My Bucket List

I’ve had the 100 things about me page for quite some time. Every once in a while I update it and if you want to know more about me, it is there to be read… however, for a while now I have been wanting those 100 things to be goals for the future rather than just tidbits about life.

The last thing I read that I said, dam, I need to really revisit that page was Nerd Fitness. Daniel has shared that site with me a while back and I am signed up to their newsletter. The fitness part of it I think is right on par with what works for me… the nutrition part, not so much. I think the Paleo diet is too extreme and not really realistic (at least for me) to maintain for the rest of my life.

The best part of that site though (in my opinion) is that the dude set out to do what he wanted to do at a macro level, and it is doing it. Even if you don’t care about the fitness part, check out his EPIC QUEST. I think part of that process is to put down some goals.

So look for the 100 list page to change a little… or maybe a lot, lol, it will be a work in progress. :)

Moments that Define Your Life

I try not to dwell on the past, I also try to live a life of no regrets. We all have moments that define our lives, some are easy to spot. The moment we first feast our eyes on that person that we know we will spend the rest of our lives with. Like when I saw Bea walking towards me at  O’Hare airport; I will never forget that moment. I am sure everyone has the moments that are easy to put in this category, getting married, having a kid, etc. Your brain cherishes those moments like jewels.

I had this post sitting in draft mode for a while, probably in my head since it happened. I could not get it out for several reasons. Interestingly enough, today is going to be one of those days that houses a moment that will probably define my life. Today is not the day to share the current event, however it seems like the perfect time to share the last one.

I have moved for jobs before, a lot. Working on large systems for companies has allowed me the luxury to actually get paid to move to different cities. My heart has always been back in Chicago and I was often reminded of how much I talked about Chicago. I did come to love Kansas City and miss Michigan, but it’s more because of the people and not because of the cities themselves. Chicago as a city, in my opinion, is second to none.

During one of my first jobs I had made the mistake to buy a house in an area that had no other redeeming qualities than being really close to work. That taught me a valuable lesson when I ended up switching jobs and having horrible commute times. That is probably one of the things that made it very easy to start moving around quite a bit. I promised myself that I was not going to buy a house solely on it being close to work ever again.

Fast forward to years later and I finally was in a mental place where I wanted to once again sprout roots somewhere and buy a house. It was a tough choice, because even though I liked the job that I was doing I was dealing with a boss that was extremely emotional. I am not delusional enough that there is a perfect job, but I thought that when you counted all of the chips, the “angry” boss was trumped by good work, awesome coworkers and overall a great atmosphere when the boss was not around.

As time progressed the angry boss became even more and more obsessed with control. What time are you taking lunch, who you talk to during the day, how long you stay after five. I had experienced this kind of behavior before and it’s very common amongst entrepreneurs that built a company. They start to feel like nobody works as hard as they do for the company they built, or nobody can do as good of a job as they could. They have a hard time letting go.

The perfect storm came together one afternoon as the angry dude came back from lunch. That day I had decided that I needed to make a move, and like in poker, go all in. I was going to make a commitment to be permanent not just at the position but to that city. So since I had finished the current task I was working on I opened up the web browser and looked at some houses. My plan was to seriously start looking for a house to settle down in that area.

Not even two minutes into the search, I had not even clicked on an actual properly to see details the angry dude walks into my work area and start grilling me about my current task. I did not even have a chance to answer because his verbal abuse started. His diatribe went all over the place, but the part that struck a cord once he moved on from grilling me about the task that was already complete; “Why are you in the internet? You know what? I don’t even care, you should be coding…”

That moment defined my life. I knew then and there that even though I can code software and enjoy the finished product, I needed to move up from programming to doing more process and business analysis. More importantly, I knew right then and there that I could not work for that guy or that company anymore. The chips had started to stack against staying there altogether. I ended up not buying a house and not sprouting roots. I will never forget that day. It might not have been a sign from God, but it was definitely a sign.

Logtar’s Next Phone

I now have a history with eating crow when I make a strong stance on some technology. I remember my disdain for the XBoX when it came out and the horrible design of their first generation controllers… what do you know, they came out eventually with superior controllers that were completely wireless and just awesome… to make it worse, I have a modified remote for the xbox that we use to watch digital content so I don’t even know if the actual controllers are even charged right now.

I have called the iphone many things. I don’t hate apple, I actually enjoy their products and one of my best friends is a developer that has many times suggested that I leave the whole windows development world and try the green pastures of awesomeness that it is to develop for apple.

When my wife got her first iphone I hated it. It seemed to hate me back. I could never quite get the hang of typing on the on screen keyboard. I stuck with my conviction and entered the smartphone market first with a blackberry that I loved, and later on with an andriod… who I have mixed feelings about. Even though it has a slide down keyboard, I now use the on screen keyboard almost exclusively.

My wife then upgrade iphones and her old one became an itouch by all intents and purposes and I started using it. Little by little the reconciliation with the device begun and I started to play with it more, and more and more. I use the thing more than my android now.

The thing that pisses me off the most about smartphones is battery life. Even after all the hacks you can do to make them waste less energy, they all end up drained after heavy use. And guess what… we have like 3 different iphone plugs around the house and even in the car, so when thinking about my next phone it is a consideration that I have plenty of places to power the device back up.

I looked at the latest android devices and the next entry for motorola is not even 4G… its almost like waiting for a device that is outdated before it is even released. The other option would be an LG with an android OS… but apple is just making a better product.

Then I read an article about how much of the iphone does apple really make. While the article is almost taking a shot at apple for basically not “building or putting together the hardware” which is mostly manufactured by samsung. The real reason the iphone is successful is because it has a superior OS.

No matter how much you love the android OS, apple’s user experience is more intuitive. Even after being an android user primarily, things just happened a lot easier when it came to using the android. Getting music into the device, downloading podcasts, getting games, even web surfing sees easier on an outdated iphone.

So I am getting ready to cook that crow and probably make an iphone my next smart phone choice.

Creative Outlet

We had a wonderful weekend and part of it was spent showing one of our dear librarian friends around the parts of Chicago I like to show people. During that time we got into a conversation about creative outlets and I have seriously been craving having an outlet again.

I recently saw on a blog some amazing sketches. I also saw a presentation about comic book creation last week. Both things really made me want to draw again. About 5 years ago I even got supplies to pick up drawing again as a hobbie but I never really started or kept up with it.

Same goes for writing. I started to write a short story and got a couple of chapters in, but I left it at that. The story is still floating in my head but I never really got it down on “paper.”

Then Alicia suggested looking for a local creative group. A group of people to share your work with and get some of the creative process going. It sounds like an interesting concept, and we have tried to do that online with a group of friends but it never got traction.

Bea and I are going to start taking ASL classes together soon. It is something she has become increasingly interested on and I could not be happier. I have always wanted to get my competency level up to be an interpreter and having someone to practice with will be awesome. I hope we do continue with it and practice it.

I know the classroom environment will make it easier to learn, but for drawing and writing I really should not need a class or group of people. I do think it would help. I think it is important to set time aside for a creative outlet.

Who knows maybe Bea and I will end up liking taking classes together an we can do some kind of creative class together as well. We had talked about photography in the past, but I am leaning more towards writing or drawing at the moment.

Are there any creative outlets that you are not exercising as much as you should? or do you maybe have some suggestions about how to get my creative side motivated?

In Arizona I am learning…

I am in Arizona on a business trip. Even though I have traveled for work before plenty of times, I had never been actually in this state before. I always get a good idea of what a place is like from what people say about it, but I have to tell ya… my mental picture of Arizona and what I have encountered here so far are night and day. Bellow are some of the things that I did not know about Arizona until I actually got here.

Phoenix and Scottsdale are pretty much the same city.

The whole “dry heat” is a myth during monsoon season, right now its not just 115 outside, its also humid.

There is something called a “haboob” which refers to a huge dust storm. nothing like a coworker letting you know on your way out that you should watch out for dust storms and stay indoors if it looks like its going to rain outside… if you breath the stuff in, you can get something called valley fever that can, you guessed it, KILL YOU! that is if you are lucky enough to be able to stay indoors and not already driving when the HUMONGOUS dust cloud moves in.

There is such a thing as a desert garden.

There are people insane enough to want to grow grass in the desert.

Light brown is the color all around… I thought I love that “earth tone” color palette until everything is the same color.

The plants that grow in this climate (not just the cactus) are extremely beautiful and colorful.

The road runner and coyote do live around each other.

Even though a lot of people have lived here for 30+ years, most people still feel like they are “from” somewhere else. I have only found a handful of “locals” so far.

Everything is SUPER spread out.

The only “local” radio station I seem to be able to find is in Spanish.

… more to come