New Haircut

Christie got a new haircut! :) It is pretty short, but we like it.

In other news, Alex lost his first tooth - check out these pictures. Also in these pictures are a couple from Solekai's last "winedown" and Eric and Tammi's new baby Dayla.

Butterfly Pavilion

We went to the Butterfly pavilion today, and had a great time. :) I had a field day taking a billion pictures, and got a lot of really good ones... Check it out!

Lez Zeppelin

Well, I finally posted the rest of the pictures from our trip to North Carolina. On the last day, we went to "Nauticus" in Norfolk, where they have the U.S.S. Wisconsin docked. It was a fun time, and we were especially glad to see Abe and Amelia again! We looked and the ship, and then went to eat (and race cars!) at Jillian's. And then we bolted for the airport for a flight home. :)

Vacation Over

We're heading home from the Outer Banks tomorrow, on a flight to Pittsburgh at 3:30. There was a lot of traffic on the way here last Saturday, so we're going to trek out early in hopes of missing it. We hope to go to a Nautical Museum called "Nauticus" tomorrow with Abe and Amelia before we fly out (unless they have a baby tonight!).

I posted some more pictures - from our fishing trip yesterday, a trip to the Corolla lighthouse today, and some pictures of the sunset tonight.

The Outer Banks

We're on vacation in the Outer Banks (Corolla, in North Carolina, if you want to look it up), and loving it! Christie rented a house pretty close to the beach and a bunch of her family came to stay for a week. The beach is pretty nice - it is hot, but the water is cool.

4th of July

Christie's favorite holiday of the year is upon us... We're trucking out to Nebraska for the next five days or so to see a bunch of family and hang out. We're leaving tonight (Tuesday) for Ogallala to stay at the ranch over the 4th, and then continuing on to Ord on the 5th. Grandma Quinn rented a house in Ord and we'll all get to hang out with the Quinn side of the family for a few days, as well as play in the annual 4th of July golf tournament.

Camping

We went camping two weekends ago with our friends Zach and Nancy up in Glacier Basic (near Morraine Park in the Rocky Mountain National Forest up near Estes Park), and it was great fun. :) Lots of campfires, guitar playing, hiking, cooking, and the inevitable "wee dram" of scotch.

Pictures

I have a glut of pictures that have been building up for a couple months... I finally posted them to Picasa, so you can check them out at: http://picasaweb.google.com/nicholas.nielsen

New ones include:

Arianna's birthday
our trip to Steamboat Springs
Alex playing soccer
a trip to the Botanical Gardens
Alex' field day and Kindergarten graduation
A bunch of pictures from our vacation in Portland, OR

Alternative Input Devices

This page details some interesting alternative input devices:

Taking the Plunge

I'm sure the title of this post makes most people think it will be about my sister Monica getting married in less than a month... WRONG! (BTW: congrats Monica and John!)

This is about moving my home computer to Linux. Ditching Windows from my life before it becomes necessary to switch to YET ANOTHER Microsoft operating system (Vista). From news reports, it appears that migration to Vista is much slower than previous versions of Windows, but I don't care. I hate not having a choice about what to use, and I'd like to more actively support open source efforts. Heck, maybe I'll even start contributing, or moving some of my home projects under an open source license.

So what has changed to make me switch? I've used every single version of Windows since I bought Windows 95. I even had a version of Windows 3.11 that you installed from floppy disks! (probably still have it somewhere in the elephant graveyard in my basement...) Well, up until now, there were two compelling reasons to run Windows. Not just compelling; it was impossible to reasonably circumvent these two requirements for my home computer:

1. My home finances - I run Quicken
2. My sporadic but long-standing addiction to PC computer games.

First Quicken: I love Quicken. It does a great job of sorting through my income and expenses, balancing my checkbook month-to-month, and tracking my investments. I like how it gives me control over my current finances and provides budgeting and planning tools as well. Frankly, if I didn't have something like Quicken helping me out, I probably wouldn't do much more than a bare minimum of financial planning and tracking. I probably wouldn't even balance my checkbook. With Quicken, I can spend two or three hours a month and I have an ongoing financial outlook, balanced checkbook, spending trends, graphs of cash flows, stock analysis, retirement planning, etc.

Alex' Birthday

Alex' birthday was yesterday (yup, St. Patrick's Day!), and he had a fabulous time. We had a party at our house, and he got to pick 6 friends from school to come. Instead of a cake, we roasted marshmellows on the deck and had smores. :) My primary job for the party was to make the fire and then babysit it... Heh. But it was a nice day to sit out on the deck, and I was relieved of all other responsibilities (other than taking a few pictures) so that was fine with me.

New Car

Heh - well, the body shop called and my car is totaled after all. They said it was too close, too many repairs. I went to the shop and said my farewells to the millennium boat - as well as got my garage door opener and my Express Toll Pass. :-P

Tax Time

Guh! I just got done doing my taxes. What a way to spend a couple hours... Fun stuff. My refund was huge ($6K) so I think I need to do a little adjusting on my W-4 form at Solekai...

I had a thought about my car - why not have the best of both worlds?? I was secretly hoping that my Intrepid would be totaled so I could buy a little convertible. But now that they're fixing the Dodge, I'm starting to think I could buy a little convertible anyway... Hmm... Nothing too new (or too pricy), but maybe a 96 Miata or something...

(Evil Grin)

IT'S ALIVE!!

My Intrepid R/T lives! At least, in theory... I talked to the body shop yesterday, and although there is a lot of damage, the car has held its value well enough to make it worthwhile to fix. :) I love that car, but part of me was wishing it'd be totaled. I had been looking at new cars, and now the R/T has this subconscious stigma associated with it since I broke it...

Puerto Vallerta!!

We just went to Puerto Vallerta in Mexico last week with our friends Zach and Nancy, and had a fantastic time. I managed to wreck my car on the way to the airport, but we made it to the beach nonetheless. Margs and sand are great therapy, I have discovered!

Here are the pictures from our vacation:
http://picasaweb.google.com/nicholas.nielsen/20070217MexicoZachAndNancy

New Website

I've created a new website that I hope will fill my needs better than the old one. Hopefully, since it is easier to modify I'll keep it up-to-date more often. ;) My old website is still available. I'll likely migrate the wiki content to the new site, but all the rest of the old content will rest in peace where it lies. Onward and upward!

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