Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Need I say more?

I guess I can't deny it anymore.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Muchos Traveling Part 2

The next trip that I made was grueling. Over 1200 miles in 2 days to move Sean to Fort Collins, Colorado. We spent 19 hours the first day traveling, 16 of it on the road. In case you're interested in the route, go here. We stayed at the very pleasant La Quinta Inn, that offers the distinguishing feature of a fabulous breakfast complete with waffle maker and ready-to-go waffle mix. The only free hotel breakfast I've encountered that's better is Embassy Suites with their made-to-order omelettes and bacon (few things are better than bacon).

The next day was quite easy with the leisurely wake-up time of 9:01 AM (MDT) and only a 5 hour drive ahead of us. We encountered heavy traffic at the I-76/I-25 on ramp (of which there is almost 2 miles) and some stupid Coloradans driving slowly by an accident that was on the other side of the median, but other than that there was no incident.

We managed to get the Moving truck half-way emptied before Mary showed up to give us a hand and Sean some decorating advice (For those not in the know, she has been living in Boulder, CO for 2 months now). After emptying the truck we went to a Mexican restaurant in Old Town Fort Collins, which had some wonderful food, and then to Coopersmith's pub and pool hall. I sampled two beers there; the Handrawn Punjabi (HanJabi) and the Green Chile Ale (absolutely delightful, strange as it sounds).

The next day Sean and I went to a restaurant called "The Egg and I" that specializes in Eggs Benedict, and for good reason. It was extremely tasty and I reccommend it anyone near one of their 31 locations. Aftewards we spent several hours futzing with the satellite dish finally deciding to let Dish Network professionally install the beast and then drowned ours TV woes in some New Belgium Beers at the New Belgium Liquid Center (or something like that, means tasting room though). They have a, hopefully contagious, policy of giving you four beers to sample for free, just for showing up to their room. I sampled a Trippel, a 1554, Eric's Brew, and of course, La Folie. For those not as of yet acquainted with La Folie, it is New Belgium's version of a Sour Brown, though given the taste and wikipedia's description, it is much closer to a Flander's Red than a sour brown. Needless to say, it is the most complex beer you will ever taste and if you have never had a sour brown, I suggest you find one to sample immediately.

Later that evening Sean, Mary, and Myself went to Rock Bottom (a restaurant very similar to Red Robin and BJ's) where we sampled some beers, ate some food, and stuffed ourselves with Carrot Cake. After rolling out the front door we made our way to the theatre across the parking lot and watched the movie "Stardust." I highly reccommend this movie, it is funny, light-hearted and awakens the kid in us all.

The last day found Sean and I putting together a bed, a desk and undoing some boxes. We also found ourselves back at The Egg and I to meet Arrin (Erin Manning) and Jay (Jay) for some brunch. They are living and going to school in Denver so it was about an hour drive for them to come meet us, but a very nice thing that they did. I haven't seen Arrin or Jay in at least a couple years, so it was great that we worked out the visit.

Finally around 5:50 PM, after a short (relatively) drive to Denver, I took off in a CanadAir Jet towards Fresno. It was a long, but extremely pleasant trip that Sean made the more so through his gratitude and hospitality for my help. I hereby wish him luck and require him to stay in touch throughout his stay in Fort Collins and elsewhere in life. This will probably also put a mar in my track record of helping him with every move he's had since 2001, seeing as how he is most likely moving again in some months and he is 1200 miles away.

Pictures from the trip can be found here.

Muchos Traveling Part 1

So there has been a lot of traveling as of late and I have not blogged about it one bit! So two posts consecutively about my travels.

First off I went to Oregon for Sammot's Wedding (I know she's Samantha Trask now, which doesn't make Sammot, but she's always going to Sammot to me...) and it was positively lovely, in all regards. It started with a beautiful ceremony between Brian and Samantha, er Brandon and Samantha and both Brian and Sam were crying through most of it, er Brandon. It was followed by an excellently done reception and much dancing. It was practically like a high school reunion and I spent a lot of time talking with Jason Reno and the Guthmillers (Matt and Amanda).

After a good night's sleep at the Cedar something Inn, I spent some time garage saleing and exploring my old stomping grounds. I have to say that getting back to OR was surprisingly comfortable. I have been in CA now for over 6 years and I had thought that I had completely assimiliated, but alas there is a beauty and comfortableness in OR that CA has yet to rival.

After getting my fill of driving around I went to lunch with Amanda and Matt during which they very graciously offered to put me up for the night. It was really a lot of fun to get to hang out with them and see two people that are very nearly at the same point in life as Kim and I. They managed to get the added bonus of owning their own home already, which is a wonderful place I might add. At some point in the not too distant future I would like to get Kim up there and meet them, because I think that we would have a lot of fun hanging out with them.

After lunch and some social time with the Guthmillers I went over to Sammot's parents' house and joined in the present-opening, post-wedding BBQ that Mr. and Mrs. Mott were hosting. It was the first time that I'd been able to sit down and chat with Sammot and Brandon, so that was very nice and as icing on the cake there was some fabulous food there. So I whiled away the afternoon and evening in pleasant company in time to go to bed, get up early and make the 8 hour drive home.

Pictures of this event can be found at my gallery

Friday, August 03, 2007


For those of you that read my blog whom are not techies, you may proceed to skip this post, or be forewarned that the contents of this post will mostly be relevant only for techies (I can make up words if I want to). The rest of you may proceed forthwith.

From the Wikipedia article on DES
The Data Encryption Standard (DES) is a cipher (a method for encrypting information) selected as an official Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) for the United States in 1976, and which has subsequently enjoyed widespread use internationally.

I was recently presented with the task of communicating from a PHP website to an ASP.NET site via a webservice method. Easy enough, use SOAP pass the appropriate parameters and you're done. The problem arose in that the ASP.NET designers chose have the parameters encrypted manually as opposed to using the SSL. This meant the above mentioned DES.

DES is a block cipher, meaning that all encrypted bits resulting from this algorithm are going to be a block of 64 bits or in the case of ascii 8 characters. All plain-text passed in for encryption must be padded at the end with a predetermined character in order to meet the criteria of an 8 character block.

Both .NET and PHP have a library call to encrypt data using the DES algorithm. PHP uses the '\0' or null character as the padding character for its 8 character blocks. It also forces to select what is called the cipher mode, which can be a number of algorithms I won't get into. Microsoft on the other hand does not indicate either the default cipher mode or the character used for padding.

After most of an 8 hour day I figured out the defaults for .NET thanks to some resourceful people blogging about it on the internet. .NET's DES algorithm uses the Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) cipher mode and the PKCS7 algorithm to determine the character added to the end of a short block. With the help of my resource I was able to implement PKC7S in my PHP code using the following code:

$imod = strlen($plain_text) % 8;
$ipad = 8 - $imod;
for ($iX = 0; $iX < 8 - $imod; $iX++)
$plain_text .= chr($ipad);

I hope someone else can find that as useful as I did. A few other useful things I found out are that strings in PHP are by default ASCII encoded, when decoding in PHP from PHP make sure to use rtrim($text, "\0") before returning, and try/catch blocks are only available in >= PHP 5. It was very gratifying to complete this and have it function properly, so that is why I share.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A day in the life of...

...an overnight delivery from Amazon. (Read in reverse order)

June 25, 2007 06:18:00 AM VAN NUYS CA US Out for delivery
June 25, 2007 04:48:00 AM VAN NUYS CA US Arrival Scan
June 25, 2007 02:08:00 AM ONTARIO CA US Departure Scan
June 24, 2007 05:40:26 PM US Carrier notified to pick up package
June 24, 2007 04:48:00 PM ONTARIO CA US Arrival Scan
June 24, 2007 04:05:00 PM LOUISVILLE KY US Departure Scan
June 24, 2007 08:21:00 AM LOUISVILLE KY US Arrival Scan
June 24, 2007 01:29:00 AM OAKLAND CA US Departure Scan
June 23, 2007 10:15:00 PM OAKLAND CA US Arrival Scan
June 23, 2007 06:00:00 PM SPARKS NV US Departure Scan
June 23, 2007 05:34:00 PM SPARKS NV US Shipment picked up from seller's facility

In other news Kimberly has started a new job at Architectural Testing, Inc. a, believe it or don't, architectural testing firm. She will be an Administrative Assistant there and is spending all of this week in training at the York, PA corporate office. Her first business trip, very exciting.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Operation Move: Succesful.

So Kim and I made it to Lakeridge Apartments in one piece.  The week of the move was a bit on the hectic side though.  There is a client at work that was having all kinds of emergencies so I ended up pulling 79 hours for that entire week, 8 of which happened to be right in the middle of the move.  It's a good thing that we hired movers to do the hard work, but still major kudos go out to David and Sean for their help (yet again) getting us moved into the new place.

On another note, I have reached the 6 month mark at my job and so my benefits have started to quick in.  Today is my first ever paid holiday, woot!  I am also going to start getting some health benefits and most likely a raise in the next month or so.

Other than that we are just getting settled and enjoying the new place.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Moving take 4

So for the 4th time since Kim and I have been married we are going to be moving.  Much to the chagrin of our friends who are still graciously offering to help.   Kim and I have found that we absolutely love our current apartment, but that it is inconveniently located at the opposite end of town as our interests.

So to Clovis-ish we go.  They are very nice apartments with very nice kitchens(Kim's ecstatic) and the rent is about $90/mth cheaper than our current rent.  You can see pictures here. One minor flaw in the complex is their pet policy.  Second worst policy ever, next to of course "no pets." Their policy is pets must be under 20 pounds at maturity and there is a limit of one per apartment.  That is quite the hindrance to us getting either a dog or cats as we have been considering. Oh well, we only have a 6 month lease and the hope is that we'll get into a house of our own before too long.

And that is an update.  Peace.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

So 2006 has finally passed.  It managed to usher in a lot of changes that were mostly for the better. 2007 promises to be equally exciting.  Here are a few highlights for 2006.

  • Moved to Fresno is a big one

  • Kim and I are now living on our own, which is wonderful

  • I left real estate, got a job developing software, and am returning to school

  • I met my Sister Julie for the first time ever

  • Kim and I celebrated our first anniversary

Obviously much more than that has happened, but that's a good little highlight.  Onwards to 2007 some things looking to look forward to.

  • Eradication of our debt

  • A trip to Ireland (my first time off the continent)

  • I intend to lose 30 lbs

  • Kim will leave the field of opticianary

  • Possibly buying a house

  • Moving to Clovis

  • Making more money

  • Possibly getting a puppy dog

These are by no means resolutions, rather potential accomplishments.  If I were asked to come up with a resolution it would be to more diligently rise at the hour announced by my alarm clock, prior to multiple snoozes.

So, another holiday, another post completed.  Welcome to 2007 all.