Tuesday, March 31, 2009


There's been a lot going on for me at work lately. That's primarily the reason why I haven't posted much to this blog lately. I purposefully don't write about work here since it's a personal blog, and well, frankly I don't want to get dooced. Let's just sufice it to say that sometimes being part of management is infinitely harder than being part of the rank & file. Tough communications this week, tough discussions, tough changes going on. Tough to hold the team together through all of it, keep the focus and keep motivated. I can't wait for this week to be over.

And because all this was going on, it makes perfect sense that this would also be the week that Sophie got a stomach virus and puked all over my arm. And bed. And slippers. And bathmat and hallway rug. At midnight. And then again at 2 a.m. And 3:00. And again at 4:00. On the day that I needed to get up at 5:00 a.m. for meetings. Laura took over the 9 a.m. through 11 a.m. puke o'rama shifts.

And it's also the week that swim team practice starts. Of course.

Did I mention that I can't wait for this week to be over? Oh, and it's only Tuesday.

The good news is that although Soph is still sick, she's now keeping food down, so getting somewhat better. And at least Laura, Zoe and I haven't gotten it. Yet anyway. It is only Tuesday though.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Yesterday Sophie was dressed in green from head to toe. This is of course entirely appropriate for a grade schooler on St. Patrick's day - you know, there's pinching and all if you don't.

I don't know why, but I nibbled on her finger.

Me: Hmmm. You don't taste like a leprechaun. You're not minty at all.

Sophie: Noooo. Leprechauns don't taste minty.

Me: They don't? What do they taste like?

Sophie: Chicken.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Well, I went and did it. I bought a drobo - backup/storage robot to back up all of our photos and other files. I'm quite happy I did - I feel much more secure having redundant backups, especially of our photos. In addition to the drobo, I also bought a portable external hard drive to be used as an offsite archive. I intend to back up to that once per month and then store it offsite in a safe deposit box.

First lesson of the drobo - high speed USB 2.0 definitely makes a difference over regular USB. To be frank, I wasn't really aware that my iMac had both a high speed USB port, and a "regular" USB port. So, first question is why did they even put in USB 1.0 ports if 2.0 were available? The new iMacs have 4 USB 2.0 ports + 2 more on the keyboard, and 1 firewire400 and 1 firewire800 port. Serious envy.

Once I got all the geek-gear from Amazon, I made my first back up to the stand alone hard drive, and by luck, plugged that drive into the high speed USB port. The back up of 190GB of data took a couple of hours (4 maybe?). Then I set up the drobo, and started the same back up process to it. But I'd plugged the drobo into a regular USB port. I turned it on around 8:00 p.m., and by 8:00 the next morning it had only backed up 30GB onto the drobo! Clearly something was not as I'd expected. After checking all the manuals to ensure it would be OK, I paused the backup, put the drobo in standby mode, updated the drobo firmware, and then plugged it into the high speed USB port. And in 1 hour it's backed up twice as much as it completed in 12 hours on the "regular" USB port. So for future reference - high speed USB absolutely makes a difference over regular USB!

Next stop, Radio shack to see if I can get a proper cable to connect the drobo firewire800 port to the firewire400 port on my iMac. This is entirely feasible, I just need the right cable. Once I have that, then future backups should be even faster. The drobo came with a cable to connect from firewire800 to firewire800, and firewire800 didn't even exist when I bought my iMac, so it definitely doesn't have a port for it. Have I bored you to tears yet? Who's still reading? Raise your hand.

Anyway, I'll get some pictures of all this soon (cause one of you is still reading and cares....). Fun with technology.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Swim Team - is it summer yet?

I signed the girls up for their Swim Team on Saturday - the Chabot Marlins! Looking forward to this, it's their first season. At least I think I'm looking forward to it! Laura's not thrilled about practice every single day; at least it's only 45 minutes for the kids in their age group. The girls are excited about being on a team with all their friends - it seems like half of their class from Kindergarten last year is on this team.

In addition to being on the team we joined the swim club too - which includes tennis courts and of course a nice pool. We're looking forward to spending a lot of time there this summer.

I think I'd better head off to Costco for industrial-sized tubes of sunblock!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The fight begins again...

I helped elect the first black President and all I got was this lousy marriage ban
Tomorrow the California Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments to repeal Proposition 8.  You'll remember my complete saga following this story. 

Tonight, thousands of opponents of Prop 8 are gathering around California for a candlelight vigil.

Here we go again. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Album Covers

Ok there's this new meme going around. I've seen it a couple of places now. Usually I skip these, but I like the idea of this one.

The idea is to make your fictional band's new fictional album cover, following these easy steps:
  1. Go to “Wikipedia.” Hit “random” and the first article you get is the name of your band.
  2. Then go to “Random Quotations” and the last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
  3. Then, go to Flickr and click on “Explore the Last Seven Days” and the third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
  4. Use Photoshop or some other image editor to add text & make it spiffy.
  5. Post a link to your band's album cover here in the comments!

    Somehow I don't think this is really going to be my album cover:

Monday, March 2, 2009


Tax time again.  Every year I get a knot in my stomach doing my taxes. 

It's not because I owe money.  I usually work out my W-4 each year so I get a refund, so tax time doesn't result in dread of having to actually right a check, thank god.  And it's not so much the paperwork, although it is a hassle to check, double check, and triple check everything, Turbo Tax allows me to wiz through it all fairly quickly.  

No, what kills me about doing the taxes is in inequity of it for gay & lesbian couples.  Fortunately for us, California actually treats our Registered Domestic Partnership as a marriage, and allows us to pay taxes as if we were a legally married couple.  This is great, because it equals a larger refund, and is a huge benefit over living in a state that does not do this.  However, in order to file this way in turbo tax, here's what I have to do:
  1. Prepare and file Fed taxes as Single / Head of Household. Note refund amount, let's say it's $100
  2. Save Fed taxes as a new file, and change settings to Married Filing Jointly.  
  3. Note new Federal Refund amount - if step 1 was $100, now it's $235!  
  4. Skip ahead to State Taxes, prepare & File State Taxes, all the while looking at that box labeled "Federal Refund = $235"
You see I don't get this larger refund amount.  Oh no.  I just get to look at at.  I would get the larger refund if the Federal Government considered us married.  But they don't.  And so each year I pay a LOT more in taxes as a result. And let me tell you it's significantly more than my example amount of $135!

So I have to look at the larger amount the entire time I prepare my state taxes, grumbling the whole time about the injustice of it.  There it is - Turbo Tax rubbing it in my face.  And when I get to the end, Turbo Tax kindly offers to file this Federal return for me. "Would you like to have your non-existent almost 2.5 times larger refund direct deposited into your checking account in 8 days?" It mockingly asks me.  Um, YEAH I WOULD. REALLY.

I am pleased that at least California's got it right, even if our marriages aren't legal, at least Registered Domestic Partners get some of the tax benefits of marriage.  Nothing like being "kinda equal."

Hrmpf.   I'm going back to my grumbling.