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Sunday, January 25, 2009

A New Day (And Year) Has Come

Memorial Day
Okay, so these were taken the day before Memorial day, but the sun and wind were cooperating!
So in not breaking what's become tradition, it's been a few weeks since my last rambling. Which makes this post the first of its kind in the new year. Nearly at the end of January, that is.

Several random and not-so-random things have happened in the new year. Beth and I finally watched the Ken Burns' series The War, which I'd captured and preserved on DVD when it was broadcast on PBS since I knew we'd never be able to watch the entire series when it was on TV.

For a fifteen-hour documentary, it's remarkably well done and definitely worth the time commitment. I'm just glad I could watch it in a seven-day sequence (we did one episode per night for the duration), rather than the way PBS did it over several weeks. Keeps things more fresh. The footage, while obviously repeated at times during the fifteen hours, was quite vivid and the stories were quite intriguing. The one story that sticks in my mind is the story of a fellow from Connecticut. He tells a story of capturing a German soldier. That's not terribly unusual, but this German soldier knew geographic features of his hometown that most people in the US (or even his home state) wouldn't have known. Very creepy.

And who could forget the very notable and historic moments last week Tuesday (20 January), when the 44th President of the United States took the oath of office.

I watched what I could of the action while at work. That is, until the stream started breaking up. It meant that I caught the oath of office and the first few minutes of the speech, but I missed most of the rest. Ah well, the Internet's not perfect.

But there's YouTube to fix that issue. I didn't finally watch the rest of the speech until this weekend, but I made sure that I checked it out. I would hope that regardless of political affiliation, one could look at this change in administration as a Good Thing. A breath of fresh air after the previous eight years of what I will (for lack of more eloquent terms) refer to as a dictatorial style. I don't often write about political things (it's just not my nature), but what bothered me most about the previous administration was the blatant attitude of 'I'm going to do whatever I want...' regardless of the situation at hand. I don't think things could be much worse...

And speaking of the inauguration doings. I was reading some of the text of Obama's speech on a random webpage, when I noticed an ad that states the following:
Would you feel safe with Obama as President? [yes/no]

I think the ad's a little behind the curve...

In more local news, this weekend I finally fixed the bathtub/shower diverter valve/spout. Most of the water now goes up to the shower head rather than right out the spout. Matt is happy for multiple reasons. One being that it's not wasting water, the other being that the damn diverter spout isn't sitting on my desk anymore. :) Especially since I've had the part for six months or better.

I also started working half-time on the UMM website redesign project after the first of the year. It's a temporary gig during the design and implementation process, but cool to be working with a team on a neat project with some significant visibility. So that's been keeping me plenty busy.

Other than that, we survived the bitter cold of a few weeks ago, although it's been pretty cold the last few days again. It's always fun when the high temperature for the day is in the teens below zero (F). Makes all sorts of things do strange things. Bitter cold is just that. Bitter.

But we've also had a fair amount of snow this winter. We've got about eighteen inches sitting over most of the yard this winter. More where it's drifted in (it's all of waist deep in several spots). Somehow, that makes the bitter cold more palatable. At least it does for me.

It's also nice to be able to visibly see that the insulation work I did this fall is working quite well. We've not had near the melting on the roof that we've had in previous years, which means less ice and other crazy things that are horribly rough on rooftops. It also means that at least for a little while longer, the heat is staying inside...where it belongs. :)

But that's been an interesting thing as well. Our last fuel oil delivery was at $1.88/gallon. That's nearly half what I paid (per gallon) for fuel oil last winter. It's been crazy. I'm mixed about it, really. Don't get me wrong -- I like the fact it's not costing me as much as it might otherwise, but I know it's but a temporary thing and the price will eventually climb again. But seeing as how I didn't pay anything less than $2.60 a gallon in all of last season (and I've not paid more than $2.50/gallon this season), I'll take it for what it's worth.

So that's pretty much what I know for now. And seeing as it's getting on to 10PM, it's time for me to call it quits for tonight.

So until next time...
We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.


America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

- President Barack Obama, excerpts from his inaugural address January 20, 2009


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