Monday, May 7, 2007



I didn't update you earlier about Erin's soccer tryout, because the club postponed it last week after heavy rains. She'll have another go at it this evening (and the rest of the evenings this week), and I'll let you know how things turn out. In the meantime, we figured out how to stay out of trouble. Erin walked home from school with Nico on Friday afternoon, so that I could give a couple of final exams. That evening our family attended a Cinco de Mayo fiesta at the Villalobos's house. Apparently, we called it a night just in time. Soon after we departed, the dance-portion of the party began, and all the children and adults danced in earnest to body-rattling, teeth-jarring music with lyrics you prefer your children didn't sing along to. Whew! Dodged another bullet.

Saturday, Walter carted Davis and the remainder of his stuff home from Rice. I think he is having a bit of trouble living on the ground floor again, having spent the last nine months a few flights up. We had a most enjoyable evening Saturday night, sitting on the deck and staring at the sunset. I don't think Davis (or really any of us) had slowed to that pace in a long while. I will update The Davis Report with more details when I get a chance.

Sunday brought a happy day for our family. Walter presented the Pastor Nominating Committee's recommendation to the congregation, who approved calling Reverend Ted Foote to Bryan. Welcome Foote family! We'll see you in July.

Sunday also marked the end of the adult soccer season. I am bursting with pride to tell you two important milestones associated with Sunday's season finale. 1. We played a perfect season. . .no wins to lead to an inflated ego in this house. 2. I played a perfect season. . .no injuries, serious or otherwise. If everything goes as expected, Lisa will return to the line up in the fall and relieve me of goal keeping duty. I'll probably be begging to get back in the goal the first time I make a run down the field in the 90+ degree heat next September, but until then I will imagine how fast and skillful I will be.

Another thing that has happened in the past couple of weeks is that I have added an invisible counter to Erin's page. The counter that you see at the bottom of this page is fine for registering hits, but not much else. Our new counter (that you can't see) keeps track of the country, state, and city where each visitor originates. I can't tell you how much fun it is for Erin to check the stat counter and see visitors from across the country and around the world. In the last two weeks we have had folks drop by from seventeen different countries, thirty-two different states, and 128 different cities. I suspect most of them stumbled on to Erin's website by accident looking for Erin Brockovich or some other celebrity Erin.

This counter is not problem free. One day last week or the week before (some occasion when I was updating the journal), I took a look at the counter statistics and noted that there were a dozen or more hits from Tyler, Texas. I thought to myself, "Oh, poor family. They are probably recently diagnosed, and have found Erin's website, and are looking back through the archives for details about treatments. I do hope reading about Erin will inspire them and provide hope that things can be bright in a cancer patient's life."

The next day, as I continued to work on the journal entry, I noted that we were still getting a lot of hits from Tyler. I thought, "Wow, those folks are really thorough."

I few days later, I noticed that Tyler had more hits than any other city again, even College Station and Bryan, where we live, and Houston and Dallas where we have friends and relatives who I know read regularly.

I began to have second thoughts, "What if there is a crazy, mad person living in Tyler stalking our family? What if they are studying the details of our life through the website? I've included a lot of details on the site, including our address and phone number. I often tell everyone when we are headed out of town. Ack!"

I spent the next couple of days worrying about the Tyler Stalker and wondering what precautions I should take on behalf of my family. At some point during the process, I chanced upon an embedded feature of the stat counter. I can drill down in the data and actually see the IP of the connecting computer. IPs are usually expressed by long numbers with decimals in them, like . Because they are just numbers, there's really no reason to look at them, but I did. I thought "Ah Ha! Now, I have evidence against this person who keeps visiting Erin's website. If I really get nervous, I can show this to the police." Then, as I stared at the screen, I had the DUH moment. There sitting right next to the IP address was the Host Name: SuddenLink. I realized I had been stalking myself. The more I checked on Erin's website to see what damaging secrets I was including, the more times stat counter registered that a person from Tyler (i.e, that a person using the internet service provider, SuddenLink, whose server is
housed in Tyler) was visiting.

Don't tell anybody, but I'm the information system instructor in my department.

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