Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Frog In Boiling Water

There was a time when the news of the day was monitored by professional editors who decided what was factual based on research and what was not, what was worthwhile sharing with the public and what would cause unnecessary panic, what was reporting and what was editorial opinion.

And then came ratings. And those decisions moved to producers.

And then came tabloids and "A Current Affair". And gossip became news.

And then came radio talk shows and cable news programs. And the opinion of a single individual could reach millions and confuse celebrity with journalism.

And then came the Internet and blogging. And innuendo and untruths were afforded legitimacy by hacks with personal and/or malicious motivations.

I'm not suggesting that the truth isn't out there, but the filters are most definitely off, and with the death of newspapers around the corner, I cringe at the possible future of what we call "news".

Friday, December 4, 2009

"Where's Elvis?"

A few weeks back we were out at a Chili's for lunch and to keep Connor occupied we were having him point out things in the ubiquitous photos that cover their walls. "Where's the doggie?", "Where's the airplane?", etc.

Then, just for fun, while looking at one of the photos of a couple in Elvis wigs & glasses wearing Elvis T-Shirts, I asked Connor, "Where's Elvis?"

And, *BAM*, his hand shoots right to the picture of Elvis on the T-Shirt.

Shocked expressions followed by raucous laughter. Thinking this might be a fluke, I asked him to point out a few other things and then came back to the Elvis question and *BAM* right back to Elvis.

Now Misha and I have never taught him "Elvis". To our knowledge he's never seen Elvis and has no idea who Elvis is. He has a "Ten Little Elvi" book that was a gift, but since it's not a board book we haven't given it to him yet, so that can't be it.

So this begs the question...

Did someone teach our son Elvis without our knowledge... or is Elvis just something we're all born with.

Sounds like a great "In Search Of" episode to me.


Misha and I (ok, mostly Misha) spread pine bark nuggets around the planters in the yard yesterday. Took 45 bags just to do the few spots in the front. Another 35 just to cover up the areas immediately around the plants in the back to protect them from the snow that everyone's saying we're going to get on Saturday. We're estimating another 50-80 to cover the rest of the beds in the backyard. I took a preventive dose of Motrin before going to bed. but still had a stiff back this morning (told Misha we need to start working out).

Days like this I really miss my old townhouse's 15x20 concrete pad.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Connor's First Sentence

Connor's been putting "more" and "please" together for a while now and we have him say "all done" at the table when he's done with his meal, but those have been specifically prompted, so they don't really count.

Yesterday morning, we were getting ready and he heard the trash truck outside moving from house to house and was fixated, saying "car" repeatedly as he got dressed. On the way down the stairs, the truck drove past our front door to pick up our trash and he saw it and spontaneously said "bye bye car". Yup, beaming. Misha told me he also said "bye bubbles" as the tub drained (she had given him a bubble bath).

Next stop: Quantum differential equations

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Microsoft Math

We're looking to buy a new PC for my wife, her's is getting on in years and starting to get slow with all these newfangled whippersnapper programs that require more CPU and Memory than her 8 year old machine can provide.

One of the things I'm insisting on is that we wait until after October 22nd so that her PC will come with Windows 7 instead of Vista. Not that I don't like Vista - I'm using it now - but why pay for an on-the-way-out-the-door-to-the-scrap-heap OS when a shiny new and highly-lauded OS is only a few months away?

The thing is, I still can't get over the fact that they're calling it Windows 7. Yes, I know people have been talking about this fact for a bit, but for those who are unaware, sit with me a while.

Windows 1.0, 2.0 came and went but it wasn't until 3.0 that it really got a strong foothold over DOS... at least in my world. There were various flavors of 3.0 (3.1, 3.11) but these are all technically Windows 3.0. The next iteration of Windows would be Windows NT, which was a winner until the dawn of Windows 95 (and all those "Start me up" Rolling Stones commercials... remember those?) For those still keeping track, we're on Windows 5 now.

Anyway, the rest of the 90s rambled on with new versions of Windows that were basically just more stable versions of Win95: Win 98/98se, Windows 2000/Me (or Millennium... I guess the "e" was for "entertainment"? or maybe "eh"?) which fall on the list as Win 6 & 7. Windows 8 would be XP. Vista: Windows 9. And now Windows 7 should really be Windows 10.

So what gives, Microsoft? Why the creative math? Is this all just because Apple beat you to the punch with "OSX"?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Just googling around...

Not sure if I should feel happy or depressed that a Google Image search on "Carl Gomberg" doesn't turn up a single picture of me. Plenty of pics of friends from Facebook though. And my Twitter avatar:

Yahoo Image Search just turns up a pic of my son and the pugs dressed for Christmas/Hanukkah 2007.

Only Bing pulls up an image of me. My old Facebook profile pic.

Go figure that Microsoft would actually get it right in this instance.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-In

Ok, so I want to preface this with the fact that I had a huge company dinner last night at a fancy place that served steaks much larger than I'm used to. Not much of an excuse, but...

Week 3

Weight: 245.1 lbs

Weight last week: 241.1 lbs
Week's weight loss: -4.0 lbs
Total weight loss: -2.3 lbs

Target weight: 212.8 lbs
Weight remaining to lose: 32.3 lbs

Oh well.

Another odd thing worth mentioning is that I've been working to build a playset for my son and despite sweating up a storm and not eating any differently than usual, I was steadily gaining weight every day after working on the playset. It would be nice to believe this is muscle weight, but I think that's giving me too much credit.

Well, time to redouble the efforts, not dwell on this miserable failure, and let's see where next week ends up.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-In

Week 2

Weight: 241.1 lbs

Weight last week: 242.8 lbs
Week's weight loss: 1.7 lbs
Total weight loss: 1.7 lbs

Target weight: 212.8 lbs
Weight remaining to lose: 28.3 lbs

Ok, so it's not much, but I'll take it. :)

Yay me!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Diet - Week 1 Weigh In

242.8 pounds. Not the heaviest I've ever been but within 10 pounds of that mark, so a good time to start moving back down the scale.

I'm not going to measure my waist or anything, that's just too depressing.

And no pictures tonight. Working on a huge deadline for work so that's been consuming me. Maybe I'll snap a pic this weekend. Something really unflattering like you always see as the before photo on those commercials. Y'know, the ones you look at and say, "really, you couldn't find a better picture?"

So, are we having fun yet?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

ok, so it's the 21st...

I realize that in my last post I promised something by the 20th and in my usual blogging fashion I have missed that deadline. I realize I also may have built it up a bit too much. Because what I'm basically announcing is...

a diet

Yes, you read that correctly. In about 3 months I'm going to turn 35 and I'm tired of being as large as I am, I'm tired of getting winded walking up stairs, I'm tired of not fitting into T-shirts that I used to be able to wear... but mostly I'm just tired.

Thing is, diets work for me, been on quite a few in my time. It's when the diet "ends" and I gain it all back that's the bad part. And the reason I gain it all back is that whatever I was doing to lose the weight has ended and I'm right back in my old tricks.

So the strategy now is not a diet so much as a complete change in the way I eat. I've been working on a "10 Commandments" type document that I plan to make my eating credo from here forward. I'll post it in my next post once I polish off the rough bits. It's nothing trendy like South Beach or extreme like Atkins, just a list of rules to govern what goes in my mouth based on basic nutrition and the fact that while I know better, I've been ignoring the part of me saying "don't eat that second Twinkie". Heck, apparently I've also been ignoring the part of me saying "don't eat that Twinkie" the first time around.

My goal is to lose 30 pounds in the next 3 months. That's 10 pounds per month or roughly 2.5 pounds per week. I'm going to post my weight here to keep me motivated and honest, maybe even post some pictures. I was thinking about also posting my daily meals, but that might be overkill and I'd probably get sick of doing it and fall back into my old ways if that happened. Any advice or motivation from the 4 people reading is greatly appreciated.

1st weigh in and photo tomorrow. See you then.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What the hell happened to June?

I just realized that it's been almost a month since I last updated this blog. Damn.

Y'know, you start out the year all revved up and swearing that you'll contribute more to the endless rambling of the blogosphere and then you end up doing noble things offline instead and forget about the inter-people.

Seriously though, June was a quick one, not least of which was due to the fact that I spent most of it getting ready for a week-long conference in Anaheim where I was presenting GS1 Data Standards to my company's members. Lots of build-up for a 1 hour presentation that was at lunchtime 4 hours before the opening General Session. Yeah, we had a whole 10 people show up. But hey, they got what they came for. :)

Beyond that.. what else has been going on?

I saw Star Trek a second time. I always find a second viewing interesting because I can completely ignore the story and instead focus on the little details that make a film a richer, even if you were completely oblivious to them the first time around. Like the Tribble in the cage next to Scotty on the ice planet. Completely missed it the first time, but you really can't ignore the "trilling" sound when you know it's there. Apparently there's an R2D2 in the ship wreckage as the Enterprise enters Vulcan space, but I wasn't able to see it.

Perhaps the coolest "little detail" was in fact quite little, but definitely the type of attention to detail that wins points from me: the pattern on the fabric used to make the Starfleet uniforms. At first I thought it was just some hounds-tooth or snakeskin-type design, but at one point you get a really close-up shot of Spock's shoulder and there it is, clear as day:

Yup, that's a bunch of tiny little Starfleet insignias. How cool is that?

Anyway, moving on, back down on Earth, we've been getting along pretty well. My parents spent the last half of June out here with a side trip to Florida in the middle. We all went up to the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord (a hotel with an indoor water park that's only open to guests). Connor loved it (and so did we!) July 3rd we took in the fireworks at the Charlotte Symphony performance in South Park. Connor wasn't so thrilled with that, especially the really loud fireworks and the screamers. I tried to convince him they were just bubbles... loud, exploding, fiery bubbles I guess... and that seemed to calm him down.

Along the way, he turned 19 months old. Here's a bunch of pics from his 19th month.

More posts soon, I've got something big in the works that I'll post on or before 7/20... It will be a huge thing for me, assuming I can pull it off... so I leave you with something to look forward to.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Carl's Guide to TOS Movies in JJ Abrams' Alternate Trek Universe

[Warning: SPOILERS]

For those Trekkers who are consumed by trying to figure out how Abrams will reconcile the events that take place in the first 6 Star Trek movies with the storyline for any possible sequel, I offer the following:

Thrown off course by the gravity of the 2 newly created black holes, V'Ger (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) goes off course and veers away from Earth. It encounters and destroys the SS Botany Bay (The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock), the Whale Probe (The Voyage Home) and the Klingon moon Praxis (Undiscovered Country). Sybok perished on Vulcan, because god forbid we have to relive The Final Frontier. Finally realizing it's waaaay off course, V'Ger course corrects and runs smack into the Planet Killer (TOS: The Doomsday Machine) and they mutually annihilate.

There you have it, case closed, kwitcher-bitchin.

... yeah and monkeys will warp out of my ass.

To Boldly Go...

Saw Star Trek on Saturday. Those who know me gasp and say "you waited until the third weekend?!?!" Well, we had passes and a babysitter so third weekend it was.

Great flick. Yeah, there are some plot holes big enough to fly the ship through and there's a lot of Trek canon that goes out the window and for some reason there's a brewery in the engineering section... but putting all that aside it was a pretty much non-stop ride that I didn't want to end.

But then it did, and it left me wondering: What are they going to do in the sequel?

Because, honestly, that's where the real movie is going to be my friends.

Think about it, this was a reboot. Sure, we knew how the characters originated... um, originally, but with the "alternate timeline" (that they just about bash you over the head with in the script trying to explain it) the origins were altered and had to be revisited. The original crew had to end up on the ship. And the main characters had to have their motivations flushed out for us to empathize with them during their pivotal moments.

But now that that's all out of the way, the sequel's all about the bad guy. Think about it in some recent flicks:

First Movie: Green Goblin
Second Movie: Doc Ock

First Movie: Ra's Al Ghul & The Scarecrow
Sequel: The Joker

You tell me which were the better baddies.

But the baddest baddie in the whole damn Trek town is Khan, and there is NO WAY that Abrams, Orci and Kurtzman would even dare to touch that for fear of half the Vegas Star Trek Con audience rushing their stage to bludgeon them to death.

Which leaves us to wonder who the next bad guy will be.

My money says that it's going to be a Klingon. Federation's supposed to be at war with them anyway, so it makes sense. Regardless, I'm excited for the sequel.

Live long and prosper. Or should I say "Good Luck".

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Yeah, it's been a while.

And that fact, frankly, has been keeping me away.

Because there's a ton of stuff I'd love to tell you about that's happened since February.

Like Connor's now walking and talking.

And ... well that's been pretty consuming in itself.

So instead of taking the time to type up all the juicy details of the past 3 months, I'm just going to start anew.

Yup. Anew.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Blog Update

I've been reprimanded for not updating my blog. So here's an update.

It's sunny out today, beautiful weather.

I feel good and the family is fine.

Happy, Mike?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Snow Day

So we're stuck at home again today due to the snow but this time we were prepared with the proper clothes. So Connor and I took a trip outside to check out the snow. He wasn't too happy about the wind and we didn't stay out long, but it was pretty cool to see him try to figure out what all that white stuff was on the ground.

Oh, and he's standing on his own now for extended periods. And walking short distances. But that's another story for another blog post.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wacky Victorian Economics

If hot cross buns are "one a penny" and "two a penny", why would you ever just buy one?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Ever notice how the universal PC icon for "Save" is a 3.5-inch floppy disk?

When was the last time you saved anything to a floppy disk?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

... But Will We?

Connor's daycare was closed today due to the local schools being closed.

The local schools were all closed due to a few inches of snow on the ground.

Yes, you read that correctly.

People here in Charlotte go bonkers when the weatherman says "Snow". It's like the proverbial yelling of "Fire" in a crowded theater. You can't find Milk or Bread anywhere, nobody wants to go out on the roads, the people who are driving are either out of control or driving one tenth the posted limit, and everything closes down for the day.

Except, of course, our offices. So since my company's telecommuting policies are a bit more lax than Misha's, I stayed home to work and babysit and take a half-day hit on my PTO bank so that Misha wouldn't have to take a full 8 hours on hers.

While Connor was asleep for his midday nap, I took in some of the inauguration. It was interesting that all of the former presidents were announced by their full name, but Obama's middle name was just given as "H". Not sure why they chose to do that during the introductions but then used his full middle name (Hussein) during the oath. Rick Warren's prayer was an interesting moment, full of passionate calls for "freedom for all people". Except Gay people who want to marry, I suppose. There was a cute moment when, during John Williams' musical arrangement, Michelle Obama reached forward and squeezed Barak Obama's shoulder as the clock ticked past noon, the official time of transition, regardless of when the oath is taken. And Obama's speech was very good. Very inspiring.

Obama's campaign slogan was "Yes We Can" and while I fully believe that any individual or group "can", it's an entirely different thing when it comes down to whether they "will". I'd like to believe that we can all work together toward restoring our economy and our global reputation, but when I hear someone like Warren gush about "freedom" after being so outspoken against gay marriage, it just feels like more of the same. Because in the end, my freedom isn't necessarily your freedom and everyone's freedom somehow tramples on someone else's in some small way. But you'll never hear anyone say "we're all entitled to freedom ... except you."

So the next year will tell most of the story I believe. There will be the rallying issues and the divisive issues, the victories and the losses, the rewards and the sacrifices and I hope in the end we're all better for it in some way that matters to each of us. I just hope that those who "can" rally "will", those who "can" contribute to victory "will" and those who "can" afford to make sacrifices "will". Even those who voted for McCain. Because I think that's the only way that we'll be able to survive the next 4 years without imploding.


Misha: "Why is there a baby spoon on the stairs?"

Carl: "Oh, Connor dropped that there when he picked up the Crazy Glue."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Ricardo Montalban has passed away.

He will be missed...

Nicknames we've given to Connor

The Boy
(Any of the above preceded by "Little" )
Buddy Boy
Rug Rat
Snickers (he used to laugh softly in his sleep)
Trotter (you should see him crawl!)

I just hope he remembers that his name is Connor...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Reflections on 2008

Once again, in no particular order:

- It's possible to own a house for a year and still not be moved in

- Charlotte is roughly the same latitude as Santa Barbara

- I don't miss San Diego half as much as I thought I would

- Landscaping is expensive... Hardscaping more so... Day Care, don't ask...

- "Recession" is a four-letter-word

- Your child's smile erases the day's hardships in a nanosecond

- Pugs will pretty much eat anything

- Amazingly, fried pickles are really good (though I understand it depends greatly on where you order them)

- Facebook is both the coolest and most annoying thing on the internet

- Once again, I need to lose weight

- My life is rich with memories, but I'm also buried in crap

- I blog, therefore I wonder who reads

- It is possible to know too much about UPC standards

- 80s arcade games are hard to find

- I think there were 2 weeks this year when Connor wasn't sick with something or other

- A grown man in a full pirate costume will get more stares at the neighborhood Halloween Party than the guy in the Spongebob costume (I was the pirate)

- A grown man in a full pirate costume will be largely ignored during Pirate Weekend at the local Renaissance Festival (I was not the pirate)

- All the crazy drivers come out during the holidays

- I can't believe it's already been another year...