Man, I am such a geek.
My wife and I are in Florida this week on vacation, right? We decided to go to that certain huge mega resort that acts like a huge black hole, sucking in dollars. You know, the “happiest place on earth.” And you know what I’ve enjoyed the most so far? Besides spending some quality time with my sweetie, of course. Here’s a hint: It didn’t have anything to do with mouse ears.
We went to the Kennedy Space Center today. I didn’t care too much for the tour company that took us there and back, but I definitely enjoyed myself there. I acted more like a giddy little school kid around the space shuttle mock-ups and the real Saturn V rocket than I have been all week at that “other place.” I filled one 64MB card on the digital camera and started another. (That’s 88 pictures, if you’re wondering.) I even got to meet astronaut Col. John Blaha, the second astronaut I’ve ever met (the first being Capt. Jon McBride). Slipped him a GPF business card, too. (My secret ambition is to get so many Faulties in the JPL that Fred or Nick or some other GPF character might stowaway into space, hidden somewhere on a space probe someplace.)
I am such a geek.
Hey, everyone. There’ll be a GPF News item about this on Monday, but I’ll be on vacation all this week. My Internet access is likely to be spotty (if present at all), so please be patient if you send me an e-mail, as I don’t know when I’ll be able to respond.
My grandmother passed away yesterday after a long and steady decline in health, culminating in congestive heart and kidney failure. She was 91.
Granny Macel–usually, since she was the grandparent my sister and I saw most frequently, we simply called her “Granny”–was the last of my grandparents to leave this earth. I never got a chance to meet my father’s father, as he passed away before I was born. My mother’s parents both died when I was young, and while my memories of them are fond and warm, they are also somewhat faded now by time. Granny Macel, however, was always there for us, since she lived in the same town just a short drive or long walk away. She has always been there, from my birth, through college, and beyond.
She was practically a second mother to us, helping watch the two of us while Mom and Dad had to work during the day. During our youngest years, she was almost always at our house, keeping track of two squabbling brats as best as a person her age could. Even as she got older and her memory and hearing began to fade, she was always feisty, always ready to speak her mind and let you know what she thought was right and wrong.
She led a full, rich life, and it seems there’s always something new to learn about her. She was born in a dirt-floor shack in the hills of West Virginia, and lived through some of the greatest events of the last century. She remembered the great flu epidemic of 1917, the Great Depression, World War II, man’s first steps into space…. She played women’s basketball and ran her own school to teach weaving. She loved anything having to do with Elvis, and had the largest collection of National Geographic magazines I’ve ever seen. Her house was always filled with a museum’s worth of knickknacks and antiques, as well as a virtual flock of parakeets and canaries.
Unfortunately, time ravaged her frail body. She had three hip replacement surgeries, lost at least one toe, and her hearing steadily faded until not even her hearing aids were very effective. Toward the end of her life, she was largely bedridden, although her doctors tried to help her move around with physical therapy. As she neared the end, her memory would come and go and she would occasionally confuse me for my dad. But I could always see the love in her eyes, and I knew without fail that she loved me (whether I was her son or grandson).
I know it may confuse some of you out there, but I actually take comfort in her death. Yes, she will be greatly missed, and I have to hold back tears when I think of how I will not see her smile upon this earth again. However, I know first of all that her pain and discomfort have ended, and she now has a peace she could never have had in her final state. But secondly and most importantly, I firmly believe she was a Christian, and that she entrusted her soul and eternal future into God’s hands. II Corinthians 5:8 tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, and I am convinced she is now waiting there with her husband, the grandfather I’ve never met, waiting to greet me when I finally join them.
I love you, Granny Macel. May you find the rest and peace in Heaven that you could never have on earth. Keep some of those nice fresh tomatoes form your new garden handy; I’ll be there in 50-60 years or so, unless God has other plans.
Today has not been a good day. My wife snapped this picture on her camera phone today during a rather frustrating moment. This weekend was our big deployment at work to bring the application we support into SOX compliance. For us, that meant tightening security around the application to keep nosey people out of where they don’t belong. I won’t go into specifics like who the customer is and what application it was, other than it’s rather business-critical, the app is Web-based, and security was not a top priority when it was originally designed. I pretty much gutted the entire thing and redesigned vast portions of it, especially the authentication system. I also know more about compiling and installing OpenSSL and Apache than I ever wanted to know.
There are plenty of lessons to be learned here:
Unfortunately, tomorrow is also my first official day as a regular Sunday School teacher (i.e., not a substitute) and I’ve barely studied the lesson. So now I’m going to cram and crash. Ugh.
Not much going on here at the moment. I haven’t had a chance to work on my comics all week due to Dragon*Con and our project at work (which has me putting in a full day’s work this Saturday, bleh). At this rate, I’m afraid I may lose another week from my buffer. However, that’s what the buffer’s there for, and I’m sure I’ll get those strips made up eventually. (Listening to Jennie Breeden repeatedly cry out “Five weeks?!?” in exasperation during the webcomics panel this past weekend was fun. 😉
Anyhoo, I thought I’d share this with you (if nothing else, as a test of the Upload File feature):
Yep, that’s Randi the Wonder Kitty. (That’s also my pasty white knee she’s napping on.) I guess this picture’s a little over a year old, and I’ve been using it as my desktop background on Apollo for a while now. Randi’s my little fuzzy buddy, and she’s been exceptionally affectionate since we got back from Atlanta. In fact, while typing most of the above text, she was camped out in my lap, purring up a storm. (Of course, by the time I got to the end of this paragraph, she was bored and hopped up to head to the food bowl. At least she knows her priorities.)
For equal opportunity’s sake, here’s one of Kiki the Boo Wonder, which currently serves as my background on Demeter (the Linux box this server’s housed on):
We miss our girls when we’re away, and they miss us. We originally got Kiki to keep Randi company while we were gone. They’ve been together now for a good four or five years, and keeping the peace is sometimes a chore. Who needs children when you can have cats?
Nothing of substance in this post. Just cute cat pictures. (That’s what a blog’s for, isn’t it?)
I’m back. You know, my very first con ever–as a guest and as an attendee–was Dragon*Con 2000. Ever since then, Dragon*Con has been one of my favorites. They treat their guests like gold, they’ve always be helpful when something goes wrong, and there’s just so much to do. While Comic-Con International out is San Diego is bigger and has more stuff, it’s far too easy to get lost in the ocean of people. I made more money at Dragon*Con than I did at Comic-Con this year; I even almost broke even. (Cons are always a financial loss for me, or at least a long-term investment to gain new readers.)
The con report is in progress. I’ve got all the pictures up except for the shots from the panel, which I need to get some frame grabs from the video for that. The video footage has been digitized, and it will probably take me a week or so before I can get the ConCam stuff online. Unfortunately, we have a major deployment at the day job this weekend, so it may take a bit longer to get things up than I had hoped.