May 12, 2004
Six months since I last wrote – I am embarrassed! Started a few times and just didn’t finish. The pattern seems to be working six-day weeks, crashing on the seventh day and then using the extra time I work to go home for a week each month. I met Maureen and the kids in Buffalo for Thanksgiving, spent a week home for Christmas and have gone home for a week every 4 weeks or so. Tomorrow I fly up for Ginna’s Prom and Laura’s recital. June is Ginna’s graduation. They have been pretty good about letting me take a week off at a time at the Reserve Center. The flights have been pretty reliable although once I had to wait till the following morning as the plane from Baton Rouge had been hit by lightning and they wouldn’t take it back up. Another time I was late getting into Atlanta because of bad weather and had to wait 5 hours for the next plane to Allentown. Oh yeah – I have been on third shift (midnight to 8 AM) since the beginning of January. It is a little different – traffic is no problem, not many meetings to attend (I tried to call a couple of 3 AM meetings but nobody came!) and it is nice to have uninterrupted time to work on various projects. On the negative side it is hard to sleep during the day and the time to interface with others in the group is minimal.
My exercising and eating have gone really well. I have lost 52 pounds in the year or so I have been here and am very excited about that. Thanks to Cheryllyn with helping me to watch what I eat, the weight and exercise equipment at work and the people who help me not to kill myself on that equipment I have been able to loose the weight. I still have a ways to go but I have a very positive attitude. As we get our feet back on the ground financially I am also taking better care of myself getting a new pair of glasses after about 5 years and getting some dental work done that was long overdue.
I do try to get out once a week or so. Wednesday nights is a Bike Night at LA Daiquiri’s – a local bar. They have a band there every Wednesday – either Psycho Joe (60’s, 70’s music) or Boss Tweed (a little more modern – Journey, Fleetwood Mac, Cheryl Crow type stuff). They are both real good. Also, the number and variety of motorcycles seems to get better each week. Been to a few other places to listen to Blues, Folk, Reggae and other types of music.
For Mardi Gras week, I spent Thursday in New Orleans in the French Quarter going to the aquarium (we have a 1 year family pass), went to a nice Blues bar on Bourbon Street and saw one of the big parades. The parade was pretty neat with costumed people on huge floats throwing beads and trinkets to the crowds. On Saturday, I rode just a mile or two from work to the Spanish Town Parade ( http://www.spanishtownparade.com/2004Parade.htm ) in downtown Baton Rouge. They had 75 floats with people in various costumes throwing beads and things. From the looks of it, no sober people are allowed on the floats! Sobriety in the crowd is not too common either. On Fat Tuesday, the last and biggest day of Mardi Gras, I went to an old fashion, traditional Cajun Mardi Gras in Mamou, LA (http://www.lsue.edu/acadgate/mammardi.htm). A group of horseback riders dressed in masks and costumes go to various houses around the countryside asking for food and chickens. After 6 or 7 hours they return to town with the goods to make a nice big pot of gumbo for everyone. The capitaine and co-capitaines, wearing their colorful capes, are the only riders who are not masked – and also the only ones not drinking. The parade back into town is pretty exciting with riders attempting to ride their horses standing up on the saddles and, again, throwing beads to the crowd. Dancing in the streets to live bands and eating and drinking filled out the day. After the two-hour drive back home, I slept for 3-4 hours and then got to go to work at midnight.
Been to a few crawfish boils – 2 at the house and one in Lafayette this past weekend. Learned a new card game called Bouré (pronounced Boo-Ray), which reminds me of pinochle played for money (Rules: http://thenexusproject.org/non-canon/projects/phil/rules/card/boure.html). We played for pennies but, fortunately, we gave all the money back. I would have been out seven cents.
We have a new nephew and cousin now. Bob and Cindy have a new son – David Matthew Bunting. We got to see him in Buffalo at Easter. Actually, Maureen and the kids got to go to NJ and see him a week or so before that. He is really cute!
A sad note, just before Easter my brother, John, passed away. He had just turned 47 and apparently passed away in his sleep. We will all miss him.
Techie Stuff. Picked up an MP3 player that helps me with my exercising. Playing music seems to make the time go by a little better. It is kind of neat – holds maybe 100 minutes of music, has an FM radio, data file storage (up to 128 Meg) and a voice recorder. Been converting some of my CD’s to MP3’s and pulling some of the old songs, folk music and Irish music off the Internet. Been getting more and more into Quicken, which is a money management program on the PC. Now when we get money I’ll be ready! Also been playing with Windows XP, Linux, Perl and TSW Web Coder 4 (http://www.tsware.net/). Been doing a lot of Perl at work connecting to various databases, creating Excel workbooks on the UNIX boxes and email directly from Perl. Finding and installing the packages to do all these things and more is pretty straightforward.
Till next time,