Who is ArcoJedi? A life-journeying Christian, ecstatic husband, proud father of four, web guru, all-around geek and Star Wars fanatic. Read these thoughts that he felt were worthwhile. Then wonder why he thought that way.

2006/02/25

What? A Surprise Party for Me?

So last summer I set out to throw a surprise party for Lisa's Thirtieth Birthday Party, because that was what she said she wanted. Unfortunately, she knew long beforehand that we were going to throw her a party and things were a little too crazy at the time to really make it a surprise. I worked with our friend Heather to plan and execute the party, and with her help a lot of the details were secret up until the day.

Fast forward to today and Lisa has pulled a fast one on me and thrown a real surprise party for me! And I hadn't even been hinting that I wanted one.. Hadn't even occurred to me that I might get one until a few weeks ago.

There were a few hints that I wasn't sure what to make of. I'm not great at reading hints, neither blatant nor subtle. First off, Lisa was sometimes a small bundle of nerves... and I mean a tad more than usual. She was very eager to get the house clean in the days leading up to this weekend and even paid Katie to clean. I didn't find this all that unusual, except that Katie did such a phenomenal job. I mean, she cleaned the bathroom!

There was also a glimpse I had of an interesting invitation type thing that I saw in Lisa's date book as she was paging through it. It had a black and white printout of artwork from Star Wars on the front. I only saw it for a split second and dismissed it. But the moment replayed itself in my head a few times later on. What was that?

There were other hints that I should have consciously added up. Lisa had been looking around a lot for old addresses and contact information on old friends. Then there were phone calls and weird voice messages here and there. .

There was also something special about the plans for today where I was going to go over to Dad & Linda's house to help Dad with his back door or something. It seemed strange to me somehow that Lisa wasn't going too. The plan told to me was that Lisa, Heather, Ryan and I were going to go out later that night to celebrate my birthday while Kate watched the kids.

When I got to Dad's house, we didn't end up doing the project that was originally planned due to the slightly cold weather and the fact that Linda was sick with a severe throat cold. We did end up doing a project with the lighting in the kitchen and that could have potentially been an all day project depending on the situation, but it went very quickly.

I always enjoy spending time with my Dad, but he seemed to be going really slowly in what should have been a suspicious sort of way. We got the lights done and then we were going to work on moving some furniture for Linda, but got talking about a website project for him -- more on this later {here}. Before we knew it, the assessment on the furniture was that it would be too difficult because there was not room yet in the destination room. We'd have to move a bunch of stuff out of that room in order to make room. Instead we spent a lot of time parked in front of the computer talking about some of the web technology that I've been dabbling in lately.

I left Dad's house as they were getting ready to go out to dinner with my Aunt Ruby. I called Lisa just to let her know I was on my way but she asked me to stop at the grocery store. It seemed weird that Lisa had been worried about me getting home on time but now I was going to the store, something she could have done all day. Later I would learn that this was a stalling tactic so that Dad, Linda and Ruby would get there before me.

Enough with the setup. So I stopped at the store, got the stuff requested from the store and headed home. I pulled up to find the drapes on the front window closed and Heather and Lisa standing near the carport. Strange I thought. They came to the car and offered to help carry the groceries ONE grocery bag. Very strange! Then Lisa said something about stuff being piled in front of the side kitchen door so we would go through the front door. Huh? It seemed really strange now and it dawned on me that maybe,.. just maybe.. nah!

The last clue before Lisa opened the door in front of me was a truck I recognized vaguely pulling up the street (a last late party guest), but even that didn't fully register fully and I was stepping through the door.

Surprise!

I don't think I've seen so many people in our little living room. Mom, Dad, Linda Great Aunt Ruby, Aunt Jeanne & Uncle Paul, Uncle Jim, Uncle Arther & Aunt Jeanette, Uncle Dan & Aunt Mary were all there in my freshly cleaned house. Heather and Ryan were there of course too, but as I was lead through to the kitchen I realized we had some other old college buddies there in Craig, Bryan & the truck pulling up was Justin. Katie was there, of course, and my kids; Reese & Olivia; & Ryan & Heather's daughter, Zöe. All these people were here for me! For some of them, this was the first time they'd been to my house since we moved into it.

In the middle of it stood my wife. Grinning from ear to ear. She'd done it. Though I wasn't 100% surprised, I was mostly unaware. And I really was floored by the obvious extent of the planning, preparation and secretive work that had to have been done.

I can't find the words to describe what a pleasure it all was and how overwhelming. So many friends and family all in one place! Thanks to everyone for making the whole day and into the night the best birthday I've had in years. Thanks and lotsa Love. See you all later.

2006/02/23

Google Pagerank Shuffle

As I write this from my home computer it would appear that the Arconati.us homepage's rank has dropped from 3 to 2 but the Arconati.net page's rank has gone from 0 to 2!

Confused? Learn more about Google Pagerank.

2006/02/22

February 22, 1976

Here are some cool Wikipedia links about the day and year I was born; February 22, 1976; for the curious.

Thirty Years Old

As I think I might've mentioned here, today is my 30th birthday. I was looking forward actually to a normal day at work but am having car issues and had to spend the day working from home instead, which isn't bad but kind of gives ya the cabin fever a bit. Also, trying to do hourly consultations with a cordless phone whose battery only lasts about 51 minutes is kind of a pain. Add this to the fact that there is only one 'corded' phone in the house and it is way far away from the computer and it makes it a bit difficult. It's a good thing I've got the menus memorized.

I had a minor blip of a mistake that a couple folks and family members were seriously pestering-er, um, asking me for good ideas for a birthday gift for me and I never sat down and made a list. My apologies. There are some things that I'd like but honestly --mushiness warning-- I have so much in my life that I really have everything that I need. That, and what I'd really need is time to concentrate and research what I do want to be sure I steer folks in the right direction. Time is the issue. Oh well, here is what I can slap together right now if it is not too late. Don't feel obligated to take back anything if what you have is not on this list. I'm not picky.

Gift Ideas

Clearly, these are for those that wait for the last minute --just like me!

  • Handheld Computer: Also known as a PDA, commonly called a 'Palm' after the more traditionally popular brand name. However, I've waffled back and forth on this on whether I want a Palm brand or a PocketPC powered by Microsoft (otherwise known as the evil empire). I'm leaning towards the Windows handheld products SHOCKED?![Gasp!], specifically the Dell Axim stuff.
  • Large Computer Monitor: One that was 19" or more would not be bad. LCD would be preferred of course, but flat-screen CRT wouldn't be turned down. I'm currently using a 15" eMachines unit I picked up way back when I was at Office Depot.
  • Perhaps I could use another large hard drive. The one I've got is quickly running out of room.
  • DVD Burner: Either a stand-alone or a burner for my computer.

That's all I can think of at this point. Star Wars collectibles have always been a good idea and much appreciated, but I could hold off on these just as well. My grown-up collection of Star Wars stuff could outgrow and outshine my childhood collection. Someday soon, my mom will get fed up completely and force me to pick up all that old stuff and I'll feel funny if the old cache looks like a small fraction of the new, rather than the other way around.

Want more Wishlist links? - ArcoJedi's Wishlist

2006/02/15

PBwiki

PBwiki makes creating a wiki as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich. Since I like peanut butter so much, I decided to talk a bit about them.

PBwiki logo

Check out the PBwiki tour! Then Get a free wiki at PBwiki.com.

2006/02/11

Digital Transition Content Security Act

The United States The Digital Transition Content Security Act (DTCSA, H.R. 4569) is a bill introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner Jr., a Wisconsin Republican, on December 16, 2005. The bill was backed by Democratic Rep. John Conyers.

Its goal is to To require certain analog conversion devices to preserve digital content security measures., i.e. plugging the analog hole. The bill effectively proposes mandating of the Veil Rights Assertion Mark technology into new video-handling consumer devices.

That sounds like a lot of legal and technical jargon, but the summary of this one folks is that in the next few years the reality of this law put into place could mean that you would no longer be able to rip music or movies to your computer. You would also not be able to technically copy music or movies from one medium to another in any form. Currently you can do this legally as it is your protected right. However, this proposed law could remove this right and make it mandatory that computer manufacturers and software developers build unalterable and unhackable restrictions into their products so that you would not be allowed to do what you can do today.

I'm not encouraging copyright infringement, but I do suggest that people stand up for their rights. The hackers and criminals will find ways around these restrictions. The rest of us (you) will be looking at your mp3 player and computer or DVD player and wondering why it doesn't work like it used to. If this law passes, it will simply suck.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The Monster Name Decoder

Abhorrent, Ravenous, Cheerleader-Obliterating Juggernaut from the Enchanted Dreaded Isle

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Lucas James Arconati

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