Thursday, February 11, 2010

Coastal Snow

It has been 13 or 14 years since it has snowed on the MS Gulf Coast. Today, it was on everyone's mind. Just before lunch, sleet started drifting through. The weather alerts arrived shortly thereafter. Then schools started closing. And now, it is raining.

Seems like all the conditions and all the inhabitants are in alignment for some of the white stuff. Hopefully we'll wake up tomorrow and find an inch or so of coastal snow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Got The Buzz

Crrrrrap. A new application to draw my dwindling supply of attention. Not only is it a damn Social Media app. Not only is it super freakin' easy to use. But, Sweet Jeebus Christos save me, it is from Google.

Google Buzz, to be exact. According to them, I'm supposed to "Share updates, photos, videos, and more. Start conversations about the things you find interesting." 

Of course it is The Big G's direct frontal assault on Facebook and Twitter. The victor claiming dominion over the online lives of hundreds of millions of people. Fortunately for them, FB and Twitter have a huge following and the wind at their back. Unfortunately, we're talking about Google. Ask Microsoft and Yahoo what that is like.

I'm actually ready to give up Facebook. It's cumbersome. Spammy. Insecure. And rapidly devolving as a useful application.

Here's why I like Buzz better:
  • It is Google. I already spend the bulk of my online activity inside of Google's applications. 
  • It is Google. They're secure. They're opening their code. I actually TRUST them.
  • Buzz isn't Facebook. I can't stand all the cruft and ads and blatant commercialism.
  • Buzz isn't Facebook. They retain all your information indefinitely and use it however they see fit. They are insecure.I know pllllenty of people who have had their accounts hacked. They aren't interested in security or privacy. They are interested in getting as much information from as many people as possible and using it to generate revenue. 
  • Buzz integrates into my Gmail.
  • Facebook won't stop changing their interface.
Anyway, I hope Buzz wins the battle. But it faces an uphill battle to win NEW users, and overcome the momentum its opponents have built over the years. Fortunately, they've done it before. I hope they do it again.

Friday, February 05, 2010

On The Half Shell.

A brief excursion with my beloved. Couple of drinks at my new favorite Gulfport hangout: Watson's. Such a cool place. Love the architecture. Love the furniture. All around great, comfy place. And, by some act of my dark computer gods, it is non-smoking. So completely dig it.

After a round, we had dinner on the Half Shell. Great, great design and decor. Good service. Started with a couple of salads. Nummy. Huge servings and nicely made. One of the best "side salads" I've had in a long time. Main dishes came along in the form of seafood-stuff portabella mushrooms (for my bride) and a medium rare ribeye por moi. Cindy enjoyed hers. I enjoyed mine, though I did touch it up with a side of their "voodoo sauce." Good service. Good atmosphere. A surprise birthday party with girls from Atlanta to liven up the night. And a nice, meal between two tired adults.

Didn't have second drinks. Didn't have dessert. But compared notes on parenting on the way home. Then called it an early night. All of us watching Chef Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares on the sofa before parting ways to search for sleep. We all survived. Nice way to end the week.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Was supposed to fly to Washington D.C. tomorrow. Been looking forward to it for a while. A computer security event. Would have been my first trip. Seen our capital. Check out the Masonic symbols. Souvenirs for the kids. Typing geek tourist agenda. But nature reared its ugly head. Conjured up a "severe winter storm" this morning. Threatens to drop 12 - 24 inches of snow on the area. Businesses shutting down. The mayor advising everyone to brace for impact. Such events are usually NOT conducive to a pleasant travel experience.

So we cancelled. No D.C. for me. Bummed, now. But it is what it is.

Maybe some other time.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

These Days

Here is what passes as my life these days: I wake up at 6:30A to try to help Cindy with the kids. (She usually has them fed, then I have to stay on them to get dressed, fix their hair, brush their teeth, make their beds, and get their gear ready for school.) If I slept the night before, I go to the gym. If I didn't, I crash on the sofa for an hour. Then off to the shop.

We're super short staffed at work. The days seem to last 16hrs. And we work 10 days a week. Today, it seemed non-stop from the moment I arrived (working on SQL requirements) to the moment I left (Citrix issues.) If I slept the night before, I'll go home to give Cindy a break from the kids. (She usually goes to see her Mom.) If I didn't, I work out.

When I get home, I'll usually have a shake for dinner and then spend time with the kids. Recently I've been encouraging them to tell me POSITIVE things about school and their day. Then I say POSITIVE things about them. After we talk about our day, We try to watch something informative, like MythBusters or something we've DVRed. Though American Idol pops up, too. No cartoons. No drama.

By 8P, Cindy and Meg are usually asleep. By 8:30P, Liam's in bed, though not always asleep.

I spend a couple of hours writing, catching up on email, and trying to work on projects. Sometimes I'll watch a movie I missed at the theaters. Sometimes I'll watch Hulu or the DVR.  By midnight, I'm usually numb.

I have to read myself to sleep. On a good night, it takes 15 minutes. On a bad night, two hours. Or more. I average about 6 hours per night. Though it isn't uncommon to only get 3 or 4.

Then we start all over at 6:30A.

That's how I roll these days.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Anger Management

Another round of torture in the gym today. Back and biceps. Been trying to change things as of late. Different exercises. Different weights. I like to think it is working. Feeling much stronger. Much healthier. And it is a cheap, effective form of anger management.

Been fighting an odd battle with regret recently. I'm approaching forty and I'm in semi-decent shape for the first time in my life. I lift more than ever. I train longer. My back doesn't hurt. I can actually run for thirty minutes without collapsing. And I realize I spent the better part of twenty years not doing anything physically challenging. I thought I couldn't do it. Never really tried. And became a lethargic, uncoordinated computer dork.

All these feelings of regret and lost-potential burn behind my eyes. I should have done more. Should have tried harder. Should have wasted less time. Made something more of myself. Done more with my father. Maybe tried sports. Maybe accomplished something real, not digital. Something significant and lasting.

So I exhaust myself. Lift until I'm numb. Make up for those lost days. I never thought I'd bench more than my weight. I never thought I'd leg press more than five hundred pounds. But I can. And I do. Finding undiscovered pieces of myself along the way. Finding new limits, and breaking through them. It took almost forty years, but I finally feel alive. And in those moments, I am happy. Happy.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Where Does The Time Go

I blink. Two months pass. Holidays slip by. Valentine's Day approaches. Meg's birthday around the corner.

I spent January posting on my non-profit site. Trying to find contributors to help with the work load. Also finding other local folks focusing on sustainability. They're emerging from wilderness one by one.

Spun up the Beetle with Roger and visited some schools. Still putting a few final touches on The Lightning Bug. Antique tag just arrived. About to get the rear-view mirror installed. And then the radio.

My life is measured in small victories.