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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Story of O (iteration 1) [From my "Back Story" blog]

As I said, using FORM, the O stands for Occupation.

Occupations I've had:

  1. Shoe factory worker

  2. Telecommunications specialist (USAF/Post-USAF)

  3. IT professional

  4. Stay-at-home dad

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Finished reading WWdN:ix for October [From my "Famous Blogs" blog]

I just finished reading WWdN:ix for October. I enjoyed three of the posts immensely:

October 18 (the squadron of benevolent butterflies)

I loved this post about his Geek in Review article, The Real Revenge of the Nerds (I'll give you the same warning he put on this: "though be warned: there's a hiney at the bottom of the page right now, which is probably not safe for work, so approach with caution.")

October 27 (TNG Review: Where No One Has Gone Before) and
October 30 (Where One More Has Gone Before)

I liked Wil's review of this episode of ST:TNG (though I don't watch the show anymore due to time constraints, I do think I'm going to set up a TiVo wishlist for this one so I can see it again).

I also liked the link to Diane Duane's post regarding the episode. Good reading.

I've now been reading and commenting on Wil longer than I planned. I've decided to continue reading his blog, and might even comment on it infrequently, but I'm now looking for input for another famous person's blog to read for a few weeks.

Any thoughts/suggestions? I'm open to most any famous person with an interesting blog.

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Let's try this again [From my "Back Story" blog]

I thought I'd learned from my mistakes, but I guess not. At least this time the problem was an offline error. I had a really nice entry being edited yesterday for this blog, and got my machine hung before I saved a copy (I just saved what I've written in this post so far!)

So, now I'll try to re-invent what I wrote once already, and you can bet I'll be saving this puppy often as I do.

Before we get started with the back story that is the raison d'etre for this blog, I'm going to explain how I'm going to proceed with giving you some idea "what I'm about" in the most useful fashion.

I tend to be someone who likes my route well thought out before beginning a trip, and a plan of action before beginning any venture. As such, I'm going to lay out my plan so that you know what to expect.

My intent is to concurrently implement two techniques that I've been familiar with for many years:

  1. The first technique (I was taught this a number of years ago by a salesman) gives you the ability to converse with anyone you'd like to get to know better (and, in the salesman's case, anyone you'd like to sell something to).

    This first technique is called FORM.

    FORM stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Money (or Message). If you introduce yourself to someone and start a discussion about your families, jobs, recreational interests, and then talk about whatever your message is (or what you're selling) you stand a better chance of investing that person in what you're saying.

    And since this blog will be (as I hope all my blogs are) a conversation between myself and my readers, I'm going to be using the FORM method to structure the information you learn about me.

  2. But wait, there's MORE!!!

    The second technique I'm going to employ is something from my former life in the world of IT (information technology): spiral development. Yes, I'm going to iterate over the FORM areas of my life (mayhap not so much over the M), providing a high-level view of my life at present and how I got here, and then on successive iterations going into more and more detail (but not so much you get sick of me, I hope!)

So, beginning with Family, (iteration 1), I am:

  • 50 years old

  • a husband (to wife Julie)

  • a father (to son Riley)

  • a stay-at-home dad (for six years, come January)

  • an orphan

  • the fourth of my mother's six kids (I have an two older "half sisters" and a "half brother")

  • the first of my father's three children (I have a younger sister and a younger brother)

That's enough of the first iteration on family. Next time I'll talk about my occupation (such as it is).

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

And yet . . .

And yet, even being a slow, "hopelessly outnumbered by authors" type of reader, I have still more books to add to my to be read list!

I searched "in tags" at Technorati for Stand on Zanzibar after posting here the other day, and found a link to this post in The Fire Ant Gazette and, reading the comments there I came upon a reference to U.S.A. by John Dos Passos, so now that's on the list of things to read.

And I still have to read Robert Fagles' translation of Homer's The Odyssey, which is part of my Iliad and Odyssey boxed set I bought for myself with a gift certificate I got for Father's Day last year.

(BTW: Fagles' translation of The Iliad is nothing short of brilliant!)

(Further BTW: I just discovered he has done The Aeneid now, so I guess I'll be adding that to my "gotta read" list as well.)

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So, like an idiot . . .

So, like an idiot — an idiot with already too much to read that is, and hardly enough time to read it — what do I do? I stopped by the library this morning while picking up the pies for Thanksgiving and picked up not one, not two, but three books:

  1. Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko

  2. The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 6)by Lemony Snicket

  3. Best Friends by Martha Moody (in all fairness, this one is for my wife (she participates in the neighborhood book club)

To quote Bob Dylan (and yes, I'm talking about myself here):
You're an idiot babe
it's a wonder that you still know how to breathe

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WWdN (a quick review): Breezing through another week of October [From my "Famous Blogs" blog]

Well, life's been keeping me busy, and I've hardly had time to read Wil lately, but here's a quick recap on thoughts triggered by specific entries:

October 11, 2006 (Introducing the Geek in Review)

Ah, yes, gaming! The ultimate geek "getaway weekend"!

I remember those days fondly.

Whiling away the hours, excercising the little gray cells solving puzzles, avoiding traps, raiding hoards, and otherwise defeating evil, be it D&D, Champions, Star Traveller, whaterver. Them were the days!

October 16, 2006 (pattern recognition)

I don't recall William Gibson's Neuromancer as well as I'd like, but what I remember most was (a) I loved it, and (b) it may quite possibly been the first "cyberpunk" book I ever read (at least, the first that flew under that flag).

Put another way, more fond memories, and this from "a kid" nearly half my age (acutally, at the time of the first movie I saw him in (1986's Stand By Me) he was about 14 and I was 30.)

October 18, 2006 (The Absolute Sandman)
Now Neil Gaiman's Sandman I do remember (and remember well!)

That was a damned fine comic book.

I don't buy comics anymore, though (in fact I still have a few I'd love to find buyers for — any takers?) because it got way to costly (in terms of $$$ & HH:MM:SS).

I also doubt I can get it through Inter-Library Loan, but watch: that will not stop me from trying!

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Technorati blog claim

Here is a link to my Technorati Profile; I'm posting it to claim this blog.

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I thought I was going to be a Web Developer! [From my "Web MaJoR" blog]

Okay, it turns out what I'm doing for my friend Rob is more graphic artist and video post production than I thought I'd be doing, and less web development, but I'm still going to use this blog to discuss what's going on in my professional life. That will include what's going on with the above endeavors, plus my own journey to become a better web developer (self-study, classes, projects personal & professional, etc).

So, who is this Rob guy and what are you doing for him then, you ask? Well, for starters, Rob is a personal trainer. Rob also loves helping people, especially where it comes to personal fitness. As such, he has under development a number of projects (videos, ebooks, a membership site, et cetera) that I will be linking to when it goes live later this year. I've been doing some web work for him, but mostly lately I've been doing video production (using Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Encore DVD, and Adobe Photoshop), and have been working with him on the companion ebook for this product.

Since this product has to do with improving your posture (a problem that most people that sit in front of a computer for any length of time have — whether they're aware of it or not — that can cause a number of other problems for them), but is still under wraps, I'll refer to it for now as Project Quasimodo.

So, what are am I doing for myself then?

Well, I am still very interested in becoming a full-fledged web developer.

I did this kind of work for a brief time for my former employer but, as was typical at this company — in a very Dilbert kind of way — I was given training, put to work on a project, and then once that project was over (long before I could really master the skills) I was put to work on something completely unrelated to web development. Shortly after that project ended, I was laid off and have done very little with my own website since (being busy with "stay-at-home dad-hood" will do that to you!)

If I could master the skills I"d like to master, I'd be a wiz in the following areas:

  • web graphics (I'm taking a Photoshop Class at Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) to work on that)

  • Client side & server side web programming (which I will probably obtain while pursuing a Web Developer Certificate from Saint Paul College)

  • PHP5/MySQL (also part of the above named certificate program)

  • XHTML/CSS (actually part of client side programming, but I'd really like to know these areas well)

  • AJAX (something I'll have to find a class for sometime, or teach myself)

Right now, I'm reading Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML because, as I said, I'm really rusty at web stuff, and I've never done all that much with either css or xhtml, and I'd like to (one look at my blogs and you'll see why!)

Oh, and I'm about one third of the way through this book in what is — for me — record time, and I'm remembering a good deal (it does help though that almost none of this part of the book is new to me, just rusty!) Still, if you're new to this stuff, these "Head First" books are the way to go.

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One of my favorite quotes [From my "Back Story" blog]

This has to be one of my favorite quotes ever: Follow your bliss (Joseph Campbell). The fact that it has been run up as the rallying cry for more than one generation by now (not to mention "t-shirtized" out the wazoo!) does nothing to diminish what it stands for.

But, like most of us, I suck at figuring out what my bliss is. I thought I wanted to be a published writer when I grew up, and now, thanks to blogger, I am. This does feel blissful to me, so I'll continue with it for a bit (like for the rest of my life, if I have anything to say about it, which I think I do!)

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The Fifth Element [From my "Back Story" blog]

The fifth element in my journey to blog overload was launched on Monday, November 13th. It's a little thing called Love All Books (and I do love all books, for the most part, though I'll admit that I find some books by certain parties of political extremism do induce strong feelings of anxiety!)

If I'm going to provide "back story" on my life, I guess I need to post soon about just what my life is like at the moment. That is my plan for the next post (or the post after, no later than that!)

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Do you have books you MUST try to read almost annually?

Do you have books you simply must try to read almost annually?

I have several, but one stands out amongst them: Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner.

As Joe Haldeman says on the cover, "It's time for a new generation to read it".

Another book (or, in this case, set of books) I try to read every year or so is The Lord of the Rings (but then again, who doesn't, right?)

So, I ask again: Do you have books you simply must try to read almost annually?


Update 11/15/2006 (Happy Birthday Jeff!): I just found this link, which mentions both Zanzibar & LotR.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Sad to say...

The sad part about this blog is that I'm a very slow reader, so please bear with me. I tend to be reading at least one or two fictional books at any given time (I just finished reading The Miserable Mill, book 4 in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events).


This is in addition to reading my Photoshop textbook, and the one or more nonfiction books I'm typically working on at any given time (at the moment, that's Who Let the Blogs Out?: A Hyperconnected Peek at the World of Weblogs by Biz Stone, and PHP 5 Objects, Patterns, and Practice by Matt Zandstra.


It is also sad that I'm hopelessly outnumbered by the authors out there. I can really relate to Henry Bemis, the character played by Burgess Meredith in the "Time Enough at Last" episode of The Twilight Zone (and yet, not even I want time to read that badly!)

I hope Riley, my soon-to-be six-year-old kindergartener, is a faster reader than I when he grows up or I will feel somewhat awful that I'm turning him on to books; I'd hate for him to have to deal with the frustration I endure! But I gotta admit, it is great watching him learn to read! He read—almost completely on his own—Hop on Pop (by Doctor Seuss) to me last night (imagine: he had trouble with "Constantinople" and "Timbuktu"!)

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Blog Disclosure Policy

This policy is valid from November 13th, 2006

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact via post comments.

This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All advertising is in the form of advertisements generated by a third party ad network. Those advertisements will be identified as paid advertisements.

The owner(s) of this blog is not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owners. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

The owner(s) of this blog would like to disclose the following existing relationships. These are companies, organizations or individuals that may have a significant impact on the content of this blog. We have a financial interest in the following that are relevant to our blogging:

Get your own policy.

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As The 'Blog Title Implies...

As the name of this blog implies, I love all books. I'll use this blog to talk about all the books I'm reading at the moment and what I think about them.

As an Amazon associate, I will of course provide links where you can purchase the books I'm reading.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2006

WWdN:ix (Oct 10, "on the occasion of star trek's fortieth anniversary, some belated comments") [From my "Famous Blogs" blog]

I was ten when ST:TOS (Star Trek: The Original Series) ran. Supposedly, you carry "the way the world looks to you when you're ten" away with you (for the rest of your life) as the way the world should look. Well, ST:TOS was, for me, the way television was supposed to look: striving to entertain, yet making you think at the same time. Shows have come a long way since then, but still too many of them don't even make the effort in this regard.

I just read Wil's October 10th offering, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This boy can really write well, something I haven't mentioned here before in so many words (and a terrible oversight that is, too!)

I enjoyed the way he wrapped up the post, but for me this quote really hit home:

As Battlestar Galactica shows us today, science fiction has a long tradition of holding up a mirror to our modern world, and reflecting it back to us in a way that doesn't beat us over the head with a message, but makes that message easy enough to find for those who want to see it. In the 1960s, Star Trek did this better than any other show except maybe the Twilight Zone, and it did it during an incredibly turbulent time when it was risky even acknowledge that mirror existed, much less hold it up. For that, alone, it deserves all the attention and accolade its been given in the last forty years.

If you're not reading WWdN:ix yet, you ought to give it a go.

Oh yeah, I will say this about the "in a way that doesn't beat us over the head with a message" part of the post—obviously, Wil can't be talking about Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.

Oh, and it's election day. So if you haven't voted yet, let me urge you to do that first, then go read WWdN:ix; I'd have you do it the other way around, but I'm afraid (1) you'll get sucked in and not get around to voting at all, and (2) that I'll get accused of trying to influence you to vote a certain way—which is not the case at all . . . you get to make your own mistakes!

Post to

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Friday, November 3, 2006

WWdN:ix (Oct 9, "Another TNG review for TV Squad: The Last Outpost") [From my "Famous Blogs" blog]

Just read the October 9th post at WWdN:ix. A very entertaining entry this time. But then, I'm always entertained when somebody starts paraphrasing The Princess Bride. Wil's take on the Ferengi is dead on.

For anyone keeping track, yes, I did skip a post (or two?) that I felt didn't need anyone commenting on. (Of course, the same could be said for any of the posts at WWdN:ix, or any other blog for that matter. Whatever. I'm enjoying myself and perhaps someone gets something out of my ramblings. Or not!)

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Thursday, November 2, 2006

WWdN:ix (October 6th, moods for moderns) [From my "Famous Blogs" blog]

I just read Wil's October 6th offering (moods for moderns) at WWdN:ix.

Though I cannot even begin to pretend I understand the title of the post, I liked Wil's thinking in this one. Now I just need to figure out how to get Barbara Hall to see it (perhaps it isn't too late for a fitting conclusion to Joan of Arcadia!)

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Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Great Advice For Project Completion [From my "Back Story" blog]

This may be the best advice I've ever been given:

Free Image Hosting at

I have this graphic set up as my wallpaper on my Dell laptop, but I let ImageShack resize it when it was uploaded.

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