Friday, June 30, 2006

Curtis and Brittany

Curtis and Brittany!

Here are the links to about 700 pictures!


Slideshow of the Favorites

Temple Grounds


Monday, June 26, 2006

Sheets of Rain

I love the rain.

My favorite time to run is in the rain and walking in the rain is very rejuvenating.

Last night as I listened to the rain and tried to focus on studying, I suddenly had the urge to get much closer. As much as I wanted to just discard my studying and enjoy the downpour fully, I decided to compromise by taking my laptop onto the porch along with Dan's hammock chair.

It was perfect.

The rhythm of the rain drops, the sudden thunderclaps, the ISO 7 layer model going through my brain (Please Do Not Throw Sausage Pizza Away!). The rain therapy was wonderful.

The other thing I am really loving right now is my new sheets. I have always enjoyed the comfort that freshly laundered sheets can bring but new sheets are even better. And team them up with a new comforter, it is just heaven. It is one of the things that is a memory trigger for me.

Snuggling up in new sheets with a new comforter (and rain falling outside my window) is second only to all of the above with my favorite person in whole world spooning beside me.

Dare to dream...

Hitting the Books...Again!

The time has come, again, to recommit myself to accomplishing a few professional goals in my life.

If I ever hope to get a decent job in UT at the pay scale I need, I really need to update my certifications and add a few new ones. So, I am going to commit (in writing now!) to studying and passing the tests for CCNA and Security+ then either get my CISSP or complete the 7 tests to update my MCSE certification. I figure I should be able to study and take the tests in about 4-6 weeks each studying at least an hour or two every night. So, I should be done by December 2007!

I have put them off way too long.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

ShakasBlog in French

Have you seen Google's language translation website. You can type in words and phrases and it instantly translates them. I'm sure it tends to be a more literal word by word translation than correct phrases but it is still pretty cool.

Here is my blog site in French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

One more Candle

Well, I would have to say that my birthday week was a grand success.

After 36 years of trying to figure what to do with the better half of our species, I think that this week was a testament that I *may* have game. My skills are pretty weak but the coach kept me in. I guess the best way to learn is to play, right?! So here is how my birthday week 'played' out. Dinners were purchased, flitration was enjoyed and kisses were exchanged.

Monday I returned 'home' from Utah on the red-eye. I hate the red-eye. I have a really hard time trying to sleep on the plane. The flights were delayed due to weather so I was over an hour late getting to Jill's house for a very nice welcome home breakfast and an early birthday present. Of course there was a wreck on 95 so the rush-hour traffic started just south of Baltimore. I struggled through work, took a nap and went to bed early.

Tuesday - Happy Birthday to Me! Several friends sent me E-cards today. Thanks! Some were very funny. Tara and I met at the Gold's Gym in Ashburn and signed up for a membership that includes 4 gyms in the area. Then we promptly left for dinner where Tara treated me to a tasty steak dinner. Mmmm! Thanks Tara. When I got home there was a Sugar Cookie bouquet waiting for me. Mmmmm! Thanks Jill.

Wednesday I was treated to my second birthday dinner of the week at The Melting Pot in Towson. It was the first time I have been there and it was amazing. Thanks Jill. All the food was incredible and we left very full and satisfied. Jill thought I was flirting too much with the cute waitress. I guess I had my game face on!

Thursday was a surprise birthday party for fellow Gemini Martha at Chuck E. Cheese. Dave B. and Ben H. kidnapped Martha and brought her to the Cheese with a pillow case over her head. She said she was pretty freaked out until she heard Dave's voice (he wasn't supposed to talk because his voice is too unique). I made Martha blush a lot by giving her a birthday kiss! I had some salad, fried mozzerella sticks, and got my butt kicked by Tara on a few games. Then Tara and I headed next door to the Clocktower Gold's Gym for a good workout.

Friday my goofy side came out on the Goofy Golf course. Tara organized this little birthday celebration but was unable to make it due to having dental surgery earlier in the day. The rest of us (Scott, Erin, Steph, B, Rae, Lara, Jill, and Anne) enjoyed some cake and ice cream then enjoyed some goofy times. The scared and crying children leaving the course were a bit unsettling but we split into our two gangs and formed an alliance against the perils of the jungle. The speed golf holes were particulary goofy. We lost a couple of golf balls in the rough, hit eachother with golf balls, assisted on a hole-in-one (nice job Steph), were sprayed by poisonous frogs and completely soaked by a spitting crocodile. I think two people actually got legitimate hole-in-ones (Jill and Lara I think - Nice!). Thanks Tara, Anne and Steph for throwing this together! You guys Rock!
Anne, Jill and I headed over to Tara's place after to share the stories and ice cream. Tara is even funnier hopped up on pain killers. Fun times.

Saturday found Jill and I in Annapolis enjoying an informal tour of the Naval Academy with some people from her singles ward (including Kristen and Rick who were at our Duck Beach house). It was hot at times but overall the weather was very nice and the breeze made it perfect. We had a yummy lunch then laid on the grass on the St John's campus and enjoyed the weather.
Suddenly we heard several loud cracking noises and just as I turned over and looked up, a branch whacked me right across my head! I was just kinda stunned for a few moments, not because I was hurt (the branch was extremely rotten and light) but because I couldn't believe that I just got hit with tree branch! After brushing ourselves off we headed to Jill's place where I watched the US tie Italy in the World Cup (Man that ref was AWFUL!) and Jill took a short nap. Next we went to small party of some of Jill's grad school mates then headed home.

Sunday I found myself feeling a bit sick. It had started on Saturday with a tickle in my throat and a heaviness in my chest. I resisted leaving church early then took some Nyquil and slept for most of the afternoon. I watched a couple of Hitchcock movies, took more Nyquil, talked to Maya, Emily and Jill, then went to bed early.

Thanks to everyone who made it a very enjoyable week.

I think 36 is going to be a great year.

Here are more pictures of the Mini-Golf and Annapolis.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Birthday Decisions

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Utah Race Track Grand Opening

It was the Grand Opening of the Miller Sports Park this past weekend in Tooele, Utah. And the event of the weekend was several WERA Series motorcylcle races. I got the email notification Thursday night and it took about 2 seconds to plan my Saturday especially since admission was free all weekend for the grand opening. 18 races were scheduled to be run on Saturday and a 6 hour endurance race on Sunday.

The new race track is apparently now the longest and nicest course in the US. It will host motorcycle racing (including WERA, AMA Superbikes and AMA Supermoto), car racing (including SCCA, American LeMans, Star Mazda (where famous people drive the race cars which usually results in lots of wrecks), Exotic car 'races', GrandAmerican road racing) and KART racing (really fast go-karts)

Maya and I wandered around the complex for several hours and took lots of pictures and videos. Only a couple of places were off-limits today so it was pretty cool to walk right into the pit area and see all the riders and techs working on the motorcycles. It was also cool to see how many female racers there are now.

Today's races used the Outer Course track configuration which is 3.06 miles long. The racers were completing their laps in less than two minutes which means they were AVERAGING over 90 mph!

Here are the pictures. These are all using my point and shoot Nikon since I did not take my SLR (I was packing light.)

Here are the pictures that Maya took.

Here are a couple of videos from today (I think I got the right titles on the clips):
600 Supersport going through the Wind Up and Release turns
600 Supersport going through the Release turn
600 Supersport on the Straight Away
750 Supertock Start
Superstock going through the Wind Up and Release turns
Superstock going through the Wind Up and Release turns (2)

RedBull Freestyle 1
RedBull Freestyle 2
RedBull Freestyle 3
RedBull Freestyle 4
RedBull Freestyle 5
RedBull Freestyle 6
RedBull Freestyle 7
RedBull Freestyle 8
RedBull Freestyle 9

Friday, June 09, 2006

Remaining Vacation Days in Virginia and Utah

Sunday was spent mostly recouping from the week at the beach. Maya and I relaxed, watched a couple of movies, did some wash, Tara came to visit and I started to upload the more than 650 pictures from the beach.

Monday we went to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and Maya took lots of pictures of pigeons. We met up with Jill in Fells Point. We had some yummy ice cream then walked over to Little Italy for some great Italian food. We ended the evening by drawing pictures with sidewalk chalk, Jill kicking my butt at Speed multiple times and watching Shrek.

Here are some more pictures from Baltimore.

Tuesday Maya and I had lunch with Tara then went to the National Zoo for a quick visit. We did the shortened version because we were both getting pretty tired. Maya had fun riding the Metro and insisted on riding standing up like other people.

More zoo pictures.

Wednesday we packed then fought the traffic as we headed to BWI. Our flight was delayed in Denver a little bit so the long day was just a bit longer. Maya did really well on the plane. Having movies for her to watch on the laptop really makes the time fly for her and pleasant for me . The descent was pretty rough coming into Denver with a couple really good sudden altitude changes. Maya let out a couple of loud shouts and said that it tickled her tummy. She was really enjoying the part that many people despise. Kids are great.

Maya insisted on sleeping at home with mommy so we dropped her off at their condo then headed to the folks place where I crashed pretty quickly.

Thursday – Decompression Day. Emily dropped off Maya around 8AM on her way to work. Today I am finally getting a chance to relax and write these blog entries. Although Blogger is not working today so I am not able to post any of these. They will end up being posted back to back – oh well.

It was Isabelle's birthday party tonight (the big 3). We also got to see baby Jake (Sharlie and Jason's newest). Matt actually held Jake too. This was his FIRST baby holding experience. Way to go Matt! Here are some pictures.

Friday – Decompression Day #2. I was never able to post any of the entries yesterday. Luckily today Blogger was much better behaved I was able to finally make all the updates.

Hopefully they are interesting to someone.