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.