Friday, August 28, 2009

A pleasant surprize

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There I was minding my own business, waiting for my parents to come for a visit. Little did I know that this guy joined them for a ride and a visit.

Not seeing him for three years now, I have a lot of catching up to do.

I'll do a photo report later on.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Has it been 5 years already?

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The 5-Year-Old will not read this post anytime soon, maybe never. Or maybe in the future she'll want to know how it was in the past, and the internet and this blog will still exist.

I think time flies the fastest when you have kids. You have an outside point of reference to judge the flow of your life.

Oh my God! Has it really been five years?! I've never had a good memory. My brain prefers to keep in the present and in the future, with the past usually pushed away into the deep recessess.

You are not a monkey anymore. You are a fully developed little person, with your likes of princesses and dislikes of anything vegetable. You a strong willed, just like your mom (I am going to get whacked for that), and her smile (one of the reasons I fell in love with your mom) . You love being silly, just like me, and unfortunately you also inherited my lack of attention span. It doesn't matter, I haven't met a person who you can not win over in a span of minutes.

When I hugged you in morning and wished you a Happy Birthday, the thought of you growing up almost brought me to tears. Yes, I am a sentimental sap.


Happy 5th Birthday Monkey. Me and your Mom love you very much.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What's a nerd to do...

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I have this pestering problem. I've said it many times before but my music colelction contains now approximately 6500 mp3s. About half of them are the Russian music that I always listen to.

The problem comes when the Russian information is displayed in any number of MP3 players around my house, including my own PC. See some of the players refuse to play files that have unicode characters in them (read cyrillic alphabet), except my iPod and SanDisk players refuse to show mp3 information in correct manner. To make it even more frustrating once in a while my preferred Library method (MediaMonkey) on occasion translates unicode in ASCII characters, meaning anything Russian gets translated into googly letters.

What I have done is wrote a little winform application using .NET. It has two portions.

The first portion took all of my music that had russian characters in file names and transliterated them into latin. That part was fairly easy. I did have to manually build a libabry of russian-into-latin characters for correct replacements. All of the russian characters in UTF-8 econding are starting at ASCII value of 1040. This also helped with ASCII replacements for Windows 1251 standard russian encoding. All I had to do was take the ASCII code and add 848 to it, the replacement worked beautifully.

The second portion is much more difficult. There is a shortage of .NET components available that work with extended ID3 tags. None of them are Microsoft native, and all are written by people like me. The problem with ID3 tags is that version 1 does not support Unicode. The ID3 version 2 tags are a bit more complicated to control.

What I am currently trying to do is write two separate procedures one for updated ID3v1 tags and another for ID3v2 tags, and see where that will take me.

Wow, got that off my chest. Can I have my Nerd Card back?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kid speak

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The Awesome Wife's Chronicles...

Couple of days ago she was reading The-5-Year-Old Curious George stories.

Wife: ... The End...
5-Year-Old (without missing a bit): Rainforest Cafe proudly sponsors PBS!

For those unfamiliar with PBS, this is the place where Curious George cartoons are shown. The-5-Year-Old loves them.

----------------------------------------------------

In the store with The Baby. A woman with two young children gets behind her in the cashier line. Kids flutter about the baby, saying how cute she is, asking their mom for another baby. At that particular moment The Baby decides that it's time to scream. Another 15 seconds later: "Mom, I don't want another baby!"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A promise is a promise

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Here is the a tour of Chicago famous spots done Lego style, from Legoland.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Because I am lazy

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I am picking up a memo from Jason.

1.What time did you get up this morning? 6:48 AM

2.How do you like your steak? Medium, I like a little blood and juices on my plate.

3.What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

4.What is your favorite TV show? StarTrek TNG. Right now I enjoy Mon and Leverage more than anything else.

5.If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? San Francisco. Probably.

6.What did you have for breakfast? Russian style cottage cheese, called Tvorog. Mixed with sour cream, splenda and diced tomatoes. Yes, I am like that!

7.What is your favorite cuisine? I love Italian and sushi.

8.What foods do you dislike? Tofu. It's pretend food.

9.Favorite place to eat? Tough to say. I try to mix different cuisines.

10.Favorite dressing? Blue cheese.

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? 07 Nissan Altima. it does the job.

12.What are your favorite clothes? I prefer to wear jeans and a polo.

13.Where would you visit if you had the chance? Japan, fascinating place.

14.Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? Neither, build to twice the size as was specified in the original scope.

15.Where would you want to retire? I don't know, haven't thought about it. Somewhere where it's warm, and plenty of golf courses.

16.Favorite time of day? Morning, that's the time when I can function.

17.Where were you born? Rostov-na-Donu. Rostov on the river Don, Russia.

18.What is your favorite sport to watch? Love NFL. Ocassionaly golf.

19.Who do you think will not tag you back? I don't tag so I don't expect to be tagged.

20.Person you expect to tag you back first? see above.

21.Who are you most curious about their responses to this? Anyone who reads this, I don't have a lot of friends (*sniff*)

22.Bird watcher? Not really.

23.Are you a morning person or a night person? Morning.


24.Do you have any pets? Used to have a dog, probably another one in a year.

25.Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? No, not at the moment.

26.What did you want to be when you were little? A teacher.

27.What is your best childhood memory? I had a happy childhood. Unfortunately it's all episodical. Can't come with one.

28.Are you a cat or dog person? Dog, definitely dog. I like the empathy dogs have for us hoomans.

29.Are you married? Yes.

30.Always wear your seat belt? Absolutely. Can't see a reason not to.

31.Been in a car accident? One, unpleasant. Cost me $2000, the other car was close to being totalled.

32.Any pet peeves? When people dress their dogs in human clothing. Also, pets speaking in movies and TVs.

33.Favorite pizza toppings? Pepporoni. Love it.

34.Favorite flower? I realy don't have one. For taking pictures I like all sorts of them, water lillies maybe.


35.Favorite ice cream? Chocolate, always chocolate.

36.Favorite fast-food restaurant? Jimmy Johns for sandwiches. Steak and Shake, Potbellies for Milk Shakes.

37.How many times did you fail your driver's test? Once. The dude failed me on a broken K-Turn. Asswhole.

38.From whom did you get your last email? One of my colleagues.

39.At which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Any big electronics store.

40.Do anything spontaneous lately? Nope, not much on spontanuity having two little kids.

41.Like your job? Yeah, it keeps me entertained for 9 hours a day.

42.Broccoli? Done right of course. Or fresh with ranch.

43.What was your favorite vacation? Yosemite with a bunch of our friends five years back. Great great fun.

44.Last person you went out to dinner with? Wife of course.

45.What are you listening to right now? Office sounds. Shrill voices from a meeting next office.

46.What is your favorite color? Orange.

47.How many tattoos do you have? None, never had the guts to get one.

48.How many are you tagging for this quiz? Nobody. Again, not a lot of friends :)

49.Coffee drinker? Mornings.

50.What time did you finish this quiz? 11:39Am CST.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Busy week

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This is going to be a socially busy week for the Soon-To-Be-5-Year-Old. All of her classmates are turning five within a span of August. We have a birthday party on Wednesday, one on Saturday and another one on Sunday.

What's a father to do? :)

We went to Legoland on Saturday, which was intersting enough in its own right. The have a nice Lego-build Chicago skyline. I will show the pics later on, have to compile them in a nice slideshow first.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Weekend happenings

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Do I have a lot of things to write about? No. Am I going to write something anyway? Absolutely.

I can't really focus these last weeks, so everything is going to be thrown together without plan, or grammar checks.

The Baby gave me a couple of sleepless nights last week, but today, as I walked into her room, I saw a glimpse of regongnition on her face, accented by a focused four second gaze, and a smile. Most of the time, I tell myself that it's gaz, but this time I am pretty certain that it was a genuine smile. I have seen her smile or smirk in her sleep (what do babies dream of when they sleep?). These moments are priceless and absolutely heart melting. Yes, I am a big softy when it comes to my girls, despite the cynical appearences I try to put on.

The Four Yearl Old, who will become the Five Year Old later this month, absolutely adores The Baby. This makes us ridiculously happy right now, because we've been scared by jelousy stories from our friends and families.

We actually made it out to Ravinia Music Festival this year. Although I had to spend a large portion of the concert looking for parking, I still was able to sit back, relax, and enjoy some classical medley by Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

I hope we can get out there again this year, the season is almost over.

That is all folks.