Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Surprised Kitty

Tangerine does this but not this quickly. Cracks me up.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gary's speech on Healthcare

For those who don't know I've been in Toastmasters for 2 years and recently I developed a speech that had excellent reviews. As such I gave it as a test speech at a contest and subsequently was invited to another Toastmasters club to give it a 3rd time. They captured it on video. Maybe it's meaningful to someone out there in the blog-o-sphere.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hitler finds out no camera in iPod touch

Admittedly, I'm an Apple fan-boy. I have owned and used a Macintosh since 1986 and have no intention of changing platforms. I wait with baited breath while Mr. Jobs takes the stage and announces products. I schedule time on my calendar at work to make sure I know what is coming, what was real and what was rumor. So perhaps that's why this strikes me as hilariously funny. Warning: you won't find this the least bit humorous if you aren't a follower of Apple rumors. But if you are, you'll piss your pants laughing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How to open a banana

My co-worker David turned me onto a blog that a friend of his writes. The selling point to me was the "How to Open a Banana" video. As a self-declared monkey (hey, at least I admit it) who loves bananas, this is absolute genius.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Thursday, July 02, 2009

D'Plane (crash), D'Plane (crash)

In March of 2009 I notated on this very blog that planes were falling out of the sky faster than the descent of Bernard Madoff's net worth. I sketched out the crashes on 1/15, 2/12, 2/25, 3/22 and 3/23. Unfortunately for all of us, the trend has NOT stopped. So much so that a second post is needed. Without further adieu:

6/29/09 - Yemeni plane crash kills 150+
6/1/09 - Air France crash from Rio to Paris kills 220+
5/20/09 - Indonesia plane crash kills nearly 100

Now then, I have no real point here. I just traveled on no less than 6 flights from west coast to middle-USA (CO/TX) to east coast and back with little to speak of except expensive water and indigestion. However it's disconcerting that these giant planes (nearly all Airbus planes I will note) just fall out of the sky. The average is MORE THAN ONE PER MONTH. I leave for 4 flights on Thursday. Someone feed the kitties if they plummet, ok?

Paranoid yet?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tech World is Repeating Itself

Maybe it's because I've now been in the tech world for several decades (at least in terms of tracing information on a DAILY basis, reading trade publications and now internet publications, etc.)... but I'm seeing a pattern here. Read the following excerpt from T-Mobile.nl relating to the new iPhone:
"600 MHz is notably faster than the current iPhone and iPod Touch which run at 412 MHz and 532 MHz, respectively. Until now, the 2nd Generation iPod Touch has been the fastest device in the lineup by a good margin. Meanwhile, the previous generation models where also limited to 128 MB of RAM, so the new device offers twice as much which could be a welcome change to developers."
Hmm... does this sound to anyone JUST LIKE the late 90's? Pentium III processors had the exact same specs and yet those seem to be in the distant past now. It's not that the technology is the same. Far from it. It's 100-1000x smaller, more energy efficient and fits into a handheld device now! It produces visual effects beyond what could have been imagined 10 years ago. But the pattern is there. Life is completely repeating itself. That means I am both old AND wise (the latter only because I recognized the trend to be nearly identical to 10 years ago!). I suppose it's no different than the claim that came decades before and continually resurfaced. The same claim that still comes up here in my workplace: the "paperless" office is coming. Yah, right.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DC Store is live!

6 months of hard work. The Sr. VP of Retail, Nicholas, brought to my attention today that I've been launching sites non-stop for 2.5 years as of today. Holy Christ.



Friday, June 05, 2009

Vroom Vroom Vroom: Dexter the Car, 13 years later

I drive a 1996 Acura Integra. His name is Dexter. He's Hunter Green. He has 175,000 miles on him, never been in the shop for a mechanical problem (knock on wood) and still gets me to and from work on the busiest freeway in the USA, 52 miles round-trip every day of the week. He's our sole source of transportation on the weekends because C has a company car that should be used for work-purposes only. I love Dexter.

Dexter's birthday is this month. I got him 13 years ago right after he was born at Euro Motorcars in Bethesda, MD. And yes, that means since I live in CA I got the opportunity to drive him across the country. But there's more to it than that.

A lot of shit happens in 13 years. Dexter has outlived over a dozen "relationships" and Lord knows how many dates I picked up with him idling nearby. He's outlived one marriage to see the blooming of a second. He's driven me to EVERY SINGLE FULL TIME JOB I HAVE EVER HAD SINCE GRADUATING COLLEGE. Yes. I know. Amazes me too.

He's lived in the city, the suburbs and in climates as diverse as swampy, humid and occasionally icy to dry, maritime-based foothills. He's lived over a mile high and right at sea level. He was neither tuned up for one or the other. He just runs. And runs. And runs.

This past week C's father (head mechanic at a local repair shop) helped me out by installing the SECOND timing belt and water pump Dexter's had. He also put some new struts on there. Yes, I wore down the struts on a Honda product -- and they were far from "shot" although they were weakening. I've been through 3 sets of tires with Dexter (approx 60k each set with a few punctures between).

There was an article on NPR recently where someone was discussing the changing car culture. That GM invented the concept of changing models annually to drive sales and how that may change as the landscape of auto-consumerism changes worldwide, especially in the USA. I am absolutely amazed that people would actually BUY a new car annually. What the hell for?

All told, I can't say I haven't had many thoughts about new cars over the years. Three years ago I researched and test drove some cars while visiting my Mom (it seemed like good Mother/Son bonding at the time but really I ended up driving 75% of them with a salesman while she sat in the dealership so it's not an activity I recommend, anyway, I digress). I've looked at convertibles and other Acura's. I've driven my brother's new Acura (his old car is an Integra, by the way; a 1993 model that also still runs like a champ, albeit with less mileage on it).

The sole reason I can think of to get a new car is safety. At the time I purchased Dexter he was as safe as can be. Dual air-bags, anti-lock brakes. Those were "state of the art" and started to become standard in the mid-90s. Fast forward. Now side-curtains, lane-departure warning systems, in-car GPS-based alert systems and back-up cameras are all normal features (and they all have dashes "-" in them as did the 90's features!?). There was a 60 Minutes show 3 years ago that I caught. It compared "Cars a Decade Later" and it was 1996 vs 2006. The safety changes were astounding. I immediately started researching. After all, the 405 freeway averages 78mph in the morning and afternoon commutes and I do not really have a death wish. But when it came down to it Dexter seemed perfectly adequate versus the small, fuel-efficient car I would have wanted anyway.

Dexter has been "rebuilt" twice. Once when I rear-ended an Avon Lady in a Pink Cadillac (yes, it's true!) in 2004 and once when someone hit me in a DC private parking lot in a rental car and left me the nicest note in the world. But he still looks tip-top. My neighbors used to make fun of me because I would be out washing Dexter almost every weekend. And I recall when I first started working that I'd always have a "proud" moment when I would fill his tank to the top and drive into the city (where I lived) for the weekend.

He is also better traveled than most Americans. I drove him from the east coast to Colorado and back twice. And to California as mentioned earlier. He's been to Northern CA and down to San Diego on the left-coast. On the right coast he's been to the TOP of Maine (think Canada border tippy top) and as far south as North Carolina. And everywhere between down South. He's been camping at the Grand Canyon, driven across the length of Texas, revved over a railroad tie in a concert parking lot outside a dark amphitheater (not bad for a ~12" clearance on a sporty car), rear-ended the Avon Lady (I know I mentioned that but in retrospect it's pretty amusing), shuttled my entire family to all sorts of places and provided me with freedom to be me even in Southern CA, land of the car culture. I've hauled furniture with his fold-down seats and giant hatch, driven through blizzards on ski trips (he does NOT like ice so I don't feed him that often). I've taken apart his entire front panel, installed "new feature" stereos for my iPod and even replaced his speakers, tail-lights, etc. Anything that's efficient and provides comfort. I'm not one for bling or "upgrades" to my Integra although it's a popular SoCal past-time with certain cultures.

For the past 7 years he's been garage-kept and he will continue to be until he retires. I don't know if I'll ever trade him in. I think his blue book is under $2k. The last time he was rebuilt in 2004 the insurance company was wavering whether his blue book was worth more than the damages. We scraped by that time. No, I think I'll drive him into the ground at some point, even if he's a 2nd vehicle. And that's that. I have no point. I just love my car and most people don't love theirs. Sucks for them. Choose more wisely next time. You'll be glad you did; even 13 years later.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Motion and Facial Recognition in the new XBox sensor

The Wii was nice but it was never compelling enough for me. I'm not a big "gamer". But motion controlled videos? And facial recognition? That's pretty slick. Unfortunately, Microsoft's reality is usually less than perfect vs the demo. Either way it'll be interesting to see what comes of this technology.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Some days like this,
when I get some time alone,
after the Mother's Day "family" stuff and doing wedding talk and cleaning the house,
when I'm just about pooped out and ready for a nap...

I become aware of just how grateful I am:
To have made a career out something I really enjoy doing;
Realized the few things that make me unhappy
And made intentions to avoid them,
Or more often to create something more compelling.

I can be incredibly solid but I've learned some form of fluidity
That allows me to focus, a majority of the time anyway,
On being happy, proud, communicative yet connected.
Or as some may call it, Amen.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more

Because I can. And my brother can. And that's a blessing.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Farewell Felines

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to go snowboarding with my friend Jeff (aka Jefe). Jefe was my roommate in college and one of the first people I met in Boulder. It seems I've known him forever. He lives relatively (2 hrs) nearby now and we get together once every 3 months or so. Anyway, we were reminiscing about some experience that I referred to as "10 years ago". He laughed, looked at me and with a big smile said, "G, sorry but college wasn't 10 years ago anymore." We both had a good laugh as just how ridiculously old we've become and yet there we were, snowboarding in Mammoth, in the prime of our lives, laughing, imbibing, enjoying and looking at the fruits of our labor in our very midst.

And where 10 years seems a distant memory there are events taking place now that hark back to a much earlier time and wrap around in my mind intermingled with vivid childhood memories. Teen years. Innocent times. The kitties I grew up with starting in my teens recently went to Cat Heaven. Bonnie passed away this past Monday, April 6th 2009 and her brother Clyde passed about 4 months prior. Bonnie and Clyde don't seem 15 or 10 or even 5 years ago to me. They have been around so long in my almost-middle-aged brain that I just plain associate them with family. It would be akin to visiting three cousins who you see every year and two of them are't there suddenly. A departure of a true soul. Two of them in this instance.

I could sit here and be sad but I believe it's more fitting to remember them for the feline friends they were. Clyde, always dressed in his tuxedo, ready at any moment for action. He was the 007 of cats. Seemingly innocent but truly sly and ready for a tuna martini and a good game of chase at any time, even at age 17. Bonnie was the cat with the "busy tongue". She licked more than any cat I've ever encountered and her gray body was always ready for the coming of dusk when she could blend into the darkness. Seemingly innocuous with her pink collar and pink tongue at the ready, she would undoubtedly be crowned the resident suburban ninja of fire-fly catching and Montgomery County Vole Catching Queen.

Bonnie and Clyde were my siblings nearly as much as my own brother. They came into my life at age 16 just after my sophomore year in high school when my brother himself was college in another state. This was a time of growth. Suddenly I was the only child in the house, hormones were raging and my guinea pig, GP, wasn't quite a household personality. Strong remembrances of hot Maryland summer afternoons spent in the backyard playing chase (no, believe me, a dog is not required if you had Clyde around). Bonnie sitting under the bird feeder, drooling with anticipation. Clyde going on an mid-day stroll for 4 hours and returning with a necklace made of flowers (not made up, I'm serious). The few days when I skipped school they were home. Constant companions. Times when I was somewhat out of my mind, they were there, thinking of treats, tuna or just a few pets. Times when I had friends over for marathon sessions of Uno during college breaks... yup, Clyde and Bonnie joined the party. Young adulthood? Check. Playing in the basement with my band, check (ok, they weren't too keen on the noise but afterward they'd come down).

I could go on an on. The point is everyone I've known who interacted with my family probably got to meet Bonnie and Clyde. Even Catherine on our last trip to Scottsdale got to meet them. Those kitties were family. I'm sorry to see them go but happy they lived wonderful, experiential lives in some beautiful places in the USA. Bonnie and Clyde fly on, cause some havoc in heaven and paw at a few angels for me.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Recession in safety: Planes crashing like a dot-com Nasdaq startup

Ok, I have to take the time to ask what the HELL is happening in the friendly skies? Are there burning comets flying around, unbeknown to us, avoiding radar? Seems like when it rains it pours and this string of airplane accidents is getting a bit ridiculous and potentially scary.These aren't experimental or test flights. These aren't non-commercial pilots. We're talking MONSTROUS aircraft falling out of the sky. So I am definitely going with the hidden comet theory.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Super Chef!

We've left the infamous 9/80 program behind and it's back to working every Friday. The bonus is that my days are now much shorter and I'm going in earlier to make them "seem" even shorter (call it a "virtual" 7.5 hr day!).

Unfortunately without a full day off it will affect my ability to do things like bake Almond-Crusted Pear Tarts and create Maple infused Applewood smoke bacon. So to accomplish these tasks in a mere 48-hr weekend I am glad to have browsed my friend Catherine's blog and found that I too can be a super-hero. I chose to be a kitchen hero and here is the resulting persona: