Thursday, January 19, 2017

What happened?

What happened to #blogaday?

I will get back to them. But at the moment, I've gotten behind. I've been busy at work, not getting great sleep and frankly, this whole Trump fiasco has got me quite depressed. It's such a disappointing mess and I'm a little scared for our collective futures. One article I read says that Russia isn't done with us yet - that if need be, they'll perform some terrorist acts on our soil to keep us off balance and distracted.

I heard that the average Trump voter makes $70,000 a year. That's a decent amount of money. Although I have a theory about that - basically lots of people who make nothing per year were conned by the obscenely wealthy and together they make $70,000 but if you were to look at the median income, it would be a lot less.

I feel like I can generalize Trump voters into a few basic groups:
(1) People who stand to profit financially. Many of them are now getting cabinet positions. / They might also be racist or sexist.
(2) People who will always blindly vote Republican / or will never vote for a party because of those who celebrate values they disagree with (especially abortion) / They might also be racist or sexist.
(3) People who genuinely believe that things are going to get better for them. These people also think that Obamacare and the ACA are two different things. They are grasping for any place (besides themselves) to put the blame for their situation. In some cases, it's their state or the education offered to them or private enterprise that failed them and their situation is not of their own making, but they are going to be sorely surprised. / They might also be racist or sexist.

I also wonder about Trump himself... is he a clueless pawn in all this? Remember those movies where there's a party and the cool kids each bring an uncool kid and the uncool kids don't realize it's just one big joke at their expense?  I feel like that's what's happening here.  I don't really believe for a minute that Trump got where he was without a lot of help, but that he's not in on the joke. I just don't know who brought him and when they'll let him know. A convenient scapegoat for Republicans who will impeach him shortly? Or someone the Russians will assassinate as soon as he becomes a liability?

And speaking of, what about the mood of our nation as a whole?  Is he safe from the people who voted for him once they realize he actually doesn't care about them? Is he safe from some other country he insults on Twitter? If they prioritize strategy over saving face, they'll leave him be because far more damage will be done to our country if he continues to call the shots, but if they're about saving face, I think it's plausible that a foreign country might decide to take him out. I feel like we're in for dark times of uncertainty while the GOP and its supporters get richer and richer at the expense of all of us.

I really do not get it. People are saying that it's time to take the restrictions off of businesses. This will not help the average worker. It will help the business owners but remove the restrictions and you end up with environments that are less safe and pay less.

People are saying that foreigners are taking our jobs and that we should shut down the Visa program, but at the same time, this administration seems hell-bent on destroying our education system.

People are saying NAFTA steals jobs, but the facts are that immigration from Mexico (illegal or otherwise) has actually been going down but destroying NAFTA will eliminate jobs in Mexico and Central and South America, forcing more people to come to the states looking for work.

All the while we seek to privatize prisons (as a whole, for-profit prisons are more violent than government run facilities), education (as a whole, for-profit schools produce lower test scores), health care (as a whole, for-profit nursing homes are far more likely to keep their charges sedated because it's cheaper and easier than keeping them enriched and safe) and basically anything else you some private company wants to profit by doing. (Like the private nuclear waste company that contributed a lot to Perry's campaign while he was in Texas.)

We've got wholly unqualified people who haven't even bothered to learn about the jobs they've accepted. It's appalling. I loved the Esquire article: "As nearly as I can tell, the nominees for the president-elect's Cabinet fall into several different categories. There are the people you'd pretty much expect from any Republican administration. (James Mattis, Michael Flynn, Ryan Zinke). There are the people who understand the mission of their departments and have spent their lives undermining it. (Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Rick Perry at Energy, Andrew Puzder at Labor). And there are the people who are fundamentally clueless about the general nature of public service. (Rex Tillerson at State.) On Tuesday night, DeVos demonstrated that she is that rarest of Trump administration fauna: Someone who fits capably into all three categories."

This is the last land-grab of a desperate political party that has given up any semblance of compassion - they've said "screw you" to the social contract we all (whether we like it or not) are a part of in this grand experiment of the United States of America.  I wondered aloud of any non-criminals still existed in the GOP and my wife mentioned Senator McCain and one other person whose name I can't recall.  It's slim and even the "good ones" seem unwilling or unable to go against the party. They've either lost their backbone or they were pretending.

Dark times are ahead and the only thing I know for sure is that whether it's for the PTA or President, I'm never voting for another Republican.  I'm not ready yet to call myself a Democrat, but I'm getting pretty close.

I've spent way too much time reading internet comments lately, but I'm just astounded by all the people who are so excited for this presidency. And who actually read Brietbart (a headline on there for earlier this month: "Dear Mr. President-Elect, Please ‘Pick a Fight’ with California on Behalf of the American People" - I'm not linking to the Fake News, you'll need to Google it) and think it's real news while accusing CNN, NBC News (and even Fox News) of being Fake News.

It's getting to where even the jokes aren't funny anymore and it's getting difficult to even watch pick-me-ups like Futurama. I just see the aliens blowing up buildings thinking how an alien invasion or the rapture would be nice right about now. This isn't a "you lost, get over it" moment -- I didn't vote for Hillary Clinton either - but my state was a lock for her electorally so my vote didn't count - I've been an independent when it comes to my Presidential voting record since 1996 though in hindsight if I was allowed to retroactively vote in the 2012 elections I would have voted for President Obama -- this is true dread.

I do not get it, not at all. How are so many people snowed? There's one thing I really, really want to know.  When will those who voted for Trump know if they made the right decision or not?  When can we poll them and ask "Is your life better off today than it was on January 19?"  When can we start making them uncomfortable by making them use their brains and really assessing if their vote was a wise one or not?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

#14 - This is Not a Backpack #blogaday

I mean, technically, it is a backpack. I guess I should say it's not *just* a backpack.  This rugged bag is really my "go bag" - at any time (except right after I get home), it's packed and ready to go.  Usually for a train trip, but with the addition of a few power cords and maybe a few more items of clothing and vitamins and it's also ready for a flight and a 2-3 day conference.  I can also leave the helmet behind for most flights these days.

With all the trips last year, I felt like I have it pretty much down to a science.  When I get home, I remove the items that are used or worn, replace with new items and I'm ready to go.  Electronics, clothes, pen, paper, toiletries in airport security approved sizes, even a lint roller. Everything has a purpose and nothing extraneous. Except maybe a few extra pairs of headphones.


Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #15 - You Were Saying Football Things in a Football Voice

Friday, January 13, 2017

#13 - 2016 Did Not Happen #blogaday

Oh, boy. Would that this were true.

Some good things this year. Some... ehhhhh.... I can't recall exactly when I picked these topics and I feel like the thing to do would be to pick one single thing from 2016 that I wish hadn't happened.  I really want to say Trump. I really do. Maybe I can save that for 2017. I suspect we'll regret him even more this year when he finally gets the keys and is able to drive the country off a cliff into a pile of manure.

No, I'm going to go with the murder of a friend (who I hadn't seen in 10 years).


Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #14 - This Not a Backpack 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

#12 - Not in the News #blogaday

No one reported that tonight Ben was upset with Lori and said "You Bad You Bad" - it wasn't super clear, but we're both sure that's what he was saying. No one reported that he also had his best haircut ever today.

No reported that Rachel and I had a nice day today, including lunch with my college roommate, and a 2-for-1 sale on Skylanders at Gamestop (we picked up two Senseis and two Creation Crystals rather inexpensively) and went to the library and Lowes.

Also not in the news today - Rachel and I played Skylanders, Ben enjoyed swinging at the park, Rachel read some books and we went to Menchies where Rachel and I had frozen yogurt and Ben sat and ate lots of Cheez-Its and Wheat Thins.

You also didn't hear about Lori having a morning playing with a restless Ben and then a few hours without the kids in the afternoon or how I got to read and drink coffee and ease myself into the morning or how I installed a new light in Ben's room tonight, or how I fought with lightbulbs earlier today.


Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #13 - 2016 Did Not Happen

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

#11 - Me, Myself and I #blogaday

One thing I've discovered is that I can be quite selfish. I've convinced myself that I need time to myself. Nevermind the time on the train each day when I can put on my headphones and read or watch TV.

I've also decided that I need time on weekend mornings to myself.  I've been trying to sleep a decent amount, but getting up at 7:30 or 8 hasn't worked because my daughter's been getting up earlier than that.  If the weather was nicer, I could go outside, but lately it's been cold and/or rainy. One Saturday recently I had to ask her to take her book back into her room because she couldn't not talk to me.

But, I have to get past it.

I'm not a solitary creature. I have a family. I have a long commute. What little time I have with them, I need to be available to them. I need to be prepared when they're in the house to be there and present with them. If I want time to myself on the weekend and I can't convince everyone else to sleep in, then I need to get up earlier or just suck it up.


Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #12 - Not in the News

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

#10 - Lazy #blogaday

It's taking me too long to get to this one.  Not because I'm lazy, but because I've been swamped.

Someone called me lazy today. The good kind.

Normal lazy bothers me. Lamenting a situation but never working to change it, accepting a bad situation with a shrug, not working to one's potential. That bothers me.

But I'm amazed by the kind of lazy that doesn't accept the status quo and makes it better by making it easier. Remote controls, automatic transmission, voice activated stuff... that type of thing.

This applies to work, too.  All the time we hear "This process is dumb. It's repetitive, it takes too long, there must be a better way." I admire the person who says that and then steps up and makes it quicker, easier, faster.

To me, that's the person who's always wondering... are we in The Matrix?  (Or in simpler terms, if I right-click or long-press, are there hidden options?)  They don't simply accept things as they are, they want to know why... why is it like this? What was it like before? What will happen if I mess with it? Who's behind the curtain? Do I have to?

This kind of lazy is inquisitive, curious and introspective.  This kind of lazy changes the world.

Disclosure: Still behind. Maybe this weekend?


Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #11 - Me, Myself and I

Monday, January 09, 2017

#9 - Unwrapped #blogaday

I got a nice waterproof windbreaker for Christmas from my wife. I don't remember it raining in California quite as much as it has this year. I suppose we need the rain, but I don't need the rain while I'm riding to work. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it's only 1.5 miles and that I can change into dry clothes when I get there.  Fortunately, the rain has been more intense after Christmas than before because I would have been quite miserable if I didn't have this jacket.  Now I need to find pants to go with it.

I also received a pair of Bluetooth headphones - the first pair I've owned. I figured if that's the way the world is going, I might as well get used to it. They are neat, but I've found sometimes that I don't turn on music because it's more work than just plugging in a pair of headphones, or because I have range anxiety - they once ran out of juice in the middle of a phone call.  They gave me a few warnings and then the call was back on my phone instead of in my ear.  That said, I used them all afternoon while building phase I of Ben's fort and they lasted a long time and sounded good. I am also a little more afraid of damaging them compared to simple headphones. But as a technological thing, they're fun.

This year was a lot about gift cards - which is fine with me. We have a much smaller space so I was glad to not get a lot of "things" - most of the physical items I received were edible treats (neat candies from around the world and some salmon I have yet to dig into) or other treat-myself items, like a couple of different soaps and some hair gel and aftershave.  And that's fun.  To me, at least.  I recently read someone say that adulthood is realizing something is cool but not buying it because you know you don't have a practical reason to own it - and that's why children find adults boring.  I guess that makes sense.

Full Disclosure: Still posting late. Hope to be caught up soon.


Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #10 - Lazy

Do you have two Twitter accounts? If you're a business, you should.

After tweeting to a brand recently, I went and looked at their Twitter feed. They sell microwavable popcorn. So they had marketing tweets about movies and popcorn, but then there were a lot of tweets that looked like this:

On the web, Twitter will hide all tweets that start with @ - you can find them under "Tweets & Replies" - but in the app, they're all just displayed right away.  It's clear that they're using a cut-and-paste (not that there's anything wrong with that) and that they are proactively and quickly addressing concerned customers.  (Yay!)

But... This brand was trying to foster the idea of watching movies and popping popcorn, curling up with a buttery treat, but in the meantime, it was cluttering up its own feed with what I can only assume were people complaining that they burned their popcorn.

What this brand needs to do:
They need to separate their Brand (Marketing) Voice from their Customer Service Voice.  You can find plenty of examples of companies that currently do this.  Hilton (@HiltonHelp) and Comcast (@ComcastCares) come to mind. The company I work for uses our stock ticker + "Assist" but most of the ones I've see online use "Cares".

They continue to promote @PopcornCompany on their products and they continue to use @PopcornCompany to tweet about watching movies and watching tasty popcorn and whatever else will inspire people to buy more popcorn.  But when someone tweets with a problem, the response should come from a different Twitter handle: @PopcornCompanyCares.  There's a couple of reasons:

  1. You separate your marketing (we're awesome) from customer service (this guy doesn't think we're awesome, let's see if we can make him happy again)
  2. (Optionally) You can continue the conversation online -- maybe you don't need to switch to email just yet. Though there may be lots of valid reasons why you would, especially if you've outsourced your social media or have a hard and fast line between marketing and customer service.
  3. The longer Twitter handle @PopcornCompanyCares immediately signals that you do care and that the customer has reached Customer Service even if they haven't encountered this naming scheme yet from other companies.
  4. The longer Twitter handle @PopcornCompanyCares also reduces the length of complaints by a few characters, causing customers to be more concise and less colorful in their dissatisfaction. (Sorry, it's true.)
If this sounds like your company, quick, go register that second Twitter account ASAP.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

#8 - Bacon and Eggs #blogaday

Breakfast is a treat for me. Most of the time, it's very standard - coffee and Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal. That's been the staple for years. It's good, it's healthy, it tastes good, it's not a lot of calories. You could say boring but I'd say, "Umm.... coffee. Not boring."

But every once in awhile, we'll stay at an Embassy Suites and then I get to look forward to a really good stuffed omelette - start with 2-3 times as much cheddar cheese as is typical, then add in whatever else... ham, mushrooms, bacon.  Then add some salsa... awesome.  And coffee.  And being Embassy Suites, also pastries and fruit and who knows what all else.

Sometimes Lori and I will get the kids off to school and then go and have breakfast. We've done this lately on birthdays, especially. We'll go find a restaurant that specializes in breakfast. Might be named after someone and might even have spoon in the name. ("Marcia's Silver Spoon" comes to mind. "The Best Place in Town" fails that naming convention but also comes to mind.) It's probably not a Made-to-Order omelette here, but rather one of their specialties, possibly recommended by the server.

When it's all of us together, then we're McBreakfasting it (though Lori and I have been known to occasionally drop in unenchildbered) - a McGriddle or Sausage McMuffin for me and either a Big Breakfast or Sausage Biscuit for Lori.  Coffee, juice, milk. And often extra trips up to the register for more hashbrowns after Mr. Ben eats everyone's hashbrowns.

I keep thinking I'm done and then I think of another breakfast... We'll pull out the griddle and I'll make pancakes and Lori will make bacon and we'll have breakfast for dinner someimes. That's always a fun, family affair because we'll eat as we cook, so it's a lot of time together talking and sharing. And I'll make coffee.

Breakfast is definitely more fun shared.

Full disclosure: I'm still not caught up and posting these a day behind. Maybe tomorrow.


Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #9 - Unwrapped

Saturday, January 07, 2017

#7 - I Should Have Turned Left #blogaday

If I were to say I had no regrets, I'd be lying, clueless or living an unexamined life. But... are there things I regret that I could have actively changed? Without hindsight or retrospect... is there a point where I had the decision right in front of me and I zigged when I should have zagged? Something I really, truly regret?  Something that changed my life?

There's not a lot. How is that possible?  I feel like a lot of what's happened in my life has happened to me, not necessarily things I've directly controlled, or things I influenced but happened over time. Frankly, I've been quite lucky - I've been blessed. But flip a coin moment... turn left or turn right?

Two things come to mind.  The first was after an unfortunate night of excessive alcohol consumption. I told a friend that I didn't want to speak to them for three months. I watched the calendar and when three months hit, I held my breath. The days ticked by with no contact. Close to four months, they tentatively contacted me. So, first off, I had misremembered what I'd told them - I'd told them four months not three. We've reconnected and they didn't hold it against me.  So, really stupid move I really regret, but it didn't change my life. (Except resolved not to do that again - the extensive drinking or treating my friends like that.)

Oh, Mad TV... if only I'd been paying attention.
The other thing... pure stupidity. Shortly after moving to California (the first time), I signed up with one of those dating firms. Way before internet, those ones that they always mock - you record a video, they have a big library of video tapes and binders of photos and bios. I hadn't dated a lot and now I was in a new city and didn't know anyone and thought that I needed to take matters into my own hands. I hadn't dated a lot in my life, but all had been quite awesome and all had occurred when I wasn't looking. Love found me. But now I was going to take control? Or I was going to get some company help me?

First off, it was a scam. When you first go in there they go and grab some binders and bring them back to show you the kinds of people meet what you're looking for. What you don't realize is that people can take themselves "off market" - a little slip of paper gets added to the binder.  So when they bring the binders out for you to look at, they quickly slip out the pieces of paper. Everyone they showed me when I signed up was all "off market" when I came back later to look through the binders.

Secondly, they don't care once they have your money. They don't really tell you if your video is good or not and if you suck at things like talking on the phone, even if you do find some connections, they might not call back.

Third, they know that much like joining a gym, you'll lose motivation quick. Who wants to keep going back to that place and looking through binders full of non-matches. (This was before the internet and search engines and relational/relationship databases.)  Unlike a gym which keeps sucking out of your checking account month after month, they get it all up front.

And so that's the regret.

Not that I used a dating company, not that it didn't work (I'm so glad it didn't), it was that when I signed up for that stupid thing, I went into debt. It was the first time I put more on a credit card that I could pay off at the end of the month (actually, split it onto two cards because all my cards have what now would be considered laughably low credit limits). And once I was paying less than the full amount, a line had been crossed.

I was still in debt when I got married and it wasn't until we sold a house at the top of the market (that my parents had helped us buy) that we broke the cycle. Unfortunately, unanticipated events caused us to go into debt once more after that, but I'm glad to say that now we have once again put a stop to it and we think we now understand the signs and how to avoid getting into consumer debt again.

And we know how good it feels to not be in debt.

Full Disclosure: Some stuff came up this weekend and this was posted a day late. Same with #8. Will get back on track shortly.


Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #8 - Bacon and Eggs

Friday, January 06, 2017

#6 - Leftovers #blogaday

When we moved to a smaller house, we downsized quite a bit. But six months in, we haven't fully unpacked. Maybe you never really do.

The VCRs didn't make the move (one sacrificed to "Camp Invention", the other off to Goodwill) and the VHS tapes that for some reason did make it to California moved to a box for Goodwill.

But earlier this week in a round of unpacking, a cache of DVDs were uncovered. There was some we don't really watch, some studio screeners we maybe watched once, some we no longered cared for, some that actually didn't exist (don't let anyone tell you there were sequels to  The Matrix - if they try to tell you that you just tell them that they're filthy liars and to get out of your car. If you're feeling magnanimous, pull to the curb and slow or stop even.)

So quite a few were a no brainer.  But what of Futurama? I've gone back and forth on those. I've been watching them amongst other things (on Netflix) but DVDs?

"Toss them, I can watch them on Netflix."
"Keep them, they might not always be on Netflix."
"Toss them, there's plenty of other stuff that I've never seen before on Netflix."
"Keep them, there's DVD commentary."
"Toss them, do I really want to hear any more commentary for the people responsible for Seymour's fate?"

In the end, I decided I will donate (toss) them - it's much easier to find a device that plays Netflix (or Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime Video or Acorn or YouTube) than it is to find a device that plays DVDs.


Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #7 - I Should Have Turned Left

Free Idea for @Amazon or @Walmart or @Target

Right up front: I offer this idea up to anyone who wants it with no strings attached. (Though credit or a gift card would be nice if you do this and it makes you a ton of money.)

How do you get shoppers to buy on-list (and from your store) when the Baby Registry, Wedding Registry or Wish List is full of higher-priced items?

From time to time, you might encounter a Wish List with items that are just too rich for you. You want to get them a gift you know they'll like, but everything on their list is outside of your price range.

And it's not like you think they're being unreasonable... after all, you have good tastes yourself. A gift card doesn't feel like you put a lot of effort into your gift giving, but looking at that China Gravy Boat that matches their place-settings, the elaborate Stroller that will protect their baby from hurricane-force winds or the Alexa-enabled Universal Remote with Hub for the techie who's just moved to a small house - buying any one of those alone just seems like an overgift.

If you knew who else was invited to the Wedding or Baby Shower, or if you wanted to connect with a bunch of family members before the Birthday, maybe you could do a group gift. But you might not know people - and it's a lot of work, coordinating, collecting and trying not to judge the miser who feels compelled to participate but only throws in a few bucks but writes three paragraphs in the card.

And this is where technology can help.  Presenting Go-In-On.  You specify the dollar amount that you want to put towards a gift and you enter in a note. Others can see what's been pledged and add their own gift. Now, suddenly anyone can help buy that special gift.

Once the first gift is pledged, the clock starts ticking. Other Wish List visitors then have 30 days to fulfill the rest of the cost.  Once the total is met, the item ships along with the well-wishes of everyone who chipped in for the gift.

At the end of 30 days, if the total isn't met, the recipient receives a gift card along with an explanation that everyone pitched in towards the item. The gift card, of course, can be used for anything in the store, but maybe there's a brief discount to encourage the purchaser to buy the original item.  

Thursday, January 05, 2017

#5 - My Favorite Selfie #blogaday

I looked through all my past Facebook profile pictures because there's where most of my selfies end up and this one made me laugh so hard.  There's a couple where Ben's being a little more gentle but I love that I captured this one where I'm getting one of his big wet sloppy kisses. Goofy boy.  And before you say "That's not a selfie - where's your abnormally long arm holding the camera?"  Oh, no, my friend... I was doing selfies back before they were called that.  That's right, digital camera on a timer mounted a on tripod, that's how we did it in the old days, I tell you whut.

I get to put extras because the rule of "blogaday" is that you get to do whatever you want, using the topic as just a jumping off point.  So here's *three* more.  Just deal with it.

This was taken at Dash Point City Park in Tacoma, a really cool park that I enjoyed going to. It was a bit of a blustery day (aren't they all) and Rachel was there to ride the swings. She's wearing the PLU hat we had gotten at a recent visit to PLU, I'm wearing my ExactTarget "Subscribers Rule" hat, and that great green jacket that finally wore out and didn't come with us to California. That jacket makes me think fondly of World Vision - it's what I wore on my many lunchbreak walks through the fabulous forests on and around its campus.

I had to include this one. It's slightly unsettling to me because I rarely recognize the face in the photo and it's mine. Between the dark background and then angle and the fact that I was my lowest weight here, I feel it looks odd - not to mention my really long haircut.  However, it also looks good - because of my weight loss and because I used several techniques you're supposed to use to get a good photo, including moving your head forward slightly and turning your head enough to make sure that your jaw line is visible.  Hard to get all those things just right while you're also holding the phone and trying to take your own photo, but I captured it.

And finally, a selfie that I didn't take. But it's not a selfie of me. Though, OK, I am in the photo. I had photos with the kids, I wanted a photo of my wife.  Turns out most of her profile pics are professional shots or photos I took across the table of her on one of our date nights.  So, here's one she took.  I think it was because whenever we posted photos from date night and there was just one of us in the photo one of our friends would beg for a shot of the two of us.  (Yes, you know who you are. Hi and thanks for reading.) So I think by the expressions here that this must have been taken just for her.


Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #6 - Leftovers

Brilliant #Email from @Facebook

I've been taking a Facebook vacation this week... I only go on Facebook to interact with people who have sent me Facebook Messenger messages and to post for one of the companies I work with. (Sorry, not the video game company.)  Otherwise, I ignore the little red notification circle. Last night it said 49. Oddly, the app on my phone says 30.  I figure next Sunday I'll make a brief appearance, get caught up and then consider another vacation. It's been nice and quiet without Facebook.

Facebook has noticed my overall absence as it just sent me an email trying to get me to show my face. While I'm not going to click on it, I do want to spend a little time writing about how brilliant it is. The email marketer in me geeked out a little bit when I discovered what they're doing.

So check-it... subject mentions a friend by name and then shows a little bit of what looks like something they would have said.  (I had seen the full subject earlier on my desktop and it said "[Friend] and others have updated their statuses.)

So, naturally, I'm curious... what would we have been proud that my friend did?  So I opened the email.  But the actual status is nowhere to be found. I'm using Inbox by Gmail which is notorious at rendering emails wrong, so I wasn't sure... was it a mistake that I couldn't find the status update, or was it a ploy to get me to click through.

So I looked at the source - sure enough - hidden, white-on-white 1 pixel text in a 1 pixel tall table cell with css styling to hide. They were definitely not wanting you to see this in the email.  Brilliant!!!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

#4 - It's a Thing #blogaday

I don't know what to write for this one.

So, still thinking about what I wrote yesterday, here's an original piece of art I call "Stained Glass Paris" for lack of a better name.

I experimented with Google Translate to try to come up with a different name, but I couldn't find one I liked, so we'll stick with this one.  Simple, straightforward.  This was kind of fun. I could see doing it again, but limiting myself to a particular set of colors, or trying to be more intentional in my placement - when you step back and look at the whole, certain lines bisect the piece and it would be interesting to radiate out lighter or darker shades from those lines.


Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #5 - My Favorite Selfie

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

#3 - Vacation I've Never Taken #blogaday

Part of me regrets not having traveled more. Before I was married, before we had children, when we only had one child, before we moved from Seattle, etc. But if I'm being honest, I somewhat dread traveling.

While I'm fascinated to scroll through Google Maps or watch drone videos, it's more detached and you get to see the highlights without all of that travel. Traveling can be tough. Long flights in tiny seats, lots of walking, looking at stuff (like museums or old buildings) that people say is important without having enough context to really appreciate why it's important, or with the kids, making sure that we're aware of where exits are and where we are on the meltdown threat index.

I enjoyed Victoria, BC - you could get there with some driving and a boat and then you had your own car with you on the other side. I enjoyed being a tourist in Seattle. And I enjoy the day trips we take now, but there's always been a little bit of regret that I haven't been to Sydney, Paris, Berlin or London and that it's been a long time since I've been to Maui.

But part of me imagines Ireland. Not the touristy big city, but a rental at the end of a long rutted road outside a small village. Going into the village to shop or for a pint, getting to know the locals. It's probably more of a solo imagining where I'm just the quiet foreigner who people think might be an author or something. And if not Ireland, then at least an arrondissement way outside of the tourist sector when the weather is nice and we can wake up, sit on a little patio with gauzy curtains swaying in the breeze, or perhaps pop down to a little cafe for a petit repas before a very leisurely day. And that's more of a couples imagining than a whole family thing. But if I were to think about what these both have in common is that they're not rushed. There isn't some need to get it all in because time is limited. If I'm going to spend hours on a plane, I'm owed enough time between flights to get acclimated (when Alaska Airlines is sending me a popup reminding me the webcheck for the flight home while I'm still checking into the hotel... that sucks), that it needs to be a retreat away from everything else, long enough for it to be home for awhile.

I do hope to get everyone on board a plane for Hawaii at some point, but that does seem like a long trip for Ben.


Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #4 - It's a Thing

Monday, January 02, 2017

#2 - Walking on Sunshine #blogaday

Hello and Merry Christmas, Burbank (12/24)
Some people want the snow. Been there, done that.

I am enjoying being back in Los Angeles where the weather's great and the people are chill.   The last place we lived claimed it was all "within reach" but their definition of "all" was pretty lacking.

It's a crossover. A crossover SUV.


Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #3 - Vacation I've Never Taken

Sunday, January 01, 2017

#1 - Not My Resolution #blogaday

#1 - Not My Resolution - This year, I'm not going to resolve to be a better person. There are a million ways I could improve. There are a million things I could improve. I don't have a self-esteem issue, but I'm fully aware of many of my shortcomings, though I know all of my friends, family and co-workers could come up with their own lists without too much trouble.  This year, I'm going to try to keep it together.  That may be the best I can do.  Not make things worse.  Nip a little here, tuck a little there.

But no master plan of inbox zero, or dad-of-the-year or sainthood nominations. No higher office or corner suite. I won't lie and say that I'm going to forgo personal growth or change altogether. I won't be able to keep up with the recycling or laundry, I won't have abs of steel, I won't climb any mountains but I won't take up smoking or drinking either.

This will be a year of small gains.


What is this? 

A few years ago, I participated in a January Blog-a-Day and while it was a bit of work, it was a fun way to start the new year. So, I thought I'd do it again.  This time, I'm the one with the list of topics and I didn't recruit a cadre of bloggers - but if you're reading this... thanks! And please consider joining me.

Each day, I'll present a new topic. What you do it with, if anything, is entirely up to you.  It might be a blog post, a drawing, a painting, a photo of something you scrawled on the bathroom wall.  It could be a Tweet, an Instagram or a rant on YouTube.  Whatever. That is actually what makes it fun - seeing all the ways people can be creative with nothing more than a few words to seed the idea.

The daily cadence isn't supposed to create pressure or stress, but give you a starting point. And if you do post something, let me know I'll link to it so when people visit the blog post later they'll find all kinds of creative interpretations.  (What if it's August 2018 and you're just now reading this? Feel free to jump right in, I'd be happy to keep adding links if new people join in!) How many topics are there? I've got quite a few. I'll let you know when I run out.

Tomorrow: #2 - Walking on Sunshine