Category Archives: Personal

Happy 61st Douglas Adams

Happy Birthday Douglas Adams

I love today’s Google Doodle. It’s a tribute to the late great Douglas Adams. He would have been 61 today. If you missed it, here is a video of the doodle.

You probably have to be a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fan to understand it.

I have Douglas Adams to thank for turning me into a reader. High school made me hate reading. I did read some great books in high school, To Kill a Mockingbird, In Cold Blood,Lord of the Flies—to name a few. For me reading because I had to ruined the experience. After high school in 1993, I didn’t pick up a book until 1998. That was when I picked up The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy after hearing so many referenced to it. I’ve been ready 20-25 books a year ever since.

Thank you Douglas Adams.

Minnesota full of Muslims?

So my Mom has a job opportunity in Salt Lake City, and her biggest worry is the Mormons. I’m kind of dumb when it comes to religion. Aren’t Mormons Christians too? My Mom also said, “well at least it’s not full of Muslims like Minnesota is”. What? I have no idea what she is talking about. According to recent polls 3% of the population subscribe to a non-Christian religion which includes Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Not quite full of Muslims. And even so, who cares?

Maybe it’s just because I don’t have a religion, but I don’t understand why different people of faith despise each other. Most of the time they believe in the same god anyway. They just have different customs and rituals to show their faith. From what I know most religions have more similarities than differences. I really should educate myself about the different world religions, but it’s usually such a boring read. Anybody know of a good book about worlds religions that isn’t boring as hell?

Maybe my Mom’s irrational fear of Minnesota becoming “full of Muslims” is because Minnesota elected the first Muslim to Congress, Keith Ellison. I think that is great. Our country is full of all types, so we should also be represented by all types.

Keith Ellison is making the news today for going off on Sean Hannity.

I found it entertaining, but I wish he would have just refused to go on the show. He called Hannity, “the worst excuse for a journalist”. Hannity really isn’t a journalist though. He is just a Fox News talking head paid to spread the Fox agenda, and should be ignored.

What I read in 2012

I’ve blogged about what I’ve read the past year in previous years, so I might as well do it this year. I managed to read twenty-four books this year. While I’m not a crazy reader, two books a month isn’t too bad. I hate reading book review, and hate writing them even worse. So no book reviews for you. I’ve just included my Goodreads ranking following each book in my list. So here’s what I read this past year:

Death from the Skies – Philip Plait *****
The Upside of Irrationality – Dan Ariely ***
Ancestor – Scott Sigler *****
The Disappearing Spoon – Sam Kean *****
The Poisoner’s Handbook – Deborah Blum ***
Idiot America – Charles Pierce **
Madoff with the Money – Jerry Oppenheimer **
Fallen Dragon – Peter F. Hamilton***
The Pluto Files – Neil deGrasse Tyson *****
Scam School Book 1 – Brian Brushwood ****
The Culture of Fear – Barry Glassner****
A Universe from Nothing – Lawrence Krauss****
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins *****
Helter Skelter – Vincent Bugliosi **
Suck it, Wonder Woman – Olivia Munn***
Bad Science – Ben Goldacre ***
Redshirts – John Scalzi ****
Bossypants – Tina Fey ***
A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson ***
I Sold My Soul on eBay – Hemant Mehta ***
Freedom (TM) – Daniel Swarez ***
The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins *****
Down Among the Dead Men – Michelle Williams **
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Seth Grahame-Smith****

Funeral for a friend

So this past weekend we attended a funeral for one of my Wife’s family members that was murdered. I really enjoy the pastor from that small northern Minnesota town. I’ve never attended any of his church services, but really enjoy his funerals and weddings. If I lived in that small town, I would probably go to his church even being an Atheist. Last Saturday, at that funeral, I started to understand Christians a little bit. I was raised Christian. We went to church every Sunday. I went through all the motions and got confirmed, and hated every minute if it. Never once had I ever felt the way I felt this past Saturday. Maybe it was because the pastor wasn’t talking much religion. He was just down to earth, very uplifting, and positive.

Religion gets a bad rap because of all of the sexual scandals, their anti-gay stance, and a lot of other hatred they spread. I know that’s a small minority of the religious people, but I tend to hold it against all religious people, and I know that’s not right. It doesn’t help though when bunches of my Facebook friends, that I know are good people, spread the hatefulness of religion. I think they are just entrenched in that community, and don’t see it as hateful. For some reason, that I don’t understand, they think their religion is under attack and spreading their believes is a way to defend them, and they don’t see the hate in it. I don’t hate anybody. I only hate the haters. Life is too short to hate.

Churches do do a lot of good in communities. They could do even more if they didn’t have all the overhead of the church stuff. I now understand why people like going to church. It can be uplifting and bring some joy to your life, if that’s your thing. It’s not mine. Never has been, and never will be.

I miss my childhood Thanksgiving

I miss Thanksgiving. Since I started my job 14 years ago, I’ve never really had a Thanksgiving. The way my work schedule works I either work Thanksgiving, or I work the Friday and the weekend after, so it’s never convenient to travel to see family. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to get some leftovers, but that’s about it. This year I’m working on Thanksgiving. The Wife is actually cooking a dinner for us, her brother, and a couple of her cousin. It will be really small, but at least I get it fresh before I head off to work.

I miss the old days of going to Grandma’s. Watching the Parade. I don’t think I’ve seen the Thanksgiving Parade in at least 15 years. Then, like everybody else, we would eat way to much, and watch football the rest of the day with my cousins.

Now my Grandma is no longer with us, and my cousins are all grown up and have families of their own, and there is no more John Madden. John Madden was actually a big part of my childhood Thanksgivings. It’s really been 15 years or so since I’ve had what I consider a “normal” Thanksgiving. Those Thanksgiving’s of my childhood are long gone. It’s time to make some new traditions and memories, but I think Thanksgiving will always bring back the memories of my childhood.

Life gets crazy sometimes

It seems like it’s been forever since I have last blogged, but I guess it’s only been a week since I showed off my tacos. I hate when people apologize about their lack of blogging, so I’m not going to do that. Sometimes life just gets in the way, and life always comes first.

It’s really been crazy around here lately. We’ve been busy replacing our TVs and everything else that was stolen. We have had half our house painted and are working on getting the other half painted. We have also begun getting our yard ready for a garden next spring, along with having family over the past two weekends. It’s safe to say I’ve been declaring RSS bankruptcy a lot these past few weeks.

Have you seen our TVs?

Hello internet. It’s been a while. It’s been a crazy week.

On Saturday our house was broken into. Our two TVs, XBox 360 with 27 games, and two iPods were stolen. I still can’t believe it happened. Hopefully today we will hear from our insurance company and can go TV shopping. Since it happened in the daytime, the cops, and us, agree that it was probably someone that’s been in our house and knew where things were. We suspect my Wife’s Uncle, who has been in and out of jail on various drug charges, but we have no proof. The police took prints, so hopefully they can catch the person, but chances are pretty slim. The chances of us getting our stuff back is even slimmer. We never wrote down the serial numbers. The cop said that’s about the only way to get our stuff back. Then it would only be if they tried to pawn our stuff. Pawn shops would run the serial number, and it would come up stolen. I now have the serial numbers of all our electronics in Evernote, another great use of that service. I don’t care so much about our stuff. It’s only stuff and all easily replaceable. It would be nice to see the guy get caught though. I’m so glad that’s all they took. They left all the computers, and my iPad. Those would have been worse because of the data they contain. I had find my iPhone set up on the iPod Touch that they took, but haven’t been able to find it yet. As soon as someone gets online with it, I should find out, and my iPod should then lock them out. I still changed a bunch of passwords though just in case.

So our house is in shambles, and tomorrow we are having a painter paint a few of our rooms that have high ceilings. I was originally going to paint them myself, but they estimated it at $425. For that price they can do it. I’m sure they can do a better job, and have it done faster. Well worth the money if you ask me. I hate painting.

Monday through Friday jobs suck; Goodbye Digg

I don’t know why people like Monday through Friday jobs so much. I worked my rare Monday through Friday this week and it sucked. I would take my nights and weekends over Monday through Friday any day. My normal shifts are 12 hours, and usually only two or three days in a row at most. Working five days in a row is a killer. Sure they were only eight hour days, but still five days in a row sucks, and now I only have a two day weekend. Normally my weekends off are always three day weekends.

I feel like I had no time for podcast listening, RSS reading, or Twitter all week. Thankfully I’m back to my normal schedule next week.

In other news, I logged into Digg for the first time in years, and dugg my last article. It was fun while it lasted, but like everything, it has an ending.

Remembering the football playing days

So today a Facebook friend posted a picture of the picture of our 1991 conference champion team in the trophy case at my old high school. That was my junior year in high school. We had a really good football team that year. I remember it like it was yesterday. It’s hard to believe it’s been 21 years. It’s nice to know we are still in the trophy case. My senior year playing football was a bit more disappointing. We were good, but we had a few key injuries and lost a couple of games so we didn’t win the conference. My last football game was in a playoff loss to a team that we use to always beat. To this day, not a day goes by without me thinking about it. I remember all of us bawling in the locker room. We weren’t crying because we lost. It was just a stupid game. We were crying because that was the last time most of us would be strapping that helmet on. We would never bash heads on the football field again. We would never be teammates again. Just typing that brings tears to my eyes. I don’t know what it is about playing football, but they were some special times. Seeing that picture makes me think that somewhere we are still teammates, still bashing heads, and having a great time on the field. It was 21 years ago, but feels like yesterday.

A lot has changed since then. They have a new high school, new football field, new football conference, and new mascot. It’s nothing like the “good ol’ days”, but these are the “good ol’ days” to the kids that weren’t even born yet when we were bawling our eyes out in that locker room. To them, that picture from 1991 could just as well be black and white. Ancient history. To me that picture means everything, it was just yesterday.

Verizon charging more for less

verizon-share-everything

So Verizon announced their new Share Everything plan earlier this week. Everybody seemed pretty pissed because now they are going to have to pay more for less. I was going to wait on commenting until I did the math myself.

I think it’s great that they are streamlining their plans, but man they are spendy, and yes I’m going to have to more for less.

I couldn’t care less about unlimited minutes and messages. I use maybe 20 minutes a month, and probably 4 messages a YEAR. The data is what’s going to kill me, and it’s so hard to judge how much you are using.

I looked back six months, and some months I used .5 GBs, and others I was close to 2 GB. So what plan am I suppose to get? Plus you have to double those data uses since my Wife is also using data at about the same rate as I do. So my usage will vary from 1 GB to 4 GB, and it’s trending upwards. So that means I could probably get by on the $60 and watch my data use closely, but that’s no fun. Or I could go with the $70 plan and pay for more data that I won’t be using most months. I’m glad I’m almost always on wifi, I couldn’t imaging how much data I would be using if I wasn’t.

My current bill is $143 with $20 of that being taxes and fees that I’m sure wont be changing. If I went with the cheaper plan it would cost me $160; $60 for the plan, plus $80 for two smartphones (which is ridiculous), plus $20 taxes and other fees.

So my $143 bill will go to $160 if I want to limit my usage, or $170 if I don’t want to worry, too much, about my usage. All the commercials I have seen say the new plans will save people money. I don’t know what kind of fuzzy math they use. 

That being said, I’m not too against the plans. I like how it simplifies everything, and while the data prices are a little spendy, it’s the $40 per smartphone that kills. Why so much for something that just shares the data you are already paying for, and will probably force you into a higher plan? If all devices on the plan were $10 or $20, I would probably be totally happy with the change. You know that’s never going to happen though. What cell phone company wants or has happy customers?

Congrats to Wil Wheaton and his Kings

So the Kings won the Stanley Cup last night. Hockey is probably my second favorite sport, but with all my other hobbies, I never get around to watching it. I was rooting for the Kings because they have never won a Stanley Cup, and because it’s fun following Wil Wheaton’s tweets about them. It’s a great thing when the team you loved since you were in grade school finally wins a championship. Some kids become fans of team just because they win all the time. Others, like Wil and I, become fans for other reasons, and that makes winning championships that much sweeter. Wil’s team is the Kings, and mine is the Denver Broncos. Here is Wil after the Kings won:

That was me in 1998 when my Broncos finally won their first Super Bowl, and it puts a smile on my face. I’m so happy for Wil. That first championship is something you will never forget. I still go back and watch Super Bowl 32 from time to time. It never get old, and nobody can take it away. Congrats Wil.

RIP Ray Bradbury

This video is old, and NSFW, but fitting for today. It seems to always take a death of someone for me to realize I haven’t consumed their products enough. The only Ray Bradbury book that I have read is Fahrenheit 451, but I have been meaning to read more ever since. I haven’t gotten around to any it just yet. I need to work on that.

Vacation starts now

It’s 5:30 AM, and I’m about to head out the door for our vacation. Today it’s just a 9.5 hour drive to Kansas City to meet up with the rest of my family. Then tomorrow we will be off to my Mom’s timeshare in Branson. I will be pretty quiet here and on Twitter. I will have internet access, but I’ll be busy, so I will mostly be offline. I might post a few pictures. They’re with 1000 words anyway right?

American Idiot Musical

American IdiotSo when we were in the cities we went the the American Idiot musical. I thought it was amazing and a must see for any Green Day fan, but I see how it could get mixed reviews. If you’re offended by loud rock music, F bombs, or guys and girls in their underwear, it’s probably not for you. If you’re a Green Day fan you will love it. I found it amazing how they could tell the story with very few lines. It was mostly the American Idiot album start to finish, but not hard at all to follow the story. I never really took the time to closely listen to and understand the album, so now the album has a totally different meaning to me.

A week of hospitals

Well I arrived home last night, and it looks like winter finally showed up. I can no longer see grass in my yard. I can’t complain much. It’s been a great winter.

So where was I? I spend most of last weekend, and last week in hospitals. Early last week I was in Sioux Fall for my dads stem cell transplant. He has cancer, multiple myeloma to be exact. We actually got to sit in the room during the transplant. It was a pretty simple procedure. He was pretty drugged up, so he doesn’t remember any of it, but we just watched them drain six bags of cells into him, and that was it. Now it’s just a waiting game to see how successful the procedure was. He is pretty sick now, but he will gradually get better and after 100 days we will know if he is cancer free. Chances are it will come back. When they harvested his cells for the transplant, they took enough for two, so down the road he may have to go through this again.

After a few days in Sioux Falls, we drove to Minneapolis. My mother-in-law was still in the hospital after her heart transplant. She had a little bit of a bleeding problem caused by the blood thinners they gave her because they were worried about a few clots that they saw. She had to have two more surgeries because of this bleeding, and it was a little hairy for a few days, but she is doing good now.

I’m glad to be home. A week of hospitals, and hospital food was more than enough for me. The Wife is still down there, and plans on staying a couple more weeks.

Bacheloring it

Three weeks ago when my Mother-in-Law had her heart transplant the Wife left to be with her. She took a leave of absence from her job and plans on staying with her Mom until she is able to be on her own. She is doing really well, and out of the hospital now. She just has to stay in a nearby apartment for a few more weeks before she can go home.

So I’ve been bacheloring it!

It’s still hard to get use to how quiet the house is. I did finally turn the TV on last night for the first time since the Super Bowl. I have a lot of Netflix that I’ve been meaning to watch for a long time now. I always seem to find other things to do rather that sit on the couch. I’m actually looking forward to doing it again tonight.

As for housework, I do most of it anyway, but my underwear drawer is getting low. Laundry is the one chore that I never do. I don’t think I have done it since 1999. It’s on my list of things to do tomorrow. Wish me luck.