Archive for October, 2006

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Adrenaline

October 29, 2006

[Editor’s note: This is David’s first-ever BLOG post. Yes, I will get even. For the record, David is 7 years old, just started second grade, and it was a wiffle-ball bat.]

A few weeks ago I beet up my dad with a basballbat and then I threw the basballbat at the flor and my dad started to run away then he went into the bathroom. then he started to run away from me agen

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Geekier than Thou—Stardate 2006.1028

October 29, 2006


And you thought your family was geeky? Left to right are Isaac, as Lieutenant Commander Data; Doug as Chief Engineer Wilcox, stationed on the USS Reliant; Naomi as her favorite Star Trek character, Princess Leia (yes, we know); Nichelle as Chief Medical Officer also aboard the Reliant, and David as Ensign Monroe, leader of the Elite Force on board the USS Voyager.

Yesterday we attended Phoebe Dunn’s thirteenth birthday party. Now, the Dunn family is slightly fond of Star Trek, and the only serious contenders in our immediate circle for being Geekier than the Wilcoxes. Phoebe wanted a Star Trek themed party, and her mom put it together wonderfully.


I look great in this uniform. Chief Engineer Wilcox, reporting.

Over half of the attendees were in costume. Nichelle whipped up great stuff for Naomi, who insisted on being her favorite Trek character, Princess Leia Organa. Phoebe and her brother Chas were Klingons (“old school” without the forehead ridges). Their mom Trish was an Andorian female. Their father Charlie, who took these wonderful photos, was the classic redshirt who dies on an away mission. Nichelle looked fabulous in a Starfleet medical uniform, complete with medical tricorder, that arrived literally an hour before we needed it, courtesy (like our uniforms) of eBay.


Trish Dunn as an Andorian female.

Trish Dunn made great Trek-themed snacks, or relabeled existing ones. We drank roctagina, and Klingon blood wine, and snacked on candied tribbles and targ-on-a-stick. Delicious!


David as Ensign Monroe, leader of the Elite Force serving on the USS Voyager. He appears to be eating some of that wonderful targ-on-a-stick.

Nichelle made David’s costume, based on the character Ensign Monroe in the Star Trek Voyager Elite Force video game. It came out great. David provided expert design advice, and was wearing the costume again this afternoon.


Isaac as Lieutenant Commander Data.

Isaac wore a uniform I used to be able to fit into in my academy days (we presume Data is now in a command position, as he’s wearing a burgundy uniform).


NaNi smiles as she hold up a tribble she “caught.”

One of the games for the younger kids was a tribble hunt. They had a ball finding these creatures.


NaNi hugs the birthday girl, Phoebe.

We also played a homemade Trek-ized version of Win, Lose, or Draw. Phoebe had made the topics, and they came in two flavors: “painfully easy” and “so-hard-a-Vulcan-would-be-stumped.”

I tried to stay in character and told stories from engineering, like about the time we convinced a cadet that we really did cook “hot dogs” in the dilithium matrix as a rite of passage on the Reliant, and got him to try it just as the Captain showed up for a “suprise” inspection. Then there was the transferee from the Enterprise we sealed in the Jeffries tube, and tweaked the environmental controls so they matched the conditions of a Borg cube. That was a bit ruthless, but he got though counseling just fine.


Doug and Nichelle as Lieutenants serving on the USS Reliant.

It was a great day. The Dunns hope to repeat this at least once a year.

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IE7 Doesn’t Like gzip Compression

October 25, 2006

Geek Version:

(See the Non-Geek Version below, as well as the Blonde Version.)

It seems that Internet Explorer 7 doesn’t like gzip compression being served up from at least some Web servers.

For a week or more, I’ve been aware that getting to our BLOG using IE7 was impossible. (Bob Richardson first pointed it out to me.) More specifically, one could get to the BLOG, but it would nearly immediately disappear with the “Internet Explorer could not display the webpage” being displayed instead.


The Wilcox Family BLOG, before today, as viewed by Internet Explorer 7.

I hunted off and on for the past week, using a computer at work we have at the office running the prerelease version of Windows Vista (which is amazing, for the record). I removed pieces of the BLOG, checked for logs that would tell me the problem, but was completely unsuccessful. I could take off every piece of the BLOG, and just display some text via PHP, and the problem would still occur; but, if I saved the HTML to a plain file and served that from my Web server, everything would work fine, which seemed ridiculous, as the HTML delivered was exactly the same.

While we were waiting for a server restart, I explained all this to my co-worker RaviShekhar, and he said, “Have you looked at the headers?” So I took a peek. The header from the BLOG that failed in IE 7 looked (retrieved via Firefox) like this:

Response Headers - http://blog.wilcoxfamily.net/

Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate, 
   post-check=0, pre-check=0
Connection: close
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 20:22:53 GMT
Pragma: no-cache
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Content-Encoding: gzip
Expires: Thu, 19 Nov 1981 08:52:00 GMT
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
X-Powered-By: PHP/4.3.11-dev, ASP.NET
X-Pingback: http://blog.wilcoxfamily.net/xmlrpc.php

200 OK

And the one from a nearly identical BLOG that worked fine looked like this:

Response Headers - http://robots.wilcoxfamily.net/

Connection: close
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 20:23:27 GMTm 
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET, PHP/4.3.11-dev
X-Pingback: http://robots.wilcoxfamily.net/xmlrpc.php

200 OK

One obvious difference is the gzip compression. What happens is this: Certain Web servers, to save bandwidth and improve speed, will compress the data that is sent out to the browser. The browser uncompresses the data when it receives it. This allows more information, especially blocks of text, to be sent more quickly.

But what if a browser can’t support the compression? Well, the browser is supposed to communicate with the Web server, and say what it will actually accept, and this is communicated in the request header. So, a browser should only be sent gzip-compressed information if it sends a code to the server that says it accepts gzip.

I don’t yet have the header information that IE7 is sending to the server, but I think it’s sending an “accepts gzip” when either it doesn’t accept it, or there’s something wrong with the uncompression algorithm.

At any rate, turning off the gzip compression on the BLOG lets me visit it using glorious IE 7 (which isn’t bad at all).

To be continued (when I have time to investigate the request headers) …

Non-Geek Version:

The latest version of Internet Explorer, just released by Microsoft, would not display the Wilcox Family BLOG for more than a fraction of a second.

After much investigation, and some helpful suggestions, I found the cause of the problem, and changed the BLOG settings to work around it.

Blonde Version:

It took our blonde site visitors a week to realize that “Internet Explorer could not display the webpage” wasn’t a new BLOG entry; so, no harm done.

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Naomi’s First Piercings: Preparing for and Celebrating Her 3rd birthday …

October 18, 2006


Naomi poses with some of her favorite pictures as a backdrop.

This past Friday was Naomi’s birthday. She has known for a while, and been talking about, two other things that would happen when she turned three:

  • One, she would get her ears pierced,
  • and second, her pacifers would go in the trash before she got her presents.

The big day came, and we headed to Wal-mart to get her ears pierced. A couple of days before I was having second thoughts about doing it, and then on Friday while I was filling out the form I was really having second thoughts; I nearly walked out. NaNi had to use the potty and that gave me an opportunity to settle down. She, of course, was fine.

We got back and I selected the earrings. I got to leave Naomi in the carriage for better positioning and also to keep her better constrained.

They do both ears at the same time. Both ladies approached her from the side and I stood in front of her. They did it. Naomi didn’t make a sound until they stepped away, and then she cried, but a muffled cry and held me close and kept saying, “it hurt.” She cried for a few minutes and was done.

The reason I was concerned was because I didn’t want any mistakes on putting the earrings too low, and also the pain factor. They did a great job, and her earrings look beautiful.


A rather “toothy” photo, but here’s our princess!

As for the pacifers, I recall before she got her presents that she had them in her hand. She actually gave one to her Dad, but what happened to the others we didn’t know.

At bedtime, she was fussy after having a jammed-packed day—during which she was totally sweet and adorable—but by bedtime she was beyond tired, and desperately wanted the pacifer, which we found. She did throw one away, but kept claiming, “I only have one.”

Basically, Doug and I caved and let her have the one that night; on Sunday I took the pacifer and tossed it. She did so much better the second night, and has been fine without it.


Naomi with MacKenzie Miller: These princesses aren’t afraid to get dirty.

Isaac and David were only two when I took theirs away, and it wasn’t an issue with either of them. But I couldn’t do it that early with Naomi. The other difference was when the boys were three months old, I said, they would then sleep in their own bedrooms. Naomi was five months old. Guess with her being my last baby, I needed to hold on a little longer.

Going along with the theme of her party, which started at “princess” and was expanded to a more general fantasy theme to accommodate the boys who would be attending, I made her a princess and castle cake, complete with a Barbie doll with a dress made of fondant. That was a lot of fun! (Doug said he liked an earlier version of the doll better.) I made the cakes on Friday night and decorated them early Saturday morning. Naomi got out her rolling pin and I gave her some fondant and powdered sugar to play with. She had a ball. (She had sugar up to her shoulders and through her hair.) I haven’t put that much detail into a cake in years, although I did cheat and used a mix.


All the time Nichelle spends watching cooking shows is paying off …

I was also able to make her a bed-in-a-bag to match her newly painted bedroom, deep pink and purple w/ the princess decor. Naomi helped me paint, too. She did a very neat job, I was surprised. I gave her my small roller, she wore her smock and had a ball. It’s been a busy month and a half working on the kids bedrooms (David’s is next to be done) and preparing for her birthday party, but what a blessing to be able to do it all! I do praise and thank God for all that has taken place. It does seem that I’ve been well for ages, but it’s only been since July. It’s been wonderful!!


Naomi with one of the many dress-up items she received as a gift. She loves playing dress-up.

Thank you to all who helped with various tasks. Couldn’t have pulled it off without your help. Hey, Phil and Cindy, I found my balloon pump while I was searching for my crafting supplies. 🙂 We had many friends and family join us to celebrate NaNi’s third year and what a blast it was. Everything went so well and the weather was beautiful. The kids got to “slay the dragon” and that was hilarious. The dragon (Doug) stole the loot for the piñata, and the kids needed to slay the dragon in order to capture the loot. What fun they had, and the dragon, too.


Some of the many warriors who attended Naomi’s party pose before venturing off to slay the dragon.


This dragon has been slain!

It was present time and Naomi’s expression upon opening each of her presents was lovely. She beamed with each one. She was a completely gracious hostess.


NaNi opening a CD gift—the soundtrack from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, one of her absolute favorite movies. She was so thrilled with every gift, and always remembered to say, “Thank you.”

Thank you to everyone for making her day so wonderful. We have loads of pictures, ones that we’ve taken and from others, too. Those should be up in a couple of days. So please check back. You’ll love them.

More pictures as promised.

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Sancocho, Canis Lupus, and More

October 9, 2006

Sancocho

We have been awaiting a truly delicious traditional Dominican meal—sancocho—for several months now. (Doug: One of us had resorted to pleading and begging.) On Friday we were invited over to the DaLaCruz’s home for such a rich and delicious meal and also a great time with Mahli and Miguel and their family and friends. The aroma from this meal really brought us back to our visits of the Dominican Republic. How we long to be back there! (Perhaps next year.)

Canis Lupus

Friday night we got the kids excited about a surprise trip we were going to take on Saturday morning. All they knew was that they were going to woken up early and then we’d be off. We managed to get out the door before 8:30 a.m. (and for us on a Saturday was extremely impressive).

I made breakfast sandwiches and got other snacks and we were out the door. The trip was wonderful. The scenery was spectacular. During the trip, we had the occasional inturrption of “noise” such as: “Are we there yet?” and “How much longer?” but, besides that, it was peaceful. We were headed for the Wolf and Wild Canine Sanctuary in White River Junction, Vermont. We really picked an ideal weekend to go. Such breathtaking views.


Mica is the most handsome wolf I’ve ever met.

Some of you may be wondering, “A wolf sanctuary? Why?” We had purchased a six-month wolf adoption, after learning about it from Beth Costine’s BLOG, for Isaac’s 11th birthday, and the adoption includes visitation privileges. This was our first trip up there. Isaac’s wolf is named Magic, but my favorite was Mara and then Mica. All of the wolves are beautiful. (Doug: They are all beautiful, but I think Mica was by far the best looking.)

When we arrived at our destination, Isaac recognized the name and beamed. David and Naomi were thrilled, too. I couldn’t wait to see them and the same with Doug. We were greeted by the owner, Peter Porter, and he gave us the tour.


Pete Porter certainly loves his wolves, and vice-versa.


David was the only one of us Magic would approach closely. That weasel!

The first wolf we met was Mica. He was simply lovely. We could, through the fence, pet them and have them give “wolf kisses.” We all had that opportunity to do that with each of the wolves. Although, Magic wouldn’t come very close to us, except for David. That lucky weasel!

The last wolf we met was Mara. She’s not 100% wolf, and appears to be part Siberian husky and part collie. She was very gentle, considering her size, but very playful.


This plywood, guaranteed for 50 years, lasted only about 3 weeks in the kennel with Magic.

To top off the entire trip, Peter had asked Isaac if he would like to go in the kennel along with him. Isaac turned him down. (Yeah, right!) Isaac headed in, and Mara was right there to great him. Doug had the camcorder running and took many pictures. We were told that Mara loves children and she really does. She was all over Isaac and he loved every minute of it. David got a turn in there, too.


Isaac gets “wolf kisses” from Mara.

Peter also gave us a tour of his “man room” I believe that’s the name his wife gave it. It holds his hunting trophies of many kinds (perhaps most impressive was a huge boar skull) along with other “toys.”


Looking down on the wolf pens and exercise area from the entrance to the “man room” above the garage.

What an experience we had! It was a treat for all of us and I/we do hope to return before the adoption expires, but I am certain we will renew it. David has also mentioned wanting one for his birthday.


Isaac with Pete Porter in the background. Naomi actually took this photo.

… and More!

After we left the Sanctuary, we headed to Queechee Gorge and had a great hike and some time to climb on the rocks.


Looking down into the Quechee Gorge.

Before we got to the base of the gorge, we stopped along the way so the kids to catch the falling leaves. Simple things, but very sweet and many great memories.


Naomi, Nichelle, and Isaac during our hike at the Quechee Gorge.

I also had the opportunity to watch my husband walk up a tree (30 footer) that had fallen down over the riverbed. I was, of course, concerned for him, but one of the things that went through my mind was what would happen to the camcorder and digital camera if he had fallen. Twisted, I know. (Doug: I thought about the cameras, too, but once I started, there was no way I was going back down; it took a lot of nerve for me to walk along the tree, and I’m actually surprised—although glad—that I did it.)

There I stood, on what had once been nearly the top of a large tree, now fallen, facing the deadly 30 or 40 feet upward slope of the fallen trunk. Gripping the dead branches tightly, I forced myself to breathe more slowly. After standing there several minutes, I took a baby step. Then I let go of the branches, and tried not to look down onto the jagged rocks below. After a few more minutes, I was able to take another baby step or two, and soon passed beyond the reach of supporting branches. Slowly, I took a couple of regular steps. Then I discovered if I crouched down very slightly, and stared at the tree trunk, I could actually move fairly rapidly without succumbing to rising panic. Moving increasingly rapidly, without daring to look back, I reached the roots at the base of the overturned tree. I was elated! I jumped down about 6 feet from the trunk, with a grin of accomplishment on my face … then grin turned to an expression of panic when I discovered that the brush underneath the tree had hidden a very steep slope, down which I was starting to tumble.

Ah, yes, the memory of seeing my husband jump down off the tree which was on an incline, which he hadn’t noticed. He jumped and then slid. He was fine, but I was glad he was finished with his “climbing” that day. All in all, it was a great weekend.

I should also add that today, Sunday, was my second time back in choir since December, 2005. This coming Sunday I actually get to sing in service. I have longed to be back in that portion of ministry for such a long time and the time has finally arrived. Special music, here I come. I’ve been healthy, nearly perfectly healthy since July. I’m thankful and grateful for all that I’m able to do. So, to all that have been in prayer for me and my family, many, many thanks to you, and please do continue to pray.

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Congressman Mark Foley: Pedophile

October 4, 2006

Congressman Mark Foley is unquestionably a homosexual pedophile.

I’ve just finished reading the transcript of one of Mark Foley’s instant messenger conversation with a former Congressional page. (There are a few more excerpts from a different conversation here on CNN.)

While such communication has been repeatedly labeled “inappropriate,” in the media, reading the transcript makes it clear that it was way beyond inappropriate, and clearly typical of a predatory pedophile. What hasn’t happened yet (as far as we know) is Foley being caught having an active sexual relationship with a minor, but that doesn’t change the definition of pedophile. He is guilty (assuming these transcripts are genuine) of using his instant message communications to sexually exploit/sexually harass teens for his own sexual gratification.

As detailed in the transcript linked above, Foley discusses with a minor various sexual acts, including masturbation and manual penile stimulation by another individual, talks about wanting to slip the minor’s shorts off him and “gram the one-eyed snake,” [sic; grab was mistyped as gram] then goes on to request that the minor remind him of the length the boy’s erect penis, which had been communicated to Foley before.

We should not tolerate this evil, nor be afraid to name it for what it is.