I’ve spent all day mucking about with DOCTYPE
s, conditional funkiness and the perils of unattainable goals. I won’t bore you with the details. My mood hasn’t improved, even after listening to Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub)
about a million times today. Thankfully, tonight is bowling, so I get to go take out all my theological and political frustrations on a bunch of helpless pins.
Speaking of bowling, since I lost all this weight, I can’t use my giant sixteen pound ball reliably. It’s hard to control and it goes all over the place. I’ve switched to using the house fourteen pounders (which are all pink for some reason, not that I have a problem with that – the 12 pounders are baby blue). I’ve bowled really well for me (high score of 146 last week) the past couple weeks with the fourteen pounder, and am tempted to go get my own light girly ball. I think tonight will be a combo-swearing night, as long as W doesn’t bring the kids.
I did smile momentarily today when I reaized that General Conference is this weekend, and I don’t have to go to church.
This weekend, I read articles about the Wright Brothers, an artist who makes photo-realistic art out of fabric, Degas’ ballet paintings, and an interview with Maya Angelou. Along with yesterday’s freak snow storm, and church, the stories help slide me into a deep funk. There’s all kinds of stuff rolling around in my head, and none of it is making me very cheerful.
Let’s start with the Wright Brothers. These guys competed against several world governments and top scientists of the day to become the first men to launch an honest-to-goodness powered airplane. They did it through sheer determination and a talent for breaking large problems into component pieces. They solved those smaller component problems on the way to a solution to the big problem. The article contained excerpts from several letters sent by the brothers to relatives and friends, and a couple news stories about them. The writing in the letters and articles was so beautiful in both form and vocabulary that it made me ashamed of all this tripe on my site. I want to be a good writer, and this site has turned into a journal, only a couple one step removed from the form of my instant messages and e-mails.
Second, Maya Angelou. She’s seventy-five and is never bored. I’m bored all the time. I’ve lost some piece of the fire I used to have. I’m too complacent and willing to sit and let things wash over me instead of standing up and taking the wave head on. I’m tired and unwilling to fight a lot of the time. Ms. Angelou has lived an amazing life, written books, poems for Presidents, sung for albums and still finds time to learn languages and teach. I can barely find the energy to cook when I get home from work, much less do anything else productive.
Third, let’s talk about church. Or, let’s not. I can’t decide what I should say here. My family reads this crap, and so do several people from church. Let’s just say, I’m having a hard time getting up and going every Sunday. I’m having a hard time biting my tongue. There was a whole paragraph here about the other things I hate about church, but I just deleted it. I get why people leave the church now… it’s hard being Mormon when you don’t fit into the “mainstream” of Mormon culture.
Jen wrote this one…
Waaaaaaaahhhh! Arizona lost! Arizona lost! Boohoo. They started out so flat, so sloppy, just plain horrible! It would have been Lute’s 500th career win at Arizona. Twenty years ago today he signed on with Az. How great would a win have been? To end a season by playing so poorly is frustrating, almost as bad as a first round NCAA tournament loss (which Az has done.) Even though Az won big, Thursday’s game against Notre Dame did more harm than good, due to the lack of defense. When Kevin heard that Az had lost, his face fell and he said “oh, I am so sorry. are you ok?” He acted like my pet had just died. I was exuberant when Az beat Gonzaga, but my mood didn’t swing the other way for this loss. So I assured him that I was fine. But then again, this is my first ranting blog in almost 6 months. I am glad that Kevin is sensitive enough to inquire about my feelings, even about such a trivial matter as a basketball game. (When Princess Diana died, I called my aunt and asked if she was ok, so I understand Kevin’s motivation.) It did give me the opportunity to talk about my favorite Az moments: the first final four appearance, the national championship a few years ago. One of my favorite game of all time was the loss in the championship game 2 years ago. It was the year Lute’s wife Bobbi died after fighting breast cancer. Lute had taken a leave of absence from coaching during the season to be with Bobbi, but came back after her passing. He had mentioned that the pain of her passing was least felt while the team was on the court. Taking that to heart, the team played and played and played. Going further than any would have thought possible, they lost only in the last round of the tournament when there was not another game waiting to be played. As for the rest of the tournament, I may continue to watch, but only to root for a loss for both Texas and Oklahoma (so that no number one seed makes it to the Final Four. Kentucky lost today too.) It may sound spiteful, but I need a reason to watch, don’t I? In happier news, Lute is engaged to be married in October. How great is that?! Statistically, widowers who were happily married are more likely to remarry than the unhappily married widowers. Interesting thought, huh?
Last night, Max and I made cookies. Our pantry was against us, however and we were missing two important ingredients: brown sugar and rolled oats. Being the creative culinary maverick that I am, I substituted regular sugar mixed with maple syrup (it made the sugar brown, and kind of brown-sugar-esque) and crushed pecans. The cookies turned out a little flat and runny, but they’re still yummy. The maple syrup added a great flavor.
Today, I decided to try out Mr. Allen’s yummy-sounding soup recipe. Of course, being American, I couldn’t just follow directions. Instead of making chicken stock, I used some store bought beef and chicken broths left over from my braising experiment. I used broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms as my veggies of choice, along with a healthy heaping of spices: white and black peppercorns, green chili powder, red chili powder, a pinch of curry, and some sea salt. I simmered for two hours, then added two little containers of heavy whipping cream, whipped with my little kitchenaid thingy, and voila – the most amazing soup I’ve ever made. Jen is floored.
On top of the soup, I decided that Max and I would enjoy making bread together. Unfortunately, Max decided to take a nap, and I got to make bread by myself. It was my first time making homemade bread from scratch aaa-aaall alone. I decided to go old school and mix everything by hand. I’m not sure it’s going to turn out, but it was fun to try just the same.
Oh, there’s the timer. Time to go see how it turned out.
Not gonna talk about the war… not gonna talk about the war… not gonna talk about the war… I got flamed over at A Small Victory
. I’m not going to say what it’s about or why I got into it other than I couldn’t resist. Go read for yourself (I am taking bets though on how long it will take for someone to call me a Nazi).
I met Jen and Max for lunch today. Max is my favorite little kid ever. I know, he’s my son, but it still counts. I asked him what he wanted to do tonight while he was sitting there gnoshing on chicken nuggets. Max piped up and said, “MAKE COOKIES!!” We’re going to dust off the cookie sheet, pull out the flour, sugar, baking soda, vanilla and butter and make ourselves some chocolate chip goodness. I then asked him what we were going to do after we made cookies. Of course, he said, “We’re gonna eat one!” And we will.
Each paragraph in this post will be completely unrelated… if you hadn’t caught that already. I’ve been keeping this quiet since we launched it, but I just can’t anymore. I met with a couple guys from DevEdge on Wednesday to see if we could make our product faster/better/happier. Now, I’m pretty confident that I’m good at what I do. I do my best when at all possible, and the best I can under circumstances that dictate something other than the best. Ok, back to the DevEdge guys. They came in, and told me my DOCTYPE wasn’t in caps, and that was a problem. Fine, I can live with that, and they said it doesn’t affect the pageload anyway. I’m not hip on DOCTYPE’s anyway, and it’s easy enough to fix. That was it. That was the only problem that I have control over. They actually said they learned some new tricks looking at my markup, and that makes me happy. So, what was it that they were looking at? AOL Search. We quietly relaunched it earlier this month. I was able to shave a second off the page load time by totally redoing the markup underneath. Other than a couple places in the results that I don’t have control over, there are no tables, and everything is contained in DIVs. There’s one inline stylesheet. Oh yeah, and it had to look EXACTLY the same as it did before, and I had to learn a new language in like two weeks to get it done. This has been a good week for my ego.
The other two music-related things I was going to tell you about yesterday before Mike delivered his new album
were the two CD’
s I got in the mail on Monday. They are:
- Massive Attack: 100th Window: Before I start this, I have a confession. I am a huge Massive Attack fan. I own all their albums. I have been waiting for this for five years. So, if I break down and start to cry, that’s why. This is a great album. Go out and buy it right now. Why? It has Sinead O’Conner sounding the best she ever has in some haunting Teardrop-esque (my favorite song EVER) pieces on it. The rest of it is classic Massive Attack, only new. There’s growth and expansion from what they did on Mezzanine. The sound is fuller, and has more layers than anything that’s come before. Everywhen is heavenly, with the slightest bit of distortion on the keyboards adding a pleasant roundness to the sound. The layers come in one by one and wash over my ears, making me nod and close my eyes. It’s hypnotic and then it blows your ass out of the chair – like the best of their other work (think “Angel has a baby with Teardrop who sounds a little like Safe From Harm“).
- Groove Armada: Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub): I somehow have a copy of Edge Hill on my computer that I swear I have no idea how it got there. It’s a great song, and I was already placing my order with Amazon, so I went for it. I’m glad I did. The other songs on the album bear little resemblance to Edge Hill, but they’re still good. I even like the rap in the first song (it shows up in others two, but I’m listening to Massive Attack still, so I’m not going to go find them. The album flows really well between songs, and creates a great laid back mood throughout, even when it’s rockin’. After Edge Hill, Little by Little has me going back to it over an over. Hypnotic, densely layered and beautiful, even the vocals are great. What I love about the song is it gives you a good couple minutes to set the mood of the song before the vocals come in. Even then, the music takes precedence. Good good stuff for your headphoning pleasure.
My lovely wife got me Fear of Pop for my birthday, which I’ll probably review tomorrow, if I can stop listening to Mike’s new album, and these two gems.
Google thinks I’m a “web designer and goofball extraordinaire”. One out of two ain’t bad. I’m no designer. I used to think I was, but I gave up. I’m a code monkey with definite opinions about design, but I’m not a designer.
The goofball part is right on… on the way back from Indian food the other day, someone said, “It’s great to find someone else who never grew up.” Yeah, that’s me. I’ve got a juvenile sense of humor and a delight in mischief.
What does Google think of you?
Today has been a much better day than I expected. Lots of good news and good new music. I’ll document the other new music later, but I want to tell you about my friend Mike. See, he was my boss for a little while a couple years ago and is an all-around swell guy. I didn’t find out until recently that he’s something of a musician (something of because I didn’t know how good he was). All that changed today when, while I was meeting with someone in my office, Mike ran in, dropped something on my desk without saying a word and ran off. It was a CD,
and it had his name on it!
I popped it open, threw it in the UberMac, ripped it (don’t worry, Mike, I won’t share), and began listening. Holy crap. He doesn’t suck! I’ve had one other good musician friend in my life, and the experience was a lot like this. I got this huge swelling of pride. My friend has created something beautiful, and I know him (not Biblically… I swear… although he did offer to take me hiking). All of the songs on the album are good, but there are some that are honest-to-goodness pieces of art. Waltz for Brooklyn is a gorgeous song that almost made me cry, partly because my friend created this and was kind enough to share it with me, but mostly because the song is just that good.
So, if you’re in need of some acoustic guitar happy-sweet-goodness, go pre-order Half Pint today. Tell him Kevin sent you… and no, I don’t get anything if you buy it. It’s really just that good.
Yesterday was pretty brutal as far as work and stress levels are concerned. I spent a lot of time in meetings, writing documents and dealing with money stuff (we’re refinancing the house, which means lots of paperwork and finding old documents). My general stress level hasn’t been good lately with a bunch of new responsibilities at work on a new top-secret project and a lot of swirl around other stuff. It’s a whirlwind that follows me home every day.
Jen suggested I take a bath last night, and I love her for it. It kept me away from the TV, allowed me to finish reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and introduced me to a great new mix of flavors. Before I get to that, I have to confess something. I’m addicted to Bloody Mary Mix. Being Mormon and all, there are never any spirits in the mix, just the spicy goodness of Mr & Mrs T’s Bloody Mary Mix (the normal stuff, not the super spicy version). I usually drink it in a mug full of crushed ice. It’s kind of like super-chilled gazpacho (the cocktail that eats like a meal). I think you know where this is going, or do you? The other thing I have to tell you is my obsession with good gummi bears (yes, I spell it the German way, because they’re German and that’s where I first had them). Jen bought me a big bag of Black Forest Gummi Bears (the original and still the best, no gummi worms or coke bottles for me – give me the little squishy bears and watch me smile like a doofus) for my birthday. Ok, on to the story. So, I take my mug o’ mix, a bowl of multi-colored edible bears, a bottle of water (in case I get lost and dehydrated) and my book up to the giant tub in our bathroom.
I was a little apprehensive about mixing gummi’s and bloody mary mix, but you know, they’re pretty good. I wasn’t dipping them or anything, but I’d take a sip then eat a bear and I didn’t throw up. It’s not quite chocolate and peanut butter (but what is?), but it’ll do. I spent an hour up there nursing my mug and my bears, reading the final chapter of Mr. Eggers’ book (the last ten pages really are heartbreaking and genius).
I feel a little better today. I’m still not sleeping well, but I haven’t broken down and run to get a forbidden soda, and work doesn’t seem so helpless today. I’m whittling away at the pile of documentation I have to write, and dealing with the constant flurry of interruptions without killing people. I think this skipping CNN thing is working.
came up with a good idea in her comment to this post
. I’m not going to talk about the war on this site anymore, if I can help it. I’m going to avoid it if at all possible. Why? There are a lot of reasons. First, I’m not qualified, and who wants to read about it here, when there are a million other places to get your war on. I’ll leave the commentary to the professionals, and those deluded enough to think they have the big picture. Second, it’s tearing me up. I have so many conflicted emotions about the whole thing that I don’t really want to relive them here. I’ll deal with them myself and leave them off this site. Third, the amount of commentary, good and bad, on the web is overwhelming. The coverage on the TV is bad enough, but it’s also practically impossible to avoid it online either. I will do my part to not contribute to the war commentary clutter.
What am I going to talk about? Everything seems tainted by the war. Expect lots of stupidity (like you don’t already), lots of geekiness, some talk of sports and movies and Max stories. You’ll probably get some video game reviews and maybe some embarrassing stories from my childhood. I mean it, I really am going to try to avoid any commentary on the war, the President and politics in general, at least until the Primaries roll around.
I’ll hopefully be back later today with something light and humorous… check back.