Thursday, August 31, 2006

short term memory loss

AHHH!!!

I was reviewing my notes for Sign class 2 and I've already forgotten about half of the signs. I need to review with the book. It's a good thing Erin has already been through this class, she can help me remember.

I think tonight we will have an at home sign language lesson.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A busy night

Originally I wasn't sure what was happening tonight, but it has turned out to be a busy night.

Bryan turns 1 on Friday, and we needed to buy him a present. Bryan is the reason that I'm going to Sign Language class in the first place. Erin, Aunt Shel and I are going to sign happy birthday to him while we sing. Steve (the teacher) taught us how. Speaking of Steve, we ran into him, and Aunt Shel, Jessie (Bryan's mom) and Bryan all at Target while we were out buying his present tonight. It's always fun to see someone I know in public and chat with them, but for some reason seeing and being able to sign even just a few words to Steve seemed even more special. I definitely like this whole signing thing and I'll have to make sure I practice very hard so I can be the teacher's pet.

I guess the night wasn't really that busy, but getting home, getting dinner ready, running to the store, getting back home and getting the kids to bed has taken the whole night. Now I'm sitting here with a core for a Granny Smith apple (the best apples) in my mouth writing a quick blog.

Oh and by the way, I have been using Desktop Sidebar to take little notes to blog later. I had a great one that I was working on and the darn thing ate it. I don't know what could have happened, it just reverted back to last weeks data and lost what I had been writing. I searched my entire hard drive for it and nothing. Ahhhh!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sign Language Class

Class 2 is over. It was another great class. As I'm driving home and talking with Erin, every word that we use that I know a sign for the sign is flashing in my mind. I hope it keeps up like this. I'll be signing well soon, as long as my mind is as completely absorbed by signs as it is now.

We learned what feels like a lot of words for only being the second class, but I still don't know enough to state a normal sentence that I would use. I've been thinking about the class and I don't think I'm going to keep posting the words that I am learning. It won't do any good for you to read a dictionary little by little. Go to the free ASL sight that I posted previously and learn the signs yourself, then we can sign together when we meet.

Jonas is perfect?

On the way home from class tonight, Erin called to check on the kids. She asked how Jaden did and how Ady did, then said. I'm not asking about Jonas because he's 4 and he's perfect.

It's funny how perception changes given the situation. We had a good hard laugh about it after she got off the phone. He's not perfect, and we both know that, but given the situation of what we expect of him with helping the babysitter, we didn't expect any problems so we didn't look for them. However, in other situations we would not even begin to think of him as being perfect.

Sign Language

Tonight is class 2. I have spent my lunch break reading some of the history of sign language. Wikipedia is awesome. I remember when my parents spent a large fortune on Encyclopedia Britannica, now I can get the same info for free.

You can read more about Sign Language at Wikipedia.

There is a link there for some Free ASL lessons. I read through some of this site and it has a lot of information to offer for free. I will definitely be coming back here to keep learning.

I was talking with a friend at work and she told me about other Sign languages. I had just assumed that there was ASL, which was like English. I knew that different countries have different signs, but as I read I found out that sign languages have local dialects and slang as well. Plus there are several different sign languages in the US that are common enough that they are not just local dialects. Check out the list of sign languages to see some of the other ones that exist or have existed in the past.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Dora is possessed

Ady got this great Dora doll for her birthday. It's a talking Dora called "Dora knows your name". Although it doesn't learn, which is strange, because there are great voice learning programs out there that can turn text to speech and even if it doesn't know a word it can learn how to say it. It has a name Adylynn, but it's not spelled the same, so the doll can say the name, but it won't be able to spell it. This doll can be programmed for a lot of things, including to tell you when it's time to eat.

Apparently possessed Dora has her clock backwards. Here it is 9 PM and Dora says, "It's time to eat." AAHHHHH!!!!! Possession, quick, dump a gallon of holy water on her. Duck!!! Here comes the vomit.

The Doll has an umbilical cord too. She plugs into the computer with a USB cable to download updates to the possession.

Time

Time
by Joyce Wycoff

Fifty years and four
have flown past my door.
I no longer have time
to not have time.

I do not have time to zoom past a field of flowers
glowing orange in the morning sun.
I do not have time to travel the world seeking
the wonders to be found in my own backyard.

I do not have time
to come back later
Or do it tomorrow
for tomorrow may never be.

I do not have time
to not slow down,
to put off a poem, delay a hug
or walk past a prayer.

I no longer have time,
for now, time has me.

I stole this in it's entirety from Joyce Wycoff. She deserves all credit. At only 30, I feel that these words are true, I hope you enjoy. Read her entire post if you like it.

TV bad for memory

A good friend sent me a story about some research done in Australia that shows how TV watching and poor memory are related.

That kind of sucks. Watching TV not only prevents you from making lasting memories of your own, it diminishes the chance that you will remember those few memorable moments you do make.

128 students suspended for innapropriate clothing.

The Pantagraph had an article today about 128 students getting suspended for 1 day for innapropriate clothing.

Since the paper does not keep historical articles up, I have reproduced the entire article here.
"HAMMOND, Ind. -- Classrooms were a little less crowded at Morton High School on the first day of classes: 128 students were sent home for wearing the wrong clothes.

Fed up with inappropriate outfits, the principal suspended the students for one day Wednesday, minutes after doors opened at the school. Those suspended represent more than 10 percent of the 1,200 total students.

The offending attire - including baggy pants, low-cut shirts, tank tops and graphic T-shirts - are banned from classrooms. Students were also cited for cell phone use.

"This was the worst year I've seen in a long time," said Principal Theresa Mayerik. "It's gotten out of control, and we needed to send a message that we're not messing around."

The Hammond school usually has 20 dress code violations a day.

Mayerik said the infraction would be removed from students' records in 12 weeks if they had no other in-school violations.

School board members said they support Mayerik and the mass suspensions. "I'd be supportive if half the school was sent home, because 99 percent will get the message our schools are for education," board president Rebecca Ward said. "


The comments on the page by readers vary widely from support to, "Hey we're kids we should be allowed to be free.", to "they should all wear uniforms". I believe in freedom of expression, but I also think that there is way too much sexually going on at school. I do not support uniforms, they do not remove the problems of cliques. A poor person wearing a uniform will still be singled out just as quickly as a smart person in uniform. The cliques will remain. Clothes as expression should be simply to state who you are, but wearing pants that fall off are not an expression. I understand that this is a fashion propogated by the MTV do nothing, be a thug culture that exists, but it is not expression.

As for the argument that they should be allowed to make their own decisions that some comments make. They can make their own decisions, they can decide to follow the rules and get an education, or not follow the rules and be bums. That's the decision that exists. I support the principle for suspending the students. Real life is not have it your way. After graduation these kids will need to get a job where they have to follow the rules. They have to wear whatever uniform they get (McDonald's, Burger King, even grocery stores have uniforms). I work with computers, we don't have uniforms, we get to freely express ourselves in clothing, as long as it's business casual. That's life. The students need to realize that and express themselves within the limits that are set. When they walk out of school, they can feel free to wear their pants around their ankles again.

This is yet another reason that I don't want to send my kids to public school. I would much rather they are home schooled. They won't be getting any more lax clothing requirements, but they won't have to deal with those kids who think that they can do and say anything that they want and not do homework, yet think they deserve an A.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Blogger updates

Woohoo!!! Google has finally decided to make some much needed updates to it's Blogger software. You can take a tour of the new changes. Some of the features are definitely things that I have been looking for, such as not needing to remember to republish, and being able to categorize my posts (This one is Huge and may take care of the dad blog I just mentioned). However, I will not be updating until Google has the bugs worked out. I'm not sure how long that will take. Google is notorious for releasing a product in Beta and leaving it there for a long time. I had Picasa in Beta for a year. Why won't I upgrade yet? They don't have the template editing bugs worked out, unfortunately, this is enough to keep me from upgrading. I am always tweaking my info on the side; adding quotes, changing my currently reading list, and updating my what's on my list.

I'm excited that I could get new cool features to play with. If you missed the updates that are coming, you should check out the tour.

Something's not right with you.

I mentioned to Erin tonight that I am thinking about starting a new blog. One for just my "dad" posts. I know there are already 6 million parenting blogs out there. And I can't say that mine would stand out from them in any way.

Here's my thinking. My goal with this blog was to post about a nerds struggle away from the computer. Mostly, what is it that I do and who I am when I'm not being Mr. Geek! I have also got my Mr. Geek blog going. but I find that I have a lot of posts about me just being dad. I love these posts and want to try to focus more on them, but I also don't want to stop these kind of what do I do with my life type of posts. Plus, I've talked to my dad, and he said he would be a member of my blog and post articles of his own. I think my dad is a great dad and would love to see some of his thoughts out here in the blogosphere. However, I think just having him add articles to this blog would be out of place.

Erin's response was quickly, "There's something not right with you, you are trying to be too organized or something. Who would want to keep and post regularly to 3 blogs?" I do, I do. I know, my geek is showing, but I just can't hide it a lot of the time. All I'll have to do is add a second IV drip for caffeine. Mmmmm Caffeine. I don't know how anyone was able to live on almost no sleep before caffeine.

What do you think, should I have a separate blog for my parenting/dad articles? I'm looking for lots of comments here: Dawn, Trish, Erin, Mom, Dad, Paul, I know you guys are out there reading, anyone else reading I'd be glad to hear your thoughts too.

Child Safety Kit

Duracell has a site that is offering a child safety kit. This is a nice 7 page Adobe document that talks about how you can communicate danger to children. It also states that having an up to date photo of your child is very important you should have a good up to date photo every 6 months.

Digital cameras help a lot with this. I probably have a decently up to date photo every 2-4 weeks of my kids. Of course, Duracell wants you to sign up with them for a reminder email every 6 months. You can do this if you want Duracell sending you emails, however, almost every email client has the ability to set reminders already, if you want to set a reminder, using Outlook or Yahoo, or whatever other email you have, just setup a reminder. You can make it state whatever you want, and won't have to worry about additional sales pushes from Duracell.

If you want to go look at the kids who are missing now, you can go to missingkids.com.

Home improvement progress

Well, it's been a while since I had some home improvement things to write about. It turns out that I am very slow at finishing drywall. As it stands now the boys room has had 3 coats of mud put on it and the living room has been sanded, but needs at least 2 more coats. Today my parents came over and me and dad spent about 3 hours working on the boys room and the living room. He learned a new way to "sand". Instead of using sanding blocks, we ran to the store and bought giant sponges. Getting the sponges a little wet we can work out the rough edges without having any dust. This was awesome, since Jonas was here today and he's very allergic to dust. The original goal of having the boys room ready by Ady's birthday has come and gone, but at least we have the chance to finish it before Jaden turns one.

Well, the hardest part, even once we get the mudding finished, is that the painting will be a problem. Erin's working now, and I have no idea when she, her mom, and Aunt Shel can get up there to paint.

At least I did accomplish something today. Ok, fine, for those technical people out there, my accomplishment was getting dad to come over and do it. But the bathtub drain had not been working right, and the toilet broke and stopped flushing this week. He fixed both of these today in about 15 minutes while I was still getting ready to start working. He's so awesome!!!

TV. A waste of time.

"T.V. is the great equalizer. The assasination of John Kennedy and David Letterman's stupid dog tricks are absolutely equal." -- Warren Bennis.

The book I'm reading has an entire chapter on how TV is wasting our times and how it is preventing leaders from emerging. I disagree. I think TV allows leaders to reach a large audience who otherwise would not have been able to. I believe the internet goes a step further. However, I do agree with one thing he says. TV is a great waste of time. The content that is on TV is terrible. The format of what we watch has gotten worse, and commercials are taking over more and more of the television. A typical 30 minute program has 5-10 minutes of commercials, with another 5-10 minutes of the show itself being used as a medium to show a companies wares; every 30 minutes we are bombarded with 10-20 minutes of advertising. While we sit on our butts and do nothing and learn nothing we absorb the advertising. I myself am guilty of it. I even blog about commercials that I think are clever. This is part of the reason that I only really like to watch sports on TV. I still don't grow, from the TV, but at least I get to watch a competition. Sport though, are even worse with advertising. Ads have been placed in the ballpark in such a way as to almost always be on the TV. The Nike swoosh on the clothes, the Rawlings insignia on the gloves. The backdrop behind home plate, even the world series had tv tricks last year to make advertisements look like they were on the field when they were only camera tricks.

I spent some time this weekend channel surfing looking for a program to help expand my mind. I found one. I think MythBusters could actually be considered a learning program. However, the rest of everything on TV. was solely entertainment. I have decided to reduce the amount of TV that I am watching. I will no longer watch these shows. When I go to bed, I will not turn the TV on to anything other than a sporting event. Erin can watch what she wants, I will close my eyes and sleep.

What will I be giving up when I give up TV? I'll be giving up my frustration. I'll be giving up my annoyance with commercials and programs.

What will I be gaining? I hope to be gaining more quality time with my children. I hope to not have TV distracting me from blogging, reading my newsletters, and reading books after the kids go to bed.

I will now take control back into my life and remove as much TV from it as I can. As I wrote this blog I turned off the Cubs vs. Cardinals game.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Goodyear Launches Fuel-Efficient Truck Tire Lines

Green Car Congress: Goodyear Launches Fuel-Efficient Truck Tire Lines

Ok, if you took the time to read the article, you see that simply changing the tires on a semi can save .24 MPG. Translating to 770 gallons a year, giving truck drivers a savings of $2,333.

I don't know how much these tires cost, but I would hope that they are cheap enough that drivers get their payback in less than 6 months.

And what truck driver out there doesn't want to make an extra grand a year? The money saving will only continue to go up as the price of gas goes up. But if all drivers changed their tires, there's be a lot less gas being used.

This is awesome. Where is this technology for the cars?

Employee of the month

I love recognition programs. I a huge supporter of acknowledging and rewarding those who go above and beyond the expected to create results that are great.

However, I am against just giving an award because it's your turn. Generally Employee of the Month programs have turned into "Let's recognize everyone somehow" programs. I believe that this is a corollary to our school systems making classes easier in order to help improve the student's self-esteem. This is wrong. I could rant about the school systems, but I'll stick with Employee of the month.

If at your place of work there is one person that is the best, then every month that person should be employee of the month. If you don't like it, then get better, do more. Employee of the month should be awarded based on who the best is. However, I feel that there is a scale to follow. A senior level position has more expected of it and will require more in order to earn the employee of the month designation. I also believe that if everyone did just their job, then no reward should be given that month. A good Employee of the month program will recognize financially and verbally those employees that are doing extra things to help make a company great. If no one is doing extra things, then no one should be recognized.

Dilbert today is a classic case of Employee of the Month programs gone bad.

While searching for additional funnies to put in here, I found that next month a movie called Employee of the Month is being released. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

What makes a person great?

I previously mentioned having downloaded the free ebook As a Man Thinketh. Since then I receive an email just about every other day trying to get me to buy something else from the website that I got the book from. Today the email is trying to sell Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill., which is a pretty good book. Today's email stated:
"Several months ago I came across an audiobook biography of Hill
and it was an eye-opening adventure into the life of a man
whose days were not the "smooth sailing" I had always assumed
they were.
....
I now understand that he didn't write about some "theory" of how
to think and grow rich. He wrote from experience -- his
numerous experiences and the experiences of America's most
successful." --Vic Johnson

This got me thinking about the question "What is it that we identify with in people who are great?"

I identify with people who have had to overcome obstacles to gain their greatness. Someone who starts off rich and stays there is just a spoiled child who was handed everything, but overcoming major obstacles makes for a GREAT person. The movies that I enjoy the most are all based on this principle. Give me a movie about someone overcoming hardships to win something and I'll watch it over and over and over. Throw in a good name and I'll buy it too. "Iron Will", "Real Genius", and "Rocky" are all on my greatest movie list. There is one more piece to this though. Winning through adversity is not enough. It's winning honestly through adversity that matters to me. I'm the idealist who still believes that hard work both at work and at study can bring a person anything in life. There are no short-cuts and no get rich schemes that work. There is only good honest effort that will win. Enron and Adelphia would both be examples of times when people had to overcome adversity to win, but in both cases their integrity was lacking and they only "won" by cheating. Cheaters never win.

Do you have any special traits that you look for in your Great people?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why Leaders Can't Lead

Leaders must create for their institutions clear-cut and measurable goals based on advise from all elements of the community. They must be allowed to proceed towards those goals without being crippled by bureaucratic machinery that saps their strength, energy, and initiative. They must be allowed to take risks, to embrace error, to use their creativity to the hilt and encourage those who work with them to use theirs. -- Warren Bennis from Why Leaders can't Lead.


And who should read this book?
"Why Leaders Can't Lead is intended for everyone in a position of leadership, or aspiring to such a position; for all those concerned with who is elected, promoted, or appointed to leadership in any kind of organization. It is meant for anyone who holds a government office; anyone in public service. It is addressed also to professors of business, political science, and public administrators; all department heads, deans, administrators, presidents, and chancellors of universities. It is intended for anyone interested in the future of this society."

Yeah, he could have saved me a few seconds by shortening who should read it.
"Why Leaders Can't Lead is intended for everyone!"

I'm 4

Lately, Jonas has been putting things in his mouth. Ok, lately Jonas has been putting everything into his mouth; hands, books, toys. Trying to stop this we have been asking him if he was 4 years old or 4 months old. He always promptly responds "I'm 4." Tonight Erin caught him with something in his mouth and looked at him. She hadn't even said anything and he took it out of his mouth and said "4".


It was very funny. She lost it and couldn't stick to the reprimand, at least she walked away before she started laughing.

In case you were wondering what I look like

I took it upon myself to shave off my beard and mustache tonight. I've been talking about it for a while, but tonight, I did it. Ady told me I look old, Jonas told me he likes my beard better, and Erin has kicked me out of bed. She doesn't want my parents to call the police on her for sleeping with me. I don't think I look younger, but I do think it makes me look fatter. Although, without the mustache in the way, I think Jaden has my nose. Woohoo!!! That's the first feature that's mine. A swear even his penis is Erin's.


 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

We have a babysitter

For the first time, we have left our children home with someone who is not family. We found someone who was able to watch our kids, not tear or burn the house down, get them both in bed, and who is willing to come back again next week to do the same thing.

This rocks.

But when did babysitters start costing so much?

First Sign Language class

Wow. I was impressed by a lot of things in tonights class. The instructor (also named Steve) is completely deaf, which is cool. He can read lips very well and if you hadn't heard him talk, then you may not know he's deaf. Although he does have problems lip reading large words. Anyway he is very impressive. In this class there are only two of us that did not take the class this summer. I had the benefit of Erin coming home and showing me a lot of the early stuff, plus I've been a good observer anytime I've ever been to church and someone was signing. I may not remember everything, but I've seen a lot and paid attention to a lot so I feel I'll be able to recall some signs more easily. The other person doesn't seem to have known anything about signing before, so she is struggling. I hope all goes well with her. I think learning sign will be a lot of fun.

I was impressed with how much of the first day I picked up. Lori was there to interprit, and I probably learned more things from watching her sign slower than I learned from watching Steve.

I was impressed with Jonas. He was pretty good during the class, but more impressive was that he would try to sign while we were signing. He did get his normal case of shyness when Steve would come over to him to try and help him correct his signs. Steve also insisted on giving Jonas a sign name. Jonas is a J doing the jump sign. Since he likes to jump and he broke his leg jumping.

Sign names are not the same as our spoken name. There are no signs for the tremendous amount of variation of names that exist, and you wouldn't want to finger spell the name all the time, so a sign name is the first letter of your name doing the sign for an identifying trait. My Sign name is the computer sign with S instead of the normal C. Erin is the sign for Bear (because of her like for Winnie the Pooh) with you hands in the letter E.

Sign Language

I am starting something new. Tonight I am attending my first sign-language class. I wrote earlier this summer about Erin taking sign-language. After getting most of the way through the 2nd class, the instructor told the students that because the fall classes are longer, it is advised that they all take class 1 again. It is not advised that they take class 3 (even though they have taken the first 2) and they should also not just start in class 2.

I wish they would have advertised that on the original flyer. Instead, Erin will be slightly bored during the first several classes while I'm extremely excited to get into learning the signs. I know spelling and a few of the signs that Erin showed me, but now we'll both be getting on the same page. We can be that annoying couple who signs to each other out in public when we don't want others to know what we are saying.

Seriously though, this is something exciting that we plan on passing on to the kids. We want to sign while we talk during our normal lives, to allow our children to pick up the signs and be able to communicate with Bryan as he grows up.

A geek at heart

You may have noticed my new link in the sidebar. I have been posting geek specific posts for a while now in Bloglines, but I have not been happy with the service at all. The blogs are ugly, and I don't like the editor. Instead, I have migrated my entire Bloglines blog to Blogspot. I have looked at several other blog tools out there, and for free, I think that Blogspot (Blogger) stands above the others by far. I will try to keep more of my geek friendly posts on the other blog, while keeping this blog focused on my life away from the PC. Lately my the computer has been very involved in my life, and I have not had a lot of "away from the computer" things going on.

I hope you enjoy "A geek at heart" for those that like my geek posts.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Day 4 of training

The last day of training was great. Not so much for the training, but for what happened aftewards. Let me start with the training.

We discussed handling state and how it's better to hold state in the database rather than in a business object, which is pretty standard.

We discussed Security. I would have liked to spend more time on this topic, but it could have taken 2 full days to get a good understanding of what can be done with security. I've not spent any time working with the .Net security in the past. By default any application that is running from a local network or the internet is considered partially trusted. Anything that is marked for Fully Trusted only cannot be uesd by an application that is marked as partially trusted. This means that a lot of the framework itself cannot be used by something that is running on the network. Testing how something will run in a partially trusted state is very easy when you have a network to work with. Copy the program to the network and run it from there.

Click once deployment is used by creating a download page. Then the application itself will check for updates from the web page. We didn't get into enough detail about this. It looked like it was tied to IIS, but maybe it could be made to work with something else. The downside with
click once deployment is that it is running in a partially trusted environment. That means the security will need to be changed on each desktop that is going to use it in order to have fully trusted capabilities. For some this may be a big problem. For us it may be less of a problem, because those security settings can be exported to an .msi. Where I work we deploy using Active Directory and .msi's can be installed as part of the policy on the PC.

we also discussed some other best practices.
FxCop. - this is written and supported by Microsoft and can be downloaded from gotdotnet.com
Custom Attributes - A very interesting concept. Mr. Adams has not had any good uses for them, but there are a lot of standard attributes in the framework, and NUnit makes excellent use of attributes. My company has several different places we have used attributes, and Mr. Adams was very impressed withour use of them.
Reflections - A great way to introduce plugins to an application and a way to deploy different versions of the same application.
Encryption. - We discussed using some of the built in encryption to store data and ran a small sample.
Role based security - We only discussesd role based security, but an application can know that a certain windows or active directory role is required for some functionality of the application and check that the current user has this.

Finally class was over and I had to take a quick 40 question test, no problem.

But then, Mr. Adams came over to me and says "Thank you for hanging in there this week, you are really advanced. I don't say this to students very often, but......Learning Tree is looking very hard for new teachers, especially with C# experience. If you are interested, I think you are capable of teaching this class now."

I am completely floored. I love what I do for a living, but I've been throwing out into the cosmos the question, is there anything else I can do to make more money or additoinal money without having to quit my job. Over the past few weeks I've now had 2 opportunities present themselves. First, someone asked me to setup a web page for their business. Second, I have been presented the opportunity to teach.

This teaching thing is something that I'm curious about. I'm not sure how well I would do with it, and I'm not really sure if I want to do it. I am trying to use the program presented in the book "Yes or No" that I just finished reading to help me decide.

Violating the laws of physics?

I just read a post at Gizmag about an Irish company that is claiming to have violated the laws of physics and created a free energy machine. I'm staying skeptical. I've read more than my fair share of free energy machines based on Tesla inventions. There aren't enough details here for me to make any kind of a decision.

For everyone's sake though, I hope that this turns out to be true. Imagine being able to completely rid ourselves of a dependency on oil, nuclear energy, and coal. Entire industries would be wiped out and pollution could be almost completely eliminated. Opening up the opportunity for completely new industries to open up.

Motivation

Motivation is something that I'm always looking for. I have the desire to do something, but then I want to find a way to keep myself motivated to continue.

Lately some of my best motivation and ideas have been coming from reading other bloggers. There are some really talented bloggers out there for every subject that you could imagine. I mean that in probably a literal sense. I tested it one day by just coming up with a subject to see how many bloggers there were about it, and I could not find one that was not being covered nicely.

There are several that I use currently as major motivators to me. They may, or may not help you.

For running, fitness in general and some motivation "The Fitness Insider" is written by Adam Campbell at Mens Health, and covers his normal topics, but includes his quest to run a 5 minute mile.

For leadership and personal development I read Steve Pavlina.

I read a bunch of other blogs, but they are for entertainment or information. What do you do for motivation? Do you have any blogs, or do you like to read books?

Computer funny

Erin is sitting here next to me writing on her blog and says "The popup blocker won't let me spellcheck." I tell her quickly, "Hold the Control key down while you click spellcheck.".

She studies the keyboard.
"I can't find the hold key"

"No I said hold the control key, there is no hold key".

We both had a good laugh about it though, she's such a good sport.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sabotoge

I've been working on this post off and on now for almost a month. Tonight I read something that just slapped me in the face.

It's funny that many of my self-improvement efforts seem to get sabotoged. I try to improve myself in differnt ways, but I often seem to do something or not do enough and sabotoge myself. I don't understand why or how, but I do seem to have the same problem over and over. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Diets are something that about a million people a day start and almost none of them succeed with sabotoging themselves. I'm more than guilty of this. I have done it with weight loss time and again. I've failed to reach many different goals that I've set for myself. Yet I'm always trying to improve myself in one way or another. Currently, I'm trying to lose weight, improve my step-family life by having a good relationship with my wife and my ex-wife, my work skills (with lots of things going on here), improving my ability as a dad and a teacher (since we want to work on homeschooling our children), and sign-language. I could potentially say that I'm spread thin, but I don't spend time every day working on everything, it's just that I want to do all of these and I spend at least some time every week working on these.

How is it then that when I am constantly trying to improve myself in lots of different ways, I constantly find a way to stop my own improvement? Why do I constantly find myself stopping myself?

Then tonight, I was reading "Yes or No". It asks "Do my actions show me I believe I deserve better". What??? "When you look at the pattern of your past decisions, what do you notice about what you really believe you deserve? Do your actions show you believe you deserve better in every area of your life, both business and personal? If not, why not? Could it be that the world we grow up in culturally supports our denying ourselves better. 'Better than what?' people may ask themselves. 'Better than other people?' 'Why should you deserver better than others deserve?' But that is not the point. It is not better than others. It is better than what you are doing for yourself. Everyone deserves that. Many people still seem to hold on to a subconscious belief that they deny, even to themselves, that sometimes they really don't deserve any better. People experience this in various ways. Some do well at work, but not at home, or vice versa. Some carry this subconscious belief only at certain times in their lives. Others always do."

Slap! What the hell is this. Who wrote this and have I been talking to this person? Spencer Johnson M.D. What is this guy a doctor of?

Why am I holding myself back. I've been asking myself these questions for over a month now. How can I stop sabotoging? "What can I do if I realize I do not really believe I deserve better?"

Spencer Johnson answers "You do not need to wait until you believe it. You just need to do now what you would do if you did believe you deserved better. When your actions are better, things get better."

This is one of those Eureka moments for me. While reading I actually thought "Holy Shit!" I wonder how common this phenomenon is. I now remember thinking back and seeing self-help books about how to get yourself to believe you deserve to be rich. No wonder all visualization books suggest you think as if the action has already taken place. Even if you don't believe it, you need to act as if it already has in order to get better.

This is just the start. Will the next step be something great, or will I continue to sabotoge myself.

Training Day 3

Day 3 of training was as great sa Day 2 was.

Quickly we covered layered architecture. Which was just going over the normal multi-tiered application archietecture that everyone has been talking about for a long time. Mr. Adams went into how and where the business objects and different patterns would be used and implemented in relation to the servers and the layered architecture. He used the term layered instead of tiered, because each layer is not neccessarily on a different computer, and sometimes a single layer can reside on multiple computers.

Microsoft Application blocks are re-usable code that Microsoft has provided for you. Be sure to check out Patterns & Practices for additional information on patterns. I've been here several times before and have always had a hard time understanding what I was reading. Mr. Adams made a point to state that it's very difficult. This is not something that's easy to grasp the first time. However, if you put in the time to work at it and understand it, then you will get it. You will be able to use it quickly and easily, because once you get it, you always get it. It's not regular expressions, the pattern is the same no matter what, then you just have to implement it in your specific solution.

We learned the Factory Pattern. Quickly, the Factory pattern creates a class that cannot be created on it's own.

We covered the Model View Presenter and I received a sample application the implement the Model View Controller pattern. I think I understand the controller pattern, but the presenter is still confusing. But they both decouple the state of the application from the actual user interface to allow Unit tests of the state of things. When using these a mock object can pretend to be the actual user interface that can be used to test.

The Observer pattern is the final pattern for today. We didn't really get to implement it ourselves though. The sample that we worked through already had the code and we just uncommented it. The hardest thing about the Observer pattern is that you need to have an understanding of .Net delegates and events, because that is how it is implemented. Delegates still give me trouble. I constantly have to look it up and use trial and error before I figure it out. I need to spend some time to make sure I have a complete understanding of these delegates, maybe I just need to use them more, by writing more test projects. The observer pattern can be hugely useful, especially because it can be used across networks through remoting.

Finally we discussed Scalable Distributed applications and using Web Services and remoting. Remoting is another topic that I need to spend a lot of time on. I worked through the lab for over an hour after everyone else left. I know for a fact that at least the three other groups near me didn't finish the lab. I stayed to also finish the bonus, because the remoting was the bonus. I liked how the training had you make a change and then run it and receive an error. It helped to explain why each step needed to be taken. I have a little better understanding now, but remoting is still a rather complex topic.

After the I finished the lab I was talking with Mr. Adams a little and again he asked if I was bored. "It's clear that you and one other students are far more senior than the rest of the class. You just have a much better understanding of all of the material." I'm glad that I'm not as novice as I thought, so I guess that means that I'm beginner, because I definitely don't feel comfortable with specifically designing with patterns in mind.

Training Day 2

Ok, well, it has taken me until half way through day 2 to realize that the title of the class is Design Patterns and Best Practices.

I thought we would be focusing more on design patterns, instead we are covering a lot of best practices. this is awesome. Unfortunately I think I have read about most of the best practices already. I also feel like with design patterns I have a very basic understanding, and I have not been able to understand a problem enough itself to be able to implement a design pattern on it.

I expected that I would possibly struggle through this class, but at the end at least have a better understanding. However, thus far, the teacher keeps coming over and asking if he's boring me because I am "quite advanced" and he doesn't want to be going too slow for me. No I'm not bored. I'm learning, I am even excited about what I'm learning. As with almost everything the examples are too simplified, but they do help.

We officially covered 3 design patterns today.
Decorator Pattern.
It's used to accomodate varying feature rich applications.
Why the decorator pattern?
You have many features that you want to be able to change during runtime, that are not fixed at compile time. This is also very useful for things that vary slightly over time.

Template Pattern (Hollywood)
The template captures a common algorithm that varies slightly over time. Such as Tax Returns. Known as the Hollywood because of the "don't call us, we'll call you" rule. The derived class does not call the base class, instead via polymorphism, the application is designed to the base class interface, but uses the derived classes updated features.

Adapter Pattern
The adapter pattern is used to allow an application expecting a certain interface to use an object that does not implement that interface, by implementing the expected interface and passing the calls on to the underlying object.
This is one that I have used more than once at work and it has been very useful. I was even lucky enough one time to realize that it was the adapter pattern.

There were also 2 unofficial design patterns that we learned.
Singleton Pattern
The Singleton pattern is very straightforward to use. But the reason is not always clear why we use it. We use the Singleton to allow shared data, uncouple objects, and share resources. We don't have to use it for all three reasons but those are the reasons to use a singleton.

Mock Object
The Mock Object used for Unit testing witn NUnit is a design pattern. This is probably one of the easiest patterns to recognize that we have to use, because we simple create a Mock class to use with testing. We did create a Mock object to test a simple class. I finally understand that the purpose of a mock object is to create a class that will expose previously hidden data from a class that will allow us to verify that the internal data is doing what it is supposed to.

We went over the rules of when to use Inheritence vs. when to use an aggregate pattern. The documentation has a great decision chart. I'll see if it's ok if I can post this decision chart in the future.

We used NUnit, not only for the simple Test attribute, but also to catch expected exceptions which I had not done, and to make a mock object.

We used some of the built-in refactoring tools of C# 2005. These are only built-in for C#. If you are a VB.Net developer and purchase a copy of VS2005 (VS2005 express does not count), then you can download a plugin called Refactor that will let you do the same funcitonality.

This was a great day, and at the end of the day I wished it could have gone longer again. Mostly though, I wished I had more time to reflect on the vast amount of new things I'm trying to learn.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Teamwork is everyone's job.

One of the Leadership newsletters that I get weekly is about teamwork this week. Leadership often focuses on leading a team and doesn't often focus on the fact that the leader's most important job is also being a team player.

A leader is a leader at work by the position they hold. They get additional information because they are able to attend meetings that mere mortals (otherwise known as peons, I'm one of them, or team members) are not invited to because they are too busy working on their current project.
I agree completely. Every leadership position that I've held throughout my life I've lived by that principle. I didn't even realize it and probably would never have thought to mention it until I was reading this. In high school I was a section leader in band. I ws in charge of 9 others to work with them to make sure they memorized their music and positions for marching band. But that's not the only thing. I also made sure that we got along with each other and were ready to do things when the band director wanted to. I remember when being given the section leader position thinking "Why ME?? I don't want to be the section leader of this group, they are unorganized, and have no respect for authority". But at that point I was stuck with it. I thought hard about it for the first week and then realized that there was no way I could ever lead this group, at least not in the sense of leadership I had come to think of as standard in my mind. Maybe I had seen to many war movies, but a leader was like Patton; brash, demanding, commanding, dominating. I didn't (and still don't) have that type of personality. Plus if I would do that, I knew for a fact that I would be laughed at. Instead I called a meeting. It all started with that one simple meeting. I told them.

"I am your section leader. There is no reason that you have to listen to me. I have no authority over you, I have no control over you. All I am is responsible for you. but you are responsible for yourselves. I have 1 goal that I want us to meet even if we don't meet anything else, I want us to be polite and listen when we are supposed to. I don't want us to be considered the laughing stock of the marching band." Then we talked for a while and I offered some possibilities. "We don't have to just not be the laughing stock. We can set our sights higher than that. We could be the best marchers. The best at knowing our music. The best at standing at attention. The best at learning our steps. We could be the best. But I can't be the best. We are a team. If you don't want to do this, then nothing I say will help. Me, I want to be THE best. I WANT us to be the best, and I know that we can be the best." We talked some more and to my surprise, the team of misfits that I had been given decided that they wanted to send a big screw you to the rest and be the best. It was going to be hard. We weren't the most talented group and we all had our problems with authority. So it started. We were going to be the first to memorize all of our music. That night we all went home and worked on it. Amazingly the next day every one of us showed up with all of our music memorized. Amazingly, because memorizing music was always my weakest point, but I wasn't alone, two of the other guys had not been able to memorize their music either of the previous 2 years. I was shocked. That day the drummers started bragging about having already memorized half of their music. I called them out and stated that my team had already memorized all of our music. Unbelieving, the band director put us on the spot. So our little group played all 4 songs that we were marching to, in front of the rest of the band, from memory. It was awesome. I've rarely been prouder of anyone. I think right then, at that point we earned Best Section. We continued to work hard and although we still all had our authority problems, we were always able to pull it together when we had to. We had lots of fun and got together before and after practice to continue working on our craft. We were awesome.

None of this would have been a success if I didn't do everything that the others had to do. We couldn't have accomplished anything if a single one of us didn't do everything. It was a team effort, but every individual needed to do their part for it to work, and my part as leader was to attend the extra meetings, but to also make sure that my team had as much information as possible. I would pass on everything and if they had additional questions, I would find out and tell them. There was no secrets, we all knew what we were going for.

This post started also, because I am (was now at 12:45 AM) watching the Cubs game. They have gone 18 innings and won it. Baseball is very a team sport where individuals all have to pull their weight. In this game, every single eligble Cubs player got into the game. All 10 pithchers on the staff and every player from the bench was in the game at one point. That's a very rare thing in baseball. Generally subs will play a few games, or come in late in the game. However, a team will not have a good year if the subs are not always ready to play. They have to be able to step in and play full time at a moments notice, and they may have to stay up until after midnight to play 9 innings in the second half of an 18 inning game. 12 hours from now the next game starts. Most likely the subs will play most of it, on less sleep than normal. But without being ready and the team will not succeed. Teamwork is very much an individual thing. As a leader, the manager should make sure that everyone knows what's going on tomorrow before they go home tonight.

Almost everyone is part of a team. Think about your team. Are you pulling your weight? Are you getting all of the information that you think you need? Don't get despondent...you need to continue being great in order for a team to work, but make sure you make it clear why you need that information, leaders will almost never withold the information when they feel they know the information explayining why you need it. I firmly believe that leaders should share too much information and that being on a "Need to know" basis will only cause problems, but if you are in a position where you don't think you know everything make sure you ask. You're boss may not even know that you are looking for some information.

Day 1 Design Patterns training

Geek post.

Day 1 of the design patterns is over. Before class started this morning I was hoping it would be a lazy week. I wondered if we would get out early every day and if we'd have long lunches. We had a standard 1 hour lunch and I was back on time. Just after lunch things were moving along nicely and I checked the time, it was already 3:48. WHAT!!!! How could it possibly be that the time would go so fast. All of a sudden I prayed that the teacher would be so into what he was doing that we'd go until about 7 or 8 PM. then I could get almost 2 weeks of training in just 4 days. That would be awesome. I found myself daydreaming of all of the extra things we could cover and the awesome depth of understanding that I could have of the patterns that we cover.....

3:49, I snapped back to reality. Class is almost over, I need to make sure I pay better attention.

Being the good studious brown nosing student I am, I showed up at the 8 AM; the registration time according to the sheet. Apparently I was early, because the lady working there had to unlock the door to let me in. And she said "You're early, you're the first one here". I'm was glad to hear that, I would hope that they didn't let the first person in then relock the doors behind them.

The morning was the normal background, "I'm the teacher, blah, blah, blah..." "There's more than 20 of you so we will skip your introductions" (Thank God!!!! I don't want these people to know too much about me when I start asking stupid questions later this week.)

The teacher Greg Adams is awesome. He seems to have a great grasp of the knowledge, and has a good easy going, funny story, teaching style. I enjoyed day 1 very much.

Our first pattern was the facade patter, which is a pretty darn easy pattern, and is one of the few patterns that I understood before this class started. Basically though we just copied and pasted code. Since me and my lab partner finished in 2 minutes, I asked Mr Adams if we would get into more detail on the facade pattern, he responded "No, it's too easy, this lab was just to make sure that the mouse, keyboard, and development environment are setup correctly for you to build projects later on". What an awesome idea. I wish more of the things I've been to did that. Usually our first lab is something big and complex and we get lost chasing down something that's not the problem simply because we didn't make sure the environment was setup right to start with. (This is a lesson I have now learned, file that in the back under IMPORTANT - DO NOT FORGET).

As I'm sitting in the front row all the way to the left I turn myself to the side and look around at the rest of the class. I notice that they are all staring at the teacher, as if the knowledge will flow from him in a direct line of sight to their minds. I listen while I look around and think I must be the ADD student. I thought back to my school days, and I've always been the kid who sat in front, but liked to turn around and see what the others were doing. I liked to not pay attention and caused trouble. I doubt I was many of my teachers favorite students. Sure I had good grades, my mind is very sharp, but I don't pay a lot of attention to what the teacher does to absorb that. Maybe that's why I'm also so good at learning things by myself. I don't need to have it spoonfed to me, I just need a method for it to get into my mind. So ADD Steve is sitting in class, uncomfortable, shifting around looking at the other students, wondering how I can get more from this class while I'm here, and then I realize, focusing and paying more attention is probably the way. Great insight bonehead.

BTW - I thought of a great name for a seminar. The Object-Oriented Programming Seminar. I would love to go to OOPS!!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Catching up

I've been thinking about what to post for my 300th post for so long that I had gotten myself into a posting block. I didn't really have writers block because I have about 20 ideas for things to post, but I wanted to make the 300th special. I was even talking to Erin about it tonight and told her that I was still looking for the perfect thing to post for my 300th post.

Then while I was eating dinner I was reading "Yes or No" by Spencer Johnson. It's a book about how to make decisions. It says that in order to make good decisions, you need to focus on what you need and not what you want. If you don't understand why you are doing it then it isn't really important. For some reason, on a lot of different fronts this just kinid of slapped me in the face. I can't even really get into all of the disconnected thoughts that I had going through my head. One of them though, was that my 300th post is nothing spectacular at all. I'm posting things because I think I have something interesting to say that I think could help people. Sure it's a wide variety of topics, but my posting is really about others. My blogging goals are more about how many visitors and page hits I get. I decided that I have no reason to celebrate. In the one year and about 3 weeks now that I have been posting I have only been able to provide 300 glimpses of insight into anything. This is nothing. I'm in training this week, and I probably learned 300 new things today. I have no reason to celebrate 300 posts. I will have reason to celebrate when what I am writing is finally helping people. That is when I will celebrate. So from now on, the number of posts that I have will only be mentioned in passing.

I will however be working on getting some of the better posts that I have notes about up over the next few days. I have notes everywhere. I wrote 3 things down driving to training (which was hard writing and driving), I have notes on my computer and 6 or 7 sticky notes with topics on them. The great thing though... I am not having writers block.

Miss my wife

I know, my readers don't care about this nearly as much as I do. I am away in training right now and my evenings are extremly boring and slow. When I'm home I don't do a whole lot that's exciting, but I seem to be almost wallowing in despair while I'm away. I miss my wife, and can't wait until I'm home again on Friday night.


Comments have been closed. This post is simply stating that I miss my wife. Anonymous, please make comments on my blog productive. Everyone else, thank you for the support you have shown me, especially both Erin and Trish.

this is my 300th post

who cares.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

New Laptop

Finally, my computer hell is over. I have bought a Dell. I'm still not exactly sure where those funds are going to come from. It will probaby just hurt my credit and get paid off extremely slowly over too long of a time. However, I have it and should no longer have to complain about my computer dying. Erin posted a picture on her blog, if you want to see it.

Quickly, it's a Dell, 1.866Ghz processor, and 2 GB of RAM. I wanted to be able to do whatever I'm doing for work which will either be Visual Studio 2005, or Webshpere, both of which are huge.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Here today... gone tomorrow

Ok, I'm actually not gone until Monday night, but I'm gone none-the-less.

After a breif stopover at home (mostly to clean my laundry), I'll be off to Shaumburg to a training class. I've been looking forward to this training for months now. For my geek readers, I'm going to a Design Patterns training class. I think it will be awesome. I've been reading the C# Design Patterns book now for a month and I'm about 3/4 of the way through it. I hope to have completed it just before class starts (it may be a late night on Monday). That way I have a very basic general overview of what I'm going to be learning. My biggest problem with Design patterns is in recognizing when and how I can use them within the applications I write. I almost need another book "Thinking Design Patterns" (which doesn't exist), or something like that to help me get the right mindset. Maybe if I could just immerse myself in design patterns, and not write any program for a month or so that didn't use design patterns, then I would completely get it. As it is, I will probably still continue to struggle after the training, but hopefully, I'll be able to write better applications.

Babysitter

Tonight we interviewed a babysitter.

What a chore that was. I wasn't sure what to ask. It's the first time that I'm looking for someone that I am not already very familiar with to watch my kids. Erin and I are going to take a sign language class starting in 2 weeks, and we need a sitter on Tuesday nights. It will only be for a few hours, but we need a school age kid who is ok with not being home. So basically we need someone who isn't involved in many things and doesn't have another job.

I think we both found someone that we are at least comfortable enough with to give her a shot. Before Michelle got here tonight Erin and I sat around bouncing potential questions off of each other for almost an hour. Even though I knew about 1,000 things that I wanted to ask I blanked when she arrived. This is the first interview for anything that I've ever given, and I didn't write a list of notes (I should have, I wouldn't have forgotten anything that way). We asked questions and prodded into her personal life and her school life and her religion. I asked all kinds of questions that I couldn't ask if I were interviewing someone at work. However, I am not an equal opportunity employer. I do care if the babysitter is Christian instead of Satanic. It does matter to me about drugs and grades and language and all sorts of things that are illegal to ask a potential business employee. But to me this is different. If she wants to watch my kids then I want to know a ton about her. The only thing she didn't have that I wish she would have is references. However, I always come back to my own issues when starting out looking for work. "You don't have enough experience". "But how can I get experience, if no one will give me a job?" Someone has to be the first. Someone has to start offering that experience. I hope that everything works well for both her and us.

A few vacation pictures



I wasn't very quick with taking pictures. I didn't even carry the camera with us the first day.

Here are two shots. This is the view we had from our balcony on the 4th floor. The ground sloped down behind us, so things were way down there.

The other is the coolest building in Branson, the "Ripley's believe it or Not" building.

Work AHHH

Well the first day back at work didn't go anything like I thought it would. I figured I'd come back from 3 days, catch up on my few emails right away, then get back into working on what I was working on when I left.

Instead, there were a list of broken things that took me all day to fix. Now tomorrow I get to start doing what I thouht I would start doing today. I like vacations...until I get back to work that is. I hate having to catch up on things, it's so much easier to stay ahead by doing it everyday.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Vacation is over

Wow!!! What a vacation. Not a lot happened, but that's all well and good. I've gotten my batteries recharged. We had a great time although we didn't get a lot of pictures.

Driving through the hills in Southern Missouri by Branson is beautiful. It alone was probably worth the trip. I didn't have access to WiFi anywhwere. Those bastards in Branson want you to spend your money going to shows and I didn't find a single place that offered it.

We didn't do a lot. We rode the Ducks (yes, everyone in the country has probably done this, but we did it anyway) and we went to a show "Lost in the 50's" It was pretty cool. I thought the actors in it were funny to watch, almost high-school play quality, but with better singing. The whole theme was very cute though, and half of the show was watching "the World Famous Platters.", which with a little searching I have found that none of them were original members of the platters. This makes a lot more sense, because they all looked a little young to me.

Other than that we just drove around and sat around the rooms. It was too hot to do anything. It was over 100 every day we were there and they were calling for 100+ for the next two days as well.

I'll put more info (and a few pictures) about our vacation up later.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Vacation time is coming

It's 12:30 Friday night and I'm not ready for bed yet. I've got about 6,000 things I want to do still before I leave for a 4 day vacation. Sunday morning at 7 AM we are getting on the road. I'm not sure yet when I'll find a chance to pack, but I'll get on that... sometime.

I better get my ass in bed, otherwise I'll be too tired tomorrow to do any of the important things that need to be done. At least, I'm not doing the driving for our trip, so the first 6-8 hours on Sunday will be easy.

The last day of the first weekend


We got this window in, but I apparently didn't get any in completed pictures on my camera. I was so tired by this time that I wasn't even thinking about taking pictures anymore. The 2nd weekend's pictures were all put on my parents camera, I need to get a copy of them before they can be posted.

More in progress pictures






These are from the first full day still. You can see the double window is gone completely. And when we ripped out the closet we found out that there is a wooden floor in here. After we finish painting that's going to be the floor for the room. The wires are the new light for inside the closet. I hate a dark closet.

In progress the first night





If you know anything about me, you know how stressed I was having this big of a mess. AAAHHH!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Pre destruction pictures.





Stupid computer

Last night I was posting some of the pictures from my house when my computer froze. Instead of rebooting, I just left it off and went to bed.

I will have pictures up tonight or tomorrow. I want to get them up before I leave for vacation on Sunday. Then I'll have more pictures when we get back too.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Productivity vs. Efficiency

Geek post alert!!!

I know some of the people reading my blog don't like my geek posts. I've decided to just warn you. Now you won't have to finish them.

I like to sit back and ask myself if I would rather have productivity or efficiency. I hate going to work and after a week not feeling like I've accomplished anything. I need productivity. Out of the applications that I write though, I want them to be as fast as possible. It's not enough for them to be productive applications, they need to be efficient. I will slow my own work down in order to find a better way to make the application faster.

I myself though get a certain amount of work done in a day. Let's just say I get 1 day's worth of my work done on a typical day. However, I lose time in meetings, chatting, and with other distractions (that darn bathroom is calling me again). I also often ask myself if I want to be able to get more than 1 days's worth of work done, or if keeping it at 1 day with the distractions is acceptable. Some days I want to be able to catch up after I've fallen behind. Those days I wish I had an office that I could close and lock the door, so I could get more accomplished. Other days, I wish I didn't have internet access (Ahh, life without the web!!!!) I don't usually hold onto that thought very long. I would rather have the small internet distraction. There are days though when I'm for whatever reason obsessed about checking my email (is that order being shipped yet? What's taking them so long!!!)

I guess I am happy with my 1 day worth of work. I feel that compared to others I get a lot done. Given the right circumstances I could maybe get 1.25 days of work a day accomplished, but I would also lose some of my intriguing thoughts. How else can I think about racing cows if I'm just sitting working non-stop? Being more efficient would allow me to have more of my distractions, but I will settle for being productive... For now. But the next time I have a very distracting day I may pray for the efficiency to not look too bad. "Dear Lord, please make me extremely efficient, so I can get a day's worth of work done in an hour and waste the other 7 today but still look like I'm doing a good job"... Nah, I like to be the one with my nose to the grindstone (ouch).

Tough Cell Phones

I think there's a market for tougher cell phones. They are so small anymore that it's just too easy to accidentally drop them.

Maybe we need a Timex cell phone. One that "Takes a flinging and keeps on ringing".

Most of the people I know considered the durability of the phone as more important than the features over the past year. They're just too damn expensive to keep replacing. Timex... The cell phones are calling. Maybe you could just partner with Motorola if you don't want to get completely into cell phones.

Time for me to go fling my phone and see if it holds up to the Timex standards.

Cow races

I was driving over to a friends house the other day to try and fix her computer. On the way there, I saw a calf running out in the field. That got me thinking....

Why aren't there cow races like horse races?
Instead of little jockey's, they should have huge jockey's. Let's give all the 300 pound men something to do.

How long would a cow race be, 15 minutes for a quarter mile? Would we only want to run them 100 Yards?

Why haven't we read about the great races between runners and cows to see who can cover more ground?

I think there's a business possibility here. On your Mark.... Get Set.... Mooo

And their off...............Betsy is the first one to take a step, she's way out in front, in another minute or so she'll be out of the gate.