2007 Year-end Update

Hello everyone.  We like to do things a bit latter…
you know, catch the after Christmas sales and have more time to
prepare.  This year that philosophy also extends to Christmas cards and
in this case, emails.

The year of 2007

January of 2007 Alan’s team got outsourced to Singapore and he found a new job working for friends doing web development.  Alan also picked up a contracting job which ended up being part-time which ended up being his new full time job this November.  Anita stopped working (finally) and focused on keeping up with schoolwork and her sanity.  Anita finished her last year of class-time with great grades and greater enthusiasm – “no more classes, no more books… no more teacher’s dirty looks..” 

Shortly after the end of the semester, Alan and Anita moved back to Louisville, KY.  Alan kept the same job working for friends and started going in to the office… Anita took the summer off, a well earned break.  They lived with Anita’s parents in a huge Victorian house in Old Louisville for a few months, and then started renting a friend’s house with Anita’s sister Virginia as a roommate.

Sometime in the early spring, Anita and Alan informed the world – with permanently affixed smiles – that their first child would be due around January 24th, 2008.  After a few ultrasounds they found out that she was going to be a girl and after going through much Q&A, they ended up on the name “Penelope Lou Blount” and hope to call her “Poppy” for short…  Though to date, the following names have all been used: penny, pineapple, and lil’ p.

During the summer, Alan’s family had a family reunion in beautiful Mountain View Arkansas.  Everyone stayed in a set of cabins and went on hikes, shopping, museum’ing, canoe’ing, and caving (Alan, Anita, and Karen Wonderley decided to strap on headlamps and crawl).  As always, there was lots of food, some games, and great “catch up” time.  The family was able to organize a surprise, early baby-shower for Anita and Alan.  It was a riot, and terribly sweet.

As mentioned above, Alan got a great job doing web development for a small-ish company who focus on audiology and speech therapy.  Things seem to be going very well and it’s work-from-home again, which affords a lot of flexibility for Alan to travel around.  Anita has been working month long rotations for her fourth and final year of school.  It’s frustrating to pay full tuition and diligently work full time, but not get paid… only one year of that (less now) and Anita will be an official Doctor of Pharmacy.  Until then, she’s learning about different branches of pharmacy she could go into and doing projects and presentations for her preceptors.

Early in December, Anita’s and her mom organized a baby shower for family.  Alan’s mom was able to come up for the week and just under 20 people attended.  It was filled with games and food and, of course, an amazing array of presents for Penelope and Anita.  She was genuinely astonished and moved by the generosity of everyone.
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And finally, the year ends with Christmas with Anita’s family. Because she is now 8+ months pregnant, traveling to Alan’s family was unfortunately, out-of-the-question.  Staying in Louisville, there was still enough family to visit with 7 stops in two days and plans beforehand and afterwards.  And that brings us to today…

Our Plans for 2008

Anita has pre-worked the month of February and has the month of January off.  She’s keeping her fingers crossed about March.  Everyone is quite excited about the birth (and life) of Penelope.  Alan’s mom and stepfather will be joining the ranks at the hospital and then Cathy will be coming back to Louisville to help with Penelope for the month of March. 

In April and May of 2008, A.,A., & P. will be staying in Houston, TX with Alan’s grandfather.  Anita’s got a couple of rotations there and Alan can work from anywhere with a broadband connection.

Afterwards, A.,A., & P. will be looking for a house to buy in Louisville, KY.  Anita will start working on passing her licensure tests (one general test and a law test for every state she wants to practice in).

And in closing

It’s been a wonderful year… big stress on the word “full”. 3 jobs for Alan.  Classes for Anita, followed by several one-month-jobs.  Pregnancy with the first grandchild in both families.  Two moves with a two-month-sabaticle and move on the schedule in 2008.  A family reunion this summer and a few work conferences for Alan.  All that, and no complaints.  In fact, quite the opposite – many comments about how wonderful it is to have such a wonderful, entertaining, and supportive family and family of friends.  Living the good life… still.

Alan & Anita & Penelope

Chirstmas in Louisville – Blount/Beatty/McClure/Weatherman

A good and busy Christmas this year.  We stayed in Louisville because Anita’s too close to due-date to travel.  Had 7 different family engagements in two days and enjoyed every one… though at the end of things we are certainly tired.  We had too much food and too much sugar, enough sleep and a great amount of fun.

Photos of Christmas:

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PS: +Facebook

Also – I setup a facebook profile +photos, because it’s the thing to do.  I had one a long while ago, but ignored it because most people I knew were on myspace.  Back to facebook, because it’s a heck of a lot more clean and easy to use. (anyone who disagrees is only doing so because they are used to myspace).

Penelope will be: year of the pig

http://lynncoins.com/lunar.htm – looking at the basic calendar, Anita’s a monkey, Alan’s a goat and Poppie will be a rat.

http://lynncoins.com/chinese_new_year.htm –
however this link informs that the chinese new year really begins on a different date every year based on a lunar calendar.  As such: Anita is really a
goat/sheep (earth sheep), Alan is really a horse (earth horse), and Poppie will be a pig (fire pig).

The Pig type is usually an honest, straightforward and patient
person. They are a modest, shy character who prefers to work quietly
behind the scenes. When others despair, they are often there to offer
support. This type of person is reserved with those they do not know
too well, but as time passes and they gain confidence, those around
them may discover a lively and warm-hearted person behind that mask of
aloofness. Despite those born in the year of pig having a wide circle
of friends and acquaintances, they have few close friends who
understand them and share their inner thoughts and feelings. It is easy
to put trust in pig type; they won’t let you down and will never even
attempt to do so. Such people simply want to do everything right
according to social norms.[9]

It is important to remember that these people are not vengeful
creatures. If someone tries to take advantage of them, the pig type
tend to withdraw to reflect on the problem and protect themselves. All
they need in such situations is a little time to find a constructive
way to respond. The people of the pig type are conservative creatures
of habit. They dislike being made to travel too far from familiar
surroundings, unless it is a trip to the countryside. They love nature and are never happier than when they are out somewhere, far from the city.[10]

There is a tolerant and peaceful side to their character. Such
people are never afraid to allow others their freedom of expression;
they do not want to cause arguments and if there is any way to avoid
arguing, they will probably take this option. However, they are not
weak and if the situation forces them to fight these people will rise
to the occasion, whether it is to defend themselves or those close to

The Nerd Handbook – where was this when asked me “why?”

It’s long, but great – go read the Nerd Handbook and understand your favorite nerds just a bit more.  Here’s a quote from the top:

Understand your nerd’s relation to the computer. It’s clichéd, but a nerd is defined by his computer, and you need to understand why.

First, a majority of the folks on the planet either have no idea how
a computer works or they look at it and think “it’s magic”. Nerds know
how a computer works. They intimately know how a computer works. When
you ask a nerd, “When I click this, it takes awhile for the thing to
show up. Do you know what’s wrong?” they know what’s wrong. A nerd has
a mental model of the hardware and the software in his head. While the
rest of the world sees magic, your nerd knows how the magic works, he
knows the magic is a long series of ones and zeros moving across your
screen with impressive speed, and he knows how to make those bits move

The nerd has based his career, maybe his life, on the computer, and as
we’ll see, this intimate relationship has altered his view of the
world. He sees the world as a system which, given enough time and
effort, is completely knowable. This is a fragile illusion that your
nerd has adopted, but it’s a pleasant one that gets your nerd through
the day. When the illusion is broken, you are going to discover that…

Algebrahelp.com – where was this when I was in school?

I recently came up with a VERY simple algebraic equation… trying to figure out how many months it would take for something to become cost effective.  I looked at the equation and thought I would see if google search could solve it (it can solve basic math problems and even unit conversions), but google couldn’t handle it.  So I thought I’d see if there was something else.  It took no time to find Algebrahelp.com.

I fed the calculator my equation: {{ 2000*X = (100*X) + 3000 }} and got the following:

2000X = (100X) + 3000

Reorder the terms:
2000X = 3000 + (100X)

2000X = 3000 + (100X)

Solving for variable 'X'.

Move all terms containing X to the left, all other terms to the right.

Add '(-100X)' to each side of the equation.
2000X + (-100X) = 3000 + (100X) + (-100X)

Combine like terms: 2000X + (-100X) = 1900X
1900X = 3000 + (100X) + (-100X)

Combine like terms: (100X) + (-100X) = 0
1900X = 3000 + 0
1900X = 3000

Divide each side by '1900'.
X = 1.578947368

X = 1.578947368

Genius!  Not only an answer, but an explanation!  Yay Internet!  I can’t wait to teach Penelope how to do Algebra… suppose I should wait till she’s born first though…

Hubble Ultra Deep Field – a sense of proportion

As Douglas Adams put, humans really can’t deal with having a sense of proportion.  We aren’t capable.  But we can stretch for it…

(I can touch my toes, but I can’t bend further over… but I should try to)

Take 5 minutes and read this fantastic piece on an image from Hubble Ultra Deep Field.  It’s a great reminder of what we know about space and a few tools to help you start to realize that you can’t ever come close to grasping a true sense of proportion.

In many ways, I find this liberating and beautiful.  We are an infinitesimal part of something much, much bigger. Now, with pictures…

Hubble Ultra Deep Field - a sense of proportion

Here’s a way of looking at it: there are enough stars in the universe that if everybody on Earth were charged with naming his or her share, we’d each get to name a trillion and a half of them. Even that number is still impossibly hard to comprehend – if you named a star every time your heart beat for your whole life, you’d have to live about 375 lifetimes to name your share.

What the Ultra Deep Field image ultimately offers is a singular glimpse at ourselves. Like Copernicus’s On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, it resets our understanding of who and what we are.

Emilyn Parker, born

Anita and Alan and Cathy (Alan’s mom) visit Chris and Jenny Parker in the hospital ~2 days after the birth of Emmalynn Parker.

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This was a “scary” birth story.  After 7-8 hours of early/active labor, everything normal and in the Hospital… the baby monitor showed significantly decreasing heartrate.  Chris hit the “call nurse” button about the same time as 4 nurses ran into the room and moved Jenny around.  The changed position got the heartrate up some, but not enough… so an emergency cessarian was preformed.  Apparently all went well – 10 fingers, 10 toes, healthy mom. 

It severed as a good reminder of why we want to be at the hospital for Anita and me.  We’ve been exposed to a lot of “hospital bad” stories from Bradley classes… nice to see why western medicine is useful.