July 5, 2006

For those who were left wondering what day I would possibly consider to be America’s birthday if not the Fourth of July. My answer in September 3, 1783 – the day that the Treaty of Paris was signed and the world recognized a new nation. The American Revolutionary War ran officially from 1775 until 1783 but skirmishes began as early as 1770 with the Boston Massacre.

Another fairly legitamate birthday for our country could be October 19, 1781 when Cornwallis surrendered to Hamilton at Yorktown, Virginia bringing the actual core fighting of the war to an end.

However, my personal favourite American birthday is March 4, 1789 – the day of the formal creation of the Federal Government of the United States of America when nine states ratified the US Constitution. This was the beginning of a totally new and still functioning government and the formation of America in the form that we know it today. Residents of the United States up until 1783 would really have thought of themselves as being inside of England, from 1783 until 1789 they would have thought of themselves as citizens of their given state or commonwealth but in 1789 all of that changed and the concept of “American citizenship” took place and for the first time we were Americans, in this great venture together as a single, coherent nation and not simply an economic confederation of tax free trading states. The Confederation years were closer to the current “North America Free Trade Agreement” than to any form of centralized government and no one today thinks of the US, Canada and Mexico as a single country. Canada is officially a confederation but their unity is much more formal and is under the British Commonwealth so their are unified by a force outside of their own internal government structure which makes their nationhood quite a different style than the American style even though on a day to day basis they mostly function with the same overarching centralized government with regional sub-governments.

Last night the rain returned. It was a light rain but anything that adds water to the system right now is probably pretty bad. Bob Crissman just reported that Broome County and eleven other New York counties (I assume that Herkimer is most likely included in that list) have been declared a national disaster area and are going to be receiving federal assistance. From what I have seen of Broome and Tioga counties it is desperately needed. This morning when I went out to the car it was a steady light to moderate rain, much heavier than it was when I went to bed. As I drove up Jersey Avenue I discovered that it must have been raining all night because everything was flooding and Jersey Avenue itself was half underwater. As I continued to work the rain increased to heavy or maybe even to pouring status making it hard to drive and difficult to see. Just what we need right now. I hope that it isn’t raining in New York. New Jersey has more rivers and coastline to take the excess water than New York and Pennsylvania do.

For anyone needing federal flood assistance information you can go directly to FEMA’s information page about the Upstate New York Flood listed as July 1, 2006 – incident 6485.

In New Jersey news today the state began to shut down all none essential services due to the Democrat controlled legislature being unwilling to pass the governor’s budget. Unlike most states this includes a complete shutdown of the casinos in Atlantic City which is going to completely cripple one of the state’s largest cities and send a tremendous number of low wage earners onto the dole. Nothing like widespread unemployment to bolster your tax base in a time of budget crisis. According to the casinos there was no reason for the shutdown as the workers that the state is not allowing to work in Atlantic City are paid for by the casinos and not by the state even though they are state workers so any decision to not allow them to go to work was one of malice toward the city and the state and not one of financial necesity. For anyone considering taking a vacation to Atlantic City, this is the time. No casinos operating, hardly anyone in town and a whole city full of resorts looking to do anything to attract visitors.

Today was bill paying day. I hate paying bills. Especially when they are so big. Ugh.

For breakfast today I had a Balance bar courtesy of Hewlett-Packard. They sent out the Balance bars as a promotional item showcasing their AMD Opteron and Athlon based products stating that they were the perfect balance of power and price. It was really handy today because I didn’t have anything else that I could grab quickly as I headed out of the door. It was a good promotional item though because obviously I thought about it and now you are thinking about it too. Now you will remember AMD processors from HP! (Unfortunately for HP that is all that I buy anyway so they weren’t getting any additional purchases from me – my desktop, laptop and all new servers are HP AMD machines.)

I had some additional time available to me again today so I decided to enroll for HP’s “Wireless Security In Depth” class. I am getting as much out of HP’s classes as possible.

I had lunch at the office today. Finally there was a vegetarian special on: arepas with Mexican corn and fried plantains. The arepas were awesome. I hope that they have those more often. They almost never have real vegetarian selections so I am stuck getting just a sandwich most days and the selection of sandwiches isn’t very broad so things get boring quickly.

At 2:30 we discovered a problem that resulted in me becoming buried beneath a mountain of paperwork. This will take several days for me to complete, I am sure. Always something fun going on. At least it wasn’t my fault so it is just work, not stress. Paperwork is only so bad. It isn’t fun and it is annoying but I don’t find it to be stressful or anything like that. So that is fine.

I managed to complete the entire Wireless Security class long before the end of the day so I enrolled for HP’s “Security for IT Professionals” class – which I thought was available now but does not open until the next “section”. I am probably getting more out of HP’s classes than anyone! I am very glad that HP offers them. There is a lot of good stuff in there. Maybe if more people take them HP will offer a wide assortment in the future. I looked through their current classes carefully but there was nothing more that I thought would be useful to me left for me to take this “semester” except for an introduction to Microsoft Publisher 2003 but i don’t want to take that class unless I have time to do it when I am able to sit down with my copy of Publisher 2003 and try out the stuff that I am learning. I would like to get through that class if possible because there is a Publisher 2003 Advanced class available directly following it.

On July 3rd I forgot to include the very funny story of running out of gas while test driving the BMW 330 so everyone who has all ready read the daily from Monday will need to go back and read that entry. I can’t believe that I forgot to include such a memorable experience.

Towards the end of the day, as often happens, things slowed down and I managed to have a nice, relaxing but productive day. And there are only two days of work left this week. Hardly feels like the week has even gotten started. Things were going smoothly so I was able to get out of work at six and head for home.

I got home in good time and we went immediately out to Tanjore for some dinner. The weather wasn’t bad so Oreo got to ride along and stay in the car. He is so much happier when he doesn’t get left behind. I got the hottest item on the menu. They have learned that I can handle hot foot and they are finally letting me have it. This was HOT. Not as hot as hot Buffalo wings or the vindalu that Bob got that one time in Ithaca but it was hot nonetheless. After dinner we went next door for some ice cream which was very much needed.

I spent the evening at home working on the movie database system. Now when a “view” is entered it records the fact that a particular film was viewed, by whom, when and increments the total number of views for that particular film which, in turn, updates the statistics for the total number of views of the collection and the cost per view. This little update does a lot to make the system more usable for me on a day to day basis. I have to maintain a separate “times watched” total for each video separate from the “views” table because of legacy data coming from the spreadsheet that I have been using for years. I don’t like having it that way but the alternatives aren’t pretty. I might switch it at some point but I am not sure. The system will only ever get so big. It is a movie database system, after all. But then again, it would be nice if it was really cool and solid and good for other people to use if I make it open source software. That would be awfully neat.

I have been struggling to get enough sleep and with the changing schedule it has been extra tough. So we targetted going to bed at ten thirty. We didn’t quite make it but we were close. Dominica spent the evening working on her Linux 101 class from HP, reviewing her SUNY Empire classes and studying for her A+ exam.

Leave a comment