Author Archives: Kody

The Undeading

Well it seems I have found myself in the process of bringing this place back to life and up to date. Unfortunately, most of my time today has been spent upgrading WordPress to the most current version.

WL8509_skeletonClosetI began the restoration process by snagging myself a shiny new domain name, calculating8.com, and redirecting it to the appropriate subdomain on synthetik.org, calculating8.synthetik.org. I plan to eventually have the .com domain hosted instead of redirecting to a subdomain, but I need to upgrade my hosting plan in order to do so. We’ll be saving that for another day.

In addition, I have consolidated all my posts between my two blogs and placed them all back on KodyMyers.NET. I’m planning on taking C8 in a different direction – as soon as I figure out what it is.

Anyway, I suppose the software wanted to teach me a lesson for neglecting it so long. Upgrading has never taken me more than 10 minutes, but this time I ended up spending at least 5 hours trying to figure out why my redirect wasn’t operating correctly. I couldn’t tell if it was a bad .htaccess file, an invalid database entry, or problem with the DNS not propagating itself. After eliminating the culprit down to WordPress, I found that a canonical URL feature had been implemented in version 2.3 that had apparently wreaked havoc on several peoples’ blogs that used redirects or customized permalink structures.

At any rate, it’s behind me now, though I’ve lost half a day getting it all configured. I’m starting to remember why I burned out maintaining this site. Maintenance is a menial chore if there ever was one.

More to come soon, I hope.

That’s a Lot of Engines

I was always taught that no matter what kind of job I’m doing, I give it my best. I never quite understood the wisdom of this until I got my first job with a steady paycheck. The commonly held belief is that there is no need to care too much about doing a good job when you’re flipping burgers, mowing yards, jockeying a register, shoveling horse crap, or any one of the many other menial tasks that people find themselves doing for that weekly paycheck.

While working nearly every job I’ve ever had, I’ve observed coworkers doing the absolute bare minimum necessary to keep their jobs. Not surprisingly, many of them were students. Still being a student myself, I understand that holding down a job while trying to keep your grades up is a monumental task, especially when also trying to balance a personal life into the equation.

What these people do not realize is that such jobs can teach valuable life lessons that will stick with them well into the future when they get their “real” jobs. If employees can’t even expend the small amount of extra effort needed to excel in a “crap” job, how in the world can they expect to perform well in the jobs of with important responsibilities?

If only employers could see first-hand how prospective employees perform in a position of little responsibility, I would imagine they could save themselves a great deal of wasted time and training.

Anyway, I seem to have strayed from the point of this post.

My current job may not be as important as others, but I still take pride in what I do. Our fiscal year at the Murray Briggs and Stratton plant ended today with a record four million engines produced. Another notable milestone is the fifty million engines produced from the plant since it opened.

I estimate that only 150,000 or so of those engines were an indirect result of my efforts, but it’s still kinda neat to know I was a part of it. We even got some nifty shirts to commemorate our achievements with!

The plant shuts down for two weeks at the end of each fiscal year for cleaning and maintenance. Since we produced so well this year, we shut down early and my last day was Monday. Woo!

Saying No To Santa Claus

The deeper that Tabitha and I get into the Christian life, the more we’ve come to realize that we needed to tweak the way we celebrate Christmas. We’ve been trying to move away from the whole “Santa Claus” thing and instead return the focus of the holiday back to Jesus Christ.santa

This is not to say that we’ve taken all the fun out of Christmas and turned ourselves into a couple of Scrooges. We still exchange gifts, but we try to do it in the true spirit of giving and to commemorate the fact that Jesus once gave us the ultimate gift: The gift of salvation.

I understand that there are compelling arguments both for and against letting children believe in Santa Claus. Tabitha and I dealt with them extensively before making our decision. Ultimately, we let our hearts decide, but I want divulge some of the logic behind it all.

I remember that as a child, there was something “magical” about believing in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. The anticipation on the nights before Christmas and Easter was always overwhelming. I’d hate to be the one to deny that magic to any child, but if I want my children to learn the true spirit of these days, an unfortunate side effect is dispelling all the myths surrounding them.

Besides, I believe that there is something even more “magical” about believing in Jesus Christ. Santa and the Easter Bunny are only around a couple of days out of the year, but Jesus is eternal! And the best part is, when my children get older, they won’t be crushed to find out that they believe in something that’s not real. Belief in Jesus, unlike belief in Santa Claus, doesn’t have to stop when we’re eight or even when we’re eighty.

Jesus does not abandon us if we’ve been “naughty,” (as if “naughty” children don’t receive Christmas presents from Santa Claus, anyway) but cares for us even when we’ve hit rock bottom. He wants us to pick ourselves back up and make things right, and he’s willing to help us every step of the way. His teachings invariably transcend the materialism of Christmas presents and Easter eggs.

I suppose it’s good that we’ve made this decision while our kids are still quite young. Kristopher has always seemed rather indifferent to the whole notion of Santa Claus anyway, so when we explained the difference between the real St. Nicholas and the Santa Claus of modern times, he didn’t seem too torn up at all. He still gets to believe in Jesus Christ, a belief that will carry him much further in life than any other.

So this year, before we went to bed on Christmas Eve, no mention was made of Santa, or chimneys, or reindeer on rooftops, or magical flying sleighs loaded with toys, or industriously laboring elves, or a workshop at the North Pole. When we woke up Christmas Day, we baked a birthday cake, had a nice meal, and spent some quality time together as a family. We talked about the life and trials of Jesus, thanked him for his sacrifice, and exchanged gifts in his name.

This Christmas season, I found that when we peel away the layers of noise and distraction from our lives, we are able to see more clearly that there is magic to be found in the everyday miracles of the universe. Celebrating Christmas in this manner was a great way to bring such magic into sharper focus.

What We’ve Been Up To

Our home has remained in a state of perpetual disarray, to put it lightly, since Taylor’s arrival. Coupled with work, school, and Kristopher’s boundless energy through it all, I’m still not entirely certain how I still have the wits about me to form coherent sentences.

Ah yes. Taylor.

What can I say about Taylor? She’s quite a handful. People used to tell us what a calm baby Kristopher was. We agreed with them because he usually was, but mostly because we didn’t know any different. Only now do we truly realize how lucky we were. The mild and easy-going temperament of Kristopher’s infancy contrasts sharply with Taylor’s clinginess and incessant need.

I know several of you got a sample of her manner during the last few holidays. Don’t let it upset you if she cried when you held her. My record for “Consecutive Time Spent Holding Taylor While Awake and without Her Crying” currently stands at just over ten minutes. Mommy is the undeniable center of her universe.

We were worried that Tabitha and Taylor wouldn’t be able make it to the annual Brown’s Grove Bonfire – or at least not be able to stay long. At just over a month old, though, Taylor did really well. Everyone seemed to have a great deal of fun this year, especially Kristopher and his new friend, whose name I unfortunately can’t recall. All I can really remember was the food, which seemed particularly awesome this year for some reason. I must have spent half the night hovering around the snack table. We managed to snap a few good photographs which I’ll have posted sometime before next year’s bonfire – I hope.

Thanksgiving was actually rather uneventful for us. We didn’t really go crazy with the food this year, since we were just feeding ourselves. We didn’t even have any ham or turkey, because I most likely would have had to eat it all myself :(. In a way, the lack of extravagance kinda helped make the holiday a bit more relaxing. People tend to wear themselves out cooking and busying themselves with so many activities that they really don’t get to spend much time appreciating Thanksgiving and what it really stands for.

The funny thing about fall semesters in college is suddenly realizing that after Thanksgiving break, classes are almost over. For some, that means a mad rush of getting things in order before finals. I actually avoided that this semester and coasted relatively unscathed into a fairly respectable (but disappointing) 3.28 GPA after having to take just one final.

The weekend of December 17th we set aside some time to visit Tabitha’s family in Louisville. We exchanged a few early Christmas gifts, Tabitha got some shopping done with her aunt, and Tabitha’s dad, Kristopher, and I got some swimming time in. The pool heater wasn’t functioning correctly, and the water was actually kinda cool, but if it bothered Kristopher, he certainly didn’t let it show.

Like so many years before, we spent Christmas Eve at my grandfather’s house with my mom’s family. I always look forward to this because of the amazing food and the five dollar Chinese Auction, which has become one of the highlights of the evening since we started it a few years ago. Usually the items placed in the auction are of practical use. Sometimes, however, someone will throw in a gag gift that results in absolute hilarity.

I’m going to save my recap of Christmas day for a different post, because as it looks right now, it can and probably should stand out on its own.

Bzzt

One of the fans on one of my computers is starting to fail. I know this because it makes a terrible buzzing noise from time to time. I actually have a fan to replace it with, but with my laziness being the stuff of legends, I instead opt to smack the front of my case when it acts up. A rather effective solution, I might add.

Now mind you, I only have to do this about once or twice a week. The fan would have probably gotten chucked out the window months ago had it crossed my annoyance threshold. My propensity for laziness and my tolerance of annoyance sit on opposite ends of the same balance. I consistently find myself posing the question: Is this annoying enough to warrant spending the time and effort doing something about it? But I digress.

Yesterday (Halloween, for those of you still chronologically disoriented from the time change), the fan started buzzing so loudly I heard it from the other end of the house. So of course, I went and smacked the case. No effect. So I smacked it again. It continued to buzz defiantly.

So I did what anyone would do.

“Turn off the computer and replace the fan, Kody?”

Heh. Nope.

I punched the machine on the side.

The buzzing ceased actually, if only for a second. Of course this did nothing but encourage me to punch my machine again. I don’t often exact physical abuse on computer hardware, but this was turning out to be quite an effective stress reliever.

WHAM! BUZZZZZZ! WHAM! BUZZZZZZ! WHAM! BZZzzZZzzKSSssshhhtttT!

The monitor goes dark.

Oh. Crap.Computer - Explosion

As I sat in shock, not knowing what to do next, the machine started back up again on its own. I cheered from within when I saw the Windows XP logo, only to panic again when I heard that same terrible BZZZZZZZZT and saw the life swept from the monitor once more.

At this point, I began to process my surroundings. Yes, the computer was apparently fine – somehow. However, something very bad was happening with the electricity. To spare my old friend any more pain, I flipped the switch on the back of the power supply. BZZZZZZZZT. This was sounding serious.

I went outside and quickly inspected the pole that carries the power line that feeds our house. No smoke, no fire, nothing. So I went back inside to inspect our breaker box. While I was inside, a neighbor pulls in the driveway, jumps out, and starts yelling for my uncle who lives beside us.

As it turns out, a transformer down the road had blown up after a tree branch fell across a power line. The power line burnt itself in two and set a fire after hitting the ground. The terrible electrical noises I was hearing was the power line grounding itself.

The fire spread quite quickly due to all the dry, dead brush before the first firefighters arrived – not to mention that the wind was up as well. I had to leave for work so I didn’t get to see the drama play out, but when I got home the fire was out, power had been restored, and my computer was doing okay.

I’m really not sure what lesson to get out of all this. Perhaps, “Don’t beat your equipment so hard you blow a transformer?” I don’t know. At any rate I consider myself lucky on several levels. It could have turned out to be a particularly scary Halloween.

At least it made for a crazy story to tell.

The Rest of the Story

Well I had almost forgotten what it was like to have a newborn in the house. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but it is something that takes some getting used to again.

In my haste, I only managed to put up some basic information about Taylor’s birth. As you all know, however, every birth has a story. Taylor’s story was, to say the least, a whirlwind of events.

For about two weeks up to the 21st, Tabitha insisted that I bring her phone with me to class in case she went into labor while I was getting my brain stuffed. I kept it on “Silent” at all times, and since I wasn’t used to carrying a phone with me, I usually forgot to check it for missed calls before coming home. By some miracle, I remembered to check it on that afternoon, discovering that Tabitha was experiencing severe pain and needed me to drive her to the hospital.

Both of us were almost certain it would be a false alarm. We figured the doctors would examine Tabitha and the baby, tell us we’re silly, and just send us back home. To stay on the safe side, though, they wanted her to come in and get checked anyway.

I was so certain it was a false alarm that I went ahead and went to work at 4pm after I got her settled into the hospital. My mom was there to take Tabitha back home and me, being a guy, would have only been in the way had I stayed. Now imagine my utter surprise when I was at work and got a message at 5:30 that the baby was going to be delivered early.

I made it to the hospital just in time to throw on some scrubs and get briefed on what I had missed. It turns out that Tabitha’s pains were indeed labor pains, and her doctor had decided to go ahead and perform the C-section instead of inhibiting the labor.

At 6:14, our family was blessed with a new little girl a week before we were expecting her. I think Tabitha was quite relieved to have the pregnancy over with and thankful that she wasn’t in labor for 21 hours like she was with Kristopher.09-21-05 Taylor & Mommy (5)

So that’s it. A Wednesday that began normally and ended with a welcome addition to the family. We thank everyone for their support and many gifts. We are thankful that we have so many loving friends and family.