But yes, a lot has happened. There's no way I can do this chronologically, and I'm sure I'll miss stuff, but here we go.
This week has been downright weird. I had Wednesday-Thursday-Friday off work, and planned to do a lot of yard work, a little shopping, and a lot of relaxing. But on Tuesday night, Reece came down with a stomach flu that we have never before seen the likes of (and hope to never see again). It came out of nowhere. One moment, we were tucking him into bed, the next moment he was a projectile puke spewing machine. We stood there like dolts, in shock I think, that vomit could fly that far, and BOUNCE! By the fourth retch, I had him in my arms and running to the toilet. Unfortunately, this was just the first of 20+ vomiting incidents over the next 48 hours. The p0or boy couldn't even keep water down, and we were getting really worried. By yesterday, the vomiting had stopped, and the diarrhea begun, stinking stuff reminiscent of a porta-potty left full all summer long in hot weather. He seems to be doing better today, though we're keeping his diet bland and letting him sleep as much as he wants to.
Luckily (knock on wood), no one else seems to have come down with this one. Lorelai was great through most of it, but we were very conscious not to ignore her while fawning over the sick brother to let her go green with jealousy.
The two of them are growing up so fast now. They're officially two and a half now. We bought them 'Run Bikes' that are like bicycles, but without pedals. They sit on the seat, and use their feet a la Fred Flintstone to power them along. Reece is a natural at it, and was jumping off curbs on the second day. Lorelai is a little more reserved, but she's learning.
Lisa went through a point in May / June where she didn't know if she would still have a job due to layoffs at her client, but she managed to find a new spot and will be there through the end of the year at least.
I just wrapped up a major project at work, building a product for Microsoft called Demo Showcase. You can see the results at www.demoshowcasesuite.com. It's been really well received by the customer and the users, and has built quite a reputation for our company and for myself. I have been blogging about it on my technical blog at http://devcape.blogspot.com. The project chewed up most of my free time in June and early July, so not much else got done (i.e. blogging here).
This week, I'm headed to the Pacific Northwest Writer's Association conference in SeaTac, WA for four days. I'm hoping to learn a lot in the various lectures, but I also have meetings lined up with an agent and an editor, and I hope to make some connections to get my book published. I launched my own website last month at www.joebeernink.com. You can read the first chapter of my book there. I've been spending a lot of time lately editing the book, so that has cut into my 'writing' time, but I hope to get back to that right after the conference.
The garden is doing well. I put in two raised 4' by 8' planter boxes this year, basically tripling the size of my garden. It's quite a bit more work, but so far we've had broccoli, lettuce, cucumbers, peas, yellow beans, tomatoes, green beans and summer squash on our table at night, fresh from the garden. We have Swiss Chard as well, except we keep forgetting to cook it up. We've got a big pumpkin growing and 3 more kinds of squash on the way. Next year, less lettuce (or different kinds perhaps), no spinach (slugs kept getting it), no Swiss Chard, half the amount of broccoli, and a better fence around the peas (the kids pulled them all down early in the season).
Lisa got me into reading a new author named Marshall Karp. His first book, The Rabbit Factory is very good, reminiscent of Janet Evanovich, but bigger plots. I just finished it yesterday and am trying to refrain from picking up the next one from the shelf until after the conference.
Other books I've read in the last few months:
- The Eternity Artifact and The Parafaith War by L.E. Modesitt - Pretty good
- The Jury Master by Robert Dugoni - okay, not great. I actually met Robert Dugoni at a PNWA meeting a few months back, and got the book autographed.
- Sword Song - Bernard Cornwell - excellent as always
- Fearless Fourteen - Janet Evanovich - series is getting tired
- Last of the Breed - Louis Lamour - Good story, ending is rushed (I know how that happens)
- Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card - This book was awesome. Scared to read any of his other books. I read one other book of his last year, and I hated it.
- The Shining - Stephen King - The scariest freakin book I've ever read. I had to stop reading it at night.
- How the West Was Won - Louis Lamour - Not great, but a fast read and enjoyable
- Farmer in the Sky - Robert Heinlein - Great Read. Classic SF from the 1950's that is still enjoyable today.
Out movie watching time has dwindled severely, but here are a few we did manage to watch in the last few months:
- Gran Torino -Good, but Oscar Worthy... no. 3/5
- Marathon Man - I'd bet a lot of movies in the 1980's and beyond we're influenced by this one. Pretty good, if you understand what was going on in the world back then. 3/5
- The Golden Compass - Bad movie, skip it 1/5
- Marley and Me - average. Not great 2/5
- Frost / Nixon -Amazing movie. See this one. 5/5
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Pretty good, worth watching 3/5
- The Italian Job (1969) - Not as good as the remake. 1/5
- Starter for Ten - Middling... chick flick 2/5
- Death Race - If you just sit back and enjoy it for what it is, it'd not bad (4/5)
- War, Inc. - Turned it off after 15 minutes (0/5)
- How to Lose Friends & Alienate People - Oh what have you done, Simon Pegg (2/5)
- Dan in Real Life - Not bad... for a chick flick (3/5)
- Twilight - I don't get all the hype. Buffy was better (2/5)
- How the West Was Won - not as good as the book (2/5)
- Slumdog Millionaire very good, as you have probably already heard (5/5)
- Frozen River - Pretty good (3/5)
- The Duchess - Very good (for a chick flick) 4/5
- Eagle Eye - A stretch to give it 2/5
- Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay - Actually pretty funny (not for you, Mom) (3/5)
- Half Nelson - If you're happy and want to be depressed, watch this. (2/5)
- Tropic Thunder - Pretty Bad, Laughed once (1/5)
- Wanted - Bad. Really Bad (1/5)
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall - A little bit funny (2/5)
- Ghost Town - Eh... (2/5)
- John Adams (Miniseries) - Great - Watch this one (5/5)
- The History Boys - Okay, but a little uncomfortable to watch (2/5)
- The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - Bad. Oh so Bad (1/5)
- First Snow - Okay (3/5)
- WALL-E - pretty good (4/5)
What you can determine from this list is that we watch far too many chick flicks, and the guys flicks the last few years have sucked. I'm hoping for a good summer blockbuster, soon.Okay, we'll call it a day now, and pretend that I've updated you on everything that has happened. But if I'm lacking in good material in the next few weeks, I may just flash back to something else that went on between February and July, but I tell ya, I was working a lot, and a couple of months went by without me noticing much.