A Somewhat Scary Birthday

Yesterday was my 39th birthday. Among other things I got a vasovagal syncope (aka I fainted), a trip to the hospital and an MRI.

Yeah, I’ve had better birthdays. But I’m feeling much better now.

Since Monday, I’ve been having weird numbness and tingling in my hands, feet and midsection. Ever have your foot fall asleep? You know how it feels when your foot wakes up again? It’s kinda like that. After three days of that, I decided it was time to go see the doctor. My doctor is right by my daughter’s school, so I try and schedule my appointments so I can drop her off and save my wife the trip. But the only appointment they had yesterday was thirty minutes before my daughter’s school starts, so I ended up going alone. That turned out to be a very good thing.

Diabetes is one of the things that can cause this numbness and tingling, so my wife and I figured that I shouldn’t eat anything in case the doctor wanted to check my blood sugar. Sure enough, they wanted to run a few blood tests. My wife called as they were drawing my blood – she had dropped off our daughter and wanted to know if I wanted her to stop by.  I told her to stop by if she wanted, hung up, and promptly fainted. Luckily, Jules had decided she wanted to stop by so she was there when I came to.

Apparently, vasovagal syncope is the most common cause of fainting and having your blood drawn is a common trigger. I’ve never had that reaction to having my blood drawn, though I can’t remember ever having my blood drawn while fasting. But I tell you what, I don’t ever want to go thru that again. All I really remember was trying to get my brain to focus, and it wouldn’t. Pretty scary.

Playing it better safe than sorry, I was sent off to the hospital to spend two hours crammed in the MRI machine to get an scan of my brain and spine done. Also not a pleasant experience, but much better than fainting. There was much more ominous talk like “admitting for observation” and “lumbar puncture”, but apparently the MRI didn’t show anything requiring all that so I was sent home.

I still have the numbness and tingling, though it’s somewhat better today than yesterday. The good news is that it’s not diabetes or my thyroid or anything like that and they don’t think the fainting was related at all. Since the tingling and numbness is a little better today, I’m thinking it’s something like a pinched nerve. My doctor wants me to go see a specialist, so I’ve got an appointment with a neurologist in a couple of weeks. We’ll see how it feels by then – in the meantime, I’m taking it easy. I even skipped work again today – five day weekend FTW!

As for my birthday, we did decide to postpone my “FANTASTIC surprise”. Jules had arranged for us to go camping on Orcas island over the weekend. I’m really excited for the trip – it’ll be our first real camping trip outside of the back yard – but I’m not sure if I’ll be up for it this weekend. My parents sent me a bunch of Capitals gear as well as some money for new hockey equipment – I really need a new helmet and elbow pads. My kids both made me awesome cards – Patrick’s new thing is to make pop-up cards. He also made me a paper “cake” crown.

So even though that whole tingling/vasovagal/hospital/MRI thing was a less than fun way to spend the day, I still ended up having a pretty decent birthday. I’m especially thankful for my awesome wife, who does an amazing job taking care of me when I’m sick – much better than I am able to do for her when she’s sick I’m afraid.

Happy Birthday Riley!

Today is my daughter Rileyanne’s fourth birthday. She was born on 5-5-05 (at 5:25pm no less!).

Jules and I were picking out pictures for Riley’s “birthday ribbon” and we came across this one from her birthday party weekend before last. We had it a week early because my mother-in-law had surgery on her foot last week. It was a girls-only princess tea party, so I didn’t get to see her chasing bubbles in person. I loved this picture, but we ended up using one where you could see her face better. Still, I thought it was just too good not to share.

Happy Birthday big girl!

Morning Coffee 172

  • I took the kids to see Fly Me To The Moon recently. We had to trek to Monroe (about 30 minutes away) because it’s a special 3D movie, and it was only playing there and in downtown Seattle. The movie’s story is insipid – three flies stow away on Apollo 11 – but all the space shots were actually kinda cool. It sure felt like they wanted to be scientifically and historically accurate about the the actual mission (well, other than the part about the flies). Patrick really liked it (he wants to build a rocket in the back yard) and Riley sat thru the whole thing with a minimum of fussing.
  • I’m a big fan of Joe Biden, so I’m really happy Obama picked him to be his running mate.
  • I know it’s old news but what the frak was John Edwards thinking? I like his policies, but the arrogance it takes to run for president when you know you’ve got that skeleton in your closet is mind-boggling.
  • On the other hand, watching the Sean Hannity and guest’s hypocrisy on Edwards’ affair, only to watch them scramble like cockroaches when Colmes points out McCain had admitted to having an affair was frakking hilarious.

OK, onto geek stuff:

  • My new boss Dave Remy has moved to a new blog. If you’re curious what he was up to for the 10 months he was away from Microsoft, he’s happy to share.
  • IPy and IRuby developer Curt Hagenlocher (aka Iron Curt) is blogging. Cue the Ozzy…I AM IRON CURT. Or don’t. Anyway, he dives in the deep end of the pool – no “hello world” lollyblogging for Iron Curt – digging into the stack implications of rethrowing exceptions and debugging emitted IL.
  • Srivatsn writes about static compilation of IPy scripts. Note, we’re not talking about static typing – it’s still the same good-old dynamically typed IronPython, just packaged up as an assembly, rather than as a bunch of .py files. Note, if you’re interested in compiling IronPython, you should check out the PYC sample we published as part of Beta 4.
  • Speaking of IPy Beta 4, Shri Borde posts about the COM dispatch support which is enabled by default as of Beta 4. If you’re driving COM automation clients (like Office) from IPy, this is a huge improvement over the old mechanism.
  • Jeff Hardy has released a new version of NWSGI, a managed version of Python’s Web Service Server Gateway Interface. My understanding is that this would allow any Python web stack written against WSGI to run in IIS with IronPython (subject to IronPython’s compatibility with CPython). Jeff’s been documenting his efforts getting Django running with NWSGI on his blog. Awesome work Jeff! (Thanks for the correction Seo!)
  • I never really bought into the “Attention Economy”, but Chris Anderson’s economic analysis of his DIY Drones site traffic was fascinating.
  • Lutz announces “it is time to move on” from Reflector and there was a collective horrified scream in the .NET community. He’s handing it over to Red Gate, who promised they “will continue to offer the tool for free to the community”.
  • I missed this when he posted it in June, but I really liked Nikhil Kothari use of the DLR in Silverlight to cut down on the XAML verbosity in his ViewModel action binding.
  • Brian McNamara previews the new Add Reference and file ordering support in the upcoming F# CTP. I’m really looking forward to the project-to-project reference support. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten burned because my main project recompiled but my test project didn’t. You just get used to hitting Rebuild All instead of Build. As for file ordering, it’s a bit of a bummer that F# requires it, but the new experience is hella better than editing the project file by hand. I’m really looking forward to the new CTP.

Morning Coffee 147

  • My son Patrick turns five today.
    The big treat was his cousin Jack coming up for a visit. Here’s a picture of the two of them at Patrick’s party on Saturday. My wife has all the details on her blog. Update: My wife just posted a whole slew of Early Patrick Pictures.
  • If my son is five, it means this blog is also five – I started this blog about a month before Patrick was born. I never remember to mark the occasion until Paddy boy’s big day comes around.
  • Major props to the House of Representatives for growing a backbone and not caving to President 30% Approval on telecom immunity…yet. Personally, I’d like to see the House bury the measure completely, though I’m not holding my breath. But given that even the right-wing Washington Times reports “Analysts say FISA will suffice“, maybe the House Dems will do the right thing.
  • After tearing it up since Thanksgiving, the Caps have gone a little cold. 5-4-1 in their last ten and 2-2-1 in their last five. In the month of February, they’re 1-3-1 against SE division opponents. Good news is that they’re still even with Carolina (two points behind with two games in hand), half a game up on Atlanta, a game and a half up on Florida and two and a half games up on Tampa Bay.
  • Bill Gates announced a new program called DreamSpark to provide college students access to all of Microsoft’s developer and designer tools, including Visual Studio, Expression, SQL Server, Windows Server and XNA Creators Club membership. This looks like an outgrowth of the MSDN Academic Alliance program. I think it’s a great idea. Update: Looks like high-school students will be able to access the DreamSpark program too. However, since they’re minors, they have to get the software via their teachers. (via LiveSide)
  • The winners of the XNA Silicon Minds contest have been announced. Of the five winners, Specimen looks the coolest to me. I wish I had more time to get into game development. (Via LetsKillDave)
  • Speaking of game development, this week is the Game Development Conference, so be on the lookout for lots of game-related news. Xbox Live VP John Schappert is giving a keynote on “Unleashing the Creative Community”. XNA GM Chris Satchell said last year they would “announce full details on, and … vision for, opening XNA creations to the community” sometime this year. I’m guessing this is said announcement.
  • Speaking of Xbox, there’s a rumor that Microsoft and Netflix will announce this week that Netflix is bringing their Watch Instantly service to Xbox 360. If true, sign me up!
  • Grigori Melnik announces the GAX/GAT February 2008 final release. Key feature is VS08 support. Is it just me, or does calling it the “final release” make it sound like they won’t be upgrading GAX/GAT further?
  • Speaking of p&p, Grigori also announces the Feb 2008 CTP of Unity, p&p’s new IoC container. I’ve seem lots of folks echoing the announcement, but not much in the way of specifics on Unity itself. For example, Chris Brandsma describes IoC and mentions Unity, but he doesn’t cover any Unity specifics. 😦
  • MSIT EA Nilesh Bhide has started blogging. His first post is on Customer perception of Service Quality in S+S/SaaS. I’ve worked closely with Nilesh in the past two years, so I’m excited to see him take to the blogosphere. (via Nick Malik)
  • I don’t know how I missed it, but the MSDN Code Gallery launched last month. As Charlie Calvert explained, this is logical successor to GotDotNet’s user samples area. Between Code Gallery and CodePlex, GotDotNet has finally been shuttered for good.
  • Telligent, makers of the very popular Community Server, have released Graffiti CMS, which looks like a more flexible content platform than Community Server. (via DNK)
  • In somewhat unexpected news (at least, unexpected by me) Microsoft has released specs for the Office binary file formats. I’m not sure why this is happening now, rather than say when we released the specs for the Open Office XML file formats. (via DNK)

Afternoon Coffee 123

  • Morning Coffee is late this morning because we went for our Christmas portrait this morning and it took forever. The pictures turned out great though.
  • Nick Malik finishes up his series on business operation models by covering the diversification model. Also, Nick’s points about the synergy between a diversified model and the coordinated model are spot on. I happen to be a big fan of those models (aka the models with low standardization) which probably drives some of the  more my “unique” perspectives on SOA.
  • Scott Guthrie starts out a new series and future technology, this time it’s ASP.NET MVC Framework that gets the series treatment. The first entry in the series is a general overview. I wonder why there’s no cool code name for the MVC framework? Whatever it’s named, I like the auto routing and action rules – it seems very Rails-inspired.
  • Over the weekend, Don Box points out that the REST authentication story “blows chunks”. I’ve recently given up on the reliable part of the original “Secure, Reliable, Transacted Web Services” vision – and I never believed the transacted part. Security, on the other hand, is the one part of that original vision that has worked out IMO. My experience with the WS-* security stack has been pretty good, though Dare Obasanjo thinks that OpenID and OAuth are the final nail in the WS-* coffin.
  • Speaking of Dare, he goes on to say WS-* is to REST as Theory is to Practice. He makes the point that “The only times I encounter someone with good things to say about WS-* is if it is their job to pimp these technologies or they have already “invested” in WS-* and want to defend that investment.” I gave up pimping evangelizing technology a while back and I don’t want to be in the position of defending a bad investment, so I’m spending lots of time looking at REST.
  • Jesus Rodriguez takes a look at the Managed Services Engine and comes away excited. Jesus is a self-described “strong believer” in SOA governance. I’m a self-described strong disbeliever in SOA governance, so MSE sounds like more of the Worst of Both Worlds to me.
  • A little light reading: I pulled Applied Cryptography and A New Kind of Science out of my garage last weekend. Plus my copies of RESTful Web Services and Programming Erlang just arrived yesterday.