Friday, April 30, 2010

I Wish They Could Always Be Friday

Wow, I am wiped out. Weekend. Rah.

In most senses of the word, I'm only 30 minutes behind schedule. But in others, I'm probably closer to 45 to 60. It's been a day. I've been a week.

Let's start with roll-call.

The 1's and 2's - Tuesday WIN

Another J - Today's email. FAIL.

That department with that form. FAIL.

That department that insists we use their self-service tool and then rejects everything we do in the tool because we did the wrong stuff. EPIC FAIL. Next time I need you, I'll be in your office and we're going to use the tool together because I don't need your rejections. Now that, that's not efficient, but I don't like the hand slaps.

Same department, different tool - ULTIMATE VENDOR FAIL. I have never ever ever encountered a more absolutely and totally frustrating website ever. It's poorly built, its structure makes no sense, even the way it displays data makes no sense. It is absolutely the worst site on the internet from the perspective of actually getting anything done. And I've used

Thursday, April 29, 2010

120: Heist, pt. 3

At the inquest, it would be found that Officer Araújo had made several mistakes. But the fact that an international criminal had slipped through his fingers might be forgiven that night. But that this Americano had destroyed his motorcycle, well, he wouldn't live that down for years.

It had been a crazy night and everyone, including Officer Araújo had been on edge. There had been several suspicious explosions that evening, a few fires and some calls for assistance that had sent the police and fire departments racing all over town, many times for nothing at all. There was talk of calling in the National Guard to assist with things. This like this didn't happen in this town, in this district or even very much in this country. They kept to themselves, and except for the tourists, no one much came around, and rarely was there trouble. They night was surely testing everyone.

Officer Araújo should not have stopped on his own that evening, should have called for backup, or simply left the rental car alone. It had pulled to the shoulder. That was out of character. That was something an American might do, but it wasn't something the locals did. And on a night as crazy as this, that stood out. An American, in the part of town, at night. It wasn't an area where you'd come to expect to find a tourist. And with the circumstances of the evening, that was enough.

Odds and Ends 23


ORPHAN ROAD -- Bellevue Supports Tunnel - good news for everyone, puts the transit where the people want to go.


SEATTLESCAPE -- Puget Sound region historic sites vying for dollars


GOOGLE -- Google Follow Finder - interesting way to find new tweeters to follow


WASHINGTON HIGHWAYS -- The highway tour guide takes us on 101


CROSSCUT --, the newest media player in Seattle


SETH GODIN -- The coming melt-down in higher education (as seen by a marketer)


Interesting. When you have a high-speed rail, how do you put in enough stops to create decent ridership but still keep the rail-line fast enough? A short conceptual video.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Feeling Goofy

I am feeling goofy. And I like it. I think it all started at lunch today. Or my lunch break, at least. I needed to watch Ben so that Lori could stay with Rachel during her dental appointment. (Only parents are no longer allowed back where the kids are anymore. Which in this day and age is actually weird to be going the other direction. But I'm not suggesting anything, this dentist is awesome and his office is very open and there are lots of people working there, so I think it's a very safe place for kids. Anyhow, that was a digression into weirdness, but let's get back to the topic at hand. Am I burning words here? Maybe. Maybe unnecessarily.)

So I took Ben and I took Lori's car keys. And it was off to Home Depot. And now, another little side-trip. Dear @HomeDepot - please move all large bagged items to the same place in the store. Anyhow, yeah, so pushing Ben in with one hand in a shopping cart and then pulling a flatbed trolley in my other hand. I was my own little train. A number of people offered to help, but I mostly just said no thanks. But, yeah, so one end of the store to get four bags of bark and then all the way to the other end of the store to buy three 60 pound bags of gravel. Some guy saw me and said "How many are you getting?" and grabbed one for me. Then asked if I was done and I said yep and he grabbed the flatbed and started pushing it towards the front of the store.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


He had spent the morning looking out the window. The grounds crew had been driving various tractors around, first pouring dirt, then grading it flat, and then apparently seeding. And then they had used the smaller tractor to push a bunch of picnic tables from around the grounds to a line just outside the windows. It was amusing, really. He'd push the table forward, it would slide off center, he'd lean over the front of the tractor and realign the table and start off again. While it was probably less physical work than actually pulling each table, he had to wonder if it would have been any faster. They had gotten out of there just in time as the clouds rolled in and it had begun to pour.

There'd be no walking at lunch today, the rain had seen to that. So they'd be stuck inside the conference center. Well, who knew if time outdoor would even be in the cards, or if it would be a working lunch.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Finally, an "extrovert" rating

Let's get this thing started, right? Says 18 day streak. Don't know if that means this is day 18 or 19. I think 19. I'm feeling good. I think today was a good day. Yeah, pretty sure today was a good day. I was a little worried about how it was going to start. Ben woke me up at 5 am kicking the wall, despite the fact that he was still up and making noise at midnight, even though we'd put him to bed at 7:30. I changed his diaper and I'm not sure if he went back to sleep, but I sure didn't.

With Lori singing in choir this morning, she had to leave before us, so I was on deck to get the kids ready. It actually worked quite well. There was one bit in which they both got in trouble (one for their actions, the other for not coming and telling me) and had to have some bedroom time, but we got out of the house nice and early, got to church nice and early, got checked in and was able to do it all without rushing around. I probably could have benefited from even another 5-10 minutes, but, like I said, at least I wasn't rushing. I hate that when people are trying to say hi to me and I'm so focussed on the tasks I already have in my mind that I have trouble changing gears to slow down and say hi. I guess it's my ADHD, my OCD and my autism (not really, or at least not diagnosed, they do say it's a sliding scale and not really a yes/no question, so no offense to people or relatives of someone diagnosed with it) all combined that makes me too focused and not relational enough. But that's why I'm trying to get to church earlier, because I know that's kind of the point, it's about being relational and greeting people and being loving and warm. People are the reason you go to church, not an inconvenience that delays something you need to do.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Giving Up At Work

The theme of today at work was giving up.  Not throwing up my hands in resignation, or even in frustration.  Not angrily casting anything aside.  Just coming to the realization that I can't do it all, that I can't be involved in everything I want to.  It's actually happened over a couple of days, but today was the big one.

So, the first one, or the last one, depending on how you look at it -- the Mac.  We have an old Mac laptop.  I'm told it's still pretty decent.  It's kind of heavy but it has a big screen.  Producers use it occasionally for testing the website.  When they're not using it, I use it to display a news ticker from Reuters and stats from Twitter and AddThis and other places, stats about our website.  Someone's taking that laptop and giving us a tiny one in return.  It's newer and sleeker, but it's the antithesis of what I want there.  (I'd run the stats on a PC but the network admins have them way too locked down with screensavers and logins required and all that kind of annoying stuff.)  That kind of giving up is easy.  I have budgeted for a large display and so eventually we'll get that (and then we'll be forced to learn how to get better more relevant real-time reporting).

Yesterday I gave up a task I like.  There's a part of me that says only I can do it.  That's not entirely true.  I have a lot of experience doing it and I have some specifics about how I like it done, but I'm not the only one that can do it, and if I keep it to myself, it only hinders things.  Really, the task is kind of a pain, but I guess I was a glutton for punishment.

Sitework in Progress

For those of you who visit my site (versus reading it in Facebook or Google Reader), you'll notice some changes.

Yesterday Facebook had those whole thing about being able to use like on Yelp! and other cool sites and I thought "Hey, I'm a cool site.  I must add LIKE to my site as well."

Now, granted, I only have three readers (yep, I lost one.  JC -- no, not that JC -- has stopped reading me.  I ticked her off.), so I won't get any likes on my posts, but now it is possible.

While there's still work to be done, I think it's already looking better than it was.  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rage Against the Event

I am growing extremely weary of the "event" - I've been thinking about this the last few days and I was blaming Apple. There is no longer any nice surprises in Google Reader because Apple has convinced Microsoft, Google and everyone else that everything... must... be... an... EVENT! There must be build-up, there must be secrecy, there must be a vague announcement, a slogan, an excited(?) crowd of journalists. Banners. Lights. A celebrity to the fans. But beyond Steve Jobs (and they're sure trying with Jon Ives), who is there? Ballmer's an angry sasquatch, Google lets everyone be a celebrity, meaning no one will stand out.

So everything has this build-up, and then immediately, the letdown. It's too expensive. There's no camera? Still? Three versions in? It looks like a turtle. It looks cool but no one will ever use it because they won't understand it. Umm... seen it before when it was called Twitter.

Even Apple has moved beyond that, going so far as "lose" a prototype of a new phone they're not even ready to admit exists. Just like that, publicity out of thin air.

I liked being liked.

If you like like, then you should, like, click like, man. (This is a test of adding the Facebook "like" button to my website.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Froot Loops

I wasn't going to write tonight, I had forgotten all about it and it's already 10:40 pm and we're already done watching LOST and I didn't sleep well last night.

But Lori's still riding the exercise bike, so I figured I might as well bang out my 750 just so I can keep up the streak. (This is day 13, that would have been a bummer to let it slide again.)

So "Glee" is on TV. I wouldn't say that I'm watching it, but I won't say I'm exactly not watching it either. The dialog is really snappy. I guess it's a Madonna issue. I saw something on some other website about how she's going to make a lot of money off of this episode. I would say, though, that I'm not really watching because now that I'm typing, I have to really look at the screen to type this fast.

Leno Can't Catch a Break

Not that he deserves one. I'm with Coco. (I blacked all the swears.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What makes these"multipurpose hangers"? Seems like there's only one purpose - hanging stuff.

A Grand Day

Today was a good day. First, I almost got up early enough. I got up at 6:40. Next week, I'll try 6:15. I was able to get in 30 minutes of walking, but by the time I got back upstairs, Ben was already awake. So Lori ended up getting them both started on breakfast while I showered and got ready. Lori ended up having to pack her own breakfast to take with her because she didn't have time to eat. Lori left, she was on worship team so they had a practice before church. The three of us finished getting ready and, yeah, I would have liked an extra 10-15 minutes. We did get there on time, but just barely. I'd like to get there a little earlier so that we can walk more casually around the church to drop off Ben's bag in the nursery (he goes into the service with me at the start -- I want him to experience the music and I'm pretty sure he likes it) and then walk Rachel to her classroom on the other side of the building.

Church was good, though I do have to admit I got a little sidetracked by the part in Genesis where God says "Let us make man in our image." and since I was reading along on the really cool YouVersion iPod App, I have to admit I clicked over to studies related to that passage to read more about it.

Then we had our adult bible study. We're going through a book called "Sacred Marriage." Interesting talk today. I really need to actually read the book, though, so I can be more connected.

Afterwards, Lori and Rachel went to a birthday party and Ben and I went home. Ben was crying and rubbing his eyes even in the middle of lunch, so I put him to bed, he went down very quickly.

Then I set to bringing some order from the chaos of our kitchen. The weekend had been extremely busy and there was some order-making required. I removed everything from the table except the absolute essentials. I pulled everything off the counters except the canisters. Dirty dishes on the kitchen table, everything else on the dining room table. (Now... that's gonna need help next.) Emptied, loaded and ran the dishwasher, staged some other stuff. Listened to a lot of great music on iTunes. Got my utility knife from the garage and adjusted something. I was tempted to use the Dremel, but I was worried about melting it. I also did some reading in Google Reader. that thing is out of control.

Then when Lori came home, I headed outside. I forgot about some of the stuff I had left undone in the kitchen and remembered it only later when I came back inside, just before I stepped into the kitchen. Anyhow, I got a lot done outside, too. I put down some more weedblock and bark, mowed three of the four lawns, raked up some more moss in the main lawn, put down some more fertilizer and moss killer and then watered. Some people walked by. I had my headphones on listening to the iPod, but I think they were muttering about me watering my lawn even though it had rained yesterday. Snooty jerks. You have to water immediately after putting the stuff on the grass, so what do they know?

I'd like to think the backyard is coming together, but it's not. I've been dumping loads of dirt from the front yard into the backyard where Lori's vegetable garden was a few years ago, and I haven't even fully mowed the lower lawn yet because it was so overgrown that I'm having to attack it in stages. Last week was the first run at it and I got a lot of it. I worked more towards the edges today and it had already grown a few inches all over, so I worked at that, and at moving the clippings to a single pile. I need to rake them up and bag them and put them in the trash since lawn clippings are not considered yard waste. ?!?!!? The upper back lawn is still probably at least a foot tall, I haven't mowed it it since last year. Lori's warming to the idea of killing all of it and turning it into a massive deck. That would be pretty sweet. That would give us lots of area for hanging out and hosting and stuff. I guess I need to get more pier blocks from mom and dad. Anyhow, that was two hours of pretty good working out. Unfortunately, I went out just as Ben was waking up, so Lori didn't get to do any of the things she had planned like bible studies or riding the exercise bike. I probably should have told her sooner that I had hoped to go outside when she got home. And then I had offered to only work outside a little bit and then come in and she didn't respond, not realizing I was looking for a response. When I didn't get one, I just did lots of work outside.

And I just got another hour of walking in. We just watched the first episode of Parenthood. We have all of the ones recorded so far. I'm not interested in watching any more of them. I wanted to like it, but I didn't.

Hatred of Logic

(Actually written on Saturday)

I love how we tend to blame others or circumstances or even try to discount laws of the universe when things don't go as we want. This afternoon, Rachel was asking to watch TV. We went over her list of responsibilities and she'd completed, all but one. She didn't want clean her room, she said.

So I told her that didn't make sense. She didn't understand what was so difficult to understand about wanting to watch TV. We simply needed to turn it on for her.

I held up my hand and showed three fingers. I held up my other hand and showed one finger. And I said, "Ok, so we know that 3 plus 1 equals 4, right? So we can go the other way and (reversing the number of fingers raised per hand) we know that 1 plus 3 equals 4."

So I held up one fist and said this is your responsibilities, this is cleaning your room.

And then I held up the other fist - this is watching TV.

In order to get to watch TV, you need to do your responsibilities first. (Put the other fist under the first fist.)

"So, if you want to watch TV, that must mean you also want to clean your room."

"But I don't want to clean my room."

"Then this means you don't want to watch TV."

"Well, this is logic. If you want to do that, you need to do this. If you don't want to do this, you don't want to that."

"I don't like logic. I hate logic."

Ah, good times, good times. The room was cleaned, the TV was watched. Justice and logic prevailed.

Theologically Unsound

In some shape or form, these thoughts of have been rattling around in my brain. Some are a few years old, some are brand new tonight. But they all come out of the idea the universe is a really, really big place.

Are we really alone? Does the Bible say concretely that we are on the only inhabited planet? I think a lot of people infer it, but what's to say that God has created other worlds with other planets with inhabitants that look like us (also in the image of God)? That is, what if the original Star Trek was right? "Aliens" just look like us with maybe different skin tones or foreheads or ears?

What if God were cursed? For eternity, trying to create a race of beings that had free will but ultimately didn't reject Him en masse?

What if Jesus made the same presentation of salvation on every planet His dad created? An interesting take on that alternate or infinite universe theory. And if a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day, what would it be like when he popped down to Earth?

"Hi, I'll bet Out of the Office until next Tuesday with no access to email or phone. For urgent needs, please contact Martha at x6122, otherwise I'll return your email when I get back. Please pray for this planet and its inhabitants, I make it 33 of their years this time and have high hopes for them."

And what if Jesus secretly popped back up to Heaven at night to feed His goldfish? That's the one that's been in my brain the longest, I can just see his apartment. All white furniture, a few nice pieces of art on the wall, a few nice blown glass vases up against the wall. The lighting subdued and a fish-tank on the passthrough between the living room and the efficiency kitchen. If you ever saw my Sherman Oaks apartment on Van Nuys Blvd., kind of like that but with much nicer furniture.

This is what happens when I start talking free will and predestination with people. We can only truly love God if we have the free will to choose not to, but then since God knows everything, why create the circumstances in which so few do? That's discouraging to me. I have been discouraged too much lately as I think about the state of things these days. I realized I was probably reading too much on Facebook or news sites and not spending enough time immersed in some good uplifting music.

These are simply the ramblings of my mostly insane mind, so please don't pick it apart or tell me I'm wrong or dumb or going to hell or thump a Bible in my direction. (Thoughtful criticism is OK, but that's rarely what you get on the internet, so if you post a response and it immediately gets deleted, don't be surprised at all.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Character Study

Anthony looked in the mirror. The dim light didn't help, but there was no mistaking it. He was getting older. There were lines around his eyes, and his face was fuller than he had remembered. When had that happened?

His hair, cut short, was still mostly dark, but it was getting a little grayer around the edges. He absentmindedly ran his hands along the side of his head, pausing when they came together, clasped behind his head. He sighed, closed his eyes for a moment and tried to think of something other than his current life, but even there he drew a blank.

He thought he ought to be able to think of sandy beaches and palm trees and peace and quiet, but he couldn't quite turn them into pictures in his mind. He knew the concepts, but not the pictures.

The light above the mirror flickered and he opened his eyes, sighed again, and reached up to smack the light. Tony (to his fellow officers) was going nowhere, and he wasn't even going there very quickly. He brought together the front of his uniform shirt and began to button the shirt. Who was he fooling? The dark t-shirt made it less obvious, but it was getting harder and harder to button the shirt. He'd like to blame the cleaners, but that was one of the few luxuries he allowed himself -- he thought that his uniform ought to be crisp, pressed, respectable, you know? -- and the little old lady that ran the cleaners, and more recently, her daughter, well, they did a lot of the cleaning for the cops in the area, often at no charge, and there'd never been a complaint against them by any of the other officers about the quality of the work. Sure, he wasn't the only one that jokingly accused her shrinking their shirts, but they all knew the truth. After the academy, fitness was not a high priority. And all the hours behind the wheel or at a desk, all the greasy food, all the heartache and sadness they'd seen that they so often buried with food or drink, they all knew that was the reason their shirts didn't fit so well anymore. The bulletproof vest didn't help any, either. Even if they were spotless, perfectly pressed and always handled with obvious care and courtesy, no matter how many times they were covered with vomit, blood or worse. The things you had to deal with on that kind of job, and for what?

His mom would say that her "Ant-nee" was a good boy. He had had his troubles as a youth, but when the time came to make the decision for good or bad, he'd chosen the route for good, like so many of his uncles and cousins. Unfortunately, too many of the others his age had chosen a different life, so when their paths crossed, that too took a toll. It had also limited his options as well. He'd never had an opportunity for any side business. He'd stayed straight and true despite some of the dealings that had gone through his precinct over the years, something several Internal Affairs interrogations bore out. There had been some questions about he could not have known what was going on, but he had earned, if not the respect, the appreciation of his fellow officers. They had never brought him in on their dealings. By leaving him out, they had allowed him a long, if boring, tour of duty on the streets of the neighborhood.

They hadn't left him out entirely. He was welcomed at the local cop bar, he knew everyone in the neighborhood. He had friends, but none that close. And he'd never met a girl. He'd always figured some day he'd meet a nice girl, get married and have a few kids. He knew the picture in his mind was old fashioned, but that's what he knew, so that's what he held on to. But even that seemed to be slipping away. It was quickly becoming a concept as well. One he knew, but he couldn't picture.

He breathed on his shield and rubbed it with his sleeve before affixing it to his shirt. He smoothed out his pantlegs and then crouched down to put on his shoes. They were overdue for polishing, but he couldn't see it in the dim light of his bathroom. He pulled the laces tight, noticing a quarter down by the base of the sink in the grime. It wasn't going anywhere.

He stood up, walked into his bedroom and picked up his belt off the bed. Every year the belt got heavier. It wasn't just that he was getting older, but they kept adding more and more things that he was required to carry. He crouched down, pulled the safe from under the bed, removed his firearm, checked the chamber, checked the magazine, checked the safety and holstered his weapon.

Little did he know that within two hours, he would stumble into something that would change his life forever, that within a year he'd be testifying in front of a grand jury and within two years, he'd be sitting in the Oval Office waiting to meet with the President of the United States of America. Little did he know that within two hours, his life and the lives of everyone in the old neighborhood would be changed forever.

Individually wrapped pieces of candy in a wrapped candy box.

Why was the evidence left on my desk? Think I am being framed.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

9 Day Streak

Tax day. The Wii Fit also has felt it important to remind us daily that it was also Carol's birthday for a few weeks now. I had finally decided I was ready to let Carol fully go and remove her from the Wii Fit, but Lori said we ought to leave her in, that if Morticia had been in the system she would have wanted her to still be in there.

It's funny to think of tax day. I get all stressed and frustrated and anxious about needing to get it done, and then it's all done, the refund's back and the money's mostly spent more than a month before the actual tax deadline. It actually took longer than it needed to this year. It was probably about an hours' worth of work (I love but I got about 57 minutes done and then thought I was stuck (I wasn't) and I let it sit for way too long bugging me. And then I finished it. We didn't get our refund until March 5 this year. It was a nice size. I like not giving very much to the government. I much prefer giving it to charity.

A good day. I turned off the email in the morning and worked on another project that's been eating at me for a long time. It was potentially due at the end of September, but they delayed it. Then it was due March 31, but I just didn't get it done. Now, it's mostly done. There are pieces in a number of other people's hands, but very little waiting on me at this point, which is a relief. I have a little work to do tomorrow, but yeah, mostly not on me. I do need to dog it all to done and then there's another administrivial thing hanging over me coming very soon, but it's at least nice to check one thing off the list.

Lori, Rachel and Ben came for lunch today. While we were setting up, we were trying to get Ben to say things. He was repeating simple words, so I tried "fascinating!" He tried a few times, saying things like "fasciwasha" each time I said "fascinating!" After the third time, he added "I doan know" in a sad voice. That to me is fascinating - how well he uses that phrase. He's correctly using yeah and no to answer questions. Our friends said that with their son, he went from not speaking to just talking constantly, like a flood gate opening. I'm hoping that will be the case for Ben. There seems to be plenty of words he recognizes and plenty of words that he used to use but has since stopped using. One weird thing is that he seems to use "milk" for "more" or just when he wants something. And then he gets frustrated when we hand him his milk and that's clearly not what he wants.

And, he's mastered "uh-oh." He says it very well. Of course, it's not really an uh-oh. It's just that he felt like throwing something.

Tonight Lori had choir practice so it was just me with Rachel and Ben. We had a nice night. I had to excuse myself to another room and Rachel sat with Ben. She said she was going to read with him and pray with him. Not sure if she did, but when I came down, she did read to the two of us two of her Bible stories. She's getting really good at reading, including sounding out "Hebron." Then I read them one more Bible story and then some in the Psalms. I had started over again when Ben was born and it feels like we're moving more slowly than when I read through it with Rachel. In the beginning there were more missed days and days where we could maybe get a paragraph, but now I'm able to read two pages a night. I should go back and see how long it took us to get through the first time. I know I blogged about it.

It was a nice evening. There was even a few times where they were both sitting on my lap together. That didn't last long, though, because Ben wanted to keep smacking at Rachel. They both did a good job at going to bed without problems tonight which was kind of night. I think Lori's right - Rachel needs to be in bed before 8 pm or else... pain.

Odds and Ends 21


CROSSCUT -- Less is more in punishing crime


SETH GODIN -- When in doubt, disaggregate


SARCASM SOCIETY -- Top 10 Most Sarcastic Simpsons Quotes. Yeah, if you only spend 3 minutes on research and put them all in the wrong order. Though, seriously, a quick and fun read.


SVIRGES RADIO -- Let us sing that for you - better than Let Me Google That For You. (Except what's up with not having words like "rude" and "dude" and "served"? How can I write my next masterpiece with it?


FLICKR -- Rock 'n Roll Metro Map - If you want to get from The Beatles to Deathcab for Cutie you'll need to transfer at The Who, Billy Idol, Greenday or Blink 182.


DAMN I WISH -- How hard is it for a customer to leave?


TUMBLR -- Tom Selleck, a Waterfall, a Sandwhich - where do people come up with this stuff? How odd.


Cat chooses a weird place to relax. Guy plays well, though. Despite the impending backache.


I'm on a horse. 80 seconds praising Old Spice for making such a great ad. (I don't watch ads and I know which ad he's talking about. It was Today's Best Thing a week or two ago.)

-10- VIDEO

Have you got company? They do.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Odds and Ends 20


MASHABLE -- Top Twitter Trends April 3-9 Easter, Justin Bieber, Follow Friday, Twitter, Apple. See post for rest of list and insight into why each bubbled to the top.


BRANDAUTOPSY -- A Crowdsourced Barbie Doll - apparently there was a concerted effort to stuff the ballot box by engineers. My wife's take surprised me. Good, she said. There's a lot more opportunties for engineers and there needs to be more women in this field. (As for complaints about the pink laptop - one of our techs at work has a pink laptop. She bought it herself and prefers it to the company issued gray ones.


CROSSCUT -- Smart cities prowl other smart cities for ideas


SETH GODIN -- Accepting limits


TV BARN -- Conan on cable! Why Team CoCo is smart to go to TBS


COLOR ME KATIE -- Pacman Street Art


FAILBLOG -- Bacon Tuxedo - how is this a fail?


Cat playing with an iPad


Balloon-tying jig to help kids and people engaged in water balloon fights to more quickly re-arm.

-10- VIDEO

"I'm a horrible father." Not really. Also, scroll back in my Facebook profile for one called "Kylee Fit" - hilarious. Also ends with "I'm such a mean dad." but also not really.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


This was part of tonight's 750. I've been thinking of writing this for some time, it's been kinda rattling around in my head.

It was the smell that brought him to consciousness first, and with a sudden jolt. He wanted to open his eyes, but he could feel something pressing against his eyelids. He could feel his arms and legs, but both legs and his left arm did not respond to his attempts to move them, pinned down. He realized he had been holding his breath. He carefully and slowly drew in another breath through his nose. The stench was almost overwhelming and he had to will himself to keep breathing. Something sharp pinched his cheek and he could feel something on his lips. He slowly lifted his right arm and carefully felt his face, gingerly feeling the sharp object pressing into his cheek. It yielded slightly and he was able to move it away from his cheek. He slowly felt his lips. The material was light, flaky and he began to brush it away from his mouth, nose and eyes. He realized he was again holding his breath. With the debris cleared away from his face, the smell wasn't so strong, but he could still feel dust with each breath he took. Slowly, he attempted to lift his head. He was able to raise it a few inches before the crown of his head crashed into something solid and he slowly lowered it again, smarting. Now something was poking the back of his head, but he couldn't reach it. He also realized that he wasn't hearing anything whatsoever except for a very low dull thudding sound. He lay perfectly still, listening, but still couldn't make out any of the sounds. He returned to trying to brush dust from his eyes. Through his eyelids he could see light, but he wasn't sure he wanted to know what he might see when he opened his eyes. As near as he could tell, he wasn't hurt too badly, just held in place. Whatever had happened, he was now encased in something, but in such a way that he'd been spared serious injury or death. Carefully, cautiously, he opened his left eye. Immediately, he was blinded by an explosion. He gasped, inadvertently opening his mouth, allowing flaky debris to fall into his mouth. He began gagging and choking and was suddenly filled with panic. He grasped his pantleg with his right hand and willed himself to slow his breathing only through his nose while spat chunks of concrete from his mouth. As he calmed down, he began to allow himself to remember. Just bits and pieces. Some kind of explosion. He still wasn't sure what. He wasn't sure where he was, and he wasn't even sure who he was. But he was alive and for the moment, that was all that mattered.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Point Counterpoint

He flipped absentmindedly through the channels. Nothing, nothing, nothing. She walked past and out the door. He looked up as the door latched. She returned a few minutes later. He was still on the couch, mouth hanging open, remote held loosely in his right hand. He turned towards her again without really looking. He grunted, turned back and took another swig of his beer.

She stood at the door for a few minutes, watching him. She folded her arms and tapped her foot impatiently. He grunted, flipped the channel, tossed the remote back on the couch and put his feet up on the coffee table.

She sighed audibly, stormed down the hall. Her shoes clacked up the stairs, across the bedroom. There was a loud thump and then her shoes clacked back across the room, along with the sound of something heavy rolling across the wood floor, thumping down down the stairs and down the hall. The door opened noisily and then slammed. He turned up the TV.

Once more, the door slammed open, the knob embedding itself in the wall. He slowly turned around.

"I'm leaving, Stan."


"I'm leaving."

"Where are you going?"

"It doesn't matter."

"When will you be back?"

"I'm not coming back, you moron."

"Are you mad at me?"

"Ugh," she muttered and walked out the door.

"Wait, wait," he said getting up off the couch and starting for the door.

"What?" She said.

"Why are you leaving?"

"Are you kidding me? You're asking me that now?" She took a step back towards him and he quickly took three steps back smacking his head into the doorframe. "You are seriously impossible. Are you that clueless?"

He looked at her, speechless.

She waved him off with a dismissive gesture, turned on her heel, strode to her SUV, yanked the door open, climbed in, slammed the door shut. The behemoth roared to life, tentatively pulled forward a few feet, the wheels turned slowly and the 3/4 ton Yukon Denali creeped slowly onto the lawn. Then the engine roared and the truck jumped back. The Boxter did not stand a chance, the corner of the SUV's bumper catching the car square in the door and folding it well into itself.

And she was gone.

He looked what was left of the car for a moment longer, scratched his belly absentmindedly, shrugged and went back inside in search of his beer.


Eh. I think my problem with my short stories is that I don't plan them out. It's been over two months since I last visited my story about the art thief Dell. I kind of have some ideas of where I want to go next. In fact, the next scene I want to write is the actually the thing I thought of first, only I didn't have a good place for it at the time. I have a good place for it now, but it won't stand alone. If I worked it, I could write the next scene, but I haven't taken the time to think about the scene after that. So my stories end up being really short (which is fine for a 120 -- and I haven't done any of those in a long time) or they end up not getting written.

Too much I want to do, too much I want to do. Oh well. I guess that's a good problem to have. No matter what, I'm never bored, I suppose. I guess as I was thinking about last night, I have to console myself with the thought that there is always stuff in the future that can be done. I had hoped that before the end of the rainy season to have made the area under the deck into more of a hangout area. But, the pile of wood with nails in it still persists, the path to it is still just dirt and mud and the children are too young to be interested in staying out there too long watching the rain. Good news is that living here we'll have plenty of rainy seasons. Eventually I will get a path to it and the area underneath covered in gravel and paving blocks. Of course, then it will be difficult not to want to turn it into a storage shed.

My story above doesn't represent anything. I was thinking about making it represent something. The woman, who I didn't even get around to naming, was going to rip into Stan much more. But then I decided I couldn't exactly make it work and I was already worried people might read something into it that wasn't really there. Like how could she be so heartless or doesn't she know that she's going to probably be arrested or something. But I guess if I have to start explaining it, that means the work doesn't stand on its own. My dad got me some books for my birthday on short story writing. I will read them. There's just a few other books I need to read first.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thin Spaces

This afternoon we broke ground on a new worship center. It was a symbolic thing with hardhats and a golden shovel and all that good stuff. I had Rachel grab a small gardening shovel on our way out the door and was glad to see when we got there that she wasn't the only child whose parents had brought them along with a shovel. Granted, the children didn't really understand what was going on.

There were a number of speakers. The mayor came and gave an awkward but generic speech about a church being the people and not the building. The pastor of the Korean church that meets at our church in the afternoon came up and read a speech he had written out in advance (he doesn't normally speak English). It was pretty cool. My second favorite speech. At the end he also presented our pastor with a check, they had taken a special offering. There was also a speech by someone (pastor?) representing a church plant in N.E. Tacoma that had been started eight years ago by people from our church. And a speech from someone representing the larger regional Baptist conference came and spoke, and then lastly, a chaplain who works with the fire department who's been financially supported for years by the church ended the speeches with a pretty rousing pep talk. That was my favorite speech.

But, the guy from the the regional Baptist organization talked about something cool - thin places. An Irish concept of a place where you're pretty sure the distance between Earth and Heaven is less. A place where you can sense that you're in the presence of God. I really liked the idea.

The Irish have some really cool stuff. I wish there was some way that I could learn a lot more sayings and concepts of the Irish. I wonder if there's some podcasts from Irish for Irish that would be accessible to me and make sense to me. Of course, I'm behind on all of the podcasts I'm already listening to (Saddleback, TV Barn, TED) and have well over 1,000 unread in Google Reader and so many magazines waiting to read. I used to have a podcast on learning to speak Italian but I didn't have time to listen to. And that's before thinking of all of the work that needs to be done around the house. I'm only able to console myself with the thought that barring any unforseen unpleasantness, things will slow down, I will have plenty of time, especially many years from now when I retire.

The weekend has been really nice. Got a lot done. Got stuff done inside. got stuff done outside. The downstairs had become a dumping ground for stuff as we cleaned elsewhere. I had some empty bins, so I set-up a sorting station. A big flat workspace and five bins, one for each of us and one for unknown. Now, we can consolidate stuff to clean up, start sorting, and start putting stuff away from our respective bins. I think we're making headway.

The coming week will be challenging but good. We'll bring on a new employee, I'll start work on bringing on another employee on. Then there's finishing up the staff goals for the year (we got a late start due to the re-org) and mid-year reviews. In one respect, I ought to feel stressed and overwhelmed, but I don't. And the fact that I ought to be but don't is an awesome feeling in its own regard.

We're watching The Amazing Race. It so makes me want to travel. Of course, they don't really show things like 14 hour plane rides. But they're showing some stuff in Malaysia and Singapore and the aerial shots are amazing. I guess I talk about that often, I now remember that we were researching Seychelles last week.

I cannot believe I still have 100 words left. I cannot believe my life is so boring. Maybe I should make something up.

"Excuse me, sir. Sir! Sir!" The woman rose from the desk and strode purposefully after the stooped over man who had shuffled past her quickly, appearing completely oblivious to her presence.

Finally, catching up with him, she placed her hand on his shoulder and he whirled around quickly, glaring at her.

"What?" He asked in a gruff voice, knowing full well what she was about to say.

"You can't go in there, sir." He glanced at the room where people were milling about, getting cups of water and coffee and starting to find their seats.

"Well why not?" He growled.

"Sir, I'm sorry, but there've been complaints. This is supposed to be a friendly forum, but you've been argumentative, unwilling to accept other people's opinions, and well, frankly, you've been called a bully."

"But, but..." he stammered suddenly looking lost.

"Yeah, and you smell bad," said a young boy in his teens walking by the door munching on a granola bar and adjusting the cap he was wearing backwards on his head.

"Hey, uncool. Not helpful at all," his girlfriend punching him in the shoulder, but still laughing.

"Sir, please leave quietly." The woman said quietly.

The man hunched even a little further and shuffled away.

Multimedia message

Multimedia message

Randomly Puzzling

Just had a dream that I was one of a number of Richard Alpert-like people who didn't age only I had amnesia and was trying to figure out what was going on.

At our house, Angie was trying to convince Meredith (by phone) to delay Make Ahead Meal exchange day because Lori Lamb was there mad because she had forgotten to make a meal (but that Angie also knew of three other women who weren't ready to meet). In Lori's case because of some other huge thing that was going on in the dream that I now can't remember. (Angie had come over to watch our children because Lori and I both had things we had to run off and attend to.) In the dream, it was Lori's and my house, but it was really different. (The garage reminded me of the family's garage in Breaking Bad where Walt hid all the money in season 2.)

It also involved industrial espionage at the State Animal Licensing Bureau building at the State Capitol and whatever building had been on that site previously. (Some clues I gathered from a nearly park which had a big sign about the building.) And a separate site in Olympia where I was one of several people digging holes trying to find stuff before the other people did in the shadow of the big buildings. (Think of the desert land between the casinos and the 15 near Vegas for a similar look.) I thought the other people digging knew who I was, but I didn't know who they were.

I bluffed my way into the State Animal Licensing Bureau building (is there such a thing? Would they have their own building? With decent security?) And that Steve and Leslie and Della worked there. (Yeah, this dream was a massive collision of unrelated parts of my life.) And Steve or Leslie also might have been like me in the non-aging way but I wasn't sure yet.

And it was Pajama Day and I had unwittingly worn my Homer Simpsons sweats and Dunder Mifflin T-Shirt so I fit right in.

Just before I woke up, I was laying on the floor in a hallway and security was coming but I was having trouble getting up because I was laying on my arm too close to the wall, so I was flopping around trying to get enough space to be able to get up. Oh, and just before that, I had been at someone else's cube where I'd been hacking their computer and trying to figure out how to remove the profile for myself that I'd added to their Palm Pre.

I believe that this dream was seeded by: Recent episodes of CSI:Thursdays, LOST and The Mentalist, Lori's massive reorganization of a number of our storage areas yesterday, Carol's recent death, a building in Seattle that I saw on the news that was build in 2001 (and not even yet fully occupied that's going to be condemned before the end of the year), all the laundry I did yesterday all the discussions of cube/workspace/layout redesigns in our area we'd had at work lately, a recent viewing of all of the Bourne movies and an Engadget editorial yesterday suggesting the merger of HTC and Palm. And Facebook for all the collection of otherwise unrelated people all appearing in the same place.

But as for meaning, I can think of none. It was more of just the random firings of my brain as it sought to put order to all kinds of random things that have been fed into it recently.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I almost forgot to do this. Let's see how quickly I can knock it out.

I just heard a really cool word. I thought I sort of knew what it meant, but I still had to look it up. Pastiche. Hodge-podge. Imitation. In this particular case, it was a Native American running a souvenir shop selling stuff that wasn't just his own culture, but it was others as well because he knew that's what would sell.

But it's a cool word. It's a big word with a fun meaning.

Today was a good day. We got to sleep in until 7 am. Had hoped for later, but Rachel was hungry and wasn't interested in just snacking on the food available to her, she wanted something more substantial. We were able to stave her off for a little while, but by 8 am we were all up. Except Ben. He slept later.

We started with breakfast and started building a new playlist in iTunes which we called "Saturday morning." We decided we needed a family-friendly list of stuff to get everyone up and moving. Fun. We got it up to just over 150, but there are plenty more in our collection we haven't added yet. After breakfast, we all got to work on stuff around the house. Laundry, cleaning, jumping jacks for Ben, Rachel and I. Fun.

After lunch, Rachel watched some TV while I mowed the front lawns and then the lower back lawn for the first time since last summer. Grass was really tall and it looks like coyotes have spent some time in our backyard. Ugh.

We still have a large pile of boards from when we ripped out the kitchen floor piled on the ground below the kitchen. I ripped half of them into smaller pieces and filled a greens can full of them. Over time I'll fill plastic bags and drop them in the trash until it's all gone. I have another session of ripping to do, but the pile is much smaller now. That feels productive. There's still a lot to be done, but it's nice to have made some progress.

After that, loaded Rachel's bike in the truck and drove to one of the neighborhood parks where she rode two complete laps around the path. We talked about how learning to ride well is not about not falling, it's about falling in a way that you can recover from without getting too hurt. We practiced mounts and dismounts, including falls. She got a lot of practice starting back up and working to keep things going uphill and how to manage speed downhill. It's nearly flat, but there's just enough to get some practice. We mostly worked on braking with the handbrake while continuing to pedal steadily. At the end, there's a slightly larger hill and at first she didn't want to do at all, but I suggested that if she did it, then she could tell Lori that she'd ridden the entire way. On that one, we worked on braking with the pedals. And it turned out she had a lot of fun with it, able to bring it to a complete stop and then start again, kept doing it over and over again.

Then we came back home. I had been thinking of going to Sharis or Dennys or something. I wanted breakfast. When we walked in the door, Lori suggested breakfast. Awesome. So I made up a massive batch of pancakes, including some pink ones for Lori and a chocolate chip pancake for the three of us (Ben just got regular ones) and a Health-bar one for Lori and I each. (Heath now sells a bag of the broken ones they sweep off the factory floor, in the chocolate chip aisle. Good stuff, though hopefully not really off the factory floor.) The Heath ones turned out to be very subtle and a little crunchy. In our opinion, much better than the chocolate chip ones. The chocolate chip ones were good, but it was giant Ghiradelli chips, so they didn't melt as well and they were much larger. Next time I think I'll try cocoa mix instead for a more uniform chocolate. Ben, of course, loved the pancakes, excitedly exclaiming "waffle!" whenever we'd hand him a piece and then shoving it entirely into his mouth.

Lori had me make a double-batch, she's freezed the ones we didn't eat, apparently she can pull them out whenever and pop them in the toaster and the kids, especially Ben love it. I'm married to an incredibly smart woman.

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Calm of Nothing

The blank page. The unforgiving blinking cursor. Staring you down. Daring you to take a stand, make a move, commit to something. Pick a topic, run with it. Only, that's not really happening. Like the page, my mind feels like a blank slate. I don't know where to start, I don't know where I'm going, so there's no way to figure out what comes in the middle.

The white screen offers for no reflection, offers no hints, offers no motive, no trends, no tracks, no help whatsoever.

My day? Even there, not so much to help. Awake, a movie, a drive, work. Typing, coffee, typing. Meeting with a whiteboard, impromptu inclusion of several others. Some surprises, some confusion. Some clarification, but still, some lack of resolution. Lunch. Manicotti, veggies, dip, a walk. Some Aaron Barnhart's podcasts and some music. And then back inside. Too warm. More email, more chatting. Off to Starbucks for a meeting. Casual, relaxed, a chance to chat with a new employee starting Monday. Back to the office. A prank, some work, some last minute details. Tidying the desk and then done. A drive, home, snacks and movie night. And then done too quickly and the kids were to bed. So now, more of the same. Wii walking and TV. FlashForward. Exciting like LOST used to be. Or was again on Tuesday. They're on a Ferris Wheel, they're on a Merry-Go-Round, mommy and daughter, seems like a nice day on the Santa Monica Pier. And that was the day to now.

And the week? Also not anything to write about. Quiet, calm, not as much done at work as I'd hoped. Quiet at home as well. A good thing. Even the power outage happened while I was at work.

So... how about the weekend? I don't see anything on the calendar. That is a good thing. The house is in good shape, but it can be better. If this weekend is truly unbusy, then I may get a lot done. Weather will be in the low-50s but no rain. Could be cold, but maybe I can get some more work done out front. I've got three bags of bark left, several bags of gravel in the backyard (though I think I need some benderboard), I have also have seven pier blocks my dad dropped off last Sunday. I have plans for them all, but I don't have the rest of the lumber I need, so that's probably not the project for tomorrow. Ultimately, though, I'm going to do some pretty cool stuff. Two blocks will be used to build a shed against the fence. When we built it, we put cement in every other hole, thinking that was sufficient. However, it turned out that wind can blow quite strongly down the hill, maybe why there was never a fence there. So now the fence leans. A shed at the fence will let me store stuff in the backyard and also stabilize the fence. Double-cool. I'll also use one block at the back of the yard (using the fence, at a corner for the other three points) and build a tiny little covered platform at the back of the yard. I want to also put a light in it. I don't want to call it a meditation shack because that sounds weird, but I do want it to be a small place where you can sit and read and be removed from everything and sheltered from the elements. It would be really small and eventually have some landscaping around it. Could be cool. And then the last four I'm thinking about using in the crawlspace. Right now, you go down some really poorly constructed stairs and then immediately have to step over the large sewer line, and then there's over 400 square feet of space that sport people like us can walk around in without stooping over. There's a lot of storage down there, but I think I can use the pier blocks to make a small platform so that you don't have to step over the sewer line. Not sure, though, might be too low there. But I could build a ramp or platform. That would be cool.

Right now we're watching some 30 Rock shorts. The Xfinity bits, though are stupid and painful. That whole name is awful. It sounds like a fake made-up name. Like Kabletown. What a different world this would be if Roberts hadn't won Comcast in a card game. Better? Who knows. Oh well.

Argh or Not

I've kind of fallen off the regular posting train. I was doing so well. And then I wasn't.

My family was sick. I was sick. I had to drive to the Oregon/Idaho border and back in a weekend. Work's been busy. I have some excuses, none of them great, but I want to get back to it. I won't go so far as to say I had a resolution or anything silly like that, but I wanted to write more this year. And then that kind of tailed off. I have gotten back to the 750 words the last two nights, but neither was worth actually sharing with anyone. So I figured I'd better pop on here before any more days had passed and at least write something, even if it was short.

I heard an interesting thing on the Saddleback podcast I listened to today. It said that as Christians, if we are living like Christians, we will stand out. And people will notice and if they resist or want to push us away, it's because God is placing something on their hearts that they're fighting and so as a natural extension of that as we seek after God, they're going to push us away as well. That, while not to the level of what you'd normally think of as persecution, nothing like what Christians in other countries face, it's still a form of persecution. And so it's something to be expected. And if we try to fit in, try to avoid the comments or the feeling of being judged or marginalized or passed over, then we're not really living as we're called to live. Interesting. Made me start thinking of magnets. The way we live can either draw people to us or push people away. We may or may not be able to control it, but there are obviously some things we can do to push or pull people, but we can't discount their own part of the equation.

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. -- 2 Timothy 3

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Odds and Ends 19


"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson


ZENHABITS.NET -- 13 Small Things to Simplify Your Workday


LIFEHACKER.COM -- Three Cups of Coffee a Day Good For Your Brain - cool. Offsets the idea that sleep is also good for your brain. Of course, the coffee I typically drink is of very low quality and another recent Lifehacker article said that's the cause of some of my minor digestive issues.


INDIEFIXX.COM -- A Fun Easter Egg Dyeing Technique - use electrical tape to make cool "void pattern" eggs. I did one. Cutting the electrical tape in half was a good move, but I also think more patience and time would have helped.


SETHGODIN.COM -- Failure, Success and Neither - will the real killer please stand up?


ENGADGET.COM -- Chevy Volt passes key production milestone. US Government buying first 100 off the line?


DJC.COM -- SeattleScape started off April with some great alternatives we might think about for the 520 replacement


BASICINSTRUCTIONS.COM -- The True Meaning of Easter? Not.


Well done video for Google Translate for Animals (released April 1)


Who knew Easter Eggs were cat toys?

-10- VIDEO

Turned a Hummer into a stagecoach. So cool.