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Fri, 22 Dec 2006

Great job Leanne

posted at: 18:27 | permanent link to this entry | Comments:

Kitchen re-finishing done!

I have completed the project to re-finish my kitchen. Tasks completed include:

  1. Re-paint ceiling and walls.
  2. New light fixtures.
  3. New baseboard and door trim.
  4. New range hood and splash guard.
  5. Re-faced cabinets.
Photos from the project are available in my gallery here.

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Sat, 16 Dec 2006

Curling Rocks!

Slides from my latest talk for The Pittsburgh Perl Mongers are now available on my site here.

My talk was on implementing the condorcet election method in Perl in order to get a consensus of team rankings from different points of view. I used Curling as the theme. People seemed to enjoy the talk.

Speaking of curling, I'm going to be heading out the door very soon to go to another game. So far, my team is 4 and 2, and tied for second place. After curling, I'm heading over to pair's Christmas party at PAPA headquarters.

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Wed, 08 Nov 2006

Pittsburgh Perl Mongers

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Sat, 04 Nov 2006

Section NE-4B at Camp Alpine

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Fri, 03 Nov 2006

Northeast region section officers seminar

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At the circus.

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Mon, 23 Oct 2006

Zoo Boo

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Tue, 17 Oct 2006

Natalie the naturalist

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Mon, 16 Oct 2006

Sick and tired of Comcast.

I can't stand companies that have the attitude that you can't do without them and therefore they can do whatever they want to you. I'm fighting with Comcast right now, who is doing an awful job of taking over for Adelphia (who would have thought it was possible to do worse than them?).

Some of my services have been down for over a week now. When I try to talk to Adelphia, they won't talk to me because I've already been "transitioned". When I tried to talk to Comcast they told me that I haven't been transitioned yet.

I spoke to a person at Comcast about a week ago that promised me that I'd be up and running by this Saturday. No apology, no offer of credit for the service I was paying for and not receiving.. just "check back in a week". Well, the week has passed, and surprise surprise... still not up. So I spoke to Amy tonight, who told me that "Please be advised that We have started the transition, it is not completed". Let me translate that from customer service speech to what this customer hears: "Please be advised that while you continue to pay us money, we see no need to move any faster than we feel like. We've already passed the promised deadline and nothing bad came of it."

Next, she gave me a real nice bonus: Once the transition is complete, they'll send an e-mail to my Adelphia e-mail address. Sounds reasonable, right? Problem is, I don't have an Adelphia e-mail. My Adelphia account was configured to send any important mail from Adelphia directly to my real e-mail account. I told Comcast support that I didn't have an Adelphia e-mail account, and that I'd like to continue the same arrangement. Their answer: No. They don't do that. I have to have an Adelphia account so that I can get mail from Comcast letting me know when they've gotten around to fixing my service. So, Amy, how am I supposed to get an e-mail account from Adelphia when they consider me already "transitioned"? Well, it turns out that she can't help me with that.

If I didn't have Altell as a phone service provider, I'd be switching to DSL in a heartbeat. But until that changes or until they make affordable 2-way satellite, I guess Comcast gets to continue doing whatever they want to do.

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Sat, 14 Oct 2006

Sharing a drink

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Mon, 09 Oct 2006

Delmont Apple & Arts Festival

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Fri, 06 Oct 2006


Google Calendar I have added a Google Calendar to my site. If you have an account with Google, you can click on the button here to subscribe to my calendar. If you don't have a Google account, you can still view my calendar by clicking on the "Calendar" link on the menu bar to the left.

posted at: 14:59 | permanent link to this entry | Comments:

Sat, 30 Sep 2006

New Wagion officers

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Fri, 29 Sep 2006

Following the rainbow to Camp Conestoga.

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Sat, 23 Sep 2006

Pittsburgh Perl Workshop

posted at: 10:39 | permanent link to this entry | Comments:

Fri, 15 Sep 2006

Going Curling

Thanks to pair's Q-Fund, I've joined the Pittsburgh Curling Club. I go to my first instructional class tomorrow.

This will be my second time curling. I went a couple years ago on a Scout trip, and had a good time. I tried to join the club last year, but because of all the media coverage from the Olympics, they had to close membership (too many people wanted to join). This year, I managed to get my application in early enough.

Work is still progressing with the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop. I visited the CMU campus today and met with the conference coordinator. We walked through the conference space and worked out several details. Several more details remain to be worked out between now and next Saturday.

Afterwards, we went to the Penn Brewery to check out a potential venue for a social event after the workshop. Looks like Oktoberfest started this weekend, and runs through next weekend also. So, that venue is probably out.

posted at: 22:41 | permanent link to this entry | Comments:

Oktoberfest at the Penn Brewery

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Tue, 12 Sep 2006

Big Stuff

I've been doing a lot of work lately to prepare for The Pittsburgh Perl Workshop. There are three of us running the event and only 11 days left until it is here. After a year and a half of planning, the event is almost here and things are crazy.

Registration has really picked up in the past week. We had intended to have a conference with 120 people. It looks like we may go over that number.

As soon as PPW winds down, we will need to determine if we want to do this again next year. It is all going to depend on how it turns out this time around.

The weekend after PPW is the October OA Service Weekend for Wagion Lodge #6. It is going to be a sad weekend for me because it will be my last weekend advising an Officer. I have already started my role as an adviser for the 2008 Section NE-4B conclave. And, starting with the new year, there will be a new Program Vice-Chief adviser. I will remain on as an Associate Lodge Adviser.

At the OA Weekend, my Conclave Chairman will be conducting interviews for all of his sub-committees. I hope we get a good turnout for the interviews. Having eager subcommittee chairman will make things run more smoothly. The October weekend is also when we will find out who our new lodge officers are.

This November, I'll be heading to Camp Alpine in Alpine, New York (This will be my second time heading to that camp). I will be attending the Northeast Region Section Officers Seminar along with the conclave 2008 youth chairman. We'll be getting training on all of the procedures for running a conclave.

Hopefully by the February banquet, we'll have the training and chairmen in place and we can start putting together an awesome conclave.

posted at: 18:41 | permanent link to this entry | Comments:

Mon, 28 Aug 2006

First day of school!

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Sat, 12 Aug 2006

Playing in the park.

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Fri, 04 Aug 2006

Chip off the old block.

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Sat, 22 Jul 2006

New car.

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Sat, 08 Jul 2006

Ocean City babysitting

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Tue, 04 Jul 2006

Sunrise on the beach.

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Sun, 02 Jul 2006

View from our balcony.

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Wed, 28 Jun 2006

On my way to the airport.

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YAPC 2006 Day 2 recap.

This day went by amazingly fast. I went to several talks on testing in the morning. Most of those talks were exceedingly dry, and seemed aimed only at people that don't already do testing. There doesn't seem to be much new information out there on testing. Except for perhaps the one gem of the conference: Selenium. This rather interesting application allows you to write regression tests for your web application that actually launch and use a real web browser to test the application. This makes testing things like AJAX and JavaScript possible.

In the afternoon, I attended an amusing talk about ACME modules, and then I spent some time talking to some other companies that were up at the conference. Then, it was time to get ready for the evening dinner.

The dinner was held at Dave and Busters, Chicago this year. We had a large part of the building blocked off exclusively for us, and many of the games were set to free play. There was a Pump It Up game present, and many of us were playing that throughout the night.

Plans for PPW are coming together nicely. Best Practical has agreed to be a sponsor. This pushes our total sponsorship up into a comfortable level for us. Casey will also be giving a lightning talk on PPW tomorrow, and I hope that helps drum up some more interest in both speaking and attending.

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Tue, 27 Jun 2006

YAPC dinner at D&B

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Chicago subway

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Mon, 26 Jun 2006

YAPC 2006 Day 1 recap.

Today was the first day for YAPC::NA 2006. I went to five different presentations today.

Some of the talks, like the talk on Sub::Exporter, and the talk on using AJAX with Perl were very informative. I got a number of ideas from these talks, and I'm looking forward to playing around with them to see what I can do. These are the kinds of talks that make conferences like this useful.

On the other hand, some of the talks were not so good. I had a number of people ask me why I didn't give a talk this year. The reason was simple: I didn't have anything new to say. Some of these talks that I go to are the same thing year after year after year. And while I can appreciate that a lot of the people that come to each YAPC are new and haven't heard the talks yet, I think there has got to be a limit to how much repeat material goes into a conference like this. Otherwise, the reasons to come back next year just reduce with every year I go.

Several of the talks I went to today seemed to revolve around the speaker more than the subject they were speaking about. I really hate these talks. It reminds me of politicians repeating popular thinking, like "crime is bad", but not really providing any solution to the issues they are brining up.

Tonight, I have some free time to sit back and relax. I'm going to try to work on some Perl code tonight and get ready for tomorrow.

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YAPC Day one done.

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Arrival at Chicago

It's 1:00 in the morning here, which is about 2:00 back home. It has been a long day.

Things started this morning before any of us were even at the airport. It turns out that an earlier United Airlines flight to Chicago was canceled. This left a lady with 17 kids that needed to get to Chicago so that they could get on a flight to Poland stranded. So, United tried to cram all 18 of those passengers onto our flight. Problem was our flight was already completely booked.

This, in turn, led to an extremely long line at the check-in, which was exasperated by an under-staffed check in counter, including some new lady that had no idea what she was doing. It took nearly 2 hours to get checked in. I had planned on arriving at the airport at 3:00 for my 4:44 flight, it is a good thing that I actually ended up getting there a half-hour early.

Of the 5 of us flying to YAPC from Pittsburgh, three of us ended up getting on the flight. I made it on the flight, but Andy, who was about 20 people behind me in the check-in line did not. Joe and Andy ended up catching a later flight, and arrived in Chicago around 10:00 in the evening. United did give each of them a voucher for a free flight, and they also provided them with a free meal. That was nice, but it would have been nicer if they hadn't screwed up in the first place.

With all the commotion with the boarding and people not getting on the flight, we were actually about an hour late in taking off. Eventually we got to a taxi and asked him to take us to the IIT campus. That's when we found out that there isn't just one IIT campus. After checking some of our maps, we thought we knew where we were going, and away we went.

As we were nearing the campus, I'm certain I heard gunshots being fired. And as we were getting out of the cab, the driver told us to be careful because it was a very high crime neighborhood. Then, as the driver pulled away, we discovered that he had taken us to the wrong spot. After walking around a couple blocks, we discovered that our map was only about a block and a half off, and fortunately it was a walk in the opposite direction of the gun shots.

The rooms themselves, as you can see from my earlier post, are basically concrete. That includes the floor, walls, and ceiling. The bed is a standard steel bunk with a mattress. These rooms are very cold, and as it turns out, there is no thermostat in my room. Also, each room apparently comes with only one thin blanket. When I asked for another blanket for my room, I was told "we don't do that" I never thought we could find rooms worse than last year's YAPC, but it appears I was wrong.

After getting checked in, the extreme boredom began to set in. There really isn't much to do around this campus. We found a Chinese restaurant not too far away in a safe direction, so we decided to get some food there. Then we came back and waited for Joe and Andy to arrive.

I'm really hoping that tomorrow things will get better when there are more people around. So far, this trip has been pretty lousy.

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Sun, 25 Jun 2006

Welcome to IIT. This will be your cell.

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A big milestone

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Mon, 19 Jun 2006

Sprained Ankle

I sprained my ankle this Sunday. I was carrying a big cooler full of drinks out of the house to the car so that Leanne, Natalie, and I could go fishing when I tripped and twisted my ankle.

I went to the ER and got an X-Ray. They gave me a splint I'm supposed to wear for the next week. Fortunately, I'll be done with the splint before next weekend when I go to Chicago for YAPC.

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Wed, 14 Jun 2006

Happy birthday to me.

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Sun, 04 Jun 2006

OA Weekend

I attend the Wagion Lodge 6 June Service weekend the past weekend. We had some rain, but also had some nice patches of weather as well. The Scouts seem to like playing Pump It Up. They asked me to bring the game up for Friday Snack. As it turns out, it started raining just when Saturday snack should have happened, so we ended up moving back inside and playing Pump It Up again.

I have posted some pictures from the event on my site.

posted at: 23:27 | permanent link to this entry | Comments:

Mon, 01 May 2006

First school bus ride.

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Tue, 25 Apr 2006

New Pictures

I've updated my Gallery with some new Pictures. First, here are some pictures from the Mark Jason Dominus talk at the Pittsburgh Perl Mongers from earlier this month.

Also, one of our fish produced some new baby fish the other day. Here are some pictures of the new fish, several minutes old. I also included a picture of our new cats, Lily and Spirit.

Finally, some pictures from the Wagion Lodge #6 April 2006 Service Weekend. The weekend went well, except for the record setting rainfall. Fortunately, we were already planning indoor activities for Saturday night anyway. We had one new vigil this weekend. The youth vigil also voted on the Vigil for next year. We'll find out who those people are in August.

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Sun, 16 Apr 2006

Waiting for the Easter Bunny.

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Sat, 15 Apr 2006

Spent the day at Grandma's.

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Fri, 14 Apr 2006

It must be spring

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Wed, 12 Apr 2006

MJD at the Pittsburgh Perl Mongers

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Thu, 06 Apr 2006

Announcing the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop - 2006-09-23

The Pittsburgh Perl Workshop has officially been announced. This comes from an idea that Casey and I dreamed up last year while we were at YAPC. I'm a member of the Cabal, so I'm going to be pretty busy this summer getting ready for the event.

Thankfully, we already have our first sponsor. pair Networks has agreed to sponsor a room for the event. We will need about three more sponsors to contribute at the same level as pair in order to fully fund the event.

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Sun, 02 Apr 2006

Nice day for fishing.

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Thu, 23 Mar 2006

Council Camping Committee Meeting.

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Sun, 26 Feb 2006

Thunder-bird award

Wagion Lodge #6 honored me tonight at our banquet by presenting me with the Thunder-bird award. This is the most prestigious award that can be given by the lodge. Only one adult and one youth is selected for the award every year. I am very proud to have been selected.

For those of you that were there tonight, my bio is a bit out-dated. I am no longer an EMT, and I did receive my bachelor's degree a long time ago.

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Sat, 11 Feb 2006


My second Perl Module is now available on CPAN. DBD::Multi is a module that implements transparent load distribution and fail-over for read-only queries on a cluster of replicated database servers. This is something that I've been using for a while at work now in conjunction with our Slony replicated postgreSQL servers.

I designed most of the module. Credit goes to Casey West for most of the initial implementation back when he still worked for pair.

posted at: 23:46 | permanent link to this entry | Comments:

Random Stuff


I was doing some volunteer work for the scouts today. There's a condemned apartment building in Greensburg and the Scouts were given permission to salvage some useful items out of the building for camp. I was helping pull a window fixture out of the wall when I stepped on a nail that went all the way through my shoe and into the foot. I spent the rest of the day in the Emergency Room getting x-rays and a tetanus shot.


I finished reading "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Price." I've also been trying to ready "Ribsy" to Natalie, but she isn't all that interested.

Presently, I'm reading "Perl Best Practices" by Damian Conway.

Web Sites

I've started adding some content to the Westmoreland-Fayette Council website. I expect that project to pick up some momentum soon.


The Wagion Lodge banquet will be coming up on February 25th. As program adviser, I've been monitoring the planning closely. Things seem to be exactly where they should be right now. We have an Executive Committee meeting tomorrow to make sure we haven't forgotten anything.


The large project that I've been working on since November is just about done. I can't say much about it until it is officially announced, except that I'm really pleased with the way it turned out and I'm excited to get it out the door.

posted at: 23:39 | permanent link to this entry | Comments:

Sat, 28 Jan 2006

Remember Challenger

20 years ago on this day, as President Ronald Reagan put it, the crew of the space shuttle Challenger "waved goodbye and slipped the surly bounds of earth to touch the face of God."

I still remember where I was on that Tuesday morning. I was nine years old and laying on the couch at home. It was cold out and I was covered up with a blanket watching television. I do not recall if school was canceled that day due to snow, or if I had just stayed home sick. I remember watching television when the show I was watching was interrupted by breaking news that the space shuttle had exploded.

I shouted to my mom, "Mom come look, the space shuttle blew up". She was on the phone in the kitchen. At first she didn't believe me. So I called her again, she came walking into the living room and looked at the TV. She watched for a minute, still paying more attention to the person on the phone than watching the TV until they finally re-ran the footage of the explosion once again. Then she said "oh my, it really did blow up, didn't it?".

They would re-play the clip of the 73 second flight of challenger over and over again, forward and backwards.. fast and slow. Then they would switch to a shot of the sky where the accident had happened. I strained to see parachutes coming down. But, of course, there were no parachutes.

For the next day or two, we watched them play the same 73 seconds of footage over and over again. We kept waiting for them to say something new. But it would be years before the most of what happened that day would finally come out. A long time passed before NASA would finally admit that it was not the explosion that killed the astronauts, but the 200 MPH impact with the ocean that happened after a 65,000 foot descent that lasted 2 minutes and 45 seconds. Some controversial evidence indicates that the astronauts were conscious and making efforts to save themselves during that time.

It would take at least a day before any regular television resumed playing. In the mean-time, we all gained a thorough lesson about the crew and their mission. Of course, I knew there were space shuttles, I even knew we had been to the moon (I had seen Superman 2, after all). But in that day, I became just a bit more aware that going to space wasn't something ordinary. The astronauts were not business people heading off to work, they were heros.

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Wed, 25 Jan 2006

Lens Crafters

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Tue, 24 Jan 2006

Scouting in January.

I just attended the Wagion Lodge #6 Lodge Leadership Development Course this past weekend (pictures). There were a number of very good training sessions put on. I was especially happy with the quality of the training sessions put on by some of the youth. The lodge banquet is coming up next month, I'm looking forward to seeing how well the youth will pull that off.

I was recently given the postion of Council Webmaster for Westmoreland-Fayette Council. I've been working on updating the site for quite a while now. Last week, I was able to demo the progress I had made so far to the council and get approval to move forward. My strategy will be small, frequent updates, rather than very large infrequent updates (which usually get de-railed before they happen). The council web-site was just cut over to my control today. I've started to make my first set of small changes.

Next Monday will be the Council Program Group meeting. I'm looking forward to the meeting because there's some promising news on the Camping Promotions front. This year, Wagion intends to focus on Cub Camping. I'm interested to see what becomes of this strategy. I think it is a really good idea.

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Thu, 19 Jan 2006

New dishwasher

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Sat, 07 Jan 2006


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Wed, 04 Jan 2006

Back from a two week vacation.

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