Charting it up… The story of my life…

If you’re a vigilant reader of XKCD.com, then you more than likely already saw this, but it cracks me up to no end…

'There's also a spike on the Fourier transform at the one-month mark where --' 'You want to stop talking right now.'

For those of you that like to graph everything, if you’re in the SharePoint or asp.net world, I’d recommend Dundas Chart. If you’re into utilizing web based APIs, Google Charts is pretty cool.

Please note that the “Point” that our friendly XKCD author is speaking of is not the use of SharePoint, though I’m sure that SharePoint has also had it’s mix of throwing monkey wrenches in relationships 🙂

No honey, we’re not going to use the BCD to solve this problem, I’ll write the data connection manually using custom code that doesn’t match any other schema we have…

Another Christmas…

Just another Christmas in Northern Virginia with the Ushers… however this one was a little different. Â There were no stockings. Â No cookies or pies being baked. Â No grandiose feast of turkey or ham with all of the fixings. Â Today in fact, in many respects today seemed like just another weekend, except of course that all retail stores were closed.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while or know anything about what’s actually going on in my life, then you know that my mom passed away on 11 November 2008 due to injuries suffered in a catastrophic car accident a month earlier in South Carolina.

It’s been difficult these past two months, figuring out how to talk to people, how to re-engage people, how to focus, how to protect myself emotionally, and how to feel joy again after having my mother ripped away from my life so unexpectedly.

In my 29 years of life I have witnessed friends go through the hardship of losing a parent, sibling or a loved one passing away… and I would feel sorry for them, not really understanding how they felt or how agonizing the pain was… feeling the anguish and sadness that they would no longer be around, but not having it hit home quite so closely.

I’m pretty certain that I understand now and I don’t like the pain and there’s really nothing that I can say can quench it. Â My prayers for all those that are hurting – I’m here for you if you need to talk.

My sister in law recommended reading When Life Is Changed Forever by Rick Taylor.  It’s scary how he’s able to identify several of the feelings that I’ve had over the past two months.  From the moments where I realize that I’m in denial and attempting to do things that will make me fleet from the pain rather than to face it directly and embrace it.Â

Nevertheless rather than rambling aimlessly… this Christmas day in 2008 I’ve spent mostly reading, reflecting, thinking, wandering, sipping on diet Coke… not the typical Christmas of gathering with family as in years past. Â There’s a deep emptiness that I cannot deny – and while some may say that I should have spent the day with family, I can only say that I need the time away to embrace the pain, refusing to cover up the pain. Â Besides, it’s somewhat difficult to gather together when your family is geographically spread across the mid-Atlantic states.Â

So my Christmas gift to you all is to share with the world the beautiful memorial service to honor mom with the world. Â Thanks to Vimeo.com for their hosting service. Â

Direct link for best quality – click here

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2632635&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Memorial Service of Carolyn Usher on Vimeo.

Apparently I’ve been tagged…

So it’s late, but yet it’s early, and I decided I’d go pop over to Usherisms.com to see what’s going on in the lives of family and lo and behold, I’d been tagged. I shake my fist at Rachel for inspiring my sister-in-law for posting this 😉 Nonetheless, unlike my sister-in-law, coming up with 8 TV shows that I watch is kinda hard. :-

8 TV Shows I Watch

  1. The Office – “I want people to be afraid of how much they love me…” Michael Scott, you are our hero, our leader and our inspiration.
  2. The Simpsons – Yes, that’s right, I’m an American that enjoys the humor of Matt Groening.
  3. NCIS – Over the years, it’s grown on me.
  4. 24 – As long they don’t bring Kim Bauer back into the fold of things, I’ll be a happy camper.
  5. Chuck – John Casey is definitely my favorite character by far in this.
  6. Burn Notice – It’s a hard life in Miami… but it’s good to be Michael Weston.
  7. ALF – Here Lucky, Lucky, Lucky…
  8. Criminal Minds – Interesting perspectives on how screwed up some people are in the head.

8 Favorite Restaurants

  1. Mike’s American Grill – It’s too bad that they don’t have their Chocolate Ho-Ho anymore, what a great dessert. On a regular day, their Tuna or Salmon salad is fab.
  2. Houlihan’s – Chicken Nachos to start with, then the Buffalo Bleu Salad please 🙂
  3. Champp’s – I’m a sucker for their barbecue chop salad. If you’re really eager for a dessert that will leave you quite satisfied, go for the Mile High Ice Cream Pie.
  4. Delia’s Pizzeria and Grille – Delish Tummi dishes. Did you know you can order online? I didn’t…
  5. Duck Chang’s – Great food that’s different than your typical “American” Chinese food establishment.
  6. Gordon Biersch Brewery – Oh how I adore the chop salad.
  7. Aladdin’s Eatery – Great gyro wraps and their cheese cake is ridiculous.
  8. Shooter McGee’s – Where else can you get a half priced burger on Monday nights or Ribs with such a sweet taste with such tender meat on Thursday nights?

St. Louis Bread Company – Yummy soups, need I say more? (this was #8 originally)

8 Things That Happened To Me or That I Did Today

  1. Woke up around 7 AM and continued catching up on RSS feeds on good ole Google Reader.
  2. Dressed up in my snazzy taupe colored suit and was told that I looked like I was dressing up for GQ or something.
  3. Discussed a few project strategies with my boss.
  4. Spent 2.5 hours commuting to and from Herndon during the day.
  5. Talked to Robert quite a bit about life while carpooling back and forth.
  6. Pondered buying an iPhone 3G but after seeing a few news snippets about a 128 GB SSD version of the iPhone, holding off a few more weeks.
  7. Watched three episodes of Heroes in an attempt to catch up and have a clue what’s going on this season.
  8. Took a short nap before waking up and seeing that I’d been tagged and figured if I didn’t reply to this now, it would be a long time.

8 Things That I’m Looking Forward To

  1. Going to the gym in four hours.
  2. Hanging out with Gus later this evening.
  3. Figuring out what I’m doing for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
  4. Getting project defined further so as to execute more precisely to be effective.
  5. Seeing old friends as they circulate through the greater Northern Virginia region over the holidays.
  6. Getting over this cold – almost there.
  7. A nap this afternoon.
  8. Verizon Wireless going to LTE.

8 Things I Wish For

  1. Greater clarity in thought.
  2. Continued to determination to live more frugally.
  3. Greater fellowship interaction.
  4. A wonderful young lass to come into my life that just clicks.
  5. Peace of heart after the events of 10 October 2008.
  6. Continued determination to become more fit – gotta be ready for the 2010 World’s Strongest Dan Competition.
  7. An Infiniti G37.
  8. Reconciliation.

8 People I Tag To Do This Too!

  1. Joel
  2. Mike
  3. Sarah
  4. Kellan
  5. Joe
  6. Derek
  7. Camille
  8. Abe

Now Playing: The Benedictine Monks Of Santo Domingo De Silos – Chant – The Anniversary Edition – Traditor Autem-Benedictus – Antífona (Modo I) – Cántico

Where is Jesus?

By Carolyn Usher (written in 1998)

Christmas is coming but where is Jesus? Shhh now, we are not supposed to offend anyone! Dare we even say the “J” word as we celebrate our “Winter Holiday?” YES, YES, YES!! If we don’t tell anyone about Jesus’ birthday, no one else will. And there are people who need to hear the whole story. In fact, why not start by telling our own children?

Remember how Moses told the Israelites to tell their children about God’s commandments? In Deuteronomy 6, Moses tells the people to impress the commandments on your children, talk about them when you sit a home, and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you get up.

Let’s translate that verse for today, and tell our children about Jesus. Perhaps it would go something like this: Impress Jesus on your children, and talk about Jesus when you sit at home rewinding the video tape; when you drive your van full of little people to the grocery store or to the soccer practice; and when you lie down and when you get up (after having fallen asleep when you were lying down getting them to sleep!).

We may not see Jesus nestled in a manger scene in the mall, but reminders of Him are everywhere we look. So let’s look for reminders of Jesus and start talking about Him to our children.

How about the Christmas lights? The lights remind me of Jesus because He is the light of the world. (John 8:12) In fact, in heaven, the Lord God will provide our light. (Rev 22:5) Whenever we see Christmas lights, whether they are the beautiful ones on our trees, or the tacky ones around the corner or the dazzling ones at the mall, lights can be a special reminder to us of Jesus.

How many others can you find? When we look up at the stars on a cold clear night, we are reminded that it was a very, very bright and special star that led the wise men to Jesus. (Matt 2:21) When we hearChristmas carols in church or even at the mall, we are reminded that lots of angels sang when Jesus was born. (Luke 2:13-14) When we have a “family feast,” we are reminded that Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35) and that someday we will have a special family feast with God and Jesus in heaven. (Rev 19:9) When we see Christmas trees, we are reminded that Jesus died on a tree to save us from our sins. (1 Peter 2:24) When we shop for presents to give to those we love, we are reminded that Jesus gave each of us a very special present – His life – because He loves us so much! (John 3:16)

There are lots of reminders of Jesus all around us. Can you see them? See how many others you and your family can find as you prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.

The Eggs Arrived…

So the Eggs arrived a few days ago and I have to say that they’re great. The Green Egg is pliable and yet still resilient when you’re squeezing it as hard as you can. Definitely noticed a different in strength after working with if for a day. More than that, working with the blue egg has been intense – it’s definitely got theft deterrence included – you could throw it at someone and it would hurt 🙂

Egg’n it on…

So one of my more recent addictions which I blame my brother for are Captains of Crush hand grips. Â One thing I’ve found is that colleagues in the office will attempt to pick up my Captains of Crush Hand Gripper – No. 1 or No. 1.5 and suddenly realize that their hands aren’t quite as strong as they might have originally though.

However, at the same time, I’ve noticed that I can’t always be carrying around a hand gripper, so I’ve changed over to the IronMind EGG. Â Pretty marvelous if I might say so myself. Â You should get one too 🙂

Listening to Lauridsen: O Magnum Mysterium