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Showing posts from January, 2009

Something completely different--Music

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Been a pretty stressful time lately--co-teaching a class at church, layoffs at work, and kids bored OUT OF THEIR MINDS because of the Snowpocalypse.

My iPod's been my one refuge. Listening to it today, I've learned something about my (new) self--I hate lots of music.

Basically, I hate atonic noise, overwrought compositions, and LOUD stuff. That's ALOT of what people listen to--and alot of what's on my ipod.

About the only thing that gives me peace these days is Miles Davis's Kind of Blue



There's a peace there--amid the din of this insane, lost world--that I just crave. It's a basement jazz bar, a soothing glass of bourbon, warm conversation, and a pleasant feeling of "being"--being yourself. There's no anger here, just smooth jazz: "Everyone's got issues, man. Just sit down and relax."

This is getting comical...

So, most of Kentucky is shut down because of this snow/ice mess we have currently, and my august company has decided to go forward with their yearly kickoff meeting, despite 50% absentee rate at the moment.

On Stopping

Stopping means bringing a moving object or system to a halt. Things naturally get slower as they get colder, down to absolute zero, when all motion (even molecular vibration) ceases.

I was talking to Whitney last night before bed about it...it just feels like everything's stopping--the economy, politics, people's attitudes. Just grinding to a halt.

Yay, we have a new president. Yay, he signals an end to the basic racial divide in American history. So...what now? That seems to be the gut reaction--flowery rhetoric fails when cold reality frosts its dewy petals. I'm sure the last Byzantine emperor made many great speeches before the Turks battered down the walls with a cannon.

* * *

Americans have seen many dark winters: The troops at Valley Forge, the siege of Petersburg, and the Depression and its interminable bread lines and hopelessness. This looks to be another slog; I just hope a spoiled and cosseted generation can live up to the example our forebears set.

On "Norah Jones"

Every time I hear Norah Jones, I'm hear Joey snoring softly in the back on my MINI, dusk falling around us as we drive back from Somernites Cruise on US 127 from Danville.

The sun's gone down on a perfect day, and Whitney's looking at me every so often with so much love in her eyes, I just want to cry. She doesn't know I see her looking. And that's okay.

* * *

It's that time of the winter when you never know if you'll know warmth again. That memory keeps me warm, as it has for many years since.

Retweet / Rememe: Focusing

From Chuck: Linky

Productivity for a creative person or thought worker is consistency, discipline, and knowing yourself. I don't do well at night, so I try to work before noon, leaving time for all the corporate crap in the afternoons.

Sadly, everything has a way of blowing up at precisely 4:45 pm. Don't know why.

Where my temper comes from

You know, I think I finally figured out where my temper comes from: My Mom's side of the family.

I sat here 2 minutes ago and had a full-blown Aunt Norie incredulous rant. At one point, I took a step back and heard myself speaking and it was like, "That sounds an awful lot like Norie at full tilt."

Yep. Dad's family is placid. Mom's is a tad more assertive.

Contemptuous image of the day

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I miss my family

Been a hectic couple of weeks around the Combs household. Whitney got a crash assignment from our pastor to develop a devotional handbook from scratch in a week. 50 days of devotional thoughts, on 7 different themes.

Joey cut his hand trying to close his pocket knife on Saturday, requiring 3 stitches in the back of his hand (they come out in 8 more days).

They turned off our FSA (thank you, Humana), so we're paying our medical copays out-of-pocket. Honestly, for all the trouble we go through with that frickin' thing, I'm tempted to set the amount to zero next year and just pay it with after-tax dollars.

Work's been...well, they're laying off 375 people this month. Not me (I don't think), but people in middle and upper management are carrying-on as if nothing's changed when people are fighting for their livelihoods. The "Dilbert" and "Office Space" factor has gone up exponentially. Honesty and cooperation are disappearing.

And I'…

On Prayer

So, last night our small group topic was prayer. Not surprisingly, we used Matthew 6 as our text:


9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'


Then someone piped-up on "your will be done," saying: "Well, I kinda expect God to answer and I get frustrated when He doesn't."

Our leader's reply: "I do the same thing. I think we both need the Prayer Drive-Thru: Drop off your prayer at the first window, get your answer at the second."

Fun times.

Nerd: Copy windows command line STDOUT to clipboard, directly

Linky

Need to send somebody an svn link to the code you're working on?

svn info . | grep URL | clip

Then, just Ctrl-C and paste it into your email.

Rant On getting smacked down...

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So, you live in an organization for 10 years, and you acquire a certain rep. A reputation as a maverick, a guy who's not too wrapped-up in procedure, kowtow'ing, and career. You've said some things in meetings that were career-limiting, but damn it, they were the RIGHT THINGS.

Sure, you broke into someones computer once to get their hard drive so you could deliver the code she REFUSED TO CHECK IN before going on vacation. Sure, you telnet'd in to a running test server to see if your hack worked and could save everyone working the weekend (it didn't, you hosed the test run, and you worked round the clock that weekend). Sure, you've slapped your head at stupidity (both in others and your own), and welcome anyone who'll do the same.

However, 10 years, several promotions, two kids, a mortgage, and a car payment tend to make you forget who you are. For one sparkling moment this morning, you remembered. You asked an innocent email question last night to a tec…

Comment: Web 2.0 is over?

Linky

In hindsight, certain things look foolish: Jewel-encrusted buggywhips, Pets.com, and GM's interest in Hummer. I'm sure after enough time, this Web 2.0 foolishness will look just as silly. I loved some of the apps that resulted: RescueTime, Mint.com, etc. They're neat.

Still, eventually, you've got to have a business model. Something that doesn't begin and end in "ad-supported". Something people will pay for, that they NEED, and that has some complexity and barrier-to-entry. Government protection or an outright monopoly wouldn't hurt, either.

I've long bemoaned working at a hardware company, but having a revenue stream and an annuity-based business model is looking pretty good right now, just like it did in 2001.

Quote of the day: Video style

Maria overcomes vacu-phobia

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It's been a long journey from terror, to disdain, to abidance, to curiousity, but now, HERE IT IS:

The Break, Summarized

School's back in session, the teacher's hungover, the class is catatonic, and the assignment is "Essay on what you did over Christmas Break".

* * *

Over my Christmas break, I enjoyed my family and relaxed. This was a novelty; usually by the 3rd day I feel cooped-up and restless and turn into a complete asshole. During this week-and-a-half, I really had no desire to put my fist through a wall, run away to Mexico, or otherwise dig a hole in the back yard and jump in it.

For that inner peace, I credit this journey I've been on for the last 4 months, learning to embrace some inner peace and become a better husband, father, friend, and human being, in general.

Notable moments from the break:


Whitney and I went to see A Tuna Christmas on January 2nd. This is the last time the show will be in Louisville and it was truly hilarious, if bawdy and downright offensive at times
Joey and I went target shooting with my father on New Years Eve. Joey's shown some interest in …