Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stretch Sketched

(Cross-posted to YouVersion.com)

Stretch Sketched (Message #1 of s t r e t c h)
Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.; www.oursaviorsbaptist.org (My notes from the 9 and 10:45 am
services, I pray they will be useful for you.)

What is "s t r e t c h"? (Philippians 3:10-17)

--- About Stretching ---

static - hold a stretch until your muscle screams - especially good part-way and after exercising. At least 20 seconds.
active - stretching and unstretching repeatedly. Strengthens and lengthens muscles.

Stretching prevents injury, increases blood flow, amplifies your exercise benefits. You will be healthier and you will feel better. Even if you only stretch, even if you don't do any other exercise.

--- About Spiritual Stretching ---

- It prepares you TO DO what you really want TO DO.

It trains you and involves you in things you want to do (in some cases, you may not yet realize you want to - kind of like me and running. I never realized I liked it and still dread it sometimes, but I usually enjoy it while I'm out there doing it.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

How Not to Sell a Car

So when you build a Hyundai online, the price is displayed in the top right corner. (The red box is mine.)


Anyhow, as you select options, the price changes with a flourish.  Since they start you at the base level, you're constantly pushing the price up as you add radio, doors, tires, etc.

So this little flourish, which looks great when telling you how much you've won at a slot machine is actually quite annoying when the price is ticking up by two or three-thousand each time you click another option.

It's almost as if they're jovial that they're about to get more money from you every time you add something else.

I think it should be a very subtle adjustment and not call attention to itself.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Sift 296-300

The Sift 296: Amazon
  • Amazon lockers come to NYC, no more getting caught by UPS in your PJs
  • Amazon Lets You Manage Your Print Magazine Subscriptions
  • Kindle Touch Disables 3G Web Browsing
  • Californians Get Another Year of Tax-Free Purchases from Amazon
  • Ad-supported Kindle 4 has built-in $30 "upgrade", gets rid of embedded special offers
Read more...

The Sift 297: Cars
  • DeLorean DMC-12 EV announced for 2013 production, Doc Brown's whip gets real... electric
  • Waze 3.0 brings foursquare searching
  • Peugeot’s Future Car is Called "World’s First Diesel Hybrid"
  • U.S. Army Could Replace the Humvee with the Diesel Hybrid L-ATV
  • Consider an Auto Auction for a Great Deal on a Used Car

Thursday, October 27, 2011

500 in 300: Running Up the Numbers

This isn't good.  Life has continued fight against me in terms of my getting out there and running.


I'm still ahead, but I've slipped even a little more.

Yesterday was day 77 and I've reached 142.34 miles.  I only needed to reach 128.33, so if I don't run again until 11/2, I'm still ahead.   It's hard to believe, however, that I still have 357 miles to go.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Let's Get Intentional (A Work-Related Post)

I've joked at work that we need fewer sign-makers and more microwave repair requestors.  Because you know what I think of signs and what I think of signs.


There is definitely an epidemic of microwave failures at work.  Probably at least 4 out of 9 are dead right now.

But as I looked at them today I was struck by a different thought.  When are they going to fix them?  Have they called someone?  Or do they just want us to buy hot food from the cafeteria and stop bringing our own lunches from home?

It's quite possible that we could come in tomorrow and see 4 new microwaves.  Or a guy with a screwdriver in his mouth murmuring to himself as he dissects them all.

But expectations are not being managed.

What if the signs said "Out of Order - Replacement on Order - Scheduled for Oct. 27 Delivery"?

What if every time you made a promise, you were specific?  You had to commit.  No empty promises.
"I'll give you a call *tomorrow before noon.*" 
"I'll look into that get back to you *no later than Friday.*" 
"We should definitely do lunch.  I'll send you a meeting invite *as soon as I get back to my desk.*" 
"We will get that fixed.  We will send a status update *every 2 hours until it's fixed.*"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stop Me If You've Heard This One

So... yeah... my car's dead.  Not completely.  But it wouldn't start.  I think it's at Midas, but I'm not sure.  This evening, the tow truck came and carefully extricated it from our driveway.  Almost no scraping whatsoever, very impressive considering that crazy annoying driveway and street of ours.

And then the tow truck took off and I followed it down the street until it made the turn and I got stuck waiting for a lot of cross-traffic.   And then a few blocks later, they made a weird turn.  I figured they were just lost, so I pulled over and waited for awhile.   But they never reappeared, so I figured they looped around and went back the other way down a side-street.  It made sense, it would mean no u-turn at a median if they went that way instead of the way they had started.

So I looped around, looked, didn't see them, looped around and headed to Midas.  I got the paperwork started, and then I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally, the phone rang.  The tow truck had broken down.  Again... THE TOW TRUCK BROKE DOWN.

So a new tow truck was coming and then they'd bring it on to Midas.  I said I was going to head home and they agreed to drop the keys in the drop box.   So, yeah, hopefully my car is at Midas.

I'm pretty sure it's not going to be cheap.  We have a cut-off.  If the cost is more than that amount then we're declining, paying to have it towed home and buying a new car.  I hope it doesn't come to that.  Because I am nowhere near ready to buy a new car, if you remember how long it took me to pick a cell phone.

(Of course, as was confirmed in Cars 2, there's no way this would happen to Mater. © Disney/Pixar.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Sift 291-295

The Sift 291: Health
  • Shapeways serves up prêt-à-imprimer 3D bones, Lagerfeld stands by for full skeletal replacement
  • Scientists Discover Passive Virus Can Destroy Breast Cancer Cells
  • Exercise Like a Convict for an Equipment-Free Workout
  • Set Alarms Throughout the Day to Remind You to Drink Water
  • New Study Links In Utero BPA Exposure To Breast Cancer
Read more...

The Sift 292: Entertainment and Media
  • Netflix Drops Qwikster, DVDs and Streaming Will Stay Together
  • Ditching DRM could reduce piracy, prices, inconvenience
  • Comcast testing pay-per-package, still afraid of a-la-carte
  • Apple Could Put Movies in the Cloud by the End of 2011
  • Netflix Is Getting The CW’s Programming
Read more...

The Sift 293: Google
  • Google loads up on IP again, buys 1,000 more patents from IBM
  • Blogger's Slideshow Feature
  • Google Earth Has Been Downloaded 1 Billion Times
  • Google Acquisition Rumor Debunk Can’t Keep Akamai Stock Down
  • Google Maps Adds 3D Graphics, Lets You Zoom Into Street View
Read more...

The Sift 294: Energy, Environment and Science
  • Sloan’s Innovative AQUS Grey Water Toilet System Recycles Your Sink Water
  • Google Invests in the Power of Pig Poop
  • New Mexico's science ghost town
  • Scientists Design a Fake Volcano for Climate Change Experiment
  • Mike Biddle: We Can Recycle Plastic
Read more...

The Sift 295: Apple
  • California Declares Oct. 16 as Steve Jobs Day
  • iPhone 4S: 4 Reasons to Upgrade
  • New iPhone Blues: Why Apple’s CEO Doesn’t Care What You Hoped to See
  • Unanswered Steve Jobs questions
  • Apple’s iCloud: Fine on Mobile, Dead on the Desktop
Read more...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Curb Appeal

So here's the problem... we have some curb appeal issues.  Your typical 1978 home, functional, but boxy, the cut off edges on roofs are odd.  (I used two Google Street View photos and removed a large tree to get this picture, hence the shadow for a non-existent tree and the weird stuff above the roofline.)


We've always been interested in the Craftsman Bungalow style of homes.  I had designed a whole new front to our last home, but then we didn't stay long enough to really think much about it.

In Washington, they've taken a twist on it.  It's a little bit simpler, but it's been applied to larger homes.   I've seen some great examples recently on my runs and so this has been rattling around in my head for some time now.  Finally tonight I hacked something together using a simple program while I was doing freestep.   Some of the lines are crooked, but this is as much time as I want to invest in it tonight.


Now, I don't have the money to even think about this right now, hence the simple hack job.

But I wonder what the HOA would say.  I would hope they'd like it.



Saturday, October 22, 2011

Oh, the weather outside is frightful....


Ok, there it is... first sighting of 2011.  Saturday, Nov. 5.  If past experience tells me anything, Accuweather will continue to keep it on day 15 of the 15-day forecast for several more days, and then it will slowly move forward on the prediction and then just before it gets here, it'll turn to rain.

Previous first sighting that I noted on here (living in Washington this will probably be a thing I do):
2010 - Saturday, Nov. 13
2008 - Wednesday, Oct. 22 (hey! that's today.  a few years ago.)

Yes, I am still rocking Accuweather version 3.x.  And will continue to do so as long as at all possible.  Accuweather versions 4 and 5 stink.  Boo!  (So why keep Accuweather?  Accuweather doesn't get it right every time, but it's right far more times than it's wrong which is the complete reverse of Weather.com, at least back in 2006 when I last did as close as I was going to get to a scientific survey of the two.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

What's It Going to Be?

Some interesting thoughts in my head recently.

Studying earlier this week for small group, the reading asked "What is your idol?"  That is, "What do you place above Jesus?"  The book gave some examples and I thought "control" fit quite nicely.

We had another assessment with our son for therapy and that always makes me think about how I'm probably undiagnosed ADHD and probably somewhere on the autism spectrum myself.

I talked with a friend at lunch today about our social struggles.  He as an extrovert who's always surprised at what comes out of his mouth and me as an introvert.  We both end up struggling socially for different reasons but with the same results.

Small group tonight asked the question "What do you do in your quiet time?"  I didn't understand and I wasn't alone.  It also asked the question "What would you do if you found yourself waiting on a street corner for a friend and they were late and there was nothing to read or look at?"  I thought I would be mad at my friend for making me wait and I'd be worried that I'd lost my phone.

It also asked the question "What do you have nightmares of? What do you fear losing most? What makes you get up in the morning?"  I couldn't think of when I last had a nightmare.  The closest thing I could think of is that sometimes I'm up against people who are hunting me or want to kill me or harm others.  But it's not about me running or trying to flee, it's about me fighting, trying to get the upper-hand.

So am I my own idol?

It's weird... with all the technology, there is no more quiet time.  From the moment I get up I'm checking my email and Facebook, then Wii Fit and TV/DVR and Google Reader.  It is quiet in the shower.  Someone suggested that's the only remaining refuge.  That was interesting, so I thought about what I think about in the shower.  It turns out that I either don't think of anything (zone out) or come up with really crazy interesting ideas for work.  Is work an idol?

Then it's in the car.  Waze gives me details about traffic while the iPhone plays music.  Then I'm bombarded constantly at work.  Maybe I'll take a run at lunch and listen to music.  Or read a magazine while I walk.  For the drive home I'll listen to a podcast from Saddleback and then flip back to music when it's done.  It doesn't shut off at home and then after the kids are in bed, I might go for another run and then it's back to the Wii Fit with the laptop and the TV again.  And then, finally, bed.  Even on Sunday, even if I attend two church services, I hang out in the technical booth and even if I'm listening to the sermon twice and taking notes, I'm taking them for the purpose of putting them on my blog and another website.

I joked today that I felt like I had several areas under control and yet I haven't shaved in four days.   So control might not be entirely it.  If anything, it's only the illusion or perception of control - try to keep everything up in the air long enough to buy some time and hope that something comes up.

So if not control, perhaps it's that - noise, motion, activity... is that an idol?  Am I drowning out God?  Would attempting to create quiet time be yet another activity I cram into my scheduled, orderly, controlled life?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CDO and the Thermostat

A little insight into the crazy world that is my insanity.

I'm not into numerology, but the weirdest things that normal, sane people don't give a second thought to, have connotations to me.

I've decided that a fully customizable thermostat for my home or car is one that would let me skip numbers ending in:

1 - it's an odd number.  71?  Can't make up your mind?

3 - it's also an odd number and unnecessary.  72 is the typical accepted preferred temperature by most people.  It's cozy.  You're being obstinate and difficult if you want 73.

4 - if you need it that hot, just go to 75 and be done with it.  Otherwise you're being wishy-washy and unable to commit.  (Yeah, I know.. you think I'm the one that should be committed.)

6 - again, you're fine with 75.  What are you trying to prove with 76?

7 - an odd number.  Odd ending numbers are unsettling.  Except 5 because it serves as a mid-way point.  Which makes it sort of an honorary even number.

9 - also unnecessary.  68 - I get it... you're trying to be economical, you want to avoid drafts but you want to save a little money -- but what are you trying to say with 69?  You're not fooling anyone, cheapskate.  If you really want that next level, just commit to it already and go with 70.

OK, that's all.  Thanks for playing.  (This post is not based on me being frustrated with anyone, just something that's occupied way too much of my time when I'm driving.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Sift 286-290

The Sift 286: Entertainment, Technology, Fun and Games
  • Addicted to Angry Birds? Here’s Help
  • NBC, TNT and TBS iPad apps add full-length episodes, won't bring back Steve Carell
  • I Might Not Be An Author
  • Netflix spins DVD-by-mail service off into Qwikster, says it's 'done' with price changes
  • Could Homer Simpson get his own channel?
Read more...

The Sift 287: Entertainment and Technology
  • Rebrickable Offers New Things to Build with Old LEGO Sets
  • Disney to Re-release 4 Hit Animated Movies in 3D
  • Hulu Could Get New Episodes of Arrested Development
  • This concept wants you to smell it, smell it, Smellit
  • DirecTV's five tuner, RVU-ready HR34 DVR revealed

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

500 in 300: The Road to Oblivion

Figures... I had an excellent really long run the other day, and then got sick right after.  I finally had a run today.  


I'm bummed that my average per day is now under 2.  I need to work on that.

This is day 70.  That's 23.33% of the way to 300 days.

I am 131.73 miles.  That's 26.35% of the way to 500 miles.

At this rate, I'll hit 500 miles on day 266.  That's still early, but I'll like to be even earlier.  I suppose that's silly, to set a goal and then treat it as something to be beat, but that's just me.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sick Again

I picked up the cold that's been floating around our home.  Sore throat and a lot of kleenex.  I didn't do much today but eat a lot of food and drink lots of coffee.  Watched some TED talks, but then I do that pretty regularly.  Didn't do a lot on the computer but did get caught up on Remember the Milk and Google Reader and read a bunch of GMail.

We'll see how my throat feels in the morning, whether I'll make it to work tomorrow or not.  Ironic since I was complaining about how slow things were moving and being upset at other people's (completely legitimate and unfortunate) outages.

Irony.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How Much is Enough?

How Much is Enough?
Message #4 of "Christian Sticky Wickets" - Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011 - Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash. (www.oursaviorsbaptist.org)

--- "Stuff" ---

George Carlin:
House - a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff. You lock up your house so people don't take your stuff. Because they always take the good stuff. When you go on vacation, you load up two suitcases of stuff and you go to a hotel and you unload your stuff and now you feel good because you have your little house to keep your stuff. Eventually we have to buy bigger houses because we've run out of places for our stuff.

Why do we work so hard to make money to buy stuff that we throw away after a few years. Why are storage units popping up like crazy? (They are bigger than most homes in India.)

* More than a billion people live on $1 per day
* 2 billion live on less than $2 per day
* 26,000 children will die today to preventable starvation or disease. (It would take 27 hours for all of the children in Federal Way under the age of 18 to be dead at that rate.)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

For Sale: You

Got this email recently from Barnes & Noble.   I had seen earlier articles, so knew it was coming, but this is kinda big.  When Borders shut down, it went into receivership.  The new owners sold off all they could, including the big database of Borders customers.  That would include you if you ever participated in their free or paid members clubs.  In some ways, we all got lucky.  Apparently it was a heated auction and in the end Barnes & Nobles purchased your contact information from the defunct Borders.  Now B&N has a compelling reason to be careful with how it uses the information, but still, if you're a little creeped out about your information just going to the highest bidder, you can ask B&N to destroy your info.

Here's the letter I received.  There's specific instructions and timelines for opting-out of the B&N machine with emphasis added by me.
Dear Borders Customer,

My name is William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble, and I'm writing to you today on
behalf of the entire B&N team to make you aware of important information regarding your Borders account.

First of all let me say Barnes & Noble uniquely appreciates the importance bookstores play within local communities, and we're very sorry your Borders store closed.

As part of Borders ceasing operations, we acquired some of its assets including Borders brand trademarks and their customer list. The subject matter of your DVD and other video purchases will be part of the transferred information. The federal bankruptcy court approved this sale on September 26, 2011.

Our intent in buying the Borders customer list is simply to try and earn your business. The majority of our stores are within close proximity to former Borders store locations, and for those that aren't, we offer our award- winning NOOK™ digital reading devices that provide a bookstore in your pocket. We are readers like you, and hope that through our stores, NOOK devices, and our bn.com online bookstore we can win your trust and provide you with a place to read and shop.

It's important for you to understand however you have the absolute right to opt-out of having your customer data transferred to Barnes & Noble. If you would like to opt-out, we will ensure all your data we receive from Borders is disposed of in a secure and confidential manner. Please visit www.bn.com/borders by November 2, 2011 to do so.

Should you choose not to opt-out by November 2, 2011, be assured your information will be covered under the Barnes & Noble privacy policy, which can be accessed at www.bn.com/privacy. B&N will maintain any of your data according to this policy and our strict privacy standards.

At Barnes & Noble we share your love of books — whatever shape they take. We also take our responsibility to service communities by providing a local bookstore very seriously. In the coming weeks, assuming you don't opt-out, you'll be hearing from us with some offers to encourage you to shop our stores and try our NOOK products. We hope you'll give us a chance to be your bookstore.

Respectfully,

William Lynch /s/

(images for Barnes & Noble and Borders)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Something-ist Fish?


Why does Gilbert just get a little stamp sized image on the side (with bio) while Finn gets the hero shot on the front of the package when this is a package full of Gilberts?

Pepperidge Farm, why you gotta make this into a brown versus orange thing?  Put Gilbert on the front where he belongs.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Sift 281-285

The Sift 281: Food and Health
  • Use a Hair Dryer to Give Cakes a Glossy Finish
  • Cornell’s New 3-D Printer Lets You Print Food in Any Shape and Texture
  • Ben & Jerry’s Schweddy Balls: Big on Twitter
  • Forget the Standing Desk; You Just Need to Move Regularly
  • Walgreens to donate a flu shot for each foursquare checkin
Read more...

The Sift 282: Google
  • Fusion Tables, a New Google Docs App
  • Google’s South Korea Office Raided
  • Announcing the Blogger app for iOS
  • Offline Google Docs
  • YouTube unveils post-production suite, includes Instagram-like effects and shake reduction

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Importance of Testing (A Work-Related Post)

Yesterday Apple released iTunes 10.5 in anticipation of today's launch of iOS5.  Also launching today, iCloud.com - the cloudy part of the whole Apple ecosystem to keep everything synched.  

Sign in easily enough with the same username and password I have for iTunes and all my media and app purchases.  

Only thing active so far is Find My Phone.  But there's a small bubble at the top informing me that mail, contacts, calendar and iWork is available after I upgrade to iOS5 or OS X Lion and an invitation to click the link for more information.


So I clicked it.  Uh...


I suppose this will be fixed quickly enough, but it does show the importance of always testing, even the dumb little stuff.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

500/300 - The Gap Closes


The gap is closing.  At 1.85 miles per day on average, that's barely more than what I needed from the start in order to finish on time.  And that's sad.  We've had some heavy rains the last few nights and I wasn't going to run last night but I posted about the rains and one friend said "So? Run" and the other said "Dude, you live in Seattle. Rain is not an excuse."  I'm paraphrasing, but yes, they made persuasive arguments.  Another later added "Just do it" but I didn't see that until I had just done it.

I ran.  It was a slippery affair with blustery winds off the sound, quite cold, and it was late, so it was a short run.  But it was more than 1.67 miles and I did feel good after I got home. Not that fleeting runner's high, but a more sustained positive feeling.  It seemed kinda new.  I appreciated it.  It gives me a renewed vigor.

They're right.  Rain?  I need to shower afterwards anyhow, so maybe it's more efficient to run in the rain.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pushy Salespeople

I hate those "today only" deals from salespeople.  As a result of one, we are switching from Comcast to CenturyLink and DirecTV.  I'm not convinced that we're going to get a decent signal in the rain from DirecTV ("They launched nine new satellites!" he kept saying) or that they're going to have an easy time setting up the whole house DVR system (more stuff added to our wireless network?).  Or that the prices will remain that good.  Unsure.  On the other hand, I finally talked Lori into getting a Google Voice number after CenturyLink was unable to port over our phone number.  So long 517-THUG.  But, the internet's supposed to be fiber optic, so they swear it'll always be consistently fast.  And we are saving money every month over Comcast.  So that's good.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Sexual Purity

(Cross-posted on YouVersion. Click over there for bible verses.)

Sexual Purity 
Message #3 of "Christian Sticky Wickets" - Our Savior's Baptist Church; Federal Way, Wash.; www.oursaviorsbaptist.org; Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011. My notes from the 9 and 10:45 am services, I pray they will be useful to you.

--- Why is s-e-x such a difficult for Christians? ---

It's a very personal thing. We are all wired for it, but we wrestle with our desires. In some area, every one of us has failed and we don't want to be reminded of it.

We live in a highly sexualized world. It's not simple to live purely in such a world. TV flaunts crudity and nudity. Certain lines of clothing suggest to buy theirs is the quickest way to be out of their clothes. Movies often portray sex as the outcome of true love and that nothing should stand in the way of it. The main characters might not even make it to the end, but everything is somehow OK if they at least have sex before they die.

Christians are bombarded. We grow blasé about it. And then we step into church and there's a whole different set of rules and values.

God has a higher ideal for sex.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Sift 276-280

The Sift 276: Web Development
  • Unfurlr: What’s Hiding Behind That Shortened URL?
  • Rich snippets help you find music more easily
  • Form Design
  • Fresh WebSuction Downloads Entire Web Sites for Offline Viewing
  • JPEGmini Shrinks Photos’ File Sizes Online, Without Reducing Quality
Read more...

The Sift 277: Cars
  • Rimac Automobili unveils 1,088 horsepower Concept One electric supercar
  • Fisker Surf plug-in hybrid: five doors of good Karma
  • Volvo unveils Concept You luxury sedan, dripping with touchscreens
  • BMW i3 electric and i8 plug-in cars on display at Frankfurt
  • Engadget previews Ferrari's future hypercars at the World Design Contest

Friday, October 07, 2011

120: Now

The only sound in the house was the sound of the computer's fan.  He padded around slowly in his socks, listening.  Nothing.  The creaking of the floor, the sound of his own feet, and as he passed the window, the white noise of the nearby street.  But otherwise, nothing.  There were three other people in the house, but they weren't making noise.

He continued his survey, walking in a circle and returning to the computer.  He began to type, still listening for noise.  He'd wished the house was a little darker, but he could see several lights on.  It had been a long day, a good day, but now he was grateful for the silence.  There had been meetings, oh, so many, many meetings.  All but one had run long.  And as a result, he'd had but a 30-minute lunch and he spent that working as well.  Good thing he enjoyed his job so much.

He wiped at some dust on the screen and then leaned closer to blow on it, pausing, listening.  Still no sound.  Surprising.  He made the circuit again - dining room, kitchen, hall, living room.  The creaking of the house, the padding of his footsteps, the ticking of a clock and the sound of traffic, the clicking of light switches being turned off.  Still, so silent.  The refrigerator.  Shouldn't that have been making noise?  He opened the door.  The light was on and it felt cold.  Maybe it was quieter than he realized.  Ah... there it was... shortly after closing the door, a motor quietly kicked on.

He leaned against the wall and sighed.  It had been a long day, but a good day.  And now he was content to just stand quietly at the computer and be still.  Or at least try to be still.  After a few seconds of standing there looking at the carpet, he found himself swaying.  Too much caffeine or sugar or ADD in his blood, stillness wasn't really an option.  And so he began pacing, still enjoying the peace and quiet, pulling aside curtains to stare into the darkness -- (no rain) -- before settling on the couch resting with his eyes closed.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

500 in 300 Update

Rain has really hampered my ability to run.  I'm ahead of schedule but I'm bummed at how little I've been able to run lately.  The weather has also made me tired, so I've been less likely to wake up in the early morning to possibly run in the mornings either.


As of yesterday, I was 57 days in (19%) with 108 miles completed (21.7%).  I did run the other night, carrying a very compact umbrella.  It rained the entire run, but never enough to actually consider opening the umbrella and walking.  Which was good because I ended up doing my longest run yet, 6.3 miles around one of the golf courses.  The rain was just the perfect amount to keep me cool.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Sift 271-275

The Sift 271: Sales, Commerce and Customer Service
  • Don’t let your company embarrass you
  • Redbox Tests Price Increases in Some Markets
  • People looking for 'more of the same' aren't actively looking
  • What’s the Deal With Daily Deals? [INFOGRAPHIC]
  • How to win against a worthy competitor
Read more...

The Sift 272: Security and Safety
  • Passwords Explained
  • Editorial: Why Blocking Social Media During Civil Unrest Is Never the Right Choice
  • Our Own Worst Enemies
  • How to Remove In-Feed Facebook Ads Caused by Malware
  • People Who Get Malware Also Get Mugged More Than Usual

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Occupational Hazard

I've been struggling to understand the strategy of the people occupying Wall Street and elsewhere. I'm told there is a strategy, that there are goals -- 50 of them. I argue that that's too many, that this all-inclusiveness is a form of wishywashiness that won't lead to anything.

I suggest that those who are working hard, grateful to have jobs wonder why these people aren't doing something more useful with their time, whether it's inventing the next industry, creating some kind of expression on the Internet that they can monetize or collecting signatures for an initiative or politician-recall.

I suggest that they draw from grocery store unions (strike at Ralphs but not Safeway) or JFK (we will put a man on the moon) or Republican Warmongers (Iraq is the enemy) - you only spur action when you lead with a bold vision, divide and conquer or create a common enemy.

Even Ghandi had a goal in mind when he started his hunger strike. And to quote him: "We must be the change we wish to see in the world."

And I'm vilified for it - that they can't focus on health care, they can't focus on unemployment, they can't focus on corporations who utilize loopholes to avoid taxes, they can't focus on the government itself. They can't focus on freedom of speech, they can't focus on the right to peaceful assembly. So they stay mad, they stay unfocused and those of us on the other side are left scratching our heads.

It's not that we don't want to understand. Me, personally, I'm grateful for my job. My job depends on a strong economy. I work for an at-will employer. I could be out of work tomorrow. That's probably not going to happen, but anything is possible. (For that matter, there could be an earthquake tonight that flattens me and my house.)

But I really struggle with a group that can't clearly articulate its position, its demands, its goals. I live in a world where we measure lots of stuff... scorecards, SMART Goals, income-to-cost, return-on-investment, campaign effectiveness, etc., etc., etc. And you better believe that everything we do is about raising more funds while spending less and less on overhead - doing more with less, helping more children. Of course, along with those metrics are visions, values and missions - strong leadership that points in the direction we should head so that we all know we're little tugboats all pulling in the same direction. (Our desires to change the direction of the entire boat is separate discussion.)

So why isn't this group working carefully with the media to articulate their goals? The media loves to rabble-rouse, the media loves sensationalism. But from what I've seen, the media is just as confused as the rest of us about what's going on.

Or why don't the divide-and-conquer or define a common enemy. Did you know that banks don't pay property taxes on foreclosed homes? There's no incentive for them to unload them at the prices people are willing to pay these days. But that's just what this economy needs, home prices that are realistic. So let's take one bank. Here's a good target Bank of America. They're about to start charging for debit cards. That's outrageous. And you know that if they are successful with it, the other greedy banks will follow suit. There are plenty of better banks out there. Like every single credit union. So what if this occupy group were to wage war on Bank of America? It's really in bad shape now... it's just dropped 30,000 employees and it just had to get a big cash infusion from Warren Buffet to prop it up. I guess that's where it gets sticky, Buffett does want to see taxes changed. Maybe this could send him a message - if Bank of America were crashed, he'd lose out. Or maybe it would help light a fire under Buffett to work harder to change the laws.

We want a good story.

Who doesn't want to root for the underdog standing up to the man?

Monday, October 03, 2011

Driving Me to Madness

Tower Madness Zero is this free app on my iPod Touch and then iPhone and then iPad.  There are additional paid versions and in-app purchases allow you extra levels and extra weapons.  But even without spending a penny, this game will offer you hours and hours of entertainment.

This is your typical tower defense style game -- aliens are invading and they want to steal your sheep.  It doesn't explain why and I'm not asking.

Anyhow, so the aliens land at designed areas and then make their way to the sheep.  Sometimes the path is wide open, sometimes there are hedges or obstructions or specific paths.

So, like I said, I've gotten a lot of hours of fun out of this app.  And I really recommend it.  But one level is killing me, and it's a medium-level.  I think they're lying.  Fortunately, other people have been also been complaining about that particular level.  The only one I've seen solve it bought the flamethrower weapon:



But, yeah, if you're looking for a game that will keep you entertained and challenged for months, check out Tower Madness.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Marriage: Where to Stand

Click over to YouVersion.com for the Bible verses.


Marriage: Where to Stand
Message #2 of "Christian Sticky Wickets" by Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash. -- www.oursaviorsbaptist.org -- My notes from the 9 and 10:45 am services on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011. I pray that they will be helpful to you.

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The Solid Rock


Forever


Great is Thy Faithfulness


How He Loves


Beautiful One


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Marriage: Where to Stand


What the world says:

Marriage is where man loses his bachelor's degree and woman gains her master's degree.

Marriage is not a word, it's a sentence - a life sentence.

Love is one long sweet dream and marriage is the alarm clock.

--- Why is Marriage a Sticky Wicket? ---

* More people than ever are LIVING TOGETHER rather than MARRYING.

13% increase between 2009 and 2010 in couples living together. Why? Perhaps the recession means cohabitation is cheaper.

Less than half of the country today thinks that living together before marriage is a bad thing.
Pew/Time, November 2010

* Lots of Christians ARE GETTING DIVORCED.

They promise "'til death do us part" but the divorce rate is identical to that of the rest of the United States.

* The move toward ACCEPTING GAY "MARRIAGE" makes biblical perspectives opposed to the mainstream.

We'll probably be asked to vote about it soon. We're called "out of touch" or "unloving hypocrites" if we say we don't believe in gay "marriage." Soon enough, it'll be considered a hate crime to speak against it, people who believe it's wrong will be considered unwelcoming.

--- God's Expressed Intents for Marriage ---

Genesis 1, 2; Matthew 19:3-9; 1 Corinthians 7; Romans 7:1-3

1. God is incredibly HAPPY to give MARRIAGE to us.

"It was very good."

2. In marriage, God wants to us to reflect God's own HAPPINESS through RELATIONSHIP and PROCREATION. (Genesis 2:24-25)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Sift 266-270

The Sift 266: Entertainment and Technology
  • Every Hour of TV You Watch May Shorten Your Lifespan By 22 Minutes
  • What Shows, Teams and Celebrities Are TV Watchers Following?
  • IBM Plans To Create Chips That Work Like the Human Brain
  • Flickr Boosts Location Privacy With Geofences
  • Take Two for MoviePass Subscription Service
Read more...

The Sift 267: Banking, Finances and Acquisitions
  • Virtual Currency Beats All Other Kinds of Mobile Game Purchases
  • CNN Acquires iPad Newsreading App Zite
  • AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon give Isis mobile payment network a $100 million boost
  • Online Bill Payment: What Are Your Options?
  • Setup a Treasury Bill Investment Ladder