Here are two people I'm very thankful for. These photos are form this morning when Ani was helping Jen make a sweet potato dish.
Here are two people I'm very thankful for. These photos are form this morning when Ani was helping Jen make a sweet potato dish.
I played at the Pend d'Oreille Winery last night. They have live music and hors d'ourves every Friday and Saturday from 5-7. It was a great night. A ton of people came out. The place was hopping. Plus, I played a lot more originals than usual, and that went really well too.
My friend, David, was goodly enough to stream the show, as well as record some of it. He used Ustream.tv, as usual. Thanks David.
Here's a link to the video.
What a night! The event was really enjoyable to be a part of. Here are the videos I recorded that night while streaming the event. If you didn't get a chance to check it out, go to the Sandpoint Transition Initiative website.
Live Streaming by Ustream.TV
I'll be playing a the Pend Oreille Winery on Friday night from 5 to 7pm. There are hors d'oeuvres and of course great wine. Come on out for the evening, or stop by on your way to dinner. The atmosphere is lovely and the music will be, at least entertaining, if not downright awesome.
See you there.
That's the topic for tonight's kick-off for the Sandpoint Transition Initiative. This is a local instance of an international movement to help local communities develop a sustainable local economy.
I had never heard of this movement, but was approached a couple weeks ago about streaming the event live online. Richard Kuhnel, the event coordinator, was very keen on getting the event online. I agreed.
The whole deal starts tonight at 7pm and includes a smorgasbord of speakers and other acts ranging from local musicians to the mayor of Sandpoint.
I'm very interested in the concept. I'm interested to see if this feels like a real, workable solution, or a celebration of everything green without any momentum of its own. I'm hoping it's the former, but we'll see. If you're interested, you can watch below once the broadcast begins, which should be shortly before 7pm tonight.
Streaming live video by Ustream
I am increasingly excited about Obama's impending administration. The fact that we are living in a time when the first black president is elected in America is momentous in itself, but pales in comparison to the excitement I feel about the culture I hope Obama will create in American politics. As he leads the U.S. over the next four years (at least) I look forward to an America that will enjoy a restored international reputation and a sense of responsible nationalism that will prove that we are the great nation we claim to be.
At the same time, I was very impressed with McCain's concession speech. That was the John McCain I remember from the beginning of this whole process. In fact, I can't help but wonder that if the McCain we saw tonight had been present over the last couple months, if this election would have ended differently, or at least more closely. I am thankful for such a respectful and respectable man to be in a leadership position in our country. I hope that he will work closely with Obama through the coming administration to continue to bridge the party gap and work together for the betterment of our country.
I got an invite to the beta of mufin.com. I signed up and checked it out, and I must say, I was thoroughly unimpressed. The concept is that one can discover new music by entering the name of an artist or song they like. I tried three different artists and two different songs. All three of these returned zero recommendations. While the artists were not exactly mainstream, I discovered them through Pandora.com, my current favorite music discovery service.
Mufin's site is clean and simple, unfortunately, it seems their repertoire may be as well. Give them some time to build up their musical vocabulary before rushing out to find a beta invite. They may be fresh out of the oven, as they say on their Twitter feed, but I don't think they're quite done on the inside.
I had such a blast tonight. I worked with the crew from SandpointOnline.com to webcast the 2008 Candidates Forum at the Panida. We used Ustream.tv which worked pretty well.
Doing that reminded me how much I love doing that kind of thing. I love geting everything set up. I love troubleshooting under the gun. At one point the audioo wasn't working for several viewers. They were very patient but I couldn't figure it out. Finally, I found that the low resolution of the audio was the reason they couldn't hear anything. Eventually, I also started adding titles to tell who was speaking. Beth was runing the chat portion and Sean was manning the camera. We could have used one more computer, but it was an absolute blast.
We had up to 28 viewers at any one time, and our online viewers were actively participating with questions. It really felt like a meaningful move to increase the accessibility of events like that. I thought that was pretty sweet.
There were definitely hiccups, but it was funa nd it worked. People who wouldn't have been able to otherwise, participated. Go to Ustream.tv to see the recording of the forum.
compiled by justin at 6:25 PM
Moving is one of the most frustrating activities a family can undertake. Between packing, mail forwarding, address changes, new phone numbers, setting up utilities and services, and just simply adjusting to a new home, town, or even country, there is scant little margin for error. Organization is on of the best ways to stay on top of these things, but it's so easy for something to slip through the cracks.
That's where moveme.com comes in. When I was contacted about reviewing this site**, I was curious what sort of services a web site could offer for movers. As I began to browse the site, I was very impressed at the thorough nature of the services offered there. There are links, and often discounts, for everything from mortgage quotes and locksmiths to advice on moving with disabilities.
My favorite feature thus far is the planner feature. I simply logged in, and chose my projected moving date. The next screen is a calendar filled with important reminders for my move. Each day has a different task to do, and the whole thing is spread out over several weeks, so that I don't find myself needing to make 50 phone calls in a single day.
As you can see, the reminders run the gamut from informing your mobile phone service provider, to stopping junk mail at your old and new addresses. What's that? You don't know who to contact about stopping junk mail? Well, simply click on the date and you get a nice little modal pop-up window explaining what you need to do, and when necessary, links to do so. When I clicked on the "stop junk mail" day, I got a window with a link to stop junk mail. This help box also had a link to stop unwanted sales calls, and a box to tick when the task is finished. On top of the tasks that moveme.com fills in automatically, you can add a task easily by clicking the (you guessed it) "add a task" button.
In addition to some of the cooler features, there are also the features that one would expect from such a site, such as free mortgage quotes, and removal quotes (that's moving companies for all you Yanks). And if it's formal accolades that you trust, this site won both the Yahoo Innovation Award and the Yahoo People's Choice Award.
Overall, I was very impressed by this site. It is very simple to use, which is a huge plus in the stress surrounding moving day. The tools offered therein are extensive and practical. The next time I move, moveme.com will be doing the heavy lifting, provided they extend their service to the United States. Actually, despite the fact that the site is currently only geared for England, Scotland and Wales, the moveme.com planner is an invaluable tool for any move, regardless of which side of the Atlantic you call home.
**In the spirit of full disclosure this is a paid review. I was paid in advance to ensure as much balance as possible. The opinions herein are based on my experience with this site and I would encourage you to navigate there and check it out for yourself.
This Friday, October 3, I'll be gracing the Pend d'Oreille Winery with my musical stylings. The show will be fun and awesome, so you definitely don't want to miss it.
I'll be playing from 5 to 7pm, so it's the perfect early evening activity so you can be home at a decent hour, or just stop by on your way to dinner.
See you there.
compiled by justin at 5:30 PM
Well, our 30 Day challenge is over, and has been for like 3 weeks now. Turns out, I'm letting life run all over me.
Anyway, we won the challenge to see who could produce the least trash over a month. Here's the explanation of the whole challenge.
We did the final weigh and the yard sale on a beautiful Saturday morning in September. The yard sale actually ran Friday and Saturday. I put an ad on Freecycle letting people know that Saturday at 10am, everything would be free, thus lessening the amount of stuff I had to haul off.
The final weight was a complete toss up. I honestly had no idea who would win. At the beginning of the competition, I thought we woul dbeat them easily. At the midway point, when we were only 1 pound lighter, I started doubting our lead.
In the end, our month's trash weighed 83lbs and the Yarnells weighed 92lbs.
And the final take from the yard sale consisting entirely of salvaged goods, was $190.
Here's the video to prove it.
compiled by justin at 9:51 PM
I'm watching the 2008 presidential debate and am very disappointed. Primarily, each of these guys is very concerned with pointing out the wrong decisions of the other. They keep claiming the other made this and that wrong decision. They also keep gainsaying the other. One will make a claim and assert that it is a verifiable, undeniable fact. Then the other will dispute it directly saying it's not true. What?!
Since when does anyone not make mistakes? Are we looking for a president who will never do something wrong? A president who will never learn new information that further informs their perspective? I'm not. But to listen to these two narcissists, one would think the primary responsibilities of the president are to never be wrong, and never change their position. How about a president who is willing to admit a mistake and apologize? How about a president who is willing to explain what new information has made them change their perspective on an issue?
Let's just say that if I lived my life the way these guys portray themselves, I would be the biggest asshole on the block, and likely with minimal friends and respect.
Wow, what a rant. Please respond with comments. I need some perspective.
It's been a month since we started our thirty-day challenge to produce the least amount of trash. We are competing with our neighbors for a prize - the proceeds from a yard sale populated only with salvaged goods. Today is the yard sale, and today we'll take the final weights of our trash cans and find out who will be victorious.
I started this whole thing very confident that we would kick David and Karianne's asses, but after our first weigh-in, we were only beating them by one pound. Since that weigh-in, they discovered bugs in a drawer full of snacks, and threw the drawers contents in the trash. Good news for us.
I'm really not sure how it's gonna shake out today. I do know that we have a whole lot of stuff to sell. About half is from our friend Dan, and about half is from dumpster diving, mostly at the Goodwill. I'm very interested to see how much money we can make today. There's a whole lot of stuff, but it's mostly outdated. I'm just hoping we can get rid of it so I don't have to haul it off tomorrow. In fact, I posted an ad on Freecycle to let everyone know that tomorrow morning at 10am, everything will be free.
compiled by justin at 6:47 AM
In addition to the many things happening in our life right now, not the least of which is our current 30 day challenge with our neighbors to see who can produce less trash, we have decided to take on another lifestyle change. Before the change, here's the rationale.
Our good friends Stephen and Tricia are vegetarians. We have had a few conversations about their reasons for choosing to eat vegetarian. While I respect their choice, I didn't find their reasons compelling enough to thrust me into a meatless life.
Jen was intrigued though, and began doing some research of her own. One day in particular, she told me she'd watched some videos online that I should also watch. Later that evening, I had a minute while rocking Miles to check out some online video.
The one I watched (which we later shared with David and Karianne who are also undertaking a similar lifestyle change) is called "Meet Your Meat" and is narrated by a very emotive Alec Baldwin. Here's the video. It's about 12 minutes long but well worth a watch.
Since watching this video, we've committed to not eating factory meat. We didn't decide to go vegetarian all together, but since pretty much all the meat available at local supermarkets comes from such a factory, we've effectively been vegetarians for several weeks now.
Now, in the last week, we've also tried to cut out dairy products. Partly because of the gross-out factor of eating infirm animals, and partly because of the horrible way these animals are treated including the unnatural maintenance of pregnancy and nursing states for dairy cows.
If you'd told me, even 2 months ago, that I would be eating vegetarian, let alone vegan, I would have said you were insane.
I think it's amazing the way the God's Spirit can work in my life when I am willing to put aside my ideas about some idea or challenge.
|30 day challenge #1|
You may have noticed form the title, tha I've titled this "30 Day Challenge #1" which obviously assumes that there'll be more. I'm hoping. It's been nearly a week now. I feel like we're doing really well. After three days, we hadn't even filled our little kitchen trash can.
By the way, if you're not up on this challenge, here's the post that explains it.
So, we have no official trash weights yet, but the dumpster diving is fun.
It's been like 3 days now since we began our month-long competition with David and Karianne. The first morning, I almost tossed used coffee grounds into the trash instead of into our newly-created compost bucket. It's not a huge deal, but it feels good to finally be putting my life, at a little bit, where my big mouth is.
The really exciting part, so far, has been the dumpster diving. We've been hitting the Goodwill dumpster every couple of days at least. So far, the finds have included everything from dvd recorders to kids' stuff. I'm really excited to get some pics to post, but we usually go get the stuff at night. I'm pretty confident that by the time we do the yard sale, we'll make at least $100.
Many moons ago, I wrote this post about bringing some focus to Emanation. I didn't have any great brainstorms myself, but my friend Tricia Sullivan suggested a series of posts documenting my progress through 30-day challenges. Many topics were suggested; 30 days as a vegetarian, 30 days without any media, etc. Great idea... hasn't gone anywhere.
Tonight, we watched The Story of Stuff with our friends David and Karianne. After several hours of processing and discussion, we decided that it would be interesting to put ourselves through some 30 days challenges together. For our first, we decided to compete, family vs. family, to see who can produce less waste. We'll do this by weighing our trash with a hay scale. Meanwhile, we will hit the local trash hotspots, after we discover them of course, and dumpster dive to recover as much usable and salable stuff as possible. At the end of the trash challenge, we'll have a yard sale with the stuff we collect from local dumpsters, and the winning family gets the cash.
All of us are admittedly quite lazy when it comes to issues of environmental consciousness. All of us also believe in the importance of stewarding this earth well. This exercise in living out our "trash talk" (clever, I know) will help us to figure out exactly how committed we are. It'll also be interesting to see how much money we can make in a month from simply scavenging what others have discarded. Stay tuned.
I tend to get comfortable. (I don't think I'm the only one but I'll speak of myself here.) This comfort is not simply a puffy chair and a good book. It's the enemy of creativity and productivity. By settling into a well-known pattern of small risks and acceptable returns, I begin to lose passion. This happens in work, family life, hobbies, etc. However, when I'm in a period of greater perceived risk and excitement, I long for the safety and comfort of the well-known.
This happens on other levels as well. Organizations slip into these same patterns. When there are no big risks or unknowns on the horizon, organizations also get lazy and apathy begins to creep in.
Normally, these patterns of safety and comfort are ended by some unexpected tragedy or challenge. Nothing will shake up the comfort of life like a serious illness or an unexpected debt gone to collections. Events like this spur creative problem solving and disciplined thinking and behavior. Most of us can do what it takes to overcome a challenge when the challenge arises, but once it's finished, we slip back into rut we know so well.
So how does one overcome this? Are we doomed to simply slip into comfort, be jolted out by drama or tragedy, and the repeat the whole thing?
My solution for this has traditionally (at least at work) been to create some challenge of my own. By stirring up a little controversy, it helps to pull me aand the organization out of our daze. Unfortunately, there are often unintended consequences of "stirring it up" and ultimately I don't think this is the best course of action.
Now I think that staying sharp isn't about creating drama, but it's about risk. When I avoid risk in my life, I can rest lazily on the hope that whatever happened yesterday will happen again today. When I am willing to take on risk and face the possibility of success or failure right down the nose, I can't afford to be lazy. I like that.
So what is risk in life? In an organization there may be some more obvious examples, but personally it seems a bit nebulous. I would argue that it's much less nebulous than it seems. It's just that I spend so much energy subconsciously avoiding risk, that the risky endeavors I dream up are considered foolish, unwise and rash. I'm not advocating the overthrow of good sense. I'm simply saying that there has to be a way to recognize risk for what it is and still decide that the potential upside is worth more than the potential downside.
For me, risk means being more aggressive about booking dates to play music. The potential downside is huge in my mind - people might think I suck. The idea is intimidating. What if I can't fill the whole time? What if I forget the words mid-song? These are all very real fears to me, but I've found that the more I force myself to do what scares me, the less it scares me. I booked a 3-hour gig a couple months ago, then had both my partners bail on me. I was left to play acoustic guitar and sing for 3 hours straight. I was really scared. Then the night came and I started. Before I knew it, there were a handful of people who were digging the music, I got a couple requests, yada yada yada, and the 3 hours were over. It was fun, exciting, and I made a couple hundred bucks. Before that gig I seriously considered canceling, but now I'm so glad I didn't because I feel like if I can play a 3 hour solo gig, I can play anything.
So for now, I'm working on being more aggressive with my music. What are you doing? What scares you? What intimidates you? What are you afraid of? Why?
Most importantly, what are you going to do about it?
It's been far too long since I've posted. It's been far too long since I've felt a sense of normalcy in life. However, both of those things are in h process of changing. I got a job with Turfcare Landscaping while I continue to pursue a career in the tech world. They don't have a website, but I'm going to help them with that.
I've had some great meetings with some great people, like Chris Bessler at Keokee, Melissa Hammack of All Together Designs, and Jack Buser at Sony. Plus, today, my partner and I are meeting with a whole group of people from the Sandpoint area to pitch our business idea to them. We're still keeping the whole project a bit quiet since we haven't actually started anything yet. If we get positive feedback today, that will change.
Jen and I are getting settled back into our house. It's been good, but still an adjustment. Plus, we're still figuring out the multiple-kid game. Miles is starting to smile and "coo" more and Ani is as energetic as ever.
All these parts of life add up to action, fun and growth. I always get sucked into thinking that at some point, we'll pretty much have stuff figured out, and be able to sort-of float from day to day on a cloud of peaceful awesomeness. When my head's on straight, I know that life is about figuring out today. Because once I've got today figured out, it's time for tomorrow.
compiled by justin at 6:41 AM
We're almost done moving back into our house on Cedar St. in Sandpoint, Id. It feels so nice to be home. Our house here is nicer than we remembered. It feels cozy, the location is perfect, and we will (hopefully) have at least a few more months with the best next-door neighbors ever.
compiled by justin at 11:38 PM
I just got an invite to a site called amiestreet.com by my friend, Ryan. I signed up, and I like what I see. Basically, the premise is that all music on the site is free to start. Then, depending on the popularity of a track, its price increases up to $0.98. This way, music that is popular costs more and the artist makes more, and music that's not the best is proced accordingly. The excetion is new music that hasn't been priced yet. The beauty is that one can try out new music at little financial risk. If it's good, it'll catch on.
I am very excited about discovering some new music through this site. I just sent out invites to my friends who I think might be into something like this. I need some more trusted ears listening and recommending stuff or me to listen to.
When you go to the site, check out the band, The Overdubs, and look or the songs I recommended - "Orange County" and "Trying Bravery."
Here are the links from the email I sent out, in case you didn't get it.
You can visit this link to learn more about everything Amie Street: http://amiestreet.com/page/about?invite_id=99571
Or, if justinlandis has already spoken with you and sold you on the idea, visit this link to sign up: http://amiestreet.com/user/signup?invite_id=99571
Signup now and we'll put $5.00 and 3 RECs in your account to get you started.
If Christians are really so serious about protecting the "sanctity" of marriage, maybe they (*whince* we) should try to ban divorce instead of gay marriage.
What's more important, who you love, or how you love? Is it more important who your friends are or how you treat them?
Fellow Christians, please keep your mouths shut and stop protesting gay marriage. it's not a battle that will gain any ground for God's kingdom. It will, however, make us all look like a bunch of &$%^& hypocrites, since the "sacred bond" we're protecting is routinely broken by over half of us.
This is a quote I found from Barna on religioustolerance.org:
A recent study by the Barna Research Group throws extreme doubt on these estimates. Barna released the results of their poll about divorce on 1999-DEC-21. 1 They had interviewed 3,854 adults from the 48 contiguous states. The margin of error is ±2 percentage points. The survey found:
bullet 11% of the adult population is currently divorced.
bullet 25% of adults have had at least one divorce during their lifetime.
bullet Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics experience.
George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group, commented:
"While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages."
It looks like we've already got our hands full with heterosexual marriage. Let's finish chewing this bite before we take another one.
There is plenty of injustice in our world, more than we could know. We do know about a portion of it. We care about even less of it. We do something about even less of it. When I say "we" here, I'm mainly talking about Americans. We are comfortable and complacent, and whether fuel costs nearly $5.00 per gallon, or our civil rights are trampled by our government (by, of, and for the people?) we will likely take the path of least resistance, which means, we'll roll with it.
Recently, there has been a scandal involving ePerks and a blogger named Vlad. (Here's a great summary of the story.) Vlad is a real estate blogger who wrote some things about ePerks that ePerks didn't like. He talks about the events here. The company retaliated by attempting to damage Vlad's reputation and basically trying to bully him down. Vlad suspected as much and blogged about that. Now ePerks is suing Vlad.
If this were happening in regular America, we would see it in the news and think, "That isn't right, the way they're treating that poor man." Then we'd pick up the phone and order a pizza, and forget all about it.
However, in the blogosphere, people are willing to stand up for what's right. Maybe it's because they're already writing and might as well use their powers for good. Maybe they're looking for easy traffic. Regardless of the reasons, which are likely as unique as the participants, Vlad's fellow bloggers are standing up for justice.
I don't know Vlad. I'd never heard of him before this. But I respect open dialogue, and it seems that ePerks may not. Honesty is a hallmark of good journalism. Even if it's opinion, it's more important to be honest than to just be nice.
So good job bloggers. Keep up the good work. Hopefully the rest of us will take a cue from you, and band together when we're stepped on, rather than simply changing the channel to find a better life.
compiled by justin at 11:56 PM
Miles David Landis was born at home on June, 9, 2008. He was 8lbs, 4oz, and 20" long.
Jen started labor at Ani's gymnastics class at 11am. On the way home they stopped at the park because Jen had already said they would. Justin came home from work at about noon. Ani watched the Wizard of Oz while Jen and Justin got the house tidied up and lunch prepared. Occasionally Jen would pause for a contraction, then keep on about her business. Justin started putting Ani down for a nap around 1:20, but she didn't actually go to sleep until 3:00.
While Justin was in with Ani trying to help her sleep, Jen was in the living room
From miles's birthlaboring by herself. Bekah Townsend came by with some food, and a few minutes later, the maintenance guy for the apartment complex came by to check the air conditioner's output temperature. He seemed a bit perplexed by the shower curtains duct taped together and covering the carpet. Being unsure of how the landlords might feel about a home birth in one of their units, Justin kept the purpose for the curtains on the "d-l." Luckily, he didn't ask too many questions, and left without incident. Jen had retreated to the bathroom to shower while he was there, so she resumed her posture, kneeling next to the couch and resting her head on it's pillows.
Detrah, the midwife, came, with her daughter, around 2:oo. They began getting everything set up. Contrary to what some may think, Detrah was very well-prepared for a variety of issues. She had needles filled with various emergency medications, an oxygen tank, and other supplies that, thankfully, never saw the light of day during this delivery.
When Ani fell asleep, Justin came out to help Jen in any way he could, mostly by shutting the hell up and getting her a drink. Less than 15 minutes later, Jen felt like she was going to start pushing. Two contractions later, Miles's head was completely visible. It took one more push to get him all the way out. This description makes the whole process sound quick and relatively easy. It was quick, but far from easy. Jen labored courageously, gracefully and pretty quietly.
Ani slept through the whole ordeal. When she awoke from her nap about 4:30, the majority of the mess was cleaned up. Jen was in the bathroom washing herself and Justin was holding Miles on the couch. At first, Ani didn't realize what had happened. She saw the inflated birthing pool and the shower curtains on the ground. She was excited but she wasn't sure why. She wanted to go for a swim in the pool, but Justin finally got her attention for long enough to explain that he was holding her new brother in his arms. She climbed up on the couch next to him, covered her eyes with her hands, and then removed them quickly saying, "peek-a-boo!" The moment was not captured on video, but those present swear that he cracked a smile.
ps. the official birth album (and source of the song in the video) is Meme by Milosh
I had a chance to talk with Debbie Landa of Dealmaker Media yesterday. I got an introduction with Debbie from Melissa Burns of MoPR. The conversation with Debbie was very informative and fun. It was obvious that she is very well connected in the tech industry. She also spoke very highly of Melissa, which confirmed my perception that Melissa is very good at what she does.
The conversation was awesome. Debbie gave me about 10 blogs to help get me in the door. She also introduced me to netvibes which is an rss reader. She swears by it, but I haven't used it enough yet to know if I prefer it to the simplicity of my Google homepage. However, her recommendation reminded me that if I'm gonna be a player in the tech industry, I'd better renew my love for the underground. I mean, there was a time when I wouldn't be caught dead using the most popular software or listening to the most popular musical artist, simply because everyone already knew about them. In the meantime, underground became mainstream, and I've gotten lazy about staying hip to what's new. Plus, in the eyes of most of my friends, I am hip to what's new, which only fools me into thinking I'm more savvy than I actually am.
So, I'm on a tear to get myself into the tech community. It's gonna take time, but it's also gonna be a blast. I'm gonna share what I learn along the way.
In that spirit, here's a post from Penelope Trunk, whom I recently received a personal email from,(yes, I'm starstruck) that is challenging my previous conception of what social networking should be.
Las night at the church group that Jen and I babysit for, I had the unexpected pleasure of hearing part of the new Coldplay album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. It was all in the background, so I can't really give any good feedback in terms of the record. However, This morning in my daily music news, I read that the record isn't slated for release until June 17. So now I need to go try to track it down too so I can hear it before I buy it.
Thank you internet.
As both of my regular readers are aware, Jen, Ani, Miles? and I are moving back to Sandpoint on July 1. My current order of business is to find temporary work. I've got some more permanent options in the pipeline, but this particular pipeline is proving challenging to navigate from 1000 miles away.
Most likely I'm gonna get a serving job. It'll leave my days mostly free to pursue my other endeavors, and yet still provide a decent, if still modest, financial return for time invested.
Also, I just landed, hopefully, a web design job that will offer some nice extra cash in the meantime. I'd love to do that, so if either of you know of someone, particularly small businesses, needing web work done, I would be excited to bid the job. I just need something to get us through the first month or so. By that time, there should be some light coming out of my pipeline.
I regularly follow a blog by Penelope Trunk called Brazen Careerist. She writes about business and its intersection with life. I've learned a lot from her blog including how to be successful in an interview, and how to survive office politics.
I read a post the other day about a trip she took to a farm in the country. She talked about her experience with the farmer. She talked about the cultural differences, the similarities they share, and the tranquility that came from being removed, if only by an hour's drive, from the hustle of city life.
I found this post very enjoyable and refreshing. It was fun to experience the trip from her perspective. I left a comment on her blog and thanked her for the her blog.
This morning, I opened my gmail, and I had an email from Penelope Trunk.
hey, justin. thanks so much for your nice comment today. it's like an extra little post-farm gift.
I'm very impressed. I don't know what her readership is, but her Technorati authority is 1,331. Mine is 2.
compiled by justin at 6:17 AM
In my never-ending quest (though it's slowed nearly to a halt in recent months) for cool new sites and ideas, I came across one a while ago that offered me the chance to upload my music catalog to a website, and then stream my music from my mobile device. Awesome! Except, I didn't (and still don't or I'd be all over qik) have an unlimited data plan on my phone. And that site, whose name is readily available in my caffeine-starved mind and is not worth tracking down because I have to be at work in 10 minutes, did not allow streaming through my browser. Thanks a lot, website-whose-name-I-can't-remember.
Now, I just read about a beta offering by lala.com, and thus discovered, lala.com. This is what I want. I can upload all my mp3's, or at least I didn't come across any limitations in the sign up process, and then stream them from any web-enabled machine. I'm very excited about this. I was gonna start uplaoding right now, but it turns out Jen (my wife, who's Macbook Pro has now become the family machine since my Acer finally gave me the finger and died) has all her music encoded as AAC files, so I've got some converting to do.
Anyway, if that sounds good to you, go to lala.com. If it doesn't, why the hell not?
Oh, and as for their beta offering, nextlala.com offers users the chance to buy the rights to stream a song for life, for a dime. This means that from any web-enabled machine, you can log into lala and stream your catalog. There is no download included in this scheme, which seems a bit weird, but once internet access and connected mobile devices become ubiquitous, there'll be no reason to burn a cd or even load a song to your portable music device. Sounds like it'll be awesome in 5 years.
I've been working for Valet Closet and Garage Organizers since January. Recently, I've been talking to Myron, the owner, about their web presence as well as their marketing strategy. So far, I've revamped their website, but it really needs a redesign and a new hosting setup. The current hosting is through their service provider and includes a stock site with a weak cms and a max of 6 pages. Hopefully, before I leave there in July we will have nearly launched a new site.
We've also been talking about their marketing strategy. Thus far, it includes the yellow pages and home shows. We're working on identifying some potential strategic partners and then increasing the network marketing focus of the company. Valet manufactures everything to custom specs, so they c an pretty much build anything a customer can think of. Now we just need to partner with some networks that already exist, to get the word out about what Valet can do. Some of those ideas include home theater companies (entertainment centers) and clothing companies (custom closets).
compiled by justin at 1:56 PM
Despite Jen being ready to pop anytime, I decided to take the family on a much needed weekend getaway. Thanks to some very generous friends in Sandpoint, we were able to stay in a lovely house, less than a block from the beach. It was wonderful. Unfortunately, we have lost our sun-savvy. We spent a couple hours at the beach, in the beautiful sun, on Saturday. We spent the rest of the weekend trying to avoid the sun. Jen and I both got burned, but she got it really bad. The poor woman had her whole right side toasted to a bright, shimmering red.
Other activities or the weekend included several walks that Ani and I took as Jen's recuperated inside. We cooked some great food. We watched some family movies. We went to the Avila Valley Barn, and had a meal in Pismo. It was a lovely weekend.
Now back to work. Only six weeks to go before we're headed back for the great (wonderful, less-hot-than-hell) northwest. And only about 7 1/2 weeks until we're back in our house. Wow. I'm excited to settle in a bit. Now If I can just find a job...
compiled by justin at 6:21 AM
Friday evening, last, I played my first show with The Overdubs. Ryan and I have collaborated, as The Overdubs on several songs, and even an album that we never really saw fit to release called "Old Mission of the Sacred Heart."
So Friday, we played a benefit show at Kuppajoe to help raise momeny for a remodel, and it was incredibly fun. We played much better than I expected we would, though it took me three songs or so to start getting comfortable. But by the end, we were pretty tight, all playing the right chords most of the time, and the songs are really developing as we learn to play them, as a band.
We were also in the paper on Friday. The 7 section of the Fresno Bee featured an interview with Ryan. You can find that interview here. I'm not sure how many people saw it, but it feels like a momentum builder. Unfortunately, I'm leaving in 6 weeks, so I won't be around for the momentum built. However, we are playing at the Starline in Fresno on June 10. And I'm plaing in Sandpoint at the Pend d'Oreille Winery on August 1.
Here is the information I've found thus far.
Clinton and McCain are proposing a one-month moratorium on gas tax. This would lower the price of gas temporarily to offer some reprieve to working-class families. However, the gas holiday would, over the month, result in an average of $.30 per day. (That's 30 cents) Multiply that by 31 and you end up with somewhere in the vicinity of $9. The quote I heard from Obama suggested that the average family would end up saving about $28 in a month. Either way I'm not impressed.
Would $28 really make a difference? Would I have no problem making rent, utilities, fuel and food costs (not to mention any sort of recreation) if I could only make an extra $28 dollars next month? And what about after the tax is reapplied? Now I've simply gotten used to seeing gas prices lower, and they're just gonna shoot back up again. I'm not an idiot. I'm not gonna forget about the future and past just because gas prices drop suddenly. They're coming back up.
Oh, and bear in mind, that the government does not regulate the price of fuel. So it's completely possible, and maybe plausible, that oil companies would raise prices during the hike to take advantage of the low cost to consumers.
Don't go in for the gas tax holiday. It could be the most deceptive one-month stand of your life.
Here's a great article on a parent teaching independence to her thirteen-year-old. I found it pretty inspiring.
Here's another blog I'm becoming a huge fan of. It's called Rage Against the Man-chine. Here's one of the posts I read recently there. And don't forget to read the comments.
Hope these at least spawn some good conversations.
Our short time spent in California has been nothing, if not eventful. I have learned a ton about myself, (mostly disappointing revelations that have become opportunities for growth) nearly finished an associate's degree in liberal arts, (this semester will do it) and seen first hand why some say you can never really go home. So, as a result of more factors than I have time to go into right now (I've got to be at work at valet in 18 minutes) we have decided to move back to Sandpoint. Jen's folks are flying down at the end of June to help us pack and whatnot. Then Jen, her dad, and the kids are flying up on the first of July. Maryanne and I will be leaving around the same time and driving up. We are both so stoked. It's bittersweet because my folks are here, along with some very dear friends of mine. However, life being what it is, I see my folks maybe once a week, and the same with my friend, Ryan. We rarely get to just hang out because I'm always so exhausted, physically and emotionally, from working so hard at a joe job and still coming up short on rent money. Plus, there's usually homework to do. And I see Jen and Ani so little that I've become very protective of that time. So it doesn't leave much for just playing, creating music, or even hanging out. We get our families together from time to time, but they're as busy in their lives as we are, and the aligning windows of margin are few and far between.
So, we'll be back in July. We are so excited. The hotter it gets here, he more anxious we are.
I had a bunch of links from stuff I've come across recently. Academia is a world that suits me well, what with its debatable questions, new concepts, and unequal power relationships. I've been exposed to a lot of stuff that I want to share, but it'll have to wait for another time, because I now have 10 minutes to get to work.
We had an ultrasound last week and found out that we're having a little boy. Whew...the pressure's off. Now we've got one of each (assuming the picture's accurate) so we can have whatever we want, next time, if there is a next time.
Official due date: May 30. Hopefully he'll be here sooner than later, but I have finals the week of the May 15, so he either needs to be here the week before or the week after. If he shows up that week, well, we'll just see what happens.
compiled by justin at 10:56 AM
I just read a great archived post by Penelope Trunk, who is one of my favorite bloggers, about the potential benefits of blogging. I got excited when I saw the title because I love blogging. Unfortunately, my biggest weakness is imperative in the successful blogosphere. I don't have a "topic." I've been thinking about this issue for some time, actually. Even as the author of the blog mine feels a bit scattered sometimes.
So I'm looking for a topic. Some of the top contenders thus far are...okay, the two I've thought of.
-Christian spirituality: This seems like a natural fit after 6 years as a pastor. More than ever before, I have a ton of questions about spirituality and I'm increasingly dissatisfied with the answers I've accepted in the past.
-Living debt-free: I like this idea because it's something our family values. Plus, we're living pretty lean to maintain this ideal. It seems like blogging about it might make it feel like it's paying off now, rather than in the future when I'm not paying off today's debt.
That's what I've got so far. Any ideas?
I just found Qik.com from Robert Scoble's blog. Holy crap, this is awesome! You can stream video live from your phone. I don't know why I'm so enamored with technology like this, but I would do nearly anything to possess it (outside starving my wife and child, which would be the current cost of an unlimited data plan for us.)
Qik allows a person to be anywhere they have phone service and stream video from their phone's camera live to the (now infamous) world wide web. Thanks to this technology, I got to see the Daytrotter studios at SXSW as we as a few other worthless clips of people eating. I'm sure if I were more of the geek I'd love to be I'd know who the people were, but I'm not so i didn't.
If you have an unlimited data plan, you should check this out. If you don't, get one and then check this out. There could be some awesome applications, from a digital journal to cheap, simple broadcasting. Give relatives a glimpse of the grandchildren without the tedious steps of filming on a camera, then capturing it to a hard drive...blah, blah, blah. Who can be bothered with that now that Qik is here? Well, me for now. Though, it really just means that distant grandparents won't see nearly as much of their cherished granddaughter (tear).
just a tiny celebration for the fact that I've written over 200 blog posts. When I started blogging over a year and a half ago, I hoped I'd make it this far. Now I have. Hooray! I had to take the photo on the sly because I'm in speech class and I don't want to be asked to share what I'm "so happy about."
This would make for quite a week. I had big plans to follow the action online as there are several notable ways to do so, from blogs to tech cab confessions. Unfortunately, there's a virtual pile of school work to keep me busy all week as well as some side work I need to find time for.
On the bright side, I have a job interview with Geil Enterprises to possibly work in sales. While this prospect is daunting, I think I will be really good at sales, as long as I believe in the product I'm peddling. And so far, I've been very impressed with Geil, notably their A-Maz line of natural, biodegradable cleaning products.
I'm also playing at Sequoia Brewing Company on Saturday at 8pm. I'll be doing the usual mix of originals and covers. Should be fun. Come on out for dinner.
First of all, family problems can only be "worked through." They cannot be "solved." The issue probably more about learning to recognize and appreciate what the other person thinks and feels about the contentious issue.
- Listen more than you talk. You may have heard the adage, "you have two ears and one mouth for a reason." This is crucial in interpersonal communication, and especially true in conflict resolution. It will both allow you to genuinely hear what the other person is saying, (provided you're actually listening instead of formulating a really biting comeback) and it will also help the other person to feel that they've been heard.
- Affirm the other's thought and feelings. Remember that you don't have to agree with them, and probably don't, about why they're upset. The fact is, they are upset for some reason, they attribute that, at least in part, to you, and whether you agree or not, they do feel that way. Even if you're completely innocent (which none of us ever are) you can at least apologize for the person having gotten that impression from you, or for the fact that they feel bad at all. An apology goes a long way to making amends. It also gives power to the other party, and this is key. This is a conflict RESOLUTION, not a who-is-wronger competition. In a healthy relationship, both people give relational power to the other. This is called vulnerability and it is important. Apologies cool tempers and act as a verbal olive branch to the other person.
- Look at yourself from their perspective. Imagine if you had done to them what they did to you. (But you would never do such a thing because you're not that...) Just imagine if the tables were turned. Now imagine how you would want that person to respond to you, NOT how you think they'd be justified in responding to you. My brother used to joke that the "golden rule" was "do unto others as they do unto you," instead of the more agonizingly painful and frustrating, "treat others as you wish they'd treat you." I have some very close friends who I didn't invite to my wedding. It was not an intentional slight, but the wedding was far away and we had to cut down the guest list and I just somehow thought they wouldn't really care anyway. When I spoke to them next and told them I got married, they were obviously, and rightfully, hurt that they were not invited. However, because my friends are people of high character, they didn't spend time making me feel more guilty. Instead, they treated me with grace.
I've been spending some time at hulu.com while working on my homework. I stumbled across 30 Days, which I'd heard of before, on the site. I watched all the episodes posted there and am fiending for more. The show is poignant, edgy and provocative. I'm also impressed at how the producers seem to want to enlarge a person's perspective, rather than simply shift it to fit theirs. This episode is a great example.
A conservative Christian guy from Michigan lives in San Francisco with a gay guy for a month. There doesn't seem to be a lot of agenda-setting as much as watching a person with limited experience recognize that there may be more to life than good and bad. If you'll pardon the pun, it turns black and white into a rainbow. (oh snap)
Anyway, here's the episode. It's worth a watch. Also, I don't know if hulu's still invite only or not, but if it is and you want an invite, email me and I'll see if I have any more to give away.
This morning was spent designing a careful plan to bath, apply medicated lotion, and get the hell out of our house for 72 hours. Ani has scabies, and it's spreading. So far, Jen and I haven't seen any evidence on ourselves, but Ani's hands and feet are not looking good. We treated it a week ago, but it continued spreading. So this time, we're not going near our place for 72 hours, which is apparently the amount of time it takes scabies to die without a human host.
So, Jen and Ani are in Davis with her brother and sister-in-law. I'm at my folks' house. We've got to beat these little &^%$#s or we're gonna go crazy.
We spent the morning bathing strategically, just before the clothes in the dryer were finished, so we could go straight from towel to fresh clothes, out the door. Hopefully, this'll do it.
Teachers at Sitting Bull Elementary school have discovered that employing technology during teaching can be a helpful tool for learning. More than half the teachers are using an Interwrite Pad. This pad allows them to make notes and have the notes projected onto a big screen in front of the class. This is a step in an obvious direction, like a paratrooper jumping out of a plane and deciding to head for the ground. Read more here.
But couldn't there be so much more? In nearly every aspect of life from making phone calls to driving, hi-tech gadgets are becoming ubiquitous. Today a person can admit to being "computer illiterate" and still probably function on a reasonable level, but not without some hardship. In less than ten years, technology will be the new literacy. Having some aptitude with various (they're all so similar anyway) user interfaces and navigation menus will be not only necessary, but expected.
So why does one of my instructors at Fresno City College still insist that I may only use my laptop if I'm not "out surfing the web" during her lecture? Little does she know that as soon as she mentions a new important media figure and begins to ask pseudo-rhetorical questions about what we think that person may be known for, I've already got the Wikipedia entry in front of me as well as some pictures of the person and a list of links pertinent to them thanks to my friend, Google. Granted, she may not be the best example as she has a powerful desire to see that all thought and comment in her classroom is controlled by her, but it's a great example of an old mindset that's crippling the educational process in America.
In my previous job, I was privileged to attend part of a class in a Master's of Divinity program, that my friend Eric was enrolled in, taught by Earl Kreps. Earl not only encouraged the use of laptops during class, he understood that learning isn't encouraged by forcing feigned interest in every word an instructor utters. His goal was to encourage and facilitate discussion, often speaking very little himself. This glimpse into post-graduate studies is a light at the end of my scholastic tunnel - hoping that not all instructors will be so enamored with their words as a couple I'm learning from now.
In fairness, the subject matter in a post-grad divinity course is more conducive to shared learning than a mass-media class. However, with a classroom full of laptops equipped with internet access, an interactive learning experience could go a long way to drawing in fringe participants of the class, as well as revealing information that may not otherwise be covered. It also offers a foothold for future study, should a particular subject prove noteworthy to a student. This possibility exists either way, but with in-class technology, a quick bookmark and outlook reminder can ensure further study as opposed to the fleeting thought that "this sounds interesting."
Think about it, America. It's time we pulled our heads out of our hall passes and embrace this internet fad. Encourage interaction and further study in the classroom, while increasing engagement. Plus, I could finally catch up on facebook friend requests & check out digital daily.
Thanks to a post over at newteevee.com I just discovered 2/8 Life, a series by the Independent Comedy Network (ICN). It's a spoof on another series that got thrashed by Karina at newteevee, but I haven't had time to watch it in between classes too. (Incidentally, I did do some research for my upcoming journalism paper too. It's not like I just sit around watching funny videos all day so leave me alone. Geez!)
Anyway, 2/8 Life is one of the funniest shows I've seen in quite a while. It does a great job satirizing self-indulgent drama like My So Called Life and even Lonelygirl15. While neither of these are as bad as Karina claims quarterlife to be in this article, 2/8 Life includes similar elements to those shows but, obviously, comedic and very well-written. It still feels like a homemade webisode, but i don't think that made me laugh any less. I definitely had to work hard not to disturb my fellow computer-lab users during my outbursts.
Below you'll notice a long post that will be of little consequence to the average reader. Truthfully, as I read this chapter I found the information enlightening and would be happy to discuss any of this, but if I hadn't written it I don't think I'd read it. (That's some debilitating self-talk, which is one of my specialties)
So I haven't been neglecting my blogotory duties out of any malicious intent or sloth but have simply been busy with other priorities like school, studying and trying to work enough hours to ensure the most basic of Mr. Maslow's ascribed needs are provided for my family this month.
Enjoy the outline.
I. How can we define emotions?
A. Physiological Factors: measurable bodily changes
i. If someone feels fear they may experience a rise in blood pressure, increased adrenaline secretions, elevated blood sugar, slow digestion, etc.
B. Nonverbal Reactions: observable changes
i. Blushing, sweating, facial expression, posture, vocal tone, etc.
ii. Not always caused by emotions. Research has found that specific nonverbal reactions can created physiological changes.
C. Cognitive Interpretations: the mind plays a crucial role in determining emotional states.
i. The physiological reactions to many emotions are similar so we give certain symptoms a label at a given time.
1. Elevated heart rate in a romantic situation means attraction
2. Elevated heart rate resulting from being robbed means fear
ii. Exaggerated or inaccurate attributions of emotion may be problematic
1. If I feel nervous speaking publicly I may say, “I feel a bit shaky but that’s to be expected.”
2. I may also say, “I feel nervous. I’m a nervous person.”
3. Attributions of physiological symptoms can have lasting consequences.
D. Verbal Expression: there are times when one can’t rely on perceptiveness to understand emotions.
i. Verbalizing helps to clarify intensity of feelings
ii. May also clear up misconceptions due to a person’s overuse of specific words
1. If chocolate chip cookies are “fantastic” then how does it feel to fall in love?
iii. Inability to talk about emotions constructively can lead to problems
1. Social isolation
2. Unsatisfying relationships
3. Feelings of anxiety and depression
4. Misdirected aggression
E. Influences on Emotional Expression: most people prefer not to express their emotions
1. Extroverts report more positive feelings in everyday life
2. Introverts report more negative feelings in everyday life
1. Our responses to situations are influenced by our surroundings and traditions.
2. Americans say “I love you” more frequently and to more people than other cultures.
1. Women tend to be more “in-tune” with emotions than men by 10-15%
2. Emotional sensitivity governed by several factors
a. Whether communicating with same or different sex
b. Power balance in the conversation – less powerful person is better at reading powerful person than vice versa
iv. Social Conventions
1. Unwritten social rules govern our emotional expression
a. Salespeople smile at obnoxious customers
b. Students are rewarded for being submissive and respectful
v. Fear of Self-Disclosure
1. Revealing emotions can be scary, especially when bucking social conventions
vi. Emotional Contagion: the process by which emotions are transferred from one person to another.
1. We “catch” each other’s emotions like some social virus
F. Guidelines for Expressing Emotions: Learn to express emotions constructively
i. Recognize your feelings
1. Being aware of and identifying one’s emotions allows one to learn to manage those emotions
ii. Recognize the difference between feeling, talking and acting
1. Understanding the difference between having feelings and acting them out can help one to express oneself constructively in tough situations
G. Expand your emotional vocabulary
i. Expand your emotional vocabulary by:
1. Using a single word “I’m angry”
2. Describe what’s happening to you “my stomach is tied in knots”
3. Describing what you’d like to do “I want to run away and hide”
H. Share Multiple Feelings
i. Despite the commonness of mixed emotions we often express only one – the negative one
I. Consider When and Where to Express Your Feelings
i. It may be worth waiting until you’ve processed your feelings and rehearsed your response
ii. You may choose never to express certain feelings
J. Accept Responsibility For Your Feelings
i. Instead of “you hurt my feelings” say “I feel hurt when you do that”
K. Be Mindful of the Communication Channel
i. Email, face-to-face, text messaging, blogging, etc.
ii. The channel used to communicate makes a difference in how others interpret our message, especially in communicating emotion.
II. Managing Difficult Emotions
A. Facilitative and Debilitative Emotions
i. Facilitative emotions lead to effective functioning
ii. Debilitative emotions detract from effective functioning
iii. One difference between the two is intensity
1. A certain amount of anger can be constructive
2. Rage usually makes matters worse
B. Sources of Debilitative Emotions
2. Involuntary responses
ii. Emotional Memory
1. Seemingly harmless events can trigger debilitative feelings if they bear even a slight resemblance to troubling experiences from the past
a. Example: Ever since being teased when he moved to a new elementary school, Trent has been uncomfortable in unfamiliar situations
1. What we tell ourselves about interpersonal exchanges directly influences what they mean to us
2. Rumination: dwelling persistently on negative thoughts that, in turn, intensify negative feelings.
C. Irrational Thinking and Debilitative Emotions
i. The fallacy of perfection: the belief that a worthwhile communicator should be able to handle every situation with complete confidence and skill
ii. The fallacy of approval: it is vital to get the approval of virtually every person
iii. The fallacy of shoulds: the inability to distinguish between what is and what should be.
iv. The fallacy of overgeneralization:
1. The first type happens when we base a belief on a limited amount of evidence
2. The second type happens when we exaggerate shortcomings
v. The fallacy of causation: based on the irrational belief that emotions are caused by others rather than by one’s own self-talk
vi. The fallacy of helplessness: satisfaction in life is determined by forces beyond your control
vii. The fallacy of catastrophic expectations: if something bad can possibly happen, it will.
D. Minimizing Debilitative Emotions
i. Monitor your emotional reactions: recognize when you’re feeling debilitative emotions
ii. Note the activating event: figure out what event triggered your response
iii. Record your self-talk: analyze the thoughts that link the activating event and your feeling
iv. Dispute your irrational beliefs: this is the key to success in the rational-emotive approach