Saturday, February 27, 2010


Children are smarter than adults.
How many children do you know with a full-time job and children?
Rachel wants to own as many dogs as they had in Hotel for Dogs.  And she wants to own a hotel for dogs and their owners.  And she's requested that we move to Canada so that we'll be closer to the Royal British Columbia Museum so we can go there all the time.

And that was just today's list.

I listen to her plans, her dreams and part of me cynically says "Good luck with that, kid."  And a small voice in my head says "Talk about all the dog food.  And the dog poop!"   Sometimes we will talk through an idea with her, but never in a way to shoot down her dream.  Almost always, instead of saying something cynical, I either sit in silence, envious of her plans, or I ask her to explain them to me in more detail, because sometimes they are just fascinating.  (Most of them aren't based on movies she's seen.)

How does she do it?  At age five, logic has not fulled forms, she has no concept of the cost of things, and most importantly, compromise is a word she hardly understands at all.  To be sure, there are times when she doesn't get her way, but in terms of the big dreams, the big future, everything is possible.  The sky is the limit, and if she can dream it, someday it will happen.  In her world, tomorrow might be her birthday.  Even when shown the calendar, it still might be tomorrow.  "You never know," she says cheerfully, rearranging her stuffed animals.  Nevermind that she's sitting on the brand new bunk beds she actually helped assemble.  Tomorrow could be magical, fun, be filled with relatives and brand new toys.  You never know.

And yet, as adults, we know.  I'll never travel in space, never become an architect, probably not even design and build my own home.  I'll probably never start my own business, become incredibly wealthy through wise stock purchases or even own a Delorean.  I won't adopt an infant of another race each time a child of my own is born.  I probably won't ever be a regular at an Irish put in Ireland in my old age.  Tomorrow will not be a birthday.  (Or, as I always hoped in high school, a military helicopter carrying an exotic sports car wasn't about to be dropped in front of me as I was summoned to some important mission.  Shut up, this was pre-Cody Banks.)

As we grow older, the choices we make have create a more narrow set of choices for our future.  I don't mean to be pessimistic, or even discount that some of my future choices may be limited by my own fear (like starting my own business).  And in some cases, I have willingly embraced limitations in search of a greater good, like being led here to Washington where we're able to live in one income without giving up too much, but without living at the same level we had allowed ourselves to be accustomed to.  But I'm just saying that's what separates us from our youth.  And it's not like we can explain that to them, in the hopes of helping them when it comes time to make defining choices because it would be illogical to them, or it would unfairly yank them to the other side of the fence.

I'm still hoping for the Delorean.  But even then, I'd compromise with a Tesla or a Fisker.

Odds and Ends 10


ENGADGET.COM -- Mitsubishi's upconverting technology takes 1080p to 4K x 2K, you to cloud nine - Sadly, I'm still living in a 480 world. But we do own a Blu-Ray now.


ENGADGET.COM -- Google executives found guilty of violating privacy of student bullied on video - so wrong. Sad for the poor child, but still, this isn't Google's deal. They should pull out of Italy. Could help them in the monopoly lawsuits.. "No way... we're leaving China and Italy to Microhoo"


NEWS.COM -- Wii may also help stroke victims recover faster


SETHGODIN.COM -- Genius is the public recognition of many, many, many failed attempts to solve something


ENGADGET.COM -- Modular car for the developing world - guy behind OLPC is at it again. Photos (of computer renderings)


BUNNIESTUDIOS.COM -- Counterfeit memory cards - while in China overseeing production of a new product, a problem arises, which leads the author on a quest to determine how and why he got sold counterfeit products


MASHABLE.COM -- Facebook Apps will not be allowed to update your notifications list as of March 1 Woo hoo!


Doritos loving Seagull


Why you don't drive into the service bay at Jiffy Lube

-10- VIDEO

A classic

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Best Anonymous Blog Comment Yet

Odds and Ends 9


SETHGODIN.COM -- Frightened, Clueless or Uninformed?


GOOGLE -- Google Voice explained. I've been using this for years, back from when it was Grand Central. If Google decided to charge, I would pay heavily to continue using this. But, Google is so awesome that it's free.


NEWS.COM -- Sony envisions universal controller for game consoles - an LCD-screen based game controller? No thanks. I'll take tactile buttons any day.


CRINGLEY.COM -- It's time to say goodbye to Flash


ENGADGET.COM -- MIT's Flyfire paints images in the sky using micro helicopters - interesting idea but most of video is just a fancy screensaver


ENGADGET.COM -- Modern Smartphone Radio Design Partly to Blame for Network Issues? - apparently the iPhone and other new smart phones will drop a data connection at the end of a transmission and only resume when it needs to. It's apparently this constant connect and disconnect -- not bandwidth -- that may be the cause of problems with new phones.


APPLE.COM -- Apple just sold its 10 billionth song - who, besides Apple, got paid? Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, and Flo Rida, to name a few.


MASHABLE.COM -- Twitter helps Erykah Badu and Paul McCartney connect for Sample Clearance - a process that typically takes months and many lawyers in much less time


MASHABLE.COM -- Chatroulette explained - 71% male, 15% female, 14% pervert - if you've ever wondered about Chatroulette but figured you were better off not actually checking out the site, here's a short video that explains what it is and the user's own study. Interesting and entertaining.


Some guy kept track of the stuff he did over the year and compiled it into a video. What a lot of work.

Dan Meyer's 2009 Annual Report from Dan Meyer on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A1A Beachfront Avenue


8:00 am - Now I have "Defying Gravity" stuck in my head. Not a bad song.

9:00 am - I just got a call back from Waste Management about my comments in my anonymous survey (I declined to optionally include my name and phone number on the final screen of the survey). Guess they're as good at taking surveys as they are at billing. Not very good. Bottom line, not sure if the billing thing is going to ever get fixed (I believe they owe me at least $20 and an apology) but they're bringing us a larger recycling bin today.
and then it got busy


8:00 am - Really weird talking about Lost when one guy is 4 episodes behind and another is a few seasons behind.

8:45 am - People in the office talking about The Matrix. There are some people here that have been drinking the same Kool-Aid that Lori has - they swear that movie had not one but two sequels. How could the best movie ever have a sequel, let alone two? There's no way they could measure up. They would probably be really bad. I'm glad they never made sequels to The Matrix.

11:00 am - Another urgent all-hands summons this afternoon, but first chapel.

12:00 pm - Margaret Becker sang and spoke. Really cool talk. Now, lunch. Pouring rain.

1:30 pm - All-hands meeting is over. Nothing to note. Rain still falling outside..

2:15 pm - Been a quiet afternoon. Still raining heavily.

5:10 pm - Why does it always get really busy and interesting at 5 pm? It's like I hit my stride way too late each day. Sun is out and clouds have rolled back. Looks golden out there.

Quitting Time

So one of the guys who works for me often says in in meetings "I don't want your job." If he read this blog, I'd say "Ok, we get it."

But I was talking with another guy recently who's often still at his desk when I leave for the night, which is typically about 5:30. Often, I stop working at 5 and will try to tie up some personal details in the last half hour. Though sadly all too often that's actually more like 5:20, 5:25 when I'm able to push off the work work.

But it got me to thinking... in the olden days, my bosses often beat me to the door, sometimes almost running when the clock struck 5. At times, I thought it unfair in my first job. But then in my second job, she was even more punctual, but at the same time, we spent much of most afternoons playing Rainbow Six over the network. (We all, even she, believed, that it was about to get really busy, so we were staffed for it and ready for it. However, instead, AOL merged with us and a bunch of people got laid off while AOL bought itself another decade of existence.)

At the third job, one of my bosses was gone on time very regularly, but my other lived there. Seriously, sometimes he'd sleep in an unused room he had appropriated on a cot he had brought in.

But now, I'm the guy out the door first a number of days a week. Sometimes I even leave before my boss?

So what is it? I think it's two things... one - young children. The people most likely to stay later than me have children. Those that don't are more likely to continue to work past five. The other, I think is more telling - the nature of the work itself. I am an email-pusher, a mid-level manager trying to keep things running smoothly. Helping manage workflow of two teams, be an advisor/coach to seven people, and acting as a buffer between what my team can offer and what the internal customers want. So in the old days when I was coding, I could get lost in it. But today, I guess it's more like whatever I don't get done today will still be there tomorrow. And whatever I don't get done tomorrow will still be there the next. While I can't just ignore stuff I don't like, there's always the possibility that something more interesting or more urgent will come along. Or that if something waits long enough, it becomes a non-issue. Granted, there's a lot of prioritization and assessment going on. It would be dereliction of duty to just ignore someone hoping they'll go away or not doing something important because something easier/funner is sitting there. Fortunately, I typically have just a small amount of time more than needed and often come pretty close to getting it all taken care of. There are ebbs and flows.

So it's an interesting take... I enjoy my job, I'm energized by it, but at the same token, sometimes it can feel less like I'm doing something. (Which causes my morning prayer to often fall along the lines of "Dear God, please let the work that I'm doing have an actual impact on how many children are fed versus if I wasn't here. That my being here helps more people get helped.")

Probably one of the reasons I'm not compelled to stay later. Of course, right now nights for my family also include dance class, women's group, Awana, choir practice and small group. I'm only involved in the latter, but the others all have a big impact on what I will be doing that evening.

But, in some ways, the easier does get a free pass to the front of the line. If I've just gotten 20 new emails in my inbox, my first pass is always going to be for the easy ones - the quick responses to colleagues, the emails that can be dispatched without further action. In some ways, that means I'm always working on the then-easiest as I triage, but that's sometimes the best you can do.

Which leads me to another thought I was discussing with a friend over email the other day - a concept I've tried to share with no success with some of my colleagues who cause me "buffer overruns."

In simplest terms, a buffer overrun - a computer term - is when the input supplied exceeds the processor's ability to handle it. In some cases, that leads to "cracks" which allow invalid or otherwise illogical actions to take place (this is how most computer viruses get a foothold) or causes a shutdown (all inputs are then ignored until things slow down and the computer can get some breathing room to check itself out) -- this is how must websites are taken down - overwhelmed with too much traffic.

While children may be more susceptible to the "cracks" idea, I think most adults default to the "Shutdown" mode. Send me too many emails and I'll set them aside. Do it regularly and I'll lower the perceived priority of all communication from you. And some people don't get that... email lots of people, then lots of people respond, or they email you several times about the same topic. My email sorts automatically by topic (either the subject line or a topic I assign). Sometimes my need to declutter my inbox lets that pay off - I can open a grouping of 10 emails and quickly scan and dispatch with all of them. Other times, if there's work involved, or I have to synthesize action to descrambling 4 out of the 8 emails in the group, then it gets set aside.

There was a guy I worked once who was notorious in that regard, constantly stopping by to chat, sending emails, etc., etc. So much so that if you even saw an email from him, you couldn't help but sigh. If there was an attachment, you knew you needed to set it aside until you could devote 30 minutes to it. And if he was even in the vicinity, you'd usually learn about it first over instant message from the last person he had been talking to - it was often a head's up/apology because sometimes you had to push someone else in front of his bus just to extricate yourself for meetings or work.

So yeah, I'm not sure exactly where I was going with that, just thinking about how I'm more likely to leave on time these days. Maybe it goes hand in hand with the fact that I'm also constantly checking work email from my BlackBerry all the time I'm not at work, meaning I'm really always at work.

Odd fact... for whatever reason, I find it easiest to work from the bottom of my inbox instead of the top. And since my inbox is sorted by grouping alphabetically, that means the subject lines closest to Z get responded to first when I'm "batching." That's when I turn off the "spigot" - no new emails come in, all the emails I write are queued but not sent. It's a great way for me to really bushwhack through the thicket and clear a lot of my inbox at once without the distraction of incoming emails. (I also use my BlackBerry so that I can be aware of truly urgent stuff, and also to send new stuff straight to the almost-trash so that when I do turn it back on, I won't even see those things.)

Monday, February 22, 2010


The ways to reach me are astounding if I stop to add them up.

I use this great program called Digsby that lets me keep track of my seven non-work email addresses (most are dormant, and for the better part of a week the Hotmail ones have been non-working), one for Rachel, one for Ben, Facebook, and LinkedIn. (There was MySpace, too, but Digsby's not wanting to connect with it, either.)

There's my work email address and the untold number of distribution lists and alerting groups it's part of.

There's IM... on the laptop there's Google, Sametime, Facebook, Skype, AOL, Yahoo!, MSN and Twitter. On the BlackBerry, there's Google.

There's phone. There's the office phone I don't answer, the BlackBerry which mostly gets calls for Dr. James Kim, the cell phone that used to mostly get calls for Sharona, the home phone which mostly gets calls from the Federal Way Public School District nightly to tell us if there's school the next day or not.

There's text messaging on the cell and the BlackBerry.

And then there's Google Voice (Grand Central) with its ringing of the phones and its own text messaging and transcription of voicemails that can, themselves, become text messages and emails.

And then there's calendaring. Appointments on my phone reminding me to pray and do my Bible study for small group, work calendar buzzing me all day at work, and my Google Calendar (which actually has five calendars, one for each of us plus a group calendar on it.) And they can also remind me by popup and text.

It's a bit crazy. I've come to the conclusion that I probably need to come up with a better strategy.

First, I probably need to jettison a few. Anyone who knows me will contact my current email address, so I can probably safely eliminate a few. Put them on permanent vacation. Close them. Fill them up so people get errors. Whatever.

I can probably eliminate AOL and MSN. Maybe Facebook. Maybe Twitter. That still leaves Skype, Yahoo!, Google and Sametime. That's too many, but it's probably the best I can do.

Phones are probably where things are on the best possible track. The only number I give out is my Google Voice number, so hopefully that's where most people are calling and texting. I don't list my office number anywhere -- while I haven't checked, I even asked that they list my cell instead on our company directory.

If there's voicemail at home, I can listen to it online. If there's voicemail at work, I know it's someone who doesn't regularly interact with me and therefore probably another cold call. Otherwise, the voicemail is all centralized at Google Voice. Ditto text messages. Now I probably have to do more about separating out which calls go where from the people who call me.

And then... the really challenging part... what do the contact attempts do?

Right now, Digsby constantly pops up notes from Twitter, Facebook, email, LinkedIn. I can probably turn most of these off.

Instant messages on the computer go straight to the task bar without making noise.

Phone calls vary. Some ring all of my phones, some only ring the ones they should. I should set all the phones to ring and vibrate. Then certain calls should play a blank/silent audio file (that is, no ring). Others need to be more uniform. Like "The Office" plays for most of my work calls, but only if the wrong phone rings.

Ditto appointments. I need a more subtle notice for calendar reminders.

All this to say, this is gonna take some work.

And a wishlist item for future technology: would like it to be time/location aware so that it's able to switch to silent mode (like church or a movie), would like to be able to set an appointment on my calendar and have that dictate as well (like superloud for a ballgame or soft/silent for a nice quiet dinner out).

And if you suddenly find me hard to reach, you might be using outdated methods to try to connect with me.

Walking on Sunshine

8:00 am - Stopped at the Post Office on the way in. Embarassed by a letter from our church that referred to us as "Giving Units" - thought that was a back-of-house word. And it was from the Youth Pastor no less. Podcast on the way in said "God was the only perfect parent and look at how some of His kids turned out." Interesting but silly comment, IMHO. Podcast also played "Walking on Sunshine" and I let it so now that'll be stuck in my head all day. Oy. Car said it was 30, so no pre-work walk today, though sun looks absolutely spectacular.

10:00 am - Cool looking contrails on a beautiful blue sky. Contrails isn't a nice sounding word.

1:00 pm - Taxes done. My dad calls it way overpaying our taxes, we call it a forced savings for vacation, money for household projects, etc. And besides, if we didn't give them a free loan, our taxes would just need to go up even more, right? Nice walk at lunchtime, read some interesting stuff in Fast Company: like David Lee Roth's requirement for a big bowl of M&M's in the dressing room with all the brown ones removed -- hidden in a rather lengthy contract -- was a way to determine quickly if the contract had been read, or if there were going to be technical problems (like insufficient power hookups and stuff). Like the canary in the coal mine. Article also suggested that by looking at a few key indicators in eight graders, you could tell without a doubt if they would drop out before finishing high school or not - telling you who to intervene on behalf of to improve completion rates.

2:30 pm - Woo hoo. A 2-hour meeting ran short.

5:00 pm - I am behind on email again. What's new. Oh well. It's a beautiful day out and I might get out of here soon enough to drive home before sun sets.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Phone Envy

I've been having some serious phone envy for some time now.  My RAZR 3vi is the pinacle of 2006 technology.  Well, not really.  By the time I got a RAZR, everyone had one.  Mine is one of the rare ones that has iTunes on it, and I do use it from time to time to listen to music.  (Typically when I've forgotten my headphones and can't listen to my iPod, or when I'm working in the yard and don't need my full library.)
And don't even get me started about my BlackBerry.  When I want to know what time it is, I stand it on end and look at where the shadow is.  When I need to make a phone call, it tells me where the nearest payphone is.
So I really want a new phone.  Most of the people I work with have a fancy new phone.  Do I want the fun one everyone has?
Or do I hold true to my geek cred and go for the other cool one that no one I know has?   Well, sadly, neither.  One's on a network I don't trust and the other one costs more than I can afford.  (If I get a new phone, Lori gets a new phone.)
The bright spot -- our organization is switching carriers and so I believe our BlackBerrys will all need to be replaced.  So maybe that will temporarily satisfy me.

But I recently realized something.  All these cool new phones still have some serious drawbacks, whether it's cost or technical limitations.  And when I do finally get a shiny new phone?  It'll be newer than all the ones that the other people have, hopefully some of the technical limitations will have been overcome, the prices for the phones will have dropped, and I won't have spent all that money in the meantime.  Not the perfect argument, but it helps.  Someday...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Odds and Ends 8


MASHABLE.COM -- Guy to be locked in a box for a month - hope there's a bathroom in there.


MASHABLE.COM -- Consumers Lose as Redbox Delays New Releases 28 Days for Warner Bros. - Stupid Warner Bros. - forcing more delays on people wanting to watch their movies. They think it will sell more. Good luck with that.


NEWS.COM -- ShadyURL makes URLs entertainingly suspicious - makes little short URLs no one would like to click on. For instance, the short URL for this blog would be ... I guess that's not really shorter, though.


ENGADGET.COM -- Google gains clearance to buy and sell energy, continue taking over the world


ICANHASCHEEZBURGER.COM -- Just a funny picture. - I wanted to post to Facebook, but Facebook is being stupid.


SETHGODIN.COM -- Quieting the Lizard Brain


SEATTLETRANSITBLOG.COM -- Senate votes to open up transit lanes - Hey, free for all. (Almost). Why not? Ugh.


Duck with injured leg inspires boy born prematurely (who had a stoke) to walk.


Do people not think anymore? Sure, I get being angry - to a point. But it's when you stop being angry and start getting incredibly stupid that I am just left speechless. What was going through this guy's head? There's absolutely no way this makes his day better.


Google Goggles prototype that lets you take a photo of something and get a translation back. So far, only German to English and small bits of text at a time, but huge potential here. Similar technology to Evernote, probably.

Zillow Again

I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's obvious that we had that house in California for the sole purpose of using it as a springboard into the ability to live on a single income here in Washington. They said we overpaid for the house. But look at how many, many thousands of dollars appeared, came to us in a check and then immediately vanished. Still amazed.  House is now worth $10k less than when we bought it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Something I Enjoy

Light or no traffic. Sunny day. Weather between 50 and 72. Sunroof open. No destination, or at least no particular timetable to get there. 10 am. Blue skies, almost no clouds. Good music on the iPod. Seat reclined slightly. Very relaxed pose. Maybe a baseball cap on backwards. Sunglasses.

The contrast is good, too.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

iPad - Final Release Model

thanks to Rob for the photo


We had a re-org last fall and to many people's excitement, we were encouraged to start dressing more casually on days other than the company-sanctioned Friday.

Our group is a highly technical subset of the organization.  So much so that while the organization as a whole is as much as 80% female, our group is probably at least 80% male.

From the outset, I was a little bummed by the decision and haven't been able to fully embrace the dress code.   But it's bugged me because I want to be a team player, so I've been thinking about why I was finding it so difficult.

In the very beginning, it was practicality - I only owned two pairs of jeans and one of them had paint on them.  Lori's since gotten me two new pairs of jeans and I got a pair of cargo pants for when I was working back of house on a stage show at church and needed lots of pockets.

Second, my idea of casual probably wouldn't go over too well.  My family will tell you that there are some things that just are.  One, when I get home from work, I immediately change into shorts.  I don't think they want me wearing shorts here.  I'm not sure their idea of casual is casual enough.  The flip side, a short funny story... a few Sundays ago I was getting dressed and I hadn't yet rolled up the sleeves on my dress shirt.  Rachel did a double-take and then looked at me really puzzled and asked why I had my sleeves rolled down, it was something she really wasn't used to seeing.

Next, it was one of respect.  I read recently that in uncertainty, people cling to rules.  I've always been a very black and white person.  To my detriment in some cases.  But, as an organization, we've been instructed to dress in a certain manner.  So do I accept the suggestion from my group or the rules of the organization?  Apparently in this particular case, both are OK, even though they are in conflict and it's not a case where I can embrace the and.  Am I trading short-term collateral for perceived long-term that may not be noticed?  Not sure, but I think it is being noticed and I think my coworkers, even if the disapprove of my dress code, realize that I'm a useful person to have around so they'll tolerate my slacks and my dress shirts with collars, my semi-nice black shoes and my ties.

And then there's comfort.  I find a good pair of dress pants made of a high quality, breathable fabric far more comfortable than a pair of jeans.

And maybe even courtesy and ego.  I believe that I can do great work and look good doing it.  And I feel I look pretty good in nice clothes.  If I learned nothing from all those episodes of What Not To Wear that I watched with Lori back before we had kids and could just sit around watching TV all Saturday afternoon - a properly fit article of nice clothing can make anyone look better.  Even a guy like me who's about eight cans short of a six-pack.  And I get far more "good mornings" from the staff (male and female, outside our group) when I wear a tie.   The women here seem to dress to a nicer level than the guys across the board.  So it's almost as if they appreciate when they see someone wearing a tie.

And then lastly, the whole idea of dressing for success or faking it until you make it.  If everyone else dresses casually and I dress nice, there's a multiplier effect there and they're just making me look even better.  And I believe that this is paying me dividends already.  I believe that I command respect and people seek out my opinion and advice and that in some small part, it's the confidence I get from being able to dress nicely.

When I look good, I feel good.  And when I feel good, I feel confident.  And when I feel confident, I rock.  So, let's rock.

Odds and Ends 7


MASHABLE.COM -- MySpace CEO Out After 9 Months. Well, now. That was quick. Maybe you have to get inside before you can see how bad it is?


CROSSCUT.COM -- Finally, a Hard Rock Cafe for Cobain, Vedder, Hendrix, and more - sounds very cool. Lori and I need to check this out some time sans children.


MASHABLE.COM -- Are We All Asking to Be Robbed? - pulls in all the check-in tweets to point out what a bad idea those are.


SEATTLETIMES.COM -- 45-story condo tower proposed for low-profile Federal Way - would be the tallest building between Seattle and Portland. Would be 34 stories taller than the tallest building in Federal Way


LIFEHACKER.COM -- FillerItemFinder Helps You Secure Free Amazon Shipping - $2.34 short of the $25 needed for free shipping from Amazon? Tell this site and it'll help you find the cheapest items in the categories you select in order to put you over the top.


VINTAGESEATTLE.COM -- View of Seattle pre-I-5


SEATTLETRANSITBLOG.COM -- International Perspective: Transfer Stations - A good look (with video) of how to and how not to do modal transfer stations. Suggests we really ought to be thinking about this now for UW and Bellevue.


Funniest Verizon map commercial yet.


The future of lighting. None of you will watch this. It's mostly 4 minutes of scientists talking. But there is some cool visuals in it, like nanofibers wrapped around human hairs and nanotubes bursting and energy streaming out of them. Basically, this is about a future lighting technology, or more accurately a reflection and refraction technique that gets energy savings fo a CFL without the mercury and without the glass. The article I read suggests it could be commercialized within 3-5 years. So if you do watch it and then one day these lights do come to pass, you can hear the phrase "Nice story, grandpa." when you talk about the four minute video you watched way back in 2010.


Google Liquid Galaxy Display. Frames are too wide.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Inc. Magazine, February 2010

I subscribe to a lot of magazines... Reader's Digest, Inc., Fast Company, Consumer Reports. Lori tosses me the old Entertainment Weeklys when she's done so I can skim them (mostly for book suggestions and insider industry news). I really ought to also be reading Parents magazine. So, I have a giant stack next to my bed of unread magazines. Maybe when the kids are in college I'll be able to really attack the stack. Unless it falls over first and kills me. Actually, it's not that bad. But it is still a constant reminder to me of stuff to do.

Anyhow, I'm starting to really groove on Inc. I think I prefer it over Fast Company. More my style. As I read, I take notes. I thought I would share them here before I dispose of the magazine. If you work with me, you'll find it on the unofficial "free table." Apologies for the scribbles and notes and stuff.

Was a good issue and I thought I'd touch on a few things.

"A Little Less Conversation" by Joel Spolsky. I normally really agree with Joel and often go online to find the column to forward to people. However, not so much this month. Joel posits that we've lost the top-down-structure where the boss talks to those below him on the org but they don't talk to each other. His diagram (putting the boss at the center with the employees as spokes) suggests more of a command and control. His second diagram (a bunch of people around a circle, all of them interconnected representing everyone talking to everyone) is bad, he suggests. People shouldn't talk to other people. Well, Joel, you're wrong. Sort of.

First, they do. I don't know how many people I've seen get burned because they tell one person one thing and then they tell me something and both versions get back to me. People talk to people. Or at least nearly everyone talks to me. People who are plugging their ears, closing their eyes and singing "lalalala" are just asking for trouble.

On top of that, the collaborative model (think Facebook where anyone can be connected to anyone and there's no hierarchy) allows so much more rapid fire innovation and idea-spreading. We've even played with a model at work where there are no cubes - just big open workspaces where everyone ponies up to the table. I should bring in a picture. It's weird and not everyone likes it (and some aren't going to participate until dragged to the table) but it's also kind of amazing.

To a point. I had a chance to experience this Friday as we debriefed on an emergency project. There was a point where that broke down. A few people were inundated with requests, sometimes conflicting. And the process broke. What I think needs to be made is a distinction between the development phase and the work phase of a project.

At the beginning, the more people talk, the more ideas come flying out. But when it's time to settle and work -- the direction has already been determined -- then it's time to rever to the top-down command-and-control model. People need that stability, especially people who are producing, they need clear and consistent direction from the same person every time. Or at least a single designated person. And when conflicts arise, it needs to be very clear who they can turn to who will work on their behalf to resolve.

You've Been Yelped - a good look at how and why Yelp works, and how it got its start. Also, some stories of crazy business owners who didn't like being Yelped. Reading this (and then playing around with Yelp) leads me to believe that I could create a similar product for a niche that I guarantee Yelp will ignore and that I could make money at it. However, I have neither the time, the money or the programming chops, so I will continue to work for someone else. Good thing I really love that job. (I've always said that if I won the lottery it wouldn't change my employment status too much -- except that I wouldn't roll into the office until around 10 am daily.)

Lessons from a Blue-Collar Millionaire -- Nick Sarillo is awesome. The average restaurant has a 200% turnover in a year. This company's is closer to 20%. And profits are far greater. I love a story of a company that can do so right by its employees.

Some quotes: "Managers trained in command-and-control think it's their responsibility to tell people what to do. They like having that power. It gives them their sense of self-worth. But when you manage that way, people see it, and they start waiting for you to tell them what to do. You wind up with too much on your plate, and things fall through the cracks. It's not efficient or effective. We want all the team members to feel responsible for the company's success."

There are actually three forms of feedback at Nick's. The first is called a feedback loop and applies mainly to new employees. At the end of the shift, a trainer will ask, "What is one thing you did well, and -- if you could replay the tape -- what is one thing you would do to enhance your performance?"

Note to self: Need to get better at measuring and empowering people to make their own decisions. How do I slow down and make that happen? Need to share more of the "why"

Saul Griffith's House of Cool Ideas - Now, the not-wearing-shoes part doesn't groove with me at all, but otherwise, the idea of designing and prototyping stuff, in some cases, to simply shelve until the opportunity comes along... wow... that's not work, that's play.

Rounding Up Staff Ideas - How one company reinforces the idea that everyone's responsible for the future of the company and for being innovative and coming up with new ideas.

Using Viral Video to Boost Sales - Actually, there were some great lessons in here whether you wanted to use video or not. A company selling fulfillment robots made some great videos to help others show what they did to help potential customers better imagine how they could be helped. But the hidden gem of this article is that really engaged customers took it a step further and did some cool stuff themselves which helps show other potential customers what a great solution this company has because of how much they love the product (love being a customer). But, and this isn't part of the article, why, Kiva Systems, must you hide most of your videos behind a registration wall? Sigh. (There is at least one you can watch without turning over info to a salesperson.)

Using Crowdsourcing to Control Inventory - An online fashion company turns to its customers to vote for the next new products to sell. Keeps inventory down, gathers *amazing* feedback about exactly why people like or dislike things.

How to Get People to Change: Try a Little Hope and Optimism -- "[Look] for the bright spots. When you face a change situation, you're often demoralized and depressed. Instead of focusing on what isn't working, you need to shift people over to thinking, What have we done in the past that has been successful for us?"

The Way I Work: Paul English of Kayak -- "The engineers and I handle customer support. When I tell people that, they look at me like I'm smoking crack. They say, "Why would you pay an engineer $150,000 to answer phones when you could pay someone in Arizona $8 an hour?" If you make the engineers answer e-mails and phone calls from the customers, the second or third time they get the same question, they'll actually stop what they're doing and fix the code. Then we don't have those questions anymore. About a year ago, I bought a red telephone with a really loud ringer for the office. Whenever a customer calls the help number on our website, that phone rings. The engineers initially complained about it. They said, "That's so friggin' annoying!" And I'd say, "There's a really simple solution: Answer the friggin' phone and do whatever it takes to make that customer happy. Then hang up, unplug the phone, walk it down to the other end of the office, and plug it in down there."


"We have four monitors in the office where you can see real-time streaming information about the site -- how many visitors, how many click throughs. It also displays the last customer e-mail that came in and the photo of the employee who answered it."


A lot of companies have the "no assholes" rule. So if the greatest programmer ever is also a jerk, he's fired. Our rule is "no neutrals." So when the new guy walks down the hall, is my team drawn to him? Or do they divert their glance? If they divert their glance, we fire that person. I call it the hallway test, but it's more of a conceptual thing. The idea is when you put superstars together, you can ask, "What did you do today that excited the people around you and made them better at their jobs?" If you can't give examples, I don't want you here.

Other notes I jotted down while reading:

  • Check out Hootsuite (twitter client)
  • Check out
  • How do we get donors to talk about the joys of sponsorship? How do we move from Facebook to our main site? What (about our website or interacting with us electronically) would donors publicly criticize us for? Is that in any way shaping our future steps?
  • Need to get better at measuring and empowering the team to make their own decisions. How do I slow down and make that happen? Need to share more of the why.
  • Check out: "Mastery: The keys to success and...." George Leonard
  • Check out: "Fascinate: Seven triggers to...." Sally Hogshead

When Summer Banged on Winter's Door

Today turned out to be a good day. There were some things afoot that threatened that. They came to pass but like ripping off a bandwidth, once it was all accounted for, it was time to move on. And then in the rarest of gifts, a two-hour meeting was canceled. Well, postponed. Pain it forward, I guess. After a lunch break where I got in a great walk in great weather, I took my laptop and stayed in the breakroom half the day. I hadn't intended to, but when the battery was preparing to die, I wasn't ready to go back upstairs, so I went and got the power cord. I turned off new incoming email and really attacked the backlog and made significant progress. (I used the BlackBerry to keep new email at bay.) By the time I had turned email back on, my inbox was quite a bit lighter and there were over 40 queued up and ready to dispatch. I have a long ways to go, but it felt good and productive.

Tonight instead of doing any chores, I played with Rachel and Ben.

Dinner was a creamy potato soup with bacon and sour cream on top that Lori made. It was really good, but my stomach is growling and I hope I'll be able to sleep despite this odd hunger.

And Lost didn't stink.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

120: Fractured Facebook 2

Ok, here's the rules. I pick someone's Facebook status and then I expand on it. Here's the first one.
Came home to a missing hamster. Hope he shows up tonight.

Puffy would not show up that night. At that very moment, Puffy was hanging upside-down over a large storm drain, held by an very angry cat standing on his foot with all her weight. Once again he cursed his luck, having seen Bolt right before his owners left on vacation, leaving his cage open. He was as every bit a rodent as Rhino, right? Puffy that thought Rhino's only flaw was using his awesomeness for good. The cat was still yowling furiously about something boring but seemed to be slowing and becoming more sinister in her tone. Puffy took a deep breath and wriggled free, dropping into the swirling rushing water, wondering if he even knew how to swim.

He did. But not until after he spit out the two rings he had stored in his puffy cheeks and was able to come back to the surface for air. (Alica, the family's little girl had sworn Puffy was part squirrel.) But he swore that if he ever made it home his career as a jewel thief was over and that he was content to run on his little wheel and watch movies from the comfort of his cage.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Business Opportunity

I believe I have a good business idea. I believe it could be pulled off really inexpensively, but I believe we'd need to move quickly. Unfortunately, I'm just the idea guy.

I am looking for a designer and a programmer who would be willing to do something in their spare time in stealth mode as partners in my little venture.

I believe it's only a matter of time before someone really smart gets into this space and makes money, and I'd like that to be us. If you're interested, please contact me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The radio's playing some forgotten song

7:30 am - I'm guessing real-world physics don't support a gun that shoots small projectiles made of ice with enough force to shatter a car window because if they did, there would probably be a red pickup in our neighborhood with a missing back window today. In every possible way, in every dimension of space and time, in every possible alternate universe for all time forever and ever I had the right of way.

7:45 am - 32 degrees. Guess I'm not walking before work.

7:55 am - I guess I must be thankful for soundtracks to bad movies for the new music they expose me to. Without the Wayne's World 2 soundtrack, I doubt my iPod would otherwise ever play "Radar Love" by Golden Earring which is a great song to drive to. Searching for it on Google (because I didn't know who it was by) brings up some guy music critic named Bill Lamb who calls it one of the top 10 driving songs ever. Here is Bill Lamb's list: I have a number of these. To others that quickly come to mind for me -- "Kickstart My Heart" by Motley Crue and "I Will Not Go Quietly" by Don Henley. What about you, my few readers, what are your favorite driving songs?

9:15 am - A slightly slower morning. Getting caught up on stuff. Woo.

12:00 pm - Great chapel today. The speaker/preacher got really fired up, "2nd. Baptist" style. Lots of opportunities to shout "Amen!" Fun stuff. Great thought (paraphrased): Need is need is need. At that moment, it's not the time to ask them how they got there. God has blessed us so that we can bless others.

12:55 pm - Email from Travel Services advising us to backlog due to storms on the least coast. She signed it "warmly" hee

3:42 pm - Word of the day - disemprobablization. As in " the far-distant and totally-perfect future, the world starts becoming less and less probable, things fall apart, the center cannot hold, and there occurs what comes to be called the 'glitch' -- a grave danger of disemprobablization. This results in a time-traveling effort at saving the future..." (from an upcoming social video game)

5:00 pm - A former boss wrote "LOL I should have known better than to fence with you." I like getting stuff like that. Fun.


Sent an email today that I didn't want to send, to a *lot* of people. (A change in the way we do something here that's going to be seen as a decrease in service.) The responses so far:

"ok, this made my day. I am still laughing. LONG LIVE STEVE MARTIN! Hang in there James..... :)"

"Hang around you long enough and one begins to see a very quirky and interesting personality lurking there! Appreciate the thought you guys are putting into being excellent servants, and the good communication."

"James, beautifully written, eloquent, articulate, expressive, long, oh-no-not-more-process, okay-I-know-we-need-it..."

"Love the note. Made me laugh several times."

Who Ate My Pocket?

Who Ate My Pocket?

I've been noticing a disturbing trend lately and discussions with my colleague confirms it: dress shirts are more and more commonly not containing pockets.

I don't know if it's a style thing, a perception that no one needs them anymore, or if it's the Wal*Mart effect - as prices race towards zero, the extra scrap of fabric and time spent sewing it on is money. At $38 for your average shirt with 600,000 little pins holding it oh so perfect, not to mention about 3 pounds of cardboard, plastic and tissue paper, I'd like to think that they can afford to sew on a pocket.

But me, I need my pocket. Occasionally, I will keep a kleenex in it. But more commonly, that's where I keep my Bluetooth headset. (I don't like wearing it around constantly. I feel like, well, you know how people who wear them constantly are ridiculed.)

And when I'm cleaning up around the house, I might put a found tiny child's toy there temporarily to make sure Ben doesn't find it and put it in his mouth.

Occasionally my phone or a credit or security card if I'm using it a lot in a short amount of time.

But mostly the Bluetooth. (A new coworker once saw the blue blink a few times while talking to me and thought I had a heart monitor. I told him that you never wanted to see it go red.)

So, yeah, shirt makers of the world - bring back the pocket!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Odds and Ends 6


SEATTLETRANSITBLOG.COM -- Nodes and Places - a look at why you'd design the space around transit spaces differently based on where they are. (Though I'd still like to see all transit stops be both, personally.)


LIFEHACKER.COM -- Store your board games by displaying them as art - clever idea. Though seems like you'd be spending a lot on custom framing and still need a place to store all the pieces. Still, could look kinda cool in a game room.


BOSTON.COM -- If a picture is worth 1,000 words, this is the site.

SEATTLETRANSITBLOG.COM -- A great piece on addressing bus violence in Seattle with advice for everyone. Well, except the losers perpetuating the violence.


EMAILEXPERIENCE.ORG -- Yikes. Facebook apps now want your email address so they can spam you. And they'll undoubtedly use all their same tricks to con you into agreeing to give it to them.


WIRED.COM -- To be successful, airlines need to align with rail to provide more options while eliminating silly short-haul flights that are unnecessarily clogging the airports.


MSNBC.COM -- American to charge $15 for 5 minutes' use of bathroom - No, not really. But when they do, you saw it here first.


DAILYTELEGRAPH.CO.UK -- Twins learn of their brother's death via Facebook before the police have a chance to notify them. On their birthday.


ORPHANROAD.COM -- Some early April Fools suggestions for the Link "Next Stop" signs


MASHABLE.COM -- Pranksters attach a GPS device to a Google Street car

This is a strange enough new play on words

I just posted something on Facebook. It made me do one of those captchas. The words I had to type "believe joie" - fitting. It's weird that I'm marveling at it, but I'm feeling really good right now. Not ecstatic, not exuberant, not overjoyed, hyper or thrilled. Just good. Good, relaxed, happy, satisfied. Satisfied is a good word. Is a good feeling. Satisfaction, accomplishment, worry-free. I'm not exactly sure what made it that way, but I'm really enjoying it. I got a full hour walk in at lunch, I got some yoga and strength exercise in and now I'm doing freestep. But I think it's more than that. My drive home was good. The time with my family tonight was pretty nice. By the time I had gotten home, they had mostly already eaten, so I got to eat standing up hanging out in the kitchen leaning on the counter. Much of that time eating hotdogs one-handed while I held Ben. And I folded some laundry while listening to music and I did some sudoku and something's clicked recently. I'm rarely scribbling out a puzzle because I've hopelessly screwed it up. My weight was up this morning, but that was to be expected after yesterday's party. There was so much food here. The nice thing is that a party like that cleans up so quickly. People grabbed up their serving dishes, other people put chairs back where they belonged, Corey disconnected the projector and I rehung the mirror on the wall. It takes longer to clean up after small group. Still, I wonder if this is the last Superbowl party we have and the last Superbowl party we watch. I have to wonder if by next year political agendas will have pushed the commercials over the line to where they're too far past family-friendly. Work today was good. We did something new today. I'm not a super-fan of it because it isn't as customer-friendly as the way we used to do things, but it sets up a better environment for everyone in our group and almost completely eliminates the ability for people to come in and try to shove their way to the front of the line in terms of requests. And something else cool happened that it's not yet time to share about. So, yeah, I feel good and I like it.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Odds and Ends 5


SEATTLETRANSITBLOG.COM -- Capitol Hill Community Council's Streetcar Proposal


ENGADGET.COM -- Trexa EV development platform is modular, extremely customizable - a "mule" that contains all of the mechanical propulsion parts of a car, on which you can build whatever you want, whether it's a sports car or a small SUV.


ENGADGET.COM -- EMP Cannon remotely diables car - a short video with like 1 second of actual usefulness wrapped up in some horrible writing (dude, car chases weren't on cable)


LIFEHACKER.COM -- TouchMouse Controls Your Computer's Mouse and Keyboard via iPhone or iPod touch - this is actually a very cool gift from Logitech. Thanks, Logitech!


ENGADGET.COM -- Sensorly is a Android/iPhone/WinMo app that continuously monitors your WiFi and cell coverage and feeds it back to a website for a crowdsourced map of coverage. (That is, the more people that use it, the better the map is.)


SEATTLE.GOV -- Westlake Streetcard Plaza/McGraw Square


ENGADGET.COM -- Turbine Light Concept - wind turbines attached to light poles use the wind from freeway traffic to generate power for the lights. Cool.


SETHGODIN.COM -- Awesome. Why "Tell me what to do" doesn't deserve a direct answer.


Here's Leno and O'Brien ice-skating. Eh. Kept expecting Jay to just maliciously toss Conan aside at one point and then grind a skate into him or something.


Puppy Cries Like a Baby

Friday, February 05, 2010

A fox trot above my head

8:30 am - Interesting idea in devos today - being a Living Bible for people who will never read the printed one.

8:50 am - The "S" key is starting to go bad on my laptop. And since the "J" key is dying on my BlackBerry, you'll soon be able to tell which device I used to email you based on whether the email comes from "ames" or "Jame"

1:45 pm - mystery at 2:30. My bet is on cake.

2:10 pm - suspect of everybody and everything. I'm not sure which is worse - surprises or incomplete information. Ignorance truly is bliss.

3:10 pm - So, no cake. No mass iPhone distribution. Just probably the biggest example of irony I've ever seen in my life.

4:45 pm - Wow. That boy aint right. Bridge burning? Table for 1. Bridge burning?

5:29 pm - I am soooo late.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay

8:20 am - I feel good.  Today's going to be a good day.  Got up early enough to get in some yoga and 30 minute walk, got laundry out of the dryer, moved the load from the washer to the dryer that had run overnight, started a new load, gave the cats their medication and food, still got here early enough to get in a short walk before work.  Heard Glass Tiger and Dire Straights on the way in and my inbox is still clean from yesterday.  I have 11 things on my calendar for today, but one of them is lunch with my family and another is just some blocked time to work.

1:05 pm - Lori, Rachel and Ben brought me lunch today.  I think it was some of the best Panda Express I've ever had.  Too bad they only gave us one cookie and no napkins.

3:05 pm - Ok, just left a meeting for another meeting and that was so quick I'm now going to head back to the previous meeting.

3:40 pm - Woo hoo.  Done with all of my meetings for the day.  Ok, so one of them I completely missed but so did 2 of the other 3 attendees, so I don't feel too bad.

5:30 pm - Cool.  A good day.  Time to go home.

From one of our email admins...

haha awesome

Colts or Saints? Either Way, Winning Outcome for Children in Need

Press Release from World Vision

February 4, 2010

Colts or Saints? Either Way, Winning Outcome for Children in Need
Super Bowl apparel bound for Haiti through aid agency World Vision

SEATTLE, Wash. — Regardless of which Super Bowl team is victorious in Miami on February 7th, one thing is certain – either outcome will benefit the children and families left with few possessions after Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake. World Vision, the humanitarian organization which annually receives all donated, post-season apparel from the NFL and its partners, will this year send Super Bowl game-day clothing to Haiti, followed by larger quantities in the coming months.

Haitian children and families not only need life’s basics and the ongoing generosity of Americans through established relief organizations, they need some semblance of joy restored in their lives – and the dignity that new clothes bring. In the coming months, when clothing can be appropriately integrated into its relief response, product donations from the NFL and its partners will be distributed by World Vision.

“For years, World Vision has helped us to ensure that no NFL apparel goes to waste,” said David Krichavsky, NFL Director of Community Relations. “With the enormous needs in Haiti and World Vision’s long-term presence there, we know that these goods will go to very good use.”

Prior to championship games, Reebok produces shirts and caps and McArthur Towel & Sports produces Trophy Towels, announcing each team as the winner. These items are kept on hand for the winning team’s players to wear immediately following the game. Since 1992, World Vision has accepted thousands of unusable shirts and caps following football’s biggest event.

Additionally, major sporting good retailers and manufacturers donate large quantities of official apparel that they have stocked in anticipation of either team winning the Super Bowl. On average, this equates to about 100 pallets annually – or $2 million worth. Instead of being destroyed, the losing team’s items are shipped from the host city to World Vision’s International Distribution Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

World Vision also receives counterfeit NFL team apparel through its work with United States Customs. The program began in 1991 at the Storehouse of World Vision through a donation of confiscated goods from Los Angeles Customs. World Vision disburses confiscated goods and official, licensed apparel only in pre-approved, developing nations.

About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, visit

Available resources:
·B-roll and photos of past three years’ distributions, including: Arizona Cardinals in El Salvador, New England Patriots in Nicaragua, and Chicago Bears in Zambia

For more information, contact:
Karen Kartes,, (253) 815-2163 or mobile (206) 351-4315
Anne Duffy,, (202) 572-6340 or mobile (360) 513-4273
Clare Graff,, (212) 450-2435 (office)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Genie

A guy was walking along the beach and saw a brass lamp in the shallow water, being nudged by each incoming wave. It looked like at any moment, the next wave might dislodge the lamp and it would float out to sea. He looked carefully at the lamp, it looked like one you'd find a genie in, if this were a fairy tale.

He looked around quickly and not seeing anyone else - and nothing that looked like a hidden camera, quickly scooped it up and hid it under his jacket and kept walking.

When he got back to his car, he pulled out the lamp to look more closely at it. As he brushed off the sand, smoke began to pour from the spout and suddenly a guy who looked just like you'd expect a genie to look was sitting in his passenger seat.

"Greetings," he spoke, "I am the genie of the lamp and if you'll allow me to grant you three wishes -- anything you want -- I'll be free of this lamp for a thousand years."

the guy thought it over and decided to play along. "Ok, I'd like to see the Mariners win the World Series this year."

The genie snapped his fingers "Done," pulling four tckets from his vest and placing them on the dash. "It's gonna be tough, but I can make it happen. Alrighty," he said looking around the car, "what's next? Maybe a new car?" he said picking upa fast food wrapped from the floor.

The man thought and then said "I've got it! I'd like to see the Seahawks in the Superbowl year after next."

The genie looked at him, stunned. "Really? Not a nice BMW? Or maybe an Rolls Royce? Mind's made up, huh?" the genie sighed and said "Ok, well this will be a rebuilding year and they are due." and pulled four tickets from his vest and placed them on the dash.

"And for my third wish..."

"Yes?" asked the genie hesitantly.

"I'd like the Cougars to win the Rose Bowl in three years!"

Without a word, the genie reach out, took the Mariners and Seahawks tickets from the dashboard, tore them up and said "well, I guess another thousand years in the lamp isn't *that* bad" and prompty vanished.

Painstakingly pecked entirely with the onscreen keyboard of an iPod Touch. Any typos (c) Steve Jobs. This would definitely be easier with an actual keyboard. Just saying.


I really want to post, but I'm feeling uninspired to post. At the moment, I'm doing some freestep. I didn't want to do that, either, but I didn't get any yoga in and I only got 20 minutes in this morning instead of the usual 30. 15 minutes left. Just watched a TV show, but there wasn't time to watch an hour-long show or two 30-minute shows, so now I have 15 minute to fill. Lori's riding the exercise bike and playing on the iPod Touch and has tuned it into House Hunters International, but I've turned away from the TV to face the computer. I could move things so that I could see both, but I don't want to. As it is, I'll be done right at 10:30 which is the time we now try to get upstairs by. Rachel's still up. I can hear her talking. I'm worried we're going to go up there and find that she's turned her light on again. I've toyed with the idea of getting some parts from Radio Shack to build a little device that buzzes when it gets too much light. It would be a good deterrent to her having her light on when she's supposed to be sleeping. Today was a pretty good day. I think I was able to keep up with everything. There's a few more things I want to do on the computer for work, but I'll probably wait until I'm done walking, it's much harder to mouse around while walking, compared to typing which is pretty easy when you can just rest your hands on the part of the laptop below the keys. But it's also making my neck sore. I'd like to listen to music, which is why I need to get down sooner, so that I can do that and walk and swing my arms and get more exercise in before Lori comes down. Not exactly sure why, but got down here way too late tonight. Disappointing. I feel like this is a completely pointless post and so I'm going to stop now because I'm feeling cross at myself for writing such drivel.

Odds and Ends 4


SLASHDOT.COM -- Oct. 23, 2001 - Apple releases a new product called an iPod. What does Slashdot think?


SCOBLEIZER.COM -- Can Adobe Flash be saved? Scoble's prognosis is pretty dire.


ENGADGET.COM -- Tesla's roadster will go off the market in 2011, leaving the automaker without a product until 2012 sedan. Replacement for roadster planned for 2013.


UNCLUTTERER.COM -- Great post on how to tame mail. Of course, I'd add "get a post office box"


SETHGODIN.COM -- Who will save us? People who ask that are already too far gone.


SETHGODIN.COM -- Random rules for ideas worth spreading - some accuse Seth of just putting common ideas into easily digestible nuggets. And God love him for that, it's great to hear this stuff.


Avatar Review, Part 1. (Not safe for work, not recommended for viewing by my church friends.)


Avatar Review, Part 2. (Not safe for work, not recommended for viewing by my church friends.)


TED: Bjarke Ingels: 3 warp-speed architecture tales


TED: Joshua Prince-Ramus: Building a theater that remakes itself

Monday, February 01, 2010

But Have Not Love

So in early May 1997, I bought a cat from a pet store. I had been living in Los Angeles on my own for a year and I guess I wanted something alive in my apartment. I felt uninspired in naming choices and eventually named her Carol after the Youth Director of our church when I was in high school. Over the years, she's been a constant companion. She's lived in four apartments and two houses, she's gone on several round-trip Seattle to L.A. trips and even went camping once. She's met Morticia when Lori and I got married, welcomed in Tinsel when we found her as a stray (at Christmas time. The Tinsel/Christmas Carol thing is more of a side-thought.) The endured the tiny puppy Barkley and then the monster kitten Cash who now has her beat by 10 pounds. She saw Tinsel and Morticia pass away and Barkley go to live on a farm (for real). And now, she's on thyroid medicine and a special diet because she's got severe kidney failure, probably next in line. Her weight has dropped to 6, but it's been improving slightly.

I feel bad because I feel like in some ways, I'm already mourning her, but also thinking that when she does pass, that there will be some relief. She has some bad habits and/or medical problems that means we can't let her wander around the house unsupervised and therefore, she and Cash end up spending a lot of time in our laundry room. And even then, it takes more work to keep that room clean because she gets sick and throws up quite a bit.

So for a few hours each night, we do spend some time with them while we watch TV and exercise, but I feel bad.

But I wonder if I'm going to properly mourn and miss my friend of so many years when she goes. Which could be several years with this new diet, which is good, but it's still something that's weighed upon my mind.