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Sunday night...

No TV remote, no Wii. That means no Super Mario Bros 3. Hence LJ.

The house has a tesseract. Or a Stargate. Or a piece of the Tardis...

The weekend was tiring. Yesterday my inlaws came over and as usual when my wife asked her dad to help with fixing our bed frame it blossomed into a major engineering project, employing me as manual labor. But at least Alex got to spend time with his Grammy.

And then today I took Alex to Vasona park. He played on the swings, waded in the creek for 2 hours (fortunately I got SPF70, so no crispy skin for me), and then took the train around a couple of times. And yes, ice cream and chicken tenders from BK afterwards. Then I came home and made three separate dinners because (a) Alex wanted curry, (b) I wanted to use the shrimp in the fridge and ended up with shrimp etoufée as my original plan of farro, shrimp, and broccolini was too ambitious, and (c) my wife who has an upset stomach just wanted French toast.

This coming week is probably going to be crazy at work because we have an important software release. Hopefully no all-nighters. So far I've only clocked on near-all-nighter in my current job. Let's keep it that way.

OK, back to looking for the TV remote...

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Quiet Friday

I finally made it to the end of my work week. Whew! It's been a long week. I've had a headache the last three days. I just thought it was stress but now I think it's actually a cold or something. Everybody in the house is slightly sick. Rather annoying actually.

For once this weekend is free. No obligations or whatever. We're going to get some rest and maybe go to park. One thing we're thinking of doing is making paper mâche tunnel for Alex. I haven't done artsy stuff in years, so it should be fun.

Random thought detour. When I came home I saw a Cooper's hawk sitting on the phone pole behind my backyard. The birds of the neighborhood were harassing, probably because they don't want to become dinner. I took a picture with my crappy point-and-shooter. It still turned out pretty good I think



Yet another though detour. I just saw the trailer to Stargate Universe. I thought that SG1 and SGA kinda got silly toward the end, but SGU looks rather promising. Looks like a cross between BSG and SG franchise. I'm definitely watching when it debuts in October.

TV on a Wednesday Night

Somehow Christine got drafted into watching a sitcom before it's shown. Some kind of test audience study. It's absolutely hideous and predictable. Men are stupid and homophobic, and women are gold-diggers. So yes, death metal on headphones to the rescue. It's preferable to make my headache even worse than watch this drivel.

Talking about TV, anybody like Warehouse 13? I've started to really like it. I also just told my wife how the two leads are like Crichton and Aeryn from Farscape because one of the creators of Warehouse 13 was also the creator of Farscape. I like the wacky and zany approach (but without being over the top as it being silly).

I'm debating if I want to start watching Stargate Universe when it comes out. Seems like a completely different approach to the other Stargate series. Looks more like Battlestar Galactica's style to me. But then again I couldn't take BSG because it was so frakking dark.

This sitcom better finishes before Between the Buried and Me destroys me eardrums.

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Breaking the Maya Code in the Bay Area

The two-hour documentary Break the Maya Code will be shown at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland at 4pm on August 1st, followed by a hieroglyphic workshop between 7:30pm and 9:30pm.

For more information, visit Chabot Space & Science Center's August Calendar.

Another Manic Monday

Did i just quote from the Bangles? Dang I'm old...

Random observations on work:

1. For once, this Monday isn't manic like many others. Good thing 'coz I'm kind of sore today.

2. Drivng into work is kind of scifi. Old factories spewing noxious fumes, giant mounds of crushed cars being moved by Terminator-like cranes, and the pink salt flats. Then my ultra-modern, Ghost-in-the-Shell-like office complex appear at the end of the causeway. And then my polarized sunglasses make everything that much more surreal.

3. My cafeteria sucks. Why won't Dreamworks let us use theirs? I need to write a letter to Spielberg. Or as least to tell him stop making any more Shrek sequels.

I had a great weekend. Took Alex to the Hiller Aviation Museum not once but twice. On Saturday they had an paper airplane demonstrations which was really cool. On Sunday they even had WWII Aces speaking on a panel. Would've loved to listen to that. Next week they got a train setup, so looks like we're heading back yet again. Good thing we're members.

On Sunday we threw a party for friends from my last company. Now that we're all scattered to the wind, it's good to catch up. Maybe it was having worked there 5 years, maybe it was the life experience similarity, or maybe it's the higher female-to-male ratio than other tech companies, but somehow it still feels more fun to hang out with them then people in my current place of employment.

Lunch time! Let's see what crap they're serving downstairs.


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A day at the park

It was a lovely day in the Bay Area today. Somewhat cloudy, even with a bit of rain, in July!

We had planned to take Alex to Vasona park again, but the nice weather made it better. It's always been his favorite park because of the small gauge train, but lately we've convinced him to wade in the Los Gatos creek that runs through the park. He absolutely loves it! Didn't want to leave at all. And that's why I love California. No leeches, no mosquitos, and no crocodiles (although some other kids wading thought there were...don't you love kids and their imaginations?). There were ducks and geese and he was excited that they were swimming around. It's actually a big improvement because he's always been afraid of birds of all kinds. He's still scared of ravens and crows but he's much better around other kinds of birds. He's definitely getting his anxiety under control.

We came back around 4pm and I hardly had time to sit down. I started on dinner for Alex because he ate junk food instead of his lunch, so he was ravenous. Then I made dinner for the adults. I had wanted to try making farro which is an ancient form of wheat (the food of Roman legions) and is much better for diabetics (less refined carbs and more fiber). I made it like a risotto and it was really yummy. It was a bit more work than rice (soak, parboil, and then cook), but I think it's totally worth it and it's going on the rotation of grains. Too bad Alex won't eat it.

Now I'm contemplating buying classic Super Mario Brothers on the Wii. Let the addiction begin...

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Ancient writing in the news

Computer reveals stone tablet 'handwriting' in a flash
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17405-computer-reveals-stone-tablet-handwriting-in-a-flash.html
Computer scientists from National Technical University of Athens developed a software system that correctly recognize handwriting on 24 Greek inscriptions between 334 BC and 134 BC and successfully attributed them to six different stone-cutters. Plans are under way to fine tune and deploy this system to build a large database of inscriptions and their attributions.

Paikuli inscriptions studied, restored in Iraq
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=99355&sectionid=3510212
Sassanid inscriptions on the Paikuli Tower, a structure built by Sassanid king Narseh to commemorate the overthrow of his nephew Bahram III (Warahran III) in modern Iraqi Kurdistan, have been restored and studied. The inscriptions are bilingual in Parthian and Middle Persian, both written using the Pahlavi script.

'Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions are the only record of old Tamil'
http://www.frontline.in/stories/20090717261407000.htm
Excerpt of an interview with Iravatham Mahadevan, prominent researcher of Old Tamil and Indus Valley script. Mainly talks about vandalism of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions, which are the oldest Tamil texts as well as the oldest Jain texts.

Days in the sun...

I have a tan. Well, at least a farmer's tan ;) Yesterday my company spent the afternoon playing gokarts and minigolf. Turns out I sucked at both. I step on the brakes too much. And I got tired from the sun after about 10 holes in minigolf and started losing my concentration. But it was loads of fun even without alcohol involved.

Today we took Alex to Vasona park which has a narrow gauge train loop and a big playground. He's been very weepy and nervous for this whole week so we were worried that he was going to freak out, but actually he really enjoyed it. We took the train twice, and he played for a while in the play structures until it got too hot and too sunny. He got a bit of sun because he started crying again when we got home, but after 2-tbsp of children's motrin he got much better. Now my problem is him stealing popsicles out of the fridge. Hmph. At least they're sugar-free.

Now we're holed up here in the bedroom with the AC blasting. It's actually not hot outside, but since we're toasty it feels good to be in a refrigerator. Dinner is going to be grilled soy-marinated pork chops, garlicky snow peas, and some kind of rice (which apparently is going to be an experiment courtesy of Christine, whenever she wakes up from her nap).

Oh wait now Alex wants blueberries. Time to go. Everybody have a great 4th of July weekend.

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DT #6 on Billboard!

Holy Crap! Black Clouds and Silver Linings debut at #6 on the Billboard chart!

http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/news/DREAM-THEATER-DEBUTS--6-HIGHEST-CHART-EVER-20355.aspx

It's not too shabby in the rest of the world either.

Finland - 1
Germany - 3
The Netherlands - 3
US - 6
Norway - 7
Switzerland - 9
Italy - 10
Spain - 13
Australia - 16
UK - 23

Dog Tired

Alex woke up at 4am last night. Again. He did the same on Saturday morning too. At least this time he went back to sleep, unless Saturday. Still, I'm pretty tired, because I sang and told The Big Red Barn god-knows-how-many-times. None of it worked, until I started talking about the parodies of 300 that I've seen on YouTube with a half-asleep wife. That put Alex back to sleep. I can't tell if he just likes our voices, or he actually likes geeky stuff. Well, who knows?

So it was overall a pretty good weekend. Friday my wife and I went to the French Laundry, arguably the best restaurant in the United States, the only one with three Michelin stars in the California. I wrote up a review of it at here. We had a good time driving through Napa Valley and walking around Yountville aka foodie central. Saw some celebrity chefs too (Michael Chiarello and St Thomas Keller himself).

Alex didn't take so well to the whole proceeding though. He was weepy and whiney and morose while we were away for a whole six hours. But we gotta try, not just for us, but it's good for him to have to deal with his anxiety issues. The thing is that today summer starts for him and while whiney he actually got into the car and went without much protestation. Who knows? Maybe he's getting better.

The weekend was ridiculously hot, so we hid out in the AC until late afternoon and then pop up for frozen yogurt. It's gonna be hot for a few days. I guess it's supposed to be summer but I'm just not that big fan of the 90-plus weather. I'd be content with the 70's forever.

Time to grab lunch. From downstairs. Ugh.


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