Friday, April 30, 2004

more on eBay item 4146756343 - SIZE 12 WEDDING DRESS/GOWN NO RESERVE

Here is some more on eBay item 4146756343 - SIZE 12 WEDDING DRESS/GOWN NO RESERVE. Although it is hard to believe, the counter suggests that the page has taken over 11.7 million hits as of 8:00 p.m. Pacific time.

The seller has created a web site at:

The video segment from the today show is on the web at the MSN Video site.

The video is worth checking out!

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Kings Win!

Jack, Sharon, Tim (Sharon's brother) and I went to game five of the first round NBA play-off game between the Sacramento Kings and the Dallas Mavericks. Jack and I got a chance to sit in the fifth row in the end zone right above the Kings bench; these were great seats. We had a blast and the Kings closed out the series with a 119 to 118 win!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

eBay item 4146756343 - SIZE 12 WEDDING DRESS/GOWN NO RESERVE

I spent the day winding my way back from Atlanta. I flew AmericaWest from Altanta to Las Vegas and then Las Vegas to Sacramento. Although I have had some bad experiences with AmericaWest in the past, the trip was very uneventful. AmericaWest is doing something different; the only meals offered are the flight were for sale. They offered a couple of three different meals for $5 to $7. I have never seen this before.

Wednesday night, Jack played in his sixth baseball game of the season.

Larkin sent me a link to an eBay item: SIZE 12 WEDDING DRESS/GOWN NO RESERVE. It is worth taking a second and reading the item's description. As of tonight, the page has had over 6 million hits. The seller was on the Today Show on Monday talking about the eBay sale.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Second day at Lawson CUE

I spent a second day at the Lawson Conference and User Exchange. The conference sessions I attended included: Caltholic Healthcare West: Optimize Your Supply Chain Management Implementation; Planning for 8.1 ProcessFlow: Differences from 8.x ProcessFlow; and, a Lawson Reporting Suite for Healthcare Demonstration.

After a 10k run on the treadmill, a group of us headed to Turner Field for the evening event. There was a healthcare industry reception at the 755 Club. We had dinner and drinks overlooking the field. To end the evening, the Little River Band played in the Monument Grove Plaza at the stadium.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Lawson CUE

I spent the day at the Lawson Conference and User Exchange in Atlanta, George. The conference is being held at the Georgia World Congress Center. The opening session included a presentation by Jerry Linenger, an astronaut who spent 5 months aboard the Muir Space Station. His presentation was titled Embracing Challenges and Change: My 132 Days off the Planet. He had some amazing stories; it sounded like they kept the Muir going with baling wire and chewing gum. His story about fighting a fire in the Muir space station was particularly incredible.

I attend three break-outs sessions, including What's New in Human Resources Version 8.1, Becoming a Power User of the Lawson Portal, and What's new in Procurement Version 8.1.

After a 10k on the treadmill, Donna and I joined the Lawson Account representative and a group of other major customers for a dinner at a restaurant called Spice.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Winding my way to Atlanta

Although Bibby did not look any worst for his supposed injury in practice, the Sacramento Kings team that showed up in Dallas on Saturday afternoon was the Kings team that I watched the last six weeks of the season. I was hoping that team was lost and gone, but apparently not...

I spent the day winding my way from Sacramento to Atlanta via Phoenix. When I boarded the flight in Sacramento for the short trip to Phoenix, there was a woman with a baby in the middle seat. Initially, I assumed that the guy on the window was her husband. Shortly after take-off, I realized that he was not her husband, but just some dude. Over the course of the flight, I ended up talking to her.

She was a very normal looking woman in her late thirties or early forties. The baby was an eight month boy who was great during the flight. The baby was her seventh kid. She was married for fifteen years and had six kids, ages 4 to 18, with her first husband. She got divorced and married a guy who lives in Grass Valley that she met on the internet. Yes, the internet...

Her new husband has two kids by his previous two wives, ages 8 and 16. Yes, this is his third marriage and he has three kids by three wives. Together, the two of them have nine kids. Their ex-spouses (his two ex-wives and her ex-husband) have not remarried and are very combative. According to her, all three of the ex-spouses are constantly working to poison the kids against her and her husband.

She can not get permission from the court to move to California with her six other kids and her new husband can not find a job in Phoenix. As a result, one weekend a month she flies to Sacramento and one weekend a month, he flies to Phoenix. They spent vacations and holidays together. She is in court to try to get permission to move to California.

I am constantly amazed how complicated we can make our lives.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

This Blog is one year's old today!

This Blog is one year's old today. The initial entry was Shopping Colleges and Kindergartens.

Early Saturday morning, Jack played in his fifth baseball game of the season. Afterwards, Jack and I went and signed him up to play in the Elk Grove youth soccer league. Sharon spent a big part of Saturday with her nephew Kevin. She is serving as his confirmation sponsor and there was a rehearsal for Sunday.

Friday morning, Sharon worked at T0wer. Although the woman Sharon filled in for while she was on maternity leave is back, T0wer is still having her work on some projects.

Friday afternoon, Sharon was one of the art docent's for the afternoon kindergarten class. The lesson revolved around artists who paints flowers, including Vincent Van Gogh's Vase with Irises [shown below], Claude Monet's Waterlillies II, Vase of Flowers by Odilon Redon, and Petit Fleurs by Pablo Picasso.

Friday night, Sharon and Janie met for drinks at the Virgin Sturgeon.

Friday, April 23, 2004 -- Kings -- Bibby injured during Kings practice

urrrgghhh.... Bibby injured during Kings practice


Brun sent me another g00gle b0mb. If you do a Google Search for "Waffles," the first item in the list is the web site for John Kerry for President. I previously pointed out that if you do a Google Search for "miserable failure" the first item in the list is the biography of George W. Bush on the official White House web site. -- Business -- Tech upgrade at Sutter

Sutter Health has moved aggressively to deploy technology over the last six years to cut costs and improve patient safety. Plans for the next ten years are even more ambitious. The short article in today's Sacramento Bee titled Tech upgrade at Sutter notes that Sutter Health will spend $1.2 billion over the next 10 years to improve medical and administrative technologies at its hospitals.

There is a longer article in today's Contra Costa Times titled Sutter Health sets $1.2 billion plan for IT which quotes the Sutter Health CIO and provides more details about the plans that we have underway.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Will India price itself out of offshore market?

Part of the subplot of Wednesday's episode of West Wing included the export of technology jobs to India. This is probably a story that they should have done several years ago. I have had several opportunities in the last couple months [see 12/21/2003 and 3/6/2004] to deal with help desks outsourced to India and have been less than impressed.

Within Sutter Health, I have been fairly vocal about my negative experiences with India help desks. As a result, people are always forwarding me articles about India outsourcing. One of the Regional CIOs forwarded a link to Will India price itself out of offshore market? The article notes that:

  • The U.S. technology industry's demand for offshore services is apparently beginning to drive up pay rates in India, raising questions about the long-term benefits of outsourcing work to that country.

  • Indeed, even some Indian companies have begun offshoring their own work to China.

  • The article points out that salaries in India have grown at a double digit rate in the last year. In contrast, the mid-points and salary ranges for our technology jobs have not changed for three straight years.

    Wednesday, April 21, 2004

    Tuesday, April 20, 2004

    River Cats Game

    As a team building exercise, we took Donna Gainsley's Business Systems team to a River Cats Baseball game; 55 of the 58 members of the team attended. The event included a barbecue in the right field outfield before the game.

    The game had a very early 11:35 a.m. first pitch. The Salt Utah Stingers beat the Sacramento River Cats by a score of 11 to 2. Salt Lake was ahead 3 to 2 in the top of the seventh inning when they got a home run and a grand slam to blow the game open.

    While Sharon went to a mandatory training session for eucharistic ministers, Jack and I watched the Kings post an ugly win (there were 114 missed shots in the game!) over the Mavericks in game two of the first round of the NBA playoffs.

    Monday, April 19, 2004

    Veritas Executive Briefing

    Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Marvericks NBA basketball team, publishes the Blog Maverick.

    I spent the day in Mountain View at an Executive Briefing with Veritas. The agenda included: a VERITAS overview; Application Availability technology; Application Performance tools; Storage and Server Automation; Data Protection, and; Disaster Recovery.

    Saturday, April 17, 2004

    All day at kids' birthday parties...

    We spent all day taking Jack to birthday parties. In the morning, we took him to Jeffery's party at the Laguna Skates. This was the first time that Jack had ever been on roller skates. We had a little bit of a rocky start, but by the end of the party was he having a great time.

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    I took this short video with my Canon PowerShot S330 digital camera rather than with the DV camcorder. It was primarily an experiment to see if I could manipulate the video and actually put it on a web page.

    In the afternoon, we took Jack to Anton's birthday at Laser Force. The kids played laser tag in a castle setting with theatrical fog, black lights, dark dungeons, towers and owls. I was a little worried that he was going to be intimidated by the situation and some of the bigger kids, but he enjoyed it. The group did two separate sessions and Jack wanted to dive right back in again after the second session.

    Friday, April 16, 2004

    Liz Deuso

    We had Liz Deuso over for dinner. Sharon made her often requested, world famous Corn Flake Chicken.

    I was a little surprised to see that the Kings left Tony Massenburg off the play-off roster. Petrie said that he didn't expect Massenburg, who reportedly packed boxes before he left the practice facility, to be with the team during the playoffs.

    Thursday, April 15, 2004

    Mark Kreidler: Lack of focus shows this team won't get beyond first round

    The Kings have lost eight of the last twelve games. As a King's fan and season ticket holder over the last nineteen years, watching these games over the last three weeks has not been good for my blood pressure. I agree completely with Mark Kreidler's article titled Lack of focus shows this team won't get beyond first round in today's Sacramento Bee.

    My personal prediction is that Dallas will win the first round series against Sacramento in six games.

    Larkin and I will be at the first Dallas versus Sacramento playoff game on Sunday afternoon.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2004

    Dealing with rebellious wives?

    I spent the day in San Francisco for a couple of meetings, including a Kronos Implementation Executive Steering Committee.

    Continuing to ponder the intersection of Middle Eastern and American culture and the our goals in Iraq, I ran across an article in the last couple of weeks that talks about dealing with a rebellious wife. While the source of the article appears to be suspect, it still makes me wonder if we really understand the role that religion plays in most of Middle Eastern society. Trying to impose American political institutions in 14 months (Bush's June 30 deadline) on a society with 1,400 years tradition of religion playing a major role in politics and everyday life seems wrought with danger.

    Wednesday night, Jack had his third baseball game of the season.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2004

    Wrapping up at T0wer...

    Since December 22, 2003, Sharon has been working at T0wer Records as in-house counsel filling in for a woman who went out on maternity leave. The woman came back to work on Monday and today is Sharon's last day. Sharon has done very well in short time that she has been there; a number of people have been extremely pleased with her work. It is possible that she will continue to do some part-time work for them in the future.

    Running on the treadmill and listening to Bush's speech and the following press conference, I could not stop wondering about trying to impose Western [American?] structures and values on a millenniums old Middle Eastern culture. Although it may seem like an odd connection, I keep thinking about this article I ran across recently: Qatar trials robot substitute for child camel jockeys. Do we really understand the beliefs and value structure of their society? Can a western style democracy work?

    Further reading:

    Hooves of thunder
    Camel races (State of Quatar, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    Camel races (Doha Online network)
    Camel races in the Middle East - the camel jockeys are child slaves
    Kidnapped children sold into slavery as camel racers
    Death in the desert for Pakistan's camel children
    Father fights to keep son out of hands of camel jockeys

    Monday, April 12, 2004

    Look mom, no mainframes!

    I finished reading Dune: The Butlerian Jihad and updated my reading list. This book is the fourth in a series of prequels to the original Dune books that are being written by the original author's son and Kevin Anderson. The prequels are interesting in the context of providing some background for the original books, but are not great science fiction; I give the book at best a "B" grade.

    Sherry sent me the following link: IBM's 'dinosaur' turns 40 / PCs were supposed to kill off the mainframe, but Big Blue's big boxes are still crunching numbers. She is working on an application that has a web front-end to a mainframe application.

    I am proud that Sutter Health's IT Department was able to eliminate all of our IBM Zseries applications. Almost all of our applications are running on Unix and Windows servers. We have one enterprise application that runs on IBM Iseries boxes (i.e. OS/400s). In spite of IBM's efforts to convince me otherwise, I am looking forward to the day that we can get rid of the iSeries machines.

    Sunday, April 11, 2004

    Easter 2004 plus Kings cruise

    Jack got up early and hunted for the eggs that the Easter Bunny left him as well as finding his Easter Basket. Afterwards, we went to an early Easter Mass.

    Sharon took food to her parents. This is the first Easter since Sharon and I have been together that we have not done anything with her family. Kevin's confirmation is coming up in two weeks and the a decision was made to have a large family get together then rather than today.

    As much as I keep swearing that I will not watch the Kings, Sharon, Jack and I watched the Kings versus the Lakers game in the early afternoon. It was very satisfying to watch the Kings cruise to a 102 to 85 victory over the Lakers. During breaks in the game, we were switching back to the Master golf tournament. We crossed paths with Phil Mickelson at the Pebble Beach Pro Am and were rooting for him to win the Masters.

    We spent some time in the late afternoon closing out the books for the first quarter for Sharon's legal practice. Remarkably, although the hours billed to T0wer are at a much lower rate than her other customers, she has already billed more hours in 2004 than she did in all of 2003. This helps to explain why the last three and a half months have felt so hectic!

    Saturday, April 10, 2004

    Coloring Easter Eggs

    I worked in the back yard for a couple of hours weeding the raised beds and the areas around the raised beds.

    Sharon and Jack colored Easter Eggs.

    Drew gave Jack a UC Irvine shirt last weekend when he was here. Jack has been wearing it nonstop since then. As soon as he gets home from school, Jack puts on his King's jersey and shorts and pulls the UC Irvine shirt on over the top of them. He says that it is his warm up shirt.

    Friday, April 09, 2004

    Another Girls Night Out...

    Sharon met three of her friends from grammer school and high school for dinner and drinks at the Elephant Bar in Citrus Heights. The group included Mary and Laura who Sharon has known since first grade at St. Mary's and Liz who Sharon has known since freshman year of high school at St. Francis.

    After dinner, they went to Players Sports Pub & Grill for a beer and to watch the rest of the Kings game against the Phoenix Suns. I am so discouraged with the Kings at this point that I am not going to even comment on the game...

    Thursday, April 08, 2004

    Another Kings loss...

    Sharon's high school friend Liz has lived in Holland for more than fifteen years, but is back in Sacramento for an extended visit. Sharon and Liz went to the Sacramento Kings versus Minnesota Timberwolves game, while Jack and I watched the game on TNT. The Timberwolves beat the Kings by a score of 94 to 86.

    The Kings have lost seven of their last twelve games. After watching them do so well all year, it has been very discouraging to watch the Kings play over the last three and a half weeks. This stretch included the slow motion train wreak that Jack and I attended on March 23 when the Kings lost to Milwaukee.

    Wednesday, April 07, 2004

    Intel's Information Technology Innvation Center

    Larkin and I went out to the Intel Campus in Folsom and got a guided tour of Intel's Information Technology Innovation Center. I got a chance to walk through the center once before, but this time we got someone to talk to us about the exhibits.

    One of the things that they were showing was a PC driving a set of six 17" LCD monitors arranged two high and three across; the XP operating system can map all six screens into one virtual desktop. When we were in Redmond last month, Microsoft's productivity vision session included multiple monitor configurations at all of the workstations. Over the last couple weeks, I have been using a configuration at my desk that creates a virtual desktop on the screen of my tablet PC and an external LCD monitor. I find that having multiple application open at the same time on different screens and being able to glance back and forth between the two does increase my productivity.

    After the tour, Larkin and I had lunch with Sherry in the Intel cafeteria.

    Wednesday night, Jack had his second baseball game of the season.

    Tuesday, April 06, 2004

    Peja's Birthday

    Our cat Peja is one year old today. We have had him since last July when we picked him up at the San Francisco Airport.

    Peja is a little odd in that he is extremely fascinated with water. He loves to play in a sink while the water is running, has climbed into the shower with Sharon and has fallen into a washing machine full of clothes and water.

    Monday, April 05, 2004

    Photo Albums from Spring Training

    I put together two small photo albums of pictures from this year's spring training trip. The first page is a set of pictures that I took with my Canon PowerShot S330 digital camera and can be found at:

    During the trip, I also took a number of pictures using the digital camera on my Sanyo SCP-5300 Sprint Phone. These pictures were uploaded real-time to:

    Without some of the usual suspects (Hunter, Tomasin, Geselbracht, Connor, Bachman), it was a much mellower trip than 2000 and 2001. While we were sitting at breakfast on Sunday morning, I was actually thinking about how relaxed and refreshed I was! Normally by the last morning, I am feeling like I have been dragged behind a horse for several days.

    Cabo or bust!

    Sunday, April 04, 2004


    Jack had a great time having Drew around on Saturday and Sunday. They played NBA Live on the computer, basketball in the bonus room and generally rough housed. Drew gave Jack a UC Irvine shirt that Jack now insists on wearing all the time.

    I took Drew to the airport in the early afternoon and he flew back to Irvine to start the spring quarter of his freshman year.

    Saturday, April 03, 2004

    Jack's first baseball game of the season!

    Jack had his first baseball game of the season. He played third base, outfield and catcher. Last year, Jack played t-ball. This year, he is playing coach pitched. The kids are starting to get some sense of the game. Instead of all running after a ball when it is hit, they are actually starting to play their positions and throw to the right base.

    In the early afternoon, I picked up Drew. He spent the morning working on recording some new songs for an album he is hoping to release in June.

    Friday, April 02, 2004

    Morgan's Spring Break Trip

    Morgan is taking off on a spring break trip with Caitlin and Caitlin's mom and friend. They are going on "kind of a college tour." They plan to cover Santa Cruz, UCLA, Santa Barbara, Irvine and Loyola Marymount in the next week.

    Morgan's overall weighted GPA is 3.95. For the last two years, tenth and eleventh grades, it is a 4.0. She is ranked 22 in her class of 330, or seventh based on this year and last year.

    The top thirty in the junior class participate in the graduation. Morgan described it as "being on this ivy chain thing."

    Morgan has taken two terms of Italian, but they cancelled italian at Union Mine so she can not take Italian Three.

    Thursday, April 01, 2004 -- News -- Admission verdict's in for many UC hopefuls

    There is an article in the Sacramento Bee titled Admission verdict's in for many UC hopefuls that outlines the growing difficulty of getting into the UC system. Drew is a freshman at UC Irvine. Morgan is a junior in high school and will be applying for colleges this fall.

    Greg Chabrier called on the car phone while I was on the way to work in the morning. We talked about a couple of different subjects, including his oldest kids (Meredith and Matt) who are seniors in high school.

    Meredith is on the wait list for Stanford. She got into Davis with a full Regent's scholarship. She also got in to Pomona, UCLA, UC San Diego, Cal Poly, and UC Santa Barbara.

    Matt got into Davis, Santa Barbara and Irvine. At this point, his choice is Davis.