Tuesday, December 31, 2002

The holidays have come and gone. Its the last day of the year 2002. To that I say good riddance. Lets face it... this year was a real stinker. Lets review (thats what everyone does this time of year, right?). We grieved the death of my Sister, than got the news that friend Bob B died in a tragic though heroic skydiving accident. My work situation was intollerable. When new management came in, I was forced to drop the axe on a good freind and co-worker, than realized that I had to make a change myself. Going through all that was hell. To make the situation worse, I am still fighting for some of my retirement money that was "with-held" (I am stating that nicer than the situation actually should be described... grrrr). Well, I landed up in a much better professional situation, but the fact is that the economy just plain sucks, and my industry in particular (printing) is spiraling downward. That weighs heavy on our minds, and no one in this business is feeling too secure. My dear wife suspended her dream of going into teaching, and went back to her former profession, lab tech, on 2nd shift. That is a great disappointment, but necessity won out. My folks health is of great concern (particularly Mom's). It has been a trying year for them to be sure, but they have showed courage and determination in facing a lot of adversity.

There are some hilites. Son started college and is doing great, Daughter is smart, happy and excels in her sports. I lost over 40 lbs. this year and got into decent physical shape. It was my way of coping with all the crap going on around me. Thats about it... but I guess that is important stuff.

What does 2003 hold in store? Only time will tell. I have to say, that I am NOT very optimistic. Economy continues to suck, political climate is worse than ever, world situation is reaching critical mass... OYE! I am starting to depress myself, so I will end this commentary here.

To anyone who may be reading this... Have a great, happy and safe New Years. Will see you on the Brain Drain in Year 2003.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Tis the season for shopping... hate it! Luckily, I took Rach along with me. This girl can shop. Like a professional, she approached it with a plan... a stratagy. She executed this plan with adroit efficiency, confidently moving from store to store... just takin' care of business. Left on my own, I would have floundered around for hours, getting the wrong stuff at the wrong places... just like all the other Dad's I saw this evening... Glad I had the pro along this evening.

Friday, December 13, 2002

All 3 of the Laster's Macs now boot up in OS X. (4 including my Mac at work)

Monday, December 09, 2002

****Warning! Obnoxious Parental Bragging follows ******
Just got back from RHS Volleyball Banquet. Rachel did herself proud! Here we go... Varsity Letter, All Academic Team, CCC East Championship plaque, JV Most Valuable Player Trophy... AND she emceed the JV paper plate awards... quite a public speaker. Pops was proud! oh yeah, her paper plate award was "asian obsessor"... but let's not go there.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

The new and improved LasterCam! Man, it ain't easy getting that picture in the middle of that TV!

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

LOL - Ya gotta love Ellen Feiss. Lotsa fan sites... ellenfeiss.net is the best... check out every one of the links on that page. I even talked Rach into using the ad for a school video project!
Just back from Rochester. Its been over 1 year since last visit. Here is pix of Kids with Ma and Pa Diaczenko. Nice visit. Claires's folks are getting on in years, but are generally in excellent health. Mom prepared a complete Turkey dinner with all the trimmings... nice job, Baba!

Thanksgiving is always a challenge on the weight control scene. I ate generously, now I realize there is no need to eat till you're ready to burst. First round of the Battle of the Holidays... Ken-1 Thanksgiving-0

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Max Amore's
Incredible dinner tonite at Max Amore's. Hot Artichoke Dip, Arugula salad with orange slices and toasted almonds, Veal Saltamboca with baby carrots and roasted potatoes, Ganash Torte with Rasberry Sauce. Top it off with warmed Courvasier. Claire had a GREAT pan seared tuna... barely cooked... melt in your mouth good! David joined us for dinner... a very nice evening indeed!

Friday, November 15, 2002

Saw an excellent movie on Wed. night. Bowling for Columbine is a documentary about gun violence in America. Here are the stats on gun deaths for these countries (avg. per year?): Germany 381, France 255, Canada 165, UK 68, Australia 65, Japan 39, US 11,127. This film tries to find an answer as to the huge disparity between the USA and the rest of the civilized world. Is it violence in TV and movies? Fact is, our violent action movies are hugely popular in Europe and Asia... Video games? Most of those are made in Japan, and are widely bought by Japanese youth (only 39 gun deaths). Don't play the race card, ghettos or unemployment, because all these countries have urban centers with poverty, unemployment and racially diverse populations. This movie does not really have the answers, but does explore many of the possibilities. Do yourself a favor and check out the Website and the flick.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Yesterday was an emotionally trying day. Visited Laura's grave site with family and friends. I have always been a non-believer in things spiritual, but if there was ever evidence that there is a spirit from the departed, we experienced it Sunday. We all felt Laura's presence that day. Maybe it was generated by the intense energy of our combined yearning to remember, honor and have her back with us... but it sure felt like she was there. That wind... it was surrounding us, caressing us in an erie yet comforting way. The day was filled with intense grief, as well as a sense of peace in the knowledge that she remains with us forever.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

I got a call from a classmate from New Milford H.S. She gave me the sad news that my HS friend Glen Abraham died September 1. Glen was a good friend at a time when good friends were hard for me to find. After HS, 1971, Glen and I spent 3 weeks traveling together in Israel... backpacking, hitch-hiking, youth hostels. It was a great experience. Those were the great hippy days. I remember Glen mostly by his effusive smile and love of life. He saw good in everything and every being, and that feeling was contageous when you were around him. I feel bad that I never kept in contact with Glen after our trip when I moved to Rochester. Sad, sad news.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Legal experts say Microsoft got off easy. Excerpted from this article:
"The clear message is that monopolists get a free ride, at least in this administration," said Donald Falk, a partner with the law firm Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, in Palo Alto, California, who specializes in antitrust law.

"I thought there was some chance that (the judge) might have entered a decree that actually tried to undo some of the harm that was done," Falk said. "What the opinion said basically was, 'You robbed a bank, you can keep the money, and you can do it again, but don't use exactly the same method.'"

Another legal expert said the judge's wordy opinion does little to ensure that Microsoft will be prevented from using its monopoly on the market for desktop operating systems to illegally harm competitors in new markets.

A far cry from the original decision that would have broken up Micro$loth into seperate OS and Application companies. That is what should have happened.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Thank God they caught the bastard. Let's hope the killing has stopped. My guess is that the media frenzy will continue for months.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Dave and I scored a couple dozen Krispy Kremes tonite at the new Connecticut store. Big traffic, long lines, cops directing traffic..."Hot Doughnuts Now" light was on, and those Original Glazed were hot off the conveyor. Melt-in-your-mouth good!

Friday, October 11, 2002

At least there is one good piece of news today. Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This is a man I have always admired. In my mind he is the example how a great President should conduct himself both during and after his Presidency. This is a great, great man, who unfortunatly got a bad rap due to the Iran hostage situation and the oil crisis in the 80's. He did more for the Arab-Israeli conflict than any other President, and brought honor and honesty to his office. Since leaving office he has devoted his life to helping the poor and the oppressed, and has promoted peace and democracy through both words and actions. Congrats to Jimmy.

I was on the road today, and listened in the car to that asshole Rush Limbaugh completely lambast the Nobel Committee and Jimmy Carter. What a jerk!!! Carter has done more to make this world a better place, than Limbaugh could even dream of doing. Limbaugh made a complete fool of himself... as usual.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

My sis lent me October's Harpers Magazine with an article entitled Programming the Post-Human. Its one of those high-brow, scholarly pieces. It's written in that complex academic style, where perhaps you can understand about 1/2 of what is written... hell, probably the author only understood 1/2 of what was written! The thesis was the age old argument, will computer intelligence (AI) ever reach the level of human thinking. This article cites such revered minds as Asimov, Minsky, Turing, and Kurzweil. Attempts to create machines with emotion, sense of community, and bias based on life experience are explored. Then, 3/4 through the article, the author states that what really distinguishes humans from machines is the human drive to Eat and Shit. Is that a hoot or what?? This author must have some of that Laster blood!!!! To quote:

"there are huge swaths of existence that would be impenetrable, indescribable, unprogrammable utterly unable to be represented - to a creature that could not eat or shit"

ROTFLMAO - Reading that in the middle of this intellectual diatribe made me laugh out loud...
Nothing like scoring a couple of Geek Gadgets to pick you up from life's doldrums. Went to the Apple Store yesterday and picked up the Fire-i Digital WebCam and a DiskOnKey tiny portable storage device.

Soooo... The LasterCam is back!

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Its the end of the Baseball season. Beloved Mets end up in last place... Manager Bobby V gets the boot. This time its deserved. Mets acquired an array of "talent", and its up to the manager to get the boys to play up to their abilities and to play as a team. Just didn't happen. Now for post-season. Watched a couple games last night. Go Twins! Let's see anyone get to the World Series except Yanks and Braves.

End of season also means end of Fantasy Baseball league. It was a good year with a photo-finish. Unfortunately, my team tanked in September, after spending a good portion of the year in-the-money. It will kill me to pay off the evil-doer. Maybe I'll just sit on the money for a few months...I think that is fitting under the current circumstances (state of my 401K).

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Right now, I feel like crap. Too many bad things going on. Concerned about health and well being of my folks. Professionally, my entire industry has a very poor outlook, and that puts everyone on edge. Wife is unhappy with her professional situation. Economy as a whole is tanking, and my kids college funds are dwindling along with the stock market. My ex-employer has ripped off megabucks from my retirement fund. To top everything off, I get nabbed for a speeding ticket a couple blocks from my own home... humiliating and costly. Right now, all I can say is I am pissed off... big time.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

As a dedicated Mac OS X user, and one struck with Unix Envy, I really enjoyed reading this article. These guys have been as fiercly anti-Windows as us Mac dudes, and now they have good reason to join forces.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Birthday... #49. Do I feel older... no way! I am in the best shape in my life.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

What's with George Bush's obsession with going to war against Iraq? I just don't see the justification for this. Really, I know Saddam is an evil man. There's no shortage of those throughout the world. But, since the last war, over 10 years ago, has he invaded his neighbors? Has he been directly tied to al-Queda or terrorist acts against the US or our allies? Has there been any evidence that he possesses nuclear weapons? Listening to the Bush administration statements, they are careful to say that Sadam possesses the capacity to develop nuclear or chemical weapons... well so do the Saudi's, Iranians, Soviets, and many other countries.

IMHO, Bush is too quick to sacrifice the lives of Americans and others in an obsessive quest to settle the score of Bush Sr.'s war. If Saddam were to be overthrown, who will rule? What government is ready to take Saddam's place and keep the peace? I say keep the diplomatic and economic pressure on with sanctions, boycotts etc. Those efforts are close to yielding the return of weapons inspectors. Our efforts should be focused on the war on terror. We can keep Sadam in check without the heavy costs of all-out war.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Saw the movie One Hour Photo last night. Excellent thought provoking movie. Read my review here. Second consecutive movie that Robin Willliams has played a dark psychotic character. I guess no more Mork and Mindy for him. The way the movie ended was a lot like Hitchcocks classic Psycho. Hey, as long as you are checking out the Movie Review page... how about submitting one.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

My son just landed a job at The Daily Campus, UConn's daily newspaper, doing desktop publishing on the Macs and Quark Xpress. Only two weeks at college, and he found the perfect job for himself. This kid is so resourceful and productive. It will be great experience, a good use of his time, chance to meet new people, and some extra cash to boot. Once again Dave has impressed me. He makes such good choices and takes advantage of opportunities to better himself. This kid will succeed at whatever he sets out to do. Dave... YOU DA MAN!

Saturday, August 31, 2002

I hate baseball. Yeah, ... right now, I hate the game, hate the players, hate the owners. Don't really care that a strike was averted... doesn't really matter. These selfish, egotistical babies have ruined the season for me. Right now, I hate the game. Ask me again next week...

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Dave's gone away to college. A big milestone in his life as he moves towards adulthood and independence. All the thoughts and images of my son's childhood and growing up come back at times like these.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Little League World Series. What a joy to watch. Tonite, the classic matchup... New York vrs. Massachussets. More specifically, Harlem v Worcester. Can't wait to watch. Sad, I would rather watch a game of 12 year olds than Major League Baseball. Considering what is going on with the NY Mets (10 game loosing streak), and strike talks, I'll gladly watch LL World Series.

Its been downright sickening to watch the Mets overpayed "Stars" play piss poor baseball (talkin' bout Mo, Mike, Roberto, Jeremy, Roger....). On top of that, the players are moaning about the owners taking away their opportunity to make more money with the proposed Luxury Tax on big market teams. OH COME ON!!! How greedy can these guys get!! With an average salary of 2.4 million, and stars making tens of millions... I just don't have any sympathy. As a result of this, us fans will most likely not have a finish to this season, maybe no playoffs and world series. Hundreds of ballpark vendors, office workers, ticket agents and parking attendents, small businesses, etc., will be out of work. Shame, shame shame.

Saturday, August 17, 2002

Kids away doin' their own thing, so Wife and I get to have a little overnight getaway. Stayed at the Seaward Inn , Rockport Massachusetts. Perfect little mini-vaca. Really relaxed and enjoyed the scenery, lobsta, beaches. Ahhhh!

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

There is a new Apple Power Mac G4 in the family! Always cause for celebration... yes, I am a certified geek. The day it was announced Dave ran down to the Apple store and picked it up (courtesy of insurance claim from damaging thunderstorm). Awesome Machine! With that comes something for me... Jaguar (Mac OS X 10.2). Disks with new Mac used to upgrade my iBook. Cool - I get to upgrade 10 days before the official release.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Another weekend, another Softball Tournament. This time came home without trophy. That's OK, cause it was a great tournament, and the girls played exceptionally well. We made it to the semifinal round, but got smitten in extra-innings in a great close game. Venon U-16 team had a record of only 2 wins and 8 losses in the regular season, yet made it to the final four in the tournament. Go Vernon Girls Softball. We are proud of ya.

Saturday, August 10, 2002

Woa! Won free tix to a Yellowjackets concert. Put my name in for a drawing at the Jazz Fest... and won! I never win stuff! A pair of $45 VIP 6th row seats... hot damn! Love this group, too!
I do lust for an iPod.

Monday, August 05, 2002

I had a great time this weekend relaxing in the hot sun and watching Rachel's softball tournament for girls 14 and under. It was all day Sat and Sun - 6 games in 2 days in the 90 degree summer heat. Maybe that doesn't sound like fun... but to me, it doesn't get any better. Something about girls softball... these kids had so much fun, good competition, and they really came together as a team. They just struck that perfect balance between being competitive, and having a good time. It was an absolute JOY to watch this event all weekend long. Vernon U-14 Girls won the championship, and my girl Rach won the throwing competition to boot!

Oh yeah... we get to do this all over again next weekend for the Girls 16 and under league. yipee! Pics here.

Friday, August 02, 2002

Got this email today from *Robyn*... just somebody surfin the Web that came across my page... "Dropped by unexpectedly while looking for a link to the Litchfield Jazz fest.  Cute page......looks like a nice family and happy life you have.  Congratulations.  What more could you want?" Damn straight. Sometimes it takes a total stranger to make you realize how lucky you are. That note gave me a nice little pick me up for the day! Thanks, Robyn!

Friday, July 26, 2002

How cool is this! Listenin' to The Dave Matthews Band concert live from Hartford over the Net with streaming audio. Piped through my stereo... sounds real gooood.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

Hartford is still alive and kickin'... barely. Just returned from the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz. Very hip. Patricia Barber- pianist and singer from Chicago. Damn good piano, and unique vocal style (she has lots of mp3's on her web site, check it out). The great Phil Woods tight, swingin quintet. And the Joe Sample Trio - What a full deep sound for just three cats. Dude played swing, funk, r&b, ballads... he did it all and really rocked. Great summer evening downtown.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

So much has happened, so little time to post. Job - excellent. Presented technology plan... plan approved... now, lots to do. Macworld Expo - yearly gathering of Geeks, Artists, Musicians. Good time had by all. Great crowd, lots of vendors, New stuff? ho-hum. It's like... its all been done. There is nothing left to show that will knock your socks off. Apple - no more free ride. $$ Upgrades, $$ iTools (now .Mac)... guess it is to be expected in these economic times.... but it really sucks. Family Ties - Angst in the extended family. Laura lives on in her sibling. Amazing how strong the pull of bloodlines are on your emotions. 'Nuff said on that one.

Sunday, July 07, 2002

The great baseball legend Ted Williams passed away Friday. Twice a triple crown winner and last player to achieve a 400 batting average. Now... this is a bit strange. *On Saturday, Williams' estranged daughter accused her half brother, John Henry Williams, of planning to cryogenically freeze their father's body and preserve his DNA, perhaps to sell in the future.* (from CNN)... and I just watched Vanilla Sky!

Sunday, June 23, 2002

It's been a week since I have journaled here. A lot has happened, but I will try to keep this note brief.

Work - first week on the new job. With that comes anxiety, anticipation, meeting so many people and trying to remember their names, figuring out what my priorities should be when so much needs to be done. As with anywhere, there are some obstacles to overcome, but, I think I'm going to like this place. Some good people here including some old friends. It'll take a few weeks to get all this straight in my head, but with every day, I feel more and more comfortable.

Play - Chilled out after the intensity of my first work week. Saw the movie Minority Report with Tom Cruise. Great flick. Sorta Sci-fi with an incredible vision of the future. Then today, went to NY Mets game. Incredible, exciting game with the Mets winning 5-4 in a come from behind victory.

Other - Dave's graduation! He did it. Graduated HS with honors. Finished up on a high note. Very proud of him. Mom and Dad came up to attend, and so did sister Di and Andrea. Nice to have the family close to celebrate. They put on a huge party for the graduation class. Kids partied from 10PM to 4 AM. See pics here.

Finally, the damn DSL is down again, and I am fed up with SNET taking their sweet-ass time to keep this up and running. We were down for an entire week a couple of weeks ago, and we have been down all weekend, and they haven't even returned my call. Soooo.... it'll be out with DSL, and in with Cable modem. We'll see how that goes. Meanwhile, trying to get along with the dial-up modem speeds. Grrrrr....

Saturday, June 15, 2002

For at least a week now, NY City has been salivating over the prospect of Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens coming to bat against the New York Mets. Mets fans were hoping to see Clemens get beaned as retaliation for throwing at Mets star Piazza two years ago! Its been a circus for a week as that has been the big talk of the town. Today, it was like a scene from Gladiator, as the crowd cheered as Clemens walked to the plate... everyone hoping to see blood drawn in the batters box.

Well, what happened was Mets pitcher Shawn Estes threw at him, all right... threw so far inside, that the pitch actually went behind Clemens fat ass... missed him completely! I've got to wonder if that was done intentionally... show the fans and teamates that he was willing to throw at Clemens... yet do the right thing, and not actually try to hurt him. Then the Mets did the right thing and beat the crap out of Clemens on the baseball field. With Estes and Piazza hitting HR's, and having Clemens leave the field injured after sliding into 2nd base. Mets beat Yanks 8-0.

Monday, June 10, 2002

Ahh, Vacation this week, before starting the new gig. To Do's... Read a book, excersize my ass off at the gym, see a couple of movies, go down to the shoreline with wife one day, have lunch with M&D and some friends, learn a new programming skill that I can use at work (PHP), prepare myself for my new job which starts one week from today. That should fill up the week just fine. Wish there was some baseball in town.

Sunday, June 09, 2002

Went to see the great Wayne Shorter Quartet in Hartford last night. For those who do not know, this Jazz master made his mark as the saxaphonist and main composer for Miles Davis's most innovative band in the '60's, followed by the co-leader of the great Weather Report fusion group in the 70's.

His current quartet consisted of an incredibly fluent pianist Danillo Perez (first time I have heard him), the great John Pattitucci on bass, and Brian Blades playing drums. They played only about 4 or 5 extended compositions, for less than 1 1/2 hour. Leaving us yearning for more. The musicianship was just incredible. Perez in constant motion on piano, laying the groundwork for Shorters sparse yet perfect playing (especially his beautiful stoccato phrasing on soprano sax). Pattitucci's pyrotechnics and melodic acoustic bass added a full deep tone to the quartet, and Blades wild playing of his entire set, constantly changing between sticks, mallots, and even bare hands. It seemed they were all always soloing, yet never soloing...Very free, "out there" playing, yet within a compositional framework that often blended jazz, ballads and classical influences.

We ended up at Black-Eyed Sallys... a blues club in Hartford. Good food and drink. The group played a so-so blues set, that got a little tiring after a while. I guess it would be pretty difficult to follow up musically, after the incredible performance of Shorter's Quartet.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

Yes! My DSL is back. Last Friday, a thunderstorm took out our DSL... fried some wiring in the house. Also smoked a microwave oven, DVD player, an ethernet hub, maybe screwed up Dave's computers, a telephone, a lamp, some light switches... whew! Loosin' the DSL, though really sucked. Had to live with dial-up connection for 4 days... thought I was gonna die!!! Mother Nature took away my geek toys... life's tough!

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Guess its safe to talk of it now. The nightmare of the last couple of months is nearly over. I'm talking about my employment at Miller Johnson Printing. The company has been in a financial downward spiral. Its been an extremely unpleasant place to work. New management will come in shortly, and it was obvious that I was not going to play a role in the companies future.

The search for a new job was long and difficult, but at last a deal was struck. I was offered a position as Vice President of Technology at Sweet Waverly Printing. A fine company of good people, making sound business decisions, in need of getting to the next technological level... and I'm the guy to do it!

Good bye and good ridence to (the new) Miller Johnson... Hello, Sweet Waverly. I anxiously await meeting the challenge ahead. Its a new beginning for me, and I intend to make the best of it!

The full story has yet to be told. Perhaps it is best to wait till a clean break has been made... Stay tuned to the Brain Drain for further details!

Sunday, May 26, 2002

Rolled my own Sushi this morning for a Memorial day party this afternoon. I knew those techniques perfected in the '70s would come in handy!! Made California rolls, smoked salmon rolls and Brooklyn rolls (lox 'n cream cheese). A new experience!

Saturday, May 25, 2002

Me used to be angry young man
Me hiding me head in the sand
You gave me the word
I finally heard
I'm doing the best that I can
I've got to admit it's getting better
A little better all the time (can't get no worse)

Lennon, McCartney - Beatles - Getting Better

Friday, May 24, 2002

Very likely will get some good news today...been patiently working towards this for a long time. I feel great sense of anticipation.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

There must be some kinda way outta here.
Said the joker to the thief.
There's too much confusion.
I can't get no relief.

Bob Dylan - "All Along The Watchtower"

Saturday, May 18, 2002

How about my Mom. An incredible woman. Suffered two strokes. Last one less than a month ago. According to Dad's last report, she is already up and walking on her own with a cane. She fought back like a prize fighter... down but not out. Just worked her butt off, excersize, physical therapy. She did it quietly, unassumingly, no complaints, no self-pity, never looking for sympathy. Through all this Mom has kept her great sense of humor, upbeat demeanor...a real inspiration. Love you Mom!

Monday, May 13, 2002

Time to rant on the Catholic church, and the service we attended. At the mass for Bobby's funeral yesterday, the priest conducted his service with a complete lack of emotion. He delivered his prayers and sermon in a monotoned drone. There was no attempt to memorialize Bob, no gesture to console the family, no spiritual message relating to Bob's life or death (and there were many opportunities to do so). Just a dull verbatum reciting of biblical verses and prayers. The alter boys (one of which I consider a friend) went about their work in an emotionless robotic like trance, while the paritioners knealt on cue and marched single-file to the alter to receive communion like hypnotized cult members. It was all so uninspired and lacked any spirituality. It was just appauling.

Start with this as my impression of Catholisism... add to that what we have learned about Priest's passions for violating young boys... and, I can't for the life of me understand why Catholisism remains so popular! I guess they have just mastered the art of brain-washing the masses, generation after generation. I will probably burn in hell for eternity for such blasphemous statements. Forgive me.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Bobby's wake... absolutely incredible. Maybe 1500 attendees. Everyone came out to pay tribute to Bob. The Union, the runners, the parachutests. All who knew him wanted to be there and pay their respects. He was that kind of guy.

Funeral... The priest really blew this one! This guy knew nothing about the family, of Bob's heroics, of what Bob meant to others (obviously, not even caring enough to find out beforehand). There was no tribute to Bobby in this ceremony, only sanctimoneous evangelizing of Jesus Christ. Thankfully Bobby's sister gave a heartfealt eulogy at the end of the service. It was a beautiful day at the cemetery, and his parachuting buddies did a flyover at the grave site. Touching and sad moment.

My tribute (and my way of dealing with the sadness) was to run in solitude, and push myself to the limit. I think that's what Bob would do in a similar situation. Can't get over that we will never see him again. So sad for Lisa and the Kids.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Good friend Bob Bonadies died suddenly when his parachute failed to open. He fell 12,000 feet to his death. This may have happened while trying to help his student deploy her own chute. Bob lived life to the max, and perished doing what he loved most. We will always remember you, Bob. We love you Lisa.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

Isn't it strange how the warm glow of vacation quickly vanishes and gives way to the harsh reality of day to day making a living grrrrrrrr!

Regarding that its getting more and more intollerable. I have a strategy for dealing with the situation, and I am dogedly pursuing that endeavor. I am being cryptic at the moment, but maybe someday the tale will be told on the Brain Drain.

I think my obsession with weight loss has been a mental diversion from the stress of my work situation. Now that I have reached my weight goal (and way beyond), I can't seem to let go... it has been a struggle to stop loosing weight, and go back to eating normally. Damn, a strange problem deal with.

Friday, April 19, 2002

Ahhh! Vacation. Just what the doctor ordered. Having a great time. Barbs place is great! Hittin' the fitness center daily for a hard workout... then the pool. Then the beach, then out to dinner... you get the idea! Caught a great Fla. Marlins game. Couldn't be better. Off to the beach again...

Saturday, April 13, 2002

Put up my weight loss web page. Lots of referals to my web site are from people searching for info on calculating Weight Watcher food points. That info is now here.
Its been a real stressful couple of days. Not going into detail here, but I just barely saved my job, and I was forced cut someone elses. A close associate and friend. Sometimes, making a living can suck.

Been stepping up the excersize. Ran 2 miles, power-walked 2 more. I have found that this is the best stress reliever. Eating only lasts while your doing it, and drinking can provide relief untill you crash... but excersize really does melt away that stress.

Sunday, April 07, 2002

Long time, no post. Been extremely busy. Feel good, feel healthy, feel upbeat. Been excersizing, eating good, feel like I am at the top of my game (right now, anyway... all that could change in a heartbeat). Seen some good movies. Finished up the dreaded taxes. Still feel optimistic about possible changes comin' down the road, maybe for me and the wifey (more on that later, maybe).

Of course, Fantasy Baseball in full swing. I am in 3 leagues, and commish 2 of them. Even started one up with all my Internet WW friends from the GoaD BBS. At the moment I am in 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the 3 leagues... pretty cool.

ONE MORE WEEK till Vacation. Boy, I am looking forward to that. Already gettin ready. Bought some luggage, took out some clothes and bathing suits. Gotta cop some tix for a Marlins game. Wooooohoooo.

Saturday, March 23, 2002

Haven't posted here in many days. A lot has been happening, some good, some bad, some not meant for posting here (at least not at this time). Here is some of the good.

Attended a breakfast at Rockville High to celebrate, as the principal said "The best and brightest" of RHS - Kids that made High Honors. And, do you believe it? Both our kids were being honored! Here is a picture from the event.

Took the afternoon off friday to go to Quinnipiac University. We were all impressed by the school. The small class size and community, the well equipped communications lab, the emphasis on student development. As opposed to UCONN, the large student population and class sizes, not really having the Communications program that Dave wants... maybe Quinny is a better fit for Dave. Quinny would be VERY expensive, it would be much more difficult to fund for 4 years. But, this might be the most important investment that we can make. This experience could shape his entire adult life.

Monday, March 18, 2002

Toot-toot... sorry, but I gotta toot my own horn. Got my Lifetime Key from Weight Watchers. The best reward is setting out to make a difficult goal, and seeing it through to the end. Not only do I feel that pride of accomplishment... but I have a healthier lifestyle for myself and my family. NOW, the trick is... can I make it last a lifetime!
Saw a phenomenal movie - Himalayas. Read my review here. Sure would be nice if others posted their reviews once in a while!

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Just one of those lousy stinkin' days. Lots of negative energies. Nothing seems to be going our way (me or SO). I'm in one bad mood... so watch out! I've been snapping at everyone today.

Maybe... the upcoming vacation is what we need to snap out of this funk. I am really looking forward to it. Gotta wait another month though.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Whoopie! I lost 40 lbs., in 16 weeks, and here are the pictures to prove it. Thanks to Weight Watchers, it really works.

Sunday, March 03, 2002

Went to Film Fridays International at UCONN this weekend and saw the film Calle 54. As described in the program,

Director Fernando Truebaâ's tribute to Latin Jazz is a joyous celebration of musicmaking by Paquito D'Rivera, Elaine Elias, Gato Barbieri, Tito Puente and many more. Sponsored by the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center. "This is one of the most infectiously joyous celebrations of musicmaking ever committed to film." TV Guide MovieGuide "A brilliantly conceived and elegantly realized documentary tribute to Latin jazz, it packs more drama into each of its 12 musical tableaux than most feature films manage in two hours." Washington Post, "it simply sizzles with sophisticated passion" Ottawa Citizen.

Really enjoyed this flick... went out and bought the soundtrack the next day, and have been groovin' to it all day.

Friday, March 01, 2002

This article is a real hoot. An excerpt: Like all new Apple gear, it belongs in a museum and shouldn't be touched (fingerprints). I'm pretty sure it's as close to sex as you can get with a machine. I mean look at this photo. Scarry thing is... I can really relate!

Thursday, February 28, 2002

Looking back at some of my old posts, and realized that I have been doing this blogger thing for over 1 year now. Started it up in Feb 2001. Incredible! Where has the year gone.

Spring Training games begin today! Should be a good year for the NY Mets. Started up my MJBL fantasy baseball league. Probably will need some teams to fill out the league. Interested? Let me know (gotta be local to attend the draft).

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Since so many hits to this site are from people searching for calculating weight watcher points... here it is again. From the US Patent office web site Patent number 6,040,531.

p = (c/50) + (f/12) - (r/5)
p=points, c=calories, f=fat grams, r=fiber grams (max. of 4 fiber grams)

Friday, February 22, 2002

Today, I went to Seybold Exposition in NYC, with David. Seybold was once the premier electronic prepress and publishing trade show. This show was a mere shadow of what it has been in the past. Whats up with that? Usually every powerhouse in Electronic publishing showed off there warez with huge glitzy booths. Adobe, Apple, Agfa, Macromedia, Quark, Scitex, Linotype, Kodak, Xerox, etc. etc have always exhibited. This year, only one company, Adobe, had any significant presence. I have seen better turnouts for baseball card expos at the Elks Club in Rockville! Is this another nail in the coffin for our entire industry? Is it just the state of the economy at present? I recall at the keynote of last years expo, one of the Industry leaders stated that there is no more Venture Capital being invested in printing technologies. All this money is now being used to finance Internet based publshing and e-Commerce, and that will be the end of innovation in the traditional Printing technology. Maybe what I saw today is the end result of that premonition. I'll tell ya, it was a real shocker.

Best part of the day was drivin' home with Dave, pumpin up the jams on his mega sub woofer thumpin boomin bass stereo system recently installed in the Jeep. Man, that electronica... Crystal Method, Chemical Brothers. Awsome tunes. Gotta get those loaded up on my MP3 player.

Monday, February 18, 2002

Last night, excercycle busted for good. I had been using it nearly everyday. Now what do I do? Too cold to jog or bike ride, and those fitness centers are too damn expensive. Maybe one of those excersize tapes? Tae Bo anyone?
Uggg! Feel like hell today. Damn cold and fever plagued me all weekend. Just trying to survive the day at work. Thank god for Sudafed and Nyquil.

Saturday, February 16, 2002

BTW, that other situation just gets worse and worse. Somehow I need to turn this around. Not sure exactly how yet... but beleive me, I am working on it. - nuff said here.
Woke up way too early this AM. Hopped on the GOAD Message Boards. One of my favorite things to do these days. Nice group of folks.

Just hung out around the house. Bought the DVD Contact. One of my all time fav sci fi flicks. Its so well done. Opening sequence is amazing. Story centers around the conflict of Science v Religion, Fact v Faith. It all gets turned around in the end with the scientist relying on *faith* in the end. Great Flick... even better book (by Carl Sagan). Too bad they didn't add more content to the DVD (like SETI information).

Saturday, February 09, 2002

Yipee! Went to the 7 AM WW meeting, and MADE MY GOAL! I've been starving myself for the last two weeks to shed those last 6 lbs, and pumpin it up on the exer-bike... and it worked. I can stop driving the family crazy with my diet, and relax a little. Sure feels great. I'm gonna love those extra 4 points I can add to my point range! Oh Happy Day! Total weight loss - 34 lbs. Now I hope to be a little less focused on this WW thing and get back to a Normal Life (but still keep On Program). There is another segment of my life that needs to be straightened out... and life will be good. One other thing. Dave got accepted to college. Right now, its his fall back school, but its a relief to know he's got this in his back pocket for now.

Monday, February 04, 2002

Nice weekend. Took a nice long power-walk on the trails near the house. Its the farthest I've gone on this trail. Gorgeous cliffs, evergreens, streams and lakes. We are really lucky to have this here in Vernon. Loaded up the MP3 player with some old Buddy Rich and Art Blakely tunes from 50s-60s. Man, this music is timeless. Rich plays those drums so lyrically. He's got to be the best drummer of all time. He solo's on the drums like Sony Rollins solos on the sax. Incredible. Finished up the weekend watching the Superbowl. Great game. Watched 1st half with buddy Gordon. Don't like either team. NE and owner Kraft used and abused Hartford a couple of years ago, but I guess its nice to see the underdog win. Not a good year for those Superbowl commercials that everyone gets psyched for. They were pretty much ho-hum.

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Weight Watchers has flexed its legal muscle and killed WWCalc for the Palm. I can honestly say that if it weren't for this software, I may not have stuck to the program. What a shame... and SHAME ON WEIGHT WATCHERS for taking such harsh action on a developer that provided a great tool to their membership. Bob Withers has invested a great deal of time and effort without ever profiting for himself, and provided this tool for free to WW members.

The least that Weight Watchers could do is to purchase the rights to this software from Mr. Withers, and distribute it to its members.

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Trying out the YACCS commenting thingy - click on the comment link below.

Thursday, January 24, 2002

I know its the middle of January, but thoughts have turned to Baseball. I pulled out some paperwork from my last years fantasy baseball league, and sifted through the rosters, reports, draft day work sheets, etc. Then on the drive home, I turned on WFAN, and it was NY Mets day. I heard them interview Johnny BeGood Franco, Manager Bobby V and Al Lieter. They were all excited about all the great player acquisitions during the off season, and what it means for the teams chances. Tonite, I went to the library and borrowed For the Love of the Game with Kevin Costner. Great Baseball movie... Well, its nearly the last week in January, and spring training camps open in Fla. in February, so its not all that far away. Meanwhile, I can look at these pics, and dream away. Whoopie!

Monday, January 21, 2002

Evening Post- Huskie hoops, ladies beat Notre Dame 80-53. Great seats, right at ground level behind basket, next to pep band. Fun. Thanks Diana!

WW-Lost another 3, 25+ lbs. total, 7 to go.

Took today off work for a long weekend. Been real full of myself with my diet and excersize. Can't help it. I feel physically great... light on my feet, active and and upbeat.

Seen lots of movies. Gosford Park ... a bore. The Gift... a great suspensful flick. What Woman Want... some good yucks, but schlocky ending. Read my entire reviews of these films here.

This afternoon goin to Ladies Huskies Basketball at the Hartford CC, then another Weight Watchers weigh-in, so I'm going to excersize and shower now, then basically starve myself today.

Hey, its snowing like crazy again.

Monday, January 14, 2002

Nothin like a good weigh-in at WW to lift your spirits. Lost another 4 lbs this week. A total of 23 lbs., made 10 percent goal. Need to drop another 10 to get to the BMI. Cool.

Sunday, January 13, 2002

New iMac...Sweet!

Feel like crap. Damn cold and sorethroat have plagued me all week. Agravated, grumpy, sick....grrrrrr!

Sunday, January 06, 2002

Mac Stuff
Macworld Expo SF - Lots of exciting anticipation surrounding this one. Flat panel iMacs, iWalk, Gigahertz and much much more. I'll try to get to Apple Store in W. Hartford to see the keynote on the big screen. At very least, will try to watch it on the web.

Booked flights for spring vacation with sis Barb in Fla. Thanks Barb... it's 3 months away, but I am really looking forward to it! I need a vacation.

Weight Watchers
Still obsessed with diet. I've done much research on the web at several diet and weight watchers sites (official and unofficial). I've tried to reverse engineer the points calculator to better understand the WW system. I ended up at the US Patent office web site and found Patent number 6,040,531. If you dig through the text and image pages you will find the formula:
p = (c/50) + (f/12) - (r/5)
p=points, c=calories, f=fat grams, r=fiber grams (cap the fiber at no more than 4 grams)

There it is. WW has asked several sites to remove on and offline calculators from various web sites, but with the above information (in the public record) and any simple spread sheet, you can easily make a Points Calculator.

Basically the system is based on points of low values which makes it easy to calculate and track. Simply divide the number of calories by 50, add 1/2 point for 6 fat grams and deduct .5 point for 3 fiber grams. The result is the number of points (round to the next number if .5 or greater). Keep within a range of points per day (22- 27 for me at 180 lbs), and you have the program.

What I have found from all this research, is that any diet is simply a function of calories in vrs. calories out. WW points is just another way of controlling calorie intake. The other half of the equation is to increase your activity level to burn more calories. So, I have been pretty good about "kickin' it up a notch" with excersizing on the bike, long walks on the trail, and just trying not to spend too much time sittin on my ass in front of the TV.

Tuesday, January 01, 2002

Well, its New Years. Partied last night at our house, went to dinner, then back to the house. Good friends, good food, good champaign. Chilled today, worked on the web site, lounged around the house, took a power walk in the woods, listened to tunes, cut a Kieth Jarret CD, read some book, generally just relaxed. Tomorrow... back to work.