Monday, June 28, 2010

Couples Only

So one of the things I do around the house is I run the laundry.  I don't know how it ended up being my role, but it's probably protecting me from some of the more unpleasant chores that Lori could ask me to do.

And by run the laundry I mean I sort it into piles (the sorting wasn't a skill I brought into marriage) and then I run the machines.  Maybe because they're large, have digital displays and I can set stuff on a timer.   And because we all know I like creating order out of chaos. This is close... creating clean out of dirty.  Plus, self-preservation.  I rarely run out of the stuff I need.

But probably mostly because I know it helps but is somewhat easy.  Easy because I don't do much of the folding or hardly any of the putting away.

But the worst?  Socks.  Socks are evil.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Odds and Ends 32


NEWSWEEK -- Presidential Pony Show. Obama needs to lead, not emote. (And by lead, Zakaria argues that the President needs to stop talking about the oil spill. And the media needs to let him.)


SETH GODIN -- Paperback Kindle - With one iPad selling every three seconds, what's Amazon to do? Seth has some ideas.


FAIL BLOG -- Limo Win - I'm not sure if this is a win or a complete travesty. General consensus in the comments is that this might be a Photoshopped image, but that the real thing does exist.


ENGADGET -- Wired or Tired - Having played with the Wired iPad app, he's right, but he still misses some stuff... like how you get new issues or how you categorize/archive them, etc. They're all just individual apps, right?


URBAN PRANKSTER -- Rush Hour Puppet Show -- Now Appearing on a L.A. freeway near you... if you live near an L.A. freeway.


SETH GODIN -- You're already self-employed - When are you going to start acting like it?


SEATTLE TRANSIT BLOG -- U.S. Census: Seattle Gains 13.7k Residents


LIFEHACKER -- Google Voice Leaves Beta, Now Open to Everyone


LIFEHACKER -- Make Free VoIP Calls from Google Voice


GOOGLE VOICE -- Still don't have Google Voice? What are you waiting for?

Pika Pika Pika

Forced Creativity Doesn't Work.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Late for Home

I read that men often have a work/life problem.  At work, when they dictate that something must be done, it's done.  There's a logic and an order to it.  Work starts every day at a certain time.  Lunch, meetings, things to do.  Structured.

But at home, things don't always go smoothly.  Even if he's the King of his Castle, his subjects don't always fall in line.  It's more fluid.  There are more things beyond his control.  There are fewer meetings, fewer chances to direct change.  More chores.  More beyond his control - finances, bills, more external forces... family members with their own events, etc.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Higher Standard

It's no secret that I hold certain people to a higher standard. I don't think about it much until they fail that standard. Today someone that I do hold in really high standard said something in my hearing that was rather in appropriate. It was an off the cuff joke. It wasn't like an HR moment or anything, but it was still quite disappointing. I was in a place I wouldn't normally be and they knew I was nearby. I wasn't part of the conversation and but they also weren't in a private location.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Google Needs a "No" Button

So I'm reading the second Stieg Larsson book and I'm curious because they keep throwing around amounts in "kronors" - so I go to Google and type in "400,000 kronors = ? dollars" because I want to know what we're talking about here.

So Google says "Showing you '400,000 kroner = ? dollars' with a link to force it back to kronors. So I click on that and immediately it says "400 000 Swedish kronor = 52 034.4 U.S. dollars" and then says "Did you mean: 400,000 kroner = ? dollars"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Run Out

Have I run out of things to say? I started off the year so great, posting regularly... creative stuff, introspective stuff. But lately, I've struggled to write. I don't know if it's been things that required more attention paid to the streen (watching all the Firefly episodes in the correct order -- and for the first time, and now a lot of Last Comic Standing).

The good thing is I am at least reading again. I'm not sure why I had stalled. But right now I've restarted Mere Christianity. Lori and I are taking turns reading a chapter and then discussing it. I think I also want to take notes. I need to read it and The Case for Christ for one of my SMART Goals at work. That's also on my nightstand but I haven't started it yet.

I'm also reading The Girl Who Played With Fire. The author writes an interesting book, but it's a little uncomfortable to read. The author (who died just as his books started really going big) writes some pretty twisted stuff.

And I'm also reading two Reader's Digests and a Fast Company and an Inc. A lot going on, but I'm happy to be reading again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yeah... about that oil spill

According to Cringely, BP has purchased a lot of ad words about their oil spill. Apparently they're spending over $10,000 a day trying to change the discussion in their favor.

So apparently every time you write in your blog about the oil spill, BP gives Google a little more money. But... if you the click on the ads, then it costs Big Profits even more. And people who have websites with Google ads (like this one) will make some money.

So look around... if you see BP ads, click on them. And if you end up on BP's site, tell them to stop wasting money and time on the internet and figure out how to fix the oil spill before the hurricanes pick it up and start coating the land (and very poor people's homes).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Odds and Ends 31


MSNBC -- Saunas, massage help in hunt for pirates - Isn't stealing another ship's mascot a form of piracy?


I, CRINGELY -- Imperial Oil - Why BP's failing and even scarier news that's not being reported anywhere else.


ENGADGET -- HP teams with Google to give connected printers their own email address - would make it easier to print snapshots from your phone or print from cloud-based apps like Google Docs


CHROMIUM -- An update on Google Cloud Print... or maybe HP's proposal is unnecessary


SCOBILIZER -- Foursquare’s Yelp problem (they just got time to figure it all out)


WSPA -- Ricky Gervais on Bullfighting: "Enough is Enough"

-7 through 10-

* 7 - Slideshow - What's coming in Firefox 4
* 8 - Video - Humor - from Patrick - introducing Microsoft Paint
* 9 - Video - Very cool. Transforming furniture.
* 10 - Video - what happens when you microwave an iPad?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Odds and Ends 30


ENGADGET -- Best Buy advertising higher than regular prices as sales?. Sad.


TV BARN -- Conan in concert: The annotated set list - Summary of one of the Conan O'Brien comedy tour stops, complete with video segments pulled off of YouTube, mostly from Seattle


MSNBC -- No pups for sale? Cities ban pet shops - I've advocated making shelters a less intimidating, this is another good step.


ENGADGET -- Lite-On's Mobile Lamp LED bulb works even when the power is out - LEDs are so tiny that if you're making something the size of a regular lightbulb, you've got a lot of wasted space. One company thinks it should be filled with batteries. Smart.

-5 through 7-

Missing. This was accidentally posted early. Oops.

-8 through 10 (below the break) -

* 8 - Video - Technology in the face of crisis. Cooler than Minority Report.
* 9 - Video - Disney's idea of the future of transportation
* 10 - Video - Amazing helicopter. If Skynet gets ahold of this, we're all doomed.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Somehow, I managed to get myself caught in two rainstorms today. TWO.

At lunchtime, I went out for a walk. It had been raining earlier, but now it was blue sky and sun. By the time I got to the lake, there was tiny little drops. Not even enough to stop reading my magazine. As I walked back, it picked up a tiny bit. I was mostly under tree cover, but all the sudden, there was a clearing and I realized, suddenly, that it was no longer light out. Clouds had rolled in quickly. By the time I came out of the treeline back by the ponds, it was raining pretty good. At that point, I needed to run. Halfway around the building. Maybe 1/5, 1/4 mile. I contemplated crouching under a picnic table or hiding in an alcove but I didn't nkow how long it was going to last, so I just kept running. I must have been out of breath for a good 15 minute. I was drenched for probably 3 hours.

After dinner, the skies were again blue and I thought it would be nice to take the kids for a quick walk around the block. We had made it most of the way when again it began and again, running was required.

Rachel's Recital

Rachel had a ballet recital last night. It was nice, but I think she needs a better teacher. I know we're talking little kids, but it was obvious that the children from every group were too dependent on watching the teacher offstage to lead them through the moves. I think she did pretty well. I didn't know what the performance was supposed to look like, but I saw a few times where she just confidently went where it seemed like she was supposed to and even a few times where she was trying to help another girl find her spot. Lori said that she's heard of classes where your hair has to be in a bun when you get there, or you can't dance until it is. Harsh? Not necessarily, it sets a tone.

I don't know if they didn't have enough time to learn their routine, or if the teacher was trying for routines that were too much of a stretch.

But, on the other hand, she really had a great time doing it.

If you see the video, she has a frowny face throughout the performance, but Lori thinks that she was just concentrating really hard on her performance.

I guess Rachel's class was having trouble at the dress rehearsal. Lori said that she and Rachel practiced blocking with stuffed animals this week.

Rachel was, however, upset afterwards. Not emotionally, but physically. By bedtime, her stomach really hurt and she said she was going to throw up. Fortunately, she didn't. But I wonder if she's getting to the stage where she gets nervous about being in front of audiences. This is how I've been and even sometimes still am - fine beforehand, but afterwards stomach's all twisted up. I find that as time goes on, I get less confident in front of the group and more nervous beforehand, instead of my body waiting until afterwards to send all of the signals.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Music Gel

Last night I talked about how Facebook's changing things. But it's not the first. One of the other things I've been noticing in the past few years is iTunes. A few years ago, I loaded in all of my old music, well, all of it back to high school when I made the switch from cassettes to CDs. Suddenly, the entire catalog of my owned music (and Lori's, too) was at my fingertips.

And then since then as we've gathered new music, whether it's a song one of us loves and buys off of iTunes or a new CD Rachel receives of children's music. So music is now a shared thing, too. We build smart playlists to segregate as needed, but in the end, it's one large collective. I was looking at it last night. I'm not sure I would have realized the power of iTunes without the iPod that my last employer gave me. It's a neat little thing, 80 gigs. I am amazed every time I take it out of its protective plastic case and how small it is. And yet, looking at all the music we own, it comes to less than half. 27 gigs, to be more exact.

Growing up, my parents music was all on LPs. They rarely played them in our presence and because of how complicated and likely to be damaged, we didn't really play their records. A time or two we'd look at the covers, but we didn't really know their music. There was the AM radio station that we'd listen to the in car, but it was all transitory, I don't think my parents were buying new music, but I'm not sure the music on there was new or had been in decades, so maybe my parents owned it already. Music just wasn't as big a part of our lives growing up. But ever since I got my first Time-Life FM radio in sixth grade, music became a part of mine. (I still mourn for the passing of radio stations KPLZ and KHIT.)

So now, we listen to music all the time, but not the radio. iTunes at home and now Pandora, Pandora at work, iPod in the cars. And Rachel's exposed to it. Not just whatever the radio decides to play, but because we have such a back catalog, it's less new than old, but it's a wide mix. And so Rachel's going to have a much wider level of appreciation than we did. Sort of. Because for now it will still be within the constraints of what we liked. But she has her own playlist and every time she hears something she likes, she asks us to add. And her list is varied, including modern stuff as well as things like The Beatles. It's pretty cool, really.

But it sure will be interesting when she gets to the point where she's discovering her own taste in music. She'll probably have a few computers of her own at that point, but it still seems like there will still be comingling of music. And music, too, becomes a shared thing across generations.


And that's my thoughts for the night and yet I'm short some words. Darn. Watching Firefly. Just saw the episode where the captain got married. Some funny stuff. Is a shame it got canceled.

Whelp, a full day meeting tomorrow. More about the strategy of our group. Primary author ended up being someone who's leaving the group at the end of the month to re-take the job they had a few years ago before they left to the job they had before the one they have now. In all that time they'd never been able to re-fill it, so they convinced him to come back to it. That's an interesting roundabout. I hear he's even trying to get his old desk back. He'd been in that area of the building for something like fourteen years so I guess, well, I don't know what I guess, but I can see how he might want to go back there, I guess that was a really good fit for him and this new thing we're doing is so amorphous and unstructured that it doesn't work so well for everyone.

I just know it's a smaller group and a small room on the fourth floor. I'm not sure what the day's going to be like, but, well, we'll see. I hope it's a good thing. My plan, at least right now, is to sit back and be a little quieter. That will be tough, but I think I need to save it for something bigger. This is just strategy, framework, This isn't the actual work. Let's save it for the chance to be creative, innovative and bring new stuff to light.

Odds and Ends 29


ENGADGET -- Kaoiro emoticon stamp turns bureaucracy on its head ha


MASHABLE -- 5 Ways to Monetize the Future of News Media - Not sure the word "successful" should be implied. If nothing else, speaks to the danger facing the print medium.


KANSAS CITY STAR -- ‘Law & Order,’ ‘24’ and ‘Lost’: Three defining dramas bow out


ENGLISH RUSSIA -- The Most Unusual Metro In The World -- photoshoot from a guy building his own subway system


SETH GODIN -- The distraction, the tail and the dog


MASHABLE -- PETA: Pit Bulls and “Mafia Wars” Don’t Mix - From the "What Were They Thinking?" file, Zynga, publishers of the annoyingly constantly advertised Mafia Wars (I feel like I'm constantly thumbs-downing their ads on Facebook) added (and subsequently removed in light of harsh criticisms and game defections) Pit Bulls as a type of weapon in their game.


ENGADGET -- Boy Scouts introduce videogame badge, other badges ask 'Really?'


This is so cool. Why? Because this really is the fastest car. I made the same car in Cub Scouts and it did beat all the little sleek wedges that other kids' dads made. Of course, mine had a really awesome Space Shuttle sticker on it so that was so big the car had little wings.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Facebook Family

I hid a few people tonight on Facebook (including a relative) and unfriended someone from high school. Their language annoyed me. Sure, they've got freedom of speech, but I've also got the freedom to not have to subject myself to it. There was a time when Twitter and Facebook was all just me and a few friends having a lark. I'm not sure that I changed any when Lori signed up for an account, but I know with the addition of former pastors and then current pastors, current church friends and finally my own parents, I did change my tone. And now today, the 14-year-old son of friends in our small group just got his bright shiny new Facebook account, makes me wonder if there's anything else I'm going to need to think twice before posting. This time, I don't think there is. I'd like to think I'm being mostly authentic. Maybe a more upbeat and positive version of myself, but one that's true and one that's safe for a 14-year-old to see. Considering the things we were talking about when I was 14, I'm pretty confident there's nothing I need to think twice about in anything I post, but it still gave me pause for a moment tonight.

Friday, June 04, 2010

A Lot of Settlin' Going On

And then it was Friday. Friday, Friday, hello Friday. I can't believe it's already nearly 11 pm. It's nearly no longer Friday. How many times am I going to say Friday? Not sure. Maybe that's enough for now.

Watching Firefly. A very interesting concept. I am glad I'm watching it now as a really long miniseries and not in the messed-up out of order method the FOX Network showed the episodes in. It's been fun, it's quite funny. And it's great getting to see more of Colonel John Casey beating people up while Chuck is on reruns.

Today was an interesting day.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

In Plain Sight

There were seven or eight of them standing around. You could almost call it a half circle. Loosely. Their posture seemed slightly menacing, or at least adversarial. Could they be? No, probably just his imagination. They were standing on a gravel patch, mostly shaded by the large leafy tree in the corner. Behind them, a two-story brick building and with two large garage doors, closed. In front of one, a white cargo van. A typical non-descript Ford Econoline. Several small scrapes along the right side, but you'd expect that, it was obviously a work truck. The upper floor of the building had wide windows and he could see people looking out, he turned to look at what they were looking at. The building must have offered a wonderful viewpoint of the lawn of that section of the cemetery and the valley and the city below to the east. To the left of the building was a lazy gravel path leading to stairs made of railroad ties and ending at the top at a fence of poles with looped chain at the top. Where the path met the fence, a small sign hung from the chains. He imagined that it must say something like "Staff Only" or "Please do not enter." Something probably attempting to be respectful, but in only a few words.

He didn't recognize anyone in the group, but they weren't looking for him. He pulled up the collar of his coat and strode into their midst, nodding, and proceeding north parallel to the building. There was another gravel path leading up on the other side of the building and the flat gravel path gave way to a narrow gravel driveway flanked by two large rocks and quickly disappearing into a thicket of trees. It was no wonder the van had scrapes. As he reached the tree line, he made a furtive glance back but it didn't appear like anyone was following him. They didn't belong here anymore than he did, but apparently their presence was unrelated to him. There was a quick turn and then another. It seemed inconvenient, but it was obvious that it was all done to mask the gravel drive as it connected with the paved road between the different parts of the cemetery.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

But First, A Rant

Ok, so let me get this straight... or let me see if I can... So Google has an operating system called Android that it's giving away free to computer manufacturers, primarily for use on cell phones. Motorola is really lazy and calls their first offering the "Droid"

Verizon picks up and offers the Motorola phone. But then decides to brand their entire line of Android phones with the Droid moniker. So in addition to Droid, there's Droid Eris and Droid Incredible. That's some sloppy branding. Perhaps they should have branded the Motorola device as Droid Moto or Droid Prime or something.

But... and this is what gets me to the point of actually bothering with a rant.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Secret Agent Man

I got a nod today. A pretty cool nod. A double-nod if you will. An opportunity came up and a lot of people wanted it, but the powers that be thought to maybe toss it my way. It's a visibility-raising opportunity. That's a given. Whatever else is involved, well, I'm not sure yet. It kind of plays out. At the very least, I'll be a consultant, a listening ear. It's interesting, it's almost like a double-agent, except that everyone knows why I'm going to be there. Maybe you could call me a liason or a something.

We've run out of stuff on the DVR. Which is fine, we have Firefly and Serenity to watch. It's taking us awhile, but we finally finished the first episode of Firefly. I gotta hand it to Joss, he does a great job of creating worlds that are more fully formed out of the gate than some. And of course now Glee is on. I probably have to agree that I am technically watching it. I don't watch the show, but I didn't leave the room when Lori turned it on, so I guess I have to admit that I'm watching this episode. And yes, it is funny, and not just the Sue parts, but mostly the Sue parts.

Today was a bit of a challenge.