Tomorrow will be Colin’s one week mark. I haven’t been online much, since I’ve been so busy with him. He was born at 6:28 p.m. on Monday, September 17th. It was indescribable, but I’ll try.

Sunday, Beth was getting married and she came over so Shannon could do her hair. Right after she was done, Shannon’s water broke so we rushed to the hospital. The contractions didn’t start for a while, so at midnight the doctors gave her some pitocin to get things going. They started slowly. By 4:30 p.m. on Monday it was time to start pushing. Every time the doctor asked her to, she did. Shannon did beautifully. If you ever had your doubts, she is awesome. We had been there twenty eight hours at this point, and she gave it her all. After two hours Colin was born. It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.

I knew it would be miraculous, but I didn’t expect to be completely overwhelmed by it. I cried and looked at Shannon and she cried too. We were done, and we had a baby! Amazing! Just amazing. I can’t help but tear up when I think of it.

We spent the next couple of days in the hospital. There were some challenges, and worries – mostly common things that worry first time parents. We didn’t think he was getting enough to eat, and we had some problems feeding him, but we prayed and got lots of help from the nurses. Sometimes too much help. There were lots of nurses, and they each had their own different advice. By our checkout time on Wednesday, we were quite ready to leave. Even though they’ll watch the baby for you in the nursery, there is too much stress in the hospital.

Wednesday night at home was a long one. He woke up every twenty minutes it seemed, and neither of us got much sleep at all. Tuesday we decided to take shifts. Shannon would sleep while I watched Colin in the nursery, and then we would swap. This worked okay, but it is not something we wanted to continue with. Now we are sleeping in two hour blocks with his bassinet next to the bed. Honestly, I kind of dread the nights.

Everyone always complains about changing diapers. I don’t think that it is so bad. I’m not saying that I want to change your baby’s diapers. I don’t. It’s just that taking care of your own son is quite gratifying. It’s bonding time for us, and it’s good.

He sleeps a lot – just not for very long. He needs to eat every three hours or so, and he wants to eat every two. We cater to his wants. It won’t be like that forever, but it will be for a while. Now he’s eating great, we’re getting a system and the rhythm of parenthood.

Right now he is sleeping on my lap while I write on the laptop. There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have been so excited to spend time and money on a child, but I am delighted to now. I’ve heard there is a chemical change in the brain when you become a father. I’ll have to look this up to see if it’s true, but from experience I can say that it is likely.

Being a dad is great!
Colin was born at 6:28 p.m. tonight, 7 pounds 5 ounces, 20-1/4 inch long. Shannon and I are both excited.
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I fixed the spelling of Colin's name and changed Shane to Shannon. Sometimes Jott is not quite accurate at transcribing. I phoned this post in.

If you are a geek (math, language, computer, physics, etc.), and you're not reading xkcd, you probably should check it out.

Just letting you know.
Yes it's true, I'm and uncle, and if you happen to peek at my Twitter updates, then you may have already noticed. On Friday, August, 31st, my brother's wife gave birth to Ember, an 8 pound 10 ounce, 19.5 inch baby girl! I'm so excited!

Before long she will have a cousin!

You can help find Steve Fosset who crashed somewhere Nevada. Steve Fosset was the first man to fly around the world without refueling, and he's been missing six days. Amazon has set up their Mechanical Turk service to allow anyone with some time to look through satellite images from Google. They have divided them up so you can look at as little or as many images as you want and flag them for review if they contain foreign objects.

This image is an example of what you are looking for. Head over to Amazon's Mechanical Turk to get started. It took me about 20 minutes sign up and go through 100 images. Although he has not been found yet, they've located several other crashes they didn't know about.
Hey, this is Lance and this is a test of Jott testing to blogger and if this works out and maybe a pretty cool way to announce Collin's birth.
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Sometimes I have a hard time telling people how beautiful Montana is. Missoula is nice, but if you really want to see Montana you have to get out in the backcountry. That's where the real wonders are. Driving through Glacier on Going to the Sun Highway is just scratching the surface. There is nothing like sitting out on a grassy plateau with no one else around, streams forming from melting glaciers, and mountain goats running around. You just can't put that into words.

Last spring my friend Peter introduced me to his roommate Steven Gnam. The first time we met, we talked about God, photography, and the Internet. For several hours. Steven told me how he just sort of started taking photos and found out that it was something God had really blessed him with a talent in. It's true. He takes some really stunning photos of the scenery here in Montana. His shots show what a thousand words can't describe. They show why I love it here.

I ended up working with Steven to build a website for his photography. It has taken some time to get online, and there are still a couple of rough edges, but for the most part it's ready. Head on over to Steven Gnam Photography and let me know what you think of the website and his photos.

Oh, and here's a bit of trivia. He shot the cover for Marshall McLean's newest CD, Heaven's Grey which you should also check out, since Marshall is seriously a great song writer and guitar player.
Did I ever tell you that I won a sweet laser beam on the Internet? Oh yeah, I think so. Anyway, David, the amazing 13-year-old tech blogger at has published my short review.

Go check it out and leave some comments from The States:
Wicked Laser Beam Super-Short Review
I decided to sell off my CD collection. I came to this decision becasue I don't listen to them all that much, and when I do I am usually at my computer where I have them ripped. So this brings up the legal and ethical question of whether or not it is okay to keep backups of CDs once you have sold them.

First, I'd like to deal with the ethical question. Is copying CDs stealing? Stealing is definately wrong, but copying a CD is different than stealing. First you are not taking anyone's property. You are creating a duplicate of it. Technology has really changed the way things work. It's like having a relicator from Star Trek, except this one only works with CDs, DVDs, and in a sense books. If anything, copying a CD is copyright infringement, and I don't think that it is clear cut whether copyright infringement is wrong in all cases.

As Christians, we are supposed to submit to our rulers, and I would say this means following the law. (check out 1 Pt 2.13-17) Now, I don't mean that we should follow unjust laws. You shouldn't follow a law if it causes you to sin, but we're not dealing with that here. If in fact, making backups of CDs is copyright infringement, then perhaps we might want to avoid it. But is it even copyright infringement?

I am certain that the RIAA would say is not legal to keep your backups. The RIAA does not want you making backups in the first place. In my opinion they are not part of the discussion. They cannot be reasoned with. The RIAA represent the labels' interests at best, and not the artists'. If you have some time, read Courtney Love's eye-opening letter.

Where does copyright come from? We don't hear about it much in history. I'm not a historian, but I don't remember the classic artists having to deal with it at all. In the U.S., copyright was created by Federal law, authorized by The Constitution:
The Congress shall have Power [. . .] To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
Article I, Section 8, Clause 8

Copyright was created to foster creativity and andvancements in the arts and science. That is important to keep in mind. I don't know that the current business climate of the music industry fosters creativity.

One thing that I found out with selling my CDs is that sharing music really builds interest in it. It wasn't until I started digging through my collection, and ripping everything that I started listening to it again. Lending CDs to friends get me excited about the bands. I just bought two new CDs in the course of listing mine.

Something has to change. Perhaps the music industry won't get as much money as it has in the past, and that might not be a bad thing. If the only people left creating music are those who really love doing it, there might be more great music out there. Good music does not have to come from the labels. In most cases it doesn't. It is just discovered by them. The Decemberists had several great albums out before they were, "discovered."

I don't know the answers to all these questions. What do you think about copying, sharing, and backing up? Tell me in the comments. I'd really like to know.

Oh, and if you want to see what CDs and books I have left, check out my Amazon shop.
I know many people who would never consider attending their high school reunions. I, however, was glad to be at mine. I think our class was a uniquely pleasant one. Sure there were some cliques and normal high school problems, but it was never too extreme. Most of my classmates were genuinely cool people.

It was good to be around people who are like me in so many ways that others are not. Many of my classmates "get" how great Montana is, and they know what it is like growing up in a small town - growing up in Frenchtown in particular.

So at the ten year reunion it was nice to see many of them again. It was really neat to see how many now have young families. It's a nice reminder that life is more than a job and a house, and you don't have to do something great to be great.
Surf was up, dude. I rented a board the other day, and took it out on the surf. It was fun, but man was I tired.

But now Rocky and I are in Mexico! Tijuana to be exact. ¡Hola! That is right I am bloging from out of the country. ¿Rocky, do you want to say anything?

Rocky says - ¿Um, what can I say? I am just happy we found our hotel, and figured out what the parking garage attendant wanted us to do. Um, I do not know. Maybe we can blog our breakfast tomorrow.

Well, that is all for now. Sorry about the lack of contractions. I cannot really find the apostrophe on this keyboard. It is in Spanish so I hope you can still read everything...

More later. I am out.
Yesterday, Shannon and I went to the doctor for the sonogram. The technician said that a sonogram is the same thing as an ultrasound. By the way, Shannon's pregnant. I don't think I've mentioned that here yet.

Wow, is that technology cool. They just put a probe on her stomach, and you can see inside. We got to watch him on the monitor for quite a bit while she took photos from several angles.

When she told us that it looks like a boy, I asked her how sure she was. She said that she won't call it unless she's pretty sure. She said 98%. So my sister is going to have both a niece and a nephew. My brother's wife is having a girl, and she is due just a month before Shannon. These are exciting times we're living in.

In other news, I just finished school for the semester, so yesterday was an all around good day.
I remember my friend Andrew telling me about an "alpine slide" he rode once in Tennessee, or maybe it was North Carolina. It was a track down the mountain on which you rode a little cart. Something like a personal, gravity powered rollercoaster. You could control the brakes. It sounded quite mystical to be honest. I've never heard of such a thing.

Anyway, today I just saw a pickup truck parked downtown with "Wiegandslide" printed on the side of it. It also had a url: What can this mean for us Missoulians? Well, I speculate that someone is seriously considering building one here. There are three places I can think of that might consider this:
  1. Snowbowl
  2. Marshall Mountain (if they come back from the dead)
  3. Bitterroot Resort

I eliminated the Hiawatha Trail, because I think Lookout is run out of Idaho.

This is a great idea.
I have read several articles recently that Russia is now planning to build a tunnel from northeast Russia to Alaska. Whether this will actually happen or not is being debated, but it has completely captured my imagination. Can you imagine being able to take a road trip to Europe? Or a train ride?

I envision taking my family (it is at least ten years away) through Canada, across Alaska, under the Bering Strait through a 65 mile-long tunnel, across Russia, through Ukraine, then Poland and Slovakia. Then, on to Prague in the Czech Republic, through Germany on the autobahn and into France. Leaving France, we'll drive through the now second longest tunnel, The Chunnel, and into London.

I think two months for the drive there and one month for the drive back will do.
Tonight, I've rediscovered that I hate troubleshooting computer hardware. Over five hours ago I sat down to write some code (I like writing code). However, my computer crashes everytime I use the eyedropper tool in Photoshop. Yeah. Weird. Definately seems like a hardware problem of some sort. Program crashes don't generally give you BSODs nowadays.

Well, I've messed around with the RAM timings, flashed the BIOS, downloaded drivers galore, and I'm still having the same problem. Darn. I was hoping to get some more milage out of this setup.

Unfortunately, if I want to upgrade the motherboard (I think it's the problem here. I've been having problems with the USB ports on it) I'll also need to upgrade the CPU, memory, video card, and most likely the power supply too. At least I can still use the case and hard drive.

So if I replace all that, why not just buy a new computer from Dell or something? It may be about the same price. Well, the hardware wouldn't be as good, but at least I wouldn't have to mess with it. It would just work.

I definately like programming, but I definately don't like troubleshooting hardware.
A couple of years ago, I saw David Boone for the first time. I was impressed then, and I still am every time I see him play. Watching him play live is really where it's at. He is one of those artists who can connect with the audience well.

Now he is doing something cool. He's giving away many of his songs. Free for download. He's also encouraging people who own his CDs to rip them for friends. This is especially cool in today's climate of overprotected intellectual property. Do a search on the RIAA if you don't know what I mean.

I think this could help him immensely. One of the hardest and most important things for a new musician to do is to grow a fan base. Just because your music is good doesn't mean that people will find it.

Here's your chance. Every day this week, starting today, you can download five songs for free. He also has a video on YouTube.If you like it and want more, find me and I'll burn you a CD or we can catch a show together. You won't be disappointed.
I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds. Netvibes helps me manage it all. One of those feeds is Pro Blogger. He writes about blogging professionally. One day Darren Rowse wrote about twelve-year-old David Wilkinson in England who writes a blog on technology. That's when I started reading what was to become I still read it. You'd be surprised at the quality. When I was twelve, I think I was playing basketball and video games, and having rock fights with my friends for fun.

Well, about a month a go Wicked Lasers sponsored him with a $300 green laser pointer to give away in a contest. As it turns out I won, and I'm ecstatic. You see, I really have wanted a green laser pointer since I learned about them on Think Geek, but I never could justify the cost. Now I don't have to. Sure, I could sell it on ebay or something, but that's not going to happen.

So what do you do with a $300 laser pointer that is not a toy? You can burn holes in black plastic bags, heal cuts, point out constellations, and maybe pop balloons. That's what they tell me anyway. I can't wait to find out for myself.

Be sure to head over to and tell David he is one cool kid.
So I wasn't going to compete in the coding competition at VSLive, but this guy from Texas needed a partner. We took on the Swedes (in the chef hats) and another team that just met. We finished one problem, but didn't finish the next one we chose which turned out to be too ambitious. One hour is not much time. The Swedes finished several, and the other team found code online that scored them lots of points.

We got third place (of three teams). My partner and I each got a copy of Visual Studio 2005 Professional, which rocks. When Andrew, Pavel, and I left the Moscone Center we realized that we had not left the building for 14 hours. Long day.
Yesterday, Pavel and I flew in to San Francisco for VSLive. It's a nerdy computer programming conference in case you didn't know. Andrew from Boise met us here. I know Andrew from the good ol' days in the Air Force. It's always great to see him.

It was a full day. I woke up at 4:30 AM and Pavel and I got to the airport and through security just in time to hear, "Lance and Pavel your plane is leaving" being announced over the loud speakers. But we made it.

In San Francisco, we went to the ABC Restaurant for lunch. It still rocks. After that we headed to Russia Town to find a bookstore so I can could get a book about Vysotsky for my paper on Post-Thaw Russian Literature. Andrew said, "why don't you just check Amazon?" In Russia Town the bookstore was closed. It looked like it might be permanent. At a small video store, I asked the man behind the counter if he had any books on Vysotsky. He had a picture of him on the wall. He didn't, but he suggested that I look on the Internet.

Then we went to the coast and hiked a bit. It was foggy and misting quite a bit, but we caught glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was nice to get out of the rain and catch a ride to Fisherman's Warf. Rocky, if you're reading, the mini donuts rocked.

Today we're off to the conference. Actually, the pre-conference. Rockford Lhotka is going to be talking about building distributed object-oriented apps in .net 3.0. It should be good.

This winter I've been trying to snowboard more. Last season I only went three times. That is just not acceptable. I told Shannon that I need to get out every weekend or more if I'm ever going to go pro.

I had lunch with John yesterday. The same John that told me about the stalefish. Did you know that Tony Hawk invented it? He's a skateboarder (I'm sure you know) but many skateboarding tricks transfer to snowboarding. Some are impossible though since your feet are strapped into the snowboard. Although some people are working on that. They call it noboarding, and they don't use bindings. But enough about that.

John and I were talking about skateboarding, and he said that many kids are all into going pro. They practice and practice with the hope of someday going pro, and while that might not be bad on the surface, John says that it spoils something about the sport. It's like they care more about going pro than skateboarding itself. I suppose I feel the same way about snowboarding, or it could just be that since I don't see myself ever going pro it makes me feel better saying that.

Anyway, last Saturday my cousin Kevin and I hiked into the back country at Lolo Pass. We found the perfect spot to build a kicker, and we hit it for several hours. Sick, as they say. Neither of us successfully landed a 360, but we sure tried. I'm sure we both will be able to after another session or two.

I'll keep on snowboarding just because I love it, but it's really one of those sports that you have to go with friends to enjoy. Going by yourself is only fun for an hour or two. So if anyone reading this is up to a day of snowboarding, let me know. I go just about every weekend.
My cat is way too fat. Here's my attempt to help him out a bit. We'll need to work on it though.


8:54 PM | 9 Comments

On July 15, 2007 Missoula will host its first marathon. I’ve decided to run in it, and that is my New Year’s resolution. What does everyone have against New Year’s resolutions? Probably the most common reason is that they won’t be kept anyway. Other reasons include, “if something needs to be changed in my life then I’m not going to wait until January first to change it” and “there’s nothing I want to change” which I really don’t buy. More likely there is nothing you would like to share or dwell on.

In the past I’ve been one of the clever who resolve to not make any resolutions, but after thinking about it some, resolutions can be a good thing. Everyone has things that they would like to change in their lives. Lose weight, exercise more, save more money, give more to charity, write a book, get a (new) job, get better grades. Perhaps the difficult part is not being overwhelmed by all the things you’d like to change. Just pick just a couple of important ones to work on.

Why wait until New Year’s Day to make a resolution? Well, it’s not that you have to wait until then, but rather that the day is the tipping point. What have you been waiting on? Why not resolve now to change. It’s accepted practice, and you can tell people about it. That’s not a bad thing. If it’s personal, you don’t have to publish it on the Internet, but your friends can help you. Telling people makes it difficult to just brush it aside.

I don’t think life is meant to be a series of events that happen to you. Life is meant to be lived. Decide to change something for the better and do it.