Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Busy Monday

Yesterday started off normally enough. Wake up too early; fight to get the kids dressed, fed, and out the door. I dropped SKGP off at school, and went in to work.

I completed and mailed the state and federal taxes for the Rucker Home & School Club, wrote some work related checks, and checked some other items off my to do list.

From 3:30 to 5:30, I worked with the Rucker (SKGP's school) Principal and SKGP's teacher, Mr. H, to narrow down the list of architects from 15 to 6 for the Rucker rebuild. Then I went to the gym, relieved Nana from EJP duty. I watched SKGP do some gymnastics, and tried unsuccessfully to help the girls do some kind of bar exercise.

I took EJP home and washed the dishes while RCP made calzones for dinner. During dinner, I got a text message and a voice mail from my VIP (police volunteer) team leader. I ignored that for a bit. The phone rang, and it was someone looking for me to run for my state district's Libertarian Party state senator seat, which I declined.

After I finished eating, I decided that this would be as good a time as any to start actually doing something with the VIPs, so I called my leader back and left him a vmail. Then, I suited up, and drove to where the text said the issue was, arriving a few minutes before 8.

Around 7:35, a truck ran into a bike. I gathered that the guy was hurt pretty bad and might die; there was quite a bit of blood in the street, and his bike was broken in half. While we didn't learn anything last night, the newspaper reports that he's going to be fine.

For the next 3.5 hours, I stood in the cold with a little flashlight with a red plastic cone on the end, waving at cars to keep moving. I chatted with some of the other volunteers, and learned some of the basics of keeping a crime scene clear. I learned some things that I need to add to my kit, like gloves and warmer socks. I lit a flare. I watched the Gilroy PD team do a real survey of the area. It was an interesting, if boring and cold, experience.

I got home a little before midnight.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

SKGP Christmas Concert

Here is a clip of SKGP's recent Christmas concert.  It's very shaky footage that might make you sea sick, so perhaps you can just listen.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

2009 Level 4 Nor-Cal State Gymnastics Championships

Vault: 9.00 (19th Tie)
Bars: 9.1 (8th Tie)
Beam: 8.425 (17th Tie)
Floor: 8.9 (13)
All Around: 35.425 (14th)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Email to Gilroy Council

My email to the Gilroy City Council:

Good morning. 

In today's Dispatch, Councilman Bracco indicated that he had only received one pro- medical marijuana dispensary email.  I wanted to add one more email to the support pile.

Clearly, the recent actions of Medileaf are antagonistic and not in the spirit of cooperation, and they are probably not the right fit for our community. However, I support the idea of allowing citizens the freedom to make their own decisions.  While reasonable people may disagree about the effectiveness and ethics of using marijuana, it seems logical to me that in a free society, people should be able to make their own choices and mistakes.

Thank you very much,


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Photos from Vegas Trip

Drew and I took a road trip to Las Vegas in November. Among other things we did, we hiked to the top of a huge pile of rocks at Red Rock National Monument, shot guns, and walked around the Strip.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gymnastics Meet: The Pumpkin Caper, San Luis Obispo

Last weekend was our final meet of the season.  We journeyed to San Luis Obispo (a very nice town) for the Pumpkin Caper, 2009.

SKGP's scores:

Vault: 8.75 (7th place)
Bars: 8.75 (2nd place)
Beam: 8.35 (2nd place)
Floor: 8.4 (3rd place)
All Around: 34.25 (2nd place)

Also, SKGP won the handstand contest for her level.

Aubry from USA Sports took first place, and did an amazing job.  In addition, USA Sports Level 4 won the second place team award, which is the first trophy for Gilroy!  Great jobs, girls.

The scoring was very tough, but seemed to be consistently applied.

The next meet is the Nor Cal State Championships in early December.  SKGP and one other girl from her gym, plus a couple from the Hollister gym qualified.

Go Green Meet in Dublin

On 10/17/2009, SKGP competed in the Go Green meet in Dublin.  This was a very nice venue and a well organized meet.  Her scores:

Vault: 9.2 (tied for 3rd 2nd place)
Bars: 8.65 (16th 6th place)
Beam:8.9 (6th 4th place)
Floor: 9.15 (5th 2nd place)
All Around: 35.90 (4th 3rd place)

Update: My source for rankings was wrong.  I have updated her placings.

Santa Cruz Meet Score

On 10/10/2009, SKGP competed in the "Undersea Adventure" meet in Santa Cruz.  Her scores were:

Vault: 8.7 (Tied 4th)
Bars: 8.75 (10)
Beam: 8.55 (Tied 8th)
Floor: 8.6 (Tied 7th)
All Around:  34.60 (6th place)

This was not her best meet, and it wasn't the greatest meet.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Meet #3 (Champion!)

In her third meet today in Livermore, SKGP got:

Beam: 9.000 (1st place)
Floor: 9.025 (2nd place)
Vault: 8.600 (tied for 9th place)
Bars: 9.350 (1st place)
All Around: 35.975 (1st place)

She attributes her performance to an Egg McMuffin for breakfast.

We are incredibly proud and amazed.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Letters: Awesome API scores from Rucker School, way to go and keep it up!

Letters: Awesome API scores from Rucker School, way to go and keep it up!: "Awesome API scores from Rucker School, way to go and keep it up!
Dear Editor,
Your recent article on the API scores for Gilroy Unified School District showed some very good growth for several schools. Congratulations to everyone involved for your accomplishments. I especially want to congratulate the staff and faculty at Rucker Elementary for their stunning 31-point gain.

As anyone who has visited the campus knows, the facilities at Rucker have some quirks. There are almost as many portable classrooms as permanent ones. Instead of a cafeteria, there is a food service area and benches outside on the blacktop. The multi-purpose room can't hold all of the students at the same time. Traffic creates a nightmare every morning and afternoon.

In spite of all the physical issues, the students of Rucker made the largest gains in the district.The future is bright for Rucker. Thanks to the generous voters who passed Measure P, we can expect an extensive modernization program to be completed in the coming years which will solve those physical problems. The Rucker GATE program, which offers all-day immersion classes to gifted and talented children from throughout the district, is a jewel for the district. And now we see that test scores for the Rucker students keep jumping.

Great job to everyone involved. Please keep up the tremendous work; we really appreciate it.
James Pace, Gilroy, proud Rucker parent

(from http://www.gilroydispatch.com/opinion/259637-letters-awesome-api-scores-from-rucker-school-way-to-go-and-keep-it-up)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gymnastics Meet #2

This week's gymnastics meet was at Pacific West, in Union City. SKGP was in the Level 4, Junior A age category. There were about 13 girls in the same level and age group.

Floor: 9.025 (3rd place)
Beam: 8.850 (tied for 3rd place)
Vault: 8.825 (12th place)
Bars: 8.725 (4th place)
All Around: 35.425 (4th place)

Great job!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


RCP took Garbanzo to the vet today, and found that he has a tumor in his mouth.  He probably doesn't have that long.  He's a good kitty.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gymnastics Meet #1

SKGP's first gymnastics meet was Friday night (9/11/2009), at the Santa Cruz Begonia Gymfest, in Scotts Valley.

Beam: 1st place (8.925)
Vault: 4th place (9.450)
Bars: 5th place (8.600)
Floor: 7th place (8.525)
All Around: 6th place (35.500)

She had fun, learned a bunch, and did a great job.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


On Monday (8/24/2009), the kids entered the stock market.

EJP bought 5 shares of PetSmart (PETM) at $20.18 each.  He likes to go see the animals.
SKGP bought 2 shares of Kohl's (KSS) at $52.33 each.  She likes to shop for clothes.

For future comparison purposes, the major indices closed on Monday at:
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average -- 9,509.28
  • Nasdaq -- 2,017.98
  • S&P 500 -- 1,025.57

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Scenes from life: The girl - "Isn't he Hillary Clinton's husband?". And the boy labeled his leftovers "Fish" so I wouldn't eat them.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Today, RCP made us all go outside.

Once we forgave her, the kids spent a little time with their bikes.  We took off the training wheels, because it is time for them to learn how to ride.  EJP made some progress, but gave up pretty quickly.  SKGP was a bit more focused, and pretty quickly she could roll when pushed.  After a few more ups and downs, a few tears and frustrated storm-offs, she could get herself going and keep going, and now she is excited to keep practicing.

Next up, she has to ride up and down the hill to the end of the cul-de-sac.  After she survives this, she'll be a real bike rider, and perhaps she can have a real bike.

Windows XP SP2+ Movie Maker 2.1 Crash - RESOLVED

Whenever I launch Windows Movie Maker 2.1 on my Windows XP SP3 system with Internet Explorer 7 or 8, it crashed.  The Windows error message indicates the problem is with qedit.dll. Search Engines find lots of reports of the problem, but few solutions.  I stumbled on a Microsoft fix for some other Movie Maker problem that seems to have resolved the problems for me.  Check out http://support.microsoft.com/kb/969395/, and install that patch.

Good luck, future Googlers.  I hope this helps you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Today, the family is going to the beach and I'm going to Madera.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mental note: You can't go home that way. The road is closed. Thanks, Garlic Festival.
People, learn how to make apps fullscreen when making presentations. F11 works for many programs.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Couch!

As you might have noticed from the PaceHouse 2.1 list the other day, we're working on getting some deferred maintenance done, and finally doing some projects that are overdue.  (RCP, have you called Gabriel about the trellis?)

RCP had spotted a nice couch at a screaming price at Costco a couple weeks back.  However, they kept not having any in stock. 

Last weekend, she called and Costco said they had them.  So, I hopped in the car.  I went to Lowe's (right next to Costco) to rent a truck, since the couch is in three large boxes.  I then learned that you can only rent Lowe's trucks if you are buying something big at Lowe's.   So, I call home and my brother and rallied a convoy.  Then I went in to Costco.  Fruitless wandering revealed no couches, and customer service told me that there weren't any.  Luckily I got hold of the convoy before they had mobilized.  Grrr.

Last Friday, a phone call indicated that more were available.  RCP got a hold of a delivery company.  (Yay!) On Monday, the new couch arrived.  They brought it, unboxed it, and set it up.  It looks great, and is very comfortable.

Upgrade to FreeBSD 8.0

Last week, I upgraded my FreeBSD 7.x system to FreeBSD-8.0.

For the system binaries, I used cvsup to update my source tree, then did "make buildworld; make buildkernel; make installkernel; mergemaster; make installworld" and rebooted. The system built without complaint. My kernel config, which is a slightly modified and stipped down GENERIC, didn't work out of the box. Rather than debugging my old conf file, I copied the 8.x GENERIC and re-tweaked it to fit my needs.

I rebuilt some of my ports, but I think that was mostly me getting up to date, rather than necessary for a functional system.

One of the non-trivial stumbling blocks I ran into was getting my WiFi card up and functioning. I spent some time searching the web for help, and didn't find the magic incantations I needed. However, reading man pages and with some luck, I now have a working system again.

In order to save someone else the complete recreation of my work, I thought I'd post the relevant bits of my /etc/rc.conf here. For reference, I have an open AP on the ath0 interface, and a normal Ethernet LAN connected to fxp0; I bridge these two nets together to make printing and stuff easier. I hope this helps, and recommend a good read of ifconfig(8) and wlan(4) [which is a new interface to me].

# Sample fragment from /etc/rc.conf

ifconfig_rl0="DHCP" # Internet

# Bridge the internal networks

# FreeBSD 7.x
# NOTE: This didn't exactly work as desired; I couldn't figure out how
# to assign an address to the bridge and make it come up in rc.conf
# (thus the two ifconfig_bridge0 lines).
# Once the system had booted, as a workaround I had a script run:
# # ifconfig bridge0 addm fxp0 addm ath0
# ifconfig_bridge0="addm fxp0 addm ath0 inet up"
# ifconfig_fxp0="up"
# ifconfig_ath0="ssid PACEHOUSE channel 11 mode 11g mediaopt hostap"
# ifconfig_bridge0="inet up"

# FreeBSD 8.x
ifconfig_bridge0="inet addm fxp0 addm wlan0 up"
create_args_wlan0="wlanmode hostap"
ifconfig_wlan0="ssid PACEHOUSE channel 11 mode 11g up"

A problem that I may not have resolved yet also has to do with networking. My ISP connection is Charter Cable through rl0, which gets its info via DHCP. In FreeBSD 7.x, things worked as expected. However, with 8.0, it appears that I'm not getting an address and routing info quick enough (or ???), so boot time ntpdate and other programs that do name resolution fail. This also seems to leave DNS in a wonky state, and natd not running. As a workaround, once the system is up, I restart those services. Luckily, things are stable enough to prevent this from being a crisis. I am hopeful that this will get fixed by the time I next rebuild. If you have ideas, please let me know!

Other than these hiccups, I am not having trouble with 8.0, and it has been completely stable and reliable once running. Go ahead, give it a try.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I just renewed my driver's license sitting in front of my auto mechanic's shop. All hail the Internet and iPhone.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

PaceHouse 2.1 Project List (First Draft)

  • Trellis for patio
  • New couch
  • Master bedroom closet system (see closet fail)
  • Hot Tub
  • Paint master bathroom
  • New dresser for EJP
  • Fix fan in master
  • Replace dead plant area on hill
  • Replace small, cat friendly gravel with suitable alternative in SKGP garden
  • Work area / computer lab in kids' study
  • Replace portion on back lawn with additional raised garden bed
  • Install ceiling fan in SKGP's room
  • Replace futon in library
  • Replace front lawn with synthetic turf
  • Install emergency water tank
  • Install rainwater capture / cistern system
  • Install solar panels
  • Fix damaged exterior on van
  • Install organizational system in garage
  • Tankless water heater
  • Water softener
  • TBD
Completion date: 1/1/2010?
Budget: I don't want to know

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It's raining. It's pouring.
When jumping into a pool as a form of protest, be careful about tweaking your knee.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Email Subscription

I know some of you prefer to get an email version of this blog, especially since it is so intermittent.  A previous subscription site that I recommenced seems to have cratered, so here's another way to do it.

Have a swell day!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

County just notified me that my property tax basis has been reduced 47%. Yay?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Queue BSG music. "Previously on This American Life...". (episode: The Watchmen)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WHO says we shouldn't "over panic". Panic the right amount.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Everyone in my family knew about the Halifax Explosion (http://ping.fm/5qER9) but me.
The secret to not burning down the house while she's away: cereal and pizza.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My partner is in Boston, the kids will be sleeping soon, and I have no work tomorrow. What to do, what to do.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

In a high school science class, I was taught that there is physical evidence that God stopped the earth for Joshua win a war (cf Joshua 10).

Friday, May 29, 2009

I am now the Treasurer for the Rucker Elementary Parent Club. Look at me, I'm involved in stuff!
I have configured things so that certain of my tweets get posted to my blog. That way, the blog won't be dead for months on end.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

The following essay by SKGP earned her a second place award and a $50 $75 savings bond:

What does Memorial Day mean to you? Memorial Day is an important day to me for many reasons.

Memorial Day is an important holiday to me. To me it means a special day when we celebrate people who sacrificed their lives to protect us. It is a time to love and be thankful for what we have. I think it is a time to show respect, courtesy, and honor to everyone. I am very thankful for all of the soldiers and everything they have done for us. Memorial Day is a day when you celebrate and remember the soldiers who have fought and died to save our country. I hope that lots of people honor all soldiers who are alive today. Memorial Day reminds me of the flag of the USA because it makes me remember what it was like before we were a free county, and I'm glad we are now. I am so glad many soldiers have gone into the Navy, Army, and the Airforce to help all of the people who live in countries where conflicts are going on. I wish that more people were thankful for people who sacrifice their lives for us. I would like to do something to help when I am old enough to show that I really do care. This is a time to be a respectful and a courteous person.

As you can see Memorial day is important to me for many reasons. I hope that lots more people appreciate how brave all of the soldiers are who have risked their lives for us.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Principal Prompt #17 - February 27, 2009

Parents are our first and most important teachers. Describe a time when you learned a valuable lesson from one of your parents or another relative who is important to you.

Have you ever learned a lesson from a important person who is relatied to you? Some people learned writing, reading, or sience. I learned how to do math.  When I was four my dad taught me how to do math.  When I asked what math was he said, "Math is when you use numbers to find the total."  When he printed out math problums on a piece of papper the printer went "ch. ch. ch."  The first kind of math he taught me was adition.  It was hard at first, but as I did more and more I got alot better.  Now math is my favorite and best subject. As you can see your parents teach yo important things.  Now you know about what my dad taught me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gasoline Costs

I've been keeping track of the mileage on my car for the past couple years. Here is the cost of gas that I have paid during that time.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Papa Murphy / Rucker Fundraiser

This Thursday (3/26), Papa Murphy's Take-N-Bake Pizza, located near Nob Hill on 1st Street, is hosting a fundraiser for Rucker Elementary School (which is Sloane's school). 

IF YOU MENTION RUCKER, the Rucker Parent Club will get a portion of your purchase price.

The Rucker Parent Club recently had to make dramatic budget cuts, so now the teachers are getting less money (down 40%!) to help out with classroom expenses.  Now, your oven can make a difference!

If you've never had a Papa Murphy's, try it.  They make the pizza while you wait, then you take it home and bake it.  The menu is available at http://www.papamurphys.com/public/menu_papasPizzas.cfm , or just go in and order the kind of pizza you like.

Please pass this on to any other Gilroyans who like to eat pizza and help out kids.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pierced Ears

Last night was the first (annual?) Las Animas Parent Club Auction.  The event was at the Eagle Ridge Clubhouse, and featured both a silent and a live auction. I won a bunch of stuff.  We left the kids with my parents, and went to the event with several neighbors and friends. I think a good time was had by all.

This morning, we went and picked up the kids, and went to a make up gymnastics practice for SKGP.  After that, we had lunch at Black Bear Diner.

Then we took S to the outlet mall and got her ears pierced.  She was very brave and professional about it all. You can watch the video of the event. For the healing period, she has cute faux diamond studs.

After that, we went to the hospital to check on Mom, who was having trouble getting enough air.  She had some tests done, and she is doing fine and is probably home right now.  The best guess is something cardiac, so next week, she will be getting some more checks.

Now, S and I are going to the Girlscouts' Annual Father - Daughter Dance.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's Cookie Time!

The girl scouts are hitting the streets and hawking their delicious wares.  What do you want?  Only $4 / box! Mmmm.. thin mints and peanut butter patties.

EJP waiting for the bus

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Google Reader is good

I heartily recommend that everyone use Google Reader to read their favorite blogs and news feeds. Watch this video for a little help getting started...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Live from anywhere

I jail broke my iphone today, which lets me install stuff that Apple hasn't blessed. One of the cool apps that I installed is Qik, which streams a live video feed to the internet. You can access all my videos at http://qik.com/jepace. When I go live, it should post a notice to twitter from me, and it should post finished videos to my YouTube feed too.

So, the next time I'm at a city council meeting, you can join me! (Until the battery dies..)


Merry Christmas and happy new year, my loyal readers.

EJP has his first loose tooth. It is the front lower right one. It'll probably come out in the next week or so.