Category Archives: Uncategorized

Goal Modification

This is a public restatement of my blog 2x per month goal.  I am not meeting it, and I’m not sure that my attempts to stay caught up with it are warranted.  I’m going to move it to 1x per month, and see if I can squeeze some quality out of it, rather than quantity.

Also, pester me. I’ve got some good stuff to write down, I’m just not quite getting it written down for whatever reason.

To Do List for May

This is kind of a goals post, things that I want to accomplish in May:

1) Eat Paleo – Try it for a week. If it works, try it for another. Repeat
2) Finish redoing my master closet. I’m tired of dragging my shirts around the house
3) Don’t buy any shoes, shirts, pants, jeans, or other clothing. Limit Amazon spend. Spend consciously on needs.
4) Plan out the garden, build new raised beds, plant flowers and veg, if the weather cooperates
5) Start the Lifetime Ladder. Make it a daily habit

Phoning it in

I am sitting on an eep! day on and if I don’t publish something on my blog, I owe them $5.  I also went to the dentist today and my face is swollen and all I want to do is lie on the couch and watch Frozen, and because of the stupid Target data breach, I can’t even do that. (Chase cancelled my card, and I failed to update my preorder with my new card, so I won’t get it until tomorrow.)

So I’m phoning it in.  Sure it barely counts, but whatever. Here’s a phoned in blog post.

I was going to write about good customer service experiences that I’ve recently had.  Guess that’s for next time, and maybe this will teach me to get a little ahead of my Beeminder.


Winter Fun Facts

Ann Arbor is presently the 7th Snowiest city in the US, with 74 inches total snowfall this season (including this morning’s storm).

I have shoveled my driveway and walk 11 times since January 1st, an average of 1x every 4 days.  The longest that I have gone without shoveling was 19 days between the 5th and 24th of January (I was out of town for 5 days in that period, and I think Rob picked up a time or two).  I shoveled 4 days in a row from Jan 24 to Jan 27.

It takes between 30 and 45 minutes to shovel. This morning, I took approximately 2300 steps while shoveling.

The snowbanks at the end of my driveway are nearly 5 feet tall.  I could hide at least 11 of my 13 nieces and nephews in them. The oldest two might be able to peek out the top.

I have gotten stuck in said snowbanks backing out of my driveway twice.  At least two other people have had to be rescued from said snowbanks.

My longest commute involved at least an hour and a half of driving after getting stuck in the snowbank for half an hour.  It felt like half of that was in downtown Dearborn, just a few miles from the office.

I have a raised bed garden space in the back yard.  I can’t see it.  There are at least two steps from my back door to the patio. I also can’t see them.

Days since I saw Frozen: 52.
Days since I downloaded the Frozen soundtrack: 28
Days since I preordered Frozen: 12
Days until I receive Frozen: 28
Number of times I’ve made a joke to myself about Disney turning down the Viral Marketing campaign already: approximately 100



Ok, I’ll bite:

The Brady Awards

Here are my personal awards for the year 2012.  These are the people and the things that impressed me the most this year,

Mother of the year : Marianne Emmett and Erin Gong (tied)  – Two of the bravest and most awesome mothers I know.
Father of the year : Alvin Emmett – Made tons of efforts to build an adult relationship with me this year
Friend of the year : Rob Witting – Moved most of my stuff plus just general awesomeness
Friend of the year (long distance division) : Melanie Carbine – Keeps in touch better than anyone I know
Person who was there at the exact right moment of the year : David Baker – He knows why

Computer Game of the year : Civilization VAwesomesauce
Board Game of the year : Lords of WaterdeepA lot of replayability on this one

Book of the year : Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm  – Really got me thinking
Book series of the year : The Dark Tower series by Steven King – The first I’ve really read of Steven King, and I loved it!
Mormon book of the year : The Mormon People by Matthew Bowman – Helped me see how the popular culture has helped shape the Mormon Culture over the last 200 years.
Book Club book of the year: The Road by Cormac McCarthy – Beautifully written and full of feels

Television show of the year : Doctor WhoThis will probably always win
Movie of the year : The AvengersThe only movie in years I’ve been willing to see twice in the theater
Pop song of the year : What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction – Yeah, I’m a little embarrassed for me too!
Band of the year : Of Monsters and Men If you haven’t heard them yet, you’ve just got too.
Concert of the year : Vienna Teng at The Ark featuring Theo Katzman Theo was a surprise, and great company too!  Thanks for scalping tickets, Melanie.
Webseries of the year : The Lizzie Bennet DiariesSo good!  Possibly the best adaptation of Pride and Prejudice since Bride and Prejudice.

Personal Electronic Device of the year: Droid Incredible 4G LTE  – Kind of glad my Droid Incredible took a bit of a bath
Social Network of the year: I  might be addicted
Online Retailer of the year: Frank and OakI’m loving their shirts
Other Online Retailer of the year: HuckberryI’m am pretty sure they are going to bankrupt me with their awesome stuff. The Mars poster in my bathroom is my favorite purchase of the year
Paint Color of the Year: Anonymous by Behr (#780F-5) – My walls look awesome!  

You can pick up your prizes at the front desk.  (All the links to Amazon are affiliate links…)

Adventures in Homeownership, pt. 1

Last Saturday, I spent part of my afternoon inspecting my sprinkler system, trying to figure out how it works and how to best calibrate it so it stops watering my patio and instead spends time watering the grass.  While I was checking the spray patterns of several of the heads, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.

A little hummingbird with a green throat was playing in my sprinklers!  She would hover for a few seconds watching where the spray was moving, and then dart in and dart back out.  She’d watch the spray again and jump in and out as it moved.

I watched, wishing I hadn’t left my cellphone inside, but knowing I wouldn’t have been able to get a shot anyway.  Then the sprinklers stopped and she darted for the mums I have growing on the patio and was gone.

Or so I thought…

I went back inside to turn on a different section of the sprinklers, and when I came back, she was back at it!  She jumped in and out a few more times, and I called to a friend to come take a look.  I must have scared her away because I didn’t see her again.

I didn’t even know we got hummingbirds in Michigan!

Best Books Ever!

I’m a huge fan of reading.  Ever since they taught me how to (and probably before), I’ve been practicing as frequently as I can.  There was one teacher I had in grade school who claimed that she would either visit in our homes or call our parents, and if we were reading when that happened, we’d get something special. (I don’t remember anymore what the reward was.)  Because of that (threat/promise/challenge), I read a lot.  And kind of kept going.

More old books...
More old books... by guldfisken

The statistics on reading baffle me.  A few years back, a survey showed that the average American who reads regularly read only 7 books per year. And one in four adults read no books.  No Books?!?!? I’ve already read six since the beginning of the year, and most of a seventh (it’s mostly a running book filled with tedious training plan details. I don’t really need the part of the book that I haven’t read until later when I’m going to run a marathon). If I stopped now, I’d be there with the average reader, and I still have ten and a half months to go!

The problem with reading that much is that you start to run out of things to read.  I have always been a strong genre reader.  I come back again and again to specific genres because I know them and I know that I will generally like what I read.  My genre is typically Epic Fantasy, although I will occasionally fiddle with some other aspects of Speculative Fiction.  I’m open to other genres and types of books, but I generally don’t know where to start outside my genre.

Late last year, I decided two things.
#1- I was going to read at least three books out of genre before returning to Epic Fantasy.
#2- I was going to leave Young Adult Fantasy and Sci-Fi behind me for the time being.

To point the first, I was pleasantly surprised by the books which I did read.  The World Without Us is one that I’ve brought up in conversations with many of my friends and family.  And while I don’t think I could recommend Ragtime in good conscience to most people, it was a good read.  I think that my “adventure” with James Joyce could best be described by not describing it.

To point the second, I recently decided that while most YA Fantasy is good reading, I needed to read less of it.  The plots were becoming predictable for me, and I was tired of the sanitization that happens in YA.  Several years ago, I drew a line that placed that vampire series (you know the one) on one side of a line, and Harry Potter on the other.  Lately, I’ve pushed a whole lot more past the line.  Once my detox is complete, I think that I might reevaluate where the line sits. (There will always be at least 4 books on the other side of the line.  You know which ones.)

After returning from my out of genre stint, I’ve actually had some fun.  I’ve been reading classic science fiction works from the ’60s and ’70s.  These were some of the real pioneers of the sci-fi genre.  I also read a heady Speculative Fiction novel and a Literary take on fantasy.

With all of this reading,  my To-Read shelf has dwindled.  I have one or two more novels there, one of which I am saving because it might take some re-reading of some previous novels.  So I took my problem to Facebook, and asked my friends what the best book they’ve ever read is.  I was blown away by the response.  Some clearly didn’t understand the assignment.  (I’m looking at you, Clint.)  I got a huge list of books to read! Of those suggested, I had only read four.  And while a few were YA, most looked like ones that I could come back to after my self imposed ban is over.

I was so happy with the list that I thought that I should share it.  So, below the break, I’ve included a cleaned up list of The Best Books, at least according to my Facebook friends.  I linked them all to Amazon, in case you’re interested in more information about any of them.  I’ve already ordered one (Scar Gate), and I’m looking forward to reading many more of them this year. (If you were wondering, I marked the ones I’ve read with (R) and the Young Adult Fantasy and Sci-Fi with (YA).)

So what about you? Did this list miss the best book you’ve ever read?  Let me know in the comments!

Things you shouldn’t mention around a Lostie

Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Because that’s what I’m doing right here, warning you.

LOST starts next week. And no, they haven’t figured out what that thing in the trees is yet. (That’s the question almost every non-Lostie asks me when they find out that I watch the show. It’s seems like everyone in the world has seen the pilot episode, but the only thing they are curious about is the smoke monster.) Also, yes, they are still lost. Although some of them are lost in a different way than the others.

So now you know. You may want to avoid the water cooler, or any gathering of more than two people, on Thursday mornings for the next 16 weeks or so. We Losties do try to spare you unwashed masses the agony of our discussions, but sometimes, you do bring it on yourselves, you know.

How? By saying a Lost trigger word in our presence. It’s ok if there is only one of us, but in crowds as small as two people, a trigger word will force us to discuss Lost. We are sorry, but we can’t help it.

So I have benevolently compiled a list of trigger words. For your own safety, never ever utter one of these triggers around us. (Many thanks to Katherine who contributed some trigger words to this list, and to Elizabeth, who beat me to the punch for this post. By like two weeks.)

– The Numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42). Especially in combination. Also avoid 108.
– Wild Boars
– Black Rocks
– Black Smoke
– Pacific Islands
– Lists (especially of names, especially if tell someone that they are or are not on the list)
– Good Person
– Walt
– Desmond
– Hatch
– Airplanes
– Airplane crashes
– Backgammon
– Korea
– Fiji
– Ranch Composite
– Others
– Polar Bears
– “Don’t tell me what I can’t do”
– Stations
– Electromagnetism
– Jacob

Ok, so there are many more triggers. These are the ones that I could come up with, while being significantly distracted by Lostpedia. Any of you Losties out there have any significant triggers that I missed?