Archives for category: personal

I am hopeful (yet cynical) that we will take this current economic recession and learn to live within our means, not go EVEN farther in debt.  This video takes it even a step farther and encourages us to give but to give less materially and more meaningfully.

[via joshuablankenship]

As many of you know, my grandfather recently died and we (the family) are uncovering many things unknown or long forgotten while sorting their stuff. (On a personal note, special thanks to my mom for all the work she is doing in largely spearheading this thankless and at times heart-wrenching process.)

One thing that was uncovered was this printed poem by John Guy Britton (my grandmother’s father) in 1943. The copyright resides with him and his side of the family, but I wanted to copy it up here as I thought it was appropriate for our times today as well.

A part’s lost from our washer, the darn thing’s made of brass
but we’ll get along without it, Like we’re doing ‘bout the gas

The belt’s off the cleaner, That we use to clean the rooms
But Grandma’s house was always clean, And all she had were brooms

The refrigerator’s on the blink, It used to work real nice
But we’ll go back a few decades, And buy some cakes of ice

And now the oil for heating, Is pretty hard to get
so we’ll use the good old fireplace, And we’ll be warm, I’ll bet

What if we’re cool in other rooms? None of us should care
We’ll go through the trunks of yesteryear, For heavier underwear

And soon I’ll have no tires, I don’t intend to cuss
For when they’re run down to the quick, I’ll just block up the bus

They say they want my bumpers, To keep Hitler on the jump
O.K. – with no gas or tires, My car won’t be there to bump

My suit’s all right but looks so queer, With no cuffs of double flares
I never was a fashion-plate, So I just say, “Who cares?”

My coffee’s flat, so it my tea, And yours is too, no doubt
But I’ll just grin and see how quick, I’ll learn to do without

Now these are the frightful hardships, The Home Front has to suffer
So let us stop and think a bit, Could it be any tougher?

Well, we’re not in concentration camps, Our kids are still well fed
No bombs drop through out roofs at night, While we’re asleep in bed

And all the farmers raise, we get, It’s all for our boys – or home
While the cream of the crop on the other side, Goes to Berlin and Rome

We’re free to enjoy our radios, On short waves or on long
Foreign or domestic, In any Nation’s tongue

Our press is free to criticize, We get unaltered news
And we may vote for whom we wish, we’re not told whom to choose

And we may worship as we please, We can run our Congress down
We may even ride our President, And really ‘go to town’

We should be quite happy too, We have no Himmlers here
No Quislings or Lavals to hate, No Gestapo to fear

So compare your hardships and blessings, with those of across the seas
And the very next time you pity yourself, Just stop – and get down on your knees

J.G. Britton
Lansdowne, PA

Arguably the most recognizable athlete worldwide.  An amazing footballing talent.  Star midfielder and captain for his international team.  Superstar of Manchester United – the reigning title holder of both the EPL and Champions League and the most valuable sports brand in the world.

If I was writing this 6 years ago, everyone would know I was speaking of superstar David Beckham, right before he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid and is now playing for LA Galaxy.  

An eerily similar script is unfolding before our eyes today, with Cristiano Ronaldo, the new Beckham.  Yes, Ronaldo is flirting with the idea of following in Beck’s footsteps even more by moving to Real Madrid.  If you are interested in this, plenty of sports writers are discussing it, check one of them out.  To be honest, I couldn’t care less.  That’s right, I really don’t care.  

What I do care about regarding this situation is the comments that have been made by FIFA head Sepp Blatter.  Blatter said that Ronaldo should be free to pursue a transfer to Real Madrid rather than be kept to the contract that he signed 18 months ago.  Fine that is all well and good.  However the “Mad Blatter” had to continue talking, and in those remarks, he went on to compare poor Ronaldo’s situation to “modern slavery”.  

Yes, slavery.

When asked about Blatter’s comments regarding slavery Ronaldo, the portugese international said, “I agree with the statements of [Blatter] … What he said is correct.  You know what I said, what I want and what I would like.  Now I have to wait and see what happens.”

Wow. Ronaldo who just signed a 5 year contract a mere 18 months ago feels treated like a slave.  A contract that pays him a mere $238,000 per week.  Yes, I said per week, as in there are 52 of them a year.

To compare this spoiled brat to a slave is an insult to slaves.  Ronaldo makes more money than he and his friends and his family could even think of spending.  He lives like a king in a great country.  He works out and plays a sport he loves 40 weeks of the year, and gets 12 weeks of vacation.  

If he doesn’t like it, he can quit, and go into another line of work (unlike slaves).  Now there isn’t another line of work that can offer him the limelight that his ego craves or a ludacris salary like that… so if he is complaining that the team that is paying him so much has requested that he not play for a rival team, that doesn’t seem like it is asking too much.  

Grow up Cristiano.  What little respect I had for you (off the field) has all officially eroded away.  I hope Man U “puts you out to pasture” by trading you to Real Madrid and you rot in the Spanish sun like so many others have.  

I’ve been debating whether or not to post this as it is far more personal than I usually choose to share in this public forum, but it has just been on my heart, and I wanted to share with the few that read this little blog…

A couple days ago I got a letter from Jackline (a child I sponsor in Kenya through an amazing organization called Compassion International). The letter was fantastic and heartwarming, but when I got to this line I just stopped and thanked God for my ability to help her.  

“Thank you for the christmas gift [...] I purchased a mattress.  Thank you for your support to my life.”

If anyone has ever thought about sponsoring a child, I strongly recommend it.  I’ve spent some money over the last 12 months:  An iPod Touch, a new iMac, a wii … but by far the best money I’ve spent was on Jackline and I’m thrilled that for the financial cost of a wii and a couple games I can provide the finances for a marked improvement in the quality of life for a child in need.  It is humbling that an extra $20 at Christmas buys her a mattress, a luxury I completely take for granted (in fact I have one in my house that sits unused in a guest bedroom).    

I live a very blessed life, and I thank God for my letters from Jackline as she helps keep me grounded.  I also had to smile as she closed the letter with:

“Many people are now planting their crops during this rainy season.  Are you planing your crops?”

What easy lives we live…

Megan

Had a great night with the family last night, got some good photos out of it too.  All the kids are my cousin’s kids and they are adorable.

beheaded bottle
While cleaning out the fridge tonight, I ran across an aging unopened bottle of champagne. Instead of just throwing it out, my roommate and I decided to apply some of the valuable knowledge we have learned from Zane Lamprey of Three Sheets, and we “saber”ed it (used a machete and cut the top off or “beheaded” the bottle). Zane does this in the NYC episode (the one not on hulu) but I found this video of someone else doing it. Enjoy!

If you do it right, the pressure of the champagne takes the top cleanly off and it shot about 20 feet across my backyard into my neighbor’s yard. If we can find the top, I’ll post a photo of that as well.

This week I did some research about twitter to see how different entities (companies, organizations, etc) are using Twitter, and stumbled across something interesting. Everyone can now follow the FSM on Twitter. Yes, your very own ‘deity’ now twitters like the rest of us, only I guess it uses a ‘noodly appendage’ instead of fingers…

Seeing as Google has deemed me an expert on Spagnostics and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), I figured I could let all of you who keep finding this blog via searches about this ‘religion’ know about this new development.

My thoughts on this:
I think the ‘church’ of the FSM is sad and makes me very disappointed that it has gained such a cult following. My hope and prayer is that by discussing and thinking about things of faith (even if it starts in a mocking tone) one day, maybe years later, these people may be open to the ideas of a real faith.

So I just activated a new anthem account and once my registration/activation was complete, I was asked to log in to start using the account. I click the “log in” button and am presented with:

Site Unavailable
The online self-service feature you have requested is unavailable at this time. Our regular system operating hours are Monday through Friday from 4:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Saturday from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Now this is a pet peeve of mine, why do “online self-service” sites have operating hours?  The whole point is so I can do it at 2am Saturday if I so choose.  There doesn’t need to be someone at the other end of the line, if you are putting a system online, it should only not be available during server maintenance times… having standard hours of operation for a website is just backwards.  [rant complete]

Closeup of Mason

Mason is one really cute kid with a sweet face. Just turned 1. Taken with my Canon 20D, all the blurring is straight from the camera and lens (f1.4), no photoshop on this guy at all…

While I think “Hopping off the corporate bandwagon” by Paul Glavic may over simplify the issue, he sheds some light on a common thread that many of my friends (and myself) have been feeling now for a while. We simply do not have the corporate ambitions of previous generations of Americans (just look at the subtitle of this blog and you’ll notice I’ve felt this urge for a while – “Ambition is the enemy of success”).

My best friend hopped off the corporate train years ago. My roommate just recently downshifted from 40-50 hours to about half that. Even my brother (who is very corporately driven) turned down a HUGE promotion years ago because it would involve excessive travel and his quality of life would suffer.

I would consider myself someone who genuinely enjoys my job right now, however I would consider a 4 day work week (with full benefits), earning 20% less a very attractive proposition…

If government run healthcare were to ever take off here in the US (and I’m quite torn on whether or not I think that would be a good thing) , I would expect that a number of people miserable in their careers would drop them and choose to simplify their life while working 20-30 hours in a coffee shop or bookstore… Something to think about.

Relevant Magazine has an article worth checking out.  Jason Boyett wrote 9 things to know before you hit 30, and there seems to be a lot of wisdom (aka – “advanced common sense”) in it.  I’m doing ok on most, but could be doing a lot better on some of the others.  Looks like I’ve got about 14 months to work on these…

As a few of you know, my brother got a staph infection a couple weeks ago. I didn’t think too much of it until recent press stating “MRSA” (the staph infection) may kill more than AIDS. This is a new antibiotic resistant strain, and is far more serious than either of us had thought. Thankfully he is in excellent health and while the treatment has been inconvenient, he is almost back to full health.  Takes more than a “Superbug” to take him down…

Carnegie Mellon University has a wonderful lecture series they invite professors to take part in – “If you had one last lecture to give before you die, what would it be”.  Dr. Randy Paush’s chapter in this lecture series will melt your heart.  Do yourself a favor and carve out 90 minutes and listen to this lecture.   Some parts may be a bit technical, but stick with it, it is worth it.

Dr. Pausch is a Computer Science professor at Carnegie Mellon University.  The remarkable men and women who take up the teaching profession rarely get the recognition they deserve.  Dr. Pausch is gaining lots of publicity (ABC news, Wall Street Journal, CBS news, etc) due to his attitude regarding his recently diagnosed terminal cancer.

We all have a lot to learn from the humility, humor, and dreams of this man.  Thank you Randy for sharing your life and passion with your kids at CMU (and to a lesser extent, UVA) over the years and the rest of us over the internet. I’m thankful that you found a home at CMU that allowed you to flourish and affect so many lives.

schwab-shot.png

While researching a stock today the Charles Schwab grading scale gave me a bit of a chuckle … I wish 4 B’s equaled an “A” back when I was in school.  Being the constant “B+/A-” student, I would have ended up cum laude at Schwab University…

Sarita Hartz (an old friend of mine from JMU) has started up the non-profit organization Zion Project (www.zionproject.org) to help child girl soldiers in war-torn Uganda. Sarita was best friends with one of my close friends and we were both actively involved with IVCF.

I am genuinely glad that she is making a difference with her life… the humbling thought is what did I do today?

Madeline McCannI’m not sure exactly what happened that made it so the media over here started paying attention to the “kidnapping” of Madeline McCann, but I’m glad it has happened.

Due to my interest in Premier League Soccer (and Everton) I had been well aware of this situation for a long time. The McCann family lives in Liverpool and Madeline is an Everton fan (and looks as sweet as can be in her Everton jersey).

Her family (parents, Madeline, and twin siblings younger than Madeline) was on vacation in Portugal when Madeline was abducted from their hotel room while the parents dined downstairs.

Tick in eyePutting a “parenting mistake” aside (they should not have left the children alone) – this has been an awful tragedy for the family. Madeline has a very unique “tick” in her right eye that had many encouraged that she would be easily identified if they could get lots of pictures out and media attention. So a website (www.findmadeleine.com) was set up immediately and this has been front page news over there for a long time. Many celebrities (David Beckham, Sir Richard Branson, etc) have come out publicly to help raise awareness of the issue and encourage people to donate to the “Find Madeline” fund.

Last photo of MadelineHolding out hope, and wanting to keep attention on the case, Madeline’s parents decided to remain in Portugal until she was found.

Interestingly due to the media craze, Portugal is being portrayed internationally as a dangerous place with an inept police department (can adversely effect tourism) so the government has been exerting political pressure to the police to wrap this up and end it. Due to this pressure and a lack of leads, Madeline’s parents were officially named as suspects (a trace of blood was found in the car they rented).

I find it difficult to believe that her parents were anything more than negligent, but I guess it is possible. I pray that she is still out there though and that someone will find this adorable girl and help reunite this family and let them heal.

We had a lot of family in town this weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of my aunt and uncle. While much of my family lives in the area, there is one uncle in particular (Rick) who lives in New Hampshire that we don’t get to see as often as we like.

For those of you who don’t know him, check out this clip I saw on the Daily show that reminds me of him. Who knew that Rick and Brian Williams of NBC news are twins separated at birth – personality, sense of humor, mannerisms, and even looks (Brian is probably a tad more attractive, but Rick can certainly hold his own…)

Two Sidenotes:
- I would watch the ‘Nightly News’ if Brian Williams would show an ounce of his real personality instead of his boring “anchor” personality
- Nice to see someone be able to take it and dish it back out with Jon Stewart. He obviously likes/respects Brian a lot more than the Crossfire guys (this clip was the death knell for the now cancelled Crossfire).

The misfits.The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

- Apple Computer

I hate politics.  I am a conservative but NOT a republican.  While I don’t think he stands a chance to get out of the primaries, Mike Huckabee has caught my attention.  He isn’t the typical republican puppet – I am hearing “new” ideas from him vs the same old drivel from the rest.  From the little I know (heard a few interviews and read through his site), I like the thought of our country in his hands…

Introverted INtuitive Feeling Judging – yeah, I can see how I would be pegged as such:

  • Rarest personality type; estimated 2% of population
  • private
  • sensitive
  • quiet leaders
  • great depth of personality – intricately and deeply woven, mysterious, and highly complex, sometimes puzzling even themselves
  • introverted
  • sometimes seen by others as cold and hard on the outside
  • may find it easier to express their deepest feelings and sentiments non-verbally or in writing
  • abhor evil or injustice, especially that directed towards the innocent or helpless
  • are sometimes looked upon by others as naive, mostly due to our idealism
  • aren’t terribly career-minded
  • love quotes/quotations and are often “philosophers” or “theologists”
  • give advice, though usually more subtly than most other Directors.
  • “Mute withdrawal is a major INFJ defense.”
  • abstract in communicating
  • live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities – part of an unusually rich inner life
  • artistic (and natural affinity for art), creative, and easily inspired
  • very independent
  • orderly view towards the world but within themself arranged in a chaotic, complex way only they could understand

INFJs value their integrity a great deal. They have high expectations of themselves and need to live their lives in accordance with what they feel is right. They do this through total trust of their intuition.

INFJs are proud of their authenticity, respectful of their benevolence, confident of their empathy.

They are activists there for the cause, not for the power, fantasize about getting revenge on those who victimize the defenseless, and put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done.

An INFJ is often hard to get to know. They are selective about their friends, but such a friendship is a symbiotic bond that transcends mere words… They hunger for deep and meaningful relationships, provide spiritual intimacy for their mates, and can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious “soul mates.” In such relationships, they strive for mutuality, don’t believe in compromising their ideals, and can understand and deal with complex issues and people.

It can be difficult for an INFJ to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings to others. They tend to be secretive by holding back and protecting part of themselves, thus creating hidden sides to their personality. They are choosy of what and when to share things and tend to only truly do so with those they trust.

Strong empathic abilities, an unusually strong desire to contribute to the welfare of others while pointing out human potentials

They are often leaders who go unnoticed, quietly exerting their influence behind the scenes. When working with others, they are very sensitive to conflict and cannot tolerate it very well. They will prevent/avoid it at all costs.

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

Thanks INFJ.org for the info…

So for those of you who know me, think it fits? 

Interesting side note – other INFJs: Dostoevsky, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Oprah, Jimmy Carter and Billy Crystal.

One of the things I would like to do before I die is see a tornado (and hopefully even get a good shot or two of it).  I have always loved weather, especially thunderstorms.  The power and beauty are both so amazing in a good storm.

Mike, the guy behind extremeinstability.com (his flickr page) lives on the edge, but I think I would really enjoy that for a couple weeks …

For those of you who are interested, I have thrown a plethora of new photos up on my flickr page…

No kidding.  A bear walked right up to our house in the mountains on July 4th while we ate breakfast on our deck.  She was about 20-25 ft away from us I would imagine…

While most of you don’t know my college friend James, he recently had a kid and has decided to start blogging about it, from his kid’s point of view.  It is hysterical – it is a strange amalgam of his sense of humor mixed with Stewie from family guy… good stuff.

I stumbled upon this drawing and it illustrated a big part of my concept of success.

When you can’t seem to find just the right words to express your love for your mum, let Mr. T do it for you!  Sadly I didn’t find this in time for Mother’s Day…

  • Beer Kegs
  • Driving ranges
  • Ropes Courses
  • Flip Cup games
  • Volleyball
  • Inflatable Boxing
  • Miniature Golf
  • Football
  • Batting cages
  • Cookouts

They are all things we got to partake in on company time and on the company’s dime in the last week.  Not too shabby.

You heliskiied. You bungee jumped. You ran with the bulls and swam with sharks. When skydiving lost its thrill, you picked up basejumping … but it still wasn’t enough. For you my friend, you need to check out “Speed Gliding” (combining heliskiing with basejumping and kitesurfing).

(Keep watching for the part where the “slope” just drops off into an enourmous cliff – insane!)

I would like to thank Don Imus for his idiotic comments and the mainstream media for their enthusiastic dead-horse beating … if it weren’t for them, I may have forgotten to let you all know that I have just recently joined my first “professional association” – the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (or NAPP).

That’s right ladies and gents, I’m unionized, so watch out! Well it isn’t a union, it is an organization dedicated to training its community about the my favorite program, Adobe Photoshop.  Now that I am finally in a job where design work is a primary responsibility of mine (and not a little side project), I figured it was time to get serious about staying up to date on the latest with the program, as well as the thousands of tips and tricks from other users (and magazine subscriptions, etc).

I attended a training seminar put on by NAPP this week and it was EXCELLENT (and only $99!!!).   I am very excited about taking my understanding of this tool to the next level.

This is an interesting video commentary on my professional field – a great overview, as well as an intriguing commentary on what this means for our culture/future.

Maybe I’m just too private or old fashioned, but things like this make me think about topics like microformats… I’m a firm believer in seperating content from presentation, however I (right now) have no interest in making it easier for machines to index any sort of personal info about me or anyone else … if the machines are going to take over, I’m not going to make it any easier for them.

(I honestly have no fear of SkyNet happening …)

My cousin just received the honor of being the athlete of the month for his college. He is a great tennis player, and it is cool to see him grab some honors like this. Congrats Robbie!

Grace, humility, service, and forgiveness lived out in a way we seldom hear.  Thank you Jonnes.

My college roommate and dear friend Pete made it up from Florida with his wife and new kiddo for the weekend. It was encouraging to see them again. The whole “work/family/life” has gotten in the way of us having much meaningful contact these last few years, so it was nice to remedy that.

It was refreshing that even after years apart once we were together again, everything was all good. The inside jokes all came storming back. His lovely wife even mentioned how fun it was for her to see us together again; she was seeing a “side” of his personality that she hadn’t seen in a long time. (Granted that “side” is more irreverent and sarcastic than a healthy marriage should endure, so I predict it will lie dormant until we meet again…)

And that got me thinking because a different side of me was coming out too. Well not really different, just a side that hadn’t really seen the light of day in a long time. A carefree, funny, irreverent, and confident personality than has been unintentionally suppressed, in favor of a blah and low-key “so-called” personality of someone trying to fly under everyone’s radar.

When you are with people who know you, love you, and accept you, you can experience a great freedom. I wasn’t trying to impress him, I wasn’t worried about whether or not he liked me, I wasn’t being judged. I was able to just be me… and I liked it.

And I believe 4 posts in one day is plenty… time to shut this down for the day.

Today I met Mason CHRISTOPHER Quinby. Yes – “Christopher” as in named after me!

The honor that my best friend named his firstborn child after me is one that I cannot (and will not) begin to be capable of describing. He was born last night; he and his mom are doing great. Today I met the little fuzzhead and got a couple pictures that turned out well enough to share with others – with his adoring daddy and a close up.

I am enough of a geek to think this is a big deal, but I got credited by Joshua Blankenship on the front page of his blog today (re: Point Break LIVE)! Joshua oozes creativity (remarkable visual designer, musician, writer, etc.) and someone who has been influencing me for over a year now. I’ve been “blogging” for a grand total of 6 weeks so to have already been mentioned by someone of his caliber is pretty cool. But enough with the gushing…

And while on a normal day, making Joshua Blankenship’s blog would be a highlight, but today something far more meaningful and important happened

It looks like I will have a new roommate soon. He is an old friend and we had lost touch over the last few years, but he is looking to come back to Richmond, and I am more than willing to help that happen. He is a great guy and has an “easy going” personality that I think will make him a great “housemate” (its not like we are actually sharing rooms).

While he will not be bringing a huge Plasma HDTV like my last roommate, I am really looking forward to his arrival.