Ken's Brain Drain
Friday, March 30, 2001
 
Leaving for Roch-acha this PM. Father-In-Law's 80th Bday. Looking forward to the trip, little getaway, diff surroundings, diff crowd of people to talk to. Looks like nasty weather for the trip, though. Only downside of the weekend trip is missing Lady Husky games.

Bringing Titanium along. Ooooh she's hot.
 
Thursday, March 29, 2001
 
Whew! Baseball Draft was a success. Good time had by all. Sweated it out a little as there was a potential of 3 no shows... but everyone came out to play. Glad that Spence made it... man, he has not looked well lately -- too many burdens to carry (he needs this diversion)... Also glad Gordon was there. He is a good friend. Stuck around with Gordon after everyone else left for another round. I know this Fantasy Baseball thing is a useless unproductive hobby, but its a good time, a nice diversion... so tough shit!
 
Wednesday, March 28, 2001
 
MJBL Draft tonite! I'm pyched, and a little on-edge. I'm in charge, set everything up, reserved the room, printed out the worksheets and other stuff... now, if everyone shows up, we're golden. Got a bunch of newbies commin on board, maybe a couple not so reliable. If we pull it off, a great nite of beer and baseball with the boys!
 
Tuesday, March 27, 2001
 
Barb and Rog posted pics and story of their trip to Australia and NZ. Whew!! Breathtaking stuff. That's what I want to do when I retire and have 3 weeks or more to travel. Don't think that will happen soon though.

Tomorow is Fantasy Baseball Draft. I run the league, and need to organize everything. It's a bit of work, but alot of fun, and helps bring the group of guys (mostly from work) together.

work...accountants...concerned

 
Monday, March 26, 2001
 
It's Monday morning, but I'm feelin' good. Great weekend with freinds and family... copped Mets tickets, watched UCONN womens bball. Supposed to get snow today (1-3 inches).

Visit with folks went well. They both looked well considering age setting in and clouding their thinking. Mostly concerned about Mom, but you can see it in Dad as well. Just a part of getting on in years. Happens to us all. Its a good feeling to be close to them and spend time in-person... give 'em a hug when they leave.

Today might be crazy at work. Val is out sick, Roger may need to leave early and I have someone coming in from out of town to look at our network and give us a proposal on expanding our network and file server capacities.

 
Sunday, March 25, 2001
 
Yowee! Got my Mets tickets. Will be going to three games this year. Mets v Braves (real soon), Yankees, Pirates. Thank's Gordon! It was a great idea... and a nice evening last night.

Today's blog is from a computer that David built in the basement. We now have a WinTel box infecting our network. Hopefully he will be using it to run Linux, Be, or some other OS.

Other happenings... Lady Huskies win another round, watched Notre Dame game (they'll be tough); Mom & Dad coming over for lunch today.
 
Saturday, March 24, 2001
 
Apple - Mac OS X was released today. I am pretty impressed with the reaction. Advanced sales were huge and new apps are being developed in large numbers. Apples stock got a big bump yesterday. I was reading the press releases by even the "non-Apple" press, and everyone of them praised the OS and what it means to Apple. You MUST read this article from Red Herring.

I was even talking to a Unix geek that worked for an ISP that we use at work. He was psyched about X because of its Unix command line shell and Unix underpinnings. Can you imagine if all those Unix dudes latch on to Macs?

I wasn't planning on buying it... but now I am curious as hell about it. Maybe...just maybe I'll pick it up from Small Dog. Maybe its a good time to buy some Apple stock too.
 
Friday, March 23, 2001
 
OMG, three posts in one day... Another Friday night and I'm home alone. Wife out w/friends, kids doing their own thing, and I'm left home on the 'puter again. I must get a life! Actually don't mind it a bit. Wrote up the Ground Rules for my Fantasy Baseball league of which I am the Commish, and posted it on the league page. Now will pour meself a drink, put on some tunes, read my book, and maybe watch a little March Madness.
 
 
Gee. Just can't get goin. Started the day feeling really "up". Got to work, things slowed down, don't see much picking up around here (work). It looks like we will get busy, but the floodgates just never seem to open. Right now... just don't have any energy to get things done. There are some things I could be doing... but I just can't get things off the ground. Too late on a Friday to start a major project... so I'll just ride it out till the end of the day, doing things that are needed as they hit me... maybe leave a little early. Next week start again with a little more gusto.
 
 
Great night, last evening was... Had a fantastic dinner at Max Amore's courtesy of Mom and Dad (Thanks!), Spoke with folks afterward, their spirits were high. Good news with Laura's health. Seems like all the biorythms are kickin' in. And of course, its Friday, so we have the weekend to look forward to. We'll be watching Womens Husky Basketball, and Saturday our friends and I will be splitting up an 8-pack of season Mets tickets! And, I was called a couple nights ago and asked to coach our girls softball team. Things are looking up!

Wish things at work were more on the up side. Though I did have a good day yesterday tinkering with our network, and setting up a second wireless Airport base station on our Network. Apple technology is so cool. It still amazes me.
 
Thursday, March 22, 2001
 
Today is our 26th wedding aniversary. Claire was my teenage sweetheart. She has been my very best friend... really my only true friend. I am not one that requires much social or human interaction, but when the need is there, she fulfills it on every level... friend, companion, lover, shoulder to lean on, etc. I can't imagine ever not loving her.
 
Wednesday, March 21, 2001
 
Decided what action to take to address Son's grades, and discussed with Dave this morning. 1- He will cut back hours at work to only 1 evening during the week, and 1 weekend day. 2- No computer for 2 hours per night (I remove keyboard and mouse). 3. I want to see the work he has done each night. Its pretty lenient, but addresses the problem. The poor kid is under a lot of pressure. Working 4 days a week and having Yearbook, School newspaper, and homework duties is too much. When he is doing homework, he has AIM going in the background, is ripping CD's, and blasting his stereo... too many distractions.

Cutting back to 1 day of work, and removing those distractions should give him lots more time, and releve some of those pressures. He will still have some hours to make some $$, and will have his computer back after his homework is done for some "play" time.

Now... MY problem is I never follow through on these things. Its up to me to "keep with the program".
 
Tuesday, March 20, 2001
 
Finally received the Titanium Powerbook for work that was back ordered for a month. Ooooh is it sweet. 1 inch thick, light as a feather and a gorgeous huge wide screen for DVD movies. I had seen pictures in mags, but it has to be seen to be appreciated.

Got home from work to see a letter from RHS. Sons midterm grades have been tankin' big time. Really pissed. What do I do, make him quit work, scale back hours, take away computer... he has too many distractions, no organizational skills, no priority settings Nearly every teacher commented on him not doing his assigned work. I can clamp down on him, but he has to take some responsibility on his own, or things will never change. He is so fucking smart, his PSAT's were really up there, but he refuses to put in the effort in school. Frustrating. You just know that at some point in his life, he will realize what he must do... just hope he doesn't waste too much of his time getting there.
 
Monday, March 19, 2001
 
Another back to work monday... blah... Well the work day is over and now I am chillin at the 'puter, and relaxin with a drink and a good book. Started a new Sci-Fi thriller by AC Clarke called The Trigger. The premise seems pretty neat. Its about the development of technology that renders guns and other weapons harmless. I guess it will be a social-political thriller about how this Anti-weapon will be used or abused, and the fight to control it.

Claire has been reading three consecutive books on Viet Nam and Cambodia, and the violence and genocide that was going on there during the war and the Kamir Rouge (sp?) regime. It affected her deeply, and said she had a good cry today from reading it. She says the stories of these peoples struggle to survive is incredible. These were middle class educated people who were forced into an incredibly harsh and tragic existence.
 
Sunday, March 18, 2001
 
Yee-ha! After hours of work, finally finished the dreaded taxes. Thats, Federal, State, and Two Kids taxes. Besides fulfilling of ones duties under the law, tax time is also a fiscal look back at the past year. Based on that... the year sucked.

However, after completing our state and fed return... it looked like a fat refund was headed our way... but not so fast, its not over till its over, and after completing son and daughters return, we can kiss half that refund goodbye... Oh well! we will still get a tidy sum back which will go for something really cool... like repaving the driveway. ;-)
 
 
Last night-- Claire went to Women's NCAA at UCONN. Huskies win by 70 points. Went out to dinner with David, nice meal, nice company (not often get to spend the evening with my Son, alone). Worked on taxes, looks like nice refund due to a big loss on a stock I sold.

AM -- woke up early to drive David to work, lox & bagels and Sunday paper!

Read an article on Daryl Strawberry. What a story, the guy has reached the highest of highs only to plunge to the lowly of lows. Damn. The guy reached Major League status at 19 yrs, dubbed the next Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron, proved he had the stuff to do it. Ruined his career with crack cocain addiction, developed colon cancer, lost his kidney, cancer spread to lymph nodes, continues to use drugs, now is under house arrest with ankle monitor ... basically, now has lost the will to live. Doesn't much care about getting cured or kicking his addiction. That's alot to happen to one guy during a short life span. Sad, sad story.
 
Saturday, March 17, 2001
 
Went to an Indian restaraunt in Manchaster CT last night. Wonderful Chicken Kurda (mild curry). Didn't think my stomach could take my usual HOT HOT Vindaloo. Anyway, the Indian cuisine hit the spot. Mmmmm.

This weekend's project... the dreaded Federal Income Tax.
 
Friday, March 16, 2001
 
I have always admired Mike Barnicle's gut wrenching, down to earth editorials. Here is a recent one thats excellent...

Teens Are Casualties Of War on the Home

Of course, as soon as something like this happens, they all shriek like hyenas, their words ending up in newspapers and on TV and meaning absolutely nothing.

I'm talking about the politicians who lunge for the microphones seemingly before someone like 15-year-old Charles Andy Williams has even finished shooting up a California high school, killing two, wounding 13.

The response is pathetically predictable. Democrats howl for more gun laws. Republicans urge that existing laws be enforced. Isolated academes, narrow-minded conservatives and know-it-all liberals are worse because their beliefs are soaked in arrogance. They continue to blame TV, movies, Eminem's songs, rampant permissiveness or the climate of violence choking our society.

I have always arrived at the intersection of these debates unarmed with statistics. I have only my eyesight, along with my observations from years of taking notes while talking to victims or simply staring at the bodies of dead young people, a tag on their toe, as they lay in a city morgue, any future just as dead as their sad past.

It is not simply the gun. It is not only the music, cheap videos, Saturday morning cartoons, playground bullies, commercialism, the absence of money or the lack of hope.

All this surely factors into the equation, but the big-ticket item the common clue in almost every mad act committed by these kids is what does, or does not, happen in the home.

The apology being made for young Williams is that he is slight of build, lonely and targeted by bullies. When do you suppose kids began bullying one another? A year before, or after, Christ was born?

Naturally, whenever it's one of these suburban kids white and thin and innocent-appearing many gasp in shock. This is not some black kid from the Bronx with a gun. That we can understand. But San Diego, Hanover, N.H., Williamsport, Pa.? My God, what's happening?

Here's what's happening: An absence of attention paid by parents toward their children. A lack of accountability that includes everything from homework to where and who they hang with Saturday afternoon. A country where peer pressure has disappeared, where the people upstairs and next door are strangers, mobility that breeds indifference and laws that make it possible for kids to acquire a handgun but make it impossible to say a prayer in school.

Only two died at Santana High. But because they were white and lived in a nice suburb, the story exploded coast to coast. Yet every single day, our cities are littered with the corpses of the young, some truly dead, many others among the walking dead. And then there are those stories, so common, so sad and so unknown to most.

In Syracuse last week, Christopher Ariola was charged with felony manslaughter after he allegedly beat his father to death with a baseball bat. He is 17.

According to a statement he made to Syracuse detectives, Ariola grabbed the bat and began to swing away after an argument over the volume of music being played on a radio. Then, after killing him, the boy wrapped his old man in a blanket, went bowling with a girlfriend, tried to commit suicide, failed and finally went to a pizza shop where he had once worked and told his former boss he had clouted the life out of his father.

"After the third hit, he doesn't say anymore," the 17-year-old said in his statement to police. "There's blood everywhere ... I bent down and I could tell he wasn't breathing. I checked, but he wasn't. I started crying. I said no, no, why did this have to happen, Dad, I love you."

Wait, there's more. In Brooklyn, a 16-year-old throws her baby out the window into an alley where the infant is devoured by a dog. In Des Moines, Wash., a police officer is shot and killed after stopping four teenagers walking along a highway 5 miles south of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. All four of the kids, ranging in age from 15 to 18, are suspects in the homicide.

And in North Augusta, S.C., the mother of the boy now famous for allegedly killing two in Southern California, divorced from his father for a decade, said she could not understand what had happened because he had seemed quite content the last time the two spoke, "earlier this year."

It is a whole lot more than just guns behind this madness. And it is the American family that has become the ultimate casualty.

No one should express surprise over the fact that the body count continues to grow.
 
Thursday, March 15, 2001
 
I am a day late... but in case you didn't know, yesterday March 14 (3.14) was Pi Day. Its also Albert Einstiens birthday. Rachel showed me some neat sites including this one that calculates where in PI is the occurance of your birthday.. Lots of links to Pi sites from Yahoo.
 
Wednesday, March 14, 2001
 
Another tense situation at work. Again, not too much detail will be revealed here. Just to say that I had a heart to heart discussion with someone, got some things out in the open. My attitude now, is that if the environment here is not what it should be, I should make some changes in the way we do things... take the bull by the horn and take responsibility to fix it.
 
Tuesday, March 13, 2001
 
A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I needed a good reference for HTML4 and CSS styles, because I felt my pages were not coded properly with the latest syntax. So, I purchased HTML 4 for the World Wide Web--Visual QuickStart Guide, Fourth Edition. It looked like a good reference.

Well, the author starts the chapter on CSS style sheets with... The CSS specification is overly complex, overblown, unsupported on most browsers, and new browsers will support the older HTML for ever, so don't be hung up on using Style Sheets. Sounds good to me!
 
Monday, March 12, 2001
 
Have that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is work related. Can't discuss details here... never know who might stumble across this blog (however unlikely), but I just don't have a great feeling about my professional life right now. I'll have to deal with it, but the anxiety is growing. Maybe its just my paranoia and is unwarrented, but there is no getting away from the feeling I have.

Hows that for saying alot, and nothing at all!
 
Sunday, March 11, 2001
 
Been working this weekend trying to redo my Home Page using more of the CSS style sheets. Web Page development is changing so quickly, and I haven't really kept up. While most of the changes make sense, you can tell the influence of hard core programmers. It takes a real mind shift to understand how to code pages in HTML4.0. And now you have the problem of older browsers that won't understand the new code, and having pages look radically different, or just plain wrong with older software on the client side.

Why am I doing this? My wife things I'm nuts putting this effort into "meaningless" web pages. I just enjoy it, and I learn something that is somewhat valuable in this day and age. It will help me in some way at work as well, even though writing code is not my primary job.
 
Friday, March 09, 2001
 
Our cat Jordon... last week went to get fixed. They said his testicles were not where they should be, and he would need to have surgery to find and remove them. That day was today. Vet said he found one, then had to cut more to find the other. Do you believe it... his testes were in two different places. Poor cat is home, now he has that silly cone on his head like his sister did a couple of weeks ago.
 
 
Last night was "College Planning Night". It was quite a wake-up call. A new era is approaching for our son. To date, he has not prepared himself academically for the more selective schools. I am afraid that is not now an option. However, looking back at my own teenage years... the similarities are striking. He will get accepted to some school, and it is up to him to make the best of it. He is a resourceful, smart boy (man?) and will excell in what he decides to do. He will need to mature and become responsible for setting proper priorities in his life - something he has not yet figured out. The financial aspects of a college education are staggering, but most families get it done... and so will we.
 
Thursday, March 08, 2001
 
I just came across this while clicking around on the web. EEK! Michael Jackson, I remember being mesmerized by your performance on that Motown special many many years ago! What happened to you to end up like this!
 
Wednesday, March 07, 2001
 
Re: the shooting in Santee CA. -- Will we ever learn? This is a very disturbing incident especially since there was some discussions between this kid and at least a couple of people warning that he was to do something like this.

And why isn't there more discussion about his access to his father's gun and several dozen rounds of ammunition! When will they begin to hold parents accountable for allowing this to happen. God, I know that if you have a teenage son, there is only so much control you can have over his actions... but if you have a troubled child, AND a gun in the house... "DUH!!!" you have to take some extrordinary precautions. Why did this guy need a gun in his house anyway?

Also, there is far too much tolerence in our society for kids being cruel to other kids. As a somewhat small, scrawny, geeky kid growing up, I felt victimized by bullies, and picked on... so I know the depth of the "pain" one feels being in that situation. Those things are tolerated to much in schools and homes (boys will be boys). Combine that with the desensitizing of guns, violence and killing in movies television and gangsta videos, and you have a recipe for tragic incidents like this.

I am certainly not the first person to say these things. Whenever a tragedy like this occurs, we here it all over and over again. Yet nothing seems to change.

 
Tuesday, March 06, 2001
 
OK, we got the "storm of the century"... actually we got about half of what was predicted-about 14 inches. Anyway, I got the day off work. Just finished shovelling the white stuff.

Spent the early hours of the morning watching part of the Ken Burn's Baseball DVD. I am not a big sportsnick, but something about the history of Baseball captures my imagination like nothing else. I watched the episode of the 50's. The Names, Casey Stengel, Jackie Robinson, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimagio, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snyder, Willie Mays... these are not "great men" by any means, but men whose characters are of mythical proportions. The Stories... Jackie Robinsons breaking the racial barriers in pro sports; Bobby Thompson's home run against Ralph Branca -the shot heard round the world; Yankee v Red Sox playoff game of 1949. The Places (shrines) Ebbets Field, Polo Grounds, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park.

I realize that this is just Baseball... a silly game. But it is NOT "just" a game. It is a long season that plays out like a drama. It is a century of seasons with stories and characters that are more like fairy tales that were at one time an intricate part of Americana. It's a Wonderful thing.
 
Monday, March 05, 2001
 
The whole state of CT is prepping for this big storm. 12-28 inches they say. It was supposed to start yesterday afternoon, but so far... haven't seen a thing. Still, schools closed, ban on trucks, state workers sent home, the big companies in the state have closed down. I am just putting on my boots and going on in. Can you imagine if the whole thing just "peters out"! Ha!

JIC, I did cut up some firewood, fixed up and tested the snow blower, got some groceries. We'll see what happens.
 
Saturday, March 03, 2001
 
Typical Saturday. Woke up, entered Fantasy Baseball stuff into Yahoo, drove Rach to basketball game (they won!), went to library, took out some jazz and fusion CD's for later converting to MP3, cleaned fish tank.... sounds exciting huh!

Actually, cut my first audio CD from MP3's... cool. Now I am grooving to some fusion tunes from the 70's, Chick Corea and RTF... very hot!

Sunday, we are getting ready for big snow storm to hit and run through Tuesday. Even chopped some wood for the fireplace. Should be a messy week. Come on-- when is that spring weather gonna come. Warm weather, softball and such.
 
Friday, March 02, 2001
 
Yesterday, went to NYC to the On-Demand Print Expo. IMHO, the Printing industry is in a free-fall. Bunch of old fogies attending a shrinking Expo for a declining industry, most of whom don't have a clue as to where digital communications are headed... and this segment (digital print) of the industry is supposed to be the best of the lot.

Anyway, it was worthwhile going, because I met my ol' college buddy. Great seeing you Jimbo - even if you are turning into a conservative mid-west republican! :-). Had a great lunch and it was nice catching up on old times. Hope we keep in touch. But give up the duck and deer hunting... its just not like you.
 
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Name: Ken Laster
Location: Hartford, Connecticut, United States


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