Finally, Friday!

Well! It’s been a while since I looked so forward to the weekend, but here it is, at last.

I have plans, for a change! How ’bout that?

For one thing, I’m going to try and give my buddy Bryce Beattie a read-through on his story “The Journey of St. Laurent”, sequel to his pulp-horror novel “Oasis”. Can’t wait for that!

Next, I’ll be doing what I can to help my wife clear her cardboard boxes out of the house so we can set up the new school/craft area I just spent a small pail of money on. (AHEM!)

Maybe some grocery shopping, if need be.

Finally, Saturday (tomorrow), March 23, my newest short story eBook will go live on Amazon Kindle for FREE! It’s called “Shudderbugs”, and contains not one but TWO stories with photography themes! The book will be free from March 23 to March 27, and then it goes to its regular price of 99¢. So get your copy while it’s free!

Here’s the cover:

shudderbugs

If you do pick it up and enjoy the stories (they are older, though, and my writing has changed a LOT since then), please consider leaving a review on Amazon. It helps us, and makes me feel better. I mean, when it’s positive, anyway. But be honest! Always be honest!

Anyway, have a good weekend, and I’ll see you on Monday!

-jdt-

Grateful Whensday

He kept his voice hushed, but spoke without hesitation. He told her about his son; the boy is almost nine now, and won’t listen to him.

He says it’s because she coddled the boy, wouldn’t let the father discipline him. Now there’s defiance, contempt. Once, he related, the boy tried to get out of a moving vehicle. Another time, they drove to a the local strip mall to go to a drug store, and he got out and walked home. Not knowing or caring – the details were sketchy here – they decided to walk home too. Apparently, the car sat there overnight and to get to work the next day, he had to walk to the strip mall and pick it up.

He spoke to her of a day when he’ll make enough money on his job to walk out, leave the house to his wife, and not look back. I didn’t listen closely. I didn’t want to know. He wasn’t talking to me, only in proximity to me. I overheard most of it, and all of what I gathered were in snatches, pieces and bits I wasn’t willing to put together.

I got the gist even if I didn’t want it. A man with either hopes or plans to leave his family behind him.

When he walked away, I was careful not to let him know I heard. I’m sure he knew, though. I’m only one cube with no real walls away from where he spilled his bile. He surely didn’t care who overheard. But when he was gone, back to his own work location, I shuddered. I closed my eyes, and shuddered.

And then I prayed for him.

When I finished, I realized how grateful I am for what I have. A spouse who is a friend, lover, confidant, and partner in all I do. Supportive of me in everything. A son who, despite his questions about why things are the way they are, not being quite grown-up enough to fully grasp why things might vary from one situation to the next while being too grown-up for "because," still obeys. Still seems to respect me. Still honors me, even if he doesn’t like me. A son who has given his heart and soul to our Lord and King and who honors Him by cooperating with me. A daughter who seems to enjoy my company. A family who greets me at the door with shouts and hugs and kisses.

And when my eyes burned with tears I had to hide my face, because it meant so much. Yes, in that moment, but always. What I have, what I sometimes take for granted, is so precious, so special, so rare and delicate, and I am willing to defend it.

With my life, if necessary.

Today, I am grateful for when a man who is terribly unhappy at home reminded me of how terribly happy I am at home.

Busy, Busy, Busy!

I’ve been a busy li’l bee at work this morning.

We had a major upgrade — a full build — to one of our enterprise systems. Everything went swimmingly over the weekend, when the new build was deployed. Then came Monday morning, when, you know, people tried to use that system.

And it promptly crashed.

As of this writing (about 11:46AM my time), there’s no resolution to the issue. They keep sending out updates, but there’s no fix in place yet. Nice.

So, to prepare for the new system — because, in theory, it will eventually be resuscitated — I’ve had to do a few things alongside my regular Monday morning reporting routine. So I’ve been haggard. And last night, my charming, trailer-trash neighbors decided to have some sort of outdoor gathering at all hours of the night, not to mention the banging and thumping like someone dribbling a bowling ball. So today, I’m tired and a little grumpy.

Nevertheless, I’m only halfway through my day and still busy. I’ve finalized a VBA macro already, and tested it (enough…I hope). And now, I’m off to launch my IDE so I can fix some pages I “fixed” last week which, y’know, aren’t fixed.

Over the weekend, I became the proud owner of a brand-spanking-new digital SLR. It’s a Nikon D3100, and so far, I love it. Now, I just need to learn to take pictures. Then the REAL fun begins…Photoshop the pics to make ’em look better! W00T! Can’t wait there.

I also have to get back into my training videos in a more serious way. I’ve really slacked off on how diligent I am about them for a few reasons, but primarily I’ve been doing Photoshop work and (re)publishing my stories on Kindle to keep interest up. So far, so good. I didn’t get one done last weekend though, so this week I’ve got a pair of stories going up which should make me feel better. It also gives me an excuse to do Photoshop work. How bad can that be?

I’ve decided I love Photoshop, and if I could be a professional retoucher and ebook cover designer and charge people enough to make a living at it, I’d be happy doing it. Unless, you know, it ticks me off. Then it’d suck.

Anyway, I hope you had a nice weekend, and, you know, I’ll see you next time.

-jdt-

The Time Is…

Anyone remember POP-CORN?

I grew up in California, as most of you know. When I was young, we had a service called "Time." Time was a specific phone number you could call to get the current time in ten second intervals. A nice lady read the numbers off to you so you could set your clocks and watches, and have a friendly voice to talk to when you’re lonely. It didn’t cost anything — back in those days, all calls were local, which will give you an idea of what time period I’m talking about here — but later, when things weren’t so local anymore, they had different area code numbers for Time.

I don’t remember when I first heard the term "POP-CORN" for it. I don’t know whether I had emigrated to the Midwest yet or not, but I do remember being confused about it until someone showed me the number. It was Time, complete with the same lady’s friendly and familiar voice, but the phone number translated to the alpha-characters P-O-P-C-O-R-N. So, whatever area code you lived in, you could dial POP-CORN and get the time and date.

I guess the advent of cell phones and time synchronization via Internet, satellite and even atomic clock has made POP-CORN obsolete. Our phones update their times automatically now, and even update for Daylight Saving Time. Our computers do the same, so long as we have an open Internet connection available for them. And we generally use those to set our other devices which aren’t smart enough to do so automatically, like coffee makers and (oddly) alarm clocks. And what’s up with wrist watches that can’t do that by themselves? If a tiny cell phone can house the computing power it does and still do the updates automatically, I don’t see why a tiny transceiver for satellite can’t be built into a wrist watch for such a purpose.

No matter what, though, I’ll remember fondly the days of POP-CORN and the warm, friendly lady’s voice who told me tirelessly what the current time was in ten second increments. Another piece of my youth which has passed into the twilight of memory.

Kind of like my flat stomach and 29 inch waist.

Have a good weekend, y’all.

-jdt-

Friday Frolic

Well, Friday has finally gotten here! Not a moment too soon, and perhaps many days too late, but it’s here just the same.

I’ve been banging my head over an interesting problem with attachments and emailing through Lotus Notes from an intranet site. The one I support is largely built with ASP, which was from about 1996 or so, and replaced with ASP.NET in 2002 and after. The site I support was built in 2004, but hey, I didn’t get to pick the technology. My predecessor also had tied hands over what he could spend, probably, and how fast it had to happen.

So it’s my ball of fun now. I have a page which faithfully sends Lotus Notes email through the local machine’s Notes session, but the user can’t attach files to those emails. So I’m struggling to find out how that happens.

I’ve found a lot of information about how to do it, but none of the scripts I located seemed to work for my situation. Or I simply couldn’t figure out how they worked, which was bothering me no end. I can’t support something if I don’t get it.

So I thought about moving this to ASP.NET, but there’s a lot involved in that. I could move just this one page, like I’ve done before, but so far I’m not finding anything I can use “out of the box” (and I really need that, at this point).

So after a week of dizzying highs because of great success with VBA, it’s a hard crash back to reality with ASP.NET/VB.NET. I’m just not there with my skills. I’m just…not quite. Again.

But the weekend is upon us and I’m going to relax and enjoy it. I’ve got to get back to my videos eventually, but really need to think about what I need to see and how to approach my learning to best give me the results I need.

What are you going to do this weekend? Any big plans?

If you’re a Kindle user and are just sitting around reading, all my books are either on sale or free. You can catch ‘em here if you’re interested. (I ‘m no responsible for the Ch’od Action Figure, though. Sorry, WIGSF.)

Have a great weekend, y’all!

-jdt-