Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Few Recent Movies

We've recently watched a couple of movies.... Space Chimps... could have been good, sadly, not so much.  Watching X-Men 3: Last Stand... eh... some cool special effects that would have probably been cooler on a big screen, but overall, too much of that same politicy stuff that I can't stand in Star Wars or real life.... but Iron Man - yeah, that was pretty cool.  Looking forward to the next one.

Yes, Please

MSNBC.COM -- Lawmakers push to open travel to Cuba -- It's time for Congress to end restrictions that for more than half a century have prevented most Americans from visiting Cuba, a bipartisan group of senators said Tuesday. More...

Cool Business Card

How cool is this?  This is someone's business card.

Or more to the point, everyone who works for lego has business cards like this.  It might be hard to carry several pocketfuls around a convention, but still cool.

(from Andy Sernovitz)

Monday, March 30, 2009

This Just In...

Jeff Renner, who's been in at KING5 forever (which is not a knock) announced on the news tonight "Rain, snow and wind - and problems with both tomorrow."

I've got problems with the idea of wind or snow tomorrow and, to a lesser degree, a problem with three items being a "both"

Accuweather has no offer of snow in our forecast.  Yay.


Just watching Chuck tonight and there's a scene in a hospital, replete with "Doctor, doctor. Doctor, doctor." I really appreciate that shows like Chuck and My Name is Earl, will use guest casting or quoting great lines from past TV shows and movies.  It's like a little nod to us viewers that offers a connection that transcends the typical broadcast dishing-out cateteria-style.


Was fast-forwarding through a commercial (the only way to watch them) and I see this commercial where rays are eminating from the TV in a darkened room and children are being lifted into the air and dragged towards the television.  Cut to a much brighter room with a dad in it.  All the sudden, the kids are running into the room.  What has been able to drag them away from the TV?

Is it a wholesome meal with the family?  Is it a great, classic game from Parker Bros.? 

No, a box of doughnuts.  12 standard, boring, mass-produced doughnuts from Dunkin' Donuts.


Ding, Dong

Thanks for nothing, erkjay.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Argh.  Technology.  T-Mobile's website said the upgrade would make my Blackberry work better.  The upgrade said it would reinstall all applications and restore all data.   What wasn't clear was that it wouldn't reconnect the device to the enterprise server it was previously connected to.

Or in other words, not something you should do if the Blackberry isn't owned by you but is instead maintained by your company.  Because you're going to have to take it in and admit you were screwing around with it and broke it and beg for forgiveness.

Blech.  Yep, that's me.  Just smart/dumb enough to be dangerous to myself.


Watch the entire video here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Newest Time Suck

I've just discovered UNO on Facebook.  You play live games against other people.  I've only played three games, but they can take a long time.  Basically you go in and it finds three other players and then you play UNO.  The only thing it doesn't explain is how to bust someone who doesn't call UNO.  Either I busted someone (Nicole from Australia*) for not saying it by clicking on her spot at the table, or the game auto-busted her, not sure. 

*I only note this to say that you play with people from all over - kinda cool.  At that game were actually two people who lived in the same section of New York and were nine years apart in age and the 21-year-old guy was really hitting on the 30-year-old girl hard.  That would have been annoying, but it led to an overall chatty group where most of the talk actually became about the game and all the chatting made the game feel more real, more tense.

The game also simplifies things slightly by highlighting playable cards, arrows show game direction, the background curtains change colors to reflect current play color.

The only other thing I found confusing was how to play the wilds.  Turns out it shouldn't have been - you just play it and then click the color that appears.  I think I was confused by the beeping timer.

At the moment, you can only play against people it selects but at some point, it may let you invite friends.  Also, it doesn't seem to have a long-term scorecard, which might be good.  I trounced in game one, lost in game two and threw away game three with one dumb move, if I'd played one card differently, I would have won. 

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Tried to go kite flying today with Rachel.  She'd been cooped up week, sick.  She seemed pretty close to normal today, a little bit of a cough.

Sadly, there wasn't enough wind to get either kite to actually fly, but was probably just cold enough to slow her recovery.  She's upstairs right now coughing and wimpering in her sleep.  I feel bad for her.

About 10 minutes ago I heard her crying, but I went to ask her what was wrong and she was obviously still mostly asleep as she told me she was upset because she couldn't do what she wanted to do (post stops here and was apparently never published)

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I am, for the moment, healthy, thankfully. I think I have been incredibly healthy most of my life, never missed too much school or work from illness. The paranoid side of me has me worried that I'm saving it up to get really sick at some point.

Rachel's been sick all week and a few co-workers have been sick as well. I'm just hoping I manage to avoid it.

Of course, tomorrow's the annual weigh-in and blood draw for the insurance discount. They'll say I'm healthy but need to lose weight.

The Space of Interactions

This was on my mind as I walked into the office building from my car this morning.  There's an idea that I've really found compelling recently, something I heard from someone wise recently.  Don't know if it was from a pastor at church, my boss, something I read somewhere or maybe something off of one of the Saddleback podcasts. 

But it essentially says that every relationship you have with someone - you are either teaching them or learning from them. 

I'm not sure I'm saying it exactly right because it doesn't sound so profound right there on the screen and you've probably already spotted the problem with that philosophy - the "OR". 

Embrace the AND.  This morning I thought that I wanted to exchange/change that thought slightly -- to say that if you think you know which side of the teaching/learning equation you're on, you're either foolish or arrogant and you're severely limiting the potential of that relationship.

Not a Pretty Picture

Me. This morning. In the mirror.

Putting on a tie or belt or something and moved into a position that made the shirt all tight in the wrong places (which is currently all places.)

Weight loss must occur.
More importantly, weight management must be successful during the winter and holidabratory months following.

Come quicky, come gently, summer time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Sometimes I want to just pull out my job description and take a close look at it, because I feel like I'm called upon, from time to time, to tell people "No" -- to take their passion and excitement, squash it and intimate that they really ought to just stop dreaming and get back to work.

It's not a task I enjoy.  I like dreaming.  I like innovating.  I like the next new challenge. 

But sometimes you need clean your own house before you start thinking about adding rooms, and making sure the furniture you have in your current rooms is the right furniture and the room is serving the right function.  Maybe you really don't need new rooms, maybe you just need to rethink or repaint the rooms you already have. 


Holy cow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dear Qwest

Dear Qwest,

Ah, it must be spring.  Even though I am not a customer, I see that it's that time of year where you ask me to help you with your recycling.  Yes, thank you for the latest phone book you've delivered to my driveway.

As usual, it is for the wrong city in the wrong county.

Why on earth would I want your phone book?  I don't own parakeets and we sprung for an actual booster seat for our child.  What good is a dead tree book full of information that's outdated before you even print it, contains no reviews and is incomplete and people pay to be included.

Thanks, but no thanks.  If I need information, I'll use the internet.  Ever heard of it?  Probably not since you don't offer DSL to my address.  It's this very cool series of tubes that brings all manner of information (including restaurant guides - with reviews!, maps - with street level views!, and more) right to one's computer or mobile.  Your dumb phone book is going straight in the recycling bin.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Father and Son

I've just had some really awesome moments with Ben recently. 

The other night, close to his bedtime, I was laying on my bed and he was standing, leaning against me, patting my stomach.  I pulled him onto me and just looked at him as he smiled and laughed at me.  It suddenly dawned on me that at some point in his 20s, dad probably did something similar with me.  It put everything in a whole new perspective.  I mean, I know my dad, obviously, was around me when I was a baby, but I never had one of those types of moments before and gave me a whole new level of appreciation/love for my own dad.

Tonight, I was sitting on the couch with Ben on my lap.  I was handing him goldfish one at a time and also eating them myself.  He leaned back and lifted his head to look at me.  Then he raised his arm with the golfdish towards me.  He eventually just leaned back until he was lying down so he could look at me.  He would repeat the almost-offer of the goldfish several times, one time even hitting my teeth with it.  Rachel was sharing just before she turned 1, but I remember her teasing even before that. 

Tonight I also had an opportunity to read three chapters of Exodus to Ben.  He played in Rachel's bed while I read.  (Rachel was downstairs having dinner.)  I have not been as consistent with reading to him (obvious by the fact that we're just now into Exodus) but I hope that as he becomes a little more aware of the routine that I'll be able to read more regularly,and maybe even read more per night on average than I did with Rachel.

At bedtime tonight, he was just furious.  It had been a really relaxed day and he had spent a lot of time with the family when he wasn't asleep and I think he was just unhappy that we were about to leave

Cross-posting on both dad2be and tvjames.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I dreamt that I was visiting a friend's apartment.  They had a Roomba that they had knitted a cozy for.  I was highly skeptical and pointed out that it would probably get stuck in the machine's wheels, catch fire, and then leave little pieces of burning cozy all over their apartment.  They dismissed the notion with a wave of their hand and I made a mental note that I should never stay at their apartment while recovering from any illness or surgery that left me immobile or unable to move on my own, lest the tiny little deathtrap decide then and there to start the robot uprising and kill us all in a miniature firestorm of molten, flaming knitted wool.

One of the things I find myself doing after a dream is trying to figure out what caused it... lack of sleep... watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles before bed... an article on Engadget about little robots who know when their owners are angry and run and hide.

Worst of all - you can buy costumes for your Roomba.   (I refuse to link to such sites, lest someone be encouraged to buy one of these slipcovers for their robot.)

I can almost see an animal costume, maybe even for someone who's alergic to real animals -- we're talking preschool animals: round circular single color bodies and little squares and triangles for facial features. 

But the "french maid" costume?  That's someone who needs to have their Roomba taken away.  That's wrong on several levels.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

GOOG 411 is kinda useless

Ok, here's one for all of my readers... try calling 1-800-GOOG-411.  Is anyone able to successfully get it to recognize "Federal Way, Washington"?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Print is Dead

Everywhere I've lived, I've been harassed by unsolicited calls asking me to subscribe to a newspaper, I've even been conned once or twice by less than scrupulous salespeople.  I've had paid subscriptions to dailies, the Tacoma News Tribune and Los Angeles Times.  I've delivered a free weekly.  And now I live in a town with two newspapers - one that comes once a week in the mail and one that comes twice a week delivered to the edge of our driveway.  I've had letters to the Editor in more newspapers than I can remember, and been featured in the everything from our local twice-weekly to The New York Times.  In Jr. High, High School and College I worked on the school paper, as a reporter and copy editor.

But I've also been known to say "Print is dead."  But now, to see it happen, I'm a little saddened.  A few months ago The Hearst Corporation announced to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer newsroom that it was putting the newspaper up for sale and giving the process 60-days.  A few days ago I was talking about it with friends and I was thinking "Yeah, the time limit must be nearing the end."

Tomorrow, it turns out, is the end.  The last issue has been printed and will be delivered to subscribers tomorrow.  And on Wednesday, 117,000 people will start receiving The Seattle Times instead.

According to Wikipedia, The Seattle PI was founded before The Seattle Times, on December 10, 1863.  It had lost money every year since 2000.  E.B. White was an employee at one time.

Can an online only newspaper survive?  Time will tell, but I'm not sure.  It'll really have to rely on distribution/syndication partners like Google News, CNN or MSNBC.  And while being able to publish a news story at any time on their website, I think without needing to fill a certain number of pages on a deadline that focus will be lost.  And competition online will be fierce - all the other local newspapers, radio stations, televison stations - all of whom have another media source to help cross-promote.  Not to mention bloggers and national media and other online news sources like Crosscut.  If it's got anything going for it, it is supposedly one of the most visited newspaper websites in the country.

The article also noted a bunch of new initiatives the new online-only newspaper was planning.  My only questions is - what had stopped them from launching those initiatives online and in print years ago.



According to Zillow.com, our old house in Monrovia, Calif. is worth barely more than what we paid for it in 2003.  That is, several hundred thousand dollars materialized in the barely two years while we live there and then vanished in the three years we've been gone.  This to me, is another reminder of God's plan for our family -- we had no clue what we were doing, but God did.  (Our house here hasn't lost very much in value, but when we bought the house in California, it was to be our 5-7 year home before moving to a nicer part of Monrovia or maybe back to Glendale.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Quick to the Beat

This is really cool - seven songs made entirely by mixing and layering YouTube videos.  Something about it makes me think that there's a chance it'll get pulled for some reason, so go check it out quickly.  Neat stuff.  I've only had a chance to listen to a few of them so far, but good stuff.

Now On My Blog - You

For those of you who read my blog on Google Reader or Facebook won't have noticed the new feature I just added - you.  I've noticed for some time now that some people have had "recent comments" on the side of their blog.  Now, my blog doesn't get a lot of comments, but I still thought it was a cool feature, because if someone comments, others who've already read the post might not see the comments.  So last night I was wondering if it was possible and it turned out to be so easy that it took me less than 30 seconds to implement.  So, now if you actually visit the blog itself, you'll see the recent comments over on the right side.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Steal (thanks for stopping)

Congrats, GodTube... now Tangle.com.  I don't know what Tangle means, but I've railed before against Christians who claim parody or relevance in works that are obviously nothing more than straightforward copyright theft. 

I think that recently, Google filed copyright infringement suits against GodTube.com and JewTube.com for their names.  JewTube lost because it rhymed with YouTube.  GodTube did not lose.  (I think, I didn't follow any of this closely.)  Still, I think they're making the right move.  Tangle is far less memorable, so I'm a little puzzled by the name, but I'm still glad they made the choice to stand on their own and not take the work that YouTube's already done.

Rain Day

Woke up this morning at 5:30 am and again at 6 am and stayed awake until nearly 7.  Woke up again at 8:30.

Discovered it was raining, so our original plans were a no go.  A day without a plan and a house freshly cleaned because we're hosting our small group every Friday night.  Excellent.

Did some tidying in the kitchen, ran a lot of laundry, watched a lot of rain fall.  Played some SimCity.  Helped both kids get their showers/baths. 

Didn't do much of anything today.  Nice.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Base Jumping

This morning's devos were somewhat interesting.  The question was posed "What did you think you were signing up for when you became a Christian?"  There were some interesting thoughts from those who opted to share.  But I wondered what people would think if I shared what I thought.  But I couldn't form it into cohesitivity quickly enough to share, for which I was grateful.

But it did bring to mind a quote: "Let us just say I was deeply unhappy, but I didn't know it because I was so happy all the time."  Reading IMDB to try to find out the exact wording, I've read a lot more quotes and realize it's been too long since I've seen that movie.

Side note: I'm watching an episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles that was recorded a few weeks ago.  Very interesting watching the robot with the Irish accent (Catherine Weaver played by Garbage's Shirley Manson) trying to relate to a small girl grieving the loss of her father.

Anyhow, during devos out the window this morning, I saw some crows.  I happen to think that crows are smarter than dolphins.  I think dolphins are just show-offs, but let's see a dolphin make a tool. Anyhow, first there was just one crow.  He was sitting on a branch outside window (we were on the second floor) facing away from us.  It was so cold that when he breathed out, you could see the steam coming out of his mouth.  It started to look like he was just playing around.

Later a second crow joined him and they were alternating their breathing and it really looked like they were talking.  It was pretty neat.

Eventually, the crow did something that just looked awesome.  It base jumped.  Not like a normal swoop off a tree branch, this guy did a free-fall.  It jumped off the branch, but it didn't spread its wings, it held them tight to its side and hopped off the branch, aimed its head and beak down and just fell.  A few seconds later, the other one spread its wings off, hopped off the branch in pursuit.  

I'd like to think I'm more like the first crow.  Not sure if it's true or not, but I'd like to think it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Totally Worth It

Spent an hour cleaning my office yesterday.  Reduced the number of unpacked boxes from two to one.  Clutter produces anxiety.  And as busy as I am, I don't need any extra if I can help it.

It's not perfect yet.  The server and testing laptops in the corner are still a little messy, but it's a definite improvement.



Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Other Dreams

No dreams last night that I can remember, probably didn't sleep long enough to fall that deeply.

But since I opened the can on Monday saying I'd write about the dream where I might have killed someone, ok, here goes.  Not nearly as interesting now a day later.

Anyhow, a bunch of people were at a retreat.  The setting reminded me of a combination of Smoke Tree Ranch and The Lodge at Bellevue Square... a comfy, cozy place with a lot of people. Architecture of rock and glass, big fireplaces.  Makes me wish I still skied, to think of it now.  Skied is a really weird looking word.

We kept going into sessions to hear a guy speak, and then between sessions we'd hang out in the lobby.  Earlier in the conference, one of the conference goers had been shot, though the police could not find the gun or any evidence and had no suspects and seemed a little frustrated.  For some odd reason, I felt that maybe I was responsible, even though I couldn't remember pulling the trigger or even seeing the woman after she had died, did not have much interaction with her prior to her death, and nothing to suggest that I had been involved.  No clothes with bloodstains on them, no reddish skin on my forearms from vigorous hand-washing to get rid of gunshot residue.  As much as I wracked my brains, I couldn't come up with a motive, couldn't come up with any concrete or even circumstantial evidence that I had been involved, but there was just this nagging thing in the back of my head that said I had done in.

So, I was wrestling with whether I go to the police and inform them of my suspicions -- in case they found out on their own, would I be in a better position if I went to them first?  Or whether I just kept my mouth shut and figured if I couldn't even be sure myself, what could they possibly figure out?

I was still wrestling with that when I woke up.  Usually after I wake up, I think and ponder about that night's dream for some time, trying to remember it, trying to figure things out, trying to determine how I could have acted differently, and what kinds of clues I should have looked for to determine it was a dream.  While they are quite elusive, I am fascinated by lucid dreams and think I've participated in a few in my lifetime. 

Though, weirder, I've had a few dreams where the second or third parts came years later.  One really memorable was a dream I had while in high school or college where I had just come from a car accident in which my in-dream wife "Jenny" had died.  I stood by the fireplace in the house drinking whiskey and just losing it.  Six or seven years later in the middle of a dream, I walk into that same house and see the whiskey glass sitting there with the dried residue from the unfinished drink, covered in dust.  The entire house was closed up, mustly, dusty, as if I hadn't been there in years.  That shocked me so much I threw myself right out of the dream into conciousness and did not want to go back to sleep at all, I was so unnerved.)  (Don't let this

Another is a Myst-like setting, a building high in a forested mountain, containing a small hydroelectric plant.  A small yellow building with green framed windows that a waterfall falls into to power the plant.  The area was just so lush and beautiful and peaceful.  I've been back a few times and sometimes realize I'm on the way the route I'm driving in my car and then the parking lot and the hike into the forest.  I can tell it's not real, but I'm not able to control what happens, which usually isn't much of anything, except to enjoy the calm and peace.  I'm always quite sad when I wake up from that dream.

If there seems to be a theme of death in my dreams, that's not necessarily the case.  I did dream often of falling off cliffs when I was a child, but I'd always survive, just barely missing the ground, or landing on the tires of my bike and riding off.  I think only once I've dreamt that I actually died, and it was three days before 9/11/01 (not posted on my blog until early 2003).  Considering that it seems like every time someone I haven't seen in years suddenly makes an appearance in a dream is usually a 1-3 precursor to me connecting with a different person I hadn't talked to in years (this was in the pre-Facebook era) the fact that the death dream was right before 9/11, any time I have a really big and foreboding dream (like watching from a mall on a hill as a toxic cloud rolls in a wipes out Los Angeles), I'm really freaked the next day.  Fortunately, I haven't had any of those in awhile. 

Well, must get off to work.  Wow, I've been typing intermittently for almost an hour.  Somehow feels like a completly useless use of time.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Recent Dreams

At the end of Back to the Future, there's this scene where the camera is low on the driveway and the Delorean pulls in.  In my Dream, however, it was a black car in the theme of KITT from Knight Rider, only updated to look relevant today.  (And no, I don't mean a Ford Mustang because from the back, those cars do actually look like a mustang - of the horse variety.)  Anyhow, this guy gets out and he looks really uncomfortable.  He's wearing jeans and a black leather jacket and his hair's been styled to look like David Hasselhoff's when he was playing the Michael Knight character (though, really, doesn't his hair always look like this?).

The car looked pretty cool.  It had the requisite heartbeat pulse in front, but some things about it, I would later discover, were just plain odd.  For instance, as if they had run out of time or something, the wheel rim designs, appropriately techy, were printed out on paper, glued to formcore and then taped to the actual rims.  And on the back was a 10x14" advertisement for a doctor's office, again, mounted to formcore and then mounted to the trunk.

The guy came to the door, I let him in, but he wasn't being all that clear as he walked around my house.  It seemed to me that he was intimating that the car was mine, but I wasn't sure if I had won it in some contest, or if he was going to suddenly ask me for a check for a couple thousand for delivery charges, or what. 

Anyhow, the house was really cool.  It was a ranch style, halls with low ceilings, leading into rooms with taller angled ceilings.   I don't remember specifically looking for skylights, but the entire house had lots of ambient light, very open and airy.  I mention this to say that I think I miss California.  It's winter here in Washington and it's a bit dark at the moment, even though now I am actually able to drive to and from work in daylight.

Anyhow, we ended up taking a test drive and then I woke before finding out if the car was really mine or not. 

But I did spend the day thinking about things... like the fact that the only color of car I'll consider buying is black and that when I bought my last car, most cars were boulbous and amorphous with no real style or shape, they were all blob-like bulbs, I felt like the Dodge Intrepid was the only car that still had some style, some lines to it.  (Well, that I could afford.  Ten years later, this still seems to be my price range, even though my tastes have grown up by about $10k.  Turns out I don't get the next new car but instead my wife's hand-me-down, but that's another story.)  Anyhow, was/is the Dodge Intrepid my Knight Rider car?

Thinking about cars made me think of the fantasy I always had in Jr. High and High School.  Sometimes, still on the bus on the way to school, I would daydream of being called away from school to do something important.  Before I was driving age, it would be a beautiful older girl in a convertible that would pull up alongside the bus, or right up onto the sidewalk of the school and call out to me to urgently get in and we'd race off to some crisis, leaving all those other kids behind at the loser school to waste the day.  Often, the girl would be wearing yellow.  (A 'Curious George' thing?)

Anyhow, as I got older, sometimes there would be multiple cars, one for her and one for me, dropped off by car carrier, or lowered to the ground on platforms suspended by chains under military helicopters -- she, sometimes, standing at the edge of one of the platforms holding on to the chain, being lowered with the car. (Daring.)

But cars have always fascinated me and my dreams often focus around them.

One dream that did not was one I had the other night where I was pretty sure I had killed someone.  That one, will have to wait because I need to go get ready for work.