Monday, September 30, 2013

September 2013 Photos






Septemmmmmmberrrrr!

Often by the time I get to the end of the month, it feels like the month has flown by. This month didn't fly by. It wasn't a bad month, it was a packed month.

It was a packed day. I'm weary and worn out. So, let's fly through this.

The Big Elements

simplify - canceled two credit cards. That's about it.

diet and exercise - I've been doing better. I've been sending Lori my Lose-It results from each day. I've been walking regularly. Still not running. Not sure why, I think it's been a lack of time in the evenings.

work - busier than ever. I thought I'd have more time to research and read up on the discipline, but it's just been far too busy.

family present ideas - Lori's presents have been wrapped for a few days now. I'm pretty proud of that fact. Now need to start thinking about Christmas presents. :)  Though we do have one from Ben to Rachel.

Top 5 Most Viewed Posts This Month

Googlefail (@gmail)

Now when I press "C" to compose a new message in Gmail, I see this. The first I saw it I was like "Uh - what? Wait! Nononono." And then I recognized "hikingfan@gmail.com" because Google uses it all the time in its promotions.


This should be labeled as an advertisement and the arrow to the $ should be bigger and the background of the entire popup should be a different color to stand-out more.  And there should be a checkbox for "Never show this again."

Otherwise, perhaps this is the newest way for Google to make money.

Probably not. This may not be evil, but it's pretty lame.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cutting the Cord, Day 1

At our last house, I literally cut the cord. The cable TV to the house was strung from a high pole near the back of our house into a tree, and then at an angle down to the corner of the house. It was unsightly. The power line was also unsightly, but it was more to the side over the garage so it was less obvious. I cut the cord at the house, wound it back to the property line, cut it again and threw it in the trash. We'd never have cable. Satellite TV was good enough for us. When we moved here, we assumed being on the north face of a hill covered with trees that satellite coverage was impossible, not to mention the frequent overcast skies, so we went with cable. Later a salesman convinced us that satellite TV was in fact possible.  So I've had cable or satellite for the past 21 years. I shudder to think how much money that's cost.

We are going to attempt to "cut the cord" and give up cable/satellite. We've had enough of the high prices and paying for stuff we don't want. Did you know, whether you watch it or not, over $5 of your bill each month goes to ESPN?

We've inadvertently been preparing ourselves for this for some time now - a few summers ago when nothing was on, our friends loaned us DVDs of Vampire Diaries and Bones. We binged on those and then Firefly and really enjoyed the ability to watch a single show night after night - it was continuity in our crazy lives. And then when the new season started, we ended up doing that with most shows - letting a lot of episodes build up before we'd watch that show. It also made the experience even easier - instead of remembering the storylines and plot points of a lot of shows at once and having to wait a week to see stuff progress.

Print Sift

Some more stuff I've read recently...

-1-

From Facebook Beginnings, GoodRx Cofounders Bring Simplicity to Prescriptions - some good lessons here on problem-solving. (Fast Company, Nov. 2012)

-2-


How Ben Rattray's Change.org Became a Viral Consumer Watchdog - it's not just politics. (Fast Company, Sept. 2013)

-3-

Week 26 (Final)

Sunday afternoon - I stayed home with the children this morning instead of going to church (details below). Ended up getting quite a bit done.  Completed everything except for 20 items. Some of them can't be done until tonight and some just keep getting pushed from week-to-week so I need to make an effort to get to them this week because I'm tired of carrying them.

This week:
  • Schedule: A quiet week at home and at work, as far as my calendar is concerned. Illness has forced us to cancel weekend plans.
  • Family: Spent Thursday evening with Rachel decorating and wrapping Lori's gifts. Now I have to wait until her birthday for her to open them. I guess I like wrapping stuff last-minute better.
  • Reading: Fast Company Oct. 2013Putting Jesus in His PlaceAliens in the Gift Shop, The Final Summit, Reader's Digest Sept. 2013, Days of Blood and Starlight
  • Simplification: Cleaned up my inbox? Not that it's staying clean. Recycled some stuff at work. 
  • Diet & Exercise: One day staying under my calories. Will be over on Monday and Tuesday.  Still just over 10 pounds above my goal. I've been here before. I've been much closer before.  I was noticing this morning at my weigh-in that I've had Wii Fit for over 1,600 days. I'm lighter, but then I don't use that consistently, I ought to be a lot lighter at this stage.
Tasks This Week:
  • Sunday: 10 completed, postponed 5 (11 planned)
  • Monday: 36 completed, 7 postponed (31 34 planned)
  • Tuesday: 21 completed, 18 postponed (34 35 39 planned)
  • Wednesday: 29 completed, ? postponed (33 35 50 planned)
  • Thursday: 26 completed,  27 postponed (29 30 33 55 planned)
  • Friday: 21 completed, 32 postponed (23 28 52 planned)
  • Saturday: 45 completed, 35 postponed (26 29 30 35 62 planned)
  • Sunday: 46 completed, 20 postponed (23 25 26 29 55 planned)
  • Total: 233 completed (210 208 181 160 139 113 55 20 not done)
  • Once and Done: 84 92 79 73 63 54 47 33 16 tasks not done
  • May Repeat (only counted once): 12 13 12 11 1 task not done
  • Daily: 15 16 17 16
  • Can Be Done Early (might still repeat): 55 61 54 51 47 44 42 25 15 tasks not done
  • Nice to Have: 141 148 141 139 138 136 135 tasks on the list

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Thanks for the motivation, @RunKeeper (A Work-Related Post)

Got this recent email from RunKeeper. Awesome!

Relevancy: Oh yeah. Came mid-day, so it must have been right after I completed a walk.

Branding: Yep, RunKeeper's pretty consistent in their email design.

Technical: No issues.

Messaging: Great. Simple message. So simple, in fact, that it's odd that they've chosen such a small font. It's fine on a desktop, but an email from an entity that's mostly about its apps and this email couldn't be read on a mobile device. This seems like a surprising oversight.

Follow-through: A link offers a chance to post to Facebook, but it's a generic link to my RunKeeper profile, no mention of my 1,000 mile success. There's also a link to tweet out your success, which I did. In includes the hashtag #RK1000 (not #RK1K?) which is quite successful - several new people hitting the mark each day and not all in English even. But even more, RunKeeper's missing a great opportunity. They should be using IFTTT to immediately congratulate someone who posts that hashtag. Even if it's automated, it just further spurs on and validates the person who's put in all that effort.

Summary: Was very cool. I hadn't been watching closely and so that was a really nice touch. It did make me a little sad that I haven't run (except for Miami) for quite some time, just a lot of walking. Not sure why I haven't run. No one's fault but my own.

Here's the email:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Feed Sift

Here's five things I've come across recently that I wanted to share.

-1-

An End of Books - Seth Godin explores an end. A longer piece, a good read.

-2-

Death and Taxes FY2014 - They'll sell you the poster, but they'll also let you see it in all its meticulous detail on this page. A breakdown of the entire federal budget. (Timeplots.com)

-3-

40 Awesome Maps - This stuff is just fun - from the 22 countries Britain hasn't invaded to what the moon would look like if the United States were located there. (Twisted Sifter)

-4-

Thoughful Design - Why GM cars sound like they do - a brief look into what goes into today's sound engineering. (Medium.com)

-5-

Niagara Falls - some angles you've probably never seen before. (Yeah, you'll probably want to go full screen.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sense of Loss (Life with #Autism)

Rachel stood there crying uncontrollably. The pain was physical, but it was also emotional. As she sobbed, she kicked out at her brother. Repeatedly.

Kicking at him, but not kicking him.

Haltingly, through her tears, she gasped "I... want to... kick him... but I'm not."  Still, balancing on one foot, her other foot flew out wildly, just stopping short, all she had in her not to connect.

I'm stroking her hair, rubbing her back, hugging her, trying to console her, trying not to cry myself. If she had kicked him, I'd have a hard time punishing her. Lori's holding onto him and trying to get him to see her tears. It's unclear if he understands why she's crying or if he knows and doesn't care.

And now, what I deride as an overused plot device...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

encourager

I aim to get back to my identity series eventually.

This wasn't on the list when I originally started, but I've come to realize lately that I enjoy encouraging people. And offering helpful solutions, which I seem to be able to do a pretty decent job doing.

Not in all circumstances, but in two areas in particular.  It seems like at work I've done at least an OK job encouraging. Not everyone, but at least some of the direct reports I've had over the years. I have to admit, I've had an easy job - I've worked with a lot of great people, the need to correct has been few and far between. But there have been a few cases where I've been able to offer a listening ear and also a few helpful words of advice that I've later come to learn were quite helpful. In some of these cases I have to probably admit to divine intervention - that the words that came from my mouth weren't necessarily mine - but that they just came to me or were given to me or spoken through me or whatever. Regardless, that's a fun place to be in - to hear that something you've said has helped someone.

Another area where it's far clearer is MyAutismTeam - a website that I'm a little bit addicted to. The site is far more populated with moms than dads and there are people in all stages when it comes to dealing with their children.

There are certainly a number of areas where I can't relate, but I still end up finding a lot of places where I can relate.  Sometimes it's simply cheering along with another parent who's cheering over a success they've had in their life, but other times, I feel like I've got something to contribute - some experience we've been through that's relatable to what someone's now facing, or some idea on how they might solve a particular issue they're facing, or just being able to tell someone that I'm praying for them.

It's weird - I've always struggled with introversion, but I've loved managing people.  And now on this website, I've loved being able to encourage people, to tell them they're doing a great job, that questions, doubts, fears and frustrations are normal, that they need to fight for their children, and that there may be other alternatives to situations they haven't thought of.  Or that patience and perseverance are wonderful qualities to cling to on the days where it's tough.

I don't know exactly where the optimism comes from, but I just really feel like I have something to offer. And the feedback I get back suggests I'm being helpful.

It feels good.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hack

I wanted to do something different for a blog post and so I thought maybe I could draw out this idea I've had in my head for some time now.  I sat down to try to sketch it and realized I couldn't get the perspective right. So I tried drawing a few other things and realized that my "ability" to draw hasn't magically improved in many years of not drawing.

So finally Googled a subject I like: floating homes in Seattle and then tried to sketch a rough interpretation.  In real life the one from "Sleepless in Seattle" would be where I drew a dock instead. There are also houses behind and to the right, but I wanted to focus more on the one house than the ful scene. The perspective is still wrong, the photo I was looking at was from water-level and yet mine ends up being from the crow's nest of a tall ship or a helicopter or something. Which makes the trees and Aurora Bridge in the background look weird.  Oh well.  Thanks to my daughter for the use of her colored pencils.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Email Barely Misses the Mark @RCSHSeattle (A Work-Related Post)

Here's a recent email from Ruth's Chris Steak House that gets so many things right but also misses the mark.  

Relevancy: Right on. An anniversary message with a very soft sell delivered before our anniversary. Probably the right amount of time ahead of time. (One awkward bit - it wishes the reader a "Good morning" - it's minor, but that's the perspective of the sender, not necessarily the perspective of the recipient.)

Branding: Failure. If you don't recognize "RCSH" you don't actually see "Ruth's Chris Steak House" mentioned until the fourth paragraph. I would recommend adding a simple logo at the top. That would allow it to continue to have the simple, more personal touch (too many graphics and it becomes an ad) but still reinforce the simple elegance of the brand. Also, do away with the boilerplate copy at the bottom.  (Probably a side-effect of someone doing this by hand from a personal email address?)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Week 25 (Final)

Sunday afternoon (final) - A nice quiet day at home. Reading: Got some reading done, which was nice. I don't often get as much reading done as I set out to in a given week, guess it's about being optimistic. Got 6 chapters read in "Putting Jesus in His Place," read some in "Alien in the Gift Shop" on three nights, finished a Reader's Digest and read quite a bit of a Fast Company. Diet and Exercise: I recorded all my food and exercise 6 of 7 days (helps now that I'm sending a copy to Lori each day) and stayed below my calorie count 5 of the 6 days. Overall for the week I believe I'm under. Presents: Lori's presents are all purchased, now to get them wrapped (some are still on their way here). Also have a Christmas present for Rachel from Ben ready to go. Simplify: Nothing in particular this week.

This week:
  • Sunday - 36 completed, 6 poatponed (31 planned)
  • Monday - 29 completed, 6 postponed (35 36 planned)
  • Tuesday - 40 completed, 8 postponed (35 37 40 planned)
  • Wednesday - 40 completed, 3 postponed (30 31 30 35 planned)
  • Thursday - 33 completed, 9 postponed (25 24 31 29 planned)
  • Friday - 22 completed, 3 postponed (20 21 24 26 28 planned)
  • Saturday - 49 completed, 7 postponed (30 33 32 34 37 41 planned)
  • Sunday - 22 completed, 11 postponed (25 32 31 34 33 35 29 planned)
  • Completed This Week: 271  (231 215 178 158 122 98 76 0 planned remaining, )
  • Once and Done: 81 80 65 50 43 36 12 8
  • May Repeat This Week: 14 15 14 13 12 10 2 1
  • Daily: 16 15 17 16 17 15
  • Can Be Done Early (might still repeat): 48 54 47 37 24 27 24 0
  • Nice to Have: 100 98 97 94 93 141 (redid for the future weeks)

Book Review: The Sacrifice

The Sacrifice by Charlie Higson

It's kinda weird how quickly (if you can call four books in quick) you accept a world where everyone over the age of 16 has become an enemy - a adle-brained decaying being who eats children. The descriptions and depictions in this book would be downright disgusting if were shown on a screen, but left to my imagination, I'm able to separate myself from it and avoid being disgusted or creeped out by it.  What you should not do, however, is go to Google Street View and look up the places described. That makes it easier to imagine the events described in the book and that starts to creep you out. Especially when it's such innocent places as a Tire Store or an IKEA.

But I might also be starting to be less scared - the further in we get, the less it seems that you get to know someone only to have them end up dead. I guess that's the case as the fittest are the ones that survive so as we go, for both adults and children, we see a select few gaining power.  But which way will it tip?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Worth Repeating: Rory Sutherland (@rorysutherland)

Video:


Sweat the small stuff -- It may seem that big problems require big solutions, but ad man Rory Sutherland says many flashy, expensive fixes are just obscuring better, simpler answers. To illustrate, he uses behavioral economics and hilarious examples. More on TED.com...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Feed Sift

Recent finds I wanted to pass along...

-1-

Don't Give Stores Your Zip Code Unless You Want Their Junk Mail - Each time you give it, it's another tally mark again your zip code. Enough tally marks and they carpet bomb the entire zip code. You did it to yourself. (Lifehacker)

-2-

Editor's Picks from the 2013 National Geographic Photo Contest - Self-Explan. (Twisted Sifter)

-3-

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Horror

Really, Washington Department of Licensing? This is just like begging to get hacked.

Email is not a secure channel. It is not an appropriate means of handling customer service involving personally identifiable information.

*sigh*

This is the autoresponse you get back when you email them. (I wrote to tell them their new system is great. I'm less convinced now.)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Someday

Someday, you will look back upon today. You will compare it today the present day and wistfully think about how much simpler it was then. Sure, there will be a few points in time that stick in your mind more clearly, high school, college, single, renting, before kids.

The little house that didn't take so long to clean (but had no heating or air conditioning, causing inside temperatures to range from 40 to 110), before kids when you could go to dinner at 9 pm (but you were actually longing for children), when you were renting and didn't have to worry about plumbing or the HOA getting on your case about weeds (but there was that loud neighbor and the woman who parked so crummy in the space next to yours and the stacked parking... ugh).  High school where mom and dad paid for everything (but there was so much you didn't know, and everything had to be just a certain way or else you'd get ridiculed - like that thing about Teen 1: "I saw you at KMart!" The Crowd: "You were at KMart? You're so lame!" - I never understood that. How did teen 1 see you there unless they were there?)

Today, you're looking ahead - life will be so much better when I move out and get my own place... when we stop renting and buy our own place... when I get that promotion... when we get our bills paid off... when we have kids... when the kids are sleeping through the night... when they can walk... when they're potty trained... when they go to school... when they go off to college...  when I retire.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Back Atcha

Grrr....


Note to imposter: Don't leave your laptop sitting on your desk when you go home for the night. (I know this wasn't me - I don't put giant noses on my smilies.)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Failing Fast (A Work-Related Post)

They talk at work about "failing fast" - the idea to take appropriate risk, but on a small scale. Try something out - learn from the successes and build upon them, learn from the failures in order to do better next time.  But you're executing quickly, prototyping, making small incremental gains by learning quickly if the path you're headed down is the wrong one before you've invested too much time and energy into it.

It's a fine concept, but it needs a better name, like "Little Wins" or "Bounce Upwards" or something. Anything besides "Failing Fast."

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Book Review: Still Midnight


Still Midnight by Denise Mina

Still Midnight was another Entertainment Weekly suggestion, the start of a detective series that takes place in Glasgow. I think it received a B+.  Amazon goes from 3.5 to 4 depending on where you look.

I struggled a little bit with this book. There were times when I was going to just abandon it but I kept reading. Close to the end, I felt like I was going to finish it, return to the library and not check any more of the series. By the end, I had decided I would check out a second one in the series to see if I should keep going or call it done.

It's hard to describe this book without giving spoilers, but I will try.  The book follows a case involving a man who is kidnapped at the start of the book. You get to follow the whole story from both the perspective of the kidnappers as well as the police officers. And even the kidnapped man himself when he's left alone.

The story centers around Detective Alex Morrow, a very hard woman who struggles with how hard she is, second-guesses herself, struggles with confidence and feels passed over for unfair reasons but then also secretly wonders if it's how she treats other people.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Worth Repeating: Gary Greenberg

Video:


The beautiful nano details of our world -- When photographed under a 3D microscope, grains of sand appear like colorful pieces of candy and the stamens in a flower become like fantastical spires at an amusement park. Gary Greenberg reveals the thrilling details of the micro world. More on TED.com...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Print Sift

Some stuff I've read recently in magazines that I'd like to share.

-1-

Good Idea, Too Bad It Didn't Work - Twelve funny things that sounded like good ideas at the time, but in practice, well, not so good. Horrible, actually. (Reader's Digest, July 2013)

-2-

IBM's Watson is Learning Its Way to Saving Lives - Really interesting how the IBM project is learning in a profession that now produces more learnings than any human can keep up with. (Fast Company, Nov. 2012)

-3-

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Not the "A" Game, @Quicken

So Quicken is the software you love to hate. They're the Sprint, the United Airlines, the FTD of software. Though sheer will, a decent product and a distracted half-hearted competitor who threw in the towel (Microsoft), they are the top dog in a very small field of money management software. For overall utility, it's quite a functional piece of software. I know that I'm only using a small piece of it myself to track checking, savings and credit card accounts as well as retirement savings accounts, stocks and an auto loan. There are bits for budgeting and forecasting that we only brush up against the tip of the iceberg on. For our budgeting and closer watch on stocks, Excel can't be beat for extensibility.

click to enlarge
But for overall ability to track funds, download transactions and help us keep everything straight, Quicken gets the job done.  But it's not without its warts. The software is slow, doesn't work in the cloud and requires a PC. There are some cloud-based competitors and the only one that's was really looking like a contender was Mint. It had its shortcomings, like an inability to enter receipts before they were downloaded from the bank and the ability to split receipts for multiple transactions. They might have fixed that by now, but they're also owned by Quicken now and the switching costs for us would be high. Lori likes what technology can do for you, but she has a low tolerance for technical complexity, especially in a task that she's already not fond of, like finance. (She handles most of the receipts and I handle most of the bill paying.)

An aggressive yearly cycle has them constantly demanding we upgrade and after a few years, some functionality stops. They might as well call it a license (not a software purchase). I'd much rather pay $20 a year for the latest version than $60 every 3 years when I'm forced to upgrade.

We upgraded in 2012 so we're looking at 2015 for our next required upgrade. But 2013 added a mobile app that lets you enter receipts and have them sync up with the software.  That sounded pretty cool. But then I looked at the app and it had 2-stars on the iTunes store.

I checked again today, and they haven't updated the app since January. You'd think a product like this would have had quite a few updates since then to address some of the concerns. I'm sure that they're busy with other stuff, but you'd think they'd have a roadmap for regular upgrades, especially when someone can so clearly see what others think.

click to enlarge
And that worries me - that suggests that my pessimism is not misplaced - that this company is hoping that people will upgrade because they're uninformed and stick around because of the high switching costs or perception that there isn't any other options out there for easy financial tracking. (Because they do make it easy. Most of the commentary to contrary from Lori is due to my attempts to run it from a cloud-based service so we could update the same file from multiple computers. That was a colossal failure but not Quicken's fault.)

So c'mon, Quicken - let's see some updates to this app - I'm sure you can do a 3.5 or 4 app easy.

And as soon as you do, I'll upgrade.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Week 24 (Final)

Sunday afternoon - What an inglorious end to the week. I have still not simplified things enough.

This Week:
  • Sunday - 17 completed (9 planned)
  • Monday - 39 completed (35 36 planned)
  • Tuesday - 36 completed (33 35 33 planned)
  • Wednesday - 9 completed (31 29 35 36 planned)
  • Thursday - 23 completed (26 27 29 45 planned)
  • Friday - x completed (20 21 28 26 planned)
  • Saturday - x completed (25 27 23 planned)
  • Sunday - 17 completed (28 31 30 43 planned)
  • Total - 17 56 92 101 124 148 completed (207 originally planned)
  • Once and Done - 83 82 64 51 47 35 24
  • More than Once This Week - 10 11 7
  • Daily - 16
  • Can Be Done Early (might still repeat) - 43 44 36 30 29 27 18
  • Nice To Have (Additional): 73 70 71 67
Thursday evening - And so (mostly) ends the week. Hello, brief vacation! Probably won't post the next night or two.

This Week:
  • Sunday - 17 completed (9 planned)
  • Monday - 39 completed (35 36 planned)
  • Tuesday - 36 completed (33 35 33 planned)
  • Wednesday - 9 completed (31 29 35 36 planned)
  • Thursday - 23 completed (26 27 29 45 planned)
  • Friday - x completed (20 21 28 26 planned)
  • Saturday - x completed (25 27 23 planned)
  • Sunday - x completed (28 31 30 43 planned)
  • Total - 17 56 92 101 124 completed (207 originally planned)
  • Once and Done - 83 82 64 51 47 35
  • More than Once This Week - 10 11
  • Daily - 16
  • Can Be Done Early (might still repeat) - 43 44 36 30 29 27
  • Nice To Have (Additional): 73 70 71

Wednesday evening - I slept in as late as possible today and then didn't get a lot done tonight. Yikes.  A few days later this week also won't have much done on them, so this will be a super-light week.

This Week:
  • Sunday - 17 completed (9 planned)
  • Monday - 39 completed (35 36 planned)
  • Tuesday - 36 completed (33 35 33 planned)
  • Wednesday - 9 completed (31 29 35 36 planned)
  • Thursday - x completed (26 27 29 45 planned)
  • Friday - x completed (20 21 planned)
  • Saturday - x completed (25 27 26 planned)
  • Sunday - x completed (28 31 30 planned)
  • Total - 17 56 92 101 completed (207 originally planned)
  • Once and Done - 83 82 64 51 47
  • More than Once This Week - 10 11
  • Daily - 16
  • Can Be Done Early (might still repeat) - 43 44 36 30 29
  • Nice To Have (Additional): 73 70 71

Tuesday evening - Ok, just finished the most recent episode of Breaking Bad. I don't think I've ever seen a more tense cliffhanger. Ok, so got quite a few things done, but didn't get to five. Several were related to reading that I didn't get to. One was one that wasn't ready and one was one that's been a struggle to get to for weeks now - getting out the ladder and changing batteries in the smoke detectors.

This Week:
  • Sunday - 17 completed (9 planned)
  • Monday - 39 completed (35 36 planned)
  • Tuesday - 36 completed (33 35 33 planned)
  • Wednesday - x completed (31 29 35 36 planned)
  • Thursday - x completed (26 27 29 planned)
  • Friday - x completed (20 21 planned)
  • Saturday - x completed (25 27 26 planned)
  • Sunday - x completed (28 31 30 planned)
  • Total - 17 56 92 completed (207 originally planned)
  • Once and Done - 83 82 64 51
  • More than Once This Week - 10 11
  • Daily - 16
  • Can Be Done Early (might still repeat) - 43 44 36 30
  • Nice To Have (Additional): 73 70 71

Monday evening - Completed my list and then a few.  A really satisfying feeling.

This Week:
  • Sunday - 17 completed (9 planned)
  • Monday - 39 completed (35 36 planned)
  • Tuesday - x completed (33 35 33 planned)
  • Wednesday - x completed (31 29 35 planned)
  • Thursday - x completed (26 27 planned)
  • Friday - x completed (20 planned)
  • Saturday - x completed (25 27 26 planned)
  • Sunday - x completed (28 31 30 planned)
  • Total - 17 56 completed (207 originally planned)
  • Once and Done - 83 82 64
  • More than Once This Week - 10 11
  • Daily - 16
  • Can Be Done Early (might still repeat) - 43 44 36
  • Nice To Have (Additional): 73 70 71
Sunday evening - I got everything I planned to get to tonight except for 1 thing - it was to do some reading and I'll do it later tonight. I did some other stuff.

This Week:
  • Sunday - 17 completed (9 planned)
  • Monday - x completed (35 36 planned)
  • Tuesday - x completed (33 35 planned)
  • Wednesday - x completed (31 29 planned)
  • Thursday - x completed (26 planned)
  • Friday - x completed (20 planned)
  • Saturday - x completed (25 27 planned)
  • Sunday - x completed (28 31 planned)
  • Total - 17 completed (207 originally planned)
  • Once and Done - 83 82
  • More than Once This Week - 10 
  • Daily - 16
  • Can Be Done Early (might still repeat) - 43 44
  • Nice To Have (Additional): 73 70
Sunday evening (Prep) - I completed more last week than I planned for, but I think it's because I underestimated laundry. That could happen again this week. I have really paired the list way back - partially because I really want to finish it and partially because I have special plans later this week so little to no chores beyond the daily chores. Adding an additional category - things I'd like to get to this week but am not committing to. That's a long list.

This Week:
  • Sunday - x completed (9 planned)
  • Monday - x completed (35 planned)
  • Tuesday - x completed (33 planned)
  • Wednesday - x completed (31 planned)
  • Thursday - x completed (26 planned)
  • Friday - x completed (20 planned)
  • Saturday - x completed (25 planned)
  • Sunday - x completed (28 planned)
  • Total - x completed (207 originally planned)
  • Once and Done - 83
  • More than Once This Week - 10 
  • Daily - 16
  • Can Be Done Early (might still repeat) - 43
  • Nice To Have (Additional): 73

Fourteen

It was wedding season and the boy was none too pleased of being the age where adults his parents knew were getting married and his parents were volunteering his services as the photogenic little boy he was. In fact the week before was actually the first time he'd been pressed into service -- he had allowed himself to be pressed in the little penguin suit, stood at the back of the church, and when the music swelled, the doors opened, everyone turned to look at him and vvvvvvp! he was out of there. That wedding was sans ring bearer. The pastor, hearing the story, recommended taking some old costume jewelry and sewing it to the ring pillow. The groom should just keep the ring with him, he said.

The groom arrived at the church in shorts and a t-shirt, his tux still wrapped in plastic. When the time came, he left to the bathroom to change. He had the wedding ring around his pinky because his bride's fingers were far more slender, almost lost in his prodigious digits when they'd intertwine their fingers as young couples in love are want to do. He changed, took his clothes out to the car and returned to the waiting room.  And then it hit him - he no longer had her ring. Ring issues would plague yet another wedding and this time the baby-faced little nephew of the bride would have no culpability. 

The parents, the mother of the bride, anyone and everyone fanned out, sifting through garbage cans in the men's room, looking at high and low through the church, all surreptitiously keeping the bride in the dark about the looming tragedy that might cast a pall on the day she'd undoubtedly been planning since she was five. It's often said that the groom is the last piece of the plan for the day and that's why the groom and groomsmen all dress alike - the groomsman fails and everyone just shifts one spot closer to the aisle.

Well, it was too late now - the quartet was winding down, the organist was flexing her fingers and the time was drawing near. A big gulp and then men walked out, the groom keeping the piece of advice that everyone and his brother and cousin and dad had all echoed to him: "Don't lock your knees." It was a time before YouTube so he wondered if that was really a big thing - men locking their knees and passing out. Darn it, he wasn't going to be one of those guys.

The ring bearer came down the aisle, embarrassed with all the attention, pillow covering his face, bumping into every single pew until his grandmother stepped out and guided him into the front row. Then the sweet little flower girl who, until moments earlier, had been a massive gray stormcloud who was wasn't going to get to participate. The storm had dissipated but we weren't out of the woods yet - why should she have to sit with grandma and her brother when her mom was up front in a pretty dress? Didn't she have a pretty dress?  As she approached, grandma stood and turned to guide her into the row and, with a defiant look, she navigated around grandma to join mommy on the stairs leading up to the platform. 

Things were a blur until they were finally standing together at the front of the church. She looked lovely and he hated to do it but he said quietly through clenched teeth. "I don't have the ring."  "What?" she murmered back thinking he was just picking a really dumb time to be funny. "I don't have the ring." She realized he wasn't joking. Thinking quickly, she improvised. If you watch the tape, you see only the slightest of shake of the flowers and then their hands join briefly. 

And that was when Lori handed me back her engagement ring so that I could slip that onto her finger at the appropriate point in the ceremony.

Happy Anniversary, my love.
Man, it's been quite a ride.
P.S. We really should get our photos scanned.











Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Oh, APPL



The new Apple iPhones were announced today. Apparently people were not impressed. 

A shame, really. I know, if you look at the overall stock price, it's recovering, but this just goes to show you that you shouldn't throw a party without a guest of honor. Between leaks, rumors, and an uninspired new set of offerings that feels more like overpriced catchup, this was probably a non-event. Apple showed the world how to do it and they did it. Too well. 

Time to reinvent something else.

Unless, of course, this stock manipulation is being pulled off by rich Microsoft, Google or Samsung employees amusing themselves.  Maybe? Nah.

Free Idea: Clothes Saver

Those security tags they put on clothes are getting smaller and smaller. To the point where you could wear one on a piece of clothing without noticing it.

And that got me thinking:

Lori has certain articles of clothing that aren't supposed to go in the dryer. And since I do the laundry, I often put them in the dryer. My system is about a constant repeatable process, it's not so good with exceptions and caveats.

So, what if:

Monday, September 09, 2013

Hidden Costs (A Work-Related Post)

So someone connected with me through LinkedIn and we started trading emails. We work in the same industry and he's a long-time donor to the charitable organization I work for, even made a trip internationally with his dad to see our work first-hand. Because he's part of the same industry, we travel in some of the same circles and it just so happens that the product he's selling extends functionality to a product we use... adds more firepower.

And because they're rolling out a new version of it and because he loves our work, he wants to set me up so we can try out the product for free. The problem is, we don't need it. That's only because I haven't tried it, he argues. But to look at it, I think it's clear enough what it does. You'd hope your product was self-explanatory. So I get what it does, but at the moment we don't have a need for it. Our margins (time, budget) are thin because we're trying to be good stewards of the resources our donors have given us.

Still, he presses. Just try it... we're making it available to you for free.

Only it's not free.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Week 23 (Final)

Sunday evening (final) - Getting to this a little later in the day than I'd have liked. A good week, but I still was unable to get to everything on my list, despite working towards a smaller list. It was the big items mostly, and still too must stuff on the weekends as a result of stuff that got postponed during the week and bulldozed into Saturday and Sunday. Will need to start with an even smaller list on the weekends, though this next weekend I'll probably have nothing but the daily stuff and not necessarily even get to all of that.




This Week:
  • Sunday - 10 completed (none planned)
  • Monday - 44 completed (40 41 planned)
  • Tuesday - 31 completed (35 36 34 planned)
  • Wednesday - 29 completed (35 34 36 38 planned)
  • Thursday - 21 completed (30 31 30 38 planned)
  • Friday - 30 completed (25 24 29 33 planned)
  • Saturday - 53 completed (40 41 43 49 55 planned)
  • Sunday - 34 completed (35 36 35 36 35 37 42 planned)
  • Total - 10 54 85 114 135 165 218 252 completed (240 originally planned)
  • Once and Done - 74 75 61 51 62 52 47 22 12
  • More than Once This Week - 40 35 32 12 11 3 1 
  • Daily - 18 17 18 17 16
  • Can Be Done Early (might still repeat) - 61 50 43 42 37 16 0

Saturday evening - A day spent at home. Got quite a bit done. Got derailed in the evening, probably could have gotten more done.

This Week:
  • Sunday - 10 completed (none planned)
  • Monday - 44 completed (40 41 planned)
  • Tuesday - 31 completed (35 36 34 planned)
  • Wednesday - 29 completed (35 34 36 38 planned)
  • Thursday - 21 completed (30 31 30 38 planned)
  • Friday - 30 completed (25 24 29 33 planned)
  • Saturday - 53 completed (40 41 43 49 55 planned)
  • Sunday - x completed (35 36 35 36 35 37 42 planned)
  • Total - 10 54 85 114 135 165 218 completed (240 originally planned)
  • Once and Done - 74 75 61 51 62 52 47 22
  • More than Once This Week - 40 35 32 12 11
  • Daily - 18 17 18 17
  • Can Be Done Early (might still repeat) - 61 50 43 42 37 16 

Free Preview: Aliens in the Gift Shop

A friend of mine is offering the first chapter of his debut offering, Aliens in the Gift Shop - just visit his website and sign-up and he'll email you instructions.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Worth Repeating: Julian Treasure (@juliantreasure)

Video:


Shh! Sound health in 8 steps -- Julian Treasure says our increasingly noisy world is gnawing away at our mental health -- even costing lives. He lays out an 8-step plan to soften this sonic assault (starting with those cheap earbuds) and restore our relationship with sound. More on TED.com...

Friday, September 06, 2013

Feed Sift

Five posts recently that caught my eye.

-1-

Design for Hackers: Why You Don’t Use Garamond on The Web - some great information on what to do and not to do concerning typography on the web. (David Kadavy, kadavy.net)

-2-

Future finally arrives as Martin Jetpack approved for manned test-flights - we've been watching for some time now as they swooped and soared with a real honest to goodness jetpack strapped to their back. And now, they have permission to do testing, a prerequisite for eventually selling or renting them. (Engadget.com)

Thursday, September 05, 2013

technology & architecture

The latest in my neglected identity series.

I think when I put "technology & architecture" together as a single item so long ago, it was a cheat to get them both in and still keep the list shorter. If I were truly going to revise history, I'd probably go and change it because originally I separated them by a comma. But to sit down and write about them, today it feels more natural to join them with "and."

Because when I look at those two words today, I immediately think of the small space. Not the grand gesture, the big all Frank Gehry museum, but the spaces we live and work in and the technology we use to complement those spaces.  I love looking at those spaces and trying to figure out how to use them more effectively for what we're doing.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Next Stage (New Job)

Goodbye Email, Hello Delivery.

After a quiet period, the final piece of the puzzle was hastily shoved into place yesterday. I knew it was coming, I had even tried to put some writing on the wall for others, but then all of the sudden I got a text message at 10:45 saying it had to be ASAP because it had to come before another announcement later that day.

Last week we told my web team that they would be transitioning to a peer manager within our group who also had a web team. That puts the entire web team together under one roof. One crowded roof.

At that same time, it was announced that I would be heading up a newly formed team. (Right on the heels of one of the key participants announcing that instead of joining us he was instead leaving the organization and country.)

So, yeah, anyhow, shortly after 11 am yesterday we called my email team together and broke the news - they, too, would be transitioning to new management. I think they took it better than me. They said some nice things about me and then everyone went back to their desks and I thought "My goodness, what have I done???"

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Does this actually work?!?!?!?

Seriously? Who clicks on emails like this? They aren't even trying!


Monday, September 02, 2013

You're Invited... To Give Us Money! (A Work-Related Post)

So this is a weird one... Twitter has decided that I'm a small business. Me, imagine that!

And so what do they do? Try to get me to advertise. But I've been invited to advertise. Really? Do I need an invitation? Will they really not let me spend money with them unless I have their invitation?


Audit your automated marketing. Look at how you're doing your segmentation. What would it feel like to one of your customers if they got treated with the wrong marketing. Would it seem confusing? Insulting? Jarring? Off-message?

And why do they think I'm a small business? Because I use HootSuite?

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Week 22 (Final)

Sunday evening - Yep, I still had way too much planned for the week. I really don't want to have things undone. I need to plan even less, especially as the weekend approaches since I end up postponing stuff that I don't get to earlier in the week. Lowest number done since the week I was on vacation.




This week: 
  • Once and Done: 113 105 97 93 80 76 62 41
  • More than Once This Week: 46 42 40 35 31 23 13
  • Daily: 19 18 19 18
  • Can Be Done Early (might still repeat): 109 101 97 96 85 83 70 11
  • Sunday: 15 completed (4 planned)
  • Monday: 33 completed (40 39 planned - specific+daily)
  • Tuesday: 22 completed (40 45 planned)
  • Wednesday: 45 completed (35 36 39 53 planned)
  • Thursday: 34 completed (30 29 28 33 47 planned)
  • Friday: 16 completed (30 29 31 34 49 planned)
  • Saturday: 28 completed (50 49 50 55 planned)
  • Sunday: 41 completed (65 60 57 56 57 104 planned)
  • Completed This Week: 48 70 115 149 193 234 

Book Review: The Dead

The Dead by Charlie Higson

I guess I would start by saying not to read the summary on Amazon or else you pretty much know the entire plot. Sheesh.

Anyhow, The Dead was every bit as good as the first book The Enemy (My Review). These books (there were originally supposed to be three but now there's going to be at least six, maybe seven) take place in a world where something has affected everyone over the age of 16. (In the UK versions, it's apparently over the age of 14. Weird, but whatever.)

Whatever it is severly cripples them. They grow blister and boil, lose their hair and lose their ability to think and their bodies begin to decay. All they want to do is eat children. One of the theories is that there's something about those who were under the age of 16 at the time of whatever - that they possess something that the older "people" now crave - something that fights off whatever's affecting them. They lack thought or strategy and can't do even the most basic of things anymore but when there's enough of them, then you're in trouble.