29 June 2008

Rolling over and geysers

My son has finally perfected rolling from tummy to back. He previously could only roll from back to tummy, and, much to his dismay, could not get back. Until now. Now he can do it with ease. He still doesn't like tummy time, though, and prefers to roll over to his side or back. He has also figured out he can roll to get to places and things he wants to discover. Let the baby proofing begin!

So, all of the rolling around happened yesterday. Today, we had our first stomach virus. This morning we had two occasions of geyser o' vomit. Poor little man. He's doing much better now after some Pedialyte and rest.

Photo is courtesy of flickr user TFDuesing and used via the Creative Commons Attribution License.

28 June 2008


My son and I were enjoying a good book about colors and I noticed he likes to cross his ankles like me. Sent from my cellphone.

27 June 2008

Music videos for headdress lovers

A couple of my favorite videos on YouTube are curious in that they are both from award shows and they both are Native American-themed in the costuming.

The first is a Paulina Rubio performance from Los Premios Billboard. The song is "Algo Tienes" which is one of my favorites by her. She makes a grand entrance on a flat bed truck. Un truco (a trick), no doubt, but exciting nonetheless. She also gets props for wearing a "Don't Mess With Texas" t-shirt. But the significance of the headdress mystifies me.

The second is an awesome OutKast performance from the Grammys. This video is totally outlandish. The narrator describes the year 2999. There is some kind of teepee/spaceship that lands and out comes Andre 3000 and a bunch of backup dancers all dressed in Native American wear. The marching band (University of Southern California?) at the end of the performance is also a nice touch.

26 June 2008

Thanksgiving in June 2008

Tonight we celebrated our 3rd Thanksgiving in June with friends. We brought green bean casserole and sweet potato casserole. Here are few pics:

Green bean casserole

Sweet potato casserole

Wine being poured before we eat.

Carving the turkey.

Out for a stroll

This morning, my son decided that the sun screen on the jogging stroller makes a good footrest. Taken and sent from my cellphone.

25 June 2008

Book review: The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, is a series of prose vignettes (with a little bit of poetry thrown in) that chronicles a pre-teenaged girl, Esperanza, growing up on Mango Street in Chicago. The prose is beautifully written, the stories hauntingly sad at times. Each chapter is only 1 to 3 pages long, each describing the people and places that Esperanza encounters. The overriding theme of the book is how Esperanza belongs but doesn't want to belong to Mango Street. She is and is not Mango Street.

Overall, I'd rate this book a 9 out of 10, and I plan to keep it on my bookshelf for the time being.

24 June 2008

More books posted on PaperBackSwap.com

It's been a month since I've joined PaperBackSwap. I've sent off a handful of books, and in return, I've requested and received "new" books to read. It's a very cool service if you like to read.

Today I have been going through more of my books and have posted a few more to my account. Most are technical in nature (software development and software testing), but there are a few fiction books as well. Check out my profile at spica.paperbackswap.com.

23 June 2008

Book review: D is for Deadbeat

This is the fourth book in the Kinsey Millhone alphabet series by Sue Grafton. Kinsey is hired to deliver a $25,000 check to a kid. The only problem is that her client writes her a bad check and then dies before she can get payment.

I think I liked "B" and "C" a little better than this one. Sometimes the details went on and on and were a bit distracting to the story. It was like the author needed a little filler or something. I thought the first half of the book was a little bogged down because of this. But by the end, it got a lot better, more typical writing of the last two in the series. I'm not keeping this book because it was a loaner to me, but even if I had bought it, I don't think I would keep it. I'd give it a 6.5 out of 10.

22 June 2008

From the garden

My partner took a few photos from the backyard on 20 June 2008:

Water lily.

Water lily.


More grapes. They were yummy too!

21 June 2008

Baby milestones

We are reaching quite a few baby milestones this week. In addition to cutting his first tooth, my son is almost sitting up unassisted, and he started eating rice cereal a few days ago. We are also ditching the pacifier. We are doing it cold turkey. It took a little longer to get him asleep tonight, but I think he is getting the idea that he can fall asleep on his own. It is hard to listen to him cry, but I know he can do it, and sure enough, he did.

20 June 2008

The sun

For the first day of summer, a few photos of the sun:

A napkin decoration from a restaurant in Saltillo, Mexico, taken 13 August 2005.

A local holiday in Heidelberg, Germany, 6 November 2005, involving the children carrying lanterns.

19 June 2008

The job search is over

Today I accepted a position at Phurnace Software here in Austin. I'm excited to be starting there as a Senior QA Engineer in July. It was an interesting journey interviewing with various companies, but I'm grateful that the search has concluded. In the end, I had a tough choice to make between two companies, and that is not a bad dilemma to have.

What is wrong with this picture?

My mom bought a set of 4 different placemats from Big Lots. They are educational themed but one of them has a mistake.

17 June 2008

First tooth

Last night was a long night. I am still suffering from a cold and trying to sleep as much as possible, and my son is cutting his first tooth, and is, unfortunately, not able to sleep as much as any of us would prefer. He is also on a bit of a nursing strike, so feeding is challenging. But grandparents are having so much fun with him. In addition to cutting his first tooth, he is also attempting to sit up, and babbling new sounds every day. He is such a joy.

15 June 2008

Father's Day 2008

Today was a quiet day spent at home with family and friends. My son met new relatives and had a good time. I'm still suffering from my cold, but that didn't stop me from eating barbeque and hanging out. Hope you all had a great day.

14 June 2008

Taco time

Fish tacos at Rubio's in Anaheim. Every visit I make to Southern California must include this.

13 June 2008

Oranges in the O.C.

Orange tree in my parents' back yard in Anaheim. Everything grows so well here. I'm suffering from a cold today, so, I've not done so much today.

12 June 2008

Anaheim Farmer's Market

Mi mama is in her element at the Anaheim Farmer's Market. She grew up helping out at her dad's fruteria.

11 June 2008

On vacation

I'm excited to be taking a week-long vacation to visit family in California now that I'm in between jobs. Traveling with a 5 month old on an airplane for the first time will also definitely be an experience. We have been strategizing for weeks now. Do we check in the car seat and stroller frame? (Yes.) Do we buy 2 seats or 3 seats? (2 seats.) Do I nurse or take the easy way out and bottle-feed? (Bottle-feed. My son is quite the noisy, arm-waving nurser, making it difficult to cover up and be discreet.) Do I take the electric pump or manual pump? (Manual.) How many diapers, clothes, burp cloths, toys, etc. do we take? (Whatever clothes, burp cloths and toys we can fit in the suitcase, but buy diapers when we get there.)

I plan to also try to keep up with daily posting to this blog. I'll have internet access, and I also figured out how to blog from my mobile phone. Yay, I'm a geek!

10 June 2008

Book review of Standing in the Rainbow

Standing in the Rainbow, by Fannie Flagg, is set in Elmwood Springs, Missouri, which is a familiar place to readers of Fannie Flagg's Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! novel. It spans time from the 1940s to 2000. We reacquaint ourselves with some familiar characters: Neighbor Dorothy, Aunt Elner, Norma and Macky, and Poor Tot Whooten. We also meet some interesting folks as well: young Bobby Smith who grows up in the span of the novel, the ambitious tractor salesman turned politician Hamm Sparks, Minnie Oatman and the Oatman Family Gospel Singers, and Cecil Figgs, the mortician with a secret life, to name a few.

This novel is different than the well-known Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! in that the time-line is linear. For much of the book, there doesn't seem to be much plot either. It is a slice-of-life narrative that makes you wish for the good old days. But as we listen to Neighbor Dorothy's daily radio show on WDOT, and watch Bobby evolve from carefree, bubble-gum chewing adolescent to war veteran to successful businessman, a mysterious disappearance unfolds.

Overall I'd rate this book an 8.5 out of 10, and plan to keep this book on my bookshelf. I think it is a fine addition to my Fannie Flagg collection.

09 June 2008

Done with job interviewing for now

I just did my last interview before I go on vacation, and hopefully, it was the last interview before my next new job. Yay! It went well, and now I'm looking forward to follow-up phone calls and emails from everywhere I've interviewed the last two weeks.

Scrapblog is fun!

This is one page of a digital scrapbook I did at scrapblog.com. Not having really done any sort of scrapbooking before, I have to say that once you get the hang of it, it is pretty fun! I actually took someone else's template and then put my son's photos in it. The interface to create your own scrapblog is pretty easy. Lots of drag and drop, and they have lots of backgrounds and clip art (called stickers) to choose from, as well as the capacity to make simple shapes. In this page, different colored circles are nested to create a fun look. You can crop your photos in a circle/ellipse, rectangle, or star shape. Lots of fun!

08 June 2008


K and D playing Dance Dance Revolution from 28 April 2005.

5.958333333 years

That is how many years of service I have at Hewlett-Packard according to my severance letter I received a few days ago. For the most part, it was a good run. I learned a lot and have grown tremendously professionally. I cleaned out my cube last Friday, but it finally hit me last night. I think I had been so tired from job searching and interviewing, that I didn't feel it until later. A little bit of sadness. But I'm ready to move on, and am excited about taking a little vacation, and hopefully starting a new work adventure soon.

07 June 2008

Laredo, Texas

Taken on a very hot day in July 2005. We went to visit Laredo and Nuevo Laredo (just across the border). I remember thinking at the time, I wouldn't mind coming back for another visit. This was right before the drug gang wars and violence got out of hand. So, it might be a long time before I go back there.

05 June 2008

Job search continues

Now I'm mid-way through an exciting week of interviews with cool companies. I've done 2 out of 3 interviews, and have one more to go this afternoon. I think one of these three companies will be my next place of employment, I can just feel it.

04 June 2008

Spooky cat

This is my beloved cat Spooky, taken 24 June 2003. He is actually ill now with a tumor, but he doesn't know it. He was diagnosed last December and is only now starting to slow down.

03 June 2008

Heidelberger Weihnachtsmarkt

J and I eating bratwurst at the Heidelberger Weihnachtsmarkt. Taken 27 November 2005 in Heidelberg, Germany.

02 June 2008

Trying out PaperBackSwap.com

I can't remember where I first read about PaperBackSwap.com, but I finally decided to try it out this week. Since I am changing jobs involuntarily (read: laid off), I figured while I'm clearing out my cube at work, I should pare down my technical book collection, and get rid of books I don't use or are a bit outdated. With PaperBackSwap.com, you trade books with other people. And it's not just for paperbacks. To be able to request books from others, you must first post 10 books to your Bookshelf. Then you will get two starter credits. This will allow you to request a book from someone else. Note that audiobooks are worth two credits.

To start, I've already mailed 4 books to two requesters. The website generates the mailing labels (in PDF) and you can prepay the postage if you desire, though I have not tried out that feature. I've requested two books already. The first one, the member has agreed to mail by 4 June, and the second one, I'm still waiting for a response. Since the books are sent via USPS Media Mail, it should take 14-21 days, once they actually mail my requested books. I'm looking forward to the new stuff arriving.

There is also a referral program. So, if you join PaperBackSwap.com, click the icon above to use my PBS nickname, spica, as your referrer and I will get credits. Thanks!

01 June 2008

Birth certificates

I just received my son's birth certificates this week. I know, I know, he's almost 5 months old, but I finally got around to ordering them about 4 weeks ago. Anyways, just had to mention that with all of the fees I just paid for them, they could have changed the ink on the printer--the printing is faint and light!

Oh well, now I can go about obtaining his passport, now that I have his birth certificate and photos.