Friday, December 31, 2004

The PUBLIC you

Kristi and I were taking a Sunday drive in the beautiful weather we had yesterday when we ran across a home for sale. Well, maybe it was for sale and maybe it wasn't. You see, the "For Sale" sign was very old and hard to see from the road. The house looked like it was no longer occupied (no visible furniture) and the yard no longer maintained (lots of leaves).

It was obvious the house was once loved, but today it really needs a helping hand. Maybe what this old house needs is our helping hands. So we decided to do some investigating...

First, we looked at the real estate listings. Nothing there -this is a dead end.

Then I checked the county website for property tax assessments. From this I found the owner's name, learned the property was purchased in 1970, and the house built in 1978. I learned the owner no longer lived there because of a lost Homestead Exemption (it's a Texas thing) and the owner was over 65 in 1992.

Using Google I was able to discover the owner was mayor of the town in the early 70's.

After thinking about his age and how the house was lived in anymore, I was able to discover some information on ObitsArchive.com about his recent death.

During this stage, our search became a quest to fill in the missing pieces. Going back to Google we discovered information about his family, profession (dentist), and hobby (golf).

After a little more searching, I can now tell you about his last house. Further, I can tell you the land her mother lives on now was previously owned by their daughter, a real estate agent, through a series of companies.

One of his sons took the same profession and would seem to be a successful dentist in town.

All of which leads me to say, it doesn't take much to find out all about you and yours. Heck, if I feel a little bored tomorrow I might be investigating you!

Tsunami Toll & Relief

The tsunami that hit southern Asia has caused massive destruction. The death toll is staggering, and the photos show unbelievable devastation. A number of respectable charities are rushing aid to the area and I want to encourage you to use one of them.

If you have not yet chosen a charity, let me recommend Oxfam. And to give you something in return for your donation, I pass along the following message from a software company I have used and like.
Hello,
This is Nick the CEO of CoffeeCup Software.

I'm sure you have heard about the earthquake and tsunamis that have devastated Asia. Over 120,000 people have died so far and almost 1/3 of these are children.

I just gave to Oxfam - a respected non-profit that is working to help survivors of this horrible disaster. Oxfam can not give you anything for your donation, but CoffeeCup can give you software when you help the people of South Asia.

You can donate quickly and easily online Here:

-> https://secure.ga3.org/02/asia_earthquake04?source=aqt04_cc


If you donate more than $35 email me your receipt and I will give you your choice of CoffeeCup VisualSite Designer, CoffeeCup Firestarter, or CoffeeCup PixConverter.

Donate more than $100 and I will give you the CoffeeCup HTML Editor or CoffeeCup Direct FTP.

Donate $500 or more and I will send you ALL of our software on CD.

To get the software just donate to Oxfam using the link above, then email your receipt and choice of software to: donate@coffeecup.com


Thank you for your support in this time of great need,

Dr. Nicholas Longo - FounderCEO
CoffeeCup Software Inc.
http://www.coffeecup.com/
It's not much and maybe it won't mean anything to you, but it's a gesture of support for those in need. So I share this with you while hoping we all find one of our own.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

2004 Winter Snow

Look, it's snowing... at our home in Dallas of all places. The area is not guaranteed to see snow every year, with kids sometimes seeing their first snowfall at the age of 4 or 5. And those beautiful white flakes would typically fall much later in the season when it's quite a bit colder, but this year's roaring arctic front changed all that. What a nice treat as the first full day of Winter portends a beautiful Christmas.


Are you flying for the holidays?

USA Today has a super cool feature. Maybe you know about it because you already fly a bunch, but you can get airport delay updates from this page. It helps you know if you have time for another cocktail before heading to the airport.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

2004 Christmas Lights

Here is the picture of our Christmas Lights I promised y'all a few weeks back.

I don't know how to change the exposure on our camera, so this is about the best picture I took. We have large blue bulbs around the bushes and above the walkway leading to the front door. The bushes are filled with about the multi-colored light strands (about 3,000 bulbs total) and we have a set of packages in front of the tree.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Christmas... and the Death Penalty

Yesterday, we went to the Dallas Christmas Festival 2004 put on by Prestonwood Baptist Church. It was a very good performance, three hours long with professional production values throughout (great costuming, 30 piece orchestra, live animals, etc.).

Act I was series of popular Christmas songs with some fun little acts. This was my favorite section. Act II was choral music, which was fine, but I'm not a huge fan of choral stuff. It was definitely interesting to see a 300-350 person chorus at one time. Act III was a musical covering the life of Jesus Christ. Very well done given the time constraints.

The most moving scene of the entire play came when they recreated the scene from Matthew 27:15-22.
15Now it was the governor's custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" 18For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.

19While Pilate was sitting on the judge's seat, his wife sent him this message: "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him."

20But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

21"Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" asked the governor.

"Barabbas," they answered.

22"What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked.

They all answered, "Crucify him!"

23"Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!"

24When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man's blood," he said. "It is your responsibility!"

25All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!"

26Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
To help you understand why this was so moving to me, please let me explain more of the scene. The crowd was cast by their huge chorus, so there were hundreds of people chanting for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Christ. And if you've ever stood in a crowd and watch for potential mob dynamics, it was relatively easy to see how this event could have been orchestrated for the saving of one man or the death of another.

But what really hit me, was how this mirrors the political climate I live in. Here in Texas, the death penalty is considered a good thing. Of all the prisoners executed in the U.S., my state executes about 40% of them.

In a topically related event, the Supreme Court is reviewing a case for the second time. This rare event is because the Fifth Court of Appeals did not appear to follow directions on reviewing the longstanding history of Dallas' District Attorney's active discrimination in jury selection; because jury discrimination makes it easier for the DA to get a guilty verdict and the death penalty.

I have a hard time understanding how the people of this state can be so sure of their belief in a Christian god, and so sure we should be taking the lives of other human beings.

From a religious perspective, I understand the theological position that Christ needed to die on the cross, but I cannot understand how people can hear or read about this event and then think it is okay to have public exectutions of others. If only out of sympathy for their savior, it makes sense they would want to avoid this debacle. For how is what we do today much different than a mob calling, "Crucify him. Let his blood be on us and our children."

It's time to stop this nonsense.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Christmas music

I love Christmas music. I try to buy a few albums every year, but often hold myself back thinking the funds should really go to something other than another version of Silent Night. (10 years ago, when I last counted, I had 17 versions of the song.)

Carl's collection was never stalled by my rationality. He has 9-10 times the quantity I have.

I'm not sure if I think he is lucky or foolish.

via J-Walk

Friday, December 10, 2004

Ambient noise

I love traditions, well sometimes. As a child, I remember putting on nice clothes when the family went shopping at Sears. I like the idea of dressing up when you go out and think the world would be just a touch nicer if people continued this concept of respecting others in their own actions.

Another idea I like is saying, "Excuse me" before answering the telephone. I find it rude when a call from a stranger takes precedence over my presence.

I remember phone booths that closed around you, and I think that was a good idea also. And I think it rude when people do a lot of talking on cell phones in public places. To that end, here's a link that fights the rudeness of talking to loud on a cell phone with a new kind of rudeness. Not necessarily the best approach, but it's something.

via Engadget.com

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Big Al's *New* Home Page

Old pal, Big Al English reviewed my blog awhile back and sent me a nice note indicating he like my own pages and also hoped I was designing web pages. I'm not, but it was sure nice of him to say such kind words. A few weeks later, he sent me a note wishing me a happy birthday. Since his birthday follows mine by just a few days I decided to make him a gift this year; I made him a new home page.

Purdue needs your help

As many of you know, Purdue started this year's football season with as much promise as they could possible have or give their fans. The quarterback was an early contender for the Heisman Trophy, the team looked like it might go undefeated, or--at most--lose just a single game or two. Instead, after going 6-0, they then proceeded to lose 4 in a row. ARGH!

Despite this heartbreak for me, they do have a chance to win some awards which will benefit their general scholarship fund. Here's the text from the John Purdue Club.
The Purdue football team is in the running for two national on-line honors that would benefit the university's general scholarship fund.

Sophomore Jerome Brooks' 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown at Notre Dame on Oct. 2 is one of six finalists for the Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Year. It was selected from 13 weekly winners by a panel of nine experts in college sports. Each play was considered both for its impact on the outcome of the game as well as how it affected the team's season.

The winning performance will be awarded $100,000.

Fans can vote for the winner on-line once a week through Jan. 1 by clicking here. The winner will be announced Jan. 3 at the Orange Bowl Beach Bash in Orlando and subsequently during the FedEx Orange Bowl on Jan. 4.

The Boilermakers also are one of seven finalists for the FedEx Express Team of the Year. They were the weekly winner after setting a Big Ten record with 763 yards of total offense in a 63-24 win over intrastate rival Indiana on Nov. 20.

The winning school will receive $25,000.

To help select this award, fans can vote on-line by clicking here through Dec. 20. Both the Fed Ex Express and Fed Ex Ground Teams of the Year will be announced at halftime of the Orange Bowl.

Please, for me, help me help my old school.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Christmas lights

I am pretty much done with the Christmas Lights for this season. We do something a little different with them every year, and we almost skipped this year altogether, until Kristi noticed lights on other homes and started missing them on ours.

I find Christmas Lights to be another chore I avoid and complain about, but don't actually mind all that much. It's the thought of them, not the doing, that bothers me. The tangled cords, the burnt out bulbs, the up-and-down-and-up again on the ladder, etc. But the result is always so pleasant. And when you are working on Christmas lights it is so very easy to see your progress.

So, it's done now, and I'll try to get a picture up so you can see what we've done this year.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Why do leaves change color in Fall?

Today, I raked the leaves in our yard for the first time this year. We have a good size backyard for this part of the country, and I raked a total of two bags. Not very much.

I know much of the country has raked for months, or is done already, but here in Dallas, we don't have much in the way of Autumn leaves. Our trees have three seasons here. First we have some growing in the spring, then lots of green for much of the year, and finally the trees look fairly dead.

I miss the colors of Autumn on the trees. I sure don't miss raking though. In fact, while my raking skills seemed fine, I have surely forgotten some of the skills it takes to stuff the leaves in the bag. And with the rate of leaf raking required, I doubt I'm going to get any better.

Friday, December 03, 2004

New Routines

I stay up late, much later than Kristi. This is not new, but we have come up with a fun and cute way to handle it. In the last couple of weeks, when she is finished with the cleaning and lotioning (something most guys don't understand) and ready for bed, she hollers and I come to tuck her in. I pull up the blankets and make them snug around her, shower her face with kisses, and we chat for a few final minutes before she goes to sleep. If your situation is at all similar I recommend you add this to your nightly routine. Guaranteed to make you smile with your own loved one.

Christmas music

Did you know I really enjoy Christmas music? Did you know I will often put on a couple albums in July because I miss the music? Yes, I like it that much. This year, as I spend much of my time in the home office, I have been listening to LAUNCHcast 's Holiday Stations. I have plugged this online, customizable radio before, and I thought it deserved another mention.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

My new dentist

I went to a new dentist today. Not by choice so much, as by insurance company requirements. This one has a few advantages over the last one. First, this one is within 8 miles, maybe less, while the last was 40 miles away. Second, this female dentist is much nicer to look at than the soon to be retired old guy. Third, and most surprising, was the office decor. The office had a number of decorations you might see in a nicer home; tapestries, obelisks, and other decorative pieces. I was surprised that I've never seen a doctor's office market itself to females before, and of course surprised to have seen it all. What a shame the typical dentist/doctor office looks so darn drab. And even those times they make an attempt at the waiting area it is immediately obvious the thought was nto carried through to the patient or staff spaces. This really was a pleasant surprise. So, congrats to the new place for figuring out the experience is more than just waiting less than an hour.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. We had a good time and a traditional turkey dinner while visiting with Kristi's family.

I also learned something new this year. While there was a proclamation and celebration back in 1621 (like I was taught in school), it was President Lincoln who made the Thanksgiving Proclamation that turned a historical event into a national holiday.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Shooting it up

Today, I am exhausted. I just got back from Main Event, a local entertainment/arcade/bowling/billiards place. I went with Matthew, a cousin from New York City Alabama. After shooting at giant fish in some game from Sega, we played LaserTag.

If you haven't played LaserTag before, it's a where you strap on a LV (laser vest) and carry a Photon Gun (laser pointer in the shape of a gun). The arena is lit mostly with blacklight and they pump in fake smoke with fog machines. Then you run around and shoot each other for 15 minutes. It's a lot more fun than my description.

Matthew and I played against a team of three youngsters, and we almost won. It probably hurt our score when I shot Matthew before I knew who I was shooting. Of course, he shot back at me; wouldn't you?

Right now I resting up before we head out to La Hacienda Ranch for dinner. My only hope at the moment is that Kristi lets me go to bed early.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Happy, Happy Birthday

Yesterday, I said, "It's all about ME." Today I want to recognize some other fine folks with birth anniversaries close to mine own:
Nov 11: Connie Moritz
Nov 15: John Charwinsky
Nov 20: Joy Beatty, Lauren Moritz
Nov 21: "Big Al" English
Nov 25: Michael Davidson
Happy Birthday to them, one and all.

Late add...
Nov 28: Charles "Finneal" Zimmerman

Edited on 3 Dec

Friday, November 19, 2004

It's all about ME

I know I owe y'all a bunch of entries here. And I have lots I want to, and should, and plan on saying. But today I have this to say...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!


Thank you for your attention. We now return to your regular broadcast program.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Politics, two things

Everyone knows President Bush won re-election yesterday. It was a small pleasure to not have the fighting we had last time around. Today I set the television to CNN and left it on for most of the day. After watching for hours last night (I went to bed at 4:30) and then today, I finally had enough and turned it all off.

Right now, I have two issues. The first is the constant use of the word mandate. While by definition,
2 : an authorization to act given to a representative <accepted the mandate of the people>
President Bush receives a mandate by winning the election, pundits and talking heads use the word in different context. When listening to commentary and news programs, it comes across as "responsibility to act on stated plans due to overwhelming support by voters." I do not understand how 51.4% of the vote is overwhelming support. Rather, it's a very close vote according to the percentages. Isn't any election decided by less than 10 or 20 percentage points, certainly less than 3 percentage points, an indication the populous is seriously divided?

The second issue is the potential good Democrats may get to suffer through, and how they are going to blow it. I (and others) previously stated it might be a good idea for the Republicans to win. The hope behind this thought is the Dems may realize the current platform and message do not adquately addresses the concerns. (Personally, I think their current message is about tarring the opposition rather than offering alternatives, leaving no time for their weak platform to even be expressed.) Tonight, New York's Senator Chuck Schumer was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I had some hope building within me when the senator discussed how much he and others were going to have to do soul searching to discover why they lost in an election when they were very confident of a win. But then he blew it by stating they had the "right message," but somehow it just wasn't getting through to the public.

The right message??? Jeez, Senator Schumer must of done a lot more cocaine than any other winning candidates out there. If Democrats had the right message they would not have lost a race with a president who has high unfavorables about his performance on the war, the economy, jobs, and health care. If Democrats had the right message they would not have lost seats in both houses of congress. I could go on, but what I really want to do is scream. ARGH!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Voting

I voted today for NONE OF THE ABOVE. Unfortunately, some other group of candidates is going to win.

Family, part II

I said something interesting the other night to Kristi, interesting in that I live by this, but may have never expressed it before. The something is, "You have to interpret my mothers actions through a filter of good intentions. "

She is one of those folks in life some people find annoying. I base this on the experience of myself, siblings, and girlfriends. She means well, I know her well enough to be absolutely certain of that. It's just she asks questions when others would rather not answer them, and she makes statements others might not make, and she has-at times-acted a bit oddly, though certainly never deranged nor dangerously. If you just looked at these actions, you might never see the person inside.

Her heart is good and very willing to share, but you have to look through the filter of her intentions. And if you cannot do that, you may not want to hang around.

Town Council Meeting

Tonight, as Kristi's prodding, I went to the Flower Mound Town Council meeting (Agenda). I enjoyed it, but jeez, did it ever take some time. The meeting started at 6PM and went (without break) until after 1AM. At least half the citizens who filled out the form indicating a desire to speak on the main topic were not around long enough to do so. All-in-all, the meeting was organized and well run.

Pines of Flower Mound: Concept Site PlanThe primary topic was the voting on a Special Use Permit to allow a larger footprint for a single retailer in a planned retail shopping area. The town requires this process for all retailers desiring over 25,000 sq.ft. In this case, the retailer is Kroger and the intersection is just outside our subdivision. The developer,Rosebriar, did a world class plan to develop this site and was recognized by both proponents and opponents for their efforts.

The amazing thing to me, and it's been this way for a long time, is the folks who seem to do nothing more than scream, "Not in my backyard." Now these opponents never used this phrase, but they did say quite a bit about how the town shouldn't allow another grocery store (even though it is the market, not the council, that should make this decision), or the traffic would be a problem (even though the Traffic Impact Study indicated it would meet or beat town standards), or how Central Market or Whole Foods would be a better tennant (even though neither is remotely interested in the location, the nearby demographics, and the traffic would be much worse), or how this was against the town's SmartGrowth plan (even though this type of growth is allowed and the plan is about intelligent growth, not maintaining the status quo).

I did get up to speak in favor of the proposal, because why else stay for most of the day, but I doubt I'll take the effort to find, tape, transfer, and store the clip for you.

Vegas visits the Isles

In welcome news, a controversial Gambling Bill has passed the British House of Commons with a pretty resounding win of 74 votes, 286 to 212.

Okay, it may not be welcome to everyone, but I like gambling and I like big casinos. The idea of having a couple casinos similar to Las Vegas (called "super-casinos" in the UK press) would make it much more interesting for me when planning a vacation. I already want to go overseas because (a) I like it and (b) we have relatives in north of London, but this is more than just icing on the cake, it's a whole extra piece of cake!

So bring it on. And please don't forget to include a poker room.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Pooh Bear's Balloons

About yesterday, Halloween: We once again had a great time, or at least me and the kids did. I dressed as Winnie-the-Pooh and followed my longstanding tradition of handing out balloons with a bag of candy attached as the weight to the ribbon. Like most years, Mom and Steve came by to help. Kristi had already filled the candy bags, so the going was certainly a little easier. This year we gave away balloons and candy to 85 kids, with just candy to another dozen or so. We run pretty steady at about 100 kids a year, give or take 5. Since I know how many balloons I give out, it's pretty easy to keep a count.

Because Cameron enjoyed the video tape of last year so much, Steve videotaped me handing out candy again this year. I certainly hopes he likes this one too. Hmm, maybe I should figure out how to get a snippet online. If you know how, let me know.

Book for the library

Here is a limited edition book I think would be neat to have, but would honestly not fit in with the rest of my books. Of course, since the book is so big it takes a short walk to turn the pages, how many homes would it actually fit into?

Seriously, Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom is a big book, and worth checking out if it comes to a library near you.

HA, HA, "checking out!" Oh, I kill myself sometimes.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Biggest fleas ever

I've only occasionally and peripherally ever been around flea markets and they all sucked. The same cannot be said about First Monday Canton. The thing is huge, covering acres of shopping. While it was easy to find folks selling absolute junk, there was plenty more available for purchase.

The weather started very cool, in the 60's when we left the house. But the sun, when we were outdoors and not under tree cover, was able to break the 80 degree mark, and it was too hot. We spent five hours there, didn't see everything, but did have an exhausting day.

Wagner 9160So, why did I agree to head out there? Well, I did it for Kristi, because I knew it would make her happy. And she wanted to go for me, so we could find a much desired antique fan for my upcoming birthday.

We ended up buying two! The first is a large oscillating Emerson that will need some professional clean-up. The second, a smaller Wagner-model 9160-looks fabulous, don't you think?

While I have not been able to locate this model during the initial research, I do know the 9260 series oscillates (this one does not) and was out in 1919. Please note, these fans are not child safe and should not be used around children.

So, Kristi gets credit for giving me some great stuff on a good day. And Purdue gets credit for making the day suck by losing a third straight game, this time to Northwestern.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Super Scam Artists

Today I went to hear a number of speakers at Financial SuperStars conference. I received a pair of the $149 tickets for free (just like everyone else), and drove to Arlington to hear the speakers. It was a day of sales pitches, with some motivational talk, inspirational anecdotal stories, and promises of future wealth thrown in. It was almost enough to make me develop my own seminar just to sell it to Barnum's public.

Now, I did take notes, and some of the information was interesting. But mostly it was a whole bunch of speakers talking about their method of achieving wealth, and therefore happiness, success, and good looks. The most interesting was the lawyer selling asset protection in a box, literally. While glossing over the legal, accounting, and tax work required to maintain his recommended structure, he talked about how everyone was going to be sued (is the average American really sued five times?) and how loss due to a lawsuit is unnecessary. His solution, a box with retracting handle and wheels, which would give you the forms required to register the necessary legal structures with the state. He did not cover that different states have different laws. He did offer a discount from $4,995 to $2,995. I saw at least 20 people purchase the kit. Honest. I probably should have told people the Business Organization Formswere available for free on the states' website, but I was too busy marveling at the amount of money they were raking in.

For all the success these guys claimed, the main thing Google points to is the fact this circus was not very welcome during a recent stint down under.
Australian Securities & Investments Commission acts against 'Financial Superstars' investment workshops
News Article "THAT TRAVELLING SCAM SEMINAR"

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Microsoft Emerging Business Team

Well, not that many of you will need this, but Microsoft has a new website up to help you answer a bunch of questions about your business.
How can MS help me get funded?
Can MS fund my startup?
Would MS like to buy my IP/product/company?
How do I connect with Microsoft since I'm just starting my company or new idea?
Check it all out at: http://www.microsoft.com/Business/Startups/. Who knew they were so helpful?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Total Lunar Eclipse

I heard about the Lunar Eclipse while listening to the radio, probably NPR, but didn't think a thing about it. But Sandy told Kristi about it and we went into the backyard with the dogs to watch it tonight. I have to say, it was pretty cool (when the cloudcover wasn't blocking our view). We saw it go from a light shadow, to a dark shadow, from covering most of the moon, to all of it, and back again to just most. The moon itself was totally dark for only a brief time.

What was really amazing was the appearance of the shadow wavering on the moon. It's funny to think of the orbits and spheres as less than perfect and less than stable, but they sure didn't look all that stable from my house.

My Yahoo! Beta

Lately I have been using My Yahoo! Beta. You have to register and then customize the page for yourself, but I like what I can do. The Beta version is more attractive and has more options, so it is a definate improvement over what went before; in fact, it's probably why I use the service more.

Anyway, I left some feedback after initially setting up the My Yahoo! Beta and I have never received any acknowledgement of my effort. So today I left some more feedback.
I took the time to leave feedback recently and I did not receive acknowledgement of my effort. This lack of response leaves me disappointed and makes me want to *stop* using your products.

What a shame.
It's a shame, because success in the modern world is all about the customer experience, and my improved experience led me to wistfully and foolishly think I would continue to be satisfied. *sigh*

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Name that 'Vacation' movie

In a scene almost straight out of of Chevy Chase movie, a woman in Douglasville, GA came home from her vacation in Greece to discover the lights on and a strange car in the driveway. It turns out a stranger moved in with her dog, washer, and dryer. Not only that, the squatter has ripped up the carpet, replaced the pictures she didn't like on the walls, and changed the utilities into her own name! Good grief.

The deciding factor is determination

Tony had this link about why one guy is voting for Bush. Here's a snippet from a conversation the author had with a friend.
"I'm probably smarter than you are - in terms of IQ tests and grades in school. You're a multimillionaire, and I'm not - even though I've been in businesses parallel to you for as long as you. Why do you think that is?"

"Because I'm more determined than you are," he replied.

"Exactly," I responded.
This reason may be the best reason I have heard about why I should vote for President Bush rather than for Senator Kerry. As someone relatively close to the middle of the fence, this is a reason I can understand and appreciate.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Portfolio news

Just wanted to let everyone know that my 37 shares of GOOG are up 120% from the IPO price. Which only goes to show (a) I can get lucky and (b) I sure wish I could have gotten all 50 shares I desired...

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Bush / KerryTest - Where Do You Stand?

Cafe HedonistiX has a link to the Bush / Kerry Test. This 10 minute test/poll is pretty good at asking side by side comparisons about the candidates different stated positions. After completing the poll, you are presented with your results.
Based on the answers you chose, you scored 18 points for President George W. Bush and 22 points for Senator John Kerry.
Your views most align with the views of Democratic Candidate Senator John Kerry.
Despite this, I still plan to vote "None of the Above."

I've stated before, this election is all about President Bush and how people feel about his handling of terrorism, the war in Iraq, and the economy. Very little of this election is about Senator Kerry and his opinions. But I want to publicly state, "I hope John Kerry loses the election by a landslide."

Even though I disagree with Bush on a number of issues, the bigger issue for me is the state of the loyal opposition. The Republicans are well organized and funded and understand how to fight for an issue. Right now the Democrats are not well organized and only seem to understand how to fight against Bush. The Dems cannot capitalize or lead well with this as a long-term strategy and losing the national election in a big way might help them come to a new strategy. I realize this is a long shot and very unlikely, but it's about the only thing I see that has a chance.

It's not about wanting to vote for Democrats, it's about having a choice between two strong parties/candidates, something missing in the current election.

SNL and live music

If you've been watching Saturday Night Live for awhile, you've surely noticed a few slips in the live music acts, namely, the music is not live. I've seen a number of stars, Janet Jackson coming to the top of my mind, who were lipsyncing on the famously live program. Last night it was clear to see via TiVo that Ashlee Simpson was not actually singing on her first song. But the serious gaff came during her second set, when the band started playing one song, and the tape started playing another. The New York Daily News called it singing in the key of fake.

Really, it was kind of funny, to see her dancing while her voice started, then faded out, then started and faded out a second time. Adding to t he moment, she then walked off stage just as the band found it's groove and a commercial was hastily inserted. As Jude Law was closing the program he said "What can you say? It's live TV." Ashlee, being the young, impudent thing she is took the chance to say she was very sorry and blame the band for playing the wrong song.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

A couple days worth of stuff

Well, after taking a couple days off, here is some of the stuff that's been happening lately. First, my car died, or rather, it would not start. I was at Steve's, helping him with his computer and the car would in no way crank or turn over. Five minutes later, everything was fine.

That evening I Kristi & I were watching 'Late Night with Conan O'Brian. Not our usual fare, but the opening bits were funny. We especially enjoyed Triumph the Comic Insult Dog as he interviewed the spin-miesters from both sides after the debate. Our favorite line was
Look! There's Ralph Reed, who used to pimp for the Christian Coalition. Now he reaks of Bush more than a k.d.lang mosh pit.
The next day Bentley was groomed and the car, after starting fine on three seperate occassions, refused to start again. *sigh*

The good news is I won the weekly poker game. It's not enough to pay for towing and a new ingnition switch, but it's a heck of a lot better than losing.

And now I'm sick; a cold or some such thing. It's not debilitating, but my body isn't happy. And Purdue's late fumble to lose another game is enough to send me back to bed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Family, part 1

Kristi took the day off work today. I had a meeting this morning, but I spent extra time sleeping in a very comfortable spoon with my wife instead of getting up early, eating a bite, and ensuring I was prepared. I did make the meeting on time, but by the time I got home, I was hungry. After lunch, Kristi & I went for a casual drive Monday afternoon drive and bought a pumpkin at the Pumpkin Patch . We went looking for an antique fan and then to the airport to pick up my Dad.

He's flown into town to pick up a truck he purchased on eBay. We talked of the weather and Debbie's health, fasting and hope, sports and TiVo.

On the morrow I will make us breakfast and then he will drive almost 1,000 miles north to reach his home. While the visit has been short, it's been both worthwhile and enjoyable.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Reading with a dictionary

I've started a new book today, The Visitor, by Sheri Tepper. I've read some of her other books and enjoyed them, quite possibly because I agree with the message she's preaching.

Anyway, as I started reading this book, I noticed an abundance of words not in my vocabulary. As a long time reader, I am use to making sense out of the context of the words, and would have done so in this book, but the shear number of wordy surprises caused me to pause. And in honor of pausing to think about the rarity of this, I present to you a glimpse into the copious vocabulary of Ms. Tepper.
Page 1: priapic, mephitic
Page 2: pavé, sagacious
Page 3: arboreal
Page 6: adit
Well, I did know arboreal, recalled sagacious, and guessed close enough for my purposes on mephitic, but still, that's quite a list for six pages of a book, especially considering that one of them was blank (p.4).

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Poker Night

Kristi's in West Texas with the crones this weekend, visiting Historic Jefferson. It's not that the town name has the word "Historic" in it, but it's almost always said that way.

While they're out gallivanting through antique shops and taking ghost tours, the house became the center for a big poker tournament. Unfortunately, despite lots of people expressing an interest, only seven made it out for the tourney. We did have a great time, playing about 2-1/2 hours to determine Mike as the big winner ($205). In somewhat less time, Jim, myself, and Ronnie were determined to not be the winners.

Anyway, if you're looking to have some people over poker you cannot go wrong by using the fabulous Home Poker Tourney for information about everything related to running your own game or tournament. And if you are going to run your own tournament, I give very high marks to The Tournament Director software to handle the clock, blind increases, prize distribution, etc.

On a sad note, the Purdue Boilermakers fell to Wisconsin in a 20-17 heartbreaker.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Friday Night Lights

It's a gorgeous night here in Texas, especially under the Friday Night Lights. I haven't seen the movie, but I did go to the Celina Bobcats homecoming football game tonight.

It was small town football at it's best. To get there, drive north of Dallas, through the bustling suburb of Plano, past the new mall in outlying Frisco, continue north past farms and ranchs until you get to Prosper (pop. 2,250), and then you're only a short drive away. You'll know where to turn, because most of Celina (pop. 1,750) will be turning left towards the high school and the lights shining down on the field.

The field itself is plush astroturf and the crowd must be number more than 1,000 people. You can tell the home team stands by the ocean of Bobcat Orange, filling the bleacher seats.

Walk past the items being raffled for school scholarships and find your place as the announcer asks you to stand for a moment of silence while the preacher with the megaphone intones a prayer for the youngsters about to play. And when the home team scores on the first play, catching a great pass and finishing the last of the 69 yards to the end zone, you won't be mistaken about who the proud father of that boy is.

We left after the third period. Celina Bobcats 41, Prosper Eagles 0. It was a good time.

It's Thursday for me

Well, it's 4AM on Friday, but I haven't gone to bed yet, so it's still Thursday for me. Funny, but saying it's not tomorrow until you go to sleep is something _____ used to say. I would use her real name, but time and my mind have conspired to steal her name away.

For as much as we were a couple, oh, so many years ago, I'm glad I am where I am today. Kristi & I may never be skinny models, and lately she's getting good at getting mad at me, but she's mine and I'm hers and that's the way I like it.

And frankly, sometimes I think we are on the verge of taking our marriage from good to great. So, even though sometimes we seem stuck I'm happy and I think we're making progress; still learning how to better relate to each other and give each space and fill up the empty spots.

Let's all raise a glass to that idea.

Nick Nolte's Diary

This stuff is great. I don't read Vance anymore (hmm, where is that link?), but it was fun for a time. And today I ran across a great set of daily entries in the wonderful Nick Nolte's Diary. I liked the first few so much I went through his entire diary, starting just a couple months ago. He is engagingly honest and open about his life. Here's one of his humorous entries.
Backyard excitements

I had been researching soft liners for the pool online this afternoon. Then I heard a crash and got to the windows onto the breezeway in time to see my two gardeners struggling to pull their mower out of my ditch as the mower's engine spewed a jet of gasoline skyward. It reminded me of a similar event that happened on the set of a movie I worked on. Except replace the mower with Sean Penn, Diary. Anyway, with the excitement over I went back to my research. I would have offered them a lemonade or some such from the kitchen, but my dishwasher doesn't always get my endorphine-loader regimen residue off the glasses, as my kendo instructor Leon knows all too well.
Thanks to J-Walk for the link.

Update: This diary has been renamed to "Not Nick Nolte's Diary" and now has a disclaimer above each entry about how the following is a piece of fiction. *sigh*

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Comments on the Third Presidential Debate

I post, in it's entirety, an excellent letter about tonight's debate.
From: ****@****.***
Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2004 9:47 PM
To: ****@****.***
Subject: a post-debate confession....

So I just finished watching the last of the presidential debates...

I know we've got a decent tradition of moving past politics here and
getting to the core and deeply important values that we all share: those
of BEER and DARTS. However, I hope that you will begrudge me a small
moment of commentary and reaction to this whole great circus that we, as
Americans, call the selection of our leader.

There was much discussion of family in this debate, including especially
the wives and daughters of all of the candidates. From the heartfelt
exchange between Cheneny and Edwards over the fact that Cheney has a
lesbian daughter, to the repeated mention of Laura Bush, Teressa Kerry
and their daughters. And we have seen, as tonight's moderator aptly
mentioned, that all of these men have strong and meaningful women in
their lives. Especially I believe that Kerry's daughters have proved
themselves to be apt and competent in these matters. In fact, I'd love
to have dinner and extended conversation with Kerry's daughters, as they
appear to be quite intellectual and engaging women.

Now, while I believe that both sides in this contest are rich white men
who are entrenched political operatives, and we're again in a contest of
"lesser of 2 evils" that plagues America, I must also admit that I
have somewhat of a leftist leaning in these matters... but...

However, tonight I must say that in one way I'll have to break with my
core beliefs....

When it comes down to it, I'd really rather nail a Bush daughter (or
better yet, both Bush daughters) than Kerry's girls.

****
Well, maybe calling this an excellent letter was an overstatement, but it was a humorous.

Snap searches

I just found out about a cool new search engine. While I'm not sure I would want to go into business where Google and Yahoo and Microsoft are competitors, this is really cool.

Just check out this search I did for "Poker" on Snap. The interface for the search results is very clean, shows related keyword searches, gives key info from webpage, and allows for great refinement based upon five key factors.

Based on my quick tour, you should really give Snap a try.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Childishness and Cleaning

When I'm at home, I hate to be told what to do. Or how to do it. I am overly sensative about the Parent-Child-Adult roles, and anything that comes close to placing me in a child role results in a Rebellious Child (Passive-Aggressive being my mode of preference). I think about this when I'm doing work around the house.

Like this last week, when I was cleaning. I really enjoy a clean house, it's one of life's little joys as far as I'm concerned. Coming home or walking around and noticing that everything is in it's place, the place is neat and orderly, the carpets vacuumed and floors washed, the surfaces dusted, the furniture polished, the bathrooms clean and mirrors sparkling, the bed made, etc. All of it gives me a little thrill.

Which is kind of funny, because I stop before the point that gives me a thrill. In fact, our house is pretty much never at that point. When I do a good cleaning mode going on, I'll get the kitchen and vacuuming, sometimes the bathrooms and rarely the bed. I don't mind cleaning. Once I get started it's an enjoyable experience. I enjoy the moment, the action I take, the effect of my work.

I don't like the thought of cleaning. Maybe it reminds me of chores growing up, when my mother told me when to clean and how to clean. (As an aside, Mom once sat me & my sister down and told us how to clean the toilet. Julie thought it funny I never cleaned the outside fo the bowl and I thought she was simply daft for not understanding you had to clean inside the bowl!) And more than disliking the thought of cleaning, is when Kristi asks me to clean. Actually, she does not ask me to do that very often. She's much more likely to ask me to do something to the yard. This never fails to piss me off.

I'm not saying it should make me mad, but it does. One of the things I think about is how she doesn't do shit in the yard. If all I ever did in the yard was water (and most years that is all I have done in the yard) it's still hours a week. Watering the pots, cleaning off the patio, setting up and moving the sprinkler across the lawn; it's not much, but it's a heck of a lot more than the 5-15 minutes a month she spends in the yard. To her defense, she doesn't like yard work, doesn't like getting dirty, and doesn't have much experience doing the work.

Now, as I write this, I am perfectly aware that I'm whining, but the point I'm trying to make is that this is how my childish mind reacts when she asks me to do anything more than water. Heck, sometimes I get mad when she asks me to water.

New Story / Same Topic: Years and years ago, a good friend made dinner for a bunch of us, including his roommate, my girlfriend, and someone else from the crowd we hung out with. He and I had a reservation to play racquetball for that evening and he asked if my girlfriend would clean up while we went to play. She cheerfully said "Yes" and proceed to clean the table (and eventually the kitchen) while we ran out the door to our scheduled match. What amazed me about this interaction was the idea that he even asked the question. I couldn't imagine asking her to clean up.

So let's combine these items. I don't like be told what to do. I don't like others to ask me to do work around the house. (Please note, I'm much better if you ask me to work with you.) And I don't ask other people to do work around the home.

In the years we've been married I've only asked Kristi to do something for me a couple times. And I don't think it has ever been to clean the house or work in the yard. Recently, I have asked her to make me a meal when I've been working and I'm hungry.

I'm starting to think this is a problem, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I don't have this problem at work, I got over it early in my career.

Hmm, well it's something to think about. Feel free to post your advice, but you should know I may ignore your message if it sounds like you're telling me what to do. :-)

Update: This post should not be interpreted to read that Kristi is an ogre (she is not), nor that Kristi does nothing around the house (truthfully, she is the primary caretaker of our home). Rather, this post should be read only as a commentary on my own thought processes...

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Help for the uber-geek

The Washington Post has an article that at least some of you need to... pass on to a friend, yah, a friend. It's about Addicted Gamers, Losing Their Way and how at least some folks want to help those teens and adults who might be a little to close to their computers.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Time for a laugh

I don't usually do this, but it's so good I'm willing to make an exception.
An American golfer playing in Ireland hooked his drive into the woods.

Looking for his ball, he found a little Leprechaun flat on his back, a big bump on his head and the golfer's ball beside him.

Horrified, the golfer got his water bottle from the cart and poured over the little guy, reviving him.

"Arrgh! What happened?" the Leprechaun asked. "Oh, I see. Well, ye got me fair and square. Ye get three wishes, so whaddya want?"

"Thank God, you're all right!" the golfer answers in relief. "I don't want anything. I'm just glad you're okay, and I apologize. I really didn't mean to hit you." And the golfer walks off.

"What a nice guy," the Leprechaun says to himself. "But it was fair and square that he got me, and I have to do something for him...
Click here to read the rest of this very funny joke. Courtesy of a Silly Old Bear who has also done some cool tweaking to the standard blog code too.

Christmas is Coming

The following items are for Santa. This my Christmas wish list.

Both items on my wish list were found in AD (Achitectural Digest for those of you not in the design industry).

Lina Leather Folding ChairFirst, and the item that prompted me to make this post, is a steel-framed leather folding chair from Lina. I think it looks great in tobacco, don't you agree?

Called "handsome and comfortable" by a designer in Great Designs Under $100 (Oct 2004, p.278), it's available from Design Within Reach.







Peter Behrens. Fan Model No. GB 1. 1908.The second item I want is an antique electric fan, preferably in mint condition. By antique I mean "classic," one produced before 1916, when elegant lines could still triumph over safety. Peter Behrens' Fan Model No. GB 1, produced in 1908 sets the standard for this dream item.

This fan was the centerpiece of the May 2004 'Great Design' issue, with a larger picture on p.186.

Actually, getting a Peter Behrens' fan is about impossible, but there are a number of good fans from the time period with diligent searching on eBay.


Monday, October 04, 2004

New thoughts in the middle of a conflict

Wretchard of Belmont Club, has once again opened my mind to a new thought. While discussing Robert Kaplan, he states the following.
Robert Kaplan summarizes the real task before America in the coming years. It is not to find "an exit strategy from Iraq", as if there were somewhere on the planet it could hide from terrorism; nor is it simply to find Osama Bin Laden as some, ever anxious to reduce the current conflict to a law enforcement problem, would claim as a goal. It's task is to hold back the dark until a new global civilization can find its footing.
The American military now has the most thankless task of any military in the history of warfare: to provide the security armature for an emerging global civilization that, the more it matures -- with its own mass media and governing structures -- the less credit and sympathy it will grant to the very troops who have risked and, indeed, given their lives for it.

Indian Country has been expanding in recent years because of the security vacuum created by the collapse of traditional dictatorships and the emergence of new democracies -- whose short-term institutional weaknesses provide whole new oxygen systems for terrorists. Iraq is but a microcosm of the earth in this regard. To wit, the upsurge of terrorism in the vast archipelago of Indonesia, the southern Philippines and parts of Malaysia is a direct result of the anarchy unleashed by the passing of military regimes. Likewise, though many do not realize it, a more liberalized Middle East will initially see greater rather than lesser opportunities for terrorists. As the British diplomatist Harold Nicolson understood, public opinion is not necessarily enlightened merely because it has been suppressed.

I want you to stop and think about this for a minute; the concept that we are living and suffering through the birth pangs of a new age in self-government. That we have been living with military dictatorships since the beginning of governance, and the struggle we are part of is the world growing up. In fact, the struggle is hundreds of years old, will likely continue for the foreseeable future, and to avoid helping in this difficult time can be related to killing a toddler because they cry and throw a temper tantrum.

Wow, have you grasped the scope of this one. We are just babies, struggling as we learn to walk and talk and think. Unfortunately, we are babies with laser guided missiles and landmines and bombs strapped to our willing chests.

This gives me hope for our race--that we can one day achieve a peaceful co-existence with each other. I don't think I'll be alive to see it come to fruition. And the chances of dying in this struggle are unfortunately much too large, but maybe my descendants will be able to live in that grown up world.

Bush-Kerry for Co-Presidents

I've lifted the following post, wholesale, from Cafe HedonistiX.

According to what David Brooks wrote in the NYT (via IHT), 'The Best Ticket for America Would be Bush-Kerry'.
In weak moments, I think the best ticket for America would be Bush-Kerry. The two men balance each other out so well. Senator John Kerry can't make a decision; President George W. Bush makes them too quickly. Kerry changes his mind by the month; Bush almost never changes his mind. Kerry thinks obsessively about process questions, but can't seem to come up with a core conviction; Bush is great at coming up with clear goals, but is not so great about coming up with the process to get there ....

Each cast of mind comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. The mechanically minded Kerry is much better at talking about realities like securing the Iraqi border. On the other hand, he is unable to blend his specific proposals into guiding principles ....

.... Bush, by contrast, is steadfast and resolute. But his weakness is statecraft. That is the task of relating means to ends, of orchestrating the institutions of government to achieve your desired goals .....

I'm still writing none of the above, but I would consider this idea...

Office Update

Last Monday: Work on the office begins. It took two guys six hours to whittle the old wood floor off of the concrete.


Last Thursday: After the installation on Tuesday, and letting the glue cure on Wednesday, I've finally started to set-up the office. I wish the desk was always this neat.


Setting up the bookcases.


Filling the bookcases with Bentley's help.


What the desk looks like when it's clean....


Last Saturday: Here is the bookcases as I take everything off of the center section. I had to move it from the wall to fix the phone cord I didn't test earlier!


Big Tex says, "Welcome."

This is one of the photos Kristi & I took while visiting the State Fair on Friday.

The day can be summed up by the following quote from Kristi, "I got everything I wanted at the State Fair, and all you got was a funnel cake."

The bumper cars were fun, the games obviously rigged (or we would have won), the show with trained dogs was good, and the weather hot, but better than many days.

The fair was fine, and my last trip to a statefair was in IL, back when the Osmonds were cool enough to be touring state fairs, and Jimmy was the highlight. Which just goes to show it's been awhile.

What I do miss from those early trips were the 4H tents with all the livestock. I cannot tell you why I miss the smell of horses, cattle, and pigs, but the fair doesn't seem right without 'em. And I miss the Milnot (r) presentation.

Friday, October 01, 2004

The Business that Almost Was

A few years back Tony, my brother, and I formed a company, Bros. Davidson, LLC. One of our ideas was to use the company to run a cart or kiosk in a shopping mall. You've seen them, they usually sell the everpresent sunglasses, silver jewelry, or cellphone covers. At the time both of us had day jobs and didn't know what to sell, so we went on to invest in another idea, PartyBlocks. Awhile later we parted with our partner in PartyBlocks and got back much of the money we invested.

This summer I came up with another idea for us; sell high-end poker chips and related items at a mall kiosk! It seemed like a great idea, poker is now on multiple television channels-building huge interest in the game, internet gaming sites are still growing in popularity, and home poker games are popping up everywhere. I Over the summer I purchased some good poker chips from eBay and knew the margins had to be fairly decent so this seemed like a real possibility.

The first thing I did was tell Kristi. A few days later I talked about it with an old friend who had come to town for the weekend. And the next day I talked about it with my brother. Everyone agreed, this sounded like a winner of an idea. I didn't start acting on it until the end of the week, when the friend called from out-of-state to say, "Hey, I've talked to a few folks and this is a winner. You should really be pursuing this."

The next few days were a hectic scramble to develop the concept, uncover suppliers, find the correct mall for our market, ensure we had the funds necessary, etc. I was extremely worried when I discovered a one mall had no available kiosks or carts for the holiday season. I was bouyed by the Galleria, the high-end mall in Dallas, because they looking for someone to sell exactly this! Holy Cow, this could really work.

I worked the weekend while visiting with Kristi's parents and feeling sick, but everyone loved the idea and I wanted this to work. We decided to do business under the name "Lone Star Poker." A business plan was sketched out and a bunch of applications for various malls were completed and sent off. Tony selected the product and I developed a sample product catalog to show the mall management our professionalism and what we were going to do.

Then I waited. I started following up with the malls to find out what was happening with our application. And in the end, it turns out that they signed someone else to sell this product category in the malls we were pursuing. To make matters worse for my state of mind, the malls were signing people to sell the same product during the two-three business days I was doing research and working on developing the idea/business. Further, the malls loved our presentation and resume of relevant experience! They were very supportive and offered other product ideas that might work, but I'm somewhat hesistant about them.

The end result... the week I spent talking instead of acting cost me a small business. It's foolish to think, "If I had this idea in May I could of had a bunch of kiosks across the city or state." But oh the frustration of missing this opportunity by mere hours while I was dithering. ARGH!

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Flip Flop II

Politics again...

Maybe this CBS is publishing Bush's Top Ten Flip-Flops in response to Rathergate, maybe because they are liberal, or maybe because it's a slow news day and the debate is still hours away. Anyway, now you've got the link and I'm going to bed.

Personality Type

I'm an ENTP. or I was the five times I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator. For some of those I am pretty close to the center of scale and I haven't taken a test in the last 5 or 10 years, but since personalities don't change much over time, I'll stick with this rating. If you have an interest in the topic, check out BLOGinality. This link is actually to their 'links' page, giving you more background on the topic and the chance to find a bunch of different personality tests (or "profiles" as the industry likes to call it).

So, why take a personality type indicator test?
  • First, because it's somewhat fascinating. Honestly, it can be entirely enlightening to take a 15 or 45 minutes mulitple choice test and have results spit out that identify you so very well. It allows you to see how you are both different from others around you while assuring you that even though unique, you are not alone on the planet. There are others who are like you.

  • Second, it can help you learn to deal with others. While I haven't experienced this, some people have been able to use the information gleamed about themselves and others as a tool helping them to have better relationships with friends, employees, co-workers, etc. Many businesses invest time and money in this hoping for this result.

  • Third, it can help you make better decisions about your life. This is the area I would like to see personality indicators used more. By understanding more about yourself, you can avoid bad decisions. To put it in other terms, if a primary motivation for you is interaction in others, choose a team sport like baseball rather than swimming, where your head is in the water! More importantly, it may help you choose a better carreer. When you find jobs that meet your own, internal needs, you will achieve bigger success, easier and sooner than you would otherwise.

This topic, especially in relation to the last point, means more to me lately because I have helped a couple people at the beginning of their careers. I was able to offer good advice on resumes and interviewing for jobs. Next time, I'll also recommend Do What You Are to help these folks look for the right kind of job.

Goodbye Rangers

It's early in the morning now, but I just got home from the baseball game between the Texas Rangers and Anaheim Angels. I'm not a huge fan of baseball, the game has always been slow for me, but this was a lot of fun. In part because I went with a bunch of folks I use to work with and in part because it was a good and close game. In the end and after two extra innings, the Rangers lost the game and playoff hopes were dashed. Better luck next year guys.

28 Photographs

LIFE magazine has a great group of Photographs that Changed the World. One of the things I especially loved was (a) not all the photographs were done by LIFE and (b) and the explanations of why the photographs mattered. Here's an example...

Lynching 1930

A mob of 10,000 whites took sledgehammers to the county jailhouse doors to get at these two young blacks accused of raping a white girl; the girl’s uncle saved the life of a third by proclaiming the man’s innocence. Although this was Marion, Ind., most of the nearly 5,000 lynchings documented between Reconstruction and the late 1960s were perpetrated in the South. (Hangings, beatings and mutilations were called the sentence of “Judge Lynch.”) Some lynching photos were made into postcards designed to boost white supremacy, but the tortured bodies and grotesquely happy crowds ended up revolting as many as they scared. Today the images remind us that we have not come as far from barbarity as we’d like to think.

Monday, September 27, 2004

The house is a mess today

Way back in May, during the early summer heat of Texas, we replaced carpet throughout the whole house. We really like the new carpet, a beige frieze'. In my office, we went with a hardwood floor from Bruce. It's an engineered wood, in a nice tan, but we had a problem with it.

Unfortunately, the office soon looked as if we had taken a ball peen hammer to the wood, with lots of little round indentations. It didn't come from the furniture (nothing has a foot that size), it didn't come from the chair (because the indentations are in the entrance to the room, not where I plop into the chair), and Kristi doesn't wear high heal shoes with little round points. So after calling Coker Floor Co. a number of times, they called and asked when they could come out and replace my office flooring (at the manufacturer's expense). Today turned out to be that day.

Instead of working from my office, I am sitting on the couch, and my desk is standing on it's end in the living room. The book cases are on their side in the dining room, and the fish is hidden behind all the books. I couldn't get internet access while the crew spent the entire day just ripping up the old flooring. I took a picture, but the other computer is the one that can download pictures, so it'll have to wait.

Because it took all day just to rip up the old floor, the new floor is now scheduled to be installed tomorrow. And I wont be able to set up the office until at least Thursday. *sigh*

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Hiatus and Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)

Well, the blog was on hiatus for a bit. I'm fine, a bit disappointed over a lost alternative (more details later), but doing okay.

So why this post? Well, it's a kick-start for myself. If I do this post tonight, I'm more likely do write another tomorrow. So I write.

And today's link? It's to a NetFlix alternative you may want to check out. This is a multi-level marketing business in the same space as NetFlix (and BlockBuster and soon Wal*Mart), which is renting you a limited number of DVD's for an unlimited amount of time.

The business itself can make money if it has enough volume, and the research I did into the business did not turn up any shady characters behind it. (This cannot be said of every business I have reviewed. *sigh*) I am not involved in MovieBiz, but Glenn's wife is. And since Glenn was the person willing to ask what was going on with the blog, he deserves this little plug.

As for the concept of multi-level marketing, I've never yet gotten involved one. I've heard a number of pitches, and been pursued by other MLMers a couple of times. I do believe them when they tell me I would be good for in the business. I like people, I like to entertain and make connections. I understand marketing and business and all kinds of related stuff. But here's the problem for me... I don't like to close on these kinds of deals. Too often the push is to get other people to buy in on the strength of the relationship, not the strength of the product. Yah, officially they all love the stuff, but neither you nor I believe it and I doubt the pushers believe it deep down either. Too often, MLM businesses are run by a few amoral characters at the top, some lucky ones in the middle, and the dupes at the bottom. Sure, I generalize, but the basic truth of my statement is pretty solid. And who wants to be in a business that churns through so many entry level people? It seems seedy to me even if I am wrong in my generalization.

Hmm, let's wrap this up... MaryKay can be okay, but be careful. Same for Avon, Tupperware, and Pampered Chef. Avoid things herbal, medicinal, or health related. If they sell everything, don't bother with them. And finally, if you want to try this as a business and don't like the previously mentioned, look for players that have a defined nitch, some good financial backing, and some good press. So well add Southern Living @ Home as a candidate, and possibly, NetFlix.

Oh, last statement... If you know a female college student and she isn't afraid of sales, get her started in MaryKay. It's the one time I have a blanket recommendation for MLM.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Speaking as a Parent

It has been said that SAAP is blogging at it's absolute finest, and you should want to see that.

Go, check it out.

Her Boyfriend Is A Twat

Last post before bed...

Zoe is an amusing find in the blogoshere. There's not much I can say besides quoting her directly. Here is her self-description:
I'm a 41 year-old Brit living in Belgium with my 3 children who spend one week here, then one week with their Dad who lives with his girlfriend called Pretty Horrible Tits. Quarsan came and moved in with us in November 2001, and life has never been quite the same since.
Go to this page for some great quotes from her boyfriend, The Twat (TT).
 

Cool stuff

In the department named... "Not that it's hard, but it's more than I ever thought of" I bring you a cool blog for your perusal, Honestly, I'm Sober! If nothing else, go to look at the great way his links are managed via Post-It notes. Honestly, I love this semi-geeky stuff.

Call me

Kristi & I went out for the day, window shopping at NorthPark Mall, and visiting with Jim & Rhonda. We all went out for dinner, but not before an early showing of Cellular.

Now, I cannot say it's deep fair, because if you've seen the commercials or trailer you've already seen a good part of the film. And the plot is rather simple, but it was well acted, appropriately amusing and suspenseful, had some action scenes that were only slightly preposterous, relatively free of stupid subplots, and enjoyed by all four of us. When you're looking for some entertainment, I'm willing to recommend this one while it's still in theatres.

Buycott for Women

The September 20 issue (out now) of BusinessWeek is reporting (subscription required), that 85 Broads, a women's networking group, is testing a one day "buycott" on October 19.
85 Broads is asking its 4,000-plus members in 450 companies, colleges, and B-schools not to spend that day. Janet Hanson [founder] says the "buycott" will show the gap between women's purchasing power and their underrepresentation in boardrooms and executive suites.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Caught in mid-Atlantic

Cafe HedonistiX has some observations on pan-global thoughts on terrorism. How can you not be suprised by this quote from an author in Spain?
There is no war against terrorism. There can be no such thing against an enemy that remains dormant most of the time and is almost never visible. It's simply another of life's inevitable troubles, and all we can do as we continue to combat it is repeat Cervantes's famous phrase "Paciencia y barajar": "Have patience, and keep shuffling the cards."

A history of political failure

Rolling Stone has a humorous (IMO) article about The Curse of Dick Cheney. It details the history of VP Cheney's career, giving special attention to the idea that every president (Nixon, Ford, Bush) he has served under had the misfortune of not finishing their term.

Oh, it's not that the author or publication meant the article to be humorous, but this holds as much weight with me as those who believe Cheney is sercretly running the entire US government.

Sudan

Belated congratulations to Secretary Powell and the Bush administration for being willing to admit the extent of atrocities in Sudan. It takes courage to say the G-word.
It was the first such declaration by a member of the Bush administration and could put pressure on the government in Khartoum to resolve the 18-month crisis that has left 30,000 people dead and 1.4 million more homeless. Should the United Nations echo Mr. Powell's declaration, member states would be obligated to intervene under a 1948 genocide convention.
While the situation is different than what happened in Rwanda, let's stop this before it gets any further out of hand.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

All hail to the Old Gold and Black

I've been sick for a few days, and not blogged much during the interim, but here's a couple posts of some good stuff. Among the best news to come down the pike in the last week was Purdue's huge win over Syracuse.
Kyle Orton passed for 287 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to lead the Boilermakers to a 51-0 victory over Syracuse on Sunday, their first shutout in four years.
Wow, what a season opener. Sure wish I could have been there.

A new way to find a job

I heard a presentation today from Asad Khan, the founder of InstaJob. And without using the product yet, I am already glad to declare myself a fan.

InstaJob offers a P2P software program connnecting job seekers to recruiters and companies. The program resides on your home computer, matches listed skills against those requested, allows the job seeker to have multiple profiles with different resumes and cover letters. Add this to some other interesting tidbits they programmed in, and we have a good chance to find a winner. The problem is, can it get enough traction? Let's hope so.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Small Business Motivation

Wow, this is cool. Brain Brew Radio is an NPR show providing ideas and encouragement about improving your small business.
Our vision: Brain Brew is be to the "American Dream" what This Old House is to home repair.
I just listened to last weeks show and I'll be listening to more of the online archives tomorrow. Recommended.

Thanks to one Saxy Girl for the link.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Laughing About a Downward Spiral

Home, moving off the topic of politics (thank goodness), I found the following site by skipping through the blogosphere. And, as an aside, I love that so many different communities are out there. Today's trip is to Snarkywood, known by the tagline, "Lights! Camera! Cattiness!" Just take a look at the picture history, and cattiness, surrounding Britney Spears.
We Love Downward Spiral Britney!
Lauren: Okay, now she looks like a Chrissy Snow ROBOT.

Martha: Britney gets down and dirty to the music while her backup dancer guy scans the newspaper to see if he can catch a matinee showing of "Dude, Where's My Car" after the show.

Amy: Either that or Britney's just having potty training trouble again.

The Case for Kerry

I recently commented on someone else's blog that I thought the election boiled down to mostly pro-Bush and anti-Bush crowds, with the rest made up of undecideds and anti-Kerry folks. For those without a scorecard, it leaves very few people left who could be pro-Kerry. I'm not the only one to posit this, and Donald Sensing agrees. But he went further, issuing a challenge to his readers.
If you support Kerry for president, I invite you to write a guest post for this blog explaining why. Here's why it's a challenge:

To be published, you must explain why Kerry is to be preferred in terms that do not simply say he's not Bush. This is not an invitation to rage about Bush; it is an invitation to be positive about Kerry.
Fortunately for you and me, he did get two responses and he posted the best of them. Here is the intro:

The Case for Kerry
by Scott Forbes

In the past several months I've spoken or written to hundreds of Americans about the upcoming election, and registered hundreds more to request their absentee ballots. Many have already made up their minds, but some are still on the bubble: They have serious doubts about both Kerry and Bush, and are trying to weigh their options.

There are plenty of sources out there (credible and otherwise) making the case against either candidate… and we all have first-hand knowledge of Bush's performance in office, so a discussion of his merits is more reminder than introduction. That leaves only the case for John Kerry — the case that says Kerry will not only be better than Bush: He'll be a good, strong, capable leader by any measure.

I have not checked all of his references yet, and I'm not convinced he's right, but at least we've found one person who is pro-Kerry. If you are one of those on the bubble, I recommend reading the entire response.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Diary of a Candidate

More politics.

Don't ask me where people like this stuff comes from, because I couldn't tell you. But McSweeny's has a great bit, Diary of a Congressional Candidate in Florida's Fourth Congressional District. It's an amusing look at a write-in candidate who is hoping to get enough press that he amasses over 100 votes. Really.

The one piece of press he has received so far starts like this,
"Ander Crenshaw, the two-term Republican congressman from Florida's fourth district, is in for the fight of his life in the upcoming election ... If Crenshaw is to survive to see a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, he will have to defeat a man whose name is recognized by literally dozens of Americans—Richard Grayson."
But, inane candidates aside, the insight you get into the PAC questionnaires is interesting.

Damnit

First, in an interview on NBC's Today show, President Bush said the reasonable thing,
I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world –- let's put it that way. I have a two pronged strategy. On the one hand is to find them before they hurt us, and that's necessary. I’m telling you it's necessary. The country must never yield, must never show weakness [and] must continue to lead.
But then Democrats criticized him for being honest. And I'm sure Republicans did too. So President Bush did what he accuses Kerry of doing, he changed his mind on an big issue. I think it's called a 'flip flop.'
We meet today in a time of war for our country, a war we did not start yet one that we will win.
The truth is, we may never win the war against terrorists. It is so very easy to perform an act of terror. There are too many dissatisfied people with enough means and brains, and they are too diverse in origin, cause, targets, and tactics.
So, while I'm glad he had to flip-flop, if only to poke fun at his own phrase, I am pissed we had to leave the considered and intelligent debate behind and move back to jingoism. Damnit.

All you need is $40k, everything else is wasted

In my search for a job I have received two emails today. One asking me if I want to buy into an international business consultancy and one link to the article Millions won't make you happier.
The rule is well established in research: The first $40,000 makes a big difference in one's level of happiness. After that, the impact is much smaller. The difference between someone making $40,000 and someone making $15,000 is far greater than the difference between $100,000 and $1 million.

Happiness is dependent on being able to meet basic needs for food, shelter and clothing. After meeting those needs you need to turn to something other than consumerism because additional money has negligible impact on how happy you are. Your level of happiness is largely dependent on your outlook.

And I believe it's true. When they say, "It's all about the journey," it really is about the journey. And if you cannot find contentment with where you are today, you will not find it where you are tomorrow.

That being said, I like spending money on the finer things. Sure, a frozen dinner is still good eatin' when your hungry, but--having learned to appreciate a well prepared salmon or filet mignon--I do have my druthers over which one I want on the plate in front of me.

Fun stuff to waste your time with

A link from American Mom, mentioned previously, led me to a magnifying glass that led to the chuckle of the evening. And watch out for the tanker truck.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Politics, hmmph

I'm not sure what to say about this. I like President Bush more than I ever expected, but I would be shocked if I voted for him. Very shocked. (Heck, I coined the abbreviation ABBB for "Any Body But Bush" when his dad was running in 1988.) I like Kerry less than I hoped for, much less. It's not that I think Kerry will be worse as President than Bush, and just because Kerry hasn't articulated all of his future policies yet does not mean he won't or they will cause major unrest in the nation or the world. (Come on, what non-incumbent candidate has all of their positions worked out? Let's be real, of course the incumbent has an advantage.)

Anyway, this page has some interesting tidbits about his time in the U.S. Navy. It's a relatively balanced view of him from some former shipmates.

My summary? He was a good officer with a great deal of potential. Some of his fellow sailors remember events differently and he hurt the feelings of many when he joined in anti-war protests. Here are some snippets from J. F. Kelly:
John Kerry and I were shipmates in the guided missile cruiser USS Gridley (CG-21) in 1967 and 1968. He served as First Lieutenant, the officer in charge of the deck division, and I was Executive Officer, or second in command. I remember him as a serious and intelligent young ensign, seemingly mature beyond his years. The skipper and I were mightily impressed with him in spite of his inexperience. He had excellent verbal skills and great poise so we assigned him a collateral duty as Public Affairs Officer. Because of these duties and his basic responsibilities for seamanship evolutions and the overall external appearance of the ship, I had close, daily contact with him. To put it another way, I would be all over his case, if the ship wasn't shipshape. Turns out he didn't need too much supervision in that regard. He was a fine division officer and his men obviously respected him.
...
The crew performed well and John Kerry’s performance in all aspects of his duty was outstanding. Drafting his fitness reports was an exercise in the use of superlatives. In fact, of the thirty or so officers, I counted him in the top half dozen, no mean feat for an ensign.
...
While he was protesting against the war, many of us were still fighting in it. Many of us felt betrayed that one of our own, a decorated hero, would give comfort to the enemy by such actions. Think what you want about the wisdom in getting involved in that war, two presidents, both Democrats, committed the armed forces they commanded to fight it. Make no mistake; actions by the likes of Fonda and Kerry were damaging to our morale....
And here's some by Phil Carter,
I was an E-5 radarman on the USS GRIDLEY and was onboard from 1965 until May of 1968. My principal role in 67 and 68 was to prepare intelligence information to brief the rescue helo pilots and the ship’s officers. I received a commendation from CINCPACFLT for this activity. I stood quite a few CIC watches with Ensign Kerry where we discussed many things, including the war.
...
I am a registered independent and have no axe to grind with him. I gave him a reasonably large campaign contribution in the mid 1990’s and visited with him for about 30 minutes in an alcove outside the Senate chambers in 1996 when I was in DC on business.
...
Some of these points may be perceived as picky, but they seem to show a deliberate effort in his writings of the time to build a mystique for a future political career showing him as a great leader, father confessor to the ship and astute analyst of political and military happenings.
That is not to say that Kerry was not a good officer. He was and to my recollection was well liked. Did he stalk the passageways showing his future presidential timber? Absolutely not. A reporter from the Chicago Tribune actually asked me that. When I told him that he was just another goofy Ensign, he was horrified and did not use that quote.

And Cafe HedonistiX is someone who would (in my best guess) probably vote "None of the Above" if allowed.

AUTHOR'S NOTE/31 August: ABCDII has correctly stated that I only present some of the information. If you read the link above, you will find both of the authors quoted above are opposed to Kerry and neither will be voting for him.