Archive: September, 2006

A computer in a computer in a computer

posted by Jeff | Friday, September 29, 2006, 12:27 PM | comments: 1

I'm at home, on my Mac, looking at Windows running virtually, looking at a meeting computer in Florida.

Who really needs to go to an office anymore?

How very far I've come

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 28, 2006, 10:38 AM | comments: 0

I've taken a few moments in the last day or so to look at where I am in life, and wow, I certainly don't have any room to bitch.

While the last year and a half has been emotionally challenging, my life is far more awesome than I'm willing to let myself believe. That's probably been true most of my life, but now in particular. I've reached great milestones in my career, which I only entered five years ago. I can afford to do all of the broadcast media stuff I used to do, only on my own terms. I have the toys I like. There's a woman out there who totally wants me. I mean, if it would just stop raining, life would be nearly perfect.

It's funny how when things suck, it causes a loop that you get stuck in, and you find it hard to make things un-suck. But when things are going well, you can keep things perpetually up with little to no effort. You just get energized.

The weirdest fucking day, in a good way

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 27, 2006, 10:37 PM | comments: 1

So the day starts to get interesting when I get an e-mail message from a PR guy working for a certain video game studio, inviting me out to San Francisco on his dime to see a new game. If I can bring Cath, I'm so jumping on that.

Then, through the magic of Facebook, I reconnect with some of my former volleyball kids. One of them actually "switched teams" so to speak. Didn't see that one coming, but good for her for figuring it out young. I can't believe so many of them are all grown up and stuff. I've been doing this coaching thing for an awful long time.

I get home to find a red envelope in my mail box, containing, "Awesome, I Fucking Shot That," the Beastie Boys live DVD. I like the original idea to give 50 people in the crowd video cameras and make a video from that, but why did it have to be shitty Hi-8 cameras? Fortunately they had a few guys with what looked like Sony HDV, but then they even made that hard to watch by doing some nasty video toaster looking shit. I understand recording the fan experience, but you didn't have to cut it like a fan. The special features had a montage of 30+ year-old white guys requesting songs from all over the world. The best was the 30+ Japanese guy in a suit who asked for, "Intergaractic, prease."

Right now Catherine is tending to sick horses.

Life sure can be interesting without even trying.

Blue Man tour has begun

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 27, 2006, 10:46 AM | comments: 0

Some audience members snapped a few pictures from opening night. (And yes, they apparently encourage this.)

The fan sites pretty much show the run down, and there's a lot of stuff from The Complex and the theatrical show that I've seen before, but that's cool. I've been regretting not getting to see The Complex ever since I saw the live DVD.

I absolutely can't wait, and I'm thrilled that Tracy Bonham will be doing all of the female vocals.

I pulled the trigger on a Mac Pro

posted by Jeff | Monday, September 25, 2006, 3:03 PM | comments: 5

Yep, my dream machine is on its way. The purchase regret is already setting in.

But I realized something important this morning. Good computer hardware inspires me to create. Creating stuff is what gets me out of bed in the morning. I'm tired of feeling bad for buying things that I really want to create stuff, so this is the point where I stop doing that.

Does it set back project debt reduction back a month? Yes. Will said inspiration lead to me creating something that will make me a buck? Maybe. Is it worth taking the chance that it won't? Absolutely.

Awesome Apple Pascal ad

posted by Jeff | Monday, September 25, 2006, 12:20 PM | comments: 6

Come on... you know this is funny stuff...

Apple Pascal ad

Living in fear

posted by Jeff | Monday, September 25, 2006, 11:51 AM | comments: 2

Eric's comment in my post about living in the moment made me realize that one of the greatest barriers in accomplishing life fulfillment is fear.

It's pretty easy to see it in other people. One friend stays in a bad relationship because of fear she'll be alone, another because she fears she's not good enough to find someone else. One friend stays in a shitty job because he fears he can't find another. One of my former volleyball kids feared trying out because she thought she would get cut. Fear outright blocks people from taking the moments right in front of them.

I'm trying very hard to be self-aware about those fears in my life as well. I fear coming up with a solid business plan because I think it will never work. I fear writing a screenplay because it will suck. I fear moving because I might be less comfortable. I fear going to the doctor because I could learn something scary about my health. I fear buying the gear I need because of debt (just kidding, that's never a problem for me!).

Living in fear isn't living at all, so I try to resolve to break out of this cycle. Honestly, seeing others live in fear helps me a little when I see how miserable they are. That's probably not very cool, and I'm not suggesting I'm better than anyone, but it really helps me see who I do not want to be.

So the lesson for the day is... (fog == bad && fear == bad) == true

The hella whack shiznit that happens inside your brizzle

posted by Jeff | Monday, September 25, 2006, 12:56 AM | comments: 2

Less than two weeks to go, with lots of journal updates...

Life can be right in front of you and you don't see it

posted by Jeff | Sunday, September 24, 2006, 10:15 PM | comments: 3

If there's one recurring theme in my life, and the lives of people close to me in the last year, it's that you have to wake up and see the fucking moment in front of you.

So much can change in a year. A year ago I was coaching high school volleyball, loving it mostly. It really defined me since there was little else in my life. I was about to have a life-changing event in just a few days. There were things in front of my face I didn't even know there, and it would make for an interesting turning point.

For me and Catherine, it's a weird time because we've been dating a few months, and now she's in vet school, almost two hours away. That situation makes you think a lot about life, and what's important to you. We stay together because the rare but must-haves are present (honesty, disclosure and no games), but at the same time resolve to live in the moment and take in what is going on around us. For her that means fulfilling a dream and absorbing knowledge, for me it means seeing through on life's "to do" list. When you aren't wasting time on feeling sorry for yourself or trying to manipulate people and the world around you to fit your ideal, the moment stares you right in the place and invites you to take it.

A friend of mine IM'd me tonight and asked why I though a friend of hers wasn't trying to make more of his life. To that I replied, "Everyone has a journey. some people choose to take it, others sit around in a fog and figure what they can't see won't bother them."

It takes a lot of courage to get out of the fog. Join me in tooting that fog horn. I busted out about a year ago, but I might need help being reminded to get out again.

Movies and gadgets

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 23, 2006, 1:51 PM | comments: 0

With a little more time to myself than I'm used to, I've been watching a lot of movies again. And of course, that gets me thinking about making a movie again. I've actually got some ideas for a short now, and I think I can finance them for a grand or two since I already have most of the gear that I need.

Last night we watched Waiting..., and I have to say that it wasn't bad. Actually, the script itself was a bit mediocre, but it was so well cast and so well acted that it was genuinely entertaining. It's also rare that you really like most of the characters.

I was looking around online yesterday for a follow focus device for the camera, and found one that actually works electronically (the focus ring doesn't move the glass directly, it moves by servo motors), and it gets pretty good reviews. That puts my mind at ease because not having a detachable lens is one of the many concessions you make with the HVX.

The whole recording medium on-set thing is something that still troubles me a little, but there are a lot of options out there. My biggest concern is that I'd simply like to be able to shoot for long takes and not worry about having to off-load to a hard drive somewhere. Again, there are plenty of options for this. I think I could shoot at a full 1080/24p without running out of storage.

What I need to do is concentrate and bust out that short screenplay in my head. Then I can work on casting and location scouting.

A disturbing scene before bed

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 23, 2006, 1:37 PM | comments: 1

Last night, at about 11:30, I took Catherine's dog Cosmo out the front door so she could do her business. Cath went to be earlier after an exhausting first week of vet school. There was a police car with its lights on at the intersection, which seemed weird because he didn't have anyone pulled over.

Cosmo went as far as the driveway and started barking toward the cul de sac for some reason, then came back up on the steps and cowered behind me, as if she knew something bad was going to happen. It was really weird.

I noticed that the cop pulled his shot gun out of the car, and it was at that moment that I noticed a large animal, presumably a deer, was lying on the side of the road. The officer walked over to it and nudged it with his gun. The deer tried to get up, but did little more than push itself up on to the tree lawn. It had clearly been hit, and was in really bad shape.

I kind of knew what was coming, and I didn't want to look. I was so frozen by what was going on though that I couldn't look away. Finally I snapped out of it, and took the dog inside of the house. A few seconds after I closed the door, I heard the loud shot, and the deer was no longer suffering.

I couldn't sleep after that, and to make things worse, Luna was having one of her sick, IBD-induced episodes. My mind trailed to an article I had read earlier in Wired, about bringing people out of comas and when it's appropriate to pull the plug on someone. It struck me as odd that some cultures will keep injured people alive indefinitely, others will pull the plug, and animals we euthanize because it's the right thing to do. It's so strange how we play God in so many ways.

Yahoo wants Facebook

posted by Jeff | Friday, September 22, 2006, 11:13 AM | comments: 0

The New York Times is reporting that Yahoo wants Facebook, and is willing to pay dearly for it. The site was conceived three years ago by a guy now only 22-years-old. That's amazing.

But as a geek that has run community sites for almost nine years, it's also extremely frustrating for me. The ideas behind Facebook, Digg and other sites aren't new. We were talking about this kind of stuff way back in 2000 when I worked at Penton Media in Cleveland, and that was only in a business-to-business context. The frustrating part for me is that I didn't have the programming or business expertise to do it myself. Neither of these are natural talents for me.

The Internet has so much financial potential for the right ideas. Don't you want a piece of that potential?

I'm a trend setter

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 21, 2006, 11:01 PM | comments: 4

Everyone else seems to have an Intel Mac now. I'm such a trendsetter. Though I doubt anyone is gonna follow me when I buy a Pro and a 30" monitor.

Apple store drool

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 21, 2006, 2:35 PM | comments: 4

Every single time I go into the Apple store, I drool at the high end stuff. I had the guy open up the Mac Pro for me so I could see the sweet drive bays. The 30" screen also teased me.

Sigh. I sort of can afford that stuff, but I need to wait. I don't think I can edit my movie when I make it without one, because the laptop just isn't big enough.

Maybe a last-minute, this tax year, expenditure.

The Blue Men are coming...

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 21, 2006, 11:54 AM | comments: 3

The Chipotle Manager

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 20, 2006, 3:06 PM | comments: 3

I've been pretty good about reducing my Chipotle outings to about one per week. Today, I was a little disturbed when the manager was ringing out.

"Do you work near here?" she said

"Yeah, around the corner, why?" I asked.

"Well, I was just asking because I see you in here a lot."

So that means that either she wants my body because I'm so hot, or I go there way too much. I'm crossing my fingers it's the first thing, but I know it's probably the second.

Distribution of indie films

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 20, 2006, 2:12 PM | comments: 0

I read in Wired today about how Netflix is picking up indie films for distribution in their DVD rental network. Sounds like a fabulous system, and they really point out the absurdity of the Hollywood system. Some 80% of revenue comes from a handful of movies, so they're not likely to market or buy anything they can't make oodles of cash on.

The Netflix guys are right, in that it's not some philanthropic support of the arts, but rather a good business decision to break out of the mold and offer more choices outside of the safe and predictable blockbusters. Well done.

This gets me thinking about how ready I am to make a film. I have most of the gear now, having only to figure out field data storage. I can see doing a film for a grand or two now, and that's if I pay people beyond the actors.

I've got an idea for a short... just have to figure out the punch line.

HP says, "Slim down, fatty! Buy our camera!"

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 19, 2006, 4:53 PM | comments: 1

Check out the blog post from 37signals' Signal vs. Noise blog about HP's new camera. The demo actually shows how you can make a person appear skinny right by squashing the picture.

What the hell is wrong with people? As if people don't already feel bad about the way they appear or what they weigh, now you can do this. As someone who did some counseling in college and coaches teenage girls, I can't even tell you how offensive this is to me. A friend of mine from college actually died of anorexia. This is not even remotely cool.

I f'ing shipped something!

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 19, 2006, 1:01 AM | comments: 0

I've been in a coding slump for quite awhile. It seemed like I couldn't finish anything. Then, in a burst of inspiration, I made a bunch of changes to my blog app, and I launched NerdLifestyle. I had been sitting on that domain for almost a year with the intention of writing about nerd stuff, and never did anything with it.

I plugged the site in a post on my tech blog, and was unprepared for lots of comments, and several hundred visits. Strange how just when you think no one is listening, it turns out that people are.

A couple more iterations of the blog/news app and I'll post it out there for download.

They don't pay us to spell

posted by Jeff | Sunday, September 17, 2006, 5:49 PM | comments: 4

A voice from the past

posted by Jeff | Sunday, September 17, 2006, 12:00 AM | comments: 1

Way back in March I blogged about how a girl I went to high school with had died of breast cancer. Completely unexpected, her mom sent me e-mail today. She saw me on TV recently for an interview I did about Cedar Point's new ride, and found me that way.

It was interesting, and really fairly inspirational, to read Katie's blog. Her last entry was less than two months before she died. It's weird to imagine someone you last saw as a high school kid who grew up, had kids, and got sick like that.

Catherine and I were driving yesterday and talking about how sad it made us that people could be so angry, stupid and not well-adjusted to life. But when you read something like this, even though it's sad, you can't help but feel hopeful about the potential and the strength that people can have.

You hang onto stories like this when the world seems so bleak.

Katie's blog is here. Her family's blog is here.

House == kick ass

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 16, 2006, 9:08 PM | comments: 0

I finally got around to watching the first two episodes of House from this season. It was a pretty good show before, but it feels like they've made a huge leap in the writing. (Oh, and Dr. Cameron is adorable with bangs!) I haven't liked a medical show since the early E.R. seasons, but this one has my attention.

I can't believe I need to wait until January to start watching 24 again!

Mackinac revisited

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 16, 2006, 8:15 PM | comments: 1

OK, so I'm almost a week late on this, but Catherine and I went back to Mackinac Island last weekend and hung out at McNally Cottage. It's closed for the season, unless of course you're dating someone in the family who owns it.

The island is a lot less crowded, that's for sure. It was nice to have our run of the house (along with a couple of Cath's friends and one of her cousins). The American college kids have really disappeared, and most of the seasonal workers left are from Europe or Jamaica.

We started on Friday night by going to The Woods, a restaurant owned by the Grand Hotel that's way back in the woods (it's not just a clever name). It was chilly to say the least, so they had both giant fire places burning away. It's a neat old lodge with lots of dead stuff on the walls, which is a little weird since there are almost no native mammals living on the island. The bar side of the lodge has an old manual bowling alley. The whole thing is very charming, and the food is pretty good.

I should interject that I'm anti-Grand. I don't like the way they run their business, and I don't like the pretentious assholes who stay there. On our way up in the shuttle carriage, this guy we picked up at the Grand asked if he could smoke. Um, no? They also do not allow tipping at their properties, which is absolutely absurd to me. It caters the cheapness of people who can afford it the most. This is a place that wants your money just to sit on their porch, which has nasty plastic furniture all over the place.

There is actually a lot of inbreeding and monopolistic tendencies on the island. The people who own those businesses suffer from severe big fish-little pond syndrome. To give you an idea of how people will get around it, we saw a wedding party bring their own flowers from the mainland, and the bride didn't take part in the silly $500 per hour carriage and took the common taxi. I'm sure it was still an awesome wedding.

Anyway, on the shuttle back, our driver was from Bulgaria, and her friend and trainer was Romanian. The drunk idiots in the shuttle kept asking her a lot of stupid questions. She was a med student going into her second year (they do nine straight years there, without what we'd call the "undergrad" program first). She was really quite beautiful, blonde, blue eyes. One of the tourists asked her if everyone generally got along, and she said the American college kids were real assholes to her and her friends. Catherine spoke up at that point to tell it like it is, and indicate that the scope of the local seasonals life experience has everything to do with their jobs, and they hate seeing people come in from overseas, work their asses off, and threaten their livelihood (and worse, from an attractive girl). It kind of annoyed me that this is the impression the girl has to have of people in our country.

Anyway, I was apparently allergic to one of the horses, because I became super miserable by the time we got back to Main Street. I was sneezing, weezing and snotty, and it just absolutely sucked. All I could do was sleep it off.

Saturday was a little warmer, and thank God it was really sunny. Cath and I rented a tandem (well, it was free because the girl working the bike rental also worked at the house over the summer), and her friends took their bikes for a ride around the island. It's about eight miles around Michigan 185, the only state route that has never had a car accident. Fortunately it's all at the lake elevation, because these gearless bikes would suck otherwise. There are a lot of beautiful houses as you ride around, and one that looks abandoned that would be a great location for a horror film.

After our ride, we stopped in the butterfly house. All of the species there were fairly common to other similar facilities, but it was a neat little place to visit for sure.

We had lunch at a place on the Star Line dock where they had some seriously potent drinks (and mediocre food). The rest of the day, we just hung out and didn't do much. We ordered pizza, watched a little TV. Cath and her friend Sarah went out to one of the bars for about an hour, but I stayed home because I just didn't have it in me. I can't party like I used to!

Sunday we (well, mostly the girls) cleaned up the cottage, and we scored breakfast. The drive back to Cleveland wasn't horrible. We had a lot of deep conversations, stopped for food, gas and urination, and made it back around 9 p.m.

As much as I dislike some of the snobbery on the island, I also love it for its peacefulness. It's a very unique place, and if you stay at one of these little bed-and-breakfasts like McNally, I think you'll have a good time.

Stop global warming!

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 14, 2006, 11:06 AM | comments: 0

What makes a developer happy with their life?

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 13, 2006, 3:30 PM | comments: 1

Over the past few years, I've written about career and happiness a great many times. (And honestly, if you're one of those people who thinks I care about your dislike for posts like this, just stop reading and move on.) It's interesting how many time things have changed since I started this blog more than two years ago, and how I'm still not entirely able to answer the question: What makes a developer happy in life?

Early 2004 was an interesting time for me because I got a contract to write a book. That was an amazing experience that I treasure, even if the sales were mediocre at best and I was dissatisfied with the publisher's marketing efforts. Amazon still runs out of it from time to time. Being a technical author and playing with the newest stuff was a very rewarding experience, even if it didn't do much to pay the bills.

Contract work was fascinating too. That's what I spent most of 2005 doing, and it was exciting to take a lead role in an interesting project. Where it became less interesting was the point that I was the most experienced person on the project. I don't mean to second-guess myself or take away from my abilities, but it suddenly becomes a lot harder to get better at what you do when you're not a genius and you're the most knowledgeable person in the room.

I spent almost six months where all I did was coach high school volleyball, and loaf the rest of the time. That was during the long separation prior to my divorce (which just became final last July), and while it wasn't a productive time in terms of career, I had a lot of time to ask meaning-of-life questions and really work things out in my head. So at least in my personal life, I feel I know myself better than ever.

This year I took a salary job at a start-up (relatively speaking, the company is six years old), and the work is interesting with a lot of very smart people. I'm still not used to the structure of the "daily grind," but I do get a lot out of it. There were times when I wanted to run for the exit out of boredom or frustration, but I'm surprisingly settled right now.

All during this time, and since 2000, I've also had my "business" in the background. It makes enough money that I could make a Wal-Mart manager living, but you know, I'm used to the J-Pizzie lifestyle now. I've got a million ideas in my head about what I could do, but no actual business plan. It's mostly by accident that I have a bunch of Web sites that generate ad revenue at this point. I wonder if I could do better.

So in two short years, I feel like I've experimented with all kinds of different career modes, and I'm still insanely uncertain about what I want to do when I grow up. Do you ever get that feeling? I wouldn't say that I'm unhappy, but I'm always wondering what the best use of my time is since I have to work in some way if I intend to keep gas in my car, a roof over my head, and dinner in my stomach. Balancing that notion and accepting that we're all worm food eventually is not easy. It's not helpful to write it off as all being meaningless, so you have to create meaning on your terms.

Apple gets it more than ever

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 12, 2006, 4:51 PM | comments: 4

The Apple announcements today were more or less what people expected, but there were some really nice twists.

New iPods, yeah, that was an obvious move. Selling movies was expected, but I don't think anyone really knew they'd move up to 640x480 resolution for those and the TV shows, which is essentially standard definition resolution. They just hooked me, because that's about as good as a DVD, only without the piece of plastic. It's the quantum shift that music made a few years ago.

Even more impressive is the "iTV" box that they previewed, and will ship early next year. People have been wondering for awhile if they'd introduce a DVR kind of device, and they've totally looked beyond that. A DVR is a broadcast-centric device, that has to do with the old distribution of content, on a schedule, via broadcast and cable. That's old news, and the a la carte pricing of content seems to be working. Let's face it, the best TV shows are like commercials for me to buy the DVD's. And if that new box really does support HD the way the demo did, the whole BlueRay vs. HD-DVD argument is even more pointless than it already is.

There certainly is some danger for Apple. I mean, they have to accept some outside influence now and then. They were smart to work podcasts into the store. They support video of the same as well. As long as they don't close that out, the entire platform is looking positive.

Holy shit it's Voltron!

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 12, 2006, 12:59 PM | comments: 0

Winking Lizard

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 12, 2006, 12:47 PM | comments: 0

The hunger is killing me

posted by Jeff | Monday, September 11, 2006, 3:58 PM | comments: 8

I got on the scale this morning, as I do every Monday morning, and became a little frightened at what I saw. I'm slowly undoing all that I accomplished last year, and I feel shitty about it.

I've been eating like a total asshole the last few months, because for some reason I find comfort in food. That doesn't even make sense because it's not like I'm particularly unhappy or depressed about anything. I'm just annoyed with the situation.

So today I'm trying to do things right, and all I can think about is hitting that vending machine and getting candy out of it. If I can just hold out for two hours, I can have dinner and probably feel a whole lot better.

The funny thing is that I catch myself over-eating and feeling physically not well for doing so. After my weight loss last year, my body adjusted and it doesn't like large portions of food. I get all crampy and bloated when I eat too much. It would be a damn shame if I gained back the weight I lost, because God knows I feel better being lighter.

What is there really to say?

posted by Jeff | Monday, September 11, 2006, 2:09 PM | comments: 2

One of the HR people today at work sent out an e-mail about doing a moment of silence and said we should never forget the events of 9/11.

It's absurd to think that anyone old enough to remember would ever forget that day. But that said, I think a lot of people would like to if they could. Everyone deals with tragedy differently. It was without question one of the saddest and scary days in my life, and the worst of it happened hundreds of miles away from me. The stories of the people that made a difference that day are fascinating to me, but I can't bring myself to spend a lot of time thinking about it every year.

The thing that I find most upsetting is the way things have gone since then. We're in a war that has nothing to do with terrorism. People think they're related anyway. The president thinks he's bigger than the Constitution. All we ever hear about is how scared we should be. Gas prices are insane. Health care is in the shitter. Social Security is in bad shape for the long term. Our financial security is in the hands of the rest of the world because of our debt. And the worst thing yet, is that no one in Washington ever bothers to ask what it is about our foreign policy that makes people want to blow our shit up. (Hint: It's not about "hating freedom.")

9/11 was a very sad day in our history. No one is ever going to forget that day, or the thousands of people who died. The way that I would most like to honor those people is to pray that the world find peace. If we stop believing that it's possible, we give up our will to avoid certain doom.

The fall tradition continues

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 7, 2006, 3:41 PM | comments: 9

Just booked closing weekend at Cedar Point's Lighthouse Point. The co-campers may change, but the legend lives on!

Paris Hilton sucks!

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 7, 2006, 1:16 PM | comments: 3

This is good stuff. What a talentless piece of crap.

Thank God "it" will be announced soon

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 6, 2006, 7:36 PM | comments: 8

Tomorrow is announcement day for Cedar Point's 2007 project. And thank God for that, because I can't stand all of the bed wetting over it. I hate that I can't talk about it in the forums and correct all of the nonsense that has been posted about it.

So it'll soon be out there. I think the server should be able to handle the load for the coaster sites. I did some re-indexing that has helped with the forum performance, which is hopefully enough until I can rewrite the underlying software.

I'm kind of anxious to see what the reaction will be once all of the details are out there. It's hard to guess how people will react. We'll find out soon!

To IAAPA or not

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 5, 2006, 7:05 PM | comments: 3

I'm torn about covering IAAPA this year. Basically it costs me around a grand to do it by the time you figure in air, hotel and my time. I don't really recover that in terms of ad revenue. It really only helps from the standpoint of credibility and networking. And I really want to exercise my HD gear some more. I also can't really do it all myself.

I'm torn.

Why do we want to save other people?

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 5, 2006, 11:10 AM | comments: 3

Catherine and I were talking yesterday at a Cracker Barrel outside of Columbus about relationships. She's moving to Columbus to start vet school at OSU, so naturally that arrangement puts relationships on the brain, even though we're pretty confident, for now, about what we're doing.

What we find ourselves obsessed with is actually relationships that some of our close friends are in, and how bad they are. Yeah, maybe that's arrogant to say we know better, especially as a divorcee and ex-engagee (is that a word?), but we both feel like we get it after making a lot of mistakes. I'm not suggesting that we're perfect and can make it work with anyone, just that we understand the foundation.

The thing lacking most with our friends is honesty. It's something that touches so many areas of your life, and we're often astounded at the extent to which our friends spend energy on maintaining lies or hiding true feelings. The lies range from cheating down to destination replacement (telling your man you're getting your nails done so he won't want to go out to lunch with you and the girls), but regardless, that should never be a component of a relationship. That's the first and biggest problem. Other warning signs to go with dishonesty...

You make excuses for the behavior of your mate. That one pisses me off, and it extends the lies in the form of self-convincing to compensate for glaring problems. One friend tries to laugh off disrespect as being cute. It makes everyone around her uncomfortable and embarrassed for her. Some things she won't even tell other people about because she knows they're bullshit.

You live in a guilt-reward system. Actually, this one can apply to most any kind of relationship, including non-romantic situations. If you are made to feel bad for doing what you want to do, no matter how small, that's a problem. Even if you do what you want anyway, no one should ever project that nonsense toward you.

You make compromises you shouldn't have to make, or your partner is oblivious that you're making those compromises. I'm guilty of that one. Back in the day I pretty much locked Stephanie into going to a grad school that was not ideal because I was totally hung up on my job at the time. I don't know if I would've done things differently, but I was looking out only for me, and it probably didn't have to be that way.

You don't get the support you need. For some reason, a lot of people don't even bother to ask when they need help. If you feel like a burden to someone, that feeling is at least half caused by the other person. You should never feel like you're inconveniencing someone, and never be afraid to ask them for the things you need. They're always free to say no, as you are to them, but if you can't even ask, or they flat out make you feel bad for asking (see guilt system), then that's a problem.

A lot of these things are rooted in self-worth issues, believing that what you feel and need is valid. But the core value is that honesty and transparency. Only time will tell if Catherine and I are totally right for each other, but we don't have to guess because we enjoy total disclosure. Yes, that means some scary feelings are out there, but I'd rather know about something like that then have to guess or extrapolate questions into out-of-control assumptions that stress me out.

So why do we even give a shit about others? Well, I suppose it's because we're the type of people (her even more than me) that invest a lot in our friendships. We want our close friends to be happy, because we really do love them. Sometimes that puts us at personal risk, because we ask them, "What the fuck are you doing?" But that's the same honesty we apply to our romantic relationship, so why not do the same in our friendships? We don't have all of the answers, but we do have the framework to find them.

Crikey, it's a sad day

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 5, 2006, 9:45 AM | comments: 0

I know Tyler already mentioned it, but I'm sad to see that Steve Irwin is dead. With so little of real value to watch on TV, his programming made education fun, and awareness for conservation a little more prominent. The world has lost a great guy.

Discovery Channel's statement

A day around Cleveland

posted by Jeff | Sunday, September 3, 2006, 11:24 AM | comments: 1

It's funny how you can live somewhere, in my case most of my life, and still forget what you have around you. Catherine is moving to Columbus this weekend because she's starting vet school at Ohio State. After being in the Cleveland area now for several years, she commented about how much stuff she hasn't seen.

So being a biologist, it seemed logical that we should start with Cleveland Museum of Natural History. I went there probably once a year as a child. It's cheaper than a movie in most cases. I went years without going there, then I returned with Stephanie and some of her floormates in college. Then I visited frequently again when she started volunteering and working with one of the curators when she was in school. The hall with the prehistoric stuff in particular seemed so big when I was a kid. The whole place seems small now, although I love the outdoor area with the critters.

I also realized while we were there that there was so much I had not seen. The art museum is in the midst of a huge renovation, and I've never been to the botanical gardens either. The Blue Angels were flying overhead for the air show.

We were hungry by this point, so Catherine told me I "had to" go to a place called Tommy's in the Coventry area, because they had "the best" milkshakes and french fries. Well she was damn near right about that. She used to live near there so her and her roommate spent a lot of time in the area. I got this turkey burger with marinara and cheese that was fucking amazing. Yummy.

Next we went to the Cedar Lee Theatre, which is a Cleveland institution for not showing movies that suck. They serve beer, show Rocky Horror all of the time, and tonight they're showing The Big Lebowski. Good stuff. We saw Little Miss Sunshine, which for reasons beyond me has not enjoyed very wide release despite being outstanding.

So we rolled around town and enjoyed stuff that's always around us. It's so weird how when you visit some other city you seek out all of the cool things to do, yet you overlook them where you live.

Andrew finally can ride Raptor!

posted by Jeff | Friday, September 1, 2006, 10:09 PM | comments: 3

Here comes fall!

posted by Jeff | Friday, September 1, 2006, 1:19 PM | comments: 1

September 1, and all of a sudden it's like someone flipped a switch and it's fall. But I like fall better than any season. I'm wearing my new Cedar Point pullover jacket but still wearing shorts, and it's breezy outside. In fact, I'm considering going to CP tonight, which is also a favorite part of fall.

Isn't it ironic that the time of year where stuff "dies" is actually the time we associate with new things like school/college?