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October 23, 2004

Phrase of the Day

Today’s phrase is:

“You don’t have to like yourself completely - but you do need to love yourself completely, including the things you don’t like”

It seems like there is an overwhelming urge inside of us to think we must like everything we love. This just isn’t the case. We can love without obsession - we can love without being blind to the negatives. I may LOVE Buca’s but not the burping all the garlic causes me to do afterward. I LOVE myself, but I really don’t like the fact that I still weigh more than 300 pounds after two full seasons of biking.

It’s come up multiple times today…and I thought I should immortalize the phrase in an entry. Heed its advice, readers!

October 28, 2004

Durand Family Board Meeting

Tonight I’ve got the irregularly scheduled Durand Family Board Meeting to attend.

I’m looking forward to hearing about Grandpa’s fishing trip, creating plans for the Turkey Day celebration, and catching up with everyone.

In today’s busy world a lot of people don’t make time for their family…I’m glad that even with two Board members in absentia, we can still make time to get together on occasion and touch base.

October 31, 2004

What the #$*! Do We Know?

I don’t remember where I saw the preview. However, about 6 months ago I do remember hearing about the movie What the #$*! Do We Know? and thought it would be something to see when it came out. As luck would have it, I was looking up the showtimes for Primer and saw that What the #%*! Do We Know? was starting in 15 minutes. So, I threw on some clothes and drove down to the theatre.

I really didn’t know what to expect when I sat down. I knew I had heard about it before; that it dealt with the combination of science (mostly quantum mechanics, with a little bit of neurophysiology thrown in) and philosophy.

Possible Spoilers Ahead

Continue reading "What the #$*! Do We Know?" »

November 2, 2004

Presidental Election Recollections

  • Twelve years ago today I was a sophomore in high school. I remember wishing I could vote…my Dad and I would go out to dinner once a week to this Chinese place near our home while Mom was off doing something else. (I don’t remember what it was, sadly, maybe she can fill me in) It was great - I got to drive to/from the restaurant with my permit, practicing my driving through rain, sleet and snow. We’d sit there for hours talking about all kinds of things - I remember being energized about the election and asking my dad who he was gonna vote for…and being relieved at the choice he made.
  • Eight years ago today (give or take 3 days) I remember sleeping in like I often would do, with only the slightest concern for my timely arrival at work. I slept in, got dressed for work and voted on my way in. It had been 2 years since I had set foot in the high school - felt so akward walking in to vote with all these kids around me. I voted and proudly wore my sticker all day at work, even to the date I had that night.
  • Four years ago today (give or take 5 days) our day was just finishing up on the Wedding/Honeymoon cruise Briana and I took with the rest of my family. We had all voted absentee, since we’d be out of the country. Briana and I still hadn’t changed residence to Wisconsin, but I remember the dread I felt as I voted for what I thought was the last time as a Minnesotan resident. We went down to the large ballroom onboard the ship where the cruise company had thoughtfully setup a bunch of big screen TVs to show the coverage of the election results. Everyone knew the race was tight - but I don’t think we really thought it was going to be as tight as it was. We went down expecting to just spend a few minutes - instead we spent the next few hours down there watching the conflicting reports. The next day we turned on the TV in the stateroom to catch up on the results and found out just how big of a mess it had turned out to be. The cruise company replaced one of their channels on the closed circuit TVs with round-the-clock feeds of CNN in order to satiate the appetite for people on the cruise for their fixes on the recounts. Even with our return and all the distractions of closing on the new house, moving in, etc I still remember tuning in every day to get my recount updates.

What will it be like this year? We’ll soon know I guess.

November 3, 2004

The Morning After

Lessig writes:

“Bush has won the popular vote. And it would take a freak of nature to imagine the 220,000 provisional ballots would fall strongly enough to shift Ohio. He will win the College. He is our President legitimately, and credibly.

Our criticism of this administration must now focus narrowly and sharply: on the policies, not on the credibility of the man.”

I couldn’t agree more. While I let go of the credibility thing a long time ago, it seems like most of the president’s critics would all too often fall back on the “he wasn’t really elected” in order to prove their point. I hope that this election will silence the criticism and now we can get down to the business of a real political debate.

What shouldn’t come out of this election is the belief by anyone that they have a mandate. I heard a Republican speaker, when boasting that Bush has received the most popular votes ever in an election, that he had some kind of mandate from the people to pursue his policies. Let’s get this straight - the electorate is narrowly divided. And while I’m not advocating four years of idleness, we do need to figure out WHY we’re so divided and figure out what kind of country we want to become.

We risk turning into a country of polarized voices; where everyone is so concerned with standing their ground rather than coming together towards common goals using rational thought and spirited discourse. I’m fairly liberal when it comes to my political views, but I fully respect thoughtful conservative voices who interpret facts in a different way than I do. This is more of what we need - not entrenching ourselves in the mud, unwilling to give any ground else our beliefs become weak.

November 8, 2004

On Co-Pays

I spent most of the weekend getting over this nasty cold/sinus infection/sore throat thing going around. For those of you playing the home game, that means that I’ve been sick twice already this cold season! What happened to my insanely great immune system? It’s still there…the only people I could have gotten this from have had it much worse that I have. Indeed, current thinking is that I’m gonna get better before they do!

Why don’t I just go to the doc? Certainly, there is a belief of youthful invulnerability influencing the decision a bit, but it really comes down to the co-pay. Here I am, fairly well paid; I can easily afford the co-pay. Nevertheless, I sit here just waiting for the yukkiness to pass - since I’ve gotten tired of going into the doctor only to be told it is a virus and there’s nothing to be done. Why pay for that kind of advice?

Might I benefit from some antibiotics? I really don’t know. I know if I get REALLY sick I’ll go into the doctor in a week and complain, and end up with some major illness.

To the health insurer, I’m sure the risk is one they end up saving money on in the long run as millions of people are pushed into the same decision.

However, one of the biggest reasons for companies to provide their employees health insurance - so that they can be more productive workers - is invalidated in this situation. I end up taking more time off work, spreading the disease to others, decreasing productivity as I move through my days waiting for my immune system to win the battle.

It might be interesting to take a holistic look at the cost/benefits of raising the co-pays in an employer-sponsored health plan. Especially one where most of the employees are younger, single workers. (As opposed to plans where most of the employer dollars go to sponsoring family coverage)

November 15, 2004

Pinings for Caluj Ejumacashun

I used my dictatorial powers over lunchtime-decision making today and we all went down the U of M to pick up Chick-fil-a.

Every time we go down there, I’m reminded of the fact that I skipped college. Sure, I got a taste of it my junior and senior years in high school, but I never got to go full-time in my post-secondary life. While I wouldn’t change my life at this point, I really wonder how things would have been different had I gone the normal route and spent a few years attending some institution of higher learning. Seeing all the socialization taking place, all the ideas being exchanged, pure learning without the pressures of the corporate world.

November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the world, even those who don’t celebrate the holiday.

Every year on Thanksgiving I take time to reflect on the previous year…there isn’t much time with all the holiday events over the next few weeks to do so, and before you know it it’s New Year’s Eve and you’re looking forward to the next year.

  • Life. I’m thankful that I’m here, alive, living my life in every way I can. It really is the best ride around…I highly suggest partaking in it if you get the chance.
  • Family. I’m incredibly thankful for the wonderful family I am blessed with in this life. They always say you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. I can’t imagine choosing a better family if I could!
  • Friends. I find myself with a plethora of friends, gaining more all the time. I’m thankful for each and every one of them. I’m thankful for those who have come and gone from my life, those that have been with me for years and those who I’ve only just met.
  • Work. I’m lucky to have the job and career I have found which pays me well in both dollars and experience. I love the people I work with and providing a useful service to the customers I serve.

OK, now the little/not so little things that add the spice to life:

I’m thankful for:

  • Vanilla Tootsie Rolls
  • Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel
  • Northwoods Microbrew Creme Soda
  • MN State Fair
  • The Tools of Personal Media Management: iPod & Tivo
  • This (And Everyone Else’s) Blog
  • Twinkie
  • Little Debbie White Christmas Tree Cakes
  • Vanilla Coke
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  • Scrubs
  • Completing the 30 Mile Bike Tour
  • 47 Inch Waist
  • New King Size Comfy-Bed™
  • Canadian Bacon Totino’s Party Pizzas

December 17, 2004

On The Origins of My Love For Grocery Shopping...

Am I the only one in this world who enjoys grocery shopping?

WARNING: Extremely long remembrance of grocery shopping ahead!!!

Continue reading "On The Origins of My Love For Grocery Shopping..." »

December 31, 2004

End Of Year Quiz

Neil does this “end of the year” quiz…sounds like a good idea to me. (Least it did before it took me almost two hours to write it up!)

Moo!

Continue reading "End Of Year Quiz" »

April 5, 2005

Texas 2005: Movin' & Shakin'
Sis and Me...Just Like Old Times!

Today Davin had to work from 1pm to 10pm at the library, so my Sister and I had almost an entire day to ourselves.

This morning while Davin was still around we did a thorough cleaning of the kitchen, unpacking the remaining boxes and finding a place for everything. I collapsed any empty boxes from the previous three days’ work and prepared them for recycling, while my Sister and Bro-In-Law sorted out what they wanted to do with their reading area. They have close to a thousand books, by my estimate, and it appeared that the existing bookshelves they had would be insufficient to display all of the volumes.

We had lunch together at Sonny Bryan’s BBQ, which was a wonderful choice. Everything prepared wonderfully, bottles of BBQ sauce (each served in an empty beer bottle, oddly enough) and “Big Red”, a childhood favorite of mine, on the soda machine. Afterwards, Davin went to work while Michelle and I drove over to Lowe’s to pick up a variety of items we needed for the day’s projects.

Today’s projects included:

  • Installing a peephole in the front door. This was particular difficult for two reasons. One, because it is a hollow metal door, once you drill into it the loose styrofoam insulation on the inside comes spraying out all over. And two, it is very difficult to cut the thin metal making up the door without making it blister out or cave in. I merely provided guidance and support to my Sister, who took on the project and had quite a bit of fun, I think, drilling through her front door.
  • The installation of the new doorbell, to replace the “ghetto” doorbell my Sister disliked so intensely, wasn’t so successful. She purchased a replacement yesterday that sat flush against the wall, whereas with the brick finish on the outside of the house was made for one that sat out from the wall in a housing. We didn’t realize this until she had completed all the rewiring; she should be able to do it just fine on her own after she finds a suitable doorbell.
  • Unpacking more and more books, placing them on the bookshelves in the reading room and placing said bookshelves in their proper locations. We were fairly successful in this endeavor, although our attempt to purchase another matching bookcase from Target today in order to fill out the reading room was stymied because Target had altered their supplier/design. My Sister said she would attempt to find another online to make sure they all match.
  • New toilet seats. The previous owners had those annoying squishy foam toilet seats…not only annoying to sit on, but considering they were prbly years old a pain to look at, too. Out with the old, in with the brand spanking new!

My Sister and I were on our own for dinner. After much contemplation, we decided to go to On The Border for some Mexican food. On The Border offers a “Build Your Own Burrito”, which I took advantage of in order to create my perfect burrito creation. Roasted pepper tortilla, shredded beef, Mexican rice and caramelized peppers - prepared as a chimichanga and covered in ranchero sauce. Yum!

We spent most of the evening, both at dinner and once we got home, talking about our jobs, life and the universe. It is so wonderful to be able to still connect with my Sister, talk about our achievements without engaging in competition and share our theories and thoughts about life and our family. It is amazing to me to consider my Sister a “friend” after all these years and miles, only on a much higher level than we were as children. We’ve each matured and saw many different parts of the same world over the past few years…but we’re still connected in that way long time friends often are.

I leave tomorrow around 4pm, and tonight my Sister seemed to lean towards doing something fun tomorrow before my departure. It will be difficult to leave, knowing there are still so many projects my Sister and Bro-In-Law want to attempt around the house and the fun we’ve had doing many of them together over the past few days. However, I know that part of the joy is doing some of these things on your own, making the house a home. I envy them…apartment living isn’t a home, no matter how hard you try to make it such. Seeing their new house down here, doing all the projects around the house reminds me so much of the house I owned with my ex-wife out in Hudson. Someday I’ll have that again, I know, but having a home is certainly something we all crave. I hope that I’ve given my Sister and Bro-In-Law a head start into making their own house into a home.

April 13, 2005

Proof That Gadgeteering Never Wanes

I had dinner with Grandpa tonight. We discussed our usual topics…politics, religion, money, the relative tastiness of fat-free sharp cheddar. The highlight of the night was my Grandpa’s presentation of his new gadget.

Before I explain the product, I need to explain my Grandpa. My Grandpa turns 81 this year, although I doubt anyone would guess he’s anywhere near 70. Does the following list of attributes sound like an 80 year old to you?

  • Loves his Tivo
  • Is on his third digital camera
  • …and second photo printer and scanner
  • …and third computer in 8 years
  • Thinks iPods are rather slick
  • Watches The Daily Show with Jon Stewart every night (thanks to Tivo)
  • Has On-Star and knows how to use it
  • Has made whole CDs filled with scanned photos from the family’s past
  • Has outwitted squirrel after squirrel in defense of his bird feeder’s stock of seeds
  • Will go to church as long as he always gets his jelly-filled donut
  • Walks 2 miles a day
  • Loves Applebee’s Riblets and Uno’s pizza

You’ll notice all the gadgets in that list…I can’t even begin to enumerate all of the gadgets he has for fishing, cooking, home maintenance and anything else you can think of!

So, it prbly shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise, that my Grandpa tonight showed me his latest gadget, the Humminbird SmartCast RF20. This device is similar to a depth finder…it uses sonar technology to map the lake, its bottom and any fish swimming around. However, this device is much more than a normal depth finder…you attach it to a fishing pole/line, allowing you to cast it out away from the boat. The bobber contains all the sonar technology; it scans the lake and transmits the data wirelessly to an LCD display device you attach to your fishing pole.

My Grandpa was quick to point out the beauty in the design of the product. Like any good gadget, the little touches are what make it even better. The bobber has two exposed terminals…when placed in water, a circuit is closed in the bobber and it begins pinging and transmitting the results to the display. When you reel in the line and take the bobber out of the water the circuit opens again, saving the bobber’s battery life. The display device has a number of different attachments, to fit any size rod. Heck, I’m not an angler by any stretch of the imagination, but even I could see the beauty in this design. All for a street price of under $75 bucks!

So, yeah. I come from a long line of gadgeteers. My Grandpa, my Dad, myself. Someday, hopefully my children as well. The continuing love of new things, not only accepting change but also driving it oneself is surely a sign of an awake mind. It brings me no greater joy than to see my Grandpa still alive in this way…it gives me hope that I’ll never lose my spark, my love of change.

April 20, 2005

Color-Blind Descriptors of Color

Should I have to make up for color-blindness on the part of some ancient nature-surveying biologist?

JManDoo tells me that the bird outside our window is a “Red-Breasted Robin”. I explain that the bird is clearly orange in color…thus I proclaim it an Oriole. “‘cause everyone knows that Orioles are orange!”

I think I’ve finally convinced him that the bird was clearly orange in color. Beyond that, I couldn’t care less what scientific classification the bird fell into…all I know is, that bird was NOT red!

June 9, 2005

Disconnected

I felt so off balance yesterday when the servers were down. No personal email, no blog, no shell access. I missed 10 or so emails over the course of the day…the senders only knew my personal address and/or website. Considering that both of these were down until 4pm when they finally restored power at home, I didn’t get the message until nearly the end of the work day when email finally came trickling back into the servers.

Amazing how reliant one can become on their technology.

June 14, 2005

End Of An Era

Last night, with the mere flip of a power toggle, IAI’s IT systems ceased operations.

[Who's IAI, you might ask? More info on the history of IAI and my history with them below the fold]

Fifth Third had been slow to replace the IT operations of Paladin/IAI after the acquisition - the staff had continued to use many of the same systems they had beforehand. As systems were replaced, things were turned down, but the “core” of the Novell, Microsoft NT and Lotus Notes networks continued to operate. Last night, after one final replication off the Notes server to a spare workstation, all three networks ceased operations. Servers were turned down, UPS power turned off, cables unpatched and cleaned up.

Together we pulled out all the KVM units, at least 100 network cables, 8 phone lines, and 8 or 9 leftover server chassis. We had a chance to tell stories, stack up all the leftover equipment, even took a moment to admire the hack job we performed on move weekend years ago to finish the wiring job the electrician didn’t do in order to get the UPS up by SOB Monday morning. Mike Anderson had the honor of turning off THOR and ZEUS, the main Novell and Microsoft NT servers, respectively, and I turned off the UPS power. Thus was the end of the IAI IT Infrastructure.

It is fitting, tho, that there is going to be an IAI reunion party next month. Perfect timing? I certainly think so! In the lead up to the party I’ll be writing a bunch of nostalgic pieces about IAI…there are so many stories I was reminded of last night that I’ve never put down into words.

Continue reading "End Of An Era" »

July 13, 2005

San Francisco Nights

I’ve been listening to San Francisco Nights by The Animals for the past few days…I remember listening to this tune back while I was in high school one summer.

My dad and I were installing some new carpeting and tile for a local high school at night. In the heat (the high school didn’t run the air conditioning in the summer…especially at night!) all we had were our knee pads, fans, flooring products and this old cassette player to get us through the night. The Animals were one of the tapes my dad had on heavy rotation, mixed in with a smattering of old 60’s and 70’s tunes. (I was really into both decades around that age) I hadn’t heard the song for years, until I stumbled across it in iTunes one morning.

So, in honor of this, one of my favorite songs, I’ve included the opening of the song below…cause, well, it is my favorite part of the song. The rest of the song has this beautiful folksy sound…but this passage is read at the beginning of the song in a sort of “radio announcer” style…

“This following program is dedicated to the city and people of San Francisco.
Who may not know it, but they are beautiful. And so is their city.
This is a very personal song, so if the viewer cannot understand it, particularly those of you who are of European residence, save up all your bread and fly Trans-love airways to San Francisco, USA. Then maybe you’ll understand the song. It will be worth it. If not for the sake of this song, but for the sake of your own peace of mind.”

July 18, 2005

IAI Reunion

Tonight was the big IAI reunion I mentioned in this post about a month ago. I didn’t get down there until almost 6:15 or so because of traffic (it started at 4), but there were still plenty of people hanging around Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis when I arrived. The weather was wonderful…none of the stinging heat we’ve been treated to as of late, just a breezy, sunny evening around the lawn bowling greens on top of the pub.

I find it amazing that almost all of them still have jobs in the financial industry, many doing either the same job or a similar job with more responsibility/status. I guess this is how things go for the most part…but I certainly felt like an outsider when it came to many of the discussions, ‘cause I just wasn’t tuned into that sector anymore. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to reconnect with many of my old coworkers. Some brought their kids, some brought along pictures. Even those who couldn’t attend were the subject of discussions…”I knew someone who knew someone who just talked with them the other day!”

I have to admit…during my employment, and especially near the time I left IAI, many people pointed out just how much I grew up at IAI. When I compare my high school reunion to the IAI reunion, I think the IAI reunion left me with way more warm fuzzies in my heart afterwards. I really did grow up there; many of the people at the event were my mentors, team members or close confidants at some point in my tenor at the firm.

August 8, 2005

Collections

How do I live life more with less?

I moved into my apartment 2 years ago as of the first of the month - other than a short-term stay in a tiny little apartment just down the hall, my only previous residences have been my 3000+ square foot house in Hudson and my parents’ basement.

I don’t really consider myself a “too much stuff” kinda guy. Nevertheless, when I moved from the huge house to my 1100 square foot apartment, I really felt the pinch.

Besides the normal assortment of “stuff” indicative of a middle-class lifestyle, I’ve got three major “collections”. I call them collections ‘cause, frankly, the three categories of stuff just exist to accumulate more stuff. Kitchen gadgetry doesn’t count, ‘cause I can honestly say I’ve used everything for its intended purpose (and many unintended purposes) over the years, even if I don’t have tons of room in my kitchen here at the apartment. I’ve got tons of books but, once again, all of them have been used for reading at one point in another, and I appreciate keeping them around as a reference or to loan to curious others.

No, my three collections are much less utilitarian than either of those examples. The first is my Toy Story collection. I started collecting everything Toy Story I could get my hands on when the movie first came out. Due to the lack of enthusiasm for the Disney-distributed Pixar film prior to release, very few merchandising deals were made, making it relatively easy to collect a majority of the original set. Most of the items bigger than an action figure still have their boxes, but almost all of them have at least been removed at one point or another to be played with and/or exhibited. However, almost none of the toys are currently on display here in the apartment…I just don’t have the room. Well, I might have the room, but if you combine this collection with the next two, I’m just plain out of space.

The second collection is my desk toy collection. Working, as I have, since I was 16 years old at a desk job, I’ve already collected an entire lifetime of fun desk toys. I’ve got stuffed characters of all types, snow globes, action figures, time wasters, curiosities, etc. Right now, almost all of these items are stored away in the closet in file boxes. About 10 file boxes, to be exact. What does one do with all of these? I’ve already tried recycling some of them into my current work environment…if I kept my desk clean there I imagine I’d find more success. Instead, they just get added to the existing items decorating my current desk and add to the clutter.

Third, my collection of old computer hardware/software/books for the Apple II series (and a few other older systems) takes up more space than any of the previous collections. Taking up a good portion of the unused floor space in my second bedroom, the wide assortment of old machines, and their accompanying accessories, is something that has a meaning so nostalgic to me that I really can’t imagine ever getting rid of them. I’ve got both my original Apple IIe and my second computer, my Apple IIgs. Both of these computers set my parents back a pretty penny in their day…and both of them together are often referred to as “the best investments in [my] future they’ve ever made.” I’ve also got an even older Apple II+, piles of software, most of the Nibble magazines published and enough spare hardware to make sure things will continue to run long into the future. That is, if they are ever powered up. Most of the systems are still in the boxes we packed them into when we retired them.

Without any of these three collections, my apartment would be furnished, but not crowded in the slightest. Instead, I’ve got a storage closet filled with desk toy boxes and Toy Story toys, a spare bedroom mostly filled with old computer equipment and piles of things that could be better stored away in an organized way in the living room awaiting their final destination due to overcrowding by the collections. Do I just get rid of all three? Do I decide on one to stay with and dump the rest? Each of them pull at my memories in a different way…representative of a portion of my life, breadcrumbs leading to who I am today.

Something to ponder…

August 22, 2005

Nike's "Real Women"

I meant to write about this a few days ago, but life got busy. However, the Salon article “Thigh the beloved country” has stuck with me for the past few days and I thought I should write about it here, so that others may pay it the proper attention. (It is worth watching the Site Pass to read…I promise!)

Basically, it is a write-up on a new Nike ad campaign that emphasizes a more “real” looking women achieving their training goals without letting society’s prejudices alter the vision of success. For example, here’s a spread that appeared in the September issue of Glamour magazine (click for a bigger version):

Nike "Butt" Ad

Over the many women I’ve dated, many of them have felt awkward because of their size. Too short, too tall, thighs too big, tummy too big, arms too big, etc. Many of these women have been fairly fit - it wasn’t that they did not feel out of shape, nor were they really; they just imagined they were because of society’s near-constant reminders of “the perfect form.” Hey, the average dress size for women in America is somewhere around 12-14…so why must we constantly see size zeros?

I’m a guy who has been told he carries 300 pounds as though it is not a hair over 250. I may have a tummy, but from all the biking, my legs are lean, mean machines. I don’t get out of breath walking up stairs - I’m happy with my general physical health, and so is my doctor.

As such, I’d rather see someone with curves, not all bones! Yeah, baby, nothing sexier than a woman with elbows that look as if they could pierce their way through the skin at any moment! Get real. Gimme more proud women with proud butts! Gimme thighs of justice!

August 23, 2005

Dinner Wih Grandpa

I had dinner with Grandpa last night. I think he was in a reflective mood, which worked well considering that I was in that kind of mood as well. We talked a bit about our normal subjects…politics, catchup on life’s activities, iPods. After that, tho…

The remainder of the evening was filled with all kinds of wonderful conversations on life. Talking about the way my family (I talk here of not only my parents, but my grandparents and aunt as well) raised me, how thankful I am that I had the influences, freedoms and liberties I had when I was growing up. However, in the midst of all this pontification, my Grandpa uttered what I think is a great observation…

“The thing I miss most without your Grandmother around is having someone to share the curiosities in life. Whenever I’d come across anything new or different or interesting, the first person I wanted to share it with was your Grandmother. I think that might be a measure of love.”

We talked through my Grandpa’s point a bit, exploring how different “levels” of love/friendship might lead you to the same kind of experience with a friend. For example, I know there are many times I have uttered something like, “Oh, I can’t wait to show [insert friend here] this [cool new gadget]” It certainly isn’t a cause of love…but it maybe a symptom?

Knowing someone who has a similar curiosity about life…certainly not your exact same curiosities, but similar enough so that you can share discoveries with someone…seems to be quite a sign of a loving bond at some level.

I love my Grandpa so much. I’m glad he’s still with us…he never seems to run out of things to share.

September 20, 2005

Involuntary Vehicular ManBunnyslaughter

I finished my ride tonight (lights come in handy in these fall months) and needed to head back to work to pick up my effects. I had left my clothes, laptop and other such items in at work so I didn’t have to lug it around on my ride.

As I was driving down Highwood towards 169, on my way into work, I spied a bunny hopping around along the side of the road. As soon as my headlights hit it (I was coming around a curve, heading up an incline towards it), it stopped in its tracks and stared back into my headlights. I slowed up a bit out of caution, but just as I thought I was in the clear, at the last second before I passed the bunny, it jumped into the street…I was upon it almost instantaneously and I heard a telling double-thump on the bottom of my car.

I knew, at that moment, that I had accidentally killed another living creature. I don’t know if wild bunnies are safe to pick up or not…but in any event, by the time I recomposed myself and drove back around to check out the scene the bunny had been smooshed flat.

I’m not a violent creature by any stretch of the imagination…I don’t even kill spiders or other bugs I come across in the house. (They are usually moved out of the way or outside, depending on what kind of creature they are) When I bike, I try to brush off any bugs that get caught up on my sweaty skin instead of smacking them dead. I know it was an accident…however, that doesn’t seem to completely soothe my guilt in this case. I generally follow a code that only allows for killing other creatures that pose a threat to me. This bunny, obviously, was of no threat to me. Had I changed to the other lane, instead of assuming the still bunny would have remained so, I prbly would have avoided hurting the bunny.

I will be biking by the location tomorrow morning on my way into work…and I mean this in all seriousness: I wonder how one atones for an accidental bunny death?

October 20, 2005

Pledge Drive Story Ahead!

It is pledge time again…the local public media outlets are filling the airwaves, rolling out their most impressive programming, trying to hook people into contributing or renewing their memberships. Every time this happens, I think back to a potentially scarring incident that occurred in my 10th, maybe 11th year, here on this Earth. Luckily, for MPR, the incident didn’t really affect me, since they count me as a contributor today, but as you will see it so easily could have scared me away from public media forever.

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December 27, 2005

Christmas 2005 Passes On

Today was the last day of my 5-day extended holiday weekend. Tomorrow I go back to work - by the calendar a “short” week, but, in actuality, it will be a very long, intense 3 days of work getting a new project out the door and into our customer’s hands. We’ve been working on this for more than 3 months now; it will be nice to see the fruits of everyone’s labors coming to fruition.

The weekend was go, go, go, with multiple Christmas parties and other family events taking up almost every last moment. I loved it. Sure, a few times it got tiring, or frustrating, or complicated, but all in all a wonderful weekend. In the gift department, I took in all kinds of wonderful prizes, some things I wished for, some things I didn’t even know I wanted. Got to play with many of the new toys today…what else is an extra vacation day like today good for? ☺ (OK, so I shopped the malls and then came home for a nice nap, too…but playing was foremost on the agenda!)

December 31, 2005

Songs of 2005

One of the best things about the music setup I have, with my iPod, the Tivo/AudioFaucet/Airport Express and my JBL On Stage is that iTunes automatically tracks all of the songs I listen to for playcount stats. Of course, it only counts it as “played” if I listen to it all the way through, but analyzing the data can still yield some meaningful information on my listening habits.

I’ve listed my top played tracks from 2005 below. The track I listened to the most this year, “The Boxer” by Carbon Leaf, had 64 recorded plays, but the most listened to track in my library of all time remains “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service at 104 plays.

At the end of last year, I had 7861 total plays across 2084 unique tracks out of a total of 6505 tracks. This year that number rose to 17996 total plays across 4703 unique tracks out of a total of 10322 tracks. (With the addition of Podcast support in iTunes, I probably should add that I have 838 podcast tracks in my library, responsible for 186 total plays)

Compare it to my list Songs of 2004 from last year.

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January 5, 2006

Overlooked Songs of 2005

I’ve been reflecting on the Songs of 2005 list I put together based on the automated iTunes libary data. The thing is, while using the new year as a measuring point is useful, it completely overlooks a number of great songs I listened to over time. Sometimes, I only obtained the song near the end of the year, so whle it was on heavy rotation it didn’t have a chance to build up a high enough play count to appear on the list. Other songs get penalized because they are a non-workout song released during the summer months, when I’m mostly listening to upbeat groovy music.

Regardless of the reason, I put together another playlist this year called “Overlooked Songs of 2005”. There’s a number of great tracks in this list…and very little fat, as this play list was hand-selected by a team of specially trained monkeys. (OK, so there was only one monkey, me, and I have very little training in this regard!)

Enjoy!

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January 18, 2006

Brain: Full

**Warning: This self-reflective diary-type post is intentionally vague. Those that know why know why, those that don’t know but care can feel free to ask.

The past few weeks here have been filled with all kinds of wonder. Coming off a very enjoyable holiday season, events transpired to complicate life in a big way. Not entirely unexpected, but definitely unexpected in their magnitude and scope. I’m excited about it, tho, and I think the changes that have been set in motion will be a good thing, especially in the long run.

My brain has been working overtime for the past few weeks, tho, thus the “Full” indicator above. Lots of things to process…my dreams have been absolutely cray-ZEE! Popular wisdom says that we don’t use almost 90% of our minds…I’m sure I’ve been using more than 10% for the past few months now, but in the past few weeks I feel like my brain’s landscape has been in the middle of transformation similar to that occurring in today’s downtown Beijing. Construction everywhere, old buildings being demolished, new, tall skyscrapers being erected with all their steel scaffolding. Buildings empty for now, structures waiting to be filled. An air of opportunity envelops the downtown of my mind. I can’t wait for the new ideas to move in, fill up all those structures and take up shop.

I haven’t felt like this in years…I’ve missed it. I’m not content with static life…give me change, opportunity and experience.

March 3, 2006

My Fortune (Cookie)

Somewhat fitting, as I was sitting at work tonight (late, but not nearly as 5am late as Tuesday night/Wednesday morning) helping a customer out with some data migration work.

“You have an unusual understanding of the problems of others.”

‘course, I’d like to think it is just as applicable in my personal dealings as my professional life. I wonder what they mean by “unusual”, tho…hrm.

December 31, 2006

Songs of 2006

As I’ve done at the end of both 2004 and 2005, I present my list of my most frequently listened to songs across 2006. As always, since I use my central iTunes library to keep track of my statistics, the playcount of a song is only increased if I listen to it in its entirety.

For the second year in a row, “The Boxer” by Carbon Leaf is the top played in my library, at 36 recorded plays over the past year. “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service slipped to 2nd place for all-time plays, falling one play short of “Life Less Ordinary” by Carbon Leaf at 134 plays, the new leader.

iTunes Library Growth Over Time:

YearTotal TracksTotal PlaysTracks Played >0
2004650578612084
20059484178104703
200610524254645317

This year’s stats (and my listening habits) might have suffered from a few more repeats than previous years since I put playlists on my iPod representing the Songs of 2005 and Overlooked Songs of 2005. These were often my “goto” playlists when I wanted to listen to something familiar and comfortable. This meant I was shuffling my entire library less frequently, meaning playcounts were concentrated on previous top placers. Also, podcasts really came around this year, so a good deal of my time was spent listening to non-music.

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January 3, 2007

Overlooked Songs of 2006

Like the Overlooked Songs of 2005 list I put together last year, I thought it appropriate to once again highlight a number of tracks that didn’t get up in the playcount for one reason or another, and as such didn’t make it on the main Songs of 2006 list. Maybe they got added to my library really late in the year. Maybe I fell in love with the album instead of the tracks, resulting in much lower playcounts for all involved.

Whatever the reason, there are a number of songs that should have been highlighted for the year that didn’t, so I will list ‘em here. Not all of these songs were released this year… in fact, more than a few of them are songs that I rediscovered or finally picked up the long-put-off CD. They were all, however, added to my iTunes library in 2006.

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January 17, 2007

Things I Wish I Could Invent

(I’m open to others doing the inventing/creating…but then let me buy it!)

  • An inkjet cartridge replacement that printed chocolate instead of ink. Can you imagine printing a message to your sweetie in chocolate? It also could be used as an anti-spy device… if you fall into enemy hands, just shove the document into your pocket. Muahahaha!
  • A chair that would measure your foot-to-knee length and thigh length as you approached it and then adjust its own depth/height to match your measurements exactly for a perfect fit. I could also use this option on a couch. Nothing is worse than sitting in a chair that doesn’t come close to supporting your legs, or forces you to stick your legs out at 45 degree angles just so that your thighs are supported and your feet are resting on the ground.
  • I want an option on my programmable thermostat that allows me to “override” the program one-time if I know I’m going to be going out for the evening, or if I’ll be coming home early. My schedule varies quite a bit every week, some nights I’m out late, some nights I’m in early. Regardless, usually when I leave in the morning I know when I’m going to return. Allow me to tell the thermostat, “Override your default programming for this evening, I won’t be coming home until 11pm, don’t bother heating up the house until then.”

February 5, 2007

120 Minutes Love

Relive your adolescence.

Collected Playlists from MTV’s 120 Minutes

February 16, 2007

Quotations Provided by Area Mall

I’ve read Desiderata before, but this quote displayed at the mall tonight particularly caught my attention:

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

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