Sunday, January 31, 2010

Who's On Your List?

Sometime last year, I had a high of 450+ friends on Facebook. It was a source of pride for me, but it was also a lie. I had added people for nostalgic reasons, there are about 40,000 people working for our organization world-wide, so I was accepting any request I got, and I maintain a group that a lot of people wanted to join, so I was requiring anyone who wanted to join to become a friend.

And then I got yelled at at work for too much Facebook and Twitter during work hours. So in one night, I cut the list in half, doing about the same to my list of about 150 followers/followees on Twitter. And only one person who I cut actually asked to be re-added.

Ever since then, I've been really thinking I could do more. How well did I really know the people still on the list, why were they still there, and did they really have a part in my current life?

And so now I stand at a list with 199. But do I really count the 199 as current friends? Do they me?

On the flip side, I've been the catalyst for some interesting introductions between people who have never met. John and Kevin, Jim and Skip, Mark and Joe. Possibly others I'm not even aware of.

So, I'm going to start something new on Facebook. I'm going to use the @ tag and status updates to start introducing people, in case some other connections might come from it. Also, it will be an opportunity for me to take a hard look at who's on my list and whether they should still be there. I'm going to go alphabetically down my "All Friends" page on Facebook. If I add a new friend, I'll give an introduction to them immediately. I'll try to do one a day and Mr. Barnhart, you're up first.

I think it could be fun and would challenge others to join me. So... who's on your list?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

An Entertainer I Knew

It's amazing to see someone so close to the truth but unable to actually see it. To tell stories that seem to draw so much from what he professes to reject. To draw so deeply, and to get everything almost right. To probably think the stories are his own deep dark secrets. Uncanny. And a little unnerving and possibly sad. Must continue to pray for him.

This Does Not End Well

I'm not sure, but for whatever reason lately, I've been thinking about the value of a human life. And wrestling with the idea that a human being can actually value another human being's life so little that they would do the kinds of things they do, whether it's torture, sexual abuse of a child, or actually taking someone's life.

I'm not exactly sure why it's been on my mind so much, whether it's the tragedy of Haiti, other stuff you hear about at work, a recent slaying here in town or finding myself in front of several police cars recently whose occupants were hurtling themselves into something at with nearly reckless abandon, the kind that only comes when some human is or has recently done something really wrong to another human.

One thing I think I'm realizing for sure is that while TV and movies might make me desensitized to it, I think that reality -- and reading books -- affect me more. The book thing is interesting to me. When I was a kid, I thought that when someone died on TV or in a movie, that they died for real. I figured they must get paid a lot in advance. I wonder how they were compelled to go through with it and how they'd spend their final days. But now, that premise seems silly. So TV and movies, it's someone acting. But in a book, even though the people never even existed, their non-existent life is now over. Their deaths are, in a way, more real than anything I see on TV. Plus, with a book, your mind has to work harder to picture. It's not handed to you, you have to create the life based on simple words on the page.

But I thought about it a lot the night the police were behind me. I was stopped, several cars back at a left-turn lane. To our left was a raised border between our lane and traffic coming the other way. We had a green light, but everyone knew the cops were there. No one was moving. But the cops, they come up behind us, sirens and the full Christmas tree, and then they lay on their horns, forcing us through the intersection, instead of just going around us in oncoming lanes. A weird move, I thought. So I go around the corner and then they come around a little bit later and we all pull to the corner quickly. So I had the opportunity to watch them/pray for them for about 20 blocks before they crested the hill. I watched as they weaved in and out of traffic, going through the intersection in the left-hand straight lane with stopped cars to the left of them in the left-hand turn lane and to their right. Weird. Anyhow, stopped at this intersection myself, another cruiser comes from another direction, turning in front of me and heading in the same direction as the first two.

By the time I was through the intersection, there was no sign of the cops and for the rest of the drive home, no sign. So, I pulled into my driveway, life as normal.

But for someone that night, their life had been or was in the process of being permanently altered. That's a hard thing to think about, especially when you know that things can happen at any time. Even an earthquake... it's not like TV. There's no music build-up. There's no quiet calm. You haven't just set something down or just closed a cabinet. There's just the second before and then the second when everything changes.


Lori once told of hanging out with someone in high school. A fire engine went by and the friend jokingly said "That's probably my house." Sadly, he would later return home to find out, yes, it was his house and the firefighters were too late. (Sidenote: Eddie Izzard asks "Why do they never play good firefighter/bad firefighter?")

Friday, January 29, 2010

Worst Street Name Ever?

Good job, North Anson, Maine.

View Larger Map

Idea: Charter Cities

I love this idea... Maybe it's that I like playing SimCity or something, but it's the idea of nations coming together to bring expertise and commitment to form new cities on a grand scale, using their own name as the currency to partner with corporations to create new, safe, livable places free from existing problems that keep some people, well, in the dark.

More info

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

And now, what you've all been waiting for....

Yes, my review of the iPad.

In a word?  Eh.

It's ok, but I'm hoping in two or three revisions, it will be a useful device.

First, where's the camera?  Second, where's the USB port?  Not clear on how you're supposed to get materials in and out.

Why is everything extra?  I mean, yeah, that's par for the course for Apple, but if you want to sell it as a book reader, make it possible to read books from anywhere.

I know that's not the Apple way, but, well, sigh.  Steve Jobs, you've really underdone yourself this time, buddy.

Odds and Ends 3


MASHABLE.COM -- Former Time-Warner CEO Apologizes for "Worst Deal of the Century" Better late than never.


USTREAM.COM -- Shiba Inu puppies streamed all day long


SEATTLEPI.COM -- Construction begins on the U-Link with closures on Capitol Hill


LIFEHACKER.COM -- 5-minute sorbet in a ziplock back


CRINGELY.COM -- Mobile predictions for 2010 (Most likely only Apple, Google and RIM will remain.)


LIFEHACKER.COM -- Pie for one. Clever.


Bummer. I hadn't realized The Riches had been canceled, though I didn't care as much for parts of the second season.


CNET.COM - Mars rover "Spirit" will no longer roam, but continues to do science experiments 5+ years into its 90-day mission.


Cut out the middle man, this product lets anyone except credit cards. Well, anyone with an iPhone. Have to figure it'll also soon be available for others like Android and Blackberry.


And here's summary to bring you up-to-date on LOST so far. Well, sort of. At least it's only 4-1/2 minutes.

I Take It In With the Morning Light

8:00 am - Got the car up to 97 mpg coasting uphill on the offramp. Sadly, just moments before it was at 5 mpg going from dead stop to sixty freeway uphill.

8:15 am - Toyota's recalling 2.3 million cars and stopping production until they come up with a fix. Something about accelerators potentially sticking, even though there've been no reports of death or injury. On one hand, this could represent a company that is really proactively trying to maintain its reputation of quality and safety. On the other hand, what if it were all a big conspiracy? Stall the production lines and ask everyone to take vacation, training or unpaid leave. Big cost savings there. Create some tiny little part, get 2.3 million people to bring their cars back to the dealers. Look like a hero for your commitment to safety and quality and sell a lot of new cars. The dealers replace the parts but also have a chance to look under the hood, find other problems and score a bunch of repair work out of the deal.

9:30 am - Keep drinking coffee or suck on a cough drop. Quandry.

3:00 pm - If I had known the cafeteria stunk, I wouldn't have agreed to a meeting in here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

But then again, too few to mention

10:00 am - I shouldn't be this cranky this early in the week, considering I...

12:10 pm - Guess I got interrupted earlier. Not so crabby now. Hungry. And it looks nice outside. I feel fine. Think I'll go for a walk.

12:15 pm - I would never throw my shoe at someone. Shoes aren't cheap and I would feel silly walking around with only one shoe.

1:10 pm - Good but not silly walk. And good run up the stairs at the end. Now I feel happy.

5:05 pm - My start of the day email count was 1,099, including stuff handled on Friday and over the weekend. (The count restarts each morning and always includes the previous days' "handled" because it's not yet trashed.) So I'm going home with only 166 still remaining that need action. I have 501 in my "handled" folder for today that will get trashed in the morning. The math is too weird -- don't point out how wrong it is -- just let me revel in the 84.90% reduction in actionable email. Woo.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ringy Dingy

I don't like phones. At my first job, I used to keep the phone in the desk drawer. I was in a new city at a new company in a brand new industry. There was no reason for anyone to call me and I didn't know anyone. And if I had, they could have called my as-big-as-a-brick Nokia 100. It wasn't as big as the ones that they had on The A-Team, but it was pretty large. At my second job, I used my phone a little more, but there was a lot of email or I'd go visit my salespeople in person. At my third job, email and when necessary I'd go visit people. And here at this job, the phone is a little more crucial, but even still, what passes as an office phone solution leaves me deeply unsatisfied.

First, the phone itself. Ugly beige oversized thing. Why? Why is it so utterly huge? And ugly? It would make that old Nokia look tiny. And so I don't keep it on my work surface, instead opting to put it nearby on a shelf so I can hear it ring. (And that's another thing... why must all office phones have annoying rings and why must so many people turn them up so loud? I've been sneaking into people's cubes and offices for over a decade now turning down their phones. In all but one case, they've never turned it back up.) And why is it so beige? I hear you can get a nice black fancy phone with more features, but it'll cost your department like $200. We accidentally did that for one of my staff, just trying to get him a display for his phone. Apparently he was getting a lot more calls and there were a number of them that he was better off letting go to voicemail.

Now, voicemail - that's another thing. How does it make any sense for a little red light on the phone to signify voicemail? You never know how many voicemails there on there. If it's just one, what's the point? But if you leave it for a few days, then it just leads to a potential for dread - because now there could be a thousand on there. Or there could still be just one, so why bother? I've been inclined to just put a post-it note over the voicemail light and call it good. Even at home I can go online to Comcast and see a list of voicemails and listen to them and jump back and forth and replay without trying to remember if 4 means rewind or super-secret-double-immediate-delete-forever.

Sometimes when people leave a long message, I just call them or I go visit their office and say "Hey, your message was too long. What's up?" Usually that gets things solved quicker than me trying to maintain focus and consciousness while listening to a long voicemail.

Which is why I never give out my office number, I don't publicize it on my signature block, I don't tell it to people and I figure that anyone who calls *just* that number doesn't have a good idea of how to reach me. Because anyone who's paying attention will have my Google Voice (Grand Central) number and when they call that, my desk phone and my Blackberry (and sometimes my cell phone) all ring simultaneously and I can choose which to answer, which will typically be one of the mobile phones because then I'll also have my Bluetooth headset and can take the call while I walk. Because, believe it or not, if someone wants to talk to me on the phone, rarely do I end up needing access to a computer while I'm talking to them.

And if I can't take their call (or don't want to take their call), they go to voicemail. Which I can listen to online, and which is transcribed and sent to me as email and as a text message.

For months, my phone has been on a different floor in my old cube and all calls immediately went to voicemail and I'd go down there once every week or two to check to see if I had new messages. I had it moved up here last week and then while I was out sick earlier this week, the light came on and I let it go a few days (because there could be 1,000 messages on there and who wants to deal with that? or maybe it was one lone message with little value) and finally caved in and checked it this morning. EIGHT MESSAGES. Ugh. I endured my way through them all and at the end there were six dealing with stuff that had already been discussed and resolved in email and two that were a cold call from some guy who saw our organization as a way that he could make some money off the Haiti crisis.

So yeah, I don't like office phones. If I could get all my calls forwarded to my cell phone or Skype or softphone or anything but the ugly tethered beige monstrosity of doom, that would be awesome.

All the lonely people - where do they all come from?

8:00 am - Got a Vanilla Starbucks Energy Drink on the way in because it was free. Coffee shouldn't come in cans... it's about as bad as drinking beer in cans or something. As soon as I transplanted it into a proper mug - much better. // Ack... the W2s are coming... already?

9:45 am - I smell bacon.

12:00 pm - A new guy just introduced himself to me today saying he didn't think we'd officially met yet. *sigh* I'm usually pretty bad at getting around to introducing myself, but I made it a point of going and introducing myself like two or three weeks ago to this guy.

12:30 pm - I want to go out to eat, but I'd regret it - both in having to enter it into Quicken and also in tomorrow's weigh-in on the Wii Fit.

5:00 pm - Time to go already. Thank God for a day that went rather smoothly and one I can walk away from feeling like I actually made progress today. It brings a little bit of feeling of guilt, though, because my post-earthquake life is returning closer to normal (now if I could just shake this cold), while the people who actually live there are still a far ways off. Despite it all, there was some good news today... an 89(?)-year-old woman was pulled out of rubble today after 10 days, banks will be reopening and people are opening up small businesses (like a barber shop) in the camps.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I just have to look good, I don't have to be clear

8:00 am - Pet peeve - people who walk on the wrong side of the stairs. Those people should probably be avoided in parking lots and grocery stores as well. I didn't spill coffee on anyone today, but if I ever do, you deserved it.

9:30 am - Just talked "Bob" off a ledge. Well, actually, "Bob" was hoping "Ken" would join him on the ledge - "Bob" wanted to punch "Ken" in the stomach and then throw him off the ledge. "Bob" didn't realize that "Ken" would probably grab him and pull him down too, and probably even turn things around in midair and use "Bob" as a landing mat. Fortunately, I've been in "Bob"'s situation enough times and thrown enough "Ken"s off the building to know that it never works. I have the bruises to prove it. I was glad to be able to use my experience to help someone else.

12:02 pm - Envious of L.A. and all the rain they're getting.

2:25 pm - Lots of coffee and a few fires... I feel jumpy. // I hate using the company refrigerators.. there's never enough space. Found my lunchbad at an angle. Good thing there was nothing that could spill. Yes, now just getting to lunch.

5:40 pm - And I thought I was going to get out of here closer to on time. Hate leaving before my staff, but Lori's got choir practice, so it's out of my hands.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

120: Tailgater

It was not Martin's night. Things had not gone well and he was on his way home to lick his wounds. A nice scotch on the rocks (or three) would be a good start at making things right. There was always tomorrow, but he wasn't quite able to shake off tonight's events.

The four-lane road was clear and empty as it always was this time of night. Still, no sense in being reckless. A fine mist was in the air and the road's black surface glistened in his headlights. The black Mercedes 3 glided along the ground like a shadow, the road noise almost imperceptible from inside the cabin. The rheostat had been turned way down so even the gauges were minimally lit and that's the way Martin liked it.

In his rearview mirror, he saw headlights. "Too fast," he thought, confirming with a quick glance at his own speedometer and seeing that the cruise control was still holding it steady at 35. Up ahead, three green lights, three deserted intersections. Martin had traveled this road every night for the past two months. The lights had never not been green.

Pretty soon the car was almost upon him. He could tell by the boxy outline that it was probably one of those Scions or a Honda element. Maybe a Chevy SSR or a PT Cruiser, but it looked too boxy.

"Go around," he growled at the rearview mirror, but the car stuck to him. An open lane to his left and this jerk wanted to tailgate him, like he had something to prove. Soon, Martin couldn't even see the headlights anymore. He could make out two or three people in the other car bopping along. He imagined in a lesser car he'd probably also hear the incessant thumping of their stereo.

Finally, something snapped. It was no longer their night, either. Martin held down the accelerator. 40... 45... the car stuck with him. 50... the car finally dropped back. 55... 60... 65... Then just as quickly, Martin slammed on the brakes and as the car reached 15, he quickly whipped the wheel, the car sliding on the wet ground, coming to a stop sideways just shy of the last intersection.

The Scion came to a halt, its driver unsure. Martin quickly threw open the door and exited the car. His long back trench coat billowed in the wind. He chomped down on his cigar and pulled two Steyr TMPs from behind his back holding them sideways. He quickly thought about how movies had ruined that, he had always liked holding the firearms sideways. Took more control to hold them but Martin prided himself on his sense of control.

He squeezed the trigger of the gun in his left hand, just a few rounds. A warning volley into the engine block, aimed low. No chance that any would reach the passenger compartment.

But that was enough. Instantly, three doors opened and three teenagers spilled from the car. The two on the right ran away from the him, looking back fearfully. The driver tripped over his own feet, almost recovered, and then his legs gave way and he fell to the ground, his legs bent up under his body. He scrambled to his feet, running away from the car, perpendicular, towards the opposite shoulder, strangely still not *away* from Martin.

Martin watched curiously for a few seconds. When he had decided the idiots were far enough from the car, he pulled both triggers tightly, emptying both gun's magazines into the car's engine compartment. Just as both guns ran dry, the car erupted into a fireball sending shockwaves in every direction, knocking down two of the three youths and once again making Martin's coat billow.

Martin pressed a button on the keyfob and the trunk latch popped. Martin put the guns, still hot, into a metal case where they'd cool without risking setting his car on fire.

He closed the trunk lid and listened. Except for the crackling of the fire, it was silent. He got into car, closed the door with a satisfying clunk and proceeded back down the way he had come.

As he neared the teens, they began to scramble up an embankment. "Too late," he thought, hit the accelerator, flew through the large puddle and drenched them as a final insult.

He was pretty sure none of them would ever tailgate anyone again.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

120: Meeting

The fat man wiped the sweat from his brow and banged the table with his fist.

"Order!" he shouted and then repeated it a second time trying to sound more forceful and authoritative than he felt. He glanced nervously at the people sitting on either side of him.

The card table shook as he pounded it, pencils jumping the air, papers sliding to the floor and water sloshing from small clear plastic glasses.

It felt as if all the air had been sucked from the room and the lights were growing strangely dim and he gasped for air.

The man on his left in the plaid shirt glanced for the door and wondered if he could make it to the door without being accosted. The woman on his right sat prim and proper, hands folded in her lap, with almost a hint of a smile (or a smirk?) on her thin, pale lips.

Another bead of sweat rolled down his forehead, onto his nose and then off the tip. He watched as it fell, in slow motion before finally splashing onto the torn vinyl table top.

He lept to his feet, ready to shout again but found that he had no voice. His throat was dry and he tried to yell, but no words came forth.

The meeting was not going well. They were never popular, often only attended by the most cantankerous lot, the ones with a score to settle, a beef to pick, the malcontents who only came because it was a chance to gripe. People who felt unrepresented, left to die.

And tonight they had learned that despite all their hard work, all the money they had invested, the developer had taken off with their money and all they had to show for it was this unfinished room with not nearly enough windows, no air conditioning and temporary work lights strung along the unfinished ceiling. They started in on each other, but Frank, Merle and Francine knew it was only a matter of time before the crowd turned on them.

At that exact moment, three things happened. The door opened and two police officers ran in, Merle decided he'd had enough and bolted for the door, and an assortment of cookies and water glasses were launched into the air by several in the back row who'd have "enough talk." There was a loud crash as Merle collided with the two officers, bounced off and then fell to the ground, taking out part of the first row of folding chairs and then even more commotion as the cookies and water glasses rained down on the stunned officers. It took every fiber of their being not to draw their guns.

The site of the two officers, water dripping from their caps, one of them with a cookie resting on the top of their caps, the cool blast of summer air and the sunlight changed everyone's perspectives immediately and they all suddenly stopped what they were doing and closed their mouths.

Frank sank into his seat, slouching. His large arm outstretched, he motioned to the police officers. "These officers are here to collect copies of our paperwork with Hesslet & Associates and to talk about what our next steps are."

The officers were shaking the water off their hats when Merle sheepishly stood and apologized, "I think those projectiles were aimed at me."

"Alright, will everyone please take their seats so that we can hear what these fine officers have to say?"

"Gentlemen, if you will," Francine finally spoke up, gesturing to two empty folding chairs at the front of the room. Two men slowly made their way forward, eyes down, carrying cups of water and plates of cookies which they set on the wobbly card table in front of the officers. Try as they might, they could not avoid Frank's glare and they each mumbled "Sorry" as they shuffled back to the hall and took their seats.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Odds and Ends 2


ORPHANROAD.COM - How we might restart the waterfront line


CROSSCUT.COM - Was Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. a Christian? OF course he was, but you'd never know it in Seattle, according to this great piece in Crosscut.


MSNBC.COM - $65 "gangland" tours in L.A.


FIRSTPERSONTETRIS.COM - A challenging twist on the old favorite


CROSSCUT.COM - Seven steps to save Pioneer Square Crosscut is quickly becoming a favorite for me.


NEWSWEEK.COM - Don't Panic - Zakaria's brilliant (but they all are) reminder that terrorism only works if we are terrorized.


OYSTER.COM - Photo Fakeouts - What the hotel website shows, and what the reviewers found when they got there. I wish a few more shots have been from similar angles, and alas, the gallery ends too quickly. (Though you can sign-up to get new ones sent to you by email. Email? Email is dead. Give us an RSS feed, yo.)


ISMCKENZIE.COM - 5 Tips for Effective Delegation - good stuff.


A cat that can't meow:


My favorite Hitler rant yet: (language warning)

Time to take back my name

Was playing around with a site today that shows you how you are doing, as an internet brand. The biggest caveat is that if you have a popular name, you're sharing your branding with everyone else.

I was happy to see that I, me, the James Lamb that's now typing was the first the James Lamb it found for Facebook, but it completely missed me on Twitter and Blogger because I've been hiding behind TV James.

So, no more of that. Anyone who already knows me knows I'm TV James and knows I'm James Lamb. So, from now on, I'm going to make sure I'm publicly listed as both in places where it seems appropriate. That will take away from the guy in Central California who's trying to find a house but no one wants him living near them, the guy in upper San Francisco who posts about sports all the time (yawn), the dead guy with a similar name who wrote self-help books for training canines, the woman who think I'm her son and keeps sending me stupid forwards in Yahoo and the jerk who works for a TV who keeps giving people my email address - although I think he must have gotten fired or his dumb show canceled or he finally learned his email address - I've gotten photos of women who wanted makeovers (doing all I can not to be mean here about the caliber of women who want makeovers and will send their photos to someone over email).

So, from now on, taking back my brand. James Lamb, me.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The James Report

I think I took a turn for the worse today. Possibly the worst I've been since Tuesday, but in a different way. Now, when I breathe in, it catches and I feel like I have a mouth full of soot. I can swallow, but talking still hurts. Massive headaches come and go randomly, and I fell asleep in a chair earlier tonight.

Fortunately, nothing really disgusting, because I would not share that stuff but I felt talking about being sick because I'm good at talking about myself.

No More Bailouts

Odds and Ends

Stuff that interested me this week...

ENGADGET.COM -- Study finds cellphone use may fend off effects of Alzheimer's disease

ENGADGET.COM -- Airnergy WiFi power system gives RCA a reason to exist (video)

MASHABLE.COM -- AOL about to lay off 1,400/ - They announced in November that they were going to reduce their workforce by a third and offered early retirement for up to 2,500. Only 1,100 took them up on it, so... oops for 1,400 people.

CRINGLEY.COM -- 2010 predictions for Apple, Homeland Security, IBM, Google, Microsoft

GOOGLE.COM -- We're tired of being evil - announces they will stop censoring their search results in China, then says they'll enter into talks. The predictions on what comes next - they're kicked out of the country and China's the bad guy (not that that's anything new). Brilliant!

MSNBC.COM -- Ebersol pouts because Conan didn't do what he told the host to do If you're so smart, why don't you have a late night talk show host, Dick?

And here's a breakdancing robot

Old-Timey Train - sometimes the MTA in New York runs really old trains on "Nostalgia Trains" on the subway lines. Here's video from a group that all dressed up and brought a band to the complete the atmosphere:

“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities; in the expert’s, there are few.” – Zen Master Suzuki Roshi

Friday, January 15, 2010

But don't let it fool ya about what's inside

9:00 am - our devo was in the Haiti conference room today. That's symbolic of nothing.

11:30 am - Rainy windy day. Very cool. Am really swamped, though.

1:20 pm - Elevators should be equipped with a sensor. If someone smelly gets in, it should refuse to close the doors until they get back out.

1:30 pm - Ok, I think I'm going back to the iPhone being the-new-phone-I-wish-could-get-but-costs-more-than-I'm-willing-to-pay. Maybe the Nexus Two will fix things.

2:37 pm - My email is caught up (and I've been looking into the backlog). But I'm also in nine instant messaging conversations.

3:03 pm - TMobile just gave us free long distance to Haiti and free roaming within Haiti for the rest of the month. Bravo, TMobile!

4:11 pm - Hard to believe it's only 4. I feel like it's 7 or 8. I think that things came apart a little bit today. Things were a little sloppier. Do not get me wrong - the work the teams produced was not sloppy. The behind the scenes machinations were. We're all getting tired.

4:14 pm - The last few days I've been able to get coffee on this floor late in the day. A few months ago they'd stopped doing new coffee service after 3 to save money and reduce waste, so after 3 you had to go to the cafeteria. I think with what's going on now that it's a nice touch that they've kept the service going later.

6:10 pm - Leaving because Lori has food ordered for me to pick-up in less than 20 minutes and the family won't eat until I bring the food to them.

120: Dear Diary

Dec. 14

Last night E came over for dinner with her.... boyfriend? Guy is kinda creepy.

After dinner I was still out on the deck watching the boats go by. Most of them are all lit up with Christmas lights. F and E took the dishes in. I could see F rinsing them off in the kitchen (Reminder: thank him later) but don't know where E went.

I was wearing the beige skirt with the lavender flowers and a violet top. The one that I got at Nordstrom's last month when that guy at the piano kept playing the same song forever and the girl at the register with the tongue-piercing she kept trying to hide said she didn't even think he worked there and then I couldn't find the car afterwards because I had taken F's stupid truck instead of my car and I had that really good smoothie afterwards. Anyhow, it was a little cold out, but I know F likes it. All the sudden C comes over, sets his drink on the railing next to me and throws his coat over me. Gag. Smelled like Muskox.

Then he starts talking about how he's gotten to know E over the past few months says the weirdest thing "She talks an awful lot about you... and butter... which I like." Seriously! Puke! Weirdo. (Reminder: ask B at work if he knows how to do a background check on someone.)

The he touches my hand. I thought I would die - of revulsion. Then he starts talking about how much he likes my sister, but then somehow he moved on to talking about cocker spaniels and wind farms and lawn mowers. (Reminder: bleach hand) Seriously. Guy just went on and on about dogs and my sister and I just kept going "uh huh" at him. Dude did not take a hint.

Finally after a million years E finally comes back out and comes over to C and he wraps his arm around her and they look like a cute couple. Seriously, F, we have a dishwasher. (Reminder: don't thank F later.)

Finally he came back out with coffee and I was able to put that stinky coat onto a deck chair but I wanted to throw it over the railing into the bay. (Reminder: need to pick up dry cleaning tomorrow.)

I need to call E tomorrow. What does she see in Captain Cheesehead?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Can leave you waiting for the hammer to fall

I feel good.

Well, I feel alright.

I mean, my head feels good. My body, not so much.

Before I go on, let me extend another ask for a small bit of your money. What's going on in Haiti is unspeakable. World Vision has a plane on the ground in Denver. It's loaded full of tarps, blankets, hygiene kits (month's supply - for a family of five - toilet paper, sanitary pads, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, body soap, laundry soap) and cooking kits. It's waiting for the OK from the FAA. Flights in and out of Haiti have been limited due to a limited supply of fuel at the airport and roads around the airport that are impassable. We also already had supplies in Haiti because it was approaching hurricane season, but those supplies are running low. We're hoping the first plane will get out tomorrow. We've also had great response from Salesforce, IBM, Yahoo!, Verizon and many other companies encouraging their employees and customers to help. If you've not helped and can spare $25, please help.

Yeah, so... almost feels weird coming back to me after that. It's been a weird week. Monday was pretty normal, I think. I can't remember. Tuesday at work was mostly ok, a little busy, by midafternoon stuff was starting to break loose. By Tuesday night, we were all feeling cruddy and I wondered if I'd make it into work.

I ended up not going in, planning to rest up. Of course, when there's something like Haiti going on, you get pulled back in very quickly. I spent much of the day and night in front of the computer as it seems did many of my colleagues. I've never seen so many people sending emails that late. It was actually kind of impressive and I was proud of all of the people not in my group who put in long hours. Sure, I was proud of my teams, but it's pretty much expected. Some of the others, I wasn't expecting.

It's been very fast-paced. I've set aside over a hundred emails that aren't related to Haiti that are just going to have to wait. Same with requests for new work. In fact, we've pretty much nearly ground to a halt on all our regularly scheduled work. I saw bits and pieces of work going through by the team which was cool. Everyone's working so hard and to see them doing that was pretty amazing, especially as I felt like I was flinging work at people left and right all day. It's amazing how much can be done when we eliminate some of the red tape and go full out.

I've also processed about 3 times the normal amount of mail, probably close to 500 pieces yesterday and today. (That's my term for dealt with and stuck in the folder next to the trash can.)

I felt a little better today. I took a fake Airborne this morning and some Fakeqwill but I didn't take anymore when it ran out and I didn't use any of my cough drops today. (Yesterday it hurt to swallow or talk.) Still can't talk a lot today, but I still probably made or took more calls today than I normally do in a month.

So we've all been sick and it's put everything in disarray. This evening I got home late again, but I'm feeling good now. I feel like it's time to re-take the fort. Everywhere I can, I'm grabbing something that's out of place and putting it where it belongs or getting it closer to where it needs to be. It's been overwhelming. We will be able to get back to resetting the living room every day (that's easy to get back to, but also easy to skip a day or two) and we're close to de-Christmasing the dining room. Lori's been keeping the kitchen pretty good and I have to admit I've been doing a little less. Laundry.. ugh.. it's stacking up. But I've got some in now and I'll get some more started before bed. I'll get it all washed. Getting it all put away is a little more of a challenge. But we'll get it.

Like I said, I'm feeling good. Even if my body isn't.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rushing and Racing and Running in Circles

9:00 am - Pet peeve. People who, in a business setting, write unprofessionally in email. Missing punctuation, lack of capitalization. Really irritating. Makes me think they are unprofessional and don't care about their work.

4:40 pm - Haiti Earthquake. Please pray. If you can help financially, head on over to World Vision to learn how we're helping -

4:45 pm - Just did my first Skype chat. Turns out this laptop has a built-in microphone (had been trying to use my Bluetooth, unsuccessfully). So all along I could have been talking to people if I had wanted to or had need. If anyone wants my Skype username, email me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

You'd Have to Wait Until You Could Hear it on the A.M. Radio

8:30 am - Have the urge to tweet "Well how was I to know you were called Dennis?" but not doing social media during work hours.

9 am - In the devo prayer today the pray-er thanked God for the day "despite the rain". I think she mean "including" or "especially"

9:24 am - Old chewy Lifesavers: not good like old chewy candy canes. They do not age well at all.

10:30 am - Just heard more about how my role will now include a budget component and all of the work that goes with it. Cannot get out of the mentality that Administration is a distraction from "work."

11 am - Well, now. _That_ was an interesting exchange. Lots for me to learn from as an innocent bystander. Pretty sure I didn't get anything on me.

2 pm - License plate frame "Here Today / Gone To Maui" - I get that they're trying to do a play on words for "Gone tomorrow," as it it were spoken by a two-year-old with an adorable lisp. But beyond that, it's just stupid. The only place that makes sense is if you're IN (on?) Maui. But if you're there, then you haven't gone there, you've come there in order to be there (here) today. Dumb, just dumb.

5 pm - is stupid. It's all about buying toys for grandchildren. You'd think it'd be supereasy to find recommendations on what kind of computer to buy, but nooooo.... Maybe that's where I should make my money - advising people my grandma's age on paying a reasonable price for a reasonable computer. There's very little out there that actually works for older people that isn't a complete rip-off. From my very scientific 20 minute survey of the internet.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Digital Realm Is Definitely Easier than the Physical One

Challenging day. Those stories of dads spending 6 hours Christmas night to put a bike together? I skipped that, we bought her bike for her last June fully assembled. She was really excited, but she'd only rode it twice. The first time, we hoped in the SUV and went to one of the neighborhood parks. Of course, she was more interested in playing on the toys and very scared of the bike. I don't think we got a full loop in.

The next time, we went to another park and we rode from one end to the other and then she wanted to stop and go down the slide a bunch of times. Which was fine and then she really needed to go to the bathroom quickly and we had to have Lori come with the car and pick us up.

I had been thinking that today I'd offer her the chance to ride her bike but before I had the chance to offer, she announced she wanted to ride her bike today. Awesome. I knew it would definitely go easier if she was the one who wanted to do it.

Ha. Loading the bike in the truck, realized the tire was flat. Really?

Argh. Alrighty. Fred Meyer. Tire pump. Nope. Back into the store. Flat-fix and a new tube. Flat fix: failure. Back home. Opened up the stupid socket set wrong. 50+ pieces all over the garage. Training wheels off, brake off, other brake off, tire loosened, chain off. Rim off, tire off, tube out, new tube in, tire on, rim on, brake on, other brake tightened, training wheels back on. The whole time I was thinking about when I used to do computer programming. Build something, try it. If it doesn't work, you look at why, type a little bit, try again and see if it worked that time. Far less time involved and far less room for error. And certainly grease, muck and flat-fix(what is that stuff? is it toxic?)-free.

Off to the park. Fortunately, it had recently rained, so I told her ahead of time that the sand would be too wet to walk on and the big toys would be wet, so we wouldn't stop to play today.

Things were going well. She gained some confidence since she last rode, so we worked on things like looking far enough ahead and keeping the pedals moving consistenly and from a stop "which leg?"

Until we started to approach the pond, then she started to worry that she would ride into the pond, and could we walk the bike? No, but we worked on how to slow the bike without stopping it. However, the minute she started looking at the ducks, she started steering towards the pond, so we had to stop so she could look at them.

We also talked about how learning to ride means learning how to fall off. She did two pretty good falls where she managed to stay up right. She was really gaining a lot of confidence and seeming to have fun. She was getting cold, but the chance to stop and pet a dog that someone was walking was the motivation she needed to start a second lap. Of course, then there was a rather good spill half-way through. And wouldn't you know. Chain off. Fight fight fight but it's not going on.

Alrighty then. Walk the stupid thing the rest of the way around, back to the truck, back home. Tools back out, a bunch of stuff again including some things I hadn't removed before, chain back on, wheel tightened (did I neglect to sufficiently tighten it before?) and then everything back together, good as new and ready for her next ride.

I am encouraged, though, because she was really seeming to enjoy her ride and it was fun to be able to just hang out with her and walk and not fight over playing on the big toys or something. It was annoying that it was probably almost two hours working on the darned bike for less than an hour of her getting to use it.

Afterwards, struggled with replacing an automatic lightswitch for our porch light. The old one had stopped working and so I bought a new one but I was too lazy to turn the power off and trying attach the new lead to the existing wires and screw them together with the wire nut kept causing a different light to turn off. Some scary wiring in that box that is not of my doing. In the end, we have a working front porch light again which is good since we'll be having small group again next week. Now just need to fix the one in the garage. Argh. Is what I get for trying to save the planet and use CFLs.

I feel like I lost too much of this weekend and didn't get done quite a bit of the things I had hoped. Either next weekend or try to fit it in during the week somehow.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


The other day in devos they talked about trajectory and the idea of "what were you doing 10 years ago?"

First off, my brain says "Ten years ago? 1990? Still in high school." I have to really fight with it to get it to agree (and even then, it's begrudgingly) that ten years ago was not 1990.

I don't fear aging, I just don't like the idea of being this old. I don't like the idea of looking at the college students who watch our children and thinking that to them we look as old as we must look. Granted, by many stretches of the imagination, I am not really that old. But I'm not 22 anymore, either. When did that happen?

Anyhow, so 10 years ago for real.

Ok, so 10 years ago... newly married. No kids, living in our first apartment together, my third ever. Since then, another apartment, a purchased house and then another purchased house (both times with some financial assistance from my parents). Still driving the same car, still love it, people are surprised to find out it's as old as it is.

At the time, working Warner Bros. Could walk or bike to work, had an office with full-length windows. Had a team of six reporting to me and a few others with dotted lines. Making an unreasonably large salary, plus Lori was working. (Why did we not save more?)

Just starting to attend a really good church that was forcing me to realize some things about my spiritual life.

Ten years later... different state, two children. 15-20 more pounds. Another job with a company with a two digit acronym starting with W. A team one part-time person larger. A salary almost as large (but now our only income). A cube with windows (though they are off to one side, was hard to see when you were at the computer - I've sort of abandoned it, though, only go down there once every 1-2 weeks to see if anything's been left on my chair or if my voicemail light is lit, preferring to work upstairs in our "collaboration space" where there's no windows or assigned workspaces.) Church is ok. Between church and work and having children I've been really convicted to improve my spiritual life and I am growing, but sometimes it's hard to know if it's enough.

But yeah, this was not at all the trajectory I would have imagined. I'm not sure what I thought I would be doing, but I had hoped to eventually be working for Disney in any capacity whatsoever, be living in a good neighborhood in (unsure), California in a house with a more Arts & Crafts style and I'm not sure what else.

So, what does the trajectory look like from here? Ten years from now, not sure if we'll still be in this house. If we do, we'll hopefully have gutted the center of the middle floor to turn the kitchen and living room into a big great-room, a hub if you will. (Though where to put the half bath?) I'll have a 15-year-old, an 11-year-old and hopefully an 8- or 9-year-old. Hopefully be driving a different car by then, one that in today's dollars probably costs $35-$40k and it will be an electric car. If I'm driving a gasoline-powered car in 10 years, it'll be the Intrepid. I'm not buying another gas-powered car.

If retirement from one's professional career life is at 65, then at 35 I'm 30% there and at 45 I'll be 53% there. So my plan is to stay the course. When I committed to this job, I said I wouldn't be lazy, but I also wouldn't be overly ambitious or eager, that I would work hard, work smart and instead of fighting my way up the ladder, I'd wait for someone to extend a hand down to me and pull me up. And so far, that strategy has worked like gangbusters. However, on a more micro-level, some days it can be a serious struggle to remind myself "patience" - that there's no hurry. This is especially difficult when I see what I think are mistakes being made or poor choices or missed opportunities. I have to tell myself that those that are making the decisions have more experience, more knowledge, more insight than me. And so I need to be patient. In some cases, that bears out and I see something I had not expected, and in other cases, I will have been right, but it doesn't mean it's in stone and can't be adjusted later. So I need to remind myself that there are many times where I need to shut up, hunker down, follow orders, work hard and serve as asked. These are often the best times to listen, observe, learn, remember. Maybe because I'll gain insight, understanding and wisdom, and maybe because I'll need to remember it later to address it when I have the authority to do so. But in the meantime, build credibility and trust through working hard, learning everything I can about everything, being pleasant, courteous, and leveraging everything I've learned (good and bad) in my past careers as newspaper delivery boy, clerk in an office supply store, inbound phone order-taker, assistant manager of a college tv station, video store clerk, data entry for workers comp claims at an insurance company, lead developer for an internet startup, lead developer of web properties at a large church, manager of a team of internet advertising placement specialists for a Hollywood studio, copy editor for a college newspaper, graphic artist solely responsible for a daily advertising newsletter, pizza chain employee, all the stuff I'm doing now, not to mention that I feel like I'm leaving stuff out.

But 20 years ago? 20 years ago I would have said that in 10 years (10 years ago from now) I would be working for the Washington State Film commission in a position I created, driving my Jeep Grand Cherokee all over the state promoting filming in Washington, chauffeuring location scouts, helping to negotiate deals with local communities. And that the closest I'd get to Federal Way would be passing it on the 5 between my offices in Seattle and Olympia and my many trips to Sea-Tac.

But 20 years from 20 years ago (now) in that alternate reality, where would I be? Would I be bored? Would I be at war with British Columbia? Would I be spending more time in California while my staff worked deals here? Would I be bringing Oregon and Idaho into the mix?

Ah, well, road not taken and it's on me for not taking it.

And I'm good with that because I'm very happy with the trajectory I find myself on.

Thing That Need Not Be: IHOP To Go

Rolled into the IHOP parking lot this morning and thought "Wow! A parking space closest to the door! Right on!" (It's not right in front of the doors since the building was situated to look good from the street, even though it's not on the street and it's not a pedestrian friendly... well, none of the city is pedestrian friendly, but I digress...

It was then that I noticed the sign indicating that the space was reserved for "To Go Orders" Really, America? IHOP To Go?

First off, what is IHOP? IHOP is overpriced small portions of food that you can frankly make at home really easily.

Krusteaz Mix, Milk and an Egg. Eggs in a pan. Folgers. Peel off some bacon slices, defrost some hash browns and sausage. Turn every radio in your house to a different talk show, the boringer the better, and turn them all up really loud. See? The IHOP experience.

But seriously, you go to IHOP when you want to just hang out, eat breakfast and let someone else clean up the dishes but you don't want "Moons Over Mihammy" or a "Superbird." Mmmm... Superbird. That's what we did, we wanted to talk, to spend some time together as a family on a day when we didn't have a lot of other commitments or things to rush to, in a town that has exactly three options for non-Asian breakfasts.

To my knowledge, IHOP don't have any signature dishes (or at least none they strongly promote... Even "Come Hungry, Leave Happy" (their slogan) can be found in church bulletins and chess club flyers all over Google and could just as easily promote the minibar at a hotel or free sample Saturdays at Costco. As far the experience - it's nothing more than a homogenized chain of breakfast kitchens. Clean, safe, predictable, forgettable. Nothing wrong with that (except the forgettable part), I have a particular place in my heart for IHOP because my parents told me stories of some nice employees in one in Seattle when mom was pregnant with me, or I had just been born or something - I think there was one pretty close to their house that they went to pretty regularly. And the food is tasty, but it's nothing extremely special.

So what's the point of To Go? It's not as convenient as McDonald's where you don't even have to get out of your car, though I suppose McDonald's won't serve you a McGriddle after 10:30 am. And I've already covered how the food is stuff you can make at home pretty easily. The only reason for IHOP is it's a good place to sit around a table and talk, so what are you going to do, sit in your car and scarf down the pancakes in silence? Maybe you are after one of their few specialty items, like the 1200 calorie (2800g of sodium) New York Cheesecake Pancakes and you're so hard-driving that you can't stop to dine, I really hope you're on your way to your cardiologist's office.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Next phase, new wave, dance craze, anyways

9:15 am - Ack. Just spelled received wrong in an email. Spotted it in that split second after you press send and before it disappears off the screen. So tired today, do not know why. Felt like I slept well last night. But at least one eye is bloodshot and my eyes just feel really heavy, hurt a little even. Lots to do today. Wrote out a bunch of it on a whiteboard for clarity, but unfortunately the board blocks my view of the outdoors. Hiding inside my headphones listening to Pandora.

11 am - My red-tape story of the day... so I've been sitting up in our "collaborative spaces" on the third floor for many months now. It's a big open space with lots of tables, power cords and wires strung on the floor - nothing permanent, no cubes, etc. Areas with names like "Treehouse" and "The Library" and "Alcatraz." I still maintain an office on the second floor -- it's a really nice office -- big huge window, lots of counter space, but mostly I just visit it once every week or two to see if anyone's left anything on the chair or if the voicemail light is lit. I figured this would eventually catch up with me, so I put in a request yesterday with the Campus Services Service Desk (I emailed, I was too lazy to walk down to the Campus Services Service Desk desk) asking that my phone be moved. They replied back saying that was handled by the Helpdesk. They even copied the Helpdesk on the email and asked the Helpdesk to handle. This afternoon one of the guys on my team tells me that the Helpdesk called him after being unable to reach me by phone to say that it's in fact Campus Services Service Desk who handles phones. Apparently in the end, they did figure out it was them because I had an email asking me for my cube number in our collaboration space.

2 pm - The Day Porter saw me getting coffee and asked if I was now on this floor. I'll discount the fact that I've been on this floor for months and give her props for being able to remember which floor I (and I assume I'm not the only one she remembers) work on. This building alone has four floors and several hundred employees. Kudos to her for remembering little details like which floor us bees work on.

3:10 pm - Just spoke to someone in another office in the Oakland area with the most absolutely fabulous British accent, said things like "brilliant" and "darling" and "She's not here right now, I'm just her dreadful boss" and "Are you to do with the internet?" Memo to self: Find reasons to call this office.

5 pm - A successful day. A good day. A cleaning-type day. Desk is cleaned, Eight of the seventeen passwords I have here for work have been changed, the rest will have to wait for Monday. I'm leaving things in a good place. I'm behind in reports and documentation and administrivia, but nothing I have undone is keeping others from getting their work done. But not as cool a day as yesterday.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I Get Up and Nothing Gets Me Down

8:00 am - Even before I arrived I had an email from an irate coworker (not mad at me) who ended with "Excuse me whilst I throw a tantrum." Talk about a major juxtaposition there - can one who uses the word "whilst" actually throw a tantrum?

9:45 am - I just declined a meeting. While I had not officially said that I was going to say "Yes" to everything, I had been thinking about what it would be like after seeing that movie last weekend. Of course, Jim Carrey's character got asked a lot more interesting things than I'm likely to be asked.

9:50 am - Earlier today I thought I would just drink coffee all day today so that I could slow down time and move really fast, like in The Matrix. That was before I poured myself a cup of the office drip. I'm pretty sure today's contains no coffee, but instead gets its taste and flavor from strained and recycled sewage.

12:50 pm - Got a second cup of coffee before chapel. This one was made with coffee grounds and fresh water and tasted good. Now, however, I'm jumpy. If I weren't so lazy, I'd go dig trenches and put in a sprinkler system in the backyard. Except I'm still at work. Maybe I'm more like that character from Over the Hedge who drank coffee and then bounced all over. I just spent the last 45 minutes answering emails at my old desk on the second floor on my Blackberry while I ate. So now the Blackberry is dead and needs to be recharged so I'm going to go take a walk. Does my frenetic energy translate onto the page? Because my mind is moving way too fast. Time to go slow down with some music and my book and some walking.

1:45 pm - Good walk. Legs tired. Hard to climb the stairs to the office.

2:40 pm - Ugh. Just gave someone a phone number without the area code. How small town.

2:50 pm - A few weeks ago I talked about writing down words that mean something during an experience and then revisiting later to expand on them. I make these notes during the day in a text file. On some other date, I wrote down "mugs, spoons, pond scum" - no idea what that means now.

5:20 pm - I thought I was going to be out of here at 5. My family will be eating lunch in 10 minutes without me. Wrapping things up now. Had to say 'no' far more than I expected to today. I guess I need to teach people to ask different questions. Third cup of coffee was really good. Do they get better coffee on the third floor?

Name Calling

Not sure why, but I'm struck by the difference between "My name is" the metric translation "I am called" as a way of introducing oneself. I like "I am called," I think because it's different.

But when you really think about it, "I am called" is a slightly friendlier -- or a slightly inconclusive method.

For example:

My name is James (so don't even think of calling me something else!)
I am called James (and you should feel free to call me James).


His name is Peter (it says so on his birth certificate.)
He is called Peter (but who knows if that's really his name).

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Fly Me To the Moon

8:15 am - Interesting podcast on the way in. The takeaway was "Don't be a victim of victory" and acting on a dream will mean lots of work.

8:30 am - My boss is getting a new Blackberry. His Q and W keys don't work, but to be fair, it is really old. When he pulls up the clock application, it just tells him to set the phone on end in a sunny spot and measure the location of the shadow. The J key is starting to wear out on mine (quelle surprise) and the screen is a little scratched, but I guess it'll have to do for awhile. His is probably closer in age to the Blackberry I had 10 years ago than to the one I have now.

8:45 am - What was my trajectory 10 years ago? Very interesting question. Of course, my mind thinks "1990" ten years ago and refuses to accept that 10 years ago is a year that starts with 2 and not 1. But that's an interesting question that could be a post all its own sometime.

5:10 pm - Today was a good day. Some good meetings and only one action item. I'm wondering (if my handwriting were improved or I stopped using graph paper) if I could just scan my notes into Evernote.

5:30 pm - Ok, now there are two phones cool enough to be on my wish list. Of course, one of them would still mean carrying a separate iPod.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Drop It Like It's Hot

8:30 am - This year, I'm going to learn to love the phone.  Heck, it might as well be another tool in my arsenal.  And if I want to say I want to be more conversational and mean it, the phone with co-workers is great practice.  The reason for any call will be narrow and defined, gives me opportunity to think on my feet and be clear in my communications.

12:35 pm - No matter how much you might hate cats, this is pretty cool because the cat is so tiny. Video:

12:36 pm - I've been struggling for some time now with "What do you want for your birthday?"  And I'm stuck.  I'm way behind on my reading, I have too much clutter, so I guess anything I want has to be practical and useful.   Which leaves, I guess, only two things... clothes, or a replacement for something I already have.  Clothes are easy and I do enjoy receiving them because people often have a better idea of what will look good on me than I will.  If you take me with you shopping for me (an experience a number of girls participated in), I'll shoot down a number of things until I get weary and then finally agree to buy stuff even if I still don't like it.  And then I'll get compliments later.  But if you go without me, then it's a nice surprise later.   Otherwise, it's replacement and it would be of something that I already use... I no longer wear a watch because I typically carry multiple devices that tell time... my bluetooth headset works great, my phone is ok, my ipod is ok, my car is fine, computer is ancient but replacing it would be too expensive to gift, so what's left?  It turns out that what I really want, still, is a new phone, a particular phone.  The unfortunate part is that it would be the gift that keeps on giving as it isn't the cheapest phone in the world, and it requires an additional monthly fee.  It would, however, allow me to consolidate my phone and iPod into one device.  On the other hand, I hear the call quality isn't that great.  And the minute I get one, a better one will come out.  I guess I should just recommend clothes.

1:42 pm - Tongue burning from the Campbell's Chunky Grilled Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.  Very spicy, very tasty.  Wish I had some crackers. (If this had been a tweet, it would rank up there with some of the lamest ones ever.)

4:20 pm - Well, not as brutal a day as I thought it would be.  Me and Scott Hart had laughed yesterday about taking this week off.  Memo to self for next year....

5:15 pm - Well, I had a tiny fragment of a song stuck in my head.  When I Googled the lyrics, it came back as a Snoop Dogg song I was sure I'd never heard.  Which means I have part of one of Weird Al's Polka medleys stuck in my head.  Yikes.   I actually am not quite sure which is worse.  Probably Snoop.