Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thankful for the approaching New Year

Daughter Michelle and Jason King were married on July 15, 2012. 

Shelley had a complete knee replacement on September 18th providing her with 6 weeks of rehabilitation time from work. It was a considerable amount of exercise, walking and icing her knee. She also has physical therapy a couple of times a week.

A Joyous greeting to our grand-daughter, Hannah Marie Filer. Mother Natalie and father Kevin are also doing well after a successful labor and delivery November 8th in San Diego.

Shelley and I visited the southern California Filers for 5 days beginning on November 1st. I got to see the Air and Space Museum, Sea World and had lunch at Ocean Beach with Shelley, Robin, Paul, Steve, Natalie and Kevin.  A final vacation before Shelley has to go back to work. But the baby was late.

We were very lucky to visit when we did because we had so many get-togethers with family members. In addition to a new baby girl, Natalie has also successfully completed her Masters degree in Psychology. Kevin, not to be outdone, is finishing his MBA from the University of San Diego.

Michelle is finishing her Nursing program at the JC and will be pinned mid December and Brian is working at Kohl’s.

We flew Alaskan Airlines out of Santa Rosa on a turbo prop at 25000 feet. My left ear is still recovering. On final approach to San Diego I noticed a circular building with the title Air and Space Museum as we flew over and just filed it away. Kevin lives about 20 minutes from the airport and he picked us up and we visited their house and said hello to everyone, had a great dinner and left to check in at our hotel. It was after 10 pm and we had to unpack for the night and the next day.

Paul asked if I had ever been to Sea World and we agreed to an afternoon visit after a tour of the Air and Space Museum. San Diego has been synonymous With the Navy and Marines for a century and we visited an outdoor memorial to Bob Hope next to the USS Midway where SDSU would play Syracuse in basketball a few nights later. We gassed up at the Marine Recruitment Center and toured the Naval Training Center which has been decommissioned and converted to commercial businesses. The Central building is now a meeting center and museum. The Air and Space Museum is also thanks to the Navy and it houses a real F-18 Blue Angel and much more. Sea World is a place in San Diego where you can pay $70 to get splashed by a killer whale. The pet show stole the show. Ordinary dogs, cats, birds, pot belly pigs, emus and kangaroos perform. 

Lucy, I'm home.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Father of the bride speach

My name is Don and I am Michelle’s dad. As the father of the bride, I have the privilege and honor of making the first speech and toast to… Jason… and… Michelle.

First I’d like to acknowledge and thank all of you who have traveled a distance to celebrate this occasion. It’s wonderful to meet so many new friends and share with all the old ones.
Michelle is probably worried that I will say something inappropriate or somehow embarrass her in some other way.  You know - I haven’t planned to - but it won’t be out of character if I do.

Growing up and competing with two older brothers honed Michelle’s analytical eye and smooth smile that can charm you out of whatever it is she wants. As she matured, she developed the princess role in the family. 

We probably should have known early on, that Michelle would end up in nursing. I remember her not wanting the shot she was going to get to help her get over pneumonia; or when she fell from the top bunk and cut her eyelid open on the base of a metal chair; or when they stitched it up; or when they took out the stitches, she was a champ. She returned to the emergency room for an encore visit in the first grade after she broke her ankle on the new playground equipment; and again a couple of years ago when she twisted her ankle at the Junior College parking garage.

Michelle, you look beautiful today. You should know that your mother and I are very proud of you and your accomplishments. Keep up the good work sweetie, we love you.

Jason we are happy to welcome you and your family into our family. We are very grateful for your mom Lisa, and your dad Steve, brother Ryan, son Noah and all your relatives who have joined us in this celebration today. We are glad to know you and your kind spirit. May each of you always love and cherish each other as much as you do today.

For a long, loving and happy life together. - To Jason and Michelle.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A word on Word Processing

My first real job out of college was as a technical writer for Multisonics, Inc., a manufacturer of computer based vehicle traffic control systems. Way ahead of their time, Multisonics was one of the first companies to use microprocessors in commercial applications in the early 1970’s. To document or describe the controllers or systems we would write long hand on a lined paper tablet and give it to a typist who would type a rough draft onto regular typing paper. After we proofed the rough draft she would retype the material onto clay-backed paper. Our graphic artist would cut and paste the pages onto art boards; one board for each page in the document.

From the beginning, I thought this process laborious and time-consuming.  It could be messy if something changed and had to be re-inserted into the master and reprinted using an offset printing process. The documents we created included schematic drawings and were user manuals and maintenance guides for troubleshooting and programming the intersection controllers.

The first word processor I ever saw was an IBM Selectric typewriter with an interface / converter attached to it. Having to type the material the first time didn’t bother me. It was just as fast as writing it long hand.  Using a computer to save the file for later use made a lot of sense especially when it came to changes or corrections.  But alas, I could not get the software department to develop a program to run on our computers.

By the end of the decade, personal computers began to appear and one of the most obvious applications needed was a word processor. Tandy had one for their TRS-80 and most personal computer suppliers had one. Before long there were many offerings on the market including Word Star and Word Perfect. 

The evolution of the personal computer industry allowed me to move into new roles with a focus more on selling and marketing products than documenting them but like everyone else. I had my personal favorite too. The passion users developed for word processors was akin to religion. People would explain why their favorite was the best. I remember well the National Computer Conference in 1979 where Exidy introduced a word processor pack for their Sorcerer personal computer. People were begging for an early release copy and would promise almost anything to get their hands on one.

Word Star, Word Perfect, and many others were supplanted by Microsoft Word then Word for Windows. New features were introduced that made word processors very useful, like spelling and grammar checkers, mail merge routines, and forms processing applications.

Word processing made the typewriter dated at best or extinct at worst. The evolution of the printer has trailed behind the word processor and seen technology shift from impact, daisy-wheel, dot matrix, laser jet and bubble jet printers.

Millions of people use word processors every day now and it makes me feel a little warmer inside knowing I had a tiny part in pushing the need for word processing forward.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hello 2012

Starting off another New Year and lots of tragedy in the news. Italian cruise ship capsized on its side; Penn State Football coach suffers personal tragedy is diagnosed with cancer then dies; Gabby Giffords resigns from Congress and we’re all a year wiser.  The race for the Republican nomination for president is providing lots of entertainment too (I’ll keep my opinion to myself). The San Francisco Forty Niners had a good season, the Oakland Raiders did not and the Raider’s owner passed away.

We got a new fence thanks to my son Kevin and my daughter-in-law Natalie. Natalie’s brother Matthew did most of the work. The fence looks great now. Natalie is finishing her Masters degree in Psychology and Kevin is working his way through the MBA program at the University of San Diego. They both love San Diego and miss being home with family too.

My daughter, Michelle, is making preparations for her July wedding and starting the second half of her Nursing program. My kids are all grownups and it’s kind of weird. 

My sister, Vaughn, is recovering from cancer and six weeks of radiation treatments. That got my attention and I finally honored the requests of several doctors and nurses to have a colonoscopy done. I should not have worked so hard trying to avoid it. It wasn’t worth all the trouble. So if you are stressing over this procedure, don’t. I think the two-day preparation and difficulty making a successful IV connection were the worst part of it.

My brother Mark is having a hip replaced and getting prepared for retirement. We’re all a bunch of ‘old farts’ now. I am trying to maintain a positive outlook, although you might not be able to tell from this blog entry. I will be attaining an age I never thought I would reach and I am humming the Beatles song “When I’m Sixty-Four.”