Notes below were posted on Friday, September 23, 2005


I've been playing around with adding video to my blog. I was successful. Well, kinda.

I have a URL that contains a 5-minute video clip of Megan. However, it is about 90 MB and takes over 2 hours to download with a dialup connection - and that's with a download helper program that I use called GetRight. My connection speed was 42.6 Kbps.

The file downloaded at work from an ISDN connection in about 15 minutes or so, and the QuickTime player opened automatically to play the file.

So......I wouldn't try to open the video unless you have a really fast connection like RoadRunner or something. If you use dialup, you might want to set it to download overnight. I'm going to continue to work on posting video presentations. I found a program that allows you to alter the frame rate, picture size, resolution, and a few other parameters to get the file size smaller. Also, I learned that you really don't need 5 minutes of Megan to see how cute she is. My future videos will probably be a minute or less. The time seemed to go by faster when I was watching the video, but I see now that I'm really going to need to trim the time to get a file that is reasonable to download. I'm also looking at a few other codecs to allow for a more efficient delivery. I've heard that MPEG 4 does a good job, but I haven't found freeware that will allow me to encode to that format yet.

I'll also do some cosmetic things like having you click on an icon rather than the URL. This is the kind of thing that I enjoy playing with, but I've run out of time. Barbara and I leave for Hollywood (not CA but AL) in the morning to meet up with Laura and Megan at Barbara's mom's home. I'll be there through the middle of next week. It's about 9:30 pm now so I'd better start packing.

Notes below were posted on Thursday, September 15, 2005

Edited my Template

Those of you with a keen eye you will notice that I have edited the blog template. I removed the option to provide comments since I had several reports of friends and family trying to use that function and were unable to (except for Jamie and Merle who were successful in providing some heart-warming comments). Also, I was getting some SPAM-type comments where unknowns were trying to sell me something, so I just decided to remove the comment option. You can email me with comments if you wish.

I also added a phrase "Notes below were posted on" before the automated date entry to eliminate confusion on which post the date refers to (above or below the date). Finally, I removed some shading and lines. I think these changes make the verbiage easier to read and the blog easier to navigate. Let me know if you feel differently.

I'll be traveling with Megan and other family to show her off to her Great Grandmother (Barbara's mom) for a few days starting September 24 so that'll be the next opportunity that I have to take some baby pictures.

I'll post here before then if I have something equal in excitement to editing my template.

Notes below were posted on Saturday, September 10, 2005

Babysitting at Megan's Place

We spent the day yesterday babysitting while Matt and Laura went to work. It was Laura's first day back. She's working only a couple of days per week so far. Her next day will be tomorrow (Sunday) and Matt will be able to keep Megan then.

I was so busy taking video that I didn't get any high-resolution digital images to post. I really need to learn how to post video on this blog. The real thrill is the squeals and giggles that Megan is producing now. You can't get an appreciation for that here. Also, she is learning to use her hands more and more to grab things.

Notes below were posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2005

No New Pictures

I haven't been with Megan since my last post, but just to prove that I'm a multi-dimensional individual I decided to create another post anyway.

Probably the most significant event in the past few weeks has been hurricane Katrina. We weren't directly affected here in NC, but being in the South and with a history of hurricanes, we keep a close eye on them as they approach and can certainly sympathize with victims. We sustained $22,000 worth of damage during Hurricane Fran in 1996 and were a couple of weeks without power. Barbara and I have contributed a small amount of money to the relief effort, but I was moved to find that the young mother that got me started on this blogging thing actually was affected to the point of flying to Louisiana to offer assistance. Her compassion was stirred by video of babies the age of her daughter who are suffering from malnourishment and dehydration.

The "old friend" that I referred to in my August 21 post (Beverly) also was affected by Katrina. She lives in Tupelo, MS. An excerpt from her email follows (Dennis is her son-in-law, Roy is her husband):

Dennis', parents (and many of his aunts/uncles/cousins) live in Waynesboro, MS a
little over a hundred miles from the coast (he grew up in Biloxi - D'Iberville,
actually). They had lots of tree damage and lost 80% of their roof. They've had
no phone or electrical power since the storm hit Monday morning. Lori &
Dennis gathered provisions Tuesday and early Wednesday morning Dennis flew down
there. Lori and Mallory followed in the truck bringing a generator, water, ice
and roofing materials. Dennis' cousin, Neil, (a NASA shuttle launch engineer)
and a friend of his, drove up from Merritt Island, FL bringing chain saws,
generators and a 50 gal. barrel of diesel fuel. Roy left this morning headed
down there with more supplies to help with the clean-up.
In addition to that, Beverly’s daughter, Lori, will be housing and home-schooling an 8-year old nephew who’s home was lost in Slidell, LA. His mom, Dennis’ sister, is single and will stay behind as she works with the relief effort as part of an emergency response team. The city of Slidell is uninhabitable with no utilities and schools are expected to be closed for several months.

With all that is in the news about the negative side of human reaction to catastrophes (looting, price-gouging, inefficient bureaucracy, etc.), it certainly is encouraging to see the actions of compassionate Americans. This kind of response shows the best part of humanity and typically is under-reported.

Notes below were posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005

Myrtle Beach with Matt & Laura

Barbara and I returned from Myrtle Beach last night after being the guests of Matt and Laura in a condo on a golf course. I don't play golf, but we (all) certainly enjoyed Megan. I baby-sat for much of the time and gave Matt a chance to get out and buy a new set of irons. Barbara and Laura did the shopping thing at the outlet malls and saved Matt and me bunches of money ;- )

Megan continues to develop at a really rapid rate. She is onto her elbows and can roll over if you place her onto her stomach. The rolling over does take quite a bit of effort, though, and she gets frustrated if she doesn’t get a little help after her neck gets tired and her head blops down.

We took her for her first view of the ocean. She was thoroughly unimpressed. I guess at her age everything is new so there are few surprises. She probably would have yawned at a Martian if we came upon one. We also took her to the pool but just let her dangle her toes in it. Laura says that they make special diapers for swimming infants but Megan is too little for them now.

I did manage to get some good pictures, though. I’m placing a few here. I especially like the one of Matt and Megan together. You certainly can tell that she has her daddy’s genes.