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The Indefinite Article.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


This morning it was wet and I didn't air my tires the night before. These were two good excuses for me to not ride my bike into work today. I didn't even pull the bike out of the Blazer. It rested with it's limp tires in the back while an overnight storm misted Houston. I left this morning with the bike still in the truck, but not intending to ride it. Besides the two great excuses I had, I just didn't feel like it.

I arrived at the museum, parked, and started towards the train. Right as I got to the corner of Montrose and Binz, however, the 34 was a block down, so I fumbled a dollar out of my wallet and hopped on. As we quickly bounced along the short remaining stretch of montrose, onto Main and into the medical center (in less than 5 minutes) I realized how incredibly crappy the train is, which makes the same trip in maybe 11-13 minutes.

The train is such a piece of shit. I would choose the bus over the train anyday of the week.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Happy Birthday...

To Le Pableaux!

Flash 2007

At some point last year it dawned on me that i could use xml to hold presentation data and access it throughout the presentation as necessary. I naturally assumed that i would need to have it reside not in an external location, but within the flash environment so that it could be called.

So i worked toward this and made it happen. Then...

It just recently dawned on me that i had been reading the xml and pushing the data into arrays at compile-time rendering the need for the xml doc (at run-time) useless. So now i've got to rework the xml files and the xmlReader function to read a traditional xml file (much easier to handle than xml pushed into a MovieClip). There is a slight difference in the syntax (no need to attachMovie and read the text from mc in the library) and other considerations - but here is my most recent question:

What is the syntax that would make the value of an xml node (let's say "Introduction") the name of a new array in which the remaining xml data would be placed into. Take this xml for example:

<header>The header for section one</header>
<maintext>This is text for section number one.</maintext>
<bullet>This is the first bullet of section one</bullet>
<bullet>This is the second bullet of section one</bullet>
<bullet>This is the third bullet of section one</bullet>

I want to make <name> the name of an array object that will hold the data in the remaining nodes. How would I do that? I've tried it a couple of ways, but failed.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ultra Sound

Ultra Sound
Originally uploaded by TaggartCojanSorensen.
Liz and I went in for the first ultra sound today. We didnt get to here the heart beating but we could see it, the NURSE PRACTITIONER pointed to the little blur inside the blur and said that is your raspberries heartbeat. She said it was strong. Once or twice Liz joked that we now had proof she was pregnant because so far her pregnancy has been ... , mild?.
It was a good visit and we both look forward to watching this develop.

Product Review: Pepsi ICEE

Yesterday, Carolina handed me a note from the school: NO ROLLING BACKPACKS. A few weeks ago we noticed that Adolfo's oversized backpack was developing bare spots on the bottom so we went shopping for a new backpack. He found a nice Cars rolling backpack (with regular shoulder straps as well) at Marshalls and we bought it for him. It's been almost a month since we bought
it. I guess they never noticed it was on wheels, but regardless,
school policy says no rolling backpacks so last night Adolfo and i
went to Target to purchase a new backpack. This time, we found a Spiderman backpack with action shots silkscreened on it and a Superman backpack with a giant 'S' hologram on it. He chose the Superman with the scratchy hologram material on the front and cause when we looked at it and moved it to the right or left at 45 degrees the giant 'S' was replaced by a swooshing Superman.

He thought it was pretty neat.

Coming out of the checkout aisle daddy began to feel 'snacky' and as
luck would have it, there was an open snack bar. "Why don't we get a snack, huh Adolfo?"

"Sure! I want popcorn"

As again, as luck would have it, Target has a easy to purchase 'Popcorn combo' - one small popcorn, one drink. I took a peek at the ICEE machine hoping to see the familiar coca-cola logo, but instead i saw PEPSI. Pepsi???? Really? I don't usually drink pepsi - the carbonation is too weak and it's a
little sweeter than Coke - but would the differences be apparent when frozen? I subbed the drink for a small pepsi icee.

Adolfo chomped on his popcorn while i dispensed ICEE. The color was different - darker. The texture was identical, but from the first taste, it was too sweet. It didn't have the jolt of frozen carbonation that the coca-cola version had either. So my final verdict is that the Pepsi ICEE is too sweet and too bland. I would avoid this one, get a regular soda or just not snack at all.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Adolfo Uses Daddy's New Wireless Remote Control on Himself

What a great weekend. We started it off having my sister Lynda, Diego and Dezma over for a camp-in. The kids slept in pup tents in the living room. We made cookies let the kids run wild for most of the night. Carol made a dynamite breakfast the next day - the works - which segued into a really nice relaxing 'spend-quality-time-with-Adolfo' day. Carol taught him how to watercolor and he and I played a good game of chess.

Later, Carol and her mom had a nice business meeting with Diana while Adolfo IV and i went to the park where he met a nice girl who enjoyed playing tag. They played non-stop for nearly and hour. Then, Todd 2.0 (A.SxSW.) showed up, then the Sorensens (2.25) with a big bag of frozen tamales. Delish!

I felt pretty guilty for having such a leisurely day, so i made up for it today. We woke up, went to church, ate lots of free church donuts, came home where i cleared out the compost, started a new one, pulled out the mower and tiller and filled both with new gas, cut the backyard, planted four potato vine seeds, tilled the corner of the front yard and spread compost out.

It's truly amazing the amount of leaves that have fallen off of that tree. The ground beneath the tree (and beyond!) is just choked with leaves and acorns. I raked till my arms were burning.

It was a whirlwind day, i tell you. Hopefully it will pay off.

I also made a visit to the Houston Garden Center on 18th street behind the Whataburger. Wowee, it's a good thing carol told me, specifically, not to buy anything. In my future - four crepe myrlte trees, two dwarf japanese red maples, several bags of composted cow manure and a palette of sod. Oh yeah, and some Listeria vines for the SE facing wall and fence.

Traffic Control

Killy, Taggart and I had a brief discussion when they were in Jersey City about removal of traffic controls and what effect that has on accidents, etc. Here's a video of an intersction in Hanoi with no controls.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Thoughts on SXSW...

...Overall, it has been a very interesting experience. Some excellent panels, some not so much, but generally a positive experience. The funny thing is the level of clique-ish-ness. It's like, having been excluded from the cool kid cliques previously, these folks enjoy turning the tables. Or maybe it is just that the tech set is an anti-social bunch.

i have met some very interesting and talented people, and actually ran into Pat Ramsey! For those who don't know, Pat was a photographer at the (mostly) Daily University Star in the long distant past.

it's fun being back in Austin, which has seen some pretty amazing growth in the year of my absence. South Congress has bloooown up, and the south side is steadily being modernized. Even more striking is the fact that 'South Austin' is now 'Central Austin' due to the hyper-suburbization of both the north and south fringes.

Back to SXSW. I pretty much stuck with the design panels, and there were a few recurring themes. Love what you do, get offlinemore often, keep an 'inspiration file', etc. Those are the areas of general agreement, but there are some themes with camps on both sides. Whether to build for the oldest or newest browser and up/degrade from there, whether there should be a separation between work-life and life-life, and whether or not to specialize in a given area, or to be more of a generalist.

That last one is of the most interest to me right now (since i build for new browsers, and am working on life-separation) and has been a recent area of personal thought. I have heard strong arguments on both sides, but am leaning toward a middle-ish path, more on the specialist side. The idea is to become a 'T-shaped person': develop and practice a broad skill set (which is teh crossbar —), but have an area of deeper expertise that you focus on (the | ). i'd say i have a pretty broad skill set right now, just need to spend some more time on a few aspects. I think i would really like to focus on UI, which roughly translates into visual design, css and javascript. This is partly due to my genuine personal interest in these areas, and partly because there seems to be a really lot of opportunity for UI work out there.

And now it is all over but the crying. I am going to catch a movie tomorrow, and generally hang out. This has been quite an experience, and i'm looking forward to thinking about going again next year.

PS: photos when i get home.


Monday, March 12, 2007


The Giver of Life
Originally uploaded by killy.
Yesterday, after we had finished the fence and adolph had left home to prep for a night at the Sorensens, Carol made a quick trip to a local panaderia and picked out some fresh pan dulce so we could spend some time around the table with the family that had shown up. We sat around the table for a good hour talking about the drama that fills the lives our families.

They left around 7 (new time) and since the sun was still up i was compelled to start a new project, emptying the compost and spreading the love. The first wheelbarrow was distributed to the lemon tree, the yellow bells and pecan tree out front. The second wheelbarrow went directly into the small dry plot just under the Bay window. I pulled the two scraggly bushes out of the ground leaving only the three ferns i had planted last year. Of course, one project begets another and i ended up raking the leaves from around the front of the house. I only scratched the surface, but came away with more leaves than i could fit back into the wheelbarrow. When i tried to roll the wheelbarrow to the backyard that's when i heard the plastic crack and the wheelbarrow fall to the left. So now it's parked, full of leaves and two dead scraggly bush carcases, in front of the dead Cavalier in front of my house along with a large pile of brown leaves on the concerete next to it.

The work was invigorating to say the least and i swore to continue what i had started monday evening after work. So when i got home and found adolfo asleep after a long day at the museum with his cousins diego and dezma, that's exactly what i did. I used a large empty paint bucket to transfer compost to the larger bed that holds the azaleas and added a little more to the ferns to even out the ground. Then, I gathered all the pots of neglected, nearly dead plants from last year and began to repot them. The ficas is in a bad way. The aloe is bursting from it's pot, but looks sickly. I think it's trying to escape. There was only one pepper plant left.

And as i did this, i realized why i kept getting this error earlier in the day:

ActionScript 2.0 class scripts may only define class or interface constructs.

I had the .fla file, the .as file, and a movie clip on the stage all the same name, so the compiler thought it was supposed to be looking for a class file. When the compiler saw raw code just sitting out there in the .as file, for example:

ball.onEnterFrame = function(){
mytext_txt.text = ball._x;

it flipped out. It's a good thing i repotted those plants or else i would have never figured that one out.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Flexing Some Muscles

Flexing Some Muscles
Originally uploaded by killy.
At the end of what felt like a whirlwind weekend Adolfo IV is splashing in the tub, Paola is cooing in her crib, Carol and her mother are at the grocery store and I am going to try and recount this weekend's events before one cries, or one splashes too much water outside the tub, or one gets back home.

I drove to Adolph's house saturday morning for my first game of soccer in i don't even know how many weeks. I showed up around 8 A.M. and we sifted through the box of Nike Soccer Swag that Colin had sent me for a good shirt. We both ended up in bright Brazilian yellow.

Not five minutes into the game Adolph hears and feels a 'pop' in his calf and goes down. Unable to join me in my totally kick-ass-game-despite-weeks-of-not-playing-ness he hobbled off the field, pulled out my laptop and ran through a flash Math Class totorial.

After Soccer, the family and i went to a baby shower where i caught the image above as well as a couple of other balloon shots.

This weekend i flexed all sorts of muscles

playing soccer,

(no photo)

A Big Pink Balloon

taking photos,

Fence Repair

building fences,

spreading compost

Spreading Compost in Place There Was Never Compost Before

and adjusting perspective in photoshop.

Flexing Some Muscles


Originally uploaded by Pablo Mercado.

Today I went to the spectacular fortified town of Carcassone. I felt like a lego soldier wandering around the lego castles my brother and I used to play with...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Whether you read it or not ...

Ok, it's been way long enough, so it's time to move on to another book.
But first! we must meet and discuss the old GOD book and explore the many reasons why we should be convinced that the GOD believers are really just delusional. Acutally, we should explore why it took so long for (most of) us not to read the dern thing (including me-who chose it).
How does a casual Sunday (as in tomorrow) evening pizza hang out at the loft sound?
Sorensen's at 6.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Contents of My Pocket

He lays in the wheel
Originally uploaded by killy.
1 Rock
2 Receipts
Cell Phone
1 Hot wheels Acura Concept Car
1 Screw of unkown origin

I emptied my pockets at dinner tonight and was amazed at what came out.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Chaperone

The Chaperone
Originally uploaded by killy.
Today I chaperoned adolfo iv's class field trip to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo along with 14 other parents. I managed to snap a few photos of goats and some of adolfo toying around some tractors, but that's about it. It was a pretty exhausting day considering i was lugging around my camera and trying to keep tabs on not just adolfo, but one of his fiestier classmates.

We got home and crashed till 5:30. I love naps.

Beach Bums

We've just returned from a week in beautiful St. Pete, Florida -- love those white sand beaches, yummy seafood, and pink hotels!!

And today it's back to reality, as we've returned to the arctic tundra we call home -- it went up from 4 degrees to a balmy 13 today.

Happy Birthday To The Todd!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Blue Bird of Fortitude

The Blue Bird of Fortitude
Originally uploaded by bigheadedrobot.

Y'all need to check out bigheadedrobot's stuff on flickr. Some great ink and color!

Diana's running a half marathon...

My Goose.

...and raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She is training with Team in Training, and has her very own donation website here: http://active.com/donate/tnttxgc/dbrewer .

She will be participating in the Mayor's Midnight Sun Half Marathon in sunny Anchorage, Alaska this June. And She needs your help!

The fundraising target is $5400.00, and that's a lot of scratch. She has sent out one mass email, but i am pretty sure it got spam-filtered by a lot of folks. My folks for example. Please give a couple bucks if you can (no donation is too small!) and either send the link to friends/family/church members/neighbors or help Lil' D compile a few email address of folks who will not mind a little philanthropic spam.

Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Hitchcock Blonde.

Originally uploaded by tcserpa.
We went to a play at the Alley Theater last night! While the subject matter may best be described as 'tawdry', the staging was incredible.

They have a very sophisticated and flexible stage set-up, complete with magically moving set elements, projections, a functioning shower, and a projection displayed 'on' that running shower. I was really impressed at how much impact they were able to generate on such a small stage.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Elmer Fudd

On Google you can set Elmer Fudd to be your default language...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Game 2: Andre (Black) vs. Killy (White) - Black to Move

At this point, Zoe pulled up. Andre had been trying to call her to give him more time, but he never got ahold of her. We were forced to stand up. It had been a good game till i allowed my bishop to get taken at some point in the middle game.. then, late in the game i took his bishop leaving us even (in pieces). At this point, though, the game is over. If Andre makes the right move, i'll be down a rook and he'll maeuver around and peck at me like a rotting piece of flesh.

Black to move.

Big Winner

The Ribbon
Originally uploaded by killy.
Diego Benitez first-place winner of the E.A. Jones Elementary School Science Fair gets recognized at the Fort Bend County Science/Math Expo. Congratulations Diego!

Friday, March 02, 2007


Service Award
Originally uploaded by killy.
Yesterday, at an all employee meeting i received a 5-year service award. It was nice to be appreciated.

It's been a long five years - wife, two kids, house, watching friends get married, have kids, etc... It really doesn't feel as though it's been that long.

What's happened to you in the last five years?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Having Squeezed into a PhotoBooth for a Family Portrait

Half Birthday PhotoBooth
Originally uploaded by killy.
Yesterday was Adolfo's half birthday, so we drove to the 59 Diner for a bowl of mac and cheese and a tall, cold chocolate milkshake topped with whipped cream ,chocolate sprinkles and a cherry. We sang him exactly half of the birthday song and as it turns out he ate only half of the bowl of mac and cheese and drank only half of the milkshake.

Fortunately, daddy was there to finish things off. After dinner, as we always do when we find a photobooth we squeezed in for an unofficial family portrait.