The Foundation is Moving (10/24/2011)

The foundation is moving - after having a very nice 10 year run using Lycos domain hosting I'm moving hosting providers over the next week to one that is more modern and should make all this updating, hosting, etc. a lot easier for me. Things are not easy for me these days.

Hopefully no one will notice any kind of changing occurring and it will all be smooth sailing, but I am a little worried about the RSS URL changing since it will likely change from the hobbled CGI script that currently does it into some sort of current technology. I'll do my best to drop a note on the feed URL if it does break - but yeah. We'll see. Hopefully in the next week you'll see an update that all is well in the Chaos Server. TTFN!

Book Club (10/22/2011)

Legends should stay legends otherwise they just become history, when the natural course of things is the other way around, from history to legend. - Ian McDonald (The Dervish House)

I've always felt social pressure to join a book club. Isn't that the kind of things smart well adjusted people do? Especially if they don't have kids? About four or five months ago when Mrs.Chaos mentioned that one of her coworkers was in a fun book club with his friends from schools and that we could join, I said "sure thing!" So we've been in it long enough to read four books.

At the most recent book club we volunteered to host for the first time and the rules of club are that whomever is hosted gets to pick the books the group is going to vote on. That way if you're hosting, at least you're going to want to read the book. It also gives the great commentary that if you don't like the books, you need to volunteer to host the club! Take that!

Over the first few months the books picked were totally NY Times best sellers or Oprah book club or the like. That is not normally my cup of tea, but I read (by read, I mean listened on Audible) all of them. As a new member that was my job. It was starting to struggle because while I can handle about one book a month, I cannot handle two. Which meant that book club books were the only books I was going to be reading. So I was glad to host at my house and take charge of the recommendations.

The group picked my first suggestion of "Dervish House," which is Ian McDonald's latest huge-nominated book. The nerd podcast I listen to (which has two people on the Hugo panel) all said this book was there top choice. It didn't win the Hugo, but we read the book none-the-less. It was really fun for me, especially because it was set in Turkey in 2025. Having a sister-in-law who is Turkish, lots of discussions with her and my brother about cultural differences between the US and Turkey, and having been to Turkey for long trips, I had a great time reading about things that I had seen first hand.

Mrs.Chaos got through the book too, just finishing it on the last day (the previous book she finished early and I finished on the last day, so it's an even race)! She was very excited to have people over and had a great time making halloween-inspired recipes! Yes, we got finger cookies and spider dip. Delicious.

Finger Cookies Spider Dip

I remain excited to be a in book club, and as expected about 50% of the people actually read the book each time. It works out well, because if we like the book, then the other people spending their time talking about their favorite parts and favorite characters and trying to sell the people who didn't read it that they should be reading it! Ya know? Awesome. So go read "Dervish House" because it's fun and it's good fiction. Now I'm going to back to work on "Game of Thrones" until the next book is picked. I better read fast.

A Matter of Money (10/15/2011)

The love of economy is the root of all virtue. - George Bernard Shaw

When Netflix raised prices I cancelled. I saw great uppitiness on the internet about furious over this change. No rage from me. No fury from me. A business made Netflix raise their prices and business decision made me cancel my service. I singed up so many years ago on the cheap disc-by-mail plan they had and used it to the max. A disc would arrive on Monday I would watch it, back in the mail on Tuesday, and so on. It gave me around three discs a week, around twelve discs a month, and that was awesome. A good use of $4.99 running at about 40c a rental.

Netflix slowly raised prices over the years and I slowly and diligently kept paying for the upgrades. I started slowing down on my disc processing speeds, watching a disc around every week and I started to question the value of it. Then they gave me free streaming. The novelty alone made it pretty cool, but the selection? No, Netflix was never to see the movies you wanted to watch, it was always about seeing the movies you were willing to watch when you had time.

When they did the crazy price changes over the summer I sat back and asked myself what it was worth. The streaming service? Not worth it. The selection just wasn’t there. I also live in AT&T DSL suburb nightmare, where internet speeds drop in the evenings and weekend to speeds where it is sometimes very hard to stream. So it was time to cancel streaming, but maybe the disc business would still do it for me? No, it turns out that there competitor Redbox has a much better deal for me. Netflix is $7.99 a month these days; that would get me around eight Redbox movies. I’m not going to watch eight DVDs a month. It’s a business thing.

I looked for better streaming options. I have a GoogleTV (it was free from Google) which does Amazon Unboxed. It has a worse selection than Netflix, but its streaming is combined with Amazon Prime. Which would be awesome if I were impatient. Yet I don’t really need to get all my Amazon shipments in a couple days, I am more than happy to wait for the super shipper savings.

Here is another fun thing - AT&T just got rid of all their text plans. I used to have the 200 messages for $4.99 plan - and I average about 50 messages a month. Now they only have the “pay as you go” at $0.20/message and the unlimited for $19.99 a month. So at 20c a message I would need to send/receive ~100 message a month. So what is in my best interest? To drop any plan and convince all my friends and family that text messages are for chumps. I will never send another text message. I will encourage you to do likely.

Korea, Part 1 (08/08/2011)

티끌모아 태산 - Korean Proverb

I've been in Korea of a week now and I feel like a champ. We are staying in Suwon which is about 30m south by train.

Suwon is the location of Sansung Prime and Samsung is everywhere. The main thing I see on the metro is people using he Samsung Galaxy tablet. The laptops are all Samsung. When we go to a shopping center, like Home Plus, all the appliances (refigirators, microwaves, etc) are Samsung. I have seen Samsung air conditions and Samsung urinal sanitizers.

First and foremost, the iPhone with Google Maps is the most amazing thing you could possibly imagine for foreign travel. I first used it in Kanazawa, Japan, and fell in love with the savior of technology. I have a bookmark at the place we are staying; I ask it to route somewhere else, and it gives me bus, metro, and walking instructions to get me from one point to another. It often gives us faster routes than the expats give us, because it knows ALL the routes. There have been a few times where it has streered us wrong, but few. Once it took us to a transfer point where the other bus left every 1.8 hours - which was not so good. Another time it told us get on a bus that was only doing drop-offs in our city, but for the most part it has been a life saver. It basically means that where-ever we are we can get anywhere else.

Google Maps Google Maps

Riding on the buses or metro we all use the T-Money card. This is a NFC card that holds a value and you beep on and beep off all the transit. It keeps track of transfers for you and everything. While my t-money card is an actual CARD, Mrs. Chaos has a "card" that looks like Kitty-chan. Every school girl has a charm on her phone, but most of these are actually for bus-fair. I wish the bay area could have cards as cool as that. The t-money card even works at the public phones and will deduct money while making calls. Cool beans.

T-Money Card

I've learned some interesting things about Korean fashion and ettiquette. Women don't show their shoulders. They will wear the shortest possible skirt you can imagine, but the shoulders are covered. Poor Mrs. Chaos brought all dresses with spaghetti straps to try and keep cool, but they are SCANDALOUS! And Koreans don't wear sunglasses. While I suppose the majority don't have baby blue eyes like me, it still seems like having a little sun protection for the eyes would be nice, because the ladies are obsessed with blanched white skin. They stay completely covered, use parasols and I assume wearing many layers of sunscreen.

Same-sex friends hold hands a lot. We've seen many instances of Korean ladies or Korean boys holding hands as they walk down the street together. It reminds me of when my Indian colleagues will put their arm around my shoulder as we walk down the street. America is just a little less touchy.

One the second night we were here we went to a swing dancing venue in Seoul. I was a bit shy and only danced with the two american ladies I was there with. It was interesting to watch. I think everyone one at the venue was an intermediate to advanced level. At the end of the dance, no one dipped. The dance would end, and then they would politely bow to one another.

Train Time is Writing Time (07/25/2011)

I love Atlas Shrugged, it is my favorite book about trains. - Amazon Reviewer

I'm heading on the train home(ish) from a fun day playing with friends and their children. Train time is writing time. I will never forget my commute for my first job out of college - a 20m train ride two and from the office. It was lovely. In those early days before smart phones I had my Palm and I would read my "stories" on the palm. I can't remember the name of the program that would run each day, download new content, format it for Palm and then sync it across. I had daily news, the Onion, Strange Horizons, friends websites, and more. I also always had a book sync'ed that I could read if I finished all that.

Today the train ride is the same exact I have a my iPhone. I still read all those stories and websites, except it's synced using Google Reader and RSS (instead of using a program to sync it). All this technology change hasn't really updated what I like to do, just make it easier. If think if I had ridden the train before technology I would have been very happy with a paper.

Then later came the latop. They existed when I first started working, but I didn't want to spend the money to buy one and work was still focused on all of us having a desktop machine because they were cheaper and easier to replace. Once I had the laptop, the train switched from being a time to read to being a time to write.

Now I don't ride the train at all and I rarely fly for work and because of it my writing has suffered! My commute is either 60 seconds from the bedroom to the home-office or 30 minutes of driving (that most horrible of commutes) spent listening to podcasts, NY Times daily audio and audio books. I have to get my reading done on my off-commute hours. Oh text to speach, when will you reach the point that you can just read my daily stories to me without needing a real person to do it?

Wedding Days (06/17/2011)

Work hard, be kind and amazing things will happen. - Conan O'Brien

It took a little over a year from time I proposed under the night sky in Disneyworld to the time the wedding happened. Everyone warned me that the year was going whiz by faster than I could possibly imagine. It did not - it was a wonderful year fully of new and amazing experiences. I think it was the fullest year of my entire life so far.

When Ms. Chaos and I were planning the wedding, we said to one another we wanted to get married and then have a party. That’s just what we did! I think we only had one hiccup in the process - as we were preparing for the ceremony the friend who was going to supply the sound system showed up and realized he had forgotten his mixer. Whoops. We brainstormed solutions and finally decided we would just plug mics into speakers and that should work for everyone, except our friend who was singing would need to do it acapella instead of with music. Thankfully the band showed up with their equipment and we hooked in the mixer - thus solving the problem So everything was perfect - except for things starting a little late.

I had an amazing time. The only difficult part of it all was that there were just too many people there. I often say that my favorite part of any party is the beginning and the end - the time when you don’t have the hoard around, but just a few people and can really interact with them. So as the night continued and more people filtered out it gave more and more time to talk with those who were there until the end.

In the days after the wedding Mrs. Chaos and I ran through the events that happened and both realized how much of it was just a blur to the two of us. So much going all so quickly all around. We were grateful when we go the two videos that we had friends take to be able to watch them and start to remember more of what happened!


Marriage and Rapture (04/21/2011)

May 21st, 2011 I get married! The weather will be warm with partial clouds and small chance of rapture. It should be great. I am looking forward to the bounce house.

Moment in the Sun (03/11/2011)

I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.' - Kurt Vonnegut

It’s Friday, the work week is over, and I get to take a moment to sit out on the front porch with radio playing and the sun shining. At moments like this I often remember some words of wisdom, I think said by Vonnegut (I checked, it was and it quoted above), about how often he would pause in his life, look around, and just think about how happy he was. So here I am very content.

Ms. Chaos (soon to be Mrs. Chaos) and I have been going to pre-marital counseling for the past few weeks. I always encourage my friends to participate in pre-martial counseling or Pre-Cana, whatever makes sense. I figure I see a doctor once a year for a physical checkup and I consult him before I do big things like go traveling to crazy countries, so why not get a mental checkup from time to time or before any big life changing events? I also figure that most of the time, just like when I see my doctor, they’re going say everything is nice and healthy.

Our counselor has told us that we’re the perfect couple and will never have any problems. We hi-fived each other a few times after that. I kid, but he has told us many times, “you guys are very mature” or “you guys are very actualized.” And we’re like, “yeah, we know. That’s what it means to be actualized!” and then we hi-five each other again and sometimes there’s an explosion in the background. When he asked me about dealing with work stress and life stress and all I could say was, “I have been very very content for many years now. I have a lot of pressure and energy in my life, but there is so little stress.”

Somewhat off topic, or on topic, this morning one of my coworkers (who used to report to me) told me that he was shedding his management responsibilities to focus on his consulting. Then he told me that I was the inspiration for that. He remember two years ago when I was killing myself trying to be an amazing manager, an amazing consulting, and amazing technologist that I said, “The things I really enjoy, I excel at naturally. The things I don’t like to do, I can still do well, but it makes me miserable to be good at it. I don’t want to do this part of it anymore. I hate it.” and the company worked with me to adjust my responsibilities and I have been very happy for that change every since. Yes, I know, it’s very mature.

Combining Lives (01/17/2011)

Marriage is the alliance of two people, one of whom never remembers birthdays and the other who never forgets them. - Ogden Nash

My fiance and I have been working on joining two lives into one. There are an innumerable number of aspects that this happens ranging from friends to homes to finances. the thing that I struggle the most with is the combination of or digital identities--welcome to the future. I mean, we’ve fully combined finances, that part was easy. And digital identity is something I can’t consulting my parents or aunts or uncles on, but only my contemporaries. What problems you may ask?

Computers and computers accounts. This is serious business! The obvious answer is that we share all the computers and that we each have our own account on each computer. Seems reasonable, right? The problem is that we each have iPhones and iPads (yes yes, you cry for us). Those things only sync with one computer! So we both sync with the same computer? This is problematic because I like to take the laptop with me to work and so does she, so the times for sync is hard to manage. I mean - we’re working through this. I have basically managed my sync so that I only need to do it once every week or two. It’s not so bad - the worst part is podcasts because Apple doesn’t make that a simple task to sync without the computer. I have written a lovely Perl script that runs on my server that presents an iPhone formatted page that links directly to the iTunes page for the podcast, thus letting me download. Giving us each our own computer doesn’t solve this - because of photos and music.

Photo libraries! Each of us takes photos and have favorites. You would think just have a single photo library would work, except a photo library is tied to a single computer account and because we sync with our iOS devices under different accounts, this is all tough work. Since our iPhoto library is basically combined, we now have a single library in a shared folder we both work with. It’s ready-only under my account and read/write under hers. Still tough, but it works.

Apple ID, Netflix ID, Audible ID, etc. This is even harder! With all the DRM restricting it, the most obvious thing is to combine our digital IDs into one... except: recommendations! Do I really want to see Apple recommend country music? Netflix recommend romantic comedies? (Note: She would say, “do I really want to see Apple recommend British punk? Netflix recommend cheezy SciFi?” and she would be right).

Anyway - this is all very hard if you have grown accustom to having a unique digital identity.

2010 in Review (12/17/2010)

HTML5 Browser!

Download Video: MP4, HTML5 Video Player by VideoJS

Budgeting (08/30/2010)

A budget tells us what we can't afford, but it doesn't keep us from buying it. - William Feather

For the majority of my adult life, my budgeting strategy has been pretty simple: earn lots of money and spend very little of it. This system has served me very well and has supported me and never hiccuped, even when I had to make some big purchases like a new car or a dozen computers.

The past six months felt like a crazy hemorrhaging of money for me and my traditional budgeting system was worrying. I gained some semblance of sanity when I used a financial management website (you can probably guess which) to review my “Income versus Spending” over the past twelves months and realized “Oh, the only two times I’ve been in the red is when I bought an engagement ring and when I put down a portion of the down payment.” So really, not that bad.

Ms. Chaos and I starting the exciting process of combining our budget into a family budget and while I look forward to the day I will be a gentlemen of leisure and she can support me from her vast social services money, for now we both work. She is less excited about my budgeting system and together we decided to prove we weren’t on a slow path to bankruptcy by making an awesome spreadsheet showing our combined income and all of or various spending in different categories including forecasting how things will change as major events occur: combine phone, combine insurance, mortgage payments appears, car payment goes away, etc.

It’s fun to watch our two different styles of cash management merge. For the next six months we’ll probably ride the monthly-budget train and than when we get married relax into the Jordan-style budgeting. I like to avoid medium-to-large purchases giving myself plenty of room to not care about spending tons on little things like eating for lunch every day or having a web-hosting account or such. She likes to micromanage all the little things so that she has a grab-bug of money for more medium size purchases (currently all of these are home-related: wall colors, carpeting upgrades, etc).

All I know is that we are going to have an awesome house and if all goes well we can live there for the next forty or fifty years.

We All Get Older (07/14/2010)

A university is great place for young people to go for four years and get older. - Mark Thresher

I’m becoming an adult. It’s going to be very hard for me to deny it going foward. The great years of 2010 and 2011 will go down as a watershed set of years for me when I changed from a carefree philosopher-poet who could fit all of his life’s possessions into a spreadsheet and a garage into a married man with a mortgage to pay. When I was calculating my networth in preparation for the whole mortgage thing the advisor was shocked at how little I had in the way of physical possessions, but there’s something relaxing about knowing I can pack everything I care about into my car and just drive off to another life. Those days are fading behind, but though I may be a man I vow to put many childish ways ahead of me.

Apparently, I’m getting married.

At the Park We Go Dancing Close Dancing

Apparently, I own a house.

My House

Speaking of childish things, Anime Expo was awesome.

Fancy Dinner Night All About the Benjamins

When's the Date? (06/08/2010)

It is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage. - Jane Austen

The first thing that everyone asks when you tell them you're engaged is, "when's the date?" An hour after I had asked Ms. Chaos (to be Mrs. Chaos!) when she called her parents they asked her, "when's the date?" In the grand scheme of things, the date is figured out a little farther in the process.

First you need to figure out the approximate guest list, because it will have a big impact on your venue and cost if you have twenty-five people, one-hundred people or two-hundred people. Next you figure out your venue, your entertainment and your officiant and mash all of those things together to have a date plop out. This took us nearly six weeks. For many of my friends this took as long as three or six months.

Last weekend we were at a church event for young-married couples without kids (seeing that we would be a young married couple without kids in the future and thought it might be fun to meet some similar people in that boat) and each person, on hearing we were engaged, would ask, "what's the date?" It became a running joke. "Hi, we're new here, and we're engaged." … wait for it … "When's the date?" and then laughter and applause from the group.

Then one of the arrival showed up, "Hi we're new here, and we're engaged." … wait for it … "How did he ask?" What? Really? What an awesome question! There's no awkwardness to it, and every engaged couple should be able to tell that story without an pause and stumbling, "well, we're not really sure of the date yet, but…" So remember this! When you here someone is engaged, ask them how it happened!

175,200–350,400 (04/26/2010)

Cupcakes are a great way to win friends - Marissa Mayer

(5) Dance (6) Easter (7) Quadding (8) Skiing

5) Dance & Pizza - She's a lindy-hopper. She had been going to swing dance venues for multiple years, worked with groups of friends on her swing dance five nights a week and then became general manager of Midtown Stomp--a venue that runs on Friday nights in Midtown Sacramento. I started going to spend time with her on Friday nights and to dance. For many years my friends have said that "the party doesn't start until Jordan begins dancing," but my dancing style was "unstructured." Actually trying to do structured swing dancing has been a challenge and fun. In the early days she often said "it's fun for me, even if you're not very good" I know that's only mostly true. Most Friday nights involve getting cheap by-the-slice pizza and the dancing for hours! I hope you're ready to dance at the wedding!

6) Easter - Easter fell a week or two after our anniversary. She picked me up from the train station in Sacramento on Saturday and dropped my off at the train station on Sunday. I warned her away from 50+ family gathering at Easter knowing that it was going to be overwhelming. She rarely talks around new people and having the family descend on her would have been overwhelming. Selfishly, I was also trying to reduce the number of "who is that?" questions I was dealing with at the time. Overall it was a fun weekend.

7) Quading - On labor day weekend we took a road trip down to spend time with her family, once again causing me to miss Penny Arcade Expo. (The year before I was in England and the year before I was in Turkey). She grew up in the desert in southern california, so while water skiing isn't a major activity, off-roading on quads IS! I have been told my entire life that quadding is exceptionally dangerous and I'll probably break every bone in my body if I try doing it. So I went out with her, but please don't tell me mom.

8) Skiing - My family does a week long trip to "beautiful" Clearlake each summer for a week of water-skiing activities. This was only a few months after we had started dating, but she agreed to come along! It was a nerve racking experience for her (so I'm told). An entire week with my father's half of the family! It was the first opportunity for her to meet my younger siblings, which is just great. She also got up on water skiis that week; when we told her water-skiing father about it later in the year, you could see the pride in his eyes. Later in the year I took her on her first and second snow skiing trip and she did just great on those as well.

I Asked and She Said Yes (04/22/2010)

Tuesday night she was sick, but I casually snuck the ring box into my jacket pocket and asked, "do you want to go walk around?" I hadn't had a chance to walk around the resort and scope out the perfect spot and I knew I needed to seize the moment. She suggested that I wear a different jacket; she had bought me an adorable Mickey sweatshirt earlier in the day, but it had tiny pockets that didn't zip and there was no way I could fit e box into those. "It looks cold outside, can I just wear my fleece?" "Ahh, the Mickey one is warm." Mind racing... "How about I wear both?" "Awww, fine, you can just. Wear your fleece. Are you really that cold?" I thought how funny this would all be when I finally tell her the details and we head out for a walk.

We walked by the fountain that I liked, but there were lots of people around heading back from the pool. We walked over to the little cactus garden, but there were two smokers init. It started raining, so we went back to club house and looked around. The whole time I'm doing my best not to let her nuzzle up too close to the ring-side of my jacket. On the walk back we discover a playground, but it's wet from the rain and she doesn't want to play because she's sick. I'm start to talk about how great the vacation is when two kids come into the playground. I sigh. We head back towards the room and the night passes away.

Wednesday morning I find a nice pair of shorts with low cargo pockets and check the the ring box isn't easy to see inside of them and then we head out for a day in the Magic Kingdom. The whole day I'm looking around for that perfect spot where we might be able to duck away from crowds and share a quiet romantic moment between just the two of us. There is no such place in the whole Kingdom.

During the middle of the day we go for a ride on the Carousel of Innovation. I had asked her for the sunscreen earlier and she couldn't find it in the bag (note: it was in the bag). As we were sitting she decided that I probably had it in one of my low cargo pockets and started getting grabby feely with the pocket! I grab her hand and say "whoa! You' not allowed to just grab my pockets! One of these days there is going to be a ring it." she laughed. This has been an on-going joke (well I tease her) because at our one year anniversary she had bee tempted to feel my jacket pockets and see if there was a ring box inside of it. Little did she know that is time it wasn't a joke; I really needed her not to be checking my pockets! Thankfully I had been strategically making sure she was always sitting on the side of me that didn't have the ring. Also strategically changing which side it was on so she could nudge up to both sides throughout the day and know I was hiding anything. Yes, such is my cunning!

That night was the fireworks show all about wishing on a star to make your dreams come true. She loves fireworks and as we watched we had a pretty good size area around us free of people and I thought we could probably share a moment alone together even though we're in a crowd but I couldn't get down on one knee without causing a scene and I wanted to get down on one knee. So we enjoyed the magic of the fireworks.

That night back at the resort as we walked home we paused again at the secluded playground. There was no rain. There were no kids. She was ready to play. After a couple of minutes I paused her and asked if her wish came true. "I can't tell you or it won't come true." "I think it will come true anyway. Do you want to know my wish?" "I don't think you can tell me." "My wish was to get your parent's blessing and I can tell you because I already did." "You did?!"

Then the moment happened when I dropped to a single knee and pulled a box out of my pocket and opened it in front of her. "Will you marry me?" I can't say if she said yes first or if she cried first; the two happened at nearly the same time. The ring slipped onto her finger and so it all began.

Posted from my new workflow on my iPad! I don't have an image workflow yet.

0–175,200 (03/27/2010)

There's only now. There's only here. Give in to love, or live in fear. No other path. No other way. No day but today. - Seasons of Love (Rent)

While we didn't really have a clear "start" to things, March 21st marked the "official" one year anniversary with Ms Chaos. We choose that date in our history because that was the night where, in the middle of Sacramento Lindy Exchange, she left her friends and her job to come see me and I realized, "this girl really likes me." I stole my first kiss and she realized "this guy really likes me." So it began. In that wonderful way, a year later, I feel both like the year has flown by faster than any other and at the same time that I can't imagine my life without her.

For our anniversary I gave her two romantic dinners and a romantic time on the beach and romantic roller coaster ride and all that wonder and she gave me twelve cupcakes. Twelve cupcakes and each one was decorated to commemorate some special thing that that the two of us have done together over the past year. She is crafty like that.

Anniversary Cupcakes (1) Email (2) Cribbage (3) Concerts (4) Kisses

1) Email - It all started with e-mail. The begining was rocky and awkward in person, but we traded these multiple-page email novels every single day. We lived over a hundred miles apart and only saw one another on weekends and while there was hesitancy and shyness going on when we were together, because of the emails we both knew that we enjoyed what the other person had to say. We knew that we could talk pages and pages and pages. I learned about her life and her philosophy and her beliefs and it just took a bit of time to translate that level of openness into words. We still trade e-mails. I look forward to the "ding" in my box while I'm at work when I can see a new message from her pop up.

2) Cribbage - In one of our first emails I mentioned that one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday was "porching." I would sit out in the sunshine on the porch sipping a little bit of white wine and playing cribbage with my roommate. Ms Chaos' response? "Oh my gosh I love cribbage!" We were both shocked that the other knew how to play. Cribbage is the game you typically see people over sixty playing, but now we have had a hundred or more games of competitive cribbage. In the beginning she was beating me more often than not. Then I wrote an iPhone application to help me know what to discard and I started beating her more often then not! Then she told me I wasn't allowed to use it (sigh) but my skill has improved to the point where I think she is just barely ahead of me. You know the rules? When someone wins they get 10c for each point they win by, double if it's a skunk and triple if it's a double-skunk. We play to win!

3) Violen Concerts - Our first date was to the Camellia Symphony Orchestra where I have a friend who plays violin. We had a nice dinner before hand where talking to one another was like pulling teeth (it was back in the email=good talk=awkward phase of things). I asked if she had any preference for appetizers, she said no, and so I orders hummus and olives. Yes, I know it's delicious and that it indicates that I'm a very cultured person, but in the months that followed I learned she doesn't like hummus or olives but was too nervous to say anything about it. (At our second date we went to tapas and I asked if she had a preference, once again she said no. I order four plates and two of them (eggplant and mushrooms) were more items that she didn't like). Though she still claims she is not a picky eater, I think I've figure out all of her "I don't really like these" items.

4) Kisses - I told the story a little in opening. We had two "dates" which involved no kisses. I was trying to figure out if she wanted to be my friend or what and she was trying to figure out if I wanted to be her friend or what. Then on a fun night when I was at a casual party at my cousin's house, the same place we first met (and second met), when I knew she was working and playing the whole weekend at the Sac Lindy Exchange, she showed up! And I knew, right then, she was smitten! (Or at least in the early stages of being smitten). So there was our first kiss and that's when she knew I was smitten. March 21st, 2009, in case you didn't catch that. Yes, that was after our first two "dates."

8 more to go...

Managing My Time (03/18/2010)

If force is the standard. The murderer wins over the pick pocket. - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

As a subject matter expert at work, I am constantly being invited to lots of meetings. These meetings have nothing to do with my job, but people want me to attend them because I can provide a lot valuable input to help them do their job. But, of course, the more meetings I go to about things that aren't my job, the less time I have to do my job. Even if those other meetings help the company as a whole. It's a conundrum. It is not uncommon for me to have 6-9 hours of meetings in a day. Yes. That's right, it's not uncommon for me to spend more than my entire working day in meetings that have very little to do with the things that I am paid money to do. I've recently re-instated two time management practices that I used to have until I can get things under control again.

First, I have two hours blocked every day to catch up on e-mail. Ideally these are the ONLY times during the day I check e-mail. Even though I get around 120-mails a day, I can stay on top pretty well. I am a strict advocate of inbox zero. During those hour pauses, every single mail is read and one these actions are done: 10% delete it, 20% spend 1-2 minutes responding and file it, 40% file it, 30% flag it for follow up with a due date (today, tomorrow, end of week, end of next week) and file it. *BAM* My work queue is never my inbox, it's my list of tasks/email that are flagged for follow up today.

I also realized that evenings I leave the office with around 2-3 hours of actual meetings for the next day, but magically the end of the next day I have spent 9 hours in meetings. So at the end of day Monday, it looks like I only have 2 hours of meetings on Tuesday and I think "wow, some productive heads down time" by the end of Tuesday my calendar has nine hours of meetings on it. Why? Because people aren't disciplined enough to plan 1-day ahead. Really? So I did some technology here. I wrote an AppleScript that runs at the end of each day and blocks my calendar for the next day. So now, if you just to schedule that last minute meeting it looks like I'm fully booked. To schedule a same-day meeting, that organizer actually needs to get my permission. The result is that most people will change me from required to tentative for all the meetings I'm not really required at. For meetings I am required, they will usually just make it a day later and think, "Jordan has a really busy calendar, I better make sure to plan ahead when I'm working with him."

Have I mentioned that Apple Script is weird?

tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
  set theSubject to "Closed for Business"
  set theLocation to "Dial-in"
  set theStartTime to (current date) + 1 * days
  set time of theStartTime to 28800
  set theEndTime to (current date) + 1 * days
  set time of theEndTime to 64800
  set hasReminder to false
  set theFreeBusyStatus to "busy"
  set newEvent to make new event with properties {subject:theSubject,
        location:theLocation, has reminder:hasReminder, 
        free busy status:theFreeBusyStatus, start time:theStartTime,
        end time:theEndTime}
end tell

A Life Full of Wonder (02/21/2010)

The road to paradise is paradise. - Jacque Cousteau

One year ago, my weekend were mostly spent with casual hanging out with friends or casual relaxing at home. Some of my greatest memories involve days getting up around noon, relaxing for a few hours in pajamas, showering, changing into a clean pair of pajamas and relaxing away the evening. But now all of a sudden all the, "well I would kind of like to..." moments I have are being transformed into action! Action! Never before have I felt so socially busy.

Friday evenings I have 1-2 hours of dance lessons learning balboa as well as private lessons followed by three hours of swing dance. Most Saturdays have some sort of party going on. Sunday is a morning at church before running off to blues harmonica lessons! I've got my eyes open for a free weekend to take the CHP motorcycle course. Where will I fit that in, what with going bowling the past two weekends? I've got a gift certificate to sky diving just burning a hole in my wallet! What to do? What to do?

My Awesome Bowling Shot Awesome Bowling Scores

A few weekends ago I went snow skiing with a few friends and Ms Chaos had so much fun she's been asking, "when are we going okay? Should we get a season pass next year?" So the next trip is tomorrow. In the future I have trips to Ridgecrest, a week in Disneyworld, a long weekend in LA. Things are rushing by, every moment fun. Fun!

Going Skiing down the Hill

And just last weekend for valentines day we did a trip down to San Francisco complete with playing on the beach in the cold.

Ms Chaos Running at the Beach

Adults have more Fun (01/31/2010)

No you can't play with it, you won't enjoy it on as many levels as I do... Mm-hai bw-ha whoa-hoa. The colors children. Mwa-ha-lee. - Professor Frink (The Simpsons)

(Aside: I have been playing around on SquareSpace thinking of moving my site there. I do everything write now through home-grown Apple Scripts and such on my computer that pushes, and that is not going to translate well to trying to push stuff up from the iPad I intent to buy in 60-days. BUT, when I was like 90% done writing this up on their editor, I double-clicked slightly wrong and BOOM! The entry was lost to time. Grrr...)

In December, Ms Chaos suggested that we invited all of our friends over to her house to build graham cracker houses. You may remember building graham cracker houses when you were in grade school. If you have little children, you may have done it as a fun activity among them. So when the suggest came up to bring together a collection of young adults, with very few children, to build these houses I knew there was only one way it could turn out: AWESOME.

I spend the entire day making six delicious pounds of frosting. As I got better at separating the eggs, the viscosity of the frosting dropped and it seemed less able to hold together under architectural stress. So, as advice, use one fewer egg in building frosting than in eating frosting. Once it was all finished, with various colors, a party was going to happen! I told all my friends to bring there favorite building supplies, which ranged from candy bars and little bitable candy upwards to plastic dinosaurs. Yes, plastic dinosaurs; I knew it would be awesome.

Making Delicious Frosting

The two children quickly got bored of using pounds and pounds of candy for building instead of eating. So we stuck them in a corner with a coloring book and got to work. The structures created ranged across the spectrum. There was a seven story tall monstrosity that caused all of the little in habitants to be forced to speak different languages. And one friend gleefully said, "see if you can find which platform has Cthulu fishing a battle with a T-Rex."

The Kids Liked Coloring

There was a Back to the Future time-travelling Delorean and a to-scale version of Big Ben and Parliament. So I would suggest this event for you and your friends, but only if your friends are awesome.

They are Building Houses! Seven Story Disaster Cthulu Fighting Dinosaur

I Would Fill a 30 Hour Day (01/25/2010)

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

It's been insanely difficult for me to keep pace of with all the little things over the past year. I like to live a very full life. A life full of friends, full of family, full of work, full of learning, full of adventure and just plain full. When a new interest comes, I simple remove from my life another and older interested that isn't quite as fun or quite as important to me.

This past year has been a challenge to my life management skills that I haven't quite gotten a hold of. It's thanks largely to the introduction of Ms Chaos into my life, because all of sudden I have all this stuff that I want to do with her. I have all this time that I want to fill dancing with her, playing games with her, watching shows with her, sky diving with her, motor cycle riding with her and generally living with her. But what happens to all those other things I also want to do? What happens to all those things that filled up my life when I didn't share it with her? Some, of course, are easy as pie to share with her. Yes, she can go skiing with me! Yes she can go to crazy rock band parties and hospital visits with me. She can (and will!) go to Anime Expo and Penny Arcade with me.

This is Time Together Which is Awesome

But it's hard to read a science magazine together. It's hard to update a website together (*cough*cough*). It's hard for me to write for-personal-education software together. All of sudden, with those pieces of "by myself time" competing against more enjoyable "with her time," things fall along the wayside. So it goes!

Time by Myself

2009 in Slideshow (12/30/2009)

Man I still have at least 24 hours until the year is over, why am I getting a lot of people complaining about not posting a video?

I'm having issues this year (since Google Video is dead and YouTube dislikes my audio content. It works great on a Mac, but if you're in windows you may need to view it directly: 2009 In Review

2008 Video

2007 Video

2006 Video

Ear Candling (12/22/2009)

How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world. - William Shakespeare

Perhaps you haven't heard of the ancient art of ear candling. If you haven't, don't worry, I think few people have. Ms Chaos makes a claim that one of her ear canals is mis-shapen due to earlier mishaps in life and this deformity prevents her from clearning her ear using the (more) traditional cotton swab method. Instead she likes to use the art of ear candling.

Now, the rumor and lore around the subject is that the candle actually draws your ear wax up and into the wick, burning it away! That might still be the common thought of the matter if the pesky FDA didn't step in and intervene. Now the package clearly states that ear candling does not burn your ear wax. In fact it even states it does not create negative pressure and draw the wax out of your ear. Sadly, it says all that it does it help to soften the wax for easier removal through the traditional cotton swab manner. Hardly a revolutionary achievement.

Ear Candling

But, nevertheless, I embarked on the journal and experienced the crackling noise in my ear. I found the whole ordeal not particularly soothing or particularly helpful. But hey, life is about trying new things. (Note: Further research shows the whole idea is considered more harmful than helpful by the medical experts of America.)

Things Happen (11/04/2009)

It begins in delight and ends in wisdom... in a clarification of life - not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects and cults are founded on, but in a momentary stay against confusion. - Robert Frost

Welcome to me on my brand spanking new MacBook. It's plastic casing is carved by lasers!

I got older. I took kids tricker or treating. Things happen.

Birthday Cake Jordan and Kevin Bridge Jordan and Ashley's Sofa Ashley Goes to Jordan Reunion w00tstock: Paul and Storm and Wil and Adam Jordan and Gabrielle Jordan and Jillian

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