Site News Archives - 2003

Sunday, December 14th, 2003

Gerry Misutka's first ba.net appearance.jpg (95105 bytes)Gerry Misutka's first ba.net appearance 2.jpg (78738 bytes)Gerry Misutka Appears on BruceArmstrong.net! 

Saturday, December 13th, 2003
HollysNotebook.com - All this birthday activity has inspired Holly to finally do some work on her website. Visit it at www.hollysnotebook.com and be sure to sign her guestbook.
 
Wednesday, December 10th, 2003
DI-624.jpg (32256 bytes)Wireless Network. The most recent upgrade in the computer arena has been a wireless network. I went with the 802.11g D-Link Xtreme G products because of an advertised speed doubling capability called "Super-G". Supposedly it will allow a maximum transfer rate of 108mbps as opposed to 802.11g's standard max rate of 54mbps. By using this with the HTPC, I was finally able to get rid of an Ethernet cable that had been lying in the floor for a year and a half. I have a PCI card in my HTPC and a PC-card in my laptop. In testing without Super-G, I can take the laptop to the farthest point in the house (4 walls away) and get 48mbps. I still need to do some more testing to see if the alleged speed-doubling really does anything, but either way, I got an excellent deal at buy.com, so even if I don't use Super-G, this system was worth it.
 
Sunday, December 7th, 2003
Holly's 9th Birthday. Lots of relatives came over Saturday night to celebrate Holly's 9th Birthday. Later in the week, she had another party with her friends at a glamorous makeover place in the mall called Libby Lu's. As usual, we've got web galleries with lots of photos. Click either image see the corresponding gallery.
 
Saturday, October 25th, 2003
Holly, Bruce, Andrew Halloween Party.jpg (162893 bytes)Andrew's Simple Halloween Costume. Click this small image for a better look.

Also check out the Boomerang Expo Photo Galleries again. I now include links to several other galleries.

 
Monday, October 20th, 2003
USBA National Boomerang Expo in Houston.  Though I flipped and flopped about whether to actually attend this thing, boy am I glad we went! We had planned to merely spectate, take part in workshops, and help out wherever we could, but on the night we arrived, I ran into tournament director Tony Brazelton, and he convinced Andrew, Holly, and me to sign up for the actual competitions. Andrew, or "Ace" as he was known by the other boomerangers, is now the National Champion of the both the Novice and Junior divisions. Holly won several silver medals, and I even managed to score a few medals myself in the Intermediate division. Check back soon for a longer write-up on this super-fun event, but for now enjoy the photo galleries.

You may also be interested in these articles from the local Houston papers:

bulletHouston Chronicle: Interest in odd sport, like boomerang, returns
bulletHouson Press: What Goes Around Comes Around
bulletNews 24 Houston: Boomerang expo comes to Houston
 
Monday, September 22nd, 2003
Cordata_CS40-2.jpg (39195 bytes)A Couple of New Lists. I was looking through a drawer and was astounded by just how many computer parts receipts were stuffed in there. After I pulled them out, I realized they dated back pretty far and decided to see how accurately I could list my computer purchases over the years. It's not done yet, but it's pretty close. I think this list could come in handy for some of you guys to show your wives and say, "See Honey? I don't buy that much computer stuff." Click here for the Armstrong Computer History.

In that same drawer, I found quite a few concert ticket stubs. My first thought was "Man, I used to have a lot of fun." My second thought was "Hey, there's another list I can make for Bruce's Self-Indulgence Page." This list has lots of missing dates and venues, and probably lots of missing concerts, but I've put out the call to friends to help me fill in the blanks. Click here for my Concert List.

 
Thursday, September 11th, 2003
Holly-as-Annie-Oakley-telling-her-tale.jpg (192698 bytes) Holly-as-Annie-Oakley-terrorizes-the-class.jpg (54479 bytes) Holly-as-Annie-Oakley-at-Ho.jpg (116673 bytes)Holly's Biography of Annie Oakley. Holly's big school project recently was to read a biography of a famous American and prepare an oral presentation where she dressed as her subject. She chose Annie Oakley and she did a fantastic job. She was obviously very well prepared and spoke at length on Annie's life without having to consult her notes. 

Kudos to Holly's Nannie, Aunt Debbie, and Mom for helping make sure she looked the part. After Andrew's Meriwether Lewis costume, and now this, I think they could enjoy careers as Hollywood costumer designers.

Saturday, July 5th, 2003
Official Group Photo. The official Class of '83 20-Year Reunion group photo arrived in the mail today and I have added it to the reunion photo gallery. I also have a high resolution version suitable for printing or just zooming in. Click here for the 600dpi, 2MB version
 
Monday, June 30th, 2003
20-Year High School Reunion. Though I took an embarrassingly small number of photos at the June 21st reunion, I have finally put together a web photo album. Click here to check it out
Sunday, June 29th, 2003

Andrew's Wax Museum. This happened way back on May 15th, but I have finally got the newspaper article scanned in and the new web gallery software working, so here you go:

Andrew's 5th grade class (and the 6th grade class) participated in a huge project in which they wrote research papers, prepared a museum exhibit, and finally dressed and performed as a historical figure they admired. It was very impressive and it was easy to see that all the students had put tons of work into it. The kids would stand still as statues (WAX statues) until a patron walked up and touched them. At that point they would "come to life" and give a summary of their life and accomplishments, possibly with a little dramatic acting thrown in.

This was a large enough event that it was written up in the Oak Cliff Tribune. Click here or on the image at the left to see a color photo gallery of the 5th grade kids in character.

Monday, June 2nd, 2003

Amazing New Phenomenon. Years ago, when I used to do a bit of home-brewing, my best batch was named "Bruce's Naked Ale" and subtitled "A Strong Creamy Nude Brew".  The reasons for these names are unimportant to this story. What is important is that rearranging the letters (as an anagram) in "A Strong Creamy Nude Brew" gives "Bruce Dewayne Armstrong", my full name. Some of my friends theorized that my mother must have known that I would eventually become a beer-brewer and had to have taken that into consideration when naming me.

So this next phenomenon is amazing, but not without precedent. As many of you know, Andrew's nickname at school has been "Ace" for a few years now. For many years throughout my youth, I used my initials "BDA" for signing artwork and had a particular stylized version which was all straight lines and angles. Recently when the kids were playing with some sidewalk chalk, I drew my initials in that style, and since Andrew liked how it looked, he wrote out "ACE" in the same style. I didn't think too much about it for a while, until over the weekend we were painting some boomerangs and were trying to think of something cool to make a stencil of. We decided that he would make an "ACE" stencil for his boomerang and I would make a "BDA" stencil for mine. Imagine my shock when I realized that the same stencil would work for both! Freaky!

We didn't get around to using our stencils yet, but I did whip up a quick animation to display this Amazing Phenomenon!

Saturday, May 17th, 2003

Andrew's Sleepover Birthday Party. For Andrew's 11th birthday party, he wanted to have a sleepover with some friends from school so they could play video games, watch movies, and basically goof off. The boys had tons of fun and Michelle and I were worn to a frazzle. Having 5 computers networked for Motocross Madness 2 was the hit of the evening. The boys would've chased each other around on motorcycles all night if we hadn't dragged them off the PCs.

To see a small gallery of photos from the night, visit Andrew's page at www.acesbase.com/birthday2003.

Tuesday, April 15th, 2003
"Spring Musical" at the Kids' School. Both kids worked hard memorizing their songs and hand-motions. Andrew even had a small solo and was the standout voice of the show (in my personal opinion). We got the still-shot camera out a little late, but there is a photo gallery of what we did get. We may even put a video clip of Andrew's solo on here if he authorizes it.

New Bluebonnet Photos Added. On the way home from the musical, we stopped on the side of the road to take a few more Bluebonnet shots right before sunset. Click here to see them.

Andrew Singing 3.jpg (89680 bytes) Andrew at the mic for his solo.
Sunday, April 13th, 2003
IMG_1657 Texas Bluebonnet Photos. After an aborted attempt yesterday (forgotten memory card for the camera) we went over to Mountain View College this evening and took some photos among the bluebonnets. Click here to see a few of the shots.
Thursday, April 10th, 2003
Female Boomerang Phenomenon. Check out Boomsmith.com for a new article telling of Holly's latest boomerang exploits. She's really getting good! OK, there's a pretty good story about Andrew, too, but Holly really was the star of the day.
Saturday, April 5th, 2003

Another Whack to the Head. Michelle called me up Saturday afternoon and said in a none-too-enthusiastic voice, "I'll give you two guesses where I am." I missed my first two guesses, but when she hinted that we had just spent some time there in December, my heart sank and I knew she was at the emergency room. She said it was Holly this time, but she quickly assured me that it wasn't nearly as bad an injury this time. Her hope was that instead of stitches, the wound could be closed with glue.

It turns out Holly had been hit in the head with a putter. She was at a birthday party at a miniature golf course, and apparently one of the girls attempted a non-minigolf style tee-off, swinging her putter like a golf club. Holly got hit  pretty much in the middle of her forehead, and luckily it really wasn't as bad as Andrew's horrific wound. After triage and a several-hour wait at the emergency room, it was determined that glue could indeed be used instead of stitches. Strangely, they said to leave the bandage on until it fell off. Now I thought that a wound should be allowed to "breath" some, so leaving the bandage on seemed odd. And I don't know if that was really a contributing factor or not, but unfortunately, by the time she went back to see the doctor a few days later, the wound had become infected. That is likely to make the scarring worse than it might otherwise have been. We'll just have to wait and see.

And for all you morbidly curious folks who want to see pictures: Sorry. There's really nothing to see since there's always been a bandage on it when she's been around a camera. The original wound wasn't spectacular enough that a plastic surgeon would want it for his "memories" book like Andrew's was. You can see in the boomerang shot above exactly where and how large the injury is, but what you're really seeing is the bandage.

<Insert Child Protective Services joke here.> 

Wednesday, March 20th, 2003
Catoosa Class of '83 Yearbook Photos. After looking through old yearbooks with a high school chum a few weeks back, and considering that my 20-year reunion is coming up this summer, I decided that it would be neat to have some yearbook photos available online. I started scanning in our senior photos, but decided that I could do better than just a basic scan of each page. What I wanted was to have all the pictures like they are in the yearbooks, but also give the viewer the opportunity to see how many of these people they can remember. It's not a quiz actually, but you can look at someone's photo and then hold your mouse over it to get a pop-up message with their name. Click here to see who you remember..
Sunday, February 16th, 2003

antec_slk2600_case.jpg (33393 bytes)Computer-Rebuild Weekend. I finally bit the bullet and bought all the parts needed to rebuild my destroyed computer. The motherboard I got is an excellent Asus model with lots of good stuff built-in to replace various fried components. The CPU is just a bit faster than my previous one (XP 2200+ vs. XP1700+) and I ended up with another brand of video card, but with the same GeForce4 Ti 4200 chipset I had before. I bought two 256MB PC2700 DDR RAM modules. The old ones were PC2100, so there's another slight speedup. I've only bought one 80GB HD so far, but those are getting real cheap and I'll get more storage space soon. Craziest of all, is that I also bought a DVD burner! More on this as I get more experience with it. (I also need to update the hardware page with all these new parts.)

The weekend was spent not only putting my new system together, but also putting both Holly's system and the HTPC into different cases. Previously, in the futile hope that a new power supply was all I would need to get my computer back up and running, I had purchased a new case and power supply from Fry's. The case was a nice-looking bronze case (pictured here) and it had a quiet power supply, so it became the new home of the HTPC. It's not nearly as conspicuous next to the rest of the home theater equipment as the old beige case was (new photos coming soon).

After transferring the guts of the HTPC into this new case, there were still a few jobs left to do. Andrew was at a sleepover with a friend, so it was time for some father-daughter geek-out bonding. Holly was very happy to help in moving the HTPC's old, loud power supply to my PC's case. She enjoyed that screwdriver work so much that we decided it would be a good time to get rid of her junky old PC case and move her PC guts into the old HTPC case. She did all the work of removing her power supply and installing it in the new-to-her case. I had to do the motherboard transfer, but she helped install the hard drives, floppy drive, and CD-ROM. Basically, every screw in her PC, she put in herself. She did an excellent job!

Saturday, February 8th, 2003

Computer Disaster. There was a power outage yesterday, and the electricity came back on, my computer was destroyed.  Read way more than you want to know about it here.

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2003

Updated the Xbox page. Added a Playstation 2 page and a lengthy Grand Theft Auto: Vice City review.

Friday, January 17th, 2003
Happy New Year. Well, it's been awhile since I've updated the page. (I blame Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for stealing all my free time.) Now I have finally put together a gallery of Christmas 2002 photos. Not as many photos as last year (we kinda forgot to get the camera out while opening presents in Oklahoma).

In other news, Andrew got a Playstation 2 for Christmas. So much for all my research and why I think an Xbox is superior. But it was from Santa, and you can't argue with him. We also got several new Xbox and PS2 games both for Christmas, and at Blockbuster's "buy-two-get-one-free" previously played games sale. Check back soon for an update to our Xbox page, a new PS2 page, and/or a new Xbox vs. PS2 page.