Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tourism Idea

Instead of "Destination Exquisite", how about "There's rockin', and then there's Moroccon"? (Yeah, British punctuation. Deal with it. It makes more sense.)

Slightly Lazy Sunday

I find myself with some suddenly unexpected free time. We were supposed to go somewhere and I begged off. I've been wandering around all afternoon doing random chores and trying to get caught up on stuff. I'm feeling a sense of accomplishment. I might even go out and do some weeding. As for the moment, I'm spoiling my dinner with cold left-over sweet and sour pork from earlier today and thinking about having a soda.

The thermometer says it's 69 outside in the shade. We've had most of our windows open for months now, it's been nice. We never got the heat wave that we had last summer, so hoping the fall will be tamer as well. Yesterday was nice all morning while I was out with Rachel and then in the afternoon, I was able to get most of the lawn mowed before it started pouring. So then I started running with the mower to try to get done quicker. I was soaked to the core by the time I went inside, but it felt good. And now means I get to relax a little more in this bit of nice weather.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Wow... my posting for August has been pathetic. I've been swamped with work, obsessed with Weewar, completely consumed by Federal Way Graffiti and getting behind in my chores. I guess I've been doing more on Twitter, but I'm still not exactly sure what the point of Twitter is. It still seems really vain. But what I really don't get is Facebook. I have one and everyone at work keeps adding me to theirs, but I still get the point to it.

Tonight, however, I find myself sitting on the floor of Rachel's room with the laptop. A little while ago Rachel awoke with a start just in amazing hysterics. She wasn't easily calmed and wouldn't even eat. Until I laid her down in the master bedroom, then she was happy to eat and eat and eat. We keep telling her that if she keeps refusing to eat dinner that this is going to happen, but she doesn't listen to us.

Work has been utterly crazy. No sooner than I was promoted to Manager of Email Production then I was loaned to another group to become the Acting Manager of Web Production. It's a temporary gig. It's kind of dumb because mostly that job involves being a filtering layer between customers and a single temp producer who then does jobs or distributes them out to the two other temp producers. So one of the guys on my team stepped into an Acting Team Leader for the email group, but it's been harder than expected to get things turned over to him because he's also doing full-time production. And a lot of what I'm doing can't just be turned over. It's all about meetings and things in progress that I can't just dump on him. Between Web and Email, we are also borrowing three people from another group and cross-training. But the Web side has been slow to get their 1-1/2 borrowed people up to speed, so we've kind of snagged all three for the email side.

I am totally enjoying the nice weather mixed with rain. Both have been a nice treat and I like how it keeps switching back and forth.

I am once again waiting for the next big thing. Google Maps embedded on pages is pretty cool and I've already suggested a use for it at work and they love it. The downside is that you can only show the first 100 push-pins and there's no way to get to the next ones. I suspect that most maps (like the one my employer wants to do) never get to 100 push-pins. Another big thing is that I'm getting a Blackberry in a few weeks. It'll be a little less than seven years since I've been chained to a Blackberry. They sure have changed since then. Like I really want to carry around two phones constantly, but I will enjoy being able to send email and check weather and movie schedules and get maps wherever I am. Sadly, the device won't sport GPS or a camera, but I think I'll live. Unless all the radiation kills me.

The baby is now fast asleep. But I see no reason to move. I'm comfortable and there's some life left on the battery. At some point, Lori will come up from riding the exercise bike, but I guess until then, I can just continue to play around on the computer. I had cleaned out my inbox of all mail on Saturday and now there's 40 again. And very few are from actual people, most are stuff I just need to read and get rid of. I've been trying to do more walking in the mornings before work, looking for more graffiti. I'm running out of good places to go, at least places I can drive to before work and then walk around and then get to work on time. I'll probably have to start going back where I've already been to see what's really been covered up and what hasn't. I probably could stand to walk more. I'm six pounds up from my lowest and seem to be pretty much stuck there. I'm having a hard time getting motivated to make a real effort. I need to.

I'm also not doing much reading these days. I got two books from the library and I started one on landscaping and have misplaced it. Which is odd because it's huge. And the magazines are piling up again. And I was also reading a book my boss loaned me calling "Getting Things Done." Ironically, after two months, I'm still not done with it and it, too, has disappeared. I'm starting to think there's some book theft ring operating out of the general vicinity of my nightstand.

I don't even think I made it up to the city this month. I know we passed through it two weekends in a row, once to go camping up near Canada and then the following week to go to Snohomish for my brother's wedding, but I don't think I've been in the city. Pity. Alicia and Nathe have been doing a good job selling Tacoma to me. Our Seattle Zoo passes are expiring and I think when we renew it will be for the Tacoma zoo.

And just like that, it's done. The random thoughts have all left my head. Perhaps it's time to begin thinking about sleep.

What Were They Thinking?

Iron Chef America... a competitive cooking show between two top chefs on the Food TV Network... sponsored in part by McDonald's. Wouldn't that be like a special on Car & Driver TV doing a special on the DiMora Natalia and having it sponsored by a single skateboard wheel? Or a Travel Channel special on Bermuda sponsored by Detroit.

So there's some really brilliant, genius salesperson who pulled that off. I sure how that the Food Network is sniggering all the way to the bank on that one. Seriously, McDonalds, what were you thinking? Were you hoping hungry people, realizing they couldn't get liquid-nitrogen-frozen-beet-desserts would think "Man, I'm hungry. I should go to McDonalds."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hot Fuzz

Rented Hot Fuzz because we saw Shaun of the Dead a few months ago. When we saw it was on Comedy Central and a lot was probably bleeped out. I remember just laughing like crazy. Fuzz was pretty awesome, too. Hilarious. Fits right in with a discussion we were having earlier this week about how curse words sound less offensive and funnier with a British accent.

Weird thing about this movie... all the characters' last names... Porter, Cooper, Turner, Skinner, Shooter, Prosser, Hatcher, Reaper, Fisher, Walker, Thatcher, Weaver, Staker, Roper, Tiller, Messenger, Merchant, Blower, Draper.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Interesting: Mindmapper

Here's an interesting website with a dumb 1980's SNL Rob Schneider name: Mind Meister - allows online mind-mapping. Nice because you can zoom in and out and re-arrange easily. Basic free plans and more stuff available for a fee, natch.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Crash Call Pilot

Ok, I've only used it for a couple of days now, but Nortel Call Pilot is a really crappy, crappy voicemail system. Probably the worst one I've ever used.

To do anything requires several keystrokes, the recorded voice is abrupt and unpleasant and it's just annoying and frustrating. This is the first one where I'm going to have to keep the menu tree handy for years.

It only does three cool things (based on the level of access we've been given).
  1. Separate internal/external greetings
  2. Can put an expiration date on temporary greetings
  3. Can control some functions via ugly website with cumbersome plug-in that only works on Internet Explorer.
So if you're the maker of a voicemail system and it doesn't have these features -- but does have a pleasant sounding recorded voice and is easy to navigate, these would be great features to add (except that Firefox support and a nice design for the website would be plusses).

If you're Nortel, please start over because Nortel Call Pilot is a stinky piece of cheese.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Famous Last Words

I think I might finally be done with the Wirefly / Cingular mess. So much time has elapsed that one of the companies has even changed their name. So, I won't be getting the $176 credit that was on the account, but I am getting the $108 back. Or rather, they're transferring it to my still active account, which is a great deal, since we're just going to give it back to them again anyhow, this saves printing and mailing a check, me scanning and depositing the check and then them charging my credit card for it.

But man, oh man. Props to Drederick Jack of AT&Tingular for patiently trying to figure out what the heck was going on, dealing with me when he couldn't get a manager on the line* and finally figuring out that the best option was to give me the money back and then proposing that method of transfer. And then backing it up by reminding me that I can dial *BAL# within a day or two to confirm that it's been done.

(*Where'd all the managers go? Or is that new policy? Let them sit on hold for awhile until they calm down and/or hang up.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Back On Track

I'm starting to get back on track. Back-to-back out-of-town weekends threw the already precarious James ecosystem out of whack. My recent 15 minutes of fame didn't help either.

As a result, if there's something I can be behind in, I'm behind in it. Gmail says my unread mail is in the "hundreds." Chores have backed up. Rachel's playset still sits in pieces in the back yard. There's clutter where there shouldn't be. And tree pitch continues to slowly eat away at the paint on my car and make it difficult to use one of the mirrors. And there is still the church website to start maintaining, a Prayer & Praise day to plan. And work... don't even get my start at work.

But, there's hope. For the first time in a long time, I woke up early. I tried to go back to sleep, but no such luck. So, I got up and rode the exercise bike. I got my Google Reader feeds all caught up. And I have 10 minutes before I need to get out the door.

I feel good.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Suggestion for Amazon.com: Buy It Later

Suggestion: I'd like a "place an order for later" option.

Scenario 1: My wife's birthday is in October. She mentions something in conversation and it sparks a gift idea in my head. It's something I'm sure she won't buy for herself and something she won't get from someone else for her birthday. I go to Amazon.com and "place an order for later" specifying when I want it delivered. I give you my credit card number. A month before and two weeks before the ship date you send me reminder emails. On the calculated ship date, you charge my card and out the door the order goes. I'm the amazing husband who knew of the perfect gift and Amazon is my wing-man, Amazon's got my back, the true hero.

Scenario 2: Household or grocery items I know I'm going to need to re-stock on a regular basis (windshield wiper blades, vacuum cleaner filter - both of these are yearly replacements) can be ordered in advance so that I don't have to think about it. Amazon helps me get things done. Amazon lets me get on with life.

Upside for Amazon, you can project some future earnings, especially if people start Christmas shopping in August, which we would certainly do. Or, you only allow the option for people who have gift certificate balances in their account which means you recognize the revenue much sooner when people put a balance on their accounts.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Story is the Story

This is a snap of my rearview mirror. The car behind me is the photographer from the Tacoma News Tribune. The car behind that is the reporter from the Tacoma News Tribune. He probably interviewed me for an hour and then we convoyed to a sign that had graffiti on it. Or, at least it did on 7/30. But by tonight, it had been covered over. Kudos to them. So we drove a few more blocks down the street and started walking along 320. The photographer snapped photos of graffiti as we walked and at one point, turned around and spotted a huge example that was also, surprisingly, brand new, and on Federal Way School District property. That was quite the fortuitous catch on his part. I believe the story gets turned in on Friday, final edits and the decision on whether to publish are made Friday night and then not sure when exactly it'll go to press.