Saturday, June 30, 2012

Worth Repeating: Johanna Blakley

Copyright law's grip on film, music and software barely touches the fashion industry ... and fashion benefits in both innovation and sales, says Johanna Blakley. At TEDxUSC 2010, she talks about what all creative industries can learn from fashion's free culture.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

#Autism, God and Parenting

It's been too long since I've blogged. Things have been hectic and it's led me to just want to chill in the evenings - Google Reader, Grabatron (an addicting iPhone game) or maybe regular reading, but nothing that's involved actually thinking.

But yesterday I was reading some autism articles and I was thinking about how normally when I become interested in learning more about a subject, I'll find sites about it and put them in my Google Reader.  But then I realized that much of what I read about people's experiences with autism is so depressing that I don't want to put more in my life - these aren't things I can learn from and the topic is so foreign that I guess I'm not ready to become well versed in it.

But I've read a couple of posts recently that have bummed me out more than normal - about people who see their autistic children as proof that God doesn't exist, or who, after receiving the diagnosis rejected God  and turned their back on their faith.

We received our daughter's ADHD/OCD/ODD and our son's Autism-PDDNOS diagnosis within a few months of each other.  It was a crushing blow, but our faith in God is what pulled us through, gave us something to lean on, to focus on, a place to shout "Why????"  Answers were not immediately forthcoming, but we knew we were heard.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Worth Repeating: Billy Graham

Speaking at TED in 1998, Rev. Billy Graham marvels at technology's power to improve lives and change the world -- but says the end of evil, suffering and death will come only after the world accepts Christ. A legendary talk from TED's archives.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Hey, did you hear?  I'm doing a series on identity.

Opacity in the most simplest definition is when light isn't permitted to pass through something.  So when I say that opacity is a trait that I am opposed to, I think it means that I value transparency.  I don't like it when I can't understand motives or reasons.  To me, opacity means a lack of information and therefore, a hinderence to the ability to truly make an informed decision.

Opacity is when motives aren't clear (and therefore suspect), or when directions are given without explanation as to why.

Some of these negative traits end up being difficult to write about because I don't know how much to say about them except that I don't aspire to them.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Back to the series, finally.

I think we all know have a good idea about what dishonesty is, probably one of those things most of learned in kindergarten but then tested the limits of, at least in the simplest form of lying.

Dishonesty is the intentional intent to provide false information, either by lying or by failing to provide accurate information in situations where it's called for, where volunteering it is the right thing.

I know it's not black and white, I know that there are times when I lie, but it is rare.  I'm probably more guilty of failure to offer up information.

Why did I put this one on the list?  I think because it's contrary to something I believe strongly in, the freedom of information.  And disinformation can be worse than the absence of information.  I think I'm looking at dishonesty from the perspective of selfishness.  We tell lies because we want to make it easier on ourselves, we want to get away with something we shouldn't, because we want something that for our own personal gains that would not be accessible truthfully.

So, yeah, not something I aspire to, not something I desire in those I keep close in my life.

Worth Repeating: Susan Cain

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

Weight loss update

It's been a long time since I posted an update. I keep meaning to, but then another day an another day goes by and now faced with so much lapsed time I'm asking myself if I really want to do the wok necessary to get caught up - and I've decided I don't - that it's not th best use of my time.

There's no evidence that it helped me stay accountable to post and no evidence that being so open about my own weight loss has helped anyone else, so I think it was jus clutter in the archives of this blog.

That said, things are coming along well - I'm down to 150.4 as of this morning - 5.4 pounds from goal and highly motivated to get there. I've gotten out of the habit of snacking late at night while exercising and I'm drinking a lot more water now (I'm addicted to the carbonated flavored waters). I am also mentally preparing for the need to replace most of my wardrobe - I've reached the point where stuff is just to big to the point of looking bad or becoming difficult to wear - like pants - so much bunched material at waistline that it's annoying/uncomfortable.

So I am going to donate a lot to charity with the goal of keeping a much smaller set of coordinating clothes. That should lend to simplicity and allow me to be more consistent in my presentation and mean less laundry - not Steve Jobsian with a single outfit uniform, but a narrow enough set that it becomes my "style".

I am apprehensive because that will involve some cost and some research (because this is not my strong suit heh) and probably also maintaining a wish list so people who like buying me clothes don't risk buying me something that I'll immediately return or donate.

But yeah, I like the idea of a consistency or predictability, my own personal style guide for fashion, if you will.

I am also anxious about the idea that this could make shopping more unbearable because I'm money-conscious. I guess I need to finish my personal vision/mission process so i can use it to help inform.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I'll get back to the series soon. Just when I thought it couldn't get any busier... It may have. I think we're on the other side, but yeah, craziness around here. It's meant that by the time I came down here for my nightly exercise, I've not wanted to post, just wanted to watch TV and maybe do some Google Reader.

I had a brief period without reading, but I've picked it back up at night with a leadership book my wife grabbed from the "new arrivals" section of the library and I've started using the time after the morning podcast the last few mornings to read some back issues of Fast Company from the stack. I also read more of Tale of Two Cities on my Kindle while I walked at lunch today. Crazy weather (monsoon or heat wave) has made exercise unappealing but I'm trying to get back to running and walking. Several parties this past weekend saw really bad diet failures and I'm paying for it now with my weigh-ins, probably set myself back at least a week. But I am starting to notice that my clothes really really don't fit anymore. Before too long I'm going to need to donate most of my wardrobe. It's starting to actuslly look bad - I'm swimming in some of my shirts and pants to the point that shirts won't stay tucked in. It's cool butit's another thing to think about and budget for.

We sat down at work and listed everything I'm doing and then crossed out a bunch. The hard part is that everyone else is so busy that we haven't told people about some of the cross outs yet because it will mean some things are no longer being done and some things are now going to fall to them. And I don't think this is the end of the changes. There's one more thing looming at work that I'm waiting to see the impact of.

But right now things are good. Starting to get back on track. I'll feel more on track when laundry's caught up, back lawns are mowed (mowed the front lawns tonight - so stinking tall) and I'm able to start doing new work in the yard again. And a car wash. Way overdue. And an oil change. It's time to get that done but I'm worried it'll turn into other stuff that needs to get done. I might just rent a car when I drop it off and just plan on them having it a few days and charging me a lot of money.

But, yeah, things are good. Fat and happy. Less fat, more happy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Scoop (A Work-Related Post)

I've followed the Litmus blog since they were first mentioned in another email blog a few years ago. We recently became a Litmus customer so that we could learn more about where our emails were being opened. It is a fascinating tool - we knew mobile was taking off, but the amount of our audience that opens on a mobile device was much higher than we expected. Much higher than the stats being offered at this year's EEC back in February. (Do you know your mobile stats?)

Anyhow, Litmus recently released a rather interesting consumer-facing tool: Scoop. As an email marketer, it has some implications that should be considered.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review: Southern Discomfort by Margaret Maron

Lori handed me Southern Discomfort and I was at first drawn to the film noir style writing on the cover and the picture containing a woman looking at blueprints with a house being constructed in the background.

I started reading the book, which was rich with detail, but began complaining because it felt like *nothing* was happening.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Worth Repeating: Jennifer Pahlka

Can government be run like the Internet, permissionless and open? Coder and activist Jennifer Pahlka believes it can -- and that apps, built quickly and cheaply, are a powerful new way to connect citizens to their governments -- and their neighbors.

Thursday, June 07, 2012


Onward, the series continues.

My last entry bugged me for awhile but I had trouble figuring out why. Finally, I realized that it was because it was more of a list (and probably incomplete) than any sort of examination. Oh well. Perhaps it was one that's harder for me to pin down.

Anyhow... Today's is a good one, though one I won't spend a lot of time on because it's a variant on this Year's motto of "simplify" -- simplicity.

To me, simplicity is the opposite of mentally taxing. That's something that just works, that's the absence of stress, it's a calmness of being exactly what's needed and nothing more. It's not dumbed down, but it's also not veiled, hinted or obtuse. I realize that to get there is actually more work, but it's a place I want to be.

Monday, June 04, 2012


Another in the series - collect the whole set!

Beauty, eh?

Beauty feels like an easy one. Whereas richness dealt with what went into something, I think beauty is the outcome. I see beauty everywhere, both in nature and in made things, in people and in objects.

Often when I leave work, I can look up at blue sky, fluffy clouds and tall trees. Beautiful.

A fine automobile with graceful lines that evoke speed even when standing still. Beautiful.

The laughter of my children. Beautiful.

My wife. Beautiful.

Book Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

I had high-hopes for Tempest by Julie Cross. I've been pleasantly impressed by the Hunger Games and Divergent series and so when Entertainment Weekly talked about this as another young adult novel with a slight dystopian outlook about a guy who has learned that he can time-travel and who watches his girlfriend die and then must figure out how to prevent it, I was like "sold."

But, I can't recommend it... (and here be the spoilers)

Sunday, June 03, 2012


Moving on to the values section of the series.

Sometimes I have a difficult time describing richness.  Sometimes I feel like it's something that I appreciate but don't do enough to cultivate or exhibit in my own life.  It can treat one or more senses, but richness is something you can feel.

When I speak of richness, I'm not talking about money in any way - I'm talking about a craftsmanship, texture, layers, depth.  I'm talking about walls that aren't white, gray or beige, crown molding and recessed lighting, a song that makes excellent use of a symphony or orchestra.  It's a garden full of color, plants of differing heights and colors mixed together carefully to produce a pleasing display.

Richness, to me, is careful cultivation.  It's planning.  You can see that effort that was made.  It may not always be to my taste, but it's something I can look at and see that careful thought went into the effort.  

Saturday, June 02, 2012


The first NOT of the series.

This turned out to actually be the most difficult one I've written so far.  I thought Christian would be.  My perceptions of how people would receive it, both those who are resistant to Christianity and religion, but also those who also believe like me but might wonder if I was missing something or getting something wrong.

But this is more difficult.  To define what I'm not, I have to first define what I think it is, and then say that I can't relate to, or more accurately, do not like those traits, do not aspire to those traits, wish to live a life in which I exhibit those traits as infrequently as possible.

My first attempt at this started with my perception of politics and all that I find wrong with them and then quickly veered into what I was worried was far too much an indictment of my workplace and co-workers. I felt uneasy about it, asked my confidant (and a much smarter person) -- my wife -- to read it over and it didn't sit well with her.  Though her first comment was "Wait... now you're claiming undiagnosed Asperger's as well?"  Well, we all knew I am, if not a hypochondriac, at least extremely suggestible.

I'm probably not, but there's a lot to like about Abed, who says what he thinks, is straightforward, someone whose intentions and thoughts and motivations are easy to understand.  If you don't know who Abed is, that's sad.

Worth Repeating: Rob Reid

Comic author Rob Reid unveils Copyright Math (TM), a remarkable new field of study based on actual numbers from entertainment industry lawyers and lobbyists.

Friday, June 01, 2012

@Ford is Tacky

Too much?  Too soon?  Or am I too sensitive?

This just feels icky.  I like a good zombie joke as much as the next guy, but tying it to the recent events in Florida and Canada?  Euuuuwww... I can't believe you went there, Ford.  

(click to enlarge)