28 August 2006

I Wanna be a Computer Nerd

Last year I started this blog. Before then I pretty much had no idea of what HTML was. In fact my first encounter with it was trying to customize my links. It took me so long to figure out how to make it work. For the life of me I could not decipher what was in all those greater or less than brackets <>.

But finally after trying and trying, I got it to work! Yay! I put in more links and got more and more excited each time it actually worked. Little did I know that that one moment would be a defining moment for years to come. (Okay, it hasn't actually been a year since I started blogging, but who really cares, right?) Seriously though, at that point in time I decided I wanted to learn this foreign language called HTML. I had all these ideas of how to customize my blog and I wanted to be able to do it myself. So a few days after the moment of bliss I headed over to the Public Library to get me a learn-it-yourself HTML manual.

I decided to go with HTML for Dummies because that's just what I was. The first second I had some free time, I cracked open that book to see what pearls of knowledge it could give me. I started reading and very soon was again completely lost in all the coding examples they were giving. Over the course of a few weeks I diligently read the first few chapters but they were mostly introductory chapters dealing with the purpose of building a website. (The authors only considered a business website a decent reason to build one). They were pretty against building personal web pages and since I had just built up all my courage to create my very own blog, I was pretty sensitive. Plus I just wanted to purely learn HTML, not read all the extra stuff. I took the library book back when it was due.

Since that time, I haven't tried to learn much besides try to decipher the coding for my blog until something wonderful happened. I got the blessed course catalog from Palomar College in my mailbox. Each time we get one I page through it just to see if any class strikes my interest and this time I found one. A course simply titled "Intro to HTML & XHTML. " (Queue the angels singing...) I knew that was the class for me! I started looking at the other courses listed under the Computer Science category and they all sounded so interesting! At that moment I realized that deep down what I really wanted to be was a computer nerd. All those programming and networking classes looked so fun! I really enjoy working on computers but have only really skimmed the surface of what computers can really do. So this semester I am enrolled in the HTML class online and looking forward to what I can learn over this semester.

Here's to learning that foreign language of HTML over this semester and finally getting in touch with the computer nerd in me.

22 August 2006

I just gotta laugh at myself

This weekend I went to Utah with my Dad, his fiance and Rachel. We went to my cousin's wedding on Saturday. On the way home I'm sitting in the back just taking in all the beautiful sights of the beating hot desert when I see a sign that says "St. Anthony Monastery". Interesting, I think, a monastery out here in the desert with nothing else around. Guess they really like their privacy. As we pass it I say to my Dad and his fiance, "Look, Stantony Monastery." My Dad goes, "I think that says Saint Anthony, not Stantony."

"Right."

Sometimes I just gotta laugh...

09 August 2006

Moving is for the Birds

We're moving in 2 1/2 weeks...again. This will be our 4th apartment since we've been married. Now that's not so bad if you've been married 10 or 15 years. However, Spencer and I will celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary next week. For goodness sake, Rachel is not even 2 and this will be her 3rd apartment.

Granted each time we've moved we've managed to get more room for less rent. Thank heaven--and I really mean that--for the "Affordable Housing" program they have here in California. We moved where we are now because we qualified for a new two bedroom apartment for a little less than what we were paying for our 25 year old one bedroom. (We made the decision that once we had children I would stay home to raise them. I made quite a bit of money at my job, but gave it up. Consequently, we are poor) Rachel slept in our walk-in closet for the first 5 months of her life so we were pretty stoked to be able to give her her own room.

Now Spencer has cut his hours at work so he can get through school faster--instead of the 10-year plan we were on--so we are in yet a lower income bracket. This bracket allows us to move into a three bedroom for a couple hundred less than what we pay now. We couldn't pass it up! Not even the thought of moving again would make me think twice about this.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not like we'll be rollin the dough now. On the contrary, with this new place we just might be able to not go in the hole each month. It's just a good thing we have (had) a savings account. I'm excited about the new place and am resolved to stay there as long as possible but I just hate moving. I've already started packing a few things so it all isn't left until the last few days. Consequently my living room is a disaster area. After four moves in four years you'd think I'd have this moving thing down pat and be able to organize better, but that's not true. Can anyone give me any moving tips they have? And don't tell me I should be packing right now...

05 August 2006

01 August 2006

Warship built out of Twin Towers wreckage

In a shipyard in New Orleans, survivors of one disaster are building a monument to another.

In a city still emerging from the floods of Hurricane Katrina, a ship has begun to rise from the ashes of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Bringing together America’s two great calamities of the 21st century, the USS New York is being built in New Orleans with 24 tons of steel taken from the collapsed World Trade Centre.

There is no shortage of scrap metal in New Orleans these days, but the girders taken from Ground Zero have been treated with a reverence usually accorded to religious relics. After a brief ceremony in 2003, about seven tons of steel were melted down and poured into a cast to make the bow section of the ship’s hull.

Some shipworkers say the hairs stood up on the backs of their necks the first time they touched it. Others have postponed their retirement so they can be part of the project.

One worker, Tony Quaglino, said: “I was going to go in October 2004 after 40 years here, but I put it off when I found out I could be working on New York. This is sacred and it makes me very proud.” Glen Clement, a paint superintendent, said: “Nobody passes by that bow section without knocking on it. Everybody knows what it is made from and what it’s about.”

The ship is being built by Northrop Grumman on the banks of the Mississippi. It should be ready to join the US Navy in 2007.

Later vessels in its class will include USS Arlington — named after the section of the Pentagon that was also hit by an airliner on September 11 — and USS Somerset, in memory of United Flight 93, which crashed in a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, on the same day as passengers struggled with al-Qaeda hijackers.

Mr Clement said it would be fitting if USS New York’s first mission was to capture Osama bin Laden. He said: “They hit us first, but out of a tragedy a good thing has come, in that we’re building a ship which can help take those people out.”

The $1 billion vessel is one of a new generation of amphibious assault ships capable of landing a 700-strong Marines assault force on a coastline almost anywhere without the need for a port.

Woody Oge, Northrop Grumman’s director of operations in New Orleans, was keen to play down suggestions that the ship might be used to spearhead invasions.

He pointed out that LPD vessels had been used as much for humanitarian assistance as for war. One such ship, USS Boxer, was dispatched to help to deal with the aftermath of Katrina.

Although the hurricane smashed its way through the shipyard last summer, the half-completed New York survived intact. The same cannot be said for the homes of some of its builders. About 200 are still living at the shipyard in the hastily set up “Camp Katrina”.

They include Earl Jones. More than eight months after Katrina, he does not know if his home in the Lower Ninth ward will be rebuilt. “The insurance company won’t even talk to us,” he said. “We’re having to hire lawyers to chase ’em. I don’t like this, but I don’t want to be out of work.”

Mr Jones’s wife was evacuated to Baton Rouge and is seriously ill with breast cancer and pneumonia. He said: “She ain’t handling very well me being away all the time.”

Katrina and 9/11 are two disasters that continue to produce very different responses from America. Mr Jones does not want his old home enshrined in a $1 billion fighting machine, but a small cheque from the insurance firm might help.

USS New York, USS Arlington and USS Somerset will be part of a nine-vessel fleet of new amphibious transport ships
Length: 208.5m (684ft) — more than twice as long as the Statue of Liberty
Beam: 31.9m (105ft); weight: 24,900 tonnes; speed: 22 knots
Equipment: helicopters, landing craft, amphibious vehicles, missile launchers
Crew: more than 1,000, comprising 361 ship’s company plus 699 marines