This ’n That

Just a few quick bullet items:

  • President Bush had some great lines in his speech last night. Here are my two favorites:
  • “The other party’s nomination battle is still playing out. The candidates are an interesting group with diverse opinions. They’re for tax cuts and against them. They’re for NAFTA and against NAFTA. They’re for the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act. They’re in favor of liberating Iraq, and opposed to it. And that’s just one senator from Massachusetts.”
  • “They now agree that the world is better off with Saddam out of power. They just didn't support removing Saddam from power. Maybe they were hoping he would lose the next Iraqi election.”
  • Last night I took Isaac and David sledding at Roby Park in Nashua. David has become quite the daredevil, which was surprising, because the last time we went sledding, he pretty much didn’t like the big slopes at all. (In fact, he used to beg to go to a nearby school for sledding that was about as thrilling as watching golf.) The slope at the park was mostly ice, so we got some great speed, and proved without a doubt that the best way to sled is to use David or Isaac’s smaller sled in front of mine, allowing me to hold onto the back of theirs and providing excellent steering.
  • Earth to the Palestinians: Want to get anything you want? Stop blowing up innocent people. One isn’t exactly going to garner sympathy by creating busload after busload of noncombatants killed by suicide bombers.
  • My team leader, Brian Cortez, gave us a milk crate full of model rockets and accessories. We will be repairing some of his old models (an X-16 looks particularly cool), and hope to have him present for its re-launch after so many years.
  • At work, I’ve been learning and working with the Jakarta Struts framework, which has been both challenging and fun. The only gripe is the number of “silent failures” that occur (a code-500 server-side error with absolutely nothing in a log file is not exactly easy to diagnose and debug).
  • The new commute is awesome. It takes me only about 45 minutes to take the kids to school and then get to the office in the morning, and I can get home in as little as 20 minutes. Even with slightly longer work hours due to the new project, family time has improved dramatically.
  • The new house, with the entire first-floor in an open layout, is also very good for family interaction and activities. I also have to thank Nichelle for her graciousness in allowing the Lego collection to stay out for days at a time.
  • Speaking of Lego, the new family room has enough room to spread out and build, and we are developing the habit of spending Saturday mornings building with Lego. It’s been great, although I’m still missing one box of miscellaneous Lego that got shuffled in the move.
  • Speaking of Lego, I have to commend them on their customer service. I e-mailed them a suggestion on improving the Lunar Lander set, by using gold visors for the astronauts (instead of the clear ones provided), and they sent me six of the gold visors for free.
  • Moving out of state costs money! (God has provided all that we need, but we have spent quite a bit on car registrations, new licenses, new insurance, new cell phone services, etc.) It seems one has to spend money to save money. (Our car insurance will drop about $125 to $150 per month. Our new cell phone plan will save us up to $100 per month. Gasoline savings will amount to about $100 per month. School tuition is cheaper. Now, if I could just get out of donating 5% of my income to the State of Massachusetts … but the law on that isn’t likely to change!
  • The Route 3 widening is a few months behind the schedule that had been listed on their FAQ until a few weeks ago. They are now promising a “substantial completion” by May of 2004, instead of February. Still, that is not very far off.
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