Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Special Presentation

posted by John Blanco @ 8:30 AM


I put together this Flash movie of Michele's pregnancy. We took a picture every week starting on the week we found out she was pregnant. (We did miss a couple weeks due to vacation.)

The movie itself will also grow over time as the last few weeks of pregnancy wind down, plus some pics of Cedric will make it in as time goes on. :-)


Monday, February 26, 2007

Batteries: Recharged

posted by John Blanco @ 6:58 AM


Well, somehow I was able to parlay my crappy ass week last week into a setup for a good one this time. Fun on the weekend combined with getting a lot of stuff done helped -- even if we couldn't do everything we wanted to. :-)

On Saturday, we took our real final baby class at St. Joe's. This was the Baby Business seminar where you get a head start on the paper work. We started the birth certificate application and some other forms. It was largely boring.

Afterwards, we went downtown to meet our buddy Damon for lunch at The Market. It was like old times. Damon sipping on some coffee (the barista recognized him 10 years later!), me drinking a Snapple. And now, the new addition, pregnant Michele to join in on good times. :-)

After lunch and some walking around, we had a couple hours free. We called up Mobat to see what he was up to and he met us at his house for some XBox 360 fun. :-) He showed us all the big games. Gears of War was the most impressive, but Dead Rising seemed like some good mindless fun. :-) After some chit-chat, we left for event #4, dinner.

We took Amanda and Jackie out for dinner as a thank you for hosting our baby shower. Joed also came along which was great, because he was due to head to Chicago (he's a pilot), but luckily Chicago was iced over. ;-)

So Michele and I, Jackie, Amanda, Joed and baby Isabel went to Old Chicago for Italian Nachos and all things delicious. Afterwards, we rented Cars and it was a funny little movie. KACHOW! ;-)

Yesterday, Sunday, we were supposed to do Adventure Club, but Michele was pretty sore and hurting and so we stayed in and got some good housework done:

  • Cleaned out the storage area and re-org'ed for space.
  • Cleaned out the garage and made more room.
  • Finished putting together Cedric's play area.
  • Finished Cedric's bedroom.
  • Vacuumed
  • Packed the suitcase! (OK, duffel bag.)

Don't worry, Michele didn't do any heavy lifting -- she got the lighter stuff. :-)

And now, back to work on a Monday. Blah!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Hello, Yoshi!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:06 PM


Our new car, Yoshi. :-) We named him Yoshi cause we had to wait over 3 weeks for it to arrive from Japan -- and we're both Nintendo fanboys and fangirls. ;-)

Look how he dwarfs Chester!

Hillary 08! OK, OK, Obama 08! ;-)

Hey, you, don't park so close!

Thank god that's over...

posted by John Blanco @ 4:05 PM


One hell of an all-around crappy week. Glad it's over. :-(

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Please Welcome Our New Family Member!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:59 PM


No no, Cedric is not here yet. Welcome Yoshi, our new Honda CR-V. :-) We just got home with him. No pics yet as it's too dark, but we'll post some tomorrow.

Monday, February 19, 2007

That's Not For You, Cimbi!

posted by John Blanco @ 6:44 PM


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Eclipse Hits The Mat...NetBeans New Champ!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:13 AM


Recently, I have undertaken some changes in my development environment. This all started when it occurred to me that I was going nowhere fast trying to do PHP coding with Eclipse's PHPEclipse plugin.

I decided to find a dedicated IDE, and came across Rapid PHP. I was so enamored by the editor that I decided I'd had just about enough of the bulky Eclipse environment and I sought out to replace the entire suite with dedicated programs.

The results have been glorious.

Rapid PHP offers excellent autocomplete features, a nice Explorer view without all of Eclipse's fat, and all at a resonably low price of about $30 to buy. Which I will.

Rapid SVN, a free tool, replaces the Subversion capabilities of Eclipse -- which I did love. The advantage is that Rapid SVN is standalone and fast to load. I can also distribute it to other members on my team who are using Subversion as their SCM tool of choice.

And finally...NetBeans was selected to replace Eclipse itself for my Java and Java ME projects. This made me the most nervous because it can be quite a dance dealing with Java dependencies, etc. I was afraid I'd have to go through mountains of tutorials to regain my level of proficiency I had with Eclipse.

Dead wrong.

Through the entire process of transitioning my projects over, NEVER ONCE did I ever have trouble figuring out what to do...and I didn't look at a single tutorial. The boys at Sun have done an extremely amazing job of writing an IDE devoid of anything overly cryptic. It just worked...and perfectly! On top of that, the tool is slick and clean.

Given a week of let's-make-sure-I-didn't-miss-anything, Eclipse will actually be uninstalled from my box. I only wish we could use it at work. :-)

My advice to Java developers out there: Give NetBeans a try! You won't need any training, it's that easy. You will love it!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

You Gotta Be Shittin' Me?!

posted by John Blanco @ 11:21 AM


OK, if anyone wants a restraining order against us, I can understand. We have had a complete week of bad luck, and it just capped off (God I hope it capped off!) 10 minutes ago.

The trouble all started Valentine's Day. Go figure. Michele was going to pick me up from work so we could head to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. She calls me about 20 minutes before I expect her to arrive to say that my car, which she was driving, had died in the turning lane onto the highway. It wouldn't restart. Her parents were not around and there was no one to help...especially as I was stranded at work.

Long story short, she was able to get the car running again after 15 minutes and get back home to get her car. The car we're days away from trading in for the new CR-V. After picking me up and enjoying dinner, on the way home the next unlucky happenstance occurred. The windshield cracked.

Minutes after that. Crack again. She now has a fancy new line running along the bottom of the windshield. After making a call to Honda, we determined the crack would cost her car $75 of trade-in value. Dandy.

The next day, I brought my car in to get serviced. They fixed it and charged us a little under $400. Dandy. To top that off, when I got in my car to leave, the engine light was on again and my car was driving at 1/4 the speed. I brought it back in and it turned out they forgot to reattach something. So far, the car is back to normal.

Today, Michele and I brought the cats in to the vet. We now have to take the auto-feeder away and feed them twice daily. Suck. Then the kicker...

We get home and have lunch. We were going to help Michele's brother, Andy, move today. While eating lunch, we heard a retched noise coming from the garage. We both stared at each other. When the wailing ended, I snuck in there to see what happened.

We saw nothing.


So finished lunch, after checking the rest of the house, and then called Andy and got ready to go. We packed up the car and then realized that the garage door wouldn't open. It would stop after raising a foot and then go back again. Michele noted that a giant spring above the door seemed like it had separated. Damn.

We released the manual switch and I tried to lift the garage. Here's a word of advice: If the spring above your garage door snaps in half, don't try to lift it yourself! The thing weighs a ton and long-story-short our cars are trapped inside for the next day.

The only luck we have had is that the guy can fix our garage for pretty cheap, and he'll come tomorrow.


I'm afraid to see what else this week has in store. :-(

Monday, February 12, 2007

Whistlin' Dixie!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:17 AM


Let's celebrate the Dixie Chicks victory with one of my favorites, White Trash Wedding:

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Chicks Did It!

posted by John Blanco @ 9:07 PM


Happy happy happy! Take THAT rednecks!

The Dixie Chicks just swept the Grammys. :-) They took Song of the Year, Record of the Year and the prestigious ALBUM OF THE YEAR...and won all 5 categories they were nominated for!


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Make Me PHP

posted by John Blanco @ 8:10 PM


So, I'm questing to be a legitimate PHP developer these days. Don't ask why, I can't answer here, but suffice to say this is my best time to get a new environment ingrained in my brain in quite some time.

Sorry, Ruby.

So far, I'm having a lot of fun. So many good opportunities to improve: podcasts, a new book, projects, symfony.

I hope to hit it out of the park this time.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!

posted by John Blanco @ 8:36 AM


At 9:21 AM, we became officially credit card debt free! Time for a new beginning! :-) Once again, the Democrats prove their fiscal responsibility. ;-)


And now, the negotiation between 3 zero-balance cards and who wants to be our primary card. Let the APR competition begin!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Travelin' Soldier by The Dixie Chicks

posted by John Blanco @ 11:35 AM


Two days past eighteen
He was waiting for the bus in his army green
Sat down in a booth in a cafe there
Gave his order to a girl with a bow in her hair
Hes a little shy so she gives him a smile
And he said would you mind sittin' down for a while
And talking to me,
I'm feeling a little low
She said I'm off in an hour and I know where we can go

So they went down and they sat on the pier
He said I bet you got a boyfriend but I don't care
I got no one to send a letter to
Would you mind if I sent one back here to you

Chorus: I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Over love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone when the letter said
A soldiers coming home

So the letters came from an army camp
In California then Vietnam
And he told her of his heart
It might be love and all of the things he was so scared of
He said when its getting kinda rough over here
I think of that day sittin' down at the pier
And I close my eyes and see your pretty smile
Don't worry but I wont be able to write for awhile


One Friday night at a football game
The lords prayer said and the anthem sang
A man said folks would you bow your heads
For a list of local Vietnam dead
Crying all alone under the stands
Was a piccolo player in the marching band
And one name read and nobody really cared
But a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair

[military drum]

Friday, February 02, 2007

43 Days To Go?!

posted by John Blanco @ 11:37 AM


43 days til Michele is due??? I need more time! OK, OK, I don't really...we've actually done quite well to this point and are ready to go. Check out our progress over the last 8 months of pregnancy:

  • In 4 days we will be making the final payment on our huge credit card debt. We will be debt free!!! (Well, the bad kinda credit anyway.)
  • The baby room is completely done.
  • The baby has a complete wardrobe.
  • We have purchased the baby-mobile: a 2007 Honda CR-V. :-)
  • We have figured out how to replace the income from Michele's job.
  • We are finishing up our baby classes within the next 2 weeks.
  • I have read two daddy books. ;-) (Getting a sign language book tonight, too.)

The only major chore left is baby-proofing, but we're OK for a few months. We also need to address our insulation. We need one and maybe two new doors, plus a fireplace cover.

6 more weeks...(perhaps!)