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WordPress Cutover

Well since all the cool kids are doing it I decided to switch from Movable Type to WordPress, and I have to say that I’m impressed. I particularly like this Light theme by Stephen Reinhardt.

Anyways, a huge benefit of switching to WP is that I can now open comments again (yay!). I’m sure I’ve driven off my five or so readers from ever wanting to dialogue with me, but if they come back then now they can!

If you find anything broken please drop me an email…or better, leave a comment!

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2006, it was great

So here we are in another new year. It seems a little anti-climactic as 2006 ended very surreally for us. I haven’t really said much about it here, and most of my regular readers will know, but on Thanksgiving 2006 (more specifically, 4:16am the morning after) my beautiful wife Alexis gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Alana Corrin.
Dsc 0652-1 Dsc 0616-1 Dsc 0726-1
So things have been, shall we say, insane, and absolutely wonderful. I was able to take about three weeks off of work, then go back for a week and then head down to Lex’s parent’s in LA for a week, so December was a surreal blur of diapers, no sleep, an unbelievable cuteness.
Now I’m back to work full time, and Alexis and Alana are enjoying full-time baby fun at home. New schedules are going to require new routines, but whatever I can do to maximize time with the girls is important because I can’t believe how fast they change.
Babies are fun!

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Weeds

No, not gardening, the show.

I’ve been so caught up in the plethora of excellent series on HBO such as Deadwood, Rome, Entourage, The Wire, and the ever-controversial Big Love, that I’ve completely missed some of the programming coming from Showtime. One show that caught my eye due to the actors that I like in it and the rash of Emmys that it won recently is Weeds. This is a simple half-hour show about a suburban mom who has taken to selling pot to her escape-needing suburban neighbors after her husband died. Now that sounds like it could be a dark and depressing subject, but its not the illicit activities that make the show, its the backdrop of her neighborhood in the picture-perfect “Agrestic” planned community.

Great cast, snappy writing, and good story lines got me hooked after just a couple of shows. I saved half the first season for Alexis and we plowed through six episodes in one night (she got hooked as well).

Season one is out on DVD now, season two should be soon, and season three should start broadcasting in the next few months. Check it out, I highly recommend it!

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I finally got around to upgrading to Gallery 2 for my pictures. Took me too long, but the wait was worth it. I was even able to leverage a Debian backport to make it easy to maintain but still maintain our crazy ExecCGI environment where the code runs as my user (and more importantly, under my quota).

This is the first step in a few changes around here, but is a major step before I add some very key content…

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The New Old Season

I’m still mourning the end of Deadwood. While I like Timothy Olyphant (good-guy sheriff Seth Bullock), by the end of the show it was Ian McShane’s Al Swearengen (and his band of band-guys) that totally made the series. Strong characters all around, and a well-evolved plot. But alas, some things are not meant to last forever.

And the Tivo is barren. I mean absolutely nothing new (that we haven’t seen) is recorded. Day-to-day the most entertaining items are old Fraiser’s that I either haven’t seen or at some point forgot. Hell, the other day I was excited when they finished up the last season of Friends and started from the beginning again. THERE’S NOTHING ON. (Except new Venture Brothers, which is of course fantastic, but not enough to keep the voices in my head quite for most of the week).

So I’ve started digging into the back catalog on Netflix/Torrent, and found that I easily get sucked into well-written, well-acted short run series:

  • Rome – Good writing and acting, but too compressed into one season. I’m sure the production costs were too high to continue indefinitely, but I’m sure they could have come up with some more source material from one of the longest ruling empires in history. But alas, I think one season is all we get.
  • The Wire – I’ve been moving through this series slowly, and I think its better than The Sopranos. Superbly written and acted, its great at showing two angles, and each season brings a new big case while still maintaining contact with the old. Slow for release and I don’t see a lot of talk about it, so I’m not sure how long its legs are, but its good while it lasts.
  • Entourage – I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but HBO’s barrel is head-and-shoulders above anything else, and when watched back-to-back these really aren’t that bad. My sister-in-common-law recommended them as “brainless little 30 minute brain candies” and she’s right. Anything to avoid another reality show on broadcast.

There are possibly a couple of new shows that might bring hope to the new season (Studio 60 for one, but even after seeing the pilot I’m not completely sold). Most of all I’m looking forward to the return of my hard-core favorites: Lost, Big Love, and of course, Battlestar Galactica.

(Parental warning: TV will rot your brain and should only be taken in small doses after you’ve put in a 16 hour day and no longer have the capacity to think creatively in any way, shape, or form…its like the Tantalus device on Star Trek)

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Back at School

(Two posts in one day! I’m feeling somewhat motivated/inspired by the promise of a long weekend)

In the midst of doing something like 37 hours of presentations for our worldwide sales team this week at work (OK, it was only 8, but that’s still a long time to talk), I also began my second year at UC Berkeley’s Evening MBA program. Getting back on campus I was pleasantly surprised by three things:

  • I’m very excited to be back in an environment where I’m constantly learning/doing something new.
  • I was very excited to see all the people I had made friends with last year, as well as my battlefield brethren that I slogged through Finland and Russia with.
  • I felt predictably superior to the first year students that had already been slogging away for almost a month of classes before we started our electives.

I hear that the second and third year are a lot less stressful, with classes being stretched out over 15 weeks instead of the insane 2-classes-for-9-weeks-twice-a-semester first year, and the material is looking very interesting so I’m in a very good mood right now:

Business Law is a review course meant to orient managers to “dealing with legal issues and productive use of their lawyers”. This is being taught by a Deputy Attorney General for the State of California and for the first class he basically gave us umpteen examples of his disdain for the legal profession. I asked, “so what are lawyer’s good for?” and his response was simply, “by the end of this class you’ll really be asking that question.” This is gonna be fun.

Services Strategy is a case-oriented and guest-lecture heavy introduction to the challenges involved in operating a business where the primary capital is people and not boxed product. This is a bit of an off-beat course but based on the previous reviews (and the fact that there are 20+ people on the wait list) I have high hopes. The material here I think is very key for me as I haven’t been involved in true services businesses in the past, and moving forward I know that these will make up a bigger and bigger portion of the economic output of the US.

With the summer work I did this year, and by taking some one-unit seminars here and there, I’m actually on track to graduate a year early (end of ’07) or perhaps spread out my last couple of semesters to one class at a time. Right now we have not particular leaning, but one thing I will say is that if we decide to stay in Berkeley through the end of 2008 then being a student has a lot of nice benefits such as gym membership and campus parking privileges.

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DONE!

Phew, I survived! Last night we took our “final final” at Haas (Macroeconomics, great class). This means that life may soon return to some form of normalcy.

Although, I really don’t have much of an idea of what normalcy is anymore, since this will be the first time in a year and a half when either I’m not in school or Alexis isn’t off galavanting through some desert! And actually this is the last week of her doing excavation in blazing hot sun as she was offered a full-time position with one of the top archaeology firms in the Bay Area doing lab analysis and reports (a huge step for her which she’s really excited about).

So next week all we gotta do is go to work, come home, and enjoy life. Should be an interesting adjustment.

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