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Showing posts from November, 2010

What's a Cyber Monday?

Today was Cyber Monday. It is a day I did not know existed until today. It is a date pushed by online retailers to get people to purchase stuff online at a decent discount. I looked around a bit at Dell, Best Buy and a couple others in hopes of getting a new laptop cheap. I came extremely close to pulling the trigger on a Dell Inspiron 15.5" laptop at Best Buy for $379.99. The only problem was it had a wimpy 1.6 GHz processor. While that is probably enough for what I need (Mainly writing, e-mail and internet), I want one with a beefier processor, so the thing isn't obsolete in 10 months. Oh well, maybe next Cyber Monday.
I was saddened to hear that Leslie Nielsen died today. His acting in Airplane and the Naked Gun movies was second to none. He was a natural talent and he will be missed, surely. (And stop calling me Shirley!)
Otherwise, today was very much a Monday. Tough returning after 5 days off. I think I'll cash it in early, as I've spent most of tonight editing on…

Turkeys, Harleys and a Pinata Flogging

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We just finished our 2010 version of Thanksmas around here. In case you don't know what that word means, it's our family's combining of Thanksgiving and Christmas. We celebrate it every two years on the "off years" when we spend real Christmas in MN.

Typically, this festivus-style event involves either meeting at a central place (e.g. the Sandusky, OH Kalahari water park) or a home in Waukesha or New York, depending on the year. This year brought the NY clan out west and we did Thanksgiving on Thursday, and Christmas on Friday.

Thanksgiving was a great time with the cousins playing together and working on various art projects together. They get along so well, at least for a couple days, after that all bets are off. As they get bigger, they've become much easier to manage and allows adults time to be together and catch up on things. We had an amazing dinner, followed by a rousing round of the Game of Things. The family got to meet Jake, Mark's partner and …

Much to Give Thanks for

Here's some of what I am thankful for this year.Kids and cousins giggling at the kitchen table playing board gamesIn-laws bringing truffles from New YorkA warm house, full of food for the holidaysMy Faith. It's the foundation of who I amA wife who loves me unconditionallyTwo great kids that understand right from wrong, good from badTwo cats and a dog. Dog has bad hair, but we love him stillA city with great services (to go with its high taxes)A great job with good peopleA working laptopA family in Minnesota that supports each otherA mom who is the greatestGood healthGood friends (esp. Steve, Brad, and Pat)A gift for writing and the privilege of being publishedFreedom of religionWhat are you thankful for this year?

The Heavy Bear Comes Through

I got some more good news last night. I had submitted 5 poems to the Heavy Bear Online Journal and I got an e-mail that they liked all of them and will be publishing them in their December issue. Great news! It was especially cool to get all 5 accepted. Usually you submit 3 or four and hope for one. The editor said that I "use some strong images." It's great to get some positive feedback. It's what drives me as a writer.

For someone who considers himself a writer first, or a writer who "likes poetry too," I seem to be having decent success with the poetry thing. I'm not sure what to do with that, but am darn sure going to enjoy the ride while it lasts! Seeing any work published is a good thing and if you're not energized by it, you have something wrong with you. Sure, I agree we all write for different reasons, and most, (me included) do it out of passion first, it's just that it's nice to get recognized periodically.

The other nice thing that…

Life is "Bittersweet"

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I've been reading this book Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist for the past week or so. It is a great book about dealing with adversity and relishing in the good times. The book leans a bit on the feminine side which makes me a little uncomfortable at times. :-) But once you get past that part of it and see what the underlying messages are, it's really quite good. What I like about her books (I've read Cold Tangerines as well) is that they're about her imperfections and resonate with my own experience as well. She talks about a messy house and all the stresses of daily life and how that she doesn't always react to life in a perfectly Christian way. There are times where, despite knowing that God is there and loves her, she doesn't always feel worthy of everything he's given her to care for. So in this period of preparing for the upcoming stresses of the holidays, it fits quite well into my situation. We've got family coming for Thanksgiving, and then in two…

The Good Life

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I've been having a lot of really good days lately.

Good as in just appreciating being alive, my FAITH (First and Foremost, my Faith), having a great family, good job, holidays looming, a car that runs, (despite the oil leak and the fact that she needs a tire balance) a roof over my head, and enough food that I can give some of it away to the food pantry.

I think people are so caught up in more, more that they lose sight of the "all, all" that they have. Greed tends to roll downhill and gain speed. Greed breeds greed.

Take Christmas for example. I love the holiday, love getting the family together, love getting gifts and all the rest. This year though when prodded for a list by my mother, I had a hard time thinking of anything that I needed.

I need a stapler that works. That I DO know. This writing class I'm in has me using a stapler every week. The one we have sticks in a down position and it is super annoying. I showed Donna last night and then told her how I have to p…

It Could Be Worse

Woke up to cloudy, and slightly cooler weather today than we've had for this whole past week (which was gorgeous!) Then I go and read that St. Paul and Northern Wisconsin could get as much as 8 inches of snow. Ha! What am I complaining about? Not that I'm a winter hater (I am), it's just that I'd prefer to stave it off for as long as possible. Three months of cloudy, cold, crappy weather is plenty.

Watched a couple of movies with the kids last night. Black Sheep, which was much funnier than I remember it being when I saw it 16 years ago. Chris Farley did physical humor better than anyone I know. It's too bad he fell into the trappings of Hollywood and ended his life in a haze of drugs and alcohol. He was a funny man who used his body like a weapon of humor.

The other movie was True Stories. Featuring, David Byrne and John Goodman, this is one of my favorite movies of all time. A classic parody of modern culture in general and Texas specifically. Ben didn't like i…

Mr Mom for a Weekend

Day one of single parenthood went OK, I guess. I did have one speed bump in the morning however.

I dropped Ben off at school at 7:05 and returned home. I had to drop Sarah off before work at 8:00, so thought I'd get a quick shower in. Well, then the phone rang with a caller ID of "Waukesha Schools". I pick it up and it's Ben. "Hi Dad. Can you bring four cans of canned goods for the food drive this morning?"

"Uh, wha?" I thought.

Seems he forgot that he needed 4 canned goods for a project that would eventually end up in the food drive. Argh!

So I said I would, but it would be after 7:30 when I took Sarah to school. He said that's fine and that the teachers would let him wait outside until I got there.

Not so much.

When I arrived he (and everyone else for that matter) was nowhere to be found.

Did I say Argh? Oh yeah, that was before though. Argh!

I tell Sarah to go in and drop the four cans off with the person manning the door. She of course was mutteri…

Indian Fall

It was close to 60 degrees today and so nice out that I took Ben and two friends to the skate park for what is probably the swan song skate park outing. I was going to try and write using the laptop in the car, but the glare from the sun was so bad that I only managed to get one paragraph written before I gave up. I could barely see the cursor, which makes editing oh-so fun.

Yesterday was a long day around the house. Donna and I volunteered to do the food setup for the Mosaic Ultimate Overnight event. This meant rising at 4:00 AM and getting to church by 5:00. We scrambled to get the tables lined up with cereal and milk. Then, the 285 kids started streaming in. They were bleary eyed and tired. The coolest part of it all was that probably 80% of them said "Thank you" when I poured their milk. Good kids. God Kids.

When you see this kind of event and all the good friendships and stuff coming out of it, you can't help but think how much better the country would be if people wo…

A Big Fat Map Sandwich

Just returned from another successful EWUG conference in Middleton, WI (www.ewug.org). This conference is for techy, geeky, GIS types who get excited about new geoprocessing tools and functions, server apps, and software upgrades. Typically we talk shop until the wee hours because we forget that we have families and the like. It's really sad actually.

In all truthfulness, it's not as bad as that. We try to abide by the rule that there is to be no GIS talk after 9:00 PM, which is probably a good thing anyway. If there is to be GIS talk, it has to be kept light, like software slamming or sharing the dirt on someone who was fired, etc. No talking about how to properly set up a spatial index on multiple attribute columns in a SQL Server 2008 Release 2 database. Ooops, there I go again. I'm sorry.

The keynote speaker for the conference was Clint Brown from ESRI. He was mildly engaging, but what caught my attention was how he kept referring to applications that allowed you to make…