My Blog

Welcome to, the home page of Gregory Neil Hill. Please, call me Greg. There isn't a lot to this page, just a blog, a resume, and a portfolio. I may add more sections in the future as whim strikes me. Feel free to browse around, and contact me with any requests/complaints/admiration you desire.

If you want to say hello, Email Me Here

I've finally decided Rachel's a keeper

Submitted 6/6/2007 11:13 PM

Just kidding... I've known that since we met.  But I did finally get sealed to her.  See pictures to the right.  Most of her family made it out as did most of mine, as well as some close friends.  It was great.  Afterwards, we ate a huge sandwich (see pictures) and hung out all day.  I'm not much in a writing mood, but I need to update this page to appease my fans, so I'll try to briefly run through everything that's new and exciting.

Work continues to go well.  The project I've been working on since the fall is getting close to completion, so that's nice.  I've finally started working on my own side projects again.  When my hip got really bad, I didn't have the energy to keep working on them, so it's nice to get back to it. 

Rachel's business is going well, too.  She's had a few weddings and has a few more lined up, as well as some other non-wedding things.  She's excited, as am I. 

My hip is continuing to recover well.  I graduated to a cane a few weeks back.  There are pictures of the awesome dragon cane Rachel got me, but unfortunately it worked better as being a cool thing to look at than being an actual cane, so we got a boring one for day-to-day walking and such.  I can move pretty good on the cane now, and I will likely be able to walk without it in a few more weeks.  That will be nice. 

Rachel's two best friends are getting married, as well as her former roommate (who is also a good friends, just not one of the two "best" friends, however that works).  So, three of her bride's maids are now going to be brides, but only one of my groomsmen so far.  Wait... make that two, I forgot her brother, who was married 4 months after we were, was a groomsman as well. 

It is looking pretty likely that we'll be replacing the other hip in or around September.  I'll be discussing a date with the doctor at our next follow-up visit.  Joy.  At least this time we'll know what to expect.  Rachel's debating whether to return to school in the Fall.  If she does, it'll be harder for her to help after my surgery, but if she doesn't, she likely won't return and we'll have to start paying back her loans.  So, I'm trying not to pressure her either direction because I want her to be happy with her decision. 

Garth is debating applying for a job within our company up in Seattle.  So, there might be news there at some point, or there might not.  I think it'd be good for him to escape the suckiness of being single in Utah, but I'd also miss him, so I'm a bit torn there.  Anyway, it's too early to know anything.

So, there, Judy, are ya happy now?  :D  Bwa ha ha!!

Back to work

Submitted 4/23/2007 5:30 PM

Well, it seems that my recovery continues to go well.  I'm back at work today.  A bit odd coming back, since there were layoffs while I was gone, and I have a new boss now.  I'm getting back into the swing of things, though.  Glad this chair is so comfortable.  It was weird being home for so long.  I started to get restless a little, but luckily we decided to use shopping trips for my daily walking.  Much nicer to walk around Costco than our bumpy street.  I'm to the point where I can walk about a half mile on the walker.  That's still pretty tough, though.  I'll be on a cane in another couple weeks, so that'll be nice.  I managed to finish a book I had started previously and read another one cover-to-cover, but there's still 2 or 3 on my shelf that need to be read.  Once I was able to get out of bed more, I tried to avoid it as much as possible.  I added lots of bands to Librarius Metallicus, though, and played a video game all the way through on my computer :D   I also played two seasons of Tecmo Super Bowl III on the nintendo.  Rachel was very tired of the sound of that game.  What else?  I didn't listen to music as much as planned, but I did listen to a decent amount.  That was fun.  Revisited some classics from my childhood like Megadeth's early discs and Sacred Reich.  Good times.   A couple of my favorite bands, Anekdoten and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, have new CDs coming out.  I've heard the SGM disc; it's fantastic.  I imagine Anekdoten will be as well (they have yet to put out anything less than excellent).  Anyway, I'm rambling.  Best get back to work.

Recovering nicely, thanks for all the kind words

Submitted 4/5/2007 2:38 PM

The surgery went very well.  I was only under for about 2 hours.  I was able to walk out to the hall and back the first night, which is apparently really good (with the aid of a walker, of course).  It's an odd thing.  When your hip stops working right, you teach yourself to walk a different way to work with it.  Now that it's fixed, I have to teach myself to walk normally again.  I keep wanting to 'hip-hike' my way along, but I'm slowly walking more normally, and that's nice.  Still use a walker, though, for at least a few more weeks yet.  Today's the first day I thought I could sit at the computer.  Been on 20 minutes, and I got maybe 10 more in me before I need to get back to bed.  But, that's progress.  I'll try to write more soon, but for now, I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm doing well.  Much better than expected, to be honest.  Thanks for the thoughts and prayers.


Submitted 3/22/2007 1:24 PM

So, my surgery is next Tuesday.  I'm pretty nervous.  I'm fairly sure all will go well, but I'm nervous because this is the type of thing you don't really understand until you've gone through it.  I know what to expect, since everyone's told me repeatedly (doctors, other people who have had hips replaced).  I just can't really imagine how it'll feel, and that's why I'm nervous.  So, let's talk about something more uplifting.

Rachel's business is picking up more lately.  She's picked up a few family portraits, 2 weddings, and a comedian wants photos for a press packet.  Oh, and someone in the ward wanted her to do pictures for her daughter's baptism.  So, that's exciting news.  She's nervous, too, but I know she'll do great. 

We just finished watching the first season of Lost.  Pretty great show, I think.  I wish they'd resolve a few more threads before introducing so many new ones, but that's what keeps us watching I guess.  I don't see how they'll keep this going for 2 more years (which they have) without disenfranchising their viewers.  We can only be in suspense so long before we feel like we're being toyed with and move on.  I have a feeling that'll be the case at some point, but so far I like it.

Anyone into crime thrillers, go watch Zodiac.  Some say it's drawn out too long, but it kept me riveted the entire time.  I'm kind of sad that some seemingly great movies are coming out soon, as I'll not be able to go to the theater for at least 3 months after the surgery.  At least I got to see 300.  Yeah, it's not historically accurate, and it's pretty darn bloody, but man if it isn't the most motivational movie I've ever seen.  You feel like you could conquer the world after watching it.  Maybe I should pretend my hip is Xerxes and I'll be less nervous about the surgery :D

Anyway, I'm out of things to say once again.  I'll make sure to post and say I'm ok as soon as I can, but it'll probably be a few weeks before that's the case.

Christmas, engagements, hip surgery, and more

Submitted 2/5/2007 5:33 PM

Well, first of all, the big news.  I went to a hip dude today who told me that I need hip surgery.  My left hip basically has no cartilage left, and it's bone against bone.  So, no amount of medication or physical therapy can fix it.  The good news is that my right hip isn't nearly as bad, and after getting the left replaced might do quite well for several years.  *crosses fingers*  We tenatively scheduled for the end of March, and so far I'm not seeing any reason to delay that, but we will see.  I'm a bit scared right now, wish me luck.

In other big-ish news, my longtime friend Meggin Dittmer has gotten engaged.  Apparently moving back to Oklahoma did the trick.  Sometime in July, in Logan, UT.  Tony, her brother, is getting married in June, in Hawaii (don't know if I mentioned that already).   That's awesome news to me, and I imagine to them and their family as well :D  For those who don't know, the Dittmers were basically my 2nd family while I grew up in Oklahoma.  Kent, the dad, was very much a father figure to me, having had my dad die when I was young.  We've all managed to stay pretty well connected for many years, amazingly enough.

As for other goings-on, the holidays went well.  Rachel's family came to Utah, so we got Christmas with both families this year (and I made the turkey, and it was the best turkey ever, according to reviews).   Most everything went smoothly, and we weren't too sick of them after the 3 days they spent at our house (I kid, we love you guys, especially since you read this blog).   Rachel's back in school, and I'm still working.  Haven't really spent any time on side projects lately, although Rachel's photography business seems to be picking up a little steam.  Nothing too huge yet, but she does have a wedding scheduled in March.  And she's going to sell some prints at an art studio in Salt Lake.   I'm glad she's finally getting some recognition, 'cause she is pretty darned talented.  She's still enjoying being in Nursery at church, which means she'll probably be in it forever since most people hate it.

We were hoping to go visit Oklahoma sometime this year, but with the surgery, it'll probably not happen.  Maybe next year.  I'd love to have Rachel see all the places I grew up loving.  Then I'll probably have to go to Virginia sometime, too, I suppose.  Or New Mexico where she can show me the high school where kids drove brand new BMWs.  Seriously, what were their parents thinking?

And on that note, I'm off.

Our neighbors think we're insane

Submitted 11/28/2006 1:21 PM

Rachel put up the tree the day before Halloween, so we get teased incessantly by our neighbors about it.  I did make her wait until after Halloween to put on the lights, though.  I had to draw the line somewhere :D

Anyhoo, things are kosher.  Thanksgiving was great.  We're almost ready for Christmas, although I still have to get a few things and mail off some stuff.  It looks like Rachel might need another root canal.  Kind of crappy, that.  Her semester is drawing to a close, so she has a bunch of projects due in the next two weeks.  So, I'll probably catch up on programming projects again. Won't that be nice.


I'm all moved on to the new server, but a few of the sites that host with us have some loose ends to tie up before I can cancel the old one.  That'll be nice not getting that bill every month, although it'll be a year before the initial cost of building the new server is recouped.  After that, it's all gravy.

R.I.P. Illidan (2006-2006)

Submitted 10/21/2006 11:49 AM

We found this poor little kitten with two broken legs and a broken pelvis in our backyard.  We did all we could for the little guy, and he seemed to be recovering fairly well.  Unfortunately, he sustained what the doctor believes to be nerve damage, so he could not urinate, and his bladder kept getting bigger and bigger.  Finally, we made the hard decision to have him put down.  We're both pretty sad about it and wish we could have done more for him, but alas, it was not meant to be.


Have fun in kitty heaven little guy; we know you're better off there. 

so, it seems that once a month is a pretty regular schedule for posting nowadays

Submitted 10/13/2006 4:29 PM

But since they're less frequent, they have sooo much more content.... ahem.

Everything's going well.  Laters... j/k.

I have to wax nerdy for a minute.  Some things I've discovered recently:

  1. Making a generic database interface that can handle normal things automatically and difficult things fairly well is not easy to do.  Especially if you want to avoid overburdening the database.
  2. Configuring email server software is not fun.  Especially when you want to make it so you can integrate it easily with your other programming.
  3. Getting a vastly rewritten/reorganized codebase to at least compile makes you feel very warm and fuzzy, until you realized how much more you have left to do before it really does anything useful.
  4. Debugging billing code written by someone else is very boring.
  5. Anekdoten is a great band.  Seriously, Sweden has some great prog bands. (Note: not a recent discovery)
  6. Fixing a kitten's broken legs is very expensive.  And some kittens are very, very cute.
  7. Catching up with old friends is perhaps the most enjoyable thing in life.  You should quit hanging out with your friends for a while just to have the opportunity to catch up later.
  8. OfficeMax vastly overprices their office furniture.  Oh, and 90% of their chairs shouldn't be allowed to be made, due to the complete lack of comfort they provide.
  9. Some programmer types say "premature optimization is the root of all evil", what they should say is "lack of optimization is the root of all-nighters" (Note: not a recent discovery, just recently tired of hearing the expression).
  10. If someone could invent a way to only let facial hair grow when and if you wanted it to, they'd be a very rich person.  A man can dream, right?
I hope you enjoyed those, although I don't expect some of them will make sense to most of my readership (hey you 3 people!!). 

Oh, and #11.  Most people do not take good care of their cars, or if they do, they don't put them up for sale.  Seriously, it took 3 weeks to find a car that we even liked, and we ended up spending way more than we wanted to.  But man if that thing doesn't ride nice.  Rachel's brother tried to convince us on the investment merits of buying a cheaper car, but all of the figures in his example were flawed, and if you start to look at vehicles as an investment, you'll only find disappointment.  Ditto for computers.  You pay for what you get out of them, not for their investment value.  Any other thinking is bunk.

I should be working on the server again this weekend, so hopefully soon we'll be up and running on a new server.   Oh, #12. Rackmount server cases are really really cool looking, but also extremely loud.

And with that thought, I'm off.

I'm rewriting my site framework

Submitted 9/8/2006 4:13 PM

So, the framework I built as the underlying technology behind all my side projects has been good to me.  But, I've always been a bit unhappy with some of my early decisions, and I've wanted to make it a bit more introspective.  So, I'm rewriting it.  It isn't a total  rewrite, as I'm re-using a good deal of code.  It's more of a refactoring I guess.  Still, it'll be quite a bit different, from a coding standpoint.  So, basically, in english that means that I'm making my program smarter, so that when I want to add new features, there will be less work involved.  It also means (hopefully) that all my sites will run a touch faster (though I doubt there will be any large improvements in performance, which is already pretty good).  It also means that when things break, I'll be able to figure them out faster.  And I'm adding stuff to analyze how fast parts of the code are, so if there's some thing or other that is waay slower than it should be, I can know about it and hopefully make it better.  Anyhoo, it's been a fun project; I'm finally incorporating more of what I've learned in the last year into my codebase.  Who knows when I'll finish, but I've made significant progress already.

In other related news, Garth and I are planning on building our own server and hosting it at work.  That will be good since the cost of colocating our current server has always been more than I've liked.  Yay for more financial freedom.  That's gonna happen sooner than later, most likely in the next month or two.   We're going to implement a new email system that we've been wanting to do for years, so then I can offer better email options for all my sites.  And it'll be easier to admin, too.  Wooohoo.

Rachel's schoolwork is starting to pile up, which is good and bad.  Good 'cause she's not so bored, and bad 'cause she's not so available.  But, she's got enough free time still, so it's not too bad.  And, hey, I have more time to program, so that's not so bad, either, I guess.

My job's going well; I think I'll stick around for a while.  Done enough job hopping, methinks, or maybe it's that I'm finally where I think I should be.

That's it for now.  Later days Willie Mayes.

where did I go? I don't know

Submitted 8/11/2006 3:18 PM

Wow, it's been a month. I guess there just hasn't been much to talk about. Everything's going well. Rachel finished up the semester; I've been working. Next week she's off to her parents to video her grandparents for a thing she's making about them. So, I'll be all lonely :( Good thing I've recently become addicted to Battlefield 2 (a video game), so I'll have something to keep me occupied. I'm a bit stumped as to what else to talk about; maybe I'm just tired.