Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving Day Play

We made it through another Thanksgiving at our house, which is always preceded by lots of cleaning up; and allows followed by another round of lots of cleaning up. In between those two bookends of frenzied sanitation goodness falls the cooking, the family, and the eating.

We didn't have as many people at our house this year, since two of my wife's siblings were out of town celebrating the holiday elsewhere this year. However, those who did come had a good time and enjoyed eachother's company - especially the kids.

After dinner, with a renewed source of energy, the kids went wild with a round of dodgeball in the kitchen, followed up with some wrestling (complete with Hulk Hands) in the living room.

It was exhausting, but well worth the effort (as these family gatherings always are). The day after Thanksgiving, we headed on over to my parents' house to celebrate Thanksgiving with them, as well as my brother's family (down from the bay area), my aunt, and my grandmother.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tour of (Jury) Duty Over

A month or so ago, I received the dreaded jury summons in the mail. Last Thursday, my time was up and I went in to the Vista courthouse to do my civic duty. Apparently, that consists mainly of sitting around for long periods of time, doing nada.

As luck would have it, there were two people I knew who also were summoned for the same day - a neighbor and a friend whom I hadn't seen in quite some time. We three talked for most of the morning, sharing stories of our life, catching up with what had happened recently, etc. All in all, it was the best experience I've had in a jury lounge so far.

Shortly before lunch, they informed all of us that they had one other trial that needed a pool of potential jurors for the day, and that if our name was not on the list, then we were excused for the day. As a lack of luck would have it, my name was on the list, as was my friend's. My neighbor, on the other had, got a free pass to head back home. Lucky bastige!

So we went to lunch, then came back and waited some more in the jury lounge. I had hoped that they would get started right after lunch (1:30), but we were not seated in the court room until 3:30. Ug! I was potential juror number 45 out of 47, so I just listened to the judge and attorney while they focused on the first 20 jurors.

If you have never gone through the process, I will tell you that it is somewhat interesting. The potential jurors are asked general questions by the judge (usually involving answering some kind of questionnaire), followed up by questions from both attorneys. In general, these questions are asked to see if any of the people should be dismissed for cause. That is, dismissed because the person would not be able to provide an equal footing for both the prosecution and defense. Since this case involved the alleged molestation of a child, you can imagine that there were several people who fell in this category.

Thursday ended with only the first 20 people questioned, so court was adjourned for the day and we were told to report back on Monday (the Vista courthouse is closed on Fridays) for further selection.

So I went back Monday, and the process continued. After dismissals for cause, the prosecution and defense also have a set number of dismissals that they can use at their own discretion, for any reason whatsoever. Perhaps it's a gut feeling, or it has something to do with the answers given to the questions posed previously.

By the time they arrived at the back row (where I was seated) which held potential jurors 41 through 47, the 12 seats had been filled with only the two alternated juror seats remaining open. Then, I was finally questioned (with the others), and as expected - I was not selected. Have a sister who is a DDA in superior court downtown probably has something to do with it, plus my uncle who is a city attorney for Anaheim, and an aunt who is an ex-probation officer. That, and the fact that I have three young children probably doesn't endear me to the defense in the least.

Perhaps someday I'll be able to sit on a jury and see what the process is like in one of those twelve seats. Until then, I'll just keep waiting, and waiting, and waiting...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Kung Fu F-U

Two post in one day? Preposterous! This one will be quick - a humorous link to amuse you when you have a spare minute or two. I give you...

Kung Fu F-U

That is all.

Soccer Tournament Results

Saturday saw us at the soccer field once again, as my daughter's team was scheduled to play in the semi-finals for her division (girls under 10). The first game was at 2:45, and everyone showed up ready to play.

After a bit of warming up, and a quick pep-talk by yours truly, the girls took the field and dominated the game from start to finish. The final score was 2 - nil, shutting out the opposition for the fourth time in five games. Not too shabby!

Winning the semifinal game entitled us to play for the championship, under the lights at 6:00 that evening. We knew the final game was going to be very tough, as it was against a team which had gone through the season undefeated. During the regular season, we lost to them 5 - 2, and during the tournament the previous weekend, we lost to them 1 - nil.

As it turns out, the fewest goals this team scored during the season was five, and the most goals scored against them were two - by us. So we prepared as best we could, and the game began.

The girls played their hearts out. At halftime, we were knotted up at a scoreless tie, thinking that the championship might come down to penalty kicks. Unfortunately, during the second half the other team managed to score a goal when our goalie didn't see the ball coming due to so many people being in front of the box. The game ended with a score of 1 - nil.

After the game, we had our team party, and all of us coaches congratulated the girls on an amazing final game, as well as stupendous play over the entire tournament. As a relatively young team (the champions had five girls older than our oldest player), they showed a lot of skill, determination and drive. They were awesome!

And to crow a bit about my daughter - let's just say that she was a bulldog on defense. A damn quick bulldog at that. Several times she rode the other team's best player to the sidelines, and then took the ball away from her. A few times she streaked back to save a goal from across the field, saving at least two goals. Way to go Jazzy!

So the regular season is over, and now we have two weeks of all-star practices and an all-star tournament on the 19th of November.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Weekly Wrap Up with Weekend Preview

I've been busy this week, and have been neglecting updates here due to business at work and home I ask you, my humble readers, for forgiveness and hope that this simple missive is counted as a small token of my affection. Blah, blah, blah...

So, what've I been up to as of late?

1. I am finally upgrading the PCs at work. Last week, I spec'd out a nice system to replace our old AMD Athlon 800 boxes: AMD Athlon-64 3200; nforce 4 motherboard with build in sound, networking, video, sata2; 1 gigabyte of ram; a 250 GB western digital sata2 hard drive; a DVD-+R/RW drive; and a nice compact Antec case and power supply. I ordered all the stuff from (a very good on-line place to order computer stuff - the deliver quickly and are good with returns as well).

The systems went together extremely easily, and I had no problems except for with one motherboard (bad on-board network controller - put in a spare PCI NIC that I had, and all was well). The real pain in the arse is getting the systems set up for the users.
I installed Windows XP on them, with (a great, free office suite), Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird (web browser and email client), Picasa (picture viewer), plus a few other useful tools.

On the boxes that the development team uses, I also had to install our development platform, which is somewhat time consuming. Since it is a newer version that we were using, it also is a bit nerve wracking as you need to migrate your projects to the new platform, which can either being extremely easy or entirely frustrating.

2. At home, we are wrapping up the soccer season this Saturday with my daughter's team seeded number two as we head into the semi-finals. The girls are excited, and if they make it to the finals, then they get to play at 6:00 pm under the lights that evening. W00t!

3. I have also been tasked by my boss to take a look into the J2EE platform, as we have a client which would like us to give them a quote on some J2EE work. I have limited experience with Java, and J2EE is a voluminous subject, so I am trying to put all the pieces together. Between which application server to use, to enterprise java beans (EJBs), to Java server pages (JSPs) - I have a whole lot of ground to cover in a relatively short period of time. Yeah, me! :S

Anyhow, that should wrap it up for today. Hope you all have a great weekend!