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Vacation Summary

We are finally back from Vacation (actually got back on Tuesday evening). We had a nice relaxing time (mostly) and it was nice to see family and friends and places we haven’t seen in a few years. Now lets see if I can remember a few highlights…

My favorite part was playing badminton for over 6 hours straight. I think it was Saturday we had a family get togther and a cookout, after everyone ate, we started playing and it was a lot of fun. It was a little disappointing at how easy it was to beat Ray and Jeremy, I expected more competition than what I saw out there. Liz got some great shots of me playing, and they are available in the picture gallery.

We went blueberry picking (actually I took the kids to the field) and we picked over 13 pounds of blue berries. They were $1.50 a pound, so I spent almost $20, but boy were they good!!! I probably ate about 6 pounds by myself the first day we got them.

The kids played in a stream down a dirt road, and rode bikes through it. My kids loved it and enjoyed getting wet and muddy. At one point Abby had to go to the bathroom while we were all at the stream, so I carried her on my back all the way back to the house and helped her, and then we drove back to the stream in Uncle Jam’s car. I stuck Abby up through the sunroof so thats the first thing they’d see as we drove up. Then on the way back, I had Michael ride with me, I drove Jam’s car in reverse all the way back to the house with Michael in my lap, I had to hold the steering wheel tightly as Michael was trying to “steer” with me.

Overall our flights up and back were very good, no bumps or problems. When we got to the Tampa airport, our main bag was 3 pounds over weight. They made us take out 3 pounds. So Liz took her purse out and shoved some shoes in there to get through check-in. The girls were great on the flights, only bugged me a bit about pushing the seat’s recline button, they really wanted to push it bad, so I told them it was to push if you wanted to take a nap, then they weren’t really interested anymore. They watched a movie on my laptop on the way there.

We forgot Michael’s stroller on the way back, so Liz used the snug carrier thing that straps onto you, and carried Michael that way, which worked out good on the plane.

We rented a van from Budget on the way from Dover to Newark to visit my Aunt and Uncle. We got a nice Dodge Grand Caravan which was very comfortable. We had a nice visit with them as well and I ended up staying up really late talking “tech” with David.

Leaving Philly on Tuesday, our plane was delayed a little getting in, and had to wait in line for about 30 minutes before we could leave. So there was a little delay getting back home. Mike picked us up in their van and brought us home, which was nice.

While staying with my mom, we basically had no cell service, so it was a little disturbing to be so disconnected for the first day or two. After that I got used to it and it was actually nice not to be glued to my phone all day. I almost forgot how relaxing that is. I was joking around telling people that we have these nice GSM quad band world phones that will work in Austrailia, the UK and abroad, but we can’t even use them in Delaware! Cingular has good signal in the major areas, but service in the rural areas is really bad. Verizon by far is the better carrier in the north east. Now that Cingular is the new at&t, maybe that will improve over time.

Overall our trip was good, it was good to see old faces and places and catch up with people. We got lots of good pictures and had a relaxing time. However, it is still a difficult thing to travel with small kids, so I hope not to have to travel like that again for at least 5 years!!! 🙂

Reforming Daylight Savings Time

I came across this amusing article a long time ago actually, it has an interesting take on Daylight Savings time:

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It happens every spring: crocuses, baseball (with any luck), and the switch to Daylight Savings Time (DST).

Coming off DST is not hard. In the Fall, we set our clocks back one hour. We all get an extra hour to sleep, and those who forget find themselves at church, or the airport, or wherever an hour early. Embarassing, but not catastrophic.

But in the Spring we set the clocks forward, and the trouble begins. We lose an hour of sleep. Forgetful people miss Mass, planes, breakfast, and the big game on TV. Some are thrown into disarray for up to a full week. Annual losses due to DST confusion have been estimated (by me) at over a million dollars. I myself have missed a flight to Washington and a showing of The Seven Samurai because of DST.

There is no need for such tragic waste. We can – we should and must – urge our lawmakers to reform Daylight Savings Time as follows: Setting clocks back is easy; setting them forward is difficult. Therefore, let us keep the fall ritual as it is. However, one Sunday each Spring, let us set our clocks not one hour forward, but TWENTY-THREE HOURS BACKWARD.

Think of all the advantages. We will not lose an hour of sleep; we will gain (almost) a day of rest. It will be Saturday all over again. You will never again miss Confession, or an airplane, or the Redskins game.

Naturally, if this were the whole plan, our calendars would fall behind one day in each year. However, the second part of the Revised DST Plan deals with this. Every four years, instead of adding a day, let us SUBTRACT THREE DAYS. Furthermore, let these be Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, which according to recent polls are the least popular days.

If done in February, which seems reasonable considering what a miserable month it is, this would have the beneficial side effect of shortening the excruciating presidential primary season by an effective four days.

The advantages of this plan are clear. Let us waste no time. With a determined effort we can have Reformed Daylight Savings Time by Spring of next year.

Write your congressperson today!

Visitors this week!

This is going to be a busy week, my mom and youngest brother are coming to visit us on Wednesday. Then Thursday is Sarah’s K-5 Graduation and also Abby’s Birthday party. Then Friday will probably go to a park and the beach. Saturday we have to take my mom and brother back to the airport for their return flight home. Not sure what will be going on Sunday yet, and I also took Monday off to recover from the busy weekend. It should be a fun time and we hope they enjoy their visit.

Disaster in New York

I was in the office that night (Tuesday) until 3am (Wednesday) trying to fix this problem. I was able to restore the Exchange 5.5 Directory from a backup, but this took hours to find a good backup, restore the data, then fix Exchange so it would replicate to the other Exchange 5.5 Servers. Unfortunately, we still have problems even after the restore. We experienced issues with our permissions on our public folders. This is a major pain because no one had a list of who had permissions to what, so I’m shooting in the dark trying to fix it. I can only fix these problems when users complain that they don’t have access to what they need.

This was not a good week. I am so glad I’m sitting in the airport in New Jersey right now waiting for my flight to leave for Tampa. It will be so nice to get home! Maybe its time to think about a vacation! Fortunately, everything is operationally back up and working now, there are just a few minor things like end user permissions to work out as they pop up. Oh and one other issue. Now my backups on my exchange server that I restored the Directory on are failing. I get access denied errors, even though the account I’m using in backup exec has all the permissions it needs to complete an Exchange backup. So I’m going to be working on that ASAP.]]>

Celebrity on board

P.S. as I boarded my flight there were two ladies in the aisle seats next to my window seat. As I approached and asked if I could slip in there, they said it would be easier to just scoot over, so I lost my window seat to two very loud women who never stopped talking for one second the whole flight. I got bumped with elbows and flying hands as they elaborately spoke to each other with such great animation. Fortunately I had my MP3 player and made good use of it. Its an almost 3 hour flight back. I had a nice flight back even considering I didn’t get my window seat. I got home at about 9:15, but took a while to get to the economy parking garage so I could get out of there. I was on my way home when I hit a lot of traffic due to a single lane on 275N due to construction. I got home at around 10:30. It was great to get home. I miss my family when I’m away.
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Last minute trip to New York

On Friday morning, I checked out of my hotel, went to the office and got ready to go. On the way into the building I lost my ID badge and was afraid to leave because they might not let me back in. I was however able to get a guest pass and enter that way. I finally got breakfast at about 11am. This got me out of having to go somewhere I don’t like for lunch (long story). About 12:30 I have a meeting with my boss to review my project and get info on the next steps I need to take. We ended up doing some testing on the systems I setup, and that ran me over until 2:10pm. My car was waiting to take me to the airport at 2 sharp. I didn’t finish my testing, and there was a few problems. Fortunately, the trip to the airport was much faster than I thought it would be, based on past trips. Usually on a Friday afternoon, getting out of Manhattan is a nightmare. But headed for the Lincoln tunnel was no problem. I made it to the airport at about 3pm. I was able to setup my laptop wireless and was able to remote into my company network through VPN and continue working on the problems. I got everything all fixed up and had them do more tests. My flight was scheduled to leave at 6:25 so I started the check-in process around 4:30. I got dinner at Sbarros in the C Concourse. I then read a book and talked to Liz on the phone while I waited.

See my next blog for the next part of this story.
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