Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Story

The dream occurred again last night.  

The dream occurred again last night.  It has occurred so many nights, for so long, I can scarcely remember life before, or life without it.  Nightmares have thwarted the sleep of many, throughout the ages.  Who am I to complain about lost time in sleep? Yet the dream continues, night after night.  Is here nothing I can do to thwart it?

Most nightmares have a creature.  Some endless struggle between good and evil.  This is a consistent and natural theme.  In those type of dreams, it seems that if you can eliminate the creature, the dream would end.  The nemesis returns night after night, intimidating and scaring its victim. Sometimes it’s the same locale, and the events repeat nightly.  Often, the locale changes, but the events seem to repeat.  In the end, the repeating horror is what can drive the victim crazy.  Each night, running, hiding, avoiding.  This can cause more stress than the creature did in the beginning.  Just the knowledge of its repetition, the impending activities and yet again the minutes if not hours of missed sleep, can leave one exhausted.  

My dream contains no creature.  No scary locale, no haunted house nor a maniacal insane asylum.  I do not end up in school without my pants on while the other kids laugh at me.  I am not escaping a creature, trying to outrun and outwit some nemesis that will not let up.  My dream has no creatures, but it does have a forest.  It's not even a haunted forest.  

Picture, if you will, an immense forest.  Not a scary forest, just a typical western forest.  Green as far as the eye can see.  I'm sure there are creatures that call this place home, both benign and cruel.  In my dream, they are never seen; there is no evidence of their existence in the unreality of my nightmare.  No creatures swooping down upon me from above, except one. There is a nemesis; though it’s not a true creature.  More about that later. The weather in my dream world is always pleasant, with a hint of sunshine, and very few if any clouds.  So, there is no ghostly fog creeping around the forest.  No otherworldly climate is infringing on my beautiful surroundings. For they are beautiful, my surroundings, and not scary in any way.  This locale is the place many dream of visiting.  Yet, I am in the grasp of this nightmare day after day, or rather, night after night.  

Within this forest, there is a valley, a rather large valley.  More like a field; simple, and easy on the eye.  Grasses sway in the slight breeze in this field, from tree to tree.  From left to right and top to bottom of this field, you can see a slightly rising and falling field of grasses. Something may lurk within these grasses, but I doubt it.  I never see anything moving, squirming, hiding or even lurking.  This is not the focus of my terror, night after night.  I can vaguely see the grasses.  I do not worry about anything existing within that could cause me harm. 

On the north side of this grassy field, there is a lake; a small lake, almost a pond. A few boats could easily make their way around this lake without getting in each other’s way.  It is not an immense lake, but not terribly small either.  I doubt that the lake contains any creature swimming within its depths that would like to harm me. The lake is dark, and unclear, so I never really can see to its depths anyway.  When I think back on the dream, I can imagine something swimming deep in its depths.  I could picture something rising out of the water, breaking above the water, crying out with an impressive roar.  But this is not the subject of my nightmare.  That is a daydream, while I reflect on the nightmare.  On the shoreline of this lake, is the expected sandy shore briefly, before it gives way to the grass that fills the rest of the valley.  No rocks, no impressive geological formations. Just a simple shoreline completely surrounding the lake.

So, what is causing me terror? I have described a serene valley within a forest, with a simple lake.  Almost nothing of note whatsoever is visible within this locale.  It seems beautiful to the naked eye.  None of these things lend themselves to my nightly repetitive terror.  However, with my nemesis, my evil enemy, visiting me nightly, it does make the surroundings less beautiful, less impressive.  But they don't actually do anything to lend to my terror.

If you look off to the left of the lake, you will see something that doesn’t belong in this locale at all.  For on the shore of our simple lake, are stacks and stacks of pennies and coins.  How high, I can never quite tell. I never actually get near them, for this is where the focal point of my dream comes, nightly.  I tend to shy away from this collection of coins.  There are many, many stacks of coins.  There could be millions of dollars in these piles, even if there are only pennies.  You could throw dozens of kids at this pile and let them climb for hours, and they would not even touch half the coins stacked on the side of my lake.  The stacks are probably as high as a simple small office building.  Some apexes reach points so high that they seem to ignore normal physics and reach to the sky.  Other piles are thick as tree trunks, and extremely tall.  

At this point, you may be asking yourself, do I have a fear of pennies?  Do these coins cause me some innate feelings of dread?  Am I afraid of suffocating underneath this immense pile of coinage?  What could piles and stacks of coins do to me?  No! I am not afraid of the coins.  The dread of suffocating under them does not bother me. Being near them or on them yields me no ill will. It’s what is attracted to the coins that causes me ill feelings.  This enemy doesn't actually cause me a true terror; but the repetitive nature of the activity of this dream presses me into uncontrollable feelings night after night.  I dread its visitations.  I yearn to be able to stop it, to halt it, to quench it in some manner.  I have tried to remove the coins, to spill them into the lake or into the field.  I have climbed on them and kicked and shoved and pushed; all to no avail.  They seem to have been forged from some heavy metal and thwart my actions.  When my nemesis approaches, I have headed into the field, and into the forest, only to continue to hear the approach and departure of the only infernal object besides myself of this dream that moves.  

Each night, no matter where I am within this make believe location, I can hear the approach.  It’s not a terrifying sound.  Taken singularly, it’s the simple sound of an airplane approaching and departing.  The first time I heard it, I turned my head and watched it approach over the forest.  It was just a speck in the sky, but it grew and grew.  As it descended, it seemed to reach out to the lake and the piles of coins.  After a few minutes of approach, you could tell it was angling towards this pile near the lake.  I thought that the owner of the plane would be someone who had been collecting these coins here, and was coming to deposit more.  Possibly the pilot was the owner of these coins and this was the hiding place of their vast fortune. However, all the plane did was approach, turn, and leave.  On the turn, it would come, so close, to the coins that you would have expected it to touch them, even smash into them, possibly crash.  After years of this repetitive dream, I have pictured so many different accidents, explosions; anything that would bring it to an end.  It never occurs.  The plane simply comes in, turns near the pile of coins, and departs.  Over and over and over.  I have climbed to the highest portions of the coinage, in an attempt to stop the plane, or to cause a deviation in its path, or alter its trajectory and actions. Something.  I want to see some change.  Something different!  It never happens.  The plane just repeats and repeats.  I have left the lake, left the field, and tried to hide in the forest.  But I hear the approach.  I know and can see in my mind’s eye exactly what is happening.  I can never get far enough away to not hear it coming or going.  I have tried to time the time between repeats, and have never seen a consistent value.  At any time, the plane will swoop in and repeat its maddening dance.  Sometimes, it repeats within a few minutes, as if the plane simply did multiple loops.  Other times, it is nowhere to be seen for hours; yet I know its approaching.  I can feel it.  I cannot relax near the lake, or in the field or even the forest beyond.  For I know that soon, any moment, the maddening sound of the plane will repeat.  It will approach, get close to the coins, and depart.

Why won't it leave me alone?  Why can't it just go somewhere else?  When I am not present in the field or near the lake, why doesn’t it land in the field and do something with the coins?  Where does it go when it leaves?  Where does it come from? Who is flying it?  Why are they constantly coming here, and disturbing me?  What is the purpose? 

Unfortunately, I never have reached answers to any of these questions.  I can scream at the plane as it flies overhead.  No one is visible in the plane ever.  No yelled responses or answers are given.  I feel that I could go insane trying to figure out the why’s, what’s, who’s of this nightmare.  I have no weapons, tools, or even rocks to chuck up at this plane as it swoops by.  I am unable to even move the coins to use as projectiles against this enemy.  Repeat, repeat and repeat.

As I prepare to go to sleep at night, I dread the repetitive nature of this nightmare's approach as much as I fear the approaching enemy within.  I have spent countless hours awake analyzing this dream.  Trying to devise a way to put an end to it.  The time spent awake has been as fruitless as the time within the dream attempting to forestall its inevitability.  I have tried to ignore it, but am soon surrounded by the same dread I always feel at the inability to control the outcome. I have been an active participant in the actions, and even tried to jump on the plane as it approached.  I have ran around the lake and field like a mad man, desperately trying to alter the outcome.  Nothing has altered it, ever.  Repeat, repeat.

So as I lay down again tonight to sleep, I prayed that I would not enjoy the dream again.  I hoped that I would simply sleep the sleep of the normals. I hoped that the enemy wouldn't return and repeat its endless march across the sky of my dreamscape. This night, I would not be so lucky.  I entered the forest and valley in much the same way I have every night since as far back as I can remember.  I instantly realize where I am at, and what is approaching.  My breath quickens, and I start to perspire a bit.  I see the lake in the distance.  The immense stacks teasing me on the shoreline.  I see the serene lake, wishing there was a wave or something breaking its surface. Desperately wishing to see something different, feel something different, and hear something different.  Then I hear it, the telltale approach of the plane.  I hear the engines humming and getting louder and louder.  I turn to gaze above the tree line, and see the spec grow larger.  

At this point in my repetitive nightmare, I do what I usually do; just sit down and await the inevitable.  I see the spec grow more and more distinct as it takes shape. The plane is now visible and approaching the coins, like it always does.  I get the same feelings I always do of dread, and hope.  But mostly dread.  For hope has almost all but vanished.  I feel I am doomed to repeat this until I die or go crazy. As always, the plane gets closer and closer.  The roar of its engines is etching sound waves in the back of my head.  Oh how I hate the sound it creates.  Closer now. Closer.  It’s about to turn.  I fix my eyes on it, almost willing it to crash.  It banks and begins its turn, ever so close to the stacks and stacks of coins.  It gets closer to the coins.  Actually closer than it has ever gotten before.  This time, it is turning closer to the coins.  It may actually hit them.  In fact, as I watch in stunned amazement, it actually makes contact with the coins, causing them to spill. Some reach the shore, and even break the surface of the water.  Others fall and roll into the grass beyond the shoreline.  Others simply fall on top of similar coins, but in formations I have never before seen, as they have never moved before.  The plane does not crash, but continues on its unknown journey.  Coins continue to spill and move in the wake of this unexpected turn of events.  I watch as the plane keeps going, shrinking and shrinking until it’s a mere speck.   

At this point, I expect the terror I have always felt to grip me, to remind me that this will simply occur again and again.  But I do not feel the known apprehension this time around.  I feel nothing.   

Soon, I find myself awake.  Never to repeat this dream again.


Halloween at the office.  Checkout the pics

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My sons bday

Today was Treyson's 5th bday. He got up early, came in to wake me up, and said, "Dad, wake up, its my birfday. Sing to me!" We all got up, and went downstairs to open up presents. He got a transformers poster, cap gun, speed racer car, lego mini Darth Vader. All things boys would love, and i loved buying some for him.
I went to work, and he went to the store with his mom to buy a Nintendo DS game (Lego Indiana Jones). He was so excited, he had to stop by my work to show it off. About an hour later, i stopped by school to pick him up, and take him to his preschool, like i do every wednesday.
Being his bday, we had extra plans and extra time. We stopped by Big Lots and purchased more guns and toys, his pick. Then we went to McDonalds for lunch. He loves McDonalds, proving that their marketing machine is still effective. After lunch, we went to his preschool, where his class sung to him, and i did a small presentation about him, with a script written by his mom and pictures of Trey as a baby and beyond. Later in the evening, with barely enough sun to light our way, we took off on a hike up the canyon of battle creek to tredge uphill to the beautiful waterfall located not far from the parking area. 45 mintes later, a lot of heavy breathing, some amazing scenes of river, rocks and fallen leaves, we arrived at the waterfall, just as the ambient light was being extinguished for darkess. It was lit enough to enjoy for a few minutes. But no light was left by the time we reached the car, guided by a small LED flashlight, and our hopes of escaping the encroaching darkness.
After our adventure in the outdoors, we went out to eat at the Pizza Factory in Lindon. He loves eating here, and loves the breadsticks. A pizza in the shape of a 5 was his main course. The rest of us anejoyed his excitement, the good food, and the day celebrating the last birthday in our bday season.
On to the rest of the holiday season we advance. Happy that dbay season is over, yet saddened that we no longer get the specific attention the previous season offers us. We love to celebrate our bday day, and surrounding days, and attempt to make it an entire weekend or even week, when possible.
Halloween is knocking on our door and we have yet to decorate for that. Thanksgiving plans are in the works; where will we be? Christmas will sneak up on us soon after turkey day. Thank goodness our Christmas tree is still up in the family room from last year. Having not taken it down, and giving in to laziness will pay off in less time setting it up.
But all that is in the future. Right now, we are still thrilled and excited to have new cap guns, indiana jones games, and toys galore for the 5 yr old boys bday. Lets see how long the excitement lasts... probably all weekend.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A halloween story

Last year, at halloween, after reading a story of a friend and coworker, i was inspired to write one myself.  It was received with a descent review, and people enjoyed it.
So, I decided to try to keep the tradition goin this year.  I wrote one earlier in the month, and started another, i hope to complete before halloween.

I had published these on another blog previously, so you can read them over there.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Moab trip

For many years now, we have taken off in October and April with 2 other families and gone camping and motorcycling.  We first started going out on a Saturday only, and spending the day riding.  We then spent a night out there in a borrowed motorhome.  Later, we rented a trailer, and borrowed a trailer.  We increased the number of days periodically, and tried to span the weekend.  Some of the trips were met with some interesting weather.  We have taken pictures of these trips, and have amazing memories of them.  Some of the trips ended in simply cold weather.  Others we got snowed upon.  Others were simple and enjoyable.

On various trips, we had visitors come out and stay with us for the day, and others for multiple days, spending the night.  We always cooked food out there, had camp fires, slept in sleeping bags, played in the dirt, rode bikes, and had a great time.

This October trip was slated to begin a little bit later in the month, and we feared it would be colder.  The last few October trips caused Christy to get colds and bronchitis.  So, this year, we decided to do something different.  We bucked the trend of sleeping in a trailer, camper or motorhome.  We didn't bring the motorcycles.  We didnt camp in the dirt.  Instead, we went to Green River and stayed in a trailer park camping area, in a small cabin with 3 beds.  We still got to cook outside; there is nothing better than breakfast cooked outside on the grill, with the faint smell of a campfire wafting around as i prepare our morning meal.  We travelled back and forth from Green River and Moab, seeing many sights inbetween along the way.  It was a great vacation, and all had a great time.  My wife posted a little story about it, along with some pictures on her blog.  Take a moment to visit her blog and catch up on it.  Then go and visit some of my pics.

We will have to do more trips like this and see the sights of this amazing state we live in.  But i did miss the motorcycles and the dirt.  We need to still do those types of trips as well.  Riding as a family, getting dirty, eating outdoors, no tv, and time to plan what you want to do.  These are the things we live for, these are the winks of life we enjoy between the real life that we lead, most of the time.  This is why we work hard.

And like most vacations, as soon as we are back, all we can think about is figuring out a way to get back there and repeat it.  

I've been published, again

Since January of 2008, i have been making a concerted effort to publish some articles on SQL Server topics, and IT in general.  These have all come from my experience and knowledge.  They are all topics that I have been intimately involved in.  This sure made it easier to write about, having lived thru it.  

So, every few months, i come up with some free time, and push out an article.  One just hit SQL Server Central this morning.  I knew it was going to be published, but not sure what day.  Its a little bit like christmas.  People reading the article, saying good things (mostly) about it.  Good discussions sprout up, and people are using my ideas to talk about making their jobs better and easier.  I hope that the articles help folks.

Bwlow is a list of the links to the articles i've published.  I hope this list grows and grows, as time marches on.  One of the reasons that i am trying my hand at blogging is to selfishly practice this technique of writting. The only way to get better at something is to actually practice and practice and practice.  

So, in an effort to document my life, and practice writing, i present you with the articles that have been published in my field of work.

I hope that you enjoy them as much as i did creating them.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

kids are amazing

Our first two daughters pregnancies and births were fairly easy. Our last child, my son, was a bit more difficult. After a bit of time, we realized that he had some problems with his hearing and wasn't reacting like the other two kids did. At first we thought that this was because he was a boy. Turns out he needed tubes in his ears and was delayed developmentally.

Well, fast forward a few years and a lot of extra classes and time spent with him by his wonderful mom, he has caught up with other kids his age.

I just got to sit and watch him and his church class perform in front of the other primary kids. He did an awesome job and participates and communicates and its just so great to see him being a normal boy. I recall the frustration and awkwardness he had previously. Its just so neat to see them grow up and become their own confident real humans.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

found my blog again

I set this blog up when it was still owned by Never posted to it beyond the first day. When it was taken over by google, i was unable to use it, and created a couple other blogs instead, and have been posting there. Some are on my Windows Live Space site, others on a hobby blog site. I tried to document our family adventures on the Live Space, and my hobbies (motorcycling, racquetball, etc) on the hobby site (

Well, in an effort to make a standard identity on the web and market my brand better, im consolidating them here under this blog, and getting this one going.

I may bring over the posts from the others to this one. I may simply point to them. It really doesnt matter at this point. And its my blog, so i will have to decide what to publish here.

As I am getting ready to goto PASS (Professional Association of SQL Server) Summit in november, i was getting some business cards ready, and realized that i was kinda scattered on the web, and needed to clean it up. Luckily, i thought about searching my past emails, and found the account that had this blog hung up on it. So i logged in, and conolidated them.

I also created a couple blogs for my kids, and hosted them under my google/blogspot account. As they get older (its birthday season here in our home) i want them to be able to use the internet as a medium to communicate with family and friends. What better way than to get them an email account, google account, and a blog address. Happy birthday kids.