Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sometimes you get what you ask for

Attempting to make conversation and flirt on my way in from the parking lot to the office today, I began a conversation with a woman. It went something like this...

  • Get out one of my multiple 'electronic fobs' (building doors and VPN access), and open the door. Hold door for cute blonde coming in behind me.
  • She does the same on the next door.
  • Thanks, I say, and we trade pleasantries
  • Her hands are quite fill of various bags, I assume for work
  • Ok here's my chance, "So, what's in all the bags?"
  • "Oh, since you ask, this ones a breast pump"
  • Randy does a quick bee line towards the steps and mutters something about "Have a nice day"
You gotta admire her honesty. Which I assume was more of a "Hey dude, leave me alone" response.

Ugh, great start to my day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And 8 yr olds solution to the energy crunch

Sometimes the most obvious and apparent solution might just make the most sense.

I was having a discussion with my sons about the energy crunch and gas and global warming etc. You know, all that fun stuff that little boys like to talk about. When out of nowhere comes this from Cole, almost 8, "If it were me I'd just say use less gas". Whoa, why hadn't anyone thought about that before??

Instead, we keep hearing from certain political parties, that we should just drill for more oil. I did a rudimentary explaination of supply and demand. Which they seemed to comprehend to some extent. Still, both in agreement that we should just use less gas.

When explaining the production of electricity, Ethan who is now 10, asked "Isn't there an unlimited supply of fire?". Basically equating the production of electricity with some type of fire, coal, gas etc. Nope, I said, there isn't. Because the fire has to come from some other source. He got it!!

Amazing when you take two young children, explain something to them that most Americans don't understand, and they get it. Not because they are any higher intelligence (although I personally think they are), but because they don't have an bias yet. Nor do they have a vested interest in Big Oil etc.

Go figure.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Getting leaner every year

I'm always a bit offended and frustrated by people who stereotype Wisconsinites as some kind of lazy, overweight, lard-asses. I spent most of my life in Texas and always hear the snide remarks from friends and family. Well, this time I've got the evidence to dispel the rumors of our obesity.

Calorielab has published the fattest states of 2008. And... Wisconsin comes in at 26 this year. While Texas trails far behind at 15. So there, all you fat Texans!! Just kidding Mom.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth day

Today is Earth day and I'd like to say a couple things about it. First, why can't we have more creative commercials such as the one above. Oh my, it shows someones ass. Or arse, as they say in Great Britain.

I've been trying hard to minimize my impact on our environment. But, sometimes you just can win. I was buying some meat, yea I know, eliminate that and you've done a lot, but anyway. I was buying some meat and I thought how can I get meat without that nasty styrofoam tray that the product in the cooler has? Hmmm, well how about if I get that nice man behind the counter to slap me a slab-o-beef on a piece of butcher paper. Great idea, right? Well, until I got it home and realized that the nice man behind the counter put that slab-o-beef on a stryofoam tray anyway. Next time I'll have to ask for my beef sans-styrofoam.

I've also been trying to look at more products that I buy and what impact their packaging has. A one gallon plastic jug of milk is about 15% less then buying 2 half gallons cartons. But is the dollar I save worth the impact that the plastic jug will have on the environment? At least the milk jugs will get recycled into something. Yea, I know so will the plastic. But if you think it's being recycled into more milk jugs, you're sadly mistaken. Pretty much any plastic that comes in contact with food is made from virgin plastic. So, from now on I'm spending the extra to help reduce my plastic consumption, and getting only the half gallon cardboard cartons.

CFL's, that seems like a no brainer at this point. Trying to eat more local? Well with the Farmers Market now open, I hope to at least eat one or two meals a week with the primary source of the meal from the market. I'd like to take the boys down on Saturday morning and maybe have them pick out some things that they would like to have for one meal that week. I think they are getting old enough to start to understand some of what that means.

Navy showers? Believe it or not, I've done this a few times. With it getting warmer, it's not too big a deal. It seems like it doesn't make a big impact. But, again if everyone did this once a week think of the impact that would have. It's kind of like if everyone quit using electric can openers.
Amazing when you think about something so simple and small.

Well enough for now and Happy Earth Day!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Non-conformists and hot, spicy, cheese bread

There are a few things that really make Madison unique. One is it's quirky people and non-conformist attitude. The other are things like the Farmers Market. But those two do not go together. If you are going to go to the Farmers Market, then please, please conform. Specifically... walk in a counter clockwise direction. That's the way it is. Always has been, always will be. Don't think you're special and can walk clockwise. Are some people that oblivious to their surroundings that they don't notice several thousand people all walking in the same direction? Yet they are going the other way.

Today was the first day of the Farmers Market. And a good one it was. A beautiful day, at least relative to what the forecast said it was supposed to be. Being early, the variety of produce was pretty limited. But there were numerous perennials, herbs, cheese (yum! cheese curds), honey and of course a plethora of baked goods. And got to enjoy one of my absolute favorites today. Stella's hot, spicy, cheese bread. As I approached Stella's the truck was just arriving. Wooo hooo, a fresh shipment of bread. Hot, and spicy. The cheese stretched like a fresh piece of silly putty. Mmmmmmmmmmm, tasty.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fitting in at any cost

Did you ever feel like you didn't fit in? Maybe you just weren't trying hard enough.

So, is it worth not being true to yourself in order to fit in once in a while? Or is that just a cop out for taking the easy path?

Hmmm, I suspect I'll trying sitting at my desk and screaming in agony for a bit, just to test this theory.

BTW, I just love Savage Chickens. They're my Far Side for the 21st century

Monday, March 10, 2008



The scream could be heard from quite a distance. AARP just sent me a membership solicitation. Come on man!!! I've got 2 years before I can even qualify. I guess I can expect to receive junk mail for the next two years. I'm sure they figure that they need to get themselves in front of you so eventually you'll give in and join.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I'll tell you what I'm very aware of today. This horrific pain from a hernia repair yesterday. Spent a very restless night. I woke up a number of times not only in pain, but sweating like a pig.

Overall everything went as expected. This morning things don't seem as intense. Which I'm taking as a good sign. I was going to try and go to work tomorrow, but I suspect I won't be up for it and will end up working from home.

Gotta run, time for more Percocet :)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Awareness vs. Action

Last year was the year of mindfulness, or awareness if you will. Being mindful of the things around me. People, places, sounds, emotions, myself, pretty much everything. It's amazing what you will see, hear and feel if you just pay attention.

I started this out of a search for something to help me be more in touch with my own physical, emotional and spiritual self. What I ended up with is far more. Being more aware of all that surrounds me. There are a couple of books I'd recommend to anyone who is interested in something of this nature. Both by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The fist is "Wherever You Go, There You Are". The second is "Full Catastrophe Living". I made it through Wherever You Go, but didn't quite have the patience for Full Catastrophe. It's a bit more geared towards really dealing at a deep level of living life with all the junk that it throws at you, ie "The Full Catastrophe".

And as 2008 is now in full swing, I've found myself being all too aware of the amount of consumption that my life is involved in. Everything from my driving habits to the amount of paper towels I'm using after washing my hands. So this year is my year of action. I'm pledging to myself to be more active in reducing my waste and minimizing my impact on Mother Earth.

It's amazing the amount of information that is out there available on this topic. So much so, that it can become overwhelming. I'm trying not to be discouraged by it all. And realizing that even small contributions can have an impact. How many times have you heard "A penny saved, is a penny earned"? Imagine if everyone on the earth didn't flush the toilet once after taking a leak? How many billions of gallons of water would be saved? Ok, yea I know, most people don't have flush toilets, but you get the picture.

Today, I'm starting to try and reduce the amount of paper that comes into my mailbox. I've already been reminding myself to put the junk mail in the recycling. But, I really want to get rid of it all together. No paper wasted and hopefully some minimal impact on the amount of energy it takes to produce and deliver the crap. The Direct Marketing Association has some pretty simple steps that you can follow to reduce the amount of mail coming into your mailbox. They've provided a short list of things you can do. Such as opting out of those annoying "You're Preapproved" offers and how to get your name off of mailing lists all together. So, hopefully I'll start receiving less mail in the near future.

Of course the user experience in removing your name from list really sucks. I'm not really 100% sure what I opted out of. But at least I should receive some reduction in mail in the coming months.

One other thing you can do to reduce the amount of mail, is to sign of for online billing or have your bills directed to your credit card. I think I've got just about everthig either "e-billed" or showing up on my credit card. With any luck I won't be getting any mail at all!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super fat birthday Tuesday

22 primaries, Fat Tuesday and my birthday, all on the same day. I should have gone to New Orleans and celebrated. Instead, I'm here in Madison waiting for the 9+ inches of snow that is headed our way.

Speaking of primaries and candidates, I had two very interesting conversations in the past week. One with a friend, who in the past has been relatively liberal in his view points. When I asked what his take on the candidates were, he stated that he was leaning towards supporting John McCain. Which really surprised me. Since, when you really get down to the meat of the matter, McCain is just a continuation of what we currently have. And I'm pretty sure my friend doesn't really care for what we currently have in place, ie Bush.

The other conversation I had, and this one really blew me away, was with my brother. He tends to lean towards the right. I'm not sure I'd call him a conservative, who knows what the means anymore, but he does have more of a Republican bent. When I asked him the same question about the current candidates, his reaction was more leaning towards Obama. Which I found totally refreshing. His statement was that he felt that McCain would be a continuation of the existing "regime" (my word, not his). And he felt that Clinton would be pretty much the same. After all, we've had a Bush or a Clinton in office for the past 20 years. But Obama is a new face. Someone that might be able to attempt to make some changes. New ideas, not part of the existing establishment and someone feels that to be successful, he needs to facilitate change.

Is it possible that Obama could pull votes away from what have traditionally been votes on the Republican side? Are people that fed up with the current state of the federal government that they'd vote for change? Even though that person might be viewed as a liberal and pretty much against all that has been established by the conservatives of today?

I'm all for it. "Rock and roll" Obama!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Wind power

Oh baby!! I just received a letter from Madison Gas & Electric that my electric power is about to switch over to 100% wind power. I've been on a partial program for over a year. They have recently added more capacity to allow home owners the option of receiving their power from renewable wind power.

But my question is... how do I know that the little electron doo-hickies traveling to my CFL's are from wind. Do they look different?

I'm cold, time to turn up the thermostat... guilt free!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

You're not < fill in the blank> enough!!

Whatever happened to giving people credit for at least trying. And making improvements with regards to their short comings. It seems now that what ever it is, it's not enough.

Case in point: Barack Obama is not black enough and Apple is not grean enough. I guess Barack should throw in the towel in lieu of someone like Al Sharpton. But is he black enough? He does appear to straighten his hair. And Apple?? I guess they should go full tilt green. Bring the price of a machine way out of reach of the typical Apple consumer. Thus putting them out of business. Which results in a lot of folks out of work.

When does it get to the point that you get credit for making headway. I think this is probably one of the bigger problems in the green movement. People are overwhelmed with the amount of things the feel the have to do in order to be "green". Baby steps people!!! Baby steps!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Java Juice revisited

First let me say, I'm really, really disappointed. I had such high hopes for Java Juice. Only to be let down, and hard!

Second round, I tried it again. Bland, flat, nasty. Almost tasting like instant. Although I haven't had instant in so long I'm not sure what it even tastes like. But I imagine it tastes like Java Juice.

Third round, I tried to add another packet. Yuck.

Oh well, the quest continues for a decent brew for the back country. I need something with decent flavor. Easy and light to transport. And easy to carry out in order to stay in compliance with one of the key principles I like about backpacking, leave no trace.

Cubicle life

I'm living the life of Dilbert. Or at least for 8 hours a day. Surrounded, physically, but smells and sounds that are getting to be intolerable.

To the west is the smoker. With a air or smoke hanging on her clothes. I'm sure she has no clue. That I can somewhat tolerate. But the tea she drinks. Really, it smells like Christmas potpourri. When do you wake up one day and say "Yes, I love the taste of Christmas potpourri!!. And I'm going to drink it every day."

To the north. The person with the deviated septum. Or so I'm assuming. It's apparent he can't breath out of his nose. That doesn't sound so horrible until you realize that all day long it sounds like he's snoring. And sometimes I think he is. Most likely due to fatigue caused by sleep apnea. And it gets worse when he puts his head phones on. Like people who try to talk with head phones on. He gets louder. I think I'm going to count the number of breathes he takes today. How fun will that be?

To the east. Ok, I'll give this guy a break, 'cause it's not really him. But rather his project manager. Obviously swimming laps in perfume before heading out for the day. Blech!!!

The best part is, to the south is a wall. My buddy, my friend. He never smells, eats weird food or makes disruptive sounds. Always there for me. Steadfast and sturdy. Ahhhh, my wall.

I think I'll fart and call an impromptu meeting in my cube.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Horatio Sanz for president!!

I think I'm going to vote for Bill Richardson in the upcoming primary. Why you ask would I vote for a guy that on the outside doesn't seem to really have what it takes to be president? Because for the next four years Horatio Sanz of Saturday Night Live, will have awesome material. Really, can't you see it? They look exactly alike. I watched the debate the other night and couldn't take Richardson seriously because all I could think about was how much he and Horatio look alike.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Java Juice

I'm a coffee junkie. Bona fide full blown caffeine addict. I haven't been a day without it in years. Unless you count the day my ex some how neglected to inform me that the coffee jar contained decaf. What a head ache that gave me. But I did end up getting my fix , but only after I figured that part out.

When you're a junkie like I am, one of my biggest dilemmas when travel is getting my fix. And what's an even bigger challenge it making sure you've got some decent to drink when backpacking. One of my backpacking friends directed me to a new product that might just fit the bill, Java Juice. It looks like a great product. Small sealed pouches with liquid coffee extract. The pouches can supposedly withstand a fair amount of pressure. Making them ideal for stuffing into a back pack and carrying around for several days.

I ordered a 10 pack, the smallest increment you can get, to try it out. Here's my experience

My ordered arrived after about ten days. I was pretty excited to give it a try really have time after dinner and needed to wait until another day when I knew I wouldn't be. But alas I didn't up until the wee hours on a caffeine buzz. The packets are nice and compact. About two and half times the size of a ketchup packet. Each containing 0.5 fluid oz or pure Java Juice, "black gold" and USDA Organic too!

First impressions
The package was easy to open. Much like any packet of this sort. It's some sort of techno material that doesn't rip easy. So, there's a small slit on the side to start it. I tasted some right out of the packet, full strength. Which might have been a mistake. I think it shocked my taste buds such that I couldn't taste any more. Because once I added water to the Juice, it tasted flat. No real umph, flavor like that of Hills Brothers at half strength.

I need to give it another try. This time without tasting the stuff full strength. I've also got a bit of a cold, so that might be effecting my taste buds. But my initial impression is, I like my Folgers bags better.

More to come later.