Friday, December 29, 2006

My Reading List for 2007 and beyond

02/12/2007 -- I've decided to continue updating this post with new books as I discover them instead of having multiple lists.

One thing I want to continue this next year is lots of reading. I've rediscovered it and I'm learning so much. Hopefully I can someday apply some of the stuff I'm learning to my career. I can't see how yet, but hopefully I'm learning and retaining information. Thanks to Jeff Jones and Mark Howell who loaned me books while I was at Lake that restoked my passion for reading.

A great quote from Dan and Chip Heath in Inc. magazine, talking about their new book "Made to Stick:"
The great cruelty is that the smarter you get about something, the harder it is to share what you know. This is the problem we all have with doctors, lawyers, and accountants. We all know that they know what they're talking about. But we've all had that experience of sitting in a lawyer's office and not understanding what they're saying because they're forgetting that you don't know what they know. It's the same with a 10-year-old trying to show you how to play a video game. The child can't fathom the scope of your ignorance.

This is my planned reading list. Every day I find a new book to add to this list. Unless they're a series, I'm reading them in the order that they become available from the library. I've cut back and am not buying books myself at the moment, though if I get through all the ones available from the library I guess I'll be forced to head to Barnes and Noble. My list comes from other books I read, things people recommend and from recommendations or mentions in Inc., Fast Company, Entertainment Weekly or Reader's Digest.

— A —

— B —

— C —

  • Citizen Marketers: When People Are The Message

— D —

  • Democratizing Innovation (Eric Von Hippel)

  • Completed: Disney War (Stewart)

— E —

— F —

  • Fast Company's Greatest Hits (Vamos, Lidsky)

  • Faith Begins at Home [added 09/09/07]
  • First, Break All the Rules (Marcus Buckingham, Donald O. Clifton)

  • The Future of Competition (C.K. Prahalad, Venkat Ramaswamy)

— G —

— H —

  • Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense

  • Completed: Harry Potter and the Deathly Boredoms (Rowling)

  • How to be a Star at Work (Robert E. Kelley)

  • HR from the Heart (Libby Sartain, Martha I. Finney)

— I —

  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Robert Cialdini)

  • The Innocent Man (John Grisham)

  • The Innovator's Dilemna (Clayton M. Christensen)

  • The Innovator's Solution (Clayton M. Christensen, Michael E. Raynor)

— J —

  • The Joy of Fundraising (Terry Axelrod)

— K —

  • Karaoke Capitalism - Daring to be Different in a Copycat World (Jonas Ridderstale, Kjell A. Nordstrom)

— L —

  • The Leader Of The Future 2: Visions, Strategies, And Practices For The New Era (Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, Richard Beckhard)

  • Leading the Revolution (Gary Hamel)

  • Life 2.0 (Rich Karlgaard)

  • The Lexus And The Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (Thomas L. Friedman)

  • Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands (Kevin Roberts)

  • The Lovemarks Effect: Winning In The Consumer Revolution (Kevin Roberts)

— M —

— N —

  • Narratives From The Crib (Katherine Nelson, Emily Oster)

  • Completed: The Negotiator (Henderson)
  • The New Capitalists (Davis/Lukomnik/Pitt-Watson)

  • The New Pioneers (Thomas Petzinger, jr.)

  • Completed: The Night Awakens
  • The Night Gardener (George Pelecanos)

— O —

  • Open Innovation (Henry Chesbrough)

  • Currently Reading: The On-Time, On-Target Manager (Blanchard/Gottry)

— P —

  • The Paradox of Choice (Barry Schwartz)

  • The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture and Coolness (Steven Levy)

  • Pour Your Heart Into It (Howard Schultz)

  • Completed: Praise Habit: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi (Crowder)

  • Purple Cow (Seth Godin)

  • Purpose: The Starting Point Of Great Companies

— Q —
— R —

  • The Road (Cormac McCarthy)

— S —

  • Sacred Marriage [added 09/09/07]
  • Completed, with review: Sahara (Clive Cussler)

  • The Secret River (Kate Grenville)

  • See Brand From The Inside (Libby Sartain, Mark Schumann)

  • Selling the Dream, (Guy Kawasaki)

  • Shackleton's Way (Margot Morrell, Stephanie Capparell)

  • Small Giants: Companies That Chose To Be Great Instead of Big (Bo Burlingham)

  • The Strategy Paradox (Michael Raynor) [added 04/02/07]

  • The Success of Open Source (Steven Weber)

— T —

  • Team of Rivals (Doris Kearns Goodwin)

  • The Ten Faces Of Innovation: Ideo's Strategies For Defeating The Devil's Advocate And Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization
  • .
  • Ten Rules For Strategic Innovators: From Idea To Execution (Vijay Govindarajan)

  • Theodore Rex (Edmund Morris)

  • Treasure Principle (Alcorn) [added 09/09/07]
  • Turning The Future Into Revenue: What Business And Individuals Need To Know To Shape Their Futures.

— U —
— V —

  • Visionarian(?) (Andrew Stanley) [added 09/09/07]

— W —

— X —
— Y —

— Z —

  • Completed: Zig Zag [not recommended!]

Link Friday

But first, a rant. Stupid Taco Bell and Del Taco for not taking regular credit cards. I hate those places that only accept ATM cards.

Waterworld worth visiting? - A design for a hotel built into the side of a quarry. Very neat looking.

That would be a long extension cord... a guy at MIT has designed floating wind turbines to be tethered out in deeper water where they wouldn't be an eyesore to beachfront property.

Funky Stroller - like the iBot does for handcapped, this stroller's innovative design raises the baby up so that it's not lost among people's legs in crowds.

Modern and Future Lighting - how lighting is and will be changing in the years to come.

What's New in Iran? The Tehran International Trade and Convention Center Conference Schedule for 2007

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Is it Time to Go Yet?

7:51 am - Listened to a little bit of the Ricky Gervaise Christmas Podcast on the drive in. Carl Pilkington is hillarious. It's hard to know, though, if he actually means to be. His brain works so differently that it would be easy to just call him stupid but I don't think that would be a fair assessment. Anyhow, either you've heard the podcast and know for yourself what I mean or I recommend you go out and download it free from iTunes. I think if they did more, I would be willing to pay for them if they were reasonably priced. But I haven't listened to too much of this one and they were saying they were bored of the whole thing.

My alarm went off at 5:50 and I snoozed it until 6:30. I paid some bills and had breakfast and got out the door later than I had intended. A new goal is to start going to bed earlier and start getting up earlier again. When I got to work I felt like I could do a lap or two, but then I looked at the thermometer in the car and it said 28 so I said nevermind.

I'm feeling tired this morning but hopefully I can quickly snap out of that. When I was making my cofee I tore open the Equal packet and some of the Equal-dust went straight into my mouth. That was a nice jolt.

9:01 am - Just finished devotions. Definitely tired today, yep, tired.

2:23 pm - It's been a slow day. There's no work for us, so we're doing data cleanup. It's something we need to do, but it's something we shouldn't have to do. We do it because they employee people at minimum wage to put the data into the system in the first place. People who don't know what an e-mail address looks like, what it should have (like a @ and .) and shouldn't have (spaces, commas, etc.). And they also scan some of it. So when we're collecting addresses that were rejected by the system, we have to look to see if it's a scanning problem ( instead of or a human error (like Of course, those are the easy ones.

But while I talk about scanners or people who haven't been trained, the biggest culprit? Oracle. We have this big huge fancy Oracle system that keeps track of millions of dollars and thousands of donors, but it lacks (a) the ability to check an e-mail address -- when enterred -- for missing information or invalid characters and (b) the ability to quickly update records. Right now, for each bad address we find, we have to search for that address and then go into the record, go to the tab, create a new entry for the corrected address and then inactivate the bad address and then blah blah blah blah. I can do several a minute, but it's still far more effort than should be made, considering how much I'm paid.

2:40 pm - Lori and Rachel came to visit me today at lunch. They usually bring me lunch once a week. It's a nice break, to get to see them in the middle of the day. We had soup and crackers. Then we walked around the ponds as we usually do. It was so cold. Probably less than 40. Two of the three ponds were frozen, the third was in the sun. The first one was filled with cattails but the second one was pretty much just a solid uninterrupted sheet of ice. I threw large rocks on it and marvelled as they would make a splash as they broke the ice, but then skip across the surface of the ice. I walked around a second time and brough the camera to take some photos of the ice.

4:33 pm - Is it time to go yet? It's gotten dark outside. I'm looking forward to when it gets lighter earlier in the afternoons. We'll be able to walk again after work. That'll be nice. I ought to start taking the dog for walks when it's not too cold and not raining. It'd be good exercise for both of us and we both need it. I just completed a task worse than data entry. Fortunately, it got paired back, but I'm betting it's not entirely over with. I guess that's what happens when you don't have anything monumental to do... last minute requests actually get done. Oh well. I guess that's a good thing? Someone's lack of preparation didn't cause them difficulties and if this is God's work, I guess it's all for the good that I was able to do it quickly. That old saying "A lack of preparation on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on my part." or however it goes really doesn't apply here.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Where Did 2006 Go?

Looking back at the year, the theme for me was a lack of time.

It's a rather odd theme, considering that I had a shorter commute and Lori took on a larger share of the household chores since she's now working outside of the home now. Sure, for April through September I was working a little late each night to make up time so that I could attend chapel (temps don't get paid for chapel). But where has all my time gone? I'm not quite sure... I've been reading a lot more but I suspect I've also watched more TV this year, which is kind of sad, considering I've watched far less HGTV and DIY.

Once again, a lot of electronic "ink" was spilled over the weather. I kind of find that amusing. I wonder if that has to do with my complete lack of interest in sports. I didn't talk much about my diet because it had its own website which I folded when I abandoned the project. I wish I hadn't killed it off, I'd like to go back and look at it now. The good news is that my goal was 30 and I got 27. I've gained 7 back since then, but that's still impressive. On March 1 I'll start the diet again and this time the goal is 20. I'm hoping that some others will join me and I can see how well my experimental diet works for others.

January 27 - Snow Day
But today's a day I would have really liked a snow day. Our financing plans have fallen through on the new home purchase, our home still has not had any offers, Rachel is recovering from a nasty fall (eye was still swollen shut today), I didn't get enough sleep last night (stayed up with Rachel for awhile) and this morning I had to bring the websites back to life after an upgrade last night that we knew would hose them all.
February 7 - 36 Hours
We figured it out... in the past 36 hours, we have sold a house in California, purchased a home in Washington, and I was offered a job. It's a contract job, but a job nonetheless.
March, part 1 (Los Angeles)
So here I sit, on my last day of work, in a very quiet office, with my Starbucks, my doughnut and some Seattle music while it pours outside. Yesterday I paid off all the credit cards and today I'll pay off Lori's car. Later today they're having what sounds like is a big production for my surprise going away party.
March, part 2 (Seattle)
My diet today wasn't that great. In order to try to change my eating habits, I've done some rather odd things that may or may not actually by themselves do anything good for me, but rather represent a change in thinking.

Current events and introspective... coming soon. One of my goals for the new start is to read more. Each week I am going to consult the New York Times Bestseller List for Non-Fiction and if it's a new one, then I'm going to purchase and read it. For my birthday Lori got me a really interesting book called "Blink" which I notice this week is #5.
April - I can't wait for Christmas
The affair is over. To anyone I ever told "I'm a native Southern Californian accidentally born in Seattle," I apologize. It was a lie. It's like that period of time when I thought Lowes was better than Home Depot. I fell in love with a place I could not afford to enjoy. Only now that I don't live there will I be able to enjoy it again. Trips to Disneyland will be more magical, traffic will the minor inconvenience while getting between destinations, not the norm of life. The heat, the smog, the pouring rain, it'll all be something I won't be able to see again through the palm trees. We'll say "I miss the area." and then we'll fly home and say "Nah, I don't miss it." Maybe someday, San Diego. But I can't imagine ever calling Los Angeles home again. It has a beauty, a hope, a promise, but it's better seen on the silver screen than lived by the general masses who inhabit it.

This is home.
May - A Day at Target
So that's going to be something that's gonna bug me. Here, another opportunity to catch up with an old friend, blown because I'm still just as socially inept as I ever was.
June - The Phone Call
Finally a moment of creativity. Click to read.
July - Blech
I have a bad taste in my mouth. It was a bit of pastry. Tasted good at the time. But now it's unpleasant. I think it was too much sweetness and I've been trying to decrease my intake of sweets as I try to lose weight. But it just feels heavy and I feel bummed that I gave in. Losing weight is tough and not at all fun.
August - Mine to Lose
About two weeks ago my boss came to me and took me into a private conference room where he told me that my permanent position had not yet been approved and there was an unforeseen delay. However, instead of just waiting, he recommended I apply for a new position that had just been created. It would have been more responsibility, more pay, and a great stepping stone to more and more.

And I blew it.
September - The End of Passion
Well I was washing my car today and noticed some rather unpleasant scratches on the back door, down towards the bottom. All the way to the metal. I can't imagine what from, maybe a tricycle, maybe some strong bushes, maybe a curb? I'm not quite sure.

But I look at the scratches and all I can say is "Wow! Look at these scratches." Lori comes over and is at least a little better in saying "That sucks."

But is this what it's come to? Sure, it's an object. Most of the world doesn't have a car and we have two, so should I be lamenting minor damage? Or is that all the more reason? I'm fortunate enough to have a car and so shouldn't I be upset when it gets damaged? I think most people would side with Lori and suggest not seething is actually the correct response.

But I find that hard to accept. This is my car. The biggest, most expensive object I've ever owned. (The bank or my dad owns the house, I'm not sure.) So I should take care of it and be upset when it's been damaged. Where is the passion? Where is the emotion? Should I not be upset, and shouldn't it just be expected?
October - Busy Day
I sometimes wonder what people would think if they could peek into my brain. I often feel like the best description might be an butterfly on speed with ADD. Flitting from idea to idea without even stopping to complete one before moving to the next. I think it's why it's hard sometimes to talk because I get too excited and get so far ahead of myself that I have to stop and figure out what I just said and remember what I had been thinking at the time I started speaking. I wonder if I would be a high-functioning mental case or something. But that's ok, I find it kind of amusing. I just wish I could do something with all the ideas in my head.
November - First Day of Christmas
Well, the tree is up and it's got lights on it. And maybe one ornament, I'm not sure. And there's one small tree outside with lights on it. But after a drive through the neighborhood, I know I need to do more, but there are also a lot of slackers in the neighborhood.
December - Unwritten
Wow, it's getting really bad this year. It's already December 8 and we've collectively completed 3 Christmas cards, I think. I would like to come into the season once where I'm not wishing it were over and done with long before Christmas ever arrived.

Last December I said...
So what's next? I'm going to try to get back to the diet, back to the creativity, and maybe some more regular introspective and real posts, not just commentary on the news.
I think I was mildly successful.

So how will I re-orient for 2007?

I aim to post in my blog more frequently. Overall my posting is down for the second year in a row, but we'll make the quality versus quantity arguments later. Honestly, posting isn't that difficult but I guess it doesn't always occur to me. I certainly want to post more on Rachel's blog, there have been some great recent developments.

I want to take more artistic photos. Lori and I put up a frame in our entry way that holds five photos. At the end of the month I pick out the best non-people photos and then we choose one to go into the frame, bumping the oldest one. So every month there's something new and interesting. But I want to up the ante. Less photos at the zoo and more photos out in the world. Since we replaced the broken digital camera, I have the broken one with me often so I can to snap more "life." We'll just see if I can do that without the LCD screen.

I plan to do a lot of reading. My original goal for this year was to let everyone else do the picking for me. Try to see movies with the highest box office, buy music on iTunes that was highly purchased, read books at the top of the New York Times Bestseller list. That didn't work as well as I had intended, but thanks to Jeff and Mark and Lori's recommendations I've found myself heading down a really interesting track with my reading (planned reading list in a separate post). I hope that I'll someday be able to apply my learning to my career.

I intend to be more social. I won't say much on that subject, except to say I've improved but I have a ways to go. It's becoming easier and coming more to the forefront.

The diet will return. After last year's success, I'm excited to go for round 2.

I will figure out how to be less busy. Not sure what that even means, but I intend to "re-orient" and figure out how to be less tired and feel less busy. Especially next Christmas. I essentially "missed" Christmas this year and I'm noticing how many posts I selected to recap talked about Christmas in some fashion or another. I'm a little bummed by that and hope to do better next year.

I will be a bigger help around the house. I think I've kind of slacked a little bit and I didn't mean to. I think I can do more. Sometimes it's all we can do do get the basic chores done, let alone attack the clutter. If I can de-clutter, I think that will help me re-orient.

And the little things... make it to The City monthly, try a new restaurant each month, eat at the same restaurants less often, send Lori flowers more often, don't waste time with chores or computer stuff when watching Rachel, find a new home for the dog, get the finances under control, talk to Lori's dad at least once a month, her mom at least twice a month, my parents and brother at least twice a month.

And I will revisit this list regularly to make sure that needed course corrections are smaller.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Random Thoughts

I woke up late this morning when Lori's alarm went off. I had to rush but still made it to work on time. It should be an easy day, last day before break and we're almost all done with everything that has to be done for next Wednesday.

When my alarm went off I was dreaming that I was trying to explain to someone the benefits of cross-disciplinary working-groups. My explanation was going poorly but they were still getting. My stuttering (if you can call that) has been getting bad at work lately. I don't go st-st-st-stut-t-t-t-er, but I struggle to find the right word and sit there unable to complete a sentence. I suspect that's partially a sign that I need more sleep but I still also maintain that my brain just works faster than my body can handle.

I realized this morning that most of the people I know work in the caring or leading professions: Healthcare and Teaching. I think they (you) are the ones most likely to be able to keep the idea of "changing the world" alive. But I suppose it's still hard, especially as teachers. Because we're the enemy, the adults, the ones who have messed it up. So it's a really particular skill to be able to help the students to learn on their own that they do have the power and the ability to be a force for change.

And if the CEO of your organization suggests you sit down with them and some other lower-level colleagues for a game of Risk, I don't think you should mercilessly trounce him. Especially if he's the former CEO of Parker Bros. Just a thought.

Anyway... something I was waiting for has finished, so back to work for me.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Stop Waiting

I like the sound of this song. I even like what it stands for. But at the same time, it makes me almost giggle when I think about people believing in it. Sorry if that paints me a cynic mere days before we celebrate the birth of our Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

But the song's a little sad, isn't it? We all want to believe these lyrics and can even throw ourselves backwards to high school when we might have believed something like this. What happened? We're on our way to becoming the very people our children will one day be waiting for the right to wrest power from. Perhaps the real lesson in all this is that we can't keep on waiting. Because the world won't change, unless we change it. It won't be some grand gesture, it won't be because it's our "turn." It'll be in the small ways we live our everyday lives, to paraphrase the boy scouts, leaving the world a better place than we found it.

If I can take any solace, it's that I've been blessed enough to be allowed to participate in an organization seeking to make the world a better place for children. One thing that's really popular each year is the World Vision Gift Catalog. You can make contributions for specific items -- like seeds or a goat or a share of a deep well. You can "gift" your contribution to someone else with a nice online e-card, too.

Waiting On The World To Change - John Mayer

Me and all my friends
We're all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing and
There's no way we ever could
Now we see everything is going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don't have the means
To rise above and beat it

So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
It’s hard to beat the system
When we're standing at a distance
So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change

Now if we had the power
To bring our neighbors home from war
They would have never missed a Christmas
No more ribbons on their door
When you trust your television
What you get is what you got
‘Cuz’ when they own the information ooohhh,
They can bend it all they want

So while we're waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
It's not that we don't care
We just know that the fight ain't fair
So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change

(Guitar solo)

We're still waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
One day our generation
Is gonna rule the population

So we keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
Know we keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
Waiting on the world to change
Waiting on the world to change
Waiting on the world to change

The Cake is Back

Ok, March 1? Cake2. If you're interested in attempting to lose some weight next year on my weird made-up diet, shoot me an e-mail or leave me a comment. I think it'd be cool to have multiple people all doing it at the same time this year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Is This Thing On? pt. 2

The next morning I rose and went downstairs and manually raised the garage door and got my car out and then manually lowered the locked the garage door. I drove to a corner only a few blocks (within reasonable walking distance, a way I would have gone if I had gone out anywhere the day before by myself) to a gas station just inside the Tacoma city limits. One side of the road, Pierce County, Tacoma, Gas Station, power, long lines of cars. The other side of the road, King County, Federal Way, Walgreens, Starbucks, empty parking lot, no power. (You should have seen it during the snow storm. Only one side of the street was plowed. Talk about petty.)

Anyhow, I got home as quickly as possible, manually raised the other garage door, got the SUV out, closed the garage door and went back and got in line. Because of how the station and its entrances were arranged, there was two lines and one was much shorter and there wasn't anything anyone could do about it, so I got in the shorter line, bought a tank full of premium (that's all that was left) and went home and went through the process of putting both of the cars back in the garage and closing the doors. Then we loaded the cars, secured the cats in the laundry room, loaded the dog in the back and headed for my parents' house.

Best drive to their house yet. No problems at all.

We spent the next two nights there. I was thankful for the diversion. Barkley loved having over four acres to roam and took it upon herself to explore much further. The parents loved the time with Rachel and with us and we appreciated having someone else to distract Rachel. The poor little one did not do so well. Didn't get her regular naps, spent a lot of time in the car, a lot of time being cold and a lot of time being carried around. A lot of time being around stressed out parents who asked her to be quiet.

On Sunday night we were to drive back but I started feeling ill. I was unable to stand for long periods of time and ended up e-mailing in sick.

On Monday afternoon we packed up and headed home. We had an invitation to stay at a friend's home in Federal Way but we were hoping that we could stay with my brother's fiance in Tacoma or my brother in Bonney Lake because it feels a little better to accept charity from family.

We arrived home at 2 pm. By this time, only God knows how many times we've called PSE. I'm sure PSE logged each and every call we made, but it didn't log all the times we called and their system hung up on us without even going through. The best? "Press 1 to report a gas leak. *1* Sorry, we cannot take your call at this time. Goodbye. *CLICK*" (Why did I press "1"? Because every other time we had called up until that point (and a few hours after that point), pressing 1 was the option for Gas and Electricity.)

The power was still out. We were happy to find out that while it was 38.6 degrees in our bedroom, it had never dipped below 45 degrees in the downstairs where the cats were. We were imagining cat-sicles or living the rest of their lives with cats missing toes and tails and ears from frostbite, but they seemed perfectly normal, if not a little more aloof than usual. Usually when we come back they either punish us by avoiding us or they're incredibly clingy and won't leave us alone. They acted more like we had just been down a few minutes prior to run laundry. Perhaps they had been hibernating.

We noticed the dog was bleeding from one of her paws. We couldn't find much of anything sharp in the yard she could have cut it on, except ice so were puzzled. We'd later learn my parents had found blood on the floor in their house, so whatever the dog had done she had done in Silverdale but then not bled at all in the truck on the way home. (Later examination of the paw turned up no blood and she wasn't treating it weird at all so we're watching her but not concerned.)

We went to Panda Express and then Petsmart and then Petco) looking for something warm for them to stay bundled up in (not at Panda, though). I now officially prefer Petco over Petsmart. I wasn't sure I could even tell them apart but Petco was much more open and less claustrophobic-feeling. Then we went back home and re-packed for another night away. And then we got in the car and drove to Home Depot.

As soon as we got to Home Depot, I again called PSE. For the first time ever, the person was able to give me an estimate... Wednesday, maybe, hopefully. She, of course, told me more different information than anyone else, but at this point, I was expecting a completely different story, so she did not disappoint.

As soon as we got off the phone with her, my phone rang again. Brinks Home Security was calling. Apparently our alarm system had complained to them of a low battery. Suddenly I was very excited. We have VoIP from Comcast at home, the only way they could have heard from the security system would be if the power was up and the cable was up. They told us how to intiate a battery re-charge on the system and we hurried home.

We didn't get to be excited until we were really close because all the houses near us had already had power. The houses that share our property line to the back are apparently on a different grid or switch or circuit or network or something. But as we came up the ridge, we could see street lights, and then our neighbor's kitchen light, and then we turned the corner and saw our meager Christmas display in full effect in the front yard and it was a joyous moment. We had power.

Not only had the lights come up, but the security system had reverted back to its armed stage and the thermostat had turned the heater on. It took about 5 hours to raise the temperature 27 degrees in our bedroom. I don't know if that's good or bad but it was exactly the right amount of time for us.

The irony is that at the time we were talking to PSE, the power was actually on. And yet she didn't have the ability on her computer to see anything indicating that. It took someone in Texas calling us to let us know. (I have been nothing but completely satisifed with Brinks Home Security. Of all the services we've ever dealt with... Southern California Edison, DirecTV, DISH Network, Comcast, Los Angeles Water and Power, Puget Sound Energy, City of Tacoma, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, Sprint PCS, Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Washington Mutual, USAA, Navy Federal Credit Union, Union Bank of California, and on and on and on, only Brinks Home Security has -- after 3 years of having me as a customer -- not yet ticked me off even once.)

All told we were 89 hours without power. And I know there are still people without power, people who made it to work yesterday, made it to work today and who have suffered more. Maybe I'm a wus, maybe it's harder with so many animals and a two-year-old. Maybe I'm a wus, yeah, that bears repeating. But I'm glad the mini-ordeal is over. And that's all I get to call it because I was never forced to live in a FEMA trailer and I was never forced to live in a tent with blankets to cover me when it was 20 degrees out like the people in Pakistan who at the same time had no food and were grieving the loss of loved ones. And that when the power goes out here we don't have to hope that someone from the same country who bombed away a lot of the infrastructure might get around to get it up and running so we can have an hour or two of power a day.

And I wasn't trapped in a car with my family for seven days, only to give up on being rescued, set out on my own, walk 10 miles in the snow and eventually die of hypothermia two days later about the same time as my family was being rescued.

And we had family to flee to. And I mustn't be bitter that it took so long to get to us because there are still lots of people without.

So in perspective, it was nothing. I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to bear it a little more resolutely but hopefully I can learn from it and re-read only these last few paragraphs when I need to be reminded of how I shouldn't take my cush reality for granted.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Is This Thing On?

Ugh... 89 hours. In some ways, not a long time. But when you're up against a monolith of non-help, it can seem like an eternity. This time, the monolith was Puget Sound Energy, a true Prince of Darkness.

On Thursday night we had a wicked, wicked windstorm. I guess I knew it was coming, but I had no idea. Depending on who you talk to, it was a 10-year storm or a 100-year storm. New wind records were reached at Sea-Tac airport and at least 100 flights were canceled, delayed or diverted. Many poorly constructed (or neglected and in need of replacement) fences blown over. One well constructed fence (by my dad and I, only about five months ago) was all twisted out of shape.

Hopefully it was only a 10-year storm because there were also 10-year storms in 1993 and 1994. (Though one of those might have also been a 100-year storm. Again, depends on who you talk to.)

Anyhow, it was an amazing storm to listen to and we knew, laying there, that it was only a matter of time before we lost power. And then we laid there listening to the thunder, rain, wind, trees falling and watching the flashes of lightning. Work was optional for the next day with our corner of the second floor being one of a few spots in either building that was operational on generator power. I opted to stay home and they kicked everyone out at noon.

We thought we could just head east and find a place beyond the storm's path, a small town where we might get a meal, and as it turned out, get some gas. We instead found a small town with no power and huge lines for the town's single gas station, who had the intelligence to have a generator running and who fortunately still had working phone lines (with which to take credit cards). Unfortunately, we weren't sure we had the gas to wait in the line so we bought a gas can and I stood in line. Well, all three of us did, but the sympathy vote didn't play out and no one offered to let us sit in their car. Turns out the sympathy vote had played out, it just took a nice couple from Ellensburg awhile to move all their luggage so by the time the guy had crawled into the front seat and rolled the window down, I was there alone. But, a really nice gesture.

I got gas, went back and put in the gas and we headed back to the Super(ha)Mall which had power. We had a nice meal, walked around a lot, had Blizzards and walked around a lot more.

We then went home. My parents suggested we come to their house, but it was after dark, we were without power and didn't have enough gas in the car to go looking for a working gas station. That night we all hunkered down in the living room with lots of blankets in front of the fireplace. We burned through all the wood we had and still woke up to 45 degree temperatures. It had been a long, long, long, cold and dark night.

to be continued tomorrow... (There are still people out there without power. If you know anyone who needs a place to stay, please call us.)

Saturday, December 16, 2006


We've relocated to warmth... yes, my parents on their dead-end street off a dead-end street in Silverdale never lost power. After trying it one night and burning through all the firewood and still waking up freezing, we bundled up the baby and the dog and headed out. The cats will have to fend for themselves. Kudos to Brad at PSE for being calm and polite and not trying to rush me off the phone as he looked up information about our outtage. E-mail's the best way to reach either of us at the moment.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


This morning when I got to work, I didn't have much to do. So I decided I was going to get all my stuff off of my hard drive and put it on the network. You know, do the responsible thing. I've never had a computer die on me, I've never lost any files because they were on a computer that died. But it had been piling up, so I decided I ought to get them off of my computer, be a good little computer user.

So I was working on that and then it was time for devotions. After I came back from devotions, my computer was off. Odd, I thought, since it had been on when I left. I tried the power button. Nothing. I got under the desk and unplugged it and plugged it back in. Nothing. So I unplugged it and plugged it in to a different outlet, thinking that was maybe the problem.

My cube-mate (we're running out of space) says "woah. smoke." I looked up to see smoke coming out of the computer. Not little wispy stuff. We're talking full-on, hope the sprinkler system doesn't kick in dirty gray smoke pouring from the vents on the top of the computer. I hastily unplugged it and tried to dissipate the smoke by waving my hand over the opening.

Well, the computer was fried. They couldn't even swap out the hard drive into another machine so I could get my data. It was all gone. Done for. The guy who came and took it from my desk asked me what I had done. I told him the story, then told him about how Dell had been pushing the little tiny computers on my boss at the last place and after a few test machines overheated, he had said no thanks and gone back to the larger sized machines. The guy looked pretty panic-stricken and said that he had just deployed 200 of them across the campus.

I guess my area won't be the last place to smell of acrid smoke for days to come.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bang 2

Today started with a bang. It was rather cool. I woke up a split-second before and then I heard the boom and the sound waves actually shook the bed. I thought leaving L.A. meant being woken up by the bed shaking was a thing of the past. But there was thunder so loud and so close this morning that the bed physically shook. That was wild. Car alarms were going off and I lay there waiting for Rachel to cry, but she never did. The water was being thrown at the windows at such a way that would give some of those L.A. rainstorms a run for their money. Unlike an L.A. rain, though, it was all over and quiet again in under 20 minutes. But, it forced me to get up a little earlier (I knew I wasn't going back to sleep after that) and so a little more leisurely getting ready for work. That's kinda nice after oversleeping yesterday.

People are coming tonight to meet Barkley. Please pray it will go well and that they'll be the ones to adopt her.


On Sunday Lori and I did a lot of chores, getting the house in really good shape. Then on Monday, I took the day off from work in order to give Lori a "day off." Rachel and I packed into the car and headed to Bellevue for the day. It was a dark and stormy day, but we headed for Bellevue Square, an upscale mall with the foresight to have built plenty of covered parking. We started at The Lodge, a parking-garage wrap-around with a bunch more stores, including a Starbucks off of a three-story atrium with a three-story rock-faced fireplace, a two-story Christmas wreath and a smattering of leather couches. Rachel and I took a table at the Starbucks music store and watched people burn CDs and hang out with their laptops while I enjoyed an Eggnog Mocha (not my favorite, I'd order any number of other things before trying that again), us a piece of coffee cake and she peaches and milk.

Then we wandered the mall aimlessly looking for gift ideas for Lori and specific items I had written down as ideas already. I got some great photos from that mall.

Then across a skybridge to another place which really should be better described. Turns out it's a hotel, some more restaurants, a bank and a The Container Store store. There was some Chihuley there, including plants twisting and growing out of a fountain that was fed by four story sheets of glass with water cascading down them. There was a really big piece installed separately where you'd miss it if someone else didn't point it out to you. I got yelled at and told photos weren't allowed and that I should hurry up and snap one more photo and then put the camera away.

Then back to the car for a drive in the dark to the Southcenter Mall. (I love the carpool lane!) The rain had been off and on all day and it was pretty on for that drive. I had the classical music turned up so that Rachel would sleep and we cruised along in the dark with the windshield wipers going steadily.

At the Southcenter Mall we wandered around, had a cookie and the waited for Lori. We had dinner together at the Rainforest Cafe and then headed home. It was a really nice day and I wouldn't mind if I could do that everyday. Maybe I should be some rich person's "away nanny" who takes kids on outings. I wish I were rich so it would be Rachel.

I did not want to work the next day. I was singing "I don't want to work, I want to bang on the drum all day." in my head as I went down to my car. I got in the car, opened the garage, turned on the radio and heard "I don't want to work. I want to bang on the drum all day." Gotta love Jack. They might play what they want, but they often seem to play what I'm thinking.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Wow, it's getting really bad this year. It's already December 8 and we've collectively completed 3 Christmas cards, I think. I would like to come into the season once where I'm not wishing it were over and done with long before Christmas ever arrived. I'll have to think about that for the rest of this season and see what I can possibly do differently next year to avoid that. (1) Do my Christmas cards in early November. (2) Do my Christmas shopping in July. (3) Take more random single days off. I'm sure I can come up with others. Readers, please hit that button below and add your own suggestions.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


It's been 10 years since I really drove in the snow. And even then I really don't remember driving that much. I remember picking Kevin up at Union Station in Tacoma and driving him back to PLU. I remember the brakes seemed a little funny, but we just attributed it to the snow only to later learn that only one of the four were actually working. I remember one time as a kid watching a guy spinning his wheels on a steep hill trying to get into our neighborhood and walking up to his car (in retrospect, not really a smart idea) and knocking on the window. When he rolled it down I told him that his front wheels were spinning really hard when he accelerated and that his chains were on his back tires. He rolled up his window and gave the car more gas. I remember seeing a big four-wheel-drive truck with Hawaii plates on it in the ditch. It was a Navy town, there were a lot of people who didn't know snow. I remember being on a bridge when it started snowing and then standing there for more than an hour for who knows what reason while the traffic didn't move. I remember just hanging out with my dad. I had been driving but when it looked like we'd be moving again and that there was now several inches of snow on the ground that we traded places and he took the wheel. I remember when our bus slid into the side of a Kitsap County Sheriff's car. I remember the white paint on the bus and the yellow and black paint on the side of the patrol car and us all sitting there quietly giggling while the sheriff wrote the driver a ticket. But I don't remember driving very much in the snow. And certainly not in the ice like we've had here.

But, honestly, is it that difficult? Apply pressure (brakes or gas) slowly. Test the surface of the ground. Leave lots of space between you and other cars. Drive closer to the curb in case you lose control. If it's been compacted and then refrozen, avoid the ruts where everyone else is driving in favor of the less traveled -- and therefore more bumpy -- places between the ruts. If you think you won't be able to start again, don't completely stop at stop signs.

There are so many idiots here who haven't figured it out. Cars abandoned everywhere and people sitting there spinning their tires while I drive slowly around them. Granted, traction control and abs brakes help, but even without them, it's not impassable.

The most fun came last night when I was trying to back into our driveway with Lori's truck. I was sideways on our incredibly steep street. I tried to go into reverse but the car started sliding down the hill sideways. I put it back into drive, drove down, quickly turned and raced back up the hill. No backing into the driveway for the moment. I wanted to drop off Lori and Rachel and go play but she didn't want me playing like that with her car.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Stir Crazy

With the bad weather, Lori really hasn't been outside for more than a few minutes at a time in the past few days. So despite all the ice, we're all going to IHOP for dinner.

Blog-in-Review: Have you been interesting?

This is one of those "pssst! pass it on." things.

You have just a few days to post something interesting in November and then three weeks to post something in December. If you didn't post anything interesting in past months, well, that's just too bad.

Then it's time to post your Blog-in-Review... any time after Christmas.

Here's two examples from last year...



And once you've made your Blog-in-Review, please send me a link and I'll link to anyone who sends me theirs, whether or not I know you.

Friday, November 24, 2006

First Day of Christmas

Well, the tree is up and it's got lights on it. And maybe one ornament, I'm not sure. And there's one small tree outside with lights on it. But after a drive through the neighborhood, I know I need to do more, but there are also a lot of slackers in the neighborhood.

Last March soon after moving in we did find a house with a front yard full of decorations. We couldn't find them in September when we were out with the camera looking for ugly houses. Hopefully, though, the decorations will be back and we can show you someone who's gone overboard but who didn't have any taste or design behind it, but just simply bought one of everything and plugged it all in.

It is really nice having such a long, long weekend. This is the first job since college where I'm not able to check my e-mail from off-campus and boy that is nice. Other than Home Depot and Lowes, we stayed away from places where people could be found. We did see the lines of cars and were happy to be nowhere near them.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Brilliance of Thanks

Telling someone "thanks" is nice. When you're thanking them for being a customer/donor and you do it on Thanksgiving, that's downright slick.

In addition to the annual card from Liberty Mutual, we also received a card this year from the National Braille Press and a call from Ben Kelly in California who helped us sell our house last March. I also recommended sending personalized cards to a non-profit I consult a little bit with.

Thanksgiving cards are so much smarter than Christmas cards. It's non-offensive and there's no religious entanglements to deal with. And who doesn't like being thanked?

Happy Turkey, everyone. And thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Keychain Phone

MSNBC.COM -- This is kinda cool, a USB key with the Vonage software already installed on it and a jack for a headset. So you can plug it into nearly and PC and check your voicemail, make calls, etc. More...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Powerful Stuff

This is really well done. It's a 15-minute audio/slideshow-type presentation that tells you about the life of a woman who contracted AIDS after being raped. I would recommend watching. Some really interesting facts and some encouraging news in there as well, especially when they talk about Uganda.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mash-ups galore

This is an interesting site, serving as a clearing house for all kinds of mash-ups. (Mash-up - taking information from two sites and mashing it together to make information more useful. For example, Zillow is a mashup combining Google Maps, Windows Live Local's 3D views and public home sales records.)

Friday, November 10, 2006

funny retro map

Is it the matrix or bad ascii art? Well, mostly just bad ascii art. But
still entertaining for a minute or two:

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Trapped in the Past

I don't know if it's the rain, or being so close to PLU or what, but I'm feeling nostalgic and sad today for the life now gone that was mine so many years ago.

Music has been a huge, defining part of my life ever since six grade when I someone gave me a little Time-Life FM radio and I stopped listening to my parent's radio station (mostly just KOMO) and started finding music of my own, most notably KPLZ (now STAR 101.5, still with Kent and Allen, but also now with Kurt and Karina - ok-ish - and a syndicated John Tesch show - blech) and KHIT 107 (later K.H.I.T. 106.9 and now has even abandoned the western US's greatest call-letters to be WARM 106.9 - blech blech blech) and then later 107.7 The End (now an awful Adam Corrola show - much funnier in small doses on KROQ in L.A. and music that I can no longer relate to)
and Young Country (now also gone).

Kevin will be quick to note how much KVI I listened to in college but there was plenty of music radio as well. I used to talk about how my Audi held 18 FM presets and in Seattle that still wasn't enough but in L.A., there wasn't enough good stuff to fill 12, let alone 18. Sadly, Seattle radio is pretty lame these days as well. I do have 12 decent presets, but way too many commercials. And when I'm not in my car, I don't listen to the radio. At home we've got MusicChoice on Comcast, when walking I've got my iPod and at work I've got LaunchCast. So even discovering new music is difficult.

LaunchCast will introduce me to new music, but it also plays a lot of older music from back in the day. I enjoy the music, but it always brings up emotions. And today, perhaps mixed with the rain, I'm feeling a little "homesick" for a place in time that has passed on and no longer exists. There will be no more days in Impact working on advertising with the radio up and the lights down. LaunchCast played a Toad the Wet Sprocket song followed by an Outfield song and it simultaneously made me happy and sad. But I guess a problem now is that there isn't enough new music that's
relevant to me to be the soundtrack of my life now. I'm not sure why that is. But I guess it's just part of growing up. It's why kids always accuse their parents of not being relevant or hip, not being with the times and listening to oldies. How sad.

And now an old Bad English song has started and I'm racing along my favorite backroads towards Silverdale by way of the lake and past Doug Hahn's house and up Ridgetop. It was the long way, but it was a road that you could drive fast, but required skill and some loud music. Could we warn kids to enjoy their lives as it's lived, or would that just depress them to know it will slip away at some point? To be sure, to be replaced with new experiences and grand adventures, but history will always seem sweeter in the rearview mirror.

Fwd: Wow

From: Lori <>
Date: Nov 9, 2006 2:11 PM
Subject: Wow

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's the Something, Stupid

I keep vacillating between the fact that Democrats retaking power means
(a) doom and gloom
(b) absolutely nothing

Aside from the idiots who voted for Cantwell, I'm not sure I care too much. I long for the days of youth when life was simpler. Seriously, ignorance is bliss.

Bloomberg suggested that this would mean a rise in minimum wage (which doesn't seem like it could really be a bad thing) a cut in defense spending and possibly a cap to drug prices (probably a good thing?) and most assuredly an increase in taxes and probably additional investment in corn-based ethanol.

They pointed to the down opens of the four largest restaurant chains (McDonalds, Yum!, D-something and Starbucks) and largest retailers (Wal*Mart, Target, K-Sears, Home Depot and Federated) as proof of investor's displeasure with a rise in minimum wage, Boeing, Lockheed and others for military spending and Pfizer and others for drug caps. On the flip, they showed up opens for HMOs and Medical Prescription Drug plan offerers. And they showed an up on the corn-based ethanol providers and down on oil companies (suggesting oil exploration and research subsidies would be re-allocated towards more research into ethanol). CNBC chimed in to say that we'll soon be seeing excess production of ethanol to far exceed demand. And Newsweek and others have said that we'll ironically see a corn-as-food-shortage.

If Bush were smart (I'll give you a minute to stop laughing while I try to keep from bursting out laughing), he'd just start conceeding their demands, left and left. There's campaign ads for 2008 should be starting in about three days and that's not much time to try to swing people's sentiment back.

Zakaria had a great article on MSNBNewsweek recently that I don't have time to go look up at the moment. He suggested that today is the day to start tackling an issue on which George Bush, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Rudy Gulliani and at least one other large name I can't remember are all in solidarity on -- their solution to immigration, including a guest worker visa program, a clear path to legal immigration for current illegal immigants and other things that go along with that. He pointed to Clinton's (Bill, that is) working with the Republicans to get NAFTA passed because he knew it was the right thing for the country and that the Democrats wouldn't go for it. That the reverse opportunity now presents itself... Could Bush go around the Republicans to get this done?

I don't see it happening. I think if he even tried, Cheney would shoot off George's face.

It's so frustrating that the party I most identify is made up of a bunch of clueless frigging idiots who are incredibly media unsavvy.

When, oh, when will a sane third option come about? Care for the environment? Then you must also choose to support gay marriage and abortion. Care about lower taxes and world stability and protecting unborn children? Then you must also support the right for everyone to have guns and possess the desire to break and destroy things and kill people in other countries.

The sermon in church this weekend was really great, about how people seek external peace instead of internal peace. I know that sounds like a segue and an interesting topic, but of course, now I'm out of time.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Insane in the Wet Rain

Dang... that is a lot of rain. Cold rain. I walked again at lunch. The
umbrella may be the flaw in my plan. I think I need either a longer
umbrella or I need to wrap my shoes and pantlegs in plastic. Because the
coat kept me toasty dry but my pants below the knees and my socks are wet.

It was cool listening to the rain, it was so loud I could hear it even with
the music. The retaining ponds are almost entirely full now. A few more
house and they should start spilling over into the wetlands. Todd said
something about some record about to be set or something.

Your Blank Sucks

I think I've mentioned before that I asked Lori to pick up "Your Management
Sucks" from the library. Apparently the author likes to say things suck
because she ended up with "Your Marketing Sucks" instead. A really good
read. It challenged readers to really look at every dollar spent on
marketing, advertising, public relations, etc., and make sure that each one
of those dollars are resulting in more than a dollar in return. And that
if they're not, then they need to be eliminated or retooled. That's some
pretty hard-line thinking that would probably be hard to pull off in the
real world. But they do it for their clients and if someone comes to them
but doesn't want to go that extreme, there's a pretty good chance his
company won't take their business.

I finished that last night and am now reading "Waiting For Your Cat to
Bark?" which explores the idea that consumers are no longer pavlovian dogs
salivating at each new advertisment, seeking to please, to be social and do
what advertisers want like good little dogs, but that most people have now
evolved into cats... aloof, uninterested and only after what's in it for
them, and how marketing must adapt to continue to advertise to these types
of people. Lori is an amazing "cat" in this regard... we can listen to an
ad on the radio and I'll say something about the ad and she won't even have
heard it. I'm getting pretty good at glazing over when viewing websites
and our DVR helps us avoid commercials.

It rained hard all night long. The water retention ponds at work are
nearly full. It should be interesting to see what happens when they reach
capacity. I know they'll overflow into a neighboring wetlands, but it
should be interesting to see if the walking path becomes impassable. I
enjoyed walking this morning. I was toasty and dry in my new coat and my
really old busted up umbrella, my iPod kept nicely dry inside but still
workable from the pocket or the outside of the jacket. It turns out that
my socks and the backs of my legs did get a little wet. I'll have to
figure out how to avoid that in the future (bring a change of clothes
beyond just shoes?)

When I first got up this morning and went into the bathroom, the window was
open just a crack. Cold crisp air and the sound of rain assailed me and
for a moment I was thrown back in time to a very wet weekend at a church
camp. I've mentioned it before, but it's just interesting how your mind
can warp time and space.

Now, I'm sitting here in the office, several things all going at once and
wishing I had brought my glasses. I don't really need them, everything
looks fine, but I'm feeling a little bit lazy today and it's a little dark
in here. Fortunately my cube has undermount lighting I can turn on and I
can turn to the right and see out windows. I love this new cube. I love
having a window view.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Distracted by Work

I've been frustrated lately. I haven't felt like I had time to do
anything. The stupid daylight savings annoyance means it's dark after
work. Being in Washington means it's 30 degrees before work. And it's
been rainy and blustery at lunch and none of us has felt like walking.
Then evenings have been busy and I haven't been able to help out with
chores and I've been so tired I haven't ridden the bike as much. Speaking
of tired, I've been so tired I've been snoozing and not getting up to ride
the bike. Today I snoozed for a good 90 minutes before getting up almost
the last minute. And last night I fought for a long time trying to get a
computer to accept a network card. I had a different, older, network card
and I thought that was the problem, but I bought a new one and it doesn't
work, either. So now I'm wondering if I just need to swap the computers,
but I'll spare you the details of why that might work or why it's not a
good idea. But, I haven't really thought of any of that today. It's been
so stinking busy. I guess that's a good thing.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Shaun of the De

Thanks, Comedy Central.  Thanks for telling TV listings companies that you'd take a full two-hours to show an edited version of a movie with a theatrical running time of 99.  Thanks for then failing to actually show the entire movie in 120 minutes because you kept cutting for commercials every three minutes to show two minutes of commercials.  (Don't do the math.)  We've been working our way through the movie (wearing out the batteries with all that fast-forwarding) the last few nights and were dismayed when the two hours were up and we still didn't have resolution.  Thankfully, there's one more airing (and we've told Comcast to record 3 hours this time, just in case).  We looked on movie spoiler and guess there's actually 10-15 more minutes of movie left. But bad form for just not fitting the movie into the time alloted.   I mean, I get it when NBC does that with irrelevant bits of dramas no one's watching anymore, but you don't do that with a movie.  You have to assume people are recording it.


from Kevin... Deep Fried Coke

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Critics Must Be Crazy

I recently watched The Gods Must Be Crazy. I've heard a lot of people talk about it, and for some reason, more recently. Most of the people who speak of it either rave or simply say "I don't get it." The second camp usually gives up without even finishing the movie. I have to admit, it wasn't at all what I thought it would be. That probably made it easier to watch, but I don't really know what I was expecting. Now I'm curious about the added features on the DVD. I guess I was entertained and thought it a unique glimpse at several other cultures, even if it they weren't entirely accurate. So I guess it was worth a watch, but somehow I fall in between, a place I've not encountered anyone else who's seen it.

Daylight Saving Time... Feh.

Daylight Saving Time was almost a good idea. In the spring, we move the clocks forward one hour. That means when it's 5 pm, it's still as if it was 4 pm. So it's lighter longer in the evening.

That was a stroke of brilliance. What wasn't was saying then that we'd go back to normal time at the end October of each year. I would much rather drive to work in the dark than drive home. In the morning, all you have to look forward to is work. In the evening, all you have to look forward to is everything else. When you're still asleep in the morning, why not just drive in the dark? And then when you're asleep in the evening after a day of work, it's much better to have the daylight to be awake to and enjoy.

So when I left for work this morning. It was light out, but not that pretty kind you get at the end of the day as the sun is setting. No, this was the harsh gray morning light of a cold day. The car said it was 32 degrees out, so there'd be no walking before work. And since it will be pitch dark by the time I leave work, there probably won't be any walking afterwards. I may just ask for a permanent change in my work hours to work from 7 am to 4 pm. I wouldn't be surprised if I could get it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A cool place to visit?

Opens in 2010, I think.


This is a cool site:
This is cool...

A friend of mine has set up a site and already made $100:

I was thinking of starting one, but now I don't think I will, it would have just been another thing to maintain.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Man, what a day

Today has, by far, been the one of the most irritating days I've experienced in recent memory. On the whole of it, a majority of it centers around inconsequential materialism, but out of it has come not-so-material and not-so-inconsequential and I am just irritated beyond words right now. I guess you just keep moving forward because anything else wouldn't make any sense whatsoever, but beyond committing it to words here, I don't know what else to do. And writing it down really isn't doing anything to alter the mood I'm in and certainly can't fix things, material or otherwise. I've hurt, I'm hurt, things have been broken and I've broken things. And as great as things ultimately are, this is really not how I expected things to be ten months ago when plans started to take shape. It's different, and infinitely better, but in some ways, it's exactly the same. And that pisses me off. Because it makes me feel like a failure. And when something comes along offering the chance to change that and put things "right" something else comes along to make sure the status quo is maintained. And I just don't get that. I feel like so much of this is my own fault, even what's not and I'd really like that feeling to go away. I'm not to blame for everything. And in some cases, no one is. And at the same time something in the back of my head still points the finger back at me. If there's anything to be celebrated, I can still passionate about something material being damaged or destroyed (no, the car is fine). But it doesn't feel good and it's not well received. I never had much growing up. And what I did have, I worked hard for. And by working hard I mean that it took a lot of my time at low hourly wages to get what I had. Even if the work wasn't hard, it took a long time to get the money to pay for it. So now I'm an adult, things should be easier to pay for. There should be money for stuff. I know it's just stuff, but something breaking shouldn't be a big deal and should be something you shrug and replace. I'm conflicted and I feel like I can't even figure out what I want to say which probably is part of the reason I'm unable to feel any better about it. And so I let it color my entire day and spill over into other things. And even by sitting down here at the computer I'm not helping matters much. But it's probably the best place for me because I'm not making matters worse by being somewhere else. I thought at the very least, I could regain some sense or order, power, justice, whatever, if I could at least fix something I broke earlier this week. But that was not to be the case and instead now I'm just messy and dirty and I have a room to clean. Maybe that will have to be my salvation for this evening, at least I can vacuum and turn mess into clean and have some sort of control over the universe, or at least my little square corner of carpet. *sigh*

Good morning, world!

Today's starting great. I got up pretty early, showered, came downstairs and put in just over an hour doing contract work and wrapped up just as Rachel and Lori were stirring. So I went up and greeted the two of them, played and just had a good time. Now I'm back down feeding the dog who is being cooperative because it's cold outside. Today we'll join my parents at Woodland Park Zoo, should be a nice time.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween Candy

As I was munching on Halloween candy last night, I realized that it was just about a year ago that we made our commitment to move.  I remember sitting at the computer with Lori looking at homes on and, thinking about the possibilities.  I never could have predicted this last year, never even imagined it.  It's been so amazing and almost 100% good and positive.  I am so thankful, so blessed.  And once again enjoying Halloween candy early. 

I saw this today...
Bernard Baruch - "Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Public Service Announcement

Just a reminder, if you're voting in Washington State. I am running as the write-in candidate for State Supreme Court, Justice Position #8.

I would also welcome write-in votes for any of these as well:
State Supreme Court, Justice Position #9
Court of Appeals, Div. No. 1, Dist. No. 1, Judge Position No. 4
Court of Appeals, Div. No. 1, Dist. No. 1, Judge Position No. 7
District Court Southwest Electoral District, Judge Position No. 1
District Court Southwest Electoral District, Judge Position No. 2
District Court Southwest Electoral District, Judge Position No. 3
District Court Southwest Electoral District, Judge Position No. 4
District Court Southwest Electoral District, Judge Position No. 5

But for sure, write me in for SCC, JP8.


This is kinda cool... an amazing domino (and then some) chain of events display.

Ow, my eyes. Make it stop.

Gee, thanks, Todd. (Sarcasm heavily intended.)

Mexico Is At Fault

You know what? I don't care if there are illegal immigrants here or not. I mean, I sort of do, but it's like looking at a stab wound and dabbing it with a square of toilet paper. You're not asking "Hey... how come I'm bleeding? How come I'm in so much pain?"

The problem isn't feeling crossing our border seeking work, the problem is why. Why do people feel the need to flee their own country, often under very dangerous conditions? What are they after?

When planks of wood are paddled from Cuba, we say they are seeking better opportunities and the choice to live without oppression.

Is it really that different, people coming from Mexico?

It's not. I'm no expert, but it's really not hard to see that this is Mexico's fault. Sadly, American companies (like Subway, Sears, probably Home Depot) are happy to be complicit in the problem, but first and foremost, Mexico's government is to blame. Laws and failure to provide stability lead to the lack of investment and growth, the lack of long-term viable decent jobs and keep its country oppressed. We think everything's great because our governments are pals, but we shouldn't stand for this. There was no sucking sound after NAFTA because the Mexican government is too stupid to take advantage of what was handed to them.

Real immigration reform will only happen when the compulsion to flee is abated, when the people of Mexico don't have a reason to leave, when they can be proud to be allowed to grow their own country.

Of what little I know, that means that foriegners must be allowed to own land, companies cannot be allowed to continue to hire people for three months at a time to avoid providing benefits and the government needs to step up and provide stability and a pro-people economic environment.

Until then, all you can do is slap the hand reaching into the cookie jar. But if it's the only place to get a cookie and there are more hands than you can possibly slap, it's going to be worth the risk. It's time Mexico got back in the kitchen and started making its own cookies.

Yes, I'm advocating a Mexican revolution.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Senator Dummy

always used to think that being a U.S. Senator was prestigious and that only intelligent, highly educated individuals sought the office. (Pork-barrel notwithstanding, of course.)

Apparently not.


I like the repetition of the theme across the top. Almost makes up for the broken images. Sad that he's co-chairman of the Congressional Internet Caucus. Cool name, though.

Copyright issues? What are those? (If he's a Republican and they're lost, shouldn't he be happy to let them stay lost?)

Hope he didn't pay very much

Code it like it's 1992

And his dog runs his blog...

I'm sorry, but is there something, like, you know, mentally wrong with him?

Like the popping up head behind the door... is he short? Do people keep
not answering the door for him? Click that link to find out how to avoid him.

Or, this... what the heck?

More, More, More

Today wasn't a day for quiet introspection.  For the second day in a row, despite completely different planning and activities, I ran out of the day later than intended. But today the radio was on and it couldn't be loud enough, the music good enough or the beat fast enough.   The traffic couldn't move quickly enough and the lights couldn't be green enough.  I didn't even notice a lot of the drive, basically just focussed on getting it over with.  What a change.  Not road ragey, mind you, just ready to be done with it.  Checking the car as I pulled into the lot, saw it was 41 and decided that I wouldn't be walking before work today.  So instead I've started work earlier which means I can goof off a little more during the day or get some work done for WC, which would be great.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Weird Al

It sounds like Weird Al's "White and Nerdy" will finally land Weird Al a top 10 after 30 years. Good for him. I don't know the song that this one parodies, but it's solid enough on it's own that I'm not surprised.

Busy Day

Man, oh man what a busy day. I cannot believe it's already 5:25 pm and I am still here in the office. I'm probably not going to walk tonight which is a shame because I didn't walk at lunch because we went out to lunch for people's birthays. And so I didn't get to eat as healthy as I otherwise would have, either.

I sometimes wonder what people would think if they could peek into my brain. I often feel like the best description might be an butterfly on speed with ADD. Flitting from idea to idea without even stopping to complete one before moving to the next. I think it's why it's hard sometimes to talk because I get too excited and get so far ahead of myself that I have to stop and figure out what I just said and remember what I had been thinking at the time I started speaking. I wonder if I would be a high-functioning mental case or something. But that's ok, I find it kind of amusing. I just wish I could do something with all the ideas in my head.

I also wish I could capture in words all the experiences I have in the day. Driving to work is a great opportunity to really experience the world but then it's so hard to try to remember stuff long enough to commit it to the screen and/or figure out if it's worth remembering, or if I should just flit along to something else.

This week I've driven to work with the radio off. Once just to listen to the rain and once because I was hoping it would rain and just to see what rattled around in my brain without outside stimulous to guide it. I was all over the board, looking at the line of cars I was in as we crept and winded over hills, a long catepillar with red lights along its body.... it's been dark lately when I left and gotten light as I drove. I like the dark. The headlights piercing the darkness feel warm to me when it's 45 degrees outside. I'll probably have to stop walking in the mornings because it's getting too cold. Anyhow, the lights feel warm to me. Lori and I were looking at a painting at Target the other day. It was of a San Francisco street. It was obvious how the reflections of the headlights were painted on the ground that it was supposed to be raining, or at least the ground wet. The picture had lots of gray, muted colors, except for the brightness of the headlights. Lori found it dark and depressing but I found it cheery. To me it symbolized warmth and made me think of
Christmas. Which is 61 days away now. I know, I know, I didn't start this paragraph off trying to be random. I just lacked an agenda. And look what happened. In the car it can be quite a bit worse and sometimes I can't even figure out how I get from one place to another as the thoughts pop and pop and pop like overheated popcorn unattended on the stove.

And now I need to pack up and go home. I want to walk, but it's late. I probably could have walked instead of sitting here writing this, but it has felt good to write a little bit. I'm sure it will seem much narrower on the blog versus this e-mail program where the writing pane is really huge.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Blogger's being sluggish tonight. Somewhat annoying. I want my money back.

Man if today just didn't get busy beyond belief. I had to run so bizarre reports and work on a major project. Apparently the guy who normally gives us the stuff for the project each month eliminated the one useful thing he normally provided. Apparently the other stakeholders found it to be unfriendly. Unfriendly, maybe, but the only usable thing for us. Rather annoying.

I read that Panama is widening the panama canal. I guess it will create 40,000 construction jobs and they'll be able to make the money back quickly. Right now 9.5% of Panamanians are unemployed, but I don't know how many there are, so I don't know how huge (or not) 40k of new temporary jobs are. I could look on Wikipedia but I can't be bothered at the moment.

I did not get to any of the websites I had intended to for the day, so maybe tomorrow. I did walk a total of 9 laps, which was 9 miles and rode the bike a total of an hour and did 100 jumping jacks. Tonight I read Proverbs 27 to Rachel tonight. She still mostly tolerates me reading, but some nights she's not as interested in just hanging out and wants to do her own thing. Tonight was all about fools and something about a fool repeating themselves being like a dog going to check out its own vomit. Funny stuff.

I cannot believe the day is already over. I'll go read some more. I had some good ideas today. One of them I realized that it would make one of my jobs much easier for 99% of the stuff, but for that other 1% it would make it much more difficult, so much so that it's not worth it for the other 99%. Oh well. The other idea, I really like it. It's the idea of my organization picking a single country each year and pushing a lot of its effort towards that country. It seems like it would be a great way to really be able to show progress. I get the idea from a former boss who was credited with really raising the profile of VH1 early on... he had started doing "artist of the week" -- it made artists happy, made record labels happy and they in turn were happy to do favors for that network.

Anyhow, that's enough from here.

Foggy Day

It was foggy during the drive in. That was kinda cool. It was really cold while I walked before work. I got three laps (1 mile in). Unfortunately all the podcasts on the iPod were from last Friday. I haven't quite mastered the podcast updating, apparently. I don't know why it doesn't just simply get the new ones and drop them on. Now I'm going to have to go
and think, darn it.

Rob did devotions this morning and he read this really depressing story about a woman and her daughter trapped under rubble after an earthquake in Russia. Her sister's body was laying right next to her and she and her daughter were spared, trapped in an 18" pocket. She found a jar of jam that survived and gave it to her baby daughter who made it last 2 days but then was crying for food and water. The woman had been in the process of trying on dresses at her sister's house and was only wearing stockings and a slip at the time of the building collapse. She wrapped her daughter in the stockings for extra warmth and slowly lost feeling in her hands and feet during their time of being trapped. The baby continued to cry out "Mama, please give me some water." Finally the woman, remembering something she had seen on a survival story on TV started cutting her own fingers with broken glass, allowing the baby to suck on her fingers, getting sustenance from her blood. After 8 days both the woman and the baby were both rescued. I think. The story said they were down there for
8 days and the narrative seemed to indicate that an adult told the story, but it had said earlier that the woman was pretty sure she wouldn't survive. It was supposed to remind us of how Jesus' shed blood saves our lives, but it kind of hooked and depressed me to think of a baby crying "Mama, please give me some water." (Allison, don't know if this qualifies as uplifting or not.)

Just went to an HR presentation on the new health benefits. In typical HR fashion, it was an hour in length, had lots of powerpoint slides, which they neglected to give us copies of. They said there were handouts at the end, but they were just a few pages stapled together that we've gotten before and had access to online. If you're in HR anywhere and you're reading this, if you do an hour-long HR presentation of new material, you need to print-out the slides and hand them out before the meeting. I don't know if you're afraid we'll read ahead and get confused, but trust me on
this, if we can take notes with the slide, we'll understand and retain the information much more. Especially if we're expected to relay the information to others, like our spouses.

Today Will Be a Good Day

I'm gonna try something new... I'm going to start now (6:45 am) and go throughout the day with what I find to be interesting. Not so worried about the audience as capturing what I found interesting today.

Alarm went off at 5:20. Tried to reset it for 5:40 but the snooze still triggered at 5:35, so I laid there for 5:40 just thinking and resting. Then I got up, showered, got breakfast and went downstairs.

Did 50 jumping jacks and began riding the exercise bike. Breakfast: grape nuts and yogurt. Read John, chapters 3 and 4 -- that's where Jesus talks to the Samaritan woman at the well (c4) and the very famous "For God so loved the world..." verse. And another favorite of mine "Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." It also tells of a man who comes to Jesus believing He will heal his son, if Jesus will only come to the man's house. Jesus is so amazed at the man's conviction that He tells him the boy will be fine and sends him on his way. On the way back people from the house come to meet the man and tell him that his son has been healed.

Then I read chapter 3 in "Your Marketing Sucks." I actually wanted "Your Management Sucks" but the library didn't have it yet and Lori wondered if I had the title wrong. I hadn't, but said I was interested in this book and it's really good. Chapter 3 says to throw out everything. The example is a company preparing a new brochure. They pull out all their competitors' brochures and dissect, picking out what they like and don't like. He argues that when you do that, you've given up marketing and you've engaged in an egotistical oneupmanship to see who can produce the best brochure and you're no longer focused on the goal: making sales.

Last night we had a meeting at church to discuss their desire to build a new addition. We currently meet in a facility that was supposed to be the fellowship hall. They had designed but never built the new worship center years ago because they didn't bother to find out if they could afford it before they started planning. Fortunately they figured it out before they started building. Anyhow, one of the things they told us was that they had met with the city and the city said that they were going to add street-side HOV lanes down the main street next to the church and expected us to pay the half-to-one million dollars it would cost to implement in front of our church. That doesn't make any sense... they're going to take away some of our land and then ask us to pay for it? They agreed and we're going to give them 10x800 feet along one edge of the property and not pay anything for the HOV lanes they want to build.

Looks like last week's rally of the market is over and the market will go lower today. People are becoming more worried about a housing slump. And Wal*Mart is going to grow its overall coverage (square footage) of our planet by 7%. And add 600-700 new stores around the world this year. Heaven help us.

6:54... time to go upstairs and get ready for work.

To check out in the next few days...
The New Capitalists - Davis/Lukomnik/Pitt-Watson
Mavericks at Work - Taylor/Labarre
Fast Company's Greatest Hits - Vamos/Lidsky