]

Funnily enough, this was not the thing that reminded me about the older video of Tommy in my last post. I had forgotten he was doing scatting / beatboxing in that one (and mainly remembered the broccoli and the ABC's). Anyway, thanks to yg for the convenient tie-in. :-)

The only other thing I will say about this one is that you will notice an obvious improvement in Tommy's speaking ability in the 1.5 years between this one and the previous ones... at least, when he's trying to show the difference, anyway. :-)

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Classic Tommy [18 Jun 2007|04:52am]
I knew at the time when I recorded this bit of Tommy that this would end up as some of the most precious video ever taken of him. I meant to post it right after taking it, but didn't get around to it. Once I started using the last of my LOA fooling around with posting pics and video, though, I knew this would have to be part of it.

These clips are about 3 minutes each, give or take, but they're actually snippets of one continuous shot totaling some 20 minutes in length. Youtube has a 10-minute limit, though, and I think even Tommy's most adoring fans probably have a limit somewhat shorter than that. :-) Suffice to say, the rest is nearly as animated as this stuff, but with more repetition and randomness.

The first clip (titled "More Broccoli!" for reasons that will be obvious) is something I knew I would use some day to prove my child liked vegetables as a kid, including that most vegetabley of vegetables: broccoli.

In the second clip he parrots a little more Spanish with me, and then spontaneously starts scatting in the way that I taught him pretty much from the womb. The weird rhythm we both start doing is the drum corps bass drummer lick I've been singing since I was 12 years old (and which my family will recognize as one of the silly things they always heard me singing as a teen). It goes "big-uh-duh big-uh-duh BOP!" Those are triplets or sextuplets, depending on the time signature you're using (but the important part is that they're groups of three). Tommy can't quite get the full thing, but he gets the spirit of it, anyway. The rest of the clip (most of it, really), is dedicated to singing the ABC's together a couple of times (or as he sometimes said at that time, the AAC's, or the AABC's :-). Enjoy...


Other stuff that occurs to me while re-watching:

  • Tommy used to say "Okay" for a lot of things, including the word "Yes". ("More broccoli!" "You want more broccoli?" "Okay!" ... making it sound as if it was your idea. :-)

  • For just a brief moment after a couple of early "more broccoli" requests, he does the "buh" joke, which some of you who saw him at one year of age may remember. By this time it was more of a raspberry, though. :-)

  • There's a great They Might Be Giants kids song called "Elemeno" (l m n o) to help kids understand that's 4 letters and not one. Tommy loves it. Here, though, he hadn't quite gotten to that point yet. It's "oh-no oh-no peeeee!" or something like that.

  • In both of these, it's obvious that Tommy would like to be a comedian.
    The shouted "MORE BROCCOLI! and the rushed ABC's thing in the second version, for example, are both about trying to make me laugh.


It Lives [16 Jun 2007|11:47am]
[ mood | amused ]

aka, Baby Power:

Da Left Arm gots to be free, yo.

P.S. Apologies for what is now turning into a Spammerific Post-Fest. I only have a week left on leave, and o/~ I gotta move these refrigerators. I gotta move these color TVs. o/~

3 commentitudinifications | commentitudinify

We loves our baby dolphins. [16 Jun 2007|11:24am]

At the request of some of my friends, here are:

Cry of the Dolphin Boy:


Cry of the Dolphin Girl:

If you didn't know better, you'd swear they had the same set of dolphin genes, or at least inherited their dolphin genes from a common set of ancestors.


End of an Era [16 Jun 2007|02:12am]
[ mood | chipper ]

It's the end of... the time... that began at the beginning of this... era... and is ending... now.

I'm sad to see it go. I will miss this... time. Goodbye, time. It was good to see you while you were here, but now, *sigh*.

What did I do during this era, you ask? Good question. VERY GOOD QUESTION!!! I'm glad you asked it. I like that about you, with the questions, and the asking, and the being all sharp like that.

Oh, wait. You wanted me to answer the question!

As my son Tommy would say, "That's a good idea!"

List of what I been doin', after the cut...Collapse )


Been a Long Time [01 Jan 2007|04:46pm]
[ mood | optimistic ]

I appreciate your patience with me as I work out the kinks of this whole maintaining a journal thing. I have come to understand that some sort of "writing" is required, along with "posting". I believe both of those activities have to be supported by "pointing", "clicking", and "typing" at various times.

I'm working on it.

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Languages Are Easy [10 Aug 2006|11:00pm]
[ mood | grateful ]

22:08:29 <zhmort> Sometimes when learning a new language, you come upon a word that is exactly the same as in English.
22:08:45 <zhmort> Like, for example, "Sandwich" in Croatian.
22:09:04 <zhmort> Actually, I don't know how to speel "sandwich" in Croatian, but I know how it sounds: exactly like "sandwich".
22:09:36 <zhmort> So you come upon such a word, and you think, "Whoa! Cool! I don't have to re-learn 'sandwich'! I can just say, 'sandwich'."
22:09:51 <zhmort> Then you notice that a lot of your communication in Croatian is about sandwiches.
22:09:55 <zhmort> You like sandwiches.
22:09:59 <zhmort> You eat sandwiches.
22:10:05 <zhmort> You are going to eat a sandwich now.
22:10:12 <zhmort> You did eat a sandwich yesterday.
22:10:32 <zhmort> Earlier by 2 years, in the past, you did have sandwiches then, too, at that time.
22:10:41 <zhmort> Your family is not so big on sandwiches.
22:10:55 <zhmort> If you were to have a sandwich, then you would have had one.
22:11:16 <zhmort> (I'm the master of the subjunctive, not to mention the noun 'sandwich'.)
22:11:41 <zhmort> 22:09:04 <zhmort> Actually, I don't know how to speel [...]
22:11:44 <zhmort> Haha.
22:11:47 <zhmort> That's a great typo.
22:11:58 <zhmort> It doesn't get much better than that, as far as typos go.
22:43:27 <innergy> Haha, I thought that was intentional. You could've totally run with that. Honesty though ... way to be.


A-B-Twinkle Java Keywords [08 Aug 2006|03:17am]
[ mood | chipper ]

After working over Where Is Tommy for several more hours and making only a few minor improvements, I went back to the instructions on turning in the final project, and I got the sense he was looking for something less complicated and more perfected in all the different areas in which he gives instruction and tips during the class. Although I'm really happy with the way my first project turned out, there are many minor to major issues with it that would still annoy the heck out of a good recording engineer. Too many, really, to consider addressing them all before my August 10 deadline. So I decided I would still turn in Where Is Tommy, but that in addition, I would try to create a simpler, less complex project, in which I could demonstrate a little bit more control over Pro Tools, and a little better understanding of how to work with mics, gain and fader levels, and things like that.

Also, I wanted to correct some of the (now blatantly obvious) silly mistakes I'd made in the way I started recording... mistakes like not naming my audio tracks before beginning to record, and then recording the same instrument on different tracks at different times, so that the associated audio files are all named based on default track names like "Audio 1" or "Audio 2", and can't even be mapped based on a 1:1 translation with the final name I used. This sucks, because the instructor is interested not just in the final product, but also in the saved sessions and tracks, to see how things were assembled, what was thrown away, etc. Tough to wade through it all without starting with proper track names (something he gives really helpful and clear instructions about in Chapter 6, if only I'd read them first... :-)

Anyway, I started again, and went simpler. Still stuck with a cappella voice, but only a total of 4, only a length of 3:32, and no percussion stuff (which was cool but which really emphasized my lack of a wind screen for my mic). I used another mostly-for-children song idea I'd been kicking around for a while... combining the A-B-C's with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (to make a minor amount of fun about their using the exact same melody, which I'm not sure most people notice). And then, in a much more esoteric move, I tacked on my own creation, a musical rendition of the Java programming language's reserved "Keywords" list, set to the tune of A-B-C's / Twinkle Twinkle (with a little thingy of my own on the end). I did a version of this back when I was studying Java and trying to figure out silly/clever ways to remember the info. Putting the list to music helped me remember the whole thing.

So of course I've thought some about how Tommy will enjoy this (as this will obviously be another tune on my first album for him). And of course the answer is: he will enjoy it so much, he will be programming Java subconsciously before he has completely learned to spell. (And so will you! You haven't learned to spell yet, have you?)

Without further ado, please enjoy:

A-B-Twinkle Java Keywords (.mp3 -- 4.5 MB)
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The Seventh Version Of The Tools Which The Professionals Do Use [03 Aug 2006|04:18am]
[ mood | bouncy ]

Based on an increasing desire to find a way to get music back into my life, and, well, a whim, I decided to take the interesting-looking Audio Recording Techniques online class this summer instead of my usual something-or-other programming course. It was the first time I'd noticed it in the catalog, and it was immediately interesting because the description said the class gives an introduction to Pro Tools.

Wikipedia says "Pro Tools is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) by Digidesign for music production and digital audio editing". I've done a little bit of research on electronic music production in the last couple of years, and have read many times that, although there are many recording tools out there, Pro Tools is the "industry standard". So an intro class sounded perfect for getting my feet wet.

A little investment was required. In particular:

  • Pro Tools requires a hardware interface. I elected to use the cheapest option, the Mbox 2.

  • I'd also need a microphone (I chose the Shure SM57 based on good advice from the instructor), and a mic stand with a boom, and some Monster cables, of course.

  • I went to Guitar Center, which had recently relocated. Omigod do they have a lot of cool stuff. I could see how a hobbyist could lose all his money there. More tempting to me than Vegas, by a LOT.

So far, I'm ecstatic with the results. I've spent a total of about 16 hours on my project so far, and here is what I have at this point:

Update: Here is the (so far) final version (v1.0): http://zderek.com/audio/Where_Is_Tommy.mp3

I'm very pleased with it for a first project, and I'm looking forward to learning a lot more, especially figuring out how to use MIDI with it (so I can get my Korg Karma synth in on the action).

Click here for a screenshot plus song backstory...Collapse )
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Tommy, Monkey, Daddy & The Bear [16 Jul 2006|01:52pm]
[ mood | bouncy ]

For our fans... another rockin' video from Derek & The Tomminator.

Derek & the Tommino[es]? Lil' Tommy and Big Daddy? Lil' Daddy & Big Tom? So many options... but I'm sure we'll end up with something like Garage Band Garbage Canners or The Afflicted or Craziance. You know, just to play down the cuteness a little bit and give us a little more of a dark edge. Gotta market this thing, after all...

He may only be two, but I'm 74 years old, and even though Hollywood is okay with old males playing lead roles and the Stones are still touring, you still have to agree that my options are narrowing faster than a... fast thing... moving very fast. It never pays to take your time, is my point.

Haste makes... a rich daddy who can retire early.

Update: Oops, almost forgot. For some reason YouTube has been kinda hosing videos during uploading, while translating from the source file into the Flash Player format they use. That explains why as the video goes along, the audio is gradually more out of synch with the video. For those with the bandwidth and/or patience, I've put the original video on my website [~4 MB]. It's higher-quality and not out-of-synch. (All the errors are in fact real in that version, sadly.)


Lotta Photos [20 Mar 2006|01:07am]
[ mood | chipperer ]

I added several new sets to Flickr tonight:

Derek & Tommy - 1/18/06
Tommy - 1/29/06
Catherine's 93rd
Dave, Julie, Tommy, Hat, Balloon - 2/16/06
Visiting Brian & Cortney in Chico - 2/06
Aunt Lillian & Family Visit Us - 3/18/06

I also added several of the photos from the new sets plus a couple of random photos not in any other set into these previously existing sets:

Our Family
Mary's Family

Lotta Videos [20 Mar 2006|12:17am]
[ mood | chipper ]

I've been spending an awful lot of time lately processing media on my new computer. I've been using:

  1. Windows MovieMaker to clip, splice and blend movies which I then post to YouTube
  2. Exact Audio Copy to rip our CD's and the LAME encoder to compress them into high-quality MP3's (right now these will just live on my home network, though we'll archive them online eventually, too).
  3. Flickr to post my photos.

Below are links to all the movies I've posted but haven't yet mentioned in my journal. I won't describe them here, because I spent some time filling out the description field for each of them on YouTube. (I suppose if I ever migrate to a video hosting tool other than YouTube, I'll want to grab that text so I can keep it all together.)

You'll notice there's a lot of Tommy in the videos. :-) That's because we got a video camera right before he was born to document his cuteness for posterity. But also I have gone back and found some that I'd made with my Cybershot camera several years back, too. I'll continue like this for a while, I suppose. Finding precious older stuff to process and post, while adding new stuff at the same time. I doubt I'll ever get all the way caught up. Maybe that's a good thing. :-) Anyway, without further ado, allow me to present:

Note: If you prefer, you can just go to Zhmort's Videos On YouTube and launch all of these from the index page. That's probably better, actually, since there you can see preview images that way, and maybe avoid some of the mind-numbing cuteness. :-)


Three Weddings [19 Jan 2006|09:14pm]
[ mood | Tired. ]

Still trying to catch up on journaling about recent events in my life. I don't suppose I would have gotten around to this if not for fjarlq's gift of a Flickr Pro account, which led to a burst of uploading photos, which led to a lot of remembering wonderful recent memories. So thanks again, buddy. You're an unstoppable force of generousity and creativity.

Until I met Mary, I didn't know how cool weddings can be, but I really, really like them now. Everyone is so happy and radiant, borrowing all of the overflowing love being generated by the lovely couple.

Of course, I get similar feelings around infants. I guess I'm a softie at heart. (Oh, and also in public, on my sleeve, and everywhere else.)

Randy and Danye, 8/6/05 - Had a great time hanging out with James and Deb and Tim and Jen at the reception. Afterwards, the six of us went with Randy and Danye to a nearby cowboy bar for a little while, had some drinks, and acted silly and in love. Here were the photo highlights for me:


Jenee and Mike, 8/12/05 - They chose a beautiful location at a historic mission on a hill in San Diego. Here were the highlights of the weekend for me:


Sean and Kathleen, 10/29/05 - This wasn't the actual wedding, which happened earlier, but rather a wedding celebration/party for their family and friends who didn't get to attend the smaller ceremony. (That's totally okay with me, of course, since I'm all about the music, dancing, booze, etc. anyway. ;-) Here were the highlights for me:


Tommy Hendrix [15 Jan 2006|06:20pm]
[ mood | proud, amazed ]

Today while Mary was away tutoring, Tommy and I had a little bit of father/son time. When I'm lazy and don't feel like venturing out of the house (which is the majority of the time, sadly), one of the things I like to do with him to break up the boredom and keep it constructive and educational is music. Sometimes we sing songs (with the ABC's being #1 on the list, always), and sometimes I pull my acoustic guitar off the wall and strum it.

Usually, he plays it with me. I hold it, facing him, and he strums, picks, and hits the strings to make them make noise. It's interesting to watch him try to figure out how to make it go. Today, I decided it was time to let him have a shot holding the guitar, and he was having so much fun with it, I decided to use Mary's camera to get some mpeg video of the occasion.

Here is a Flash version of the first and best video I shot, posted to YouTube:

    Tommy Plays and Sings the ABC's

I think it's pretty cute... especially the Beethoven-esque power chord finale. Almost like he knows that's how you end songs. The one sad and tragic thing about the video is that it ends about 5 seconds earlier than would have been perfect. I was trying to capture something I could upload to the Internet, and I don't currently have video-editing capability, so I needed it to be captured in final form, and I was consciously trying to find just the right time to stop it as I shot it. I just missed, it turns out, because after I stopped it, he looked right at me, and smiled really big, as in, "How was that?!" Sigh.

Anyway, what I got is pretty cool, I think.

A couple of notes about video posting...Collapse )

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Practically Done Visiting States [11 Jan 2006|11:07pm]
[ mood | Trail-Worn ]

At some point in the next 20 years, I really hope I can retire, buy a big RV, and travel every inch of the U.S. Interstate system with my wife and other family and friends. I love each and every state I've visited because of... uhh... whatever is unique... about each and every one of them. (I also love the states I haven't visited, but probably for different unique reasons.)

Though I'm not the most salty traveller I know, I suppose I've travelled my fair share. I covered a lot of states as a kid during Drum & Bugle Corps tours, then added several new ones while in the Army. After that, though, my rate of new state coverage went way down. I just hung out with family and friends in the Western states for a long time.

It picked back up in 2005. In fact, it was a banner year for me in that regard, compared to the 15 or so previous years. Here's a quick rundown, with links to accompanying Flickr Photosets:

In June I visited bogosity and his dad in Mansfield, Massachussetts, so I could visit him in his home town before they headed off to Texas for good. (Here are my Massachussetts photos.)I'd heard a lot about it over the course of our 18-year friendship, but this was my first visit to Massachussetts (and also Rhode Island, which happens to have an airport more conveniently located for Mansfield than Boston). I got to meet Damon and his family for the first time on this trip, and also got my introduction to discgolfing, which rocks. One other minor note about this trip is that it was my first time going on any significant trip alone since getting married. That didn't make it as cool as some might expect, :-), though it certainly was nice to get a lot of dedicated time with bogo.
In late September, zmary, Tommy and I visited Mary's brother David and his wife Julie and doggies in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. (Here are my Tennessee photos.) It wasn't my first time there, but it was my first time flying into the Atlanta airport, and thus my first visit to Georgia. (This makes it one of several states like NY, IN, MT, and RI, and countries like England, that I haven't so much visited as travelled through. Still goes on the "Visited States" map, though.) It was very nice.
As part of the same 2-leg trip, we then travelled to my sister Da-Niel's home near Warren, Ohio to visit her and her family (and doggies). (Here are my my Ohio photos.) This was my first visit to Ohio, and it was very nice. It was overdue. We hadn't gotten to see them since they moved to Ohio a couple of years ago, and kids grow so fast...
Finally, over the New Year's holiday, the three of us travelled along with fjarlq to Texas to visit bogo in his new home, along with his local friends and family. (Here are my Texas photos, and here are fjarlq's Texas photos.) Texas was... you know... very nice.

So... what did I learn during my travels?

  • I like the U.S. It's very nice.
  • I love my friends and family. They're very nice.
  • I'm fortunate to have the time, resources (including a willing wife and good-natured son) to get around and visit people. I hope that never changes.
  • I'm much more of a people photographer than a scenery photographer. (Not that I'm a real photographer at all. And not that I didn't already know this about myself. Just wanted to point it out in case you clicked the links above expecting to see... you know... scenery.)
  • The entire eastern half of the U.S. is an old, big-ass forest. If you think you see some trees... look closer, because there are probably trees between those trees, and smaller trees between those in-between trees, and bushes and grasses growing under those. (Also, there are probably squirrels and leprechauns, but I'm not supposed to talk about them, so you didn't hear this from me.)
  • Texas has no mountains, but part of it does have "hills"... although they roll so gently and uniformly, it might be difficult to tell that unless you look closely.
  • I can still ride a dirt bike.

Finally, for posterity, here is my updated "visited states" map. (Note the new, huge, Longhorn State addition...)


Regarding Certain Policy Changes Herein Effected [09 Jan 2006|09:56pm]
As I very recently announced in my zderek journal, I have decided to simplify my life and consolidate on a single alias for posting content online: good ole' zhmort.

If you had zderek listed as an LJ friend, please list zhmort too or instead. (I won't be posting to zderek any longer. All of my new posts will be here from now on.)

This actually doesn't have much to do with LJ. Rather, it's a side effect of beginning to use several different tools for different needs, each of which has its own account/username. For a variety of reasons, I was using "zhmort" on all of those other sites, and eventually I decided I was tired of (and confused by) maintaining more than one alias.

For the interested, these are the other places you can find stuff of mine:

I recently uploaded a ton of pics to Flickr. I'll follow up with some journal entries here pointing to the photos (and maybe talking about the experiences, if I have time) pretty soon. If you care to, you can also just browse zhmort's Flickr Photo Sets to see what me and my family and friends have been up to without waiting for me to write about it.


Also, my apologies if this change creates annoying busywork for anyone. I never said being my friend would be without its toils! ;-)

Just Some Guy [12 Nov 2005|05:03pm]
[ mood | nostalgicomical ]

I was using the Visited States tool (which I found on wickenden's journal) to plot the states I have visited, and found I had to do a little research to work it out. A lot of the places I've been are Western states I've lived in (or travelled to while living nearby). But perhaps more than half of the states I've visited have been just one- or two-time visits. My multi-state travelling binges happened when I was part of the Argonauts Drum & Bugle Corps in Salem, Oregon during the summers after 7th, 8th, and 9th grades (1981-1983).

Many more tangents here...Collapse )


States I have Visited [12 Nov 2005|04:35pm]
[ mood | nostalgic ]

create your own personalized map of the USA

(Found this tool via wickenden...)


NOTE: This entry was originally posted to my zderek journal.



Good Humor = Bad Citizenship [21 Jun 2005|11:12pm]
[ mood | Good ]

Did other people have a "Citizenship" grade on their report cards in elementary school? I did. That was often one of my worst grades (though it was on the U = unsatisfactory, S = satisfactory, E = excellent system rather than A, B, C, etc.)

In 4th and 5th grades, my teachers actually added a write-in category for me under Citizenship: Classroom Conduct. It was my own special grade.

People who know me now might be surprised to learn that I received quite a number of U's in Classroom Conduct. I'm guessing it was a combination of exceeding boredom on my part, and the growing understanding that I could make friends through humor.

Humor takes time away from progress towards other goals. Busy schedules often don't have time for humor. Teachers would get annoyed, because they knew they were being derailed. I totally understand, now, why it would irritate them.

We face this in corporate meetings. People make jokes as we go along. Some people appreciate them, some people don't. Sometimes, everyone in the room seems to appreciate it. When that hapens, the meeting facilitator might be inclined to let it go on for a while, until it peters out. But then when the humor break goes on a little longer, some people who initially appreciated it stop appreciating it.

This tension between enjoying humor in a group setting vs. being irritated by it is a funny dynamic to me. I always notice it, watching both individual reactions as well as the apparent group consensus change from "this is funny" to "this is wasting time" and back again.

In my own staff meetings (my direct reports), I tend to loosen the leash. I want the message sent that I understand we have a lot to do, but that there are certain, key times for having fun and building camaraderie, and my staff meetings are those times. Derek is down with the humor. All of the funny folks on my team will be getting an "E" (for "Excellent") for the day! :-)

On an unrelated note, I'm also thinking of installing a Slip 'N Slide.


NOTE: This entry was originally posted to my zderek journal.


1 commentitudinification | commentitudinify

Full of woe and misery, and ham. [18 Jan 2005|10:19pm]
[ mood | Reflective (Shiny!) ]

The following was said on my prviate IRC channel on 27 Dec 2004. In retrospect I see that we were writing the lyrics to an opera. So as you're reading along, please sing the lines in your head (or aloud, as you prefer) like an opera singer. Be sure to add lots of dramatic pauses, held-out notes, etc. And also, change from male to female opera singer voices as you switch from the lines from zderek to those from silestra (what a great cameo!) and zmary (my operatic diva partner!).

15:20:44 <zderek> There is no ham.
15:20:53 <zderek> There is certainly not any honey-baked ham.
15:20:58 <zderek> Definitely not.
15:21:04 <zderek> Not on the counter in the kitchen, anyway.
15:21:10 <zderek> Not a whole ham.
15:21:19 <zderek> Not a ham that you don't even have to cook or slice.
15:21:37 <zderek> Best to just forget about ham. I mean, what would be the point in thinking about it? After all, there is none.
15:21:46 <zderek> Doomed to yearn for ham, am I.
15:21:53 <Silestra> bummer
15:22:09 <zderek> Yeah. It's a sad tale.
15:22:19 <zderek> Full of woe and misery, but not ham.
15:24:47 *** zderek changed topic of #zderek to: <zderek> Yeah. It's a sad tale. Full of woe and misery, but not ham.
15:24:47 *** Topic for #zderek is: <zderek> Yeah. It's a sad tale. Full of woe and misery, but not ham.
15:38:07 <zmary> But what about the ham?
15:38:20 <zmary> What about the whole ham on the counter?
15:38:41 <zmary> There certainly is a honey-baked ham in the kitchen.
15:38:55 <zmary> A ham that you don't even have to cook or slice.
15:39:00 <zmary> A whole ham.
15:39:09 <zmary> Doomed to eat ham, are you.
15:39:38 <zmary> Full of woe and misery, and ham.
15:40:14 *** zderek changed topic of #zderek to: <zmary> Full of woe and misery, and ham.
15:40:14 *** Topic for #zderek is: <zmary> Full of woe and misery, and ham.


NOTE: This entry was originally posted to my zderek journal.


Original Comments:

2005-01-19 11:35 am


<shuffling around for manuscript paper to write out some melodies...>


Our Little Communicator [08 Jan 2005|01:24pm]
[ mood | Proud ]

Spent some time today trying to write down all the things I could think of that Tommy knows how to say. I imagine this will be a lot harder to do in such comprehensive fashion before too long.

Update: This is apparently still under construction. Since I posted it earlier today, we've done a lot of a) remembering additional words, and b) reclassifying signs we taught him vs. signs he invented.

It's already a lot of words...Collapse )

My Half of Our Birth Story, Part II [25 Nov 2004|01:41am]
[ mood | Nostalgic, Gushing ]

It's been a while. I've been hibernating. Journalbernating. Not sure why, exactly. Lots of stuff going on, and plenty to talk about. Just haven't gotten a strong enough urge to write in a public forum, I guess. I do chat daily with many of my friends over private IRC channels, so I guess that satisfies most of my need for self-expression and group communication. A journal is a different kind of forum, though, and I do think it has a different kind of value. So hopefully I won't ignore it again for this long in the future.


For the longest time, I've been meaning to finish my half of our birth story, so now I'm going to try to make some more progress on that, if not finish it altogether. I wrote a first installment way back on January 29, 2004, about two and a half months after Tommy was born. It's funny that at that time I thought I had already procrastinated so long that the memories might not be totally fresh and vivid and accurate any more. I was worried I might have waited too long. I see now that back then I didn't really understand what procrastination was... that in fact I was an overachiever demonstrating an amazing ability to get things done during the one of the most busy and exhausting times of my life. :-)

We recently passed Tommy's first birthday, (which zmary recently mentioned in her journal), so in honor of that, and with even more nostalgia than I was feeling while writing part 1...

and now, the rest of the story...Collapse )


Long Time No See [25 May 2004|10:42pm]
[ mood | reflective ]

This weekend I got to visit with an old friend from my time (1987-1990) in the Army Band in Germany. It was very cool and surreal. I hadn't seen him in almost exactly 14 years, despite having kept in touch by phone from time to time over the years. Normally, I don't meet up with people I like and want to be a part of my life but haven't run into for 14 years. :-) But he's been in Florida and Alabama, and I've been in Arizona and California, and we just never had reason to cross paths.

...until this weekend, when he finally had reason to come to California.Collapse )


More Pics... [15 Feb 2004|08:55pm]
[ mood | Nostalgic ]

This is the new desktop wallpaper on my laptop:

And here are some more pics from the past 3 months, not so much with a theme this time (unless "my family and friends" is a descriptive enough theme... :-)


NOTE: This entry was originally posted to my zderek journal.



Adoration [15 Feb 2004|07:52pm]

Click here for more pics of people with Tommy, all with a common theme.


NOTE: This entry was originally posted to my zderek journal.


My Half of Our Birth Story [29 Jan 2004|11:11pm]
[ mood | reflective, maybe even shiny ]

What follows really should be included as a comment on zmary's Birth Story. But it's so long, I'm just going to post it here in my own journal, and link to it from hers.

Because I started out writing it as a reply to her post, it's mostly addressed to her. In other words, she's the "you" I'm talking to. And if it isn't obvious, she's a "you" I love very much. :-)

My thoughts about the birth of our baby boy.Collapse )


Remembering Times When The Sleep-O-Meter Was So Very Un-Pegged [08 Dec 2003|12:21pm]
[ mood | awaker ]

One of the things I heard the most about prior to becoming a new father was the sleepless nights I could expect in the beginning. In fact, in an unscientific survey, the day Tommy was born, I sent a phone message to my boss to let her know it had happened and that I was officially going on "family leave", and she translated that into an email message and sent it out to our department at work to let everyone know. Later, when I logged back into my work Inbox and checked email, I saw there were several congratulatory responses.

Of those, about 30% of them said, "Enjoy/Prepare for/Welcome to the sleepless nights!"

Naturally, they knew they were 100% correct in this prediction.Collapse )


Pegged Sleep-O-Meter! [08 Dec 2003|11:06am]
[ mood | awake ]

You know you're done sleeping for the moment when you're offered the opportunity to go back to bed for some solo sleeping, and instead of sleeping, you lay there composing To Do lists and LiveJournal posts in your head, including the exact words for this post.


NOTE: This entry was originally posted to my zderek journal.


Original Comments:

2003-12-09 12:41 am

Oh, good... I feel more inclined to impose on you for a visit now that you'll actually be awake enough to enjoy it. :)


My Favorite Pictures of Tommy So Far [24 Nov 2003|03:46am]
[ mood | Doting ]


  • I'm not including the three favorites I already posted on zmary's journal.
  • They are chronologically ordered (except the one above).
  • I am a bit smitten, if that part wasn't obvious. So is my wife, and everyone else who has met him.
  • Life is good.
Lots more favorites here...Collapse )

[28 Oct 2003|10:48am]
Happy Birthday, thenisaid!!!

I hope you get you many, many more happy birthdays, and that this one in particular is especially nice. You deserve both!
5 commentitudinifications | commentitudinify

Getta You Fun, While-a You Can [18 Oct 2003|11:57am]
[ mood | carpe diem ]

In a few weeks, apparently we are expected to lose any semblance of freedom for the next 10-20 years. At that time, we will inherit a little bundle of burden, who comes with:

  • responsibility
  • a saddle
  • a whip
  • a ball
  • a chain
  • and more responsibility.

So while we still can, today we are going on a "date", so we can soak up one of our last opportunities to be:

  • unburdened
  • freedom-loving
  • hippies
  • who just come and go as we please
  • doing whatever we want
  • saying whatever we want
  • without cares
  • and without responsibility.

I'm anticipating a lot of smiling, floating, and being free.

Also, a lot of swearing and over-spending.

Because fortunately, for these last few minutes, it doesn't matter what other people think of us, and money still grows on trees.



NOTE: This entry was originally posted on my zderek journal.


Original Comments:

2003-10-18 12:06 pm

I knew they came with little hats, I didn't know they came with saddles... :-)

Wooo! It's "Date Day!!!!" Wooo! I'll go pick some money from the money tree! :-)

I love you so much!!


[18 Oct 2003|01:33am]
This fun little post of cecimoi's, describing the contents of various things in her life, including her desk(s), reminded me of a post of merovingian's from a couple years ago, "The Contents of My Desk", which was one of the first of his I'd read, and which remains one of my favorites of all time.

Nothing more to say here. Just advertising two journals I enjoy reading.
1 commentitudinification | commentitudinify

¡Puedo soñar en español! [12 Oct 2003|12:08pm]
[ mood | Hablo español. ]

Last night I spoke Spanish in a dream for the first time that I can recall.

I specifically remember trying to tell someone that "we can" (podemos) do something.

Bueno. :-)


NOTE: This entry was originally posted on my zderek journal.


Original Comments:

2003-10-13 09:55 pm

Woooooo! Que excelente!


Please Buy Our Junk [04 Oct 2003|10:42am]
[ mood | declutteritudinous ]

Strangely enough, it seems that there is a surplus of money out there in the world, and a deficit of stuff.

And coincidentally, there seems to be a surplus of stuff here in our house, and a deficit of money.

Can you say, "Osmosis"? No? Well then how about, "Yard Sale."

Good. I knew you could. :-)

I can't believe this actually works. We cart it out to the driveway, and they cart it out into the world from there, leaving us a small donation somewhere in between. Tom Sawyer would have been so, so proud of us.

(By the way, if I were to use the proper phrase my friends and I like to use to make this joke, the subject would be, "Please buy our crap." But I'm supposed to be learning to be more "family-oriented" now, so that means I gotta start censoring myself. Examples of other words I'll need to remember not to use around the boy are: "allowance", "girls", and "dating".)

NOTE: This entry was originally posted on my zderek journal.


Original Comments:

2003-10-04 01:50 pm

My favorite part of the sale was when a lady noticed that in the process of "getting rid of clutter" one of the things I was getting rid of was a book called "Clutter Free, once and for all." :-) We enjoyed the irony and a laugh together. A moment later she decided that she was inspired by my progress at uncluttering... so she bought the book (to presumably add to her own clutter)!!! :-)

2003-10-04 02:06 pm

Hahah... :)

Updates on Me and Mine [22 Sep 2003|12:20am]
[ mood | happy and grateful ]

Here is a list of stuff I've done in the past few months, with commentary. Once again I'm writing it in reverse chronological order, because lately I like viewing things that way. (And if my friend Kip ever carries through on his promise to see the movie Memento with me, I'll be able to talk more about this with him.)

Get the scoop while it's, uh, fresh, or scoopful, or somethingCollapse )


Coach Derek Limbers Up [31 Aug 2003|01:07am]
In the past few weeks I have learned that there are three stages of labor. The second and third stages are about pushing the baby and then the placenta out. The first stage is a little more varied, and is further sub-divided into three phases: early labor, active labor, and transition. There are contractions throughout, with observable variance in duration and frequency, sometimes with some urge to push during transition, even before second stage starts. But even more easily observable than the changes in contractions, apparently, are the usual changes in the mother's moods and outlook.

Early labor is the easiest part of labor, and is sometimes experienced as fun and even exciting. ("It's finally happening!")

Active labor, in addition to affecting the mother more physically, is marked by increased "seriousness" and an inward focus. ("Don't touch me!" or "Take the lamp shade off your head now, monkey-boy.")

Transition is the hardest part of this stage, and often this is where the mother will doubt herself the most, worrying that she can't do it. They say the trick is to understand that getting to that point means the labor is almost done, that in fact the baby will be there soon.

So as an aspiring labor coach/participant/hinderer, I figure I ought to have some way of making sure I don't miss these key mood indicators. My plan is to buy the following supplies and bring them with me to the birth, probably under a trench coat:

  1. One rubber chicken
  2. One large set of salad tongs

Then, while helping her through the labor, I will occasionally surprise her with tests. First, I'll whip out the the chicken, and quickly ask, all offhand-like, "Hey, whaddaya think of this?!" If I get a chuckle, I put it away and get back to helping with contractions. If I get nothing, then I quickly whip out the salad tongs and go on to ask, "Is it time for these yet?"

And if at that point she pushes out our baby, I will finally know for sure that she was really pregnant all along, and not just wearing a specially molded pillow around her waist for the sake of sympathy, as I have long suspected.

Read more...Collapse )

[31 Aug 2003|12:57am]
I added a bunch of real blueberries to my Berry Burst Cheerios to make them even more bursty, and I'm very proud.

Cool [01 May 2003|12:14am]
[ mood | fatherly ]

Today we got to hear our baby's heartbeat. That was an intense experience.

For me, it was an important moment. Although I'd probably qualify as an "involved father" up to this point in the pregnancy, there's still a certain abstractness to it for me. In concept, I am overjoyed and filled with anticipation. In reality, not that much has changed for me. Oh sure, zmary takes more naps now, and I carry a little more of the load than before. But the hugs and love and attention are just an extension of our never-ending honeymoon, so it's no big deal.

But hearing the heartbeat was different. That's my baby's heartbeat.

I had kind of a funny thought about it, though. Because the baby is still so small, you really can't feel much from the outside. So the sonar-based doohickey that listened for the heartbeat was really kind of a magical device from my perspective. It helped us make contact with an alien from a different world, as far as I know. In fact, I was kind of amused to myself, pondering the notion that our baby was actually floating out in space somewhere, and somehow the doctor holding this device to Mary's stomach was allowing us to contact him or her. The heartbeat itself was the message, just like in the movie Contact. (It even sounded eery in a similar way.)

I don't know what the message means. We haven't decoded it yet. But my best guess is that it means, "I love you, daddy!"

Something like that, anyway.

Read more...Collapse )


Stuff I've Done Recently [05 Apr 2003|06:14pm]
[ mood | Endorphinful ]

(...sorted in reverse chronological order, since I tend to remember today better than the day before...)

  • Looked for CD-ROM reviews to give my mom suggestions for her impending purchase.
  • Wrote this post on my laptop while riding my recumbent bike. (Woo!)
  • Went out looking for a new house to rent. (Hoping to get something significantly larger with more amenities, for significantly less than we're paying right now.)
  • Took zmary to Kaiser to get her initial set of prenatal blood tests. (In case it's not clear, she has already been born... but the baby hasn't...)
  • Ate a delicious, nutritious brunch (Guiltless Chicken Platter, minus the corn on the cob, plus a spinach salad with italian dressing) at Chili's.
  • Got up a little earlier than normal for me on a Saturday, at Mary's request so I could accompany her to Kaiser.
  • Went to bed a little earlier than normal for me on a Friday night, because it had been a long, full week.
  • Joined Weight Watcher's Online, inspired by a couple of female friends.
  • Watched a good Basketball Game (Kings vs. Celtics) my new TiVo had recorded for me.
  • Worked a long but satisfying week at work.
  • Attended our Kaiser prenatal orientation.
  • Figured out our finances (both for now and after the baby comes) with Mary.
  • Worked a long but stressful week at work.
  • Forgot to look for CD-ROM reviews like I'd promised my mom I would.
  • Talked to my beloved family.
  • Hugged and laughed with my friends.
  • Had a great birthday party thrown for me by my friends.
  • Programmed my TiVo to record every sitcom and documentary and NBA Basketball game ever aired by mankind.
  • Got TiVo from my friends for my birthday
  • Got nice cards and cash from friends and family for my birthday..
  • Got promoted at work.
  • Did our taxes using TurboTax (again).
  • Gained a lot of sympathetic pregnancy weight to demonstrate solidarity with my wife.
  • Got us pregnant.
  • Tried to get us pregnant.

I'm pretty sure some other stuff happened, too. But that's a good enough list for now. Enjoy!

NOTE: This entry was originally posted in my zderek journal.


Stuff I've Done Recently [05 Apr 2003|06:14pm]
[ mood | Endorphinful ]

(...sorted in reverse chronological order, since I tend to remember today better than the day before...)

  • Looked for CD-ROM reviews to give my mom suggestions for her impending purchase.
  • Wrote this post on my laptop while riding my recumbent bike. (Woo!)
  • Went out looking for a new house to rent. (Hoping to get something significantly larger with more amenities, for significantly less than we're paying right now.)
  • Took zmary to Kaiser to get her initial set of prenatal blood tests. (In case it's not clear, she has already been born... but the baby hasn't...)
  • Ate a delicious, nutritious brunch (Guiltless Chicken Platter, minus the corn on the cob, plus a spinach salad with italian dressing) at Chili's.
  • Got up a little earlier than normal for me on a Saturday, at Mary's request so I could accompany her to Kaiser.
  • Went to bed a little earlier than normal for me on a Friday night, because it had been a long, full week.
  • Joined Weight Watcher's Online, inspired by a couple of female friends.
  • Watched a good Basketball Game (Kings vs. Celtics) my new TiVo had recorded for me.
  • Worked a long but satisfying week at work.
  • Attended our Kaiser prenatal orientation.
  • Figured out our finances (both for now and after the baby comes) with Mary.
  • Worked a long but stressful week at work.
  • Forgot to look for CD-ROM reviews like I'd promised my mom I would.
  • Talked to my beloved family.
  • Hugged and laughed with my friends.
  • Had a great birthday party thrown for me by my friends.
  • Programmed my TiVo to record every sitcom and documentary and NBA Basketball game ever aired by mankind.
  • Got TiVo from my friends for my birthday
  • Got nice cards and cash from friends and family for my birthday..
  • Got promoted at work.
  • Did our taxes using TurboTax (again).
  • Gained a lot of sympathetic pregnancy weight to demonstrate solidarity with my wife.
  • Got us pregnant.
  • Tried to get us pregnant.

I'm pretty sure some other stuff happened, too. But that's a good enough list for now. Enjoy!

NOTE: This was posted originally in zderek


FYI [09 Feb 2003|09:45pm]
[ mood | concerned ]

I've decided I'm going to the February 15 war protest march in San Jose:

5 commentitudinifications | commentitudinify

Our Own Private Warehouse Shoot-'Em-Up Scene [10 Jan 2003|06:45pm]
[ mood | sort of a mix of nostalgia and ]

Just inside the side entrance to my work building that I most often use when navigating my body from my truck to my cubicle, there are a bunch of boxes and pallets and crates. This particular stairwell area is kind of a loading/staging area for our main data center, and it gets filled up with various stuff from time to time, only to be cleaned out and then messed up again not too long after. So it isn't too big of a surprise to see it in its current state.

What is interesting and new, though, is the particular configuration and composition of the stuff. The cardboard boxes are big (containing enterprise servers, mostly), and they're stacked on wooden pallets. The pallets themselves are stacked on top of each other at various heights in the narrow space. And to top it all off, there is one wooden box/crate/thing in particular that is tall... taller than a human... standing in back of everything.

So by now, the former and current Half-Life players and maybe the Jackie Chan fans reading this will probably recognize that what I am describing looks very much like a warehouse... perfect for running around, jumping and climbing on and off, hiding, and shooting or otherwise doing battle with the other players around you doing the same.

I haven't shot at or jumped on anyone yet, but I sure have had the urge to climb up on the boxes. It would be so easy... a step up here... then a hop... then a big leap after a very short run... then hop... and boom... I'm on the top of the tall box... perched... ready to do some serious damage to the unsuspecting co-workers who will surely be coming down the stairwell any moment... oblivious... never knowing what is about to hit them.

There's fun stuff in my head, I tell you.


Stuff I Wish I Had Time Or Energy Or Self-Discipline To Write About Or Do [27 Nov 2002|11:16pm]

Stuff I Wish I Had Time Or Energy Or Self-Discipline To Write About:

  1. Stuff I Wish I Time Or Energy Or Self-Discipline To Write About (oh... look... I'm doing that now... cool... at least now I can check that one off!)
  2. How Much The Human Race Rocks
  3. How Much The Human Race Sucks
  4. How Cool It Is To Be Alive
  5. How Hard It Is To Be Alive
  6. My Thoughts About Trying To Live Forever Or As Long As I Can
  7. My Thoughts on the Importance of Trying To Be a Loving, Caring Nurturing Person
  8. How Much I Love My Family And Friends

Stuff I Wish I Had Time Or Energy Or Self-Discipline To Do:

  1. Lose A Lot Of Weight
  2. Write, Record, Produce, And Perform Music
  3. Go On Road Trips To See My Remote Family And Friends More
  4. Go On Out-Of-House Trips To See My Local Friends More

I Just Got a Phone Call From Sean Connery [27 Nov 2002|06:34pm]
Or, at least, it sounded like Sean Connery.

Okay, actually, if I'm to be honest here, it was just some guy from Hollywood Video, calling to tell me I had some overdue DVDs, though he was obviously imitating Sean Connery, for purposes of my entertainment, I assume.

Okay, actually, if I'm to be really honest here, it was just a recording. It wasn't even an actual, live Hollywood Video employee imitating Sean Connery. It was a canned Hollywood Video employee.

Okay, actually, if I'm to be really, really honest here, I suppose I have to admit that I don't even know if the voice belonged to an actual Hollywood Video employee. He did say, "This is Hollywood Video...", but perhaps he was speaking loosely. Maybe he was just a consultant, working on a big Hollywood Video Sean Connery-imitating, money-making, video-returning, ponzi-scheming... project-thing. Probably his contract ran out long ago, and now he's sitting in a room somewhere, thinking about what it used to be like, back during the bubble, when the money was flowing, and the Sean Connery-imitating gigs were so plentiful and easy to find. Probably, he's remembering back to the time when he used to quit Sean Connery-imitating gigs mid-project, just because there were so many other Sean Connery-imitating projects nearby willing to pay him twice as much for half the work. Plus expenses. And a company car. And free cheerleaders.

Wait. What were we talking about?

Oh yeah... it was about how I totally mingle with Hollywood legends on a daily basis.

Pretty cool, huh?
1 commentitudinification | commentitudinify

Lately [17 Nov 2002|03:16pm]
[ mood | indescribable ]

I've been living and experiencing again, more or less.

Lots of sleeping, waking, babbling, laughing, relating, emoting, working, learning, pondering, indulging, grooving, vegetating, and stuff like that.

There's been lots and lots of not doing stuff, not to mention barely doing stuff, really starting to do stuff, doing stuff, continuing to do stuff, really doing stuff good, and really, like, totally, 100%, doing stuff.

There has been absolutely no "110% doing stuff". I'm guessing I'm about as surprised about that as you are.


Etc. [21 Sep 2002|10:06am]
[ mood | obvious ]

And so on...

3 commentitudinifications | commentitudinify

Checkmark [02 Sep 2002|12:46pm]
[ mood | recordbreakingly happy ]

Note this time, please.

I want to record the fact that I am currently as happy as I have ever been.

A new record for being happy for zhmort.

Kinda scary if you think about it. Especially when you consider that I'm pretty likely to break the record again later, over and over. In fact, if I have any say in the matter, I'll break the record enough times that we'll all just have to agree that I'm going to break it an infinite number of times, so that we can at least stop counting the times I've broken it so far and spend our time doing more productive things, such as enjoying the actual happiness itself.

So, yeah, anyway, I'll get back to that now.

Except, before I go, lest ye'all miss out on the fun, here are some *HUGS* so that you may enjoy some of it, too.

You're welcome.

1 commentitudinification | commentitudinify

Magic [24 Aug 2002|02:07am]
[ mood | impressed ]

I just started using The Semagic LJ Client tonight.

On a wordly-related note, I've been using Perl Magick (perl module wrapper for Image Magick) for almost a year and a half now.


I like Magic.

Gimme more, please.


Uhhh... did you, uh... lose some weight... or uhhh... have a goiter removed... or something? [10 Jul 2002|12:52am]
[ mood | colorfully coiffed ]

What was the most common spontaneous utterance upon first seeing me today, you ask? If I'm remembering correctly, it was probably, "Ummm... Wow!" (Translation: "Ummm... Uhhhh... Uhhhh...")

Most common spontaneous facial gesture? Eyebrow-raising. Definitely the really high eyebrow raising. (Translation: "Whoa, dude! What happened?!?! Did you do that on purpose, or was there some sort of fracas with a bleach bucket?")

Most folks caught themselves, of course, and followed up with, "Nice. I like it." But I know they were just trying to backtrack, save face, and get themselves out of the impending noogie from the sensitive guy with the new 'do. (And believe me, had they said, "Hey. That hair sucks!", I definitely would have been handing out noogies. I'm a nice guy, but I do have feelings, not to mention an irrational, inflated sense of style and self-importance.)

Click here to see the damage in full detail.Collapse )


My May [07 Jun 2002|01:05am]
[ mood | reflective ]

[NOTE: This was originally posted on my zderek journal.]

According to some files I recently found on my camera, May was kind of a cool month for me.

For example, can you tell this park lives in California?


Click here for pics and videos.Collapse )

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