The Gravley Life

Friday, September 30, 2005

Odds and Ends and Starts ‘n Evens

I like to cover the full gamut of information from not only the odds and the ends, but also the starts and probably even the evens. Today’s topic of conversation is to just to fill you in on what’s going on with me and Mrs. Nothing fancy, just the facts.

Bets and the baby are coming along very well. Betsy will be starting her 8th month next week. According to the averages, the baby should be about 3 pounds right now. Also, it’s kicking and moving a lot. I suspect there’s a soccer goalpost somewhere inside of Betsy’s uterus.

Betsy has new kids in her class for the new year and everything is going very well for her. The kids have gone through breaking period and behave well for Betsy. I’m sure Betsy would disagree for modesty’s sake, but I have to let you all know that I’ve considered her to be a modern day Mary Poppins, so she better bring her A game when our kid is born. Maybe nanny Deb from Nanny 911 would a more relevant analogy. Speaking of nanny Deb, Betsy is in love with her. You should check out that show.

My work is going well. I’m working on many projects all at once. I’m putting out a lot of new technology for the folks here that they can really use. It’s been busy, but I’m having fun and learning quite a bit.

After having been in the “adult education” sector for a couple years, I can safely say that classes are always in one of two categories: no homework/easy or work required/difficult. There’s no middle ground. As obvious as it may seem, Physics falls into the work required category. I figured as much going into it, but I like to reserve judgment until I take the class. Anyway, Physics is fun. I like it very much.

Home Life
Recently, we’ve spent a lot of time getting the nursery ready. We’re almost done. It’s really fun to get everything out and ready for the kid. Are we jumping the gun getting everything done months in advance? Maybe, but we couldn’t resist.

Generally speaking, we’ve been very busy lately, and haven’t had as much time to spend with friends and family, but we’re doing very well and we miss those of you who we haven’t seen recently.

I hope this post finds all of you well.

Friday, September 23, 2005

You've been Punked Pumpkined Pumpked!

This true story is a tribute to the Gravley spirit of Halloween. It is meant to be a positive tribute, though after reading it, it’s quite likely you’ll disagree.

The dark night swallowed up most of the light coming from their headlights as they sped down highway. Steve clenched the steering wheel of the old Ford tightly while Betsy peered out into the forest for the eyes of potential road kill. Neither of them said much, for even the slightest distraction might mean death to them or anything crossing their path on this treacherous stretch of road.

The sky smothered all light except for the moon. The autumn quarter moon was smoldering with a deep orange hue. To the some of the dark circles in society, this moon is known simply as Moon O’ Lantern. But don’t let the whimsical nature of the name fool you, for the best of intentions are quickly fated for disaster under the orange glow of Moon O’ Lantern. (You still don’t like that name, do you? Well, too bad.)

With their watchdog, Bones, sitting in the back seat, they raced to complete their objective. After what seemed like hours, they slowly pulled up to the home of Kevin and Tracey. The lights were out, and it seemed as though no one was awake. Fortunately for Steve and Betsy, their plan could continue safely under the cloak of darkness and quiet.

Steve got out of the car and opened the trunk of their station wagon. Betsy had to hold Bones back. It was clear he sensed the danger in the night air and was restless to do something about it.

Steve grabbed the three pumpkins that they had been hauling and carried the heavy vegetables over to the patio and arranged them in a festive manner. No longer would these vegetables bring autumn cheer to those clerks at the store. They would serve a higher purpose now. They would bring about the mood of Halloween and Autumn to their new owners, the Crisps.

As quickly as it started, it was over -- the trap was set. Steve and Betsy raced off undetected, cackling maniacally, screaming into the night, “You’ve been Pumpked!”

“You’ve been Pumpked!”


Notes: They loved the pumpkins. There is no dark circle of society that calls orange moons Moon ‘O Lanterns (that I know of anyway, but I guess anything’s possible). And most importantly, this whole idea was spawned from the brilliant mind of Betsy Gravley. She’s crazy, sexy, cool.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Even Steadfast Optimists Rant Occasionally

Each of us, I hope, is born with an innate sense of duty that motivates us to protect others from evil. Evil, however, implies that some sort of malevolent intelligence exists where some things are just bad but violently lacking in any intelligence whatsoever. The latter is what I am writing to you about. Enter the new show from FOX, War at Home.

Michael Rappaport plays the lead character who I describe as a noxious cross between Dennis Leary, Bob Saggot, and Slappy the Retarded (but sadly not even lovable) Baboon. The rest of them are a mix of about half of the 12 stock sitcom characters available for use to all of the networks; the sassy wife, dorky son, apathetic daughter, but that's where my memory blanks out a little bit. To call the show formulaic is to call leprocy "a little rash".

I'm not even sure how to describe the actual content of the show as I can't seem to remember any part of it in particular, but I can say that I distinctly remember my emotional reaction during the 7 minutes I happened to watch it.
  • Minute 1 - Excitement at the prospect of finding a fresh new show on television (I'm an optimist after all).
  • Minutes 2-4 - Disbelief that someone green-lighted this show, but hope that it might get better, or that they played the wrong reel and would start over shortly.
  • Minute 5 - A deep sadness for the poor laugh-track operator who had to push that laugh button. Every time he hit that button, part of the world's joy died. I think actually I saw the actors flinch at the sound of laughter in surprise (I'm not kidding).
  • Minutes 6-7 Fear, general disorientation, and pain set in as I fumbled for the remote without the use of my now bleeding eyes.

In the end, War at Home is much like full-grown men that still kill ants with a magnifying glass: it's moronic, embarrassing for them, and a shameful waste of life.

In other words, I didn't like it. Please save yourselves.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Geeky Gaming stuff - read at your own risk

Those of you who know me, know that I like video games, and as such, I thought I'd let my inner pizza-scarfin' Mountain-Dew-chuggin' dweeb out for one post. Lucky you, eh.

Last night at the Tokyo Game Show, Nintendo revealed their next console's controller, which proves vastly different than today's generally accepted opinion of a normal controller.

You can't tell from the picture, but the controller "knows" where it is in space, so that you can swing it and move it and the game will respond accordingly. For example, you could be playing a tennis game where you actually swing the controller/remote to hit the ball, or if the game character is using a flashlight, you would have to move it just like a flashlight.

I can't help but think that Nintendo has gone crazy (like a fox?)! They really took a risk with this, and I hope it pays off. Personally I'm excited about this new technology. I think it will certainly provide the groundwork for some really new and creative gaming. The big uncertainty is that we don't know if developers will be able to apply it well or how solid/accurate the technology really is.

We'll see, but for now, you can visit
this website (IGN) for videos of the controller and all of the information available about it. Oh, and here's a picture of the controller with the analog stick attachment. (I guess you can attach things to it)

First person shooters will be awesome on the Revolution, that is for sure.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Learning Portuguese in more steps than AA

As I mentioned in my second post of this blog, my commute renders me useless for about half of an hour twice per day. But I do not fall quietly into that mind-numbing trap of talk radio and Top 40 radio. Oh no! I elect, instead, to learn Portuguese.

I've done the research, and the best tapes available are made Pimsleur(for any language actually). The entire Portuguese course comes in three sets of thirty half hour lessons on tape or CD that costs a total of about $900. In other words, outside of my price range. So I did as any good tax payer would, and went to the library.

The tapes were not at the library, as I expected, but I did find a way to avoid dropping $900 on the course. I've documented the process if any of you wish to learn any language, not just Portuguese, since the process is the same for all of them.

As you may have ascertained, when I titled it "Wicked Easy Steps", I was being ever so slightly sarcastic.

After I'm done with Portuguese, I'll take on either Italian or Japanese. I'm not sure yet.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Wiki Wiki Wild Wild West

My resolve to keep my friends & family abreast of the current social trends of the Internet has led me to this semi-new (or as I like to refer to it: nuvo-stale) trend of Wiki.

"Surely," you think with reserved anticipation, "this new Wiki you speak of will finally lead me to the lucid peace and calm I've always dreamed of and deserve." Well, you probably weren't thinking that, but sometimes it's fun to pretend ( <-- my little shout out to Mr. Rogers).

Wiki is simply an online encyclopedia where the people of the world (typically the eggheads among us) contribute to its content. I, along with millions of Internet users, use wikipedia to learn about anything I don't understand. For example, here is the wikipedia
entry for wiki. It's kind of like that hand drawing a hand scenario.

I was in the mood to
read up on Haiku poems, so here are a couple of my submissions for your potential enlightenment / regret for having wasted your time.

i see another
the leaf thought late in autumn
but then came the breeze


the crunch of my step
as I scrape my windshield clean
breaks the morning calm

Here's where I'd place my Haiku skills on the following scale:

Easy to Learn--:)------------------------------------Hard to Master

Feel free to create your own haiku in the comments. Basically, the rule is three lines written in five-seven-five English syllables. I hope you all have a relaxing Labor Day weekend!

A genuine bonafide haiku