January 13, 2011

why I blog

Posted in blogging, philosophy tagged , at 6:43 pm by weiszguy

I blog because I need a place to work out my thoughts. Often I start daydreaming, if that’s the right word, and when I come to, I realize I’ve been explaining something very carefully, as if to another person. Sometimes this is something I understand very clearly, so my explaining was as if I was teaching something to a child. Sometimes the thing I’ve been explaining I don’t understand at all, and so my explaining was more like exploring.

In any case, I’ve had this conversation going on in my head, and I need to get this stuff out of my head while I still remember it, because it will quickly leave my head, and then be gone. I flatter myself that one day, I’ll have had something important going on in there. If that day ever comes, I want it recorded.

Readers
Do I expect people to actually read this stuff? No, I don’t. Occasionally I may say something that really hits home with someone else, but since I blog about such a wide variety of things, I don’t expect very much of what I write to hit home very often.

Writing
Am I just doing this to jump-start a wish to be a potential wannabe writer? No, I am not. I don’t want to write for a living and I’m not trying to gain a following.  I suppose if someone came to me with a lucrative book contract I’d have to think about it for a bit, but that’s not what I’m gunning for here.

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January 12, 2011

CCMD meeting report

Posted in newspaper, stuff I think about tagged , at 7:25 pm by weiszguy

Here is a report of the CCMD meeting I attended last night.  This report will appear in the January 19, 2011, edition of the Greenhorn Valley View.

***

At the regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Colorado City Metropolitan District, held on January 11, 2011, the board passed Resolution 1-2011, designating posting places within the district and county.  By law, all public boards and committees must give public notice of their meetings.  The Colorado City Metropolitan District will post official notices of all meetings in 2011 at the office of the Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder, at the CCMD Administration Building, at the Rec Center in Colorado City, at the Post Office in Colorado City, and on the CCMD website at http://www.coloradocitymetro.us/

Also at the meeting, the board rescinded its lease of the Community Center to R&L Airgun Supply.  The board had previously approved the lease to R&L, but since that time, R&L has discovered that it is unable to move into the facility due to zoning restrictions. (http://www.rlairgunsupply.com/)

The board discussed reinstating the Golf Course Advisory Board.  The board needs this committee of golf course advocates to make suggestions for improvements to the golf course, run events to raise funds for the golf course, suggest policies and fees, and volunteer time for getting things done at the golf course.  The board is considering starting up the Golf Course Advisory Board with representative members from the different golf associations, and one at-large member.

The next meeting of the CCMD Board of Directors will be at 6:00pm, on January 25, 2011, at the CCMD Administration Building.

January 11, 2011

go ahead – gloat

Posted in human nature, money, movies tagged , , at 5:34 am by weiszguy

The natural human instinct is to gloat.

You win a game of foosball, you gloat over your opponent. You get beat, you expect the winner to gloat.

You find a duffel bag with $1 million in small, unmarked bills, you can’t keep it to yourself. You buy things. You treat your friends. You take your closest friend, in strictest confidence, to the back closet where you stashed the loot – just to show it off.

You get a big promotion, you sell a manuscript, your son scores the winning touchdown. You gloat.

It’s also the reason there are so many movies and books where the bad guy has the good guy at gunpoint and says, “Since you’re going to die anyway, I might as well tell you everything…” And then he ties up all the loose ends in the story. The bad guy needs to good guy to understand exactly why he is going to lose, exactly why the bad guy is so brilliant.

Try it sometime. Next time you run into incredible good luck, or achieve some big accomplishment, try not to tell anyone. Try to keep it to yourself.

January 10, 2011

200 year plan

Posted in inheritance, money tagged at 9:47 am by weiszguy

A while back I wrote about a five-year plan. Recently I’ve been challenged to take a bit longer view – I’ve started working on the 200 year plan. Whoa! Why 200 years? I’ll be long dead, and so will my children and grandchildren. In fact, I expect seven to eight generations will be following me in the next 200 years.

What will life be like in 2211? Will it be as different from 2011 as 2011 is from 1811? Will we finally have Jetson-style flying cars? Will we fly faster than light? Will my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren still be suffering from the common cold? What will that eighth generation look like? How many people will be members of that generation? And more importantly, why should I put together a 200 year plan that proposes to teach that generation anything? What can I possibly teach somebody who won’t be born until after my name is long forgotten? What can someone 200 years ago teach me today?

200 year from now technology will be completely different; national boundaries will be different; moral, ethical, and cultural norms will be different. Even the world’s major religions, while they will probably still be around, will be very different. About the only thing that will be unchanged is human nature, which has been constant for millennia.

Humans will always be looking for happiness. We will always try to make the world better for ourselves and for our children (although maybe not for someone else’s children). We will always have the need to explore and invent. We will always feel the effects of love and hate, friendship and betrayal, birth and death.

Given the constantly changing state of the world, and the unchanging state of human nature, I’d like my progeny to know it’s not all about money. In fact, looking at a 200 year time line, money is almost useless, unless it is used to further human development and understanding. Money can’t buy love, friendship, or eternal life, but it can ease hunger, search for cures for incurable diseases, and establish colonies in outer space.

If you’re reading this in the 23rd century — Hi! I can’t tell you how to communicate with your “computers” or how to get from point A to point B in the least amount of time. But I can tell you to seek the things money can’t buy, and to use your money to help others seek the things money can’t buy.

snow day

Posted in stuff I think about tagged at 6:40 am by weiszguy

Snow day!  You know what that means, don’t you?

It means I’ll be going to work just like every other day!

I noticed long ago that snow days were more about an extra day off for teachers and students than about the snow.

UPDATE: I couldn’t make it very far down my road today.  Had to turn around and come back. I take back all those horrible things I said about teachers and students.

January 8, 2011

decapitated christmas tree

Posted in stuff I think about tagged at 9:56 pm by weiszguy

We decided this would be the last year for our Christmas tree.  We’ve had it for several years, and my parents had it for several years before that.

It’s supposed to be a pre-lit tree, but when we set it up this year, several of the bulbs were out.  I tried all the usual troubleshooting options, of course, but the tree didn’t respond favorably.

I’m sitting beside it now.  We took the top third of the tree and threw it in the trash.  (Throwing it out little by little over a month means we don’t have to pay extra for trash hauling.)  Of the remaining two-thirds, a couple entire strings of lights are out.  It’s a sad, helpless tree.

But… we get to have a new tree next year.  We’ll probably get a real tree for a change, or maybe even a live tree that we can plant in the yard when the season is over.

January 7, 2011

why?

Posted in stuff I think about tagged at 9:55 pm by weiszguy

A young man in our church ended his life yesterday.  The pain and hurt among his family and friends is so real you can touch it.  As bad as the pain is, however, the one thing we all want to know, and that we will never be able to know, is Why?

It’s seriously aggravating.  We would love to have known why so that we could help him.  We would love to know why so that we can help others in similar situations.  But now what?  The deed is done, a life is lost, and the lessons remain unlearned.  And there’s nothing we can do about it.

January 6, 2011

leg cramp

Posted in stuff I think about tagged , , at 5:32 am by weiszguy

Summer mornings in Kentucky are cold.  However hot it might get during the day, you’re going to want a little something to keep you warm in the early hours.

The swimming pool at E. P. Tom Sawyer State Park stayed busy all day during the summer, so the swim team had to practice at 6 am.  They would have started earlier if the sun had allowed.

With the seeds still in my eyes, I dove in to begin the warm-up laps.  But this particular morning, my leg objected.  The muscle cramp absolutely forbid that I should swim one stroke more.

The coach made me get out of the water and lay on a deck chair, while two of the female staff massaged my leg.  In all the years since that day, I have never had a better work out.

I was reminded of this story by a leg cramp at 4:45 this morning.

January 5, 2011

women laughing alone with salad

Posted in stuff I think about tagged , , at 8:25 pm by weiszguy

What is it about women and salad?

http://thehairpin.com/2011/01/women-laughing-alone-with-salad/

Can salad have this same kind of effect on men, too?  I better stay away from it, just in case.

why you should use Google Docs

Posted in office, technology tagged , at 7:18 pm by weiszguy

Google Docs (http://docs.google.com) is an online office suite par excellence.  It has all the components you have come to expect from an installed office package (word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program), plus a few others (forms and drawings).

Google Docs exists entirely online.  You don’t have software on your computer, you don’t have files on your computer.  All you need is access to the internet.

Benefits:

  • You save all your documents online.  You no longer need to worry about running out of space on your hard drive.  And you don’t have to worry about backing up your files, either.  Google’s systems are infinitely redundant.  If your hard drive crashes, you won’t lose anything.
  • You don’t have to try to remember which computer a certain file is on.  Your files are on the internet and you can reach them from any computer with internet access.
  • You don’t have to try to keep multiple copies of a file in sync.  For example, a certain file is on your home computer, so you bring a copy of the file to work so you can have it there, too.  Now you have multiple copies, and you have to think about keeping all your changes consistent across all your copies.
  • You don’t have to install any software.  You also don’t have to apply any patches or upgrades.  When Google makes changes to their applications, you see it automatically when you log in.
  • You don’t have to email documents to other people.  Attaching a document to an email usually isn’t all that hard, but it’s one less step nonetheless.  Plus, no more merging changes from other people with the master document on your computer.  If you want someone to see the document, you just invite them!
  • You can have multiple people working on a document at the same time.  You can see where each person is in the document, and you can see what they are changing.  Again, this also saves the step of merging changes from multiple copies.
  • If you absolutely need a local copy of a document, you can download it in any of several common office formats, and use your local software to edit it.

If you don’t like Google…
Some folks have an aversion to all things Google.  If this is you, Zoho (http://docs.zoho.com) is another great option for you.  Everything I’ve said about Google Docs also applies to Zoho.  Check it out.

January 4, 2011

RSS – simple!

Posted in blogging, technology tagged , at 8:04 pm by weiszguy

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and that is probably the easiest definition possible.  It’s a way to syndicate, really simply.

Not as many people take advantage of RSS as could benefit by it.  Let’s take a look at the benefits of RSS, and then a quick and easy way to set it up.

The Problem

The reason many people are not taking advantage of RSS, is because they don’t realize how powerful it can be, i.e., they don’t realize they have a problem.

Let’s take a hypothetical internet user named Merlin.  Merlin is a savvy citizen of the 21st century – he gave up television news for Yahoo News.  He particularly like the sports section and his local news section.  He also follows blogs about economics, eastern European politics, and miniature shih tzus.  Merlin visits these five news sources every day.  He has them all bookmarked in his browser.

If Merlin wants to add a new source of information, he has to bookmark it, and then visit it every day.  His list of sites to visit every day quickly becomes quite long, and visiting them all takes more and more time with each new source.  To make matters worse, sometimes there is nothing new on his blogs, and so he has wasted his time checking them out.

What Merlin doesn’t know is there is an elegant solution that combines all his favorite news sources in one place, and only shows him new information.

The Solution

An RSS feed reader is analogous to an email program.  But instead of showing emails, a feed reader shows “feeds”.  A feed is a stream of information from a particular source, published using the RSS standard.  When Merlin starts looking for feeds, he discovers that Yahoo publishes all their sports information on a “Sports” feed.  The miniature shih tzu blog also has a feed.

In a feed reader, Merlin subscribes to these feeds, and the feeds of all his other favorite news sources, and can see them all in one place.  When the Vikings win the Super Bowl, Yahoo adds a story about the miracle to their Sports feed, and Merlin reads it in his feed reader, at the same time he reads the latest economics news, and the latest news from eastern Europe.  Merlin never misses an important story, and he doesn’t waste time surfing to sites that haven’t been updated.

To his great surprise, Merlin discovers that adding new feeds is painless, and reading all his feeds takes much less time than visiting each web site individually.  With all the time he has saved, Merlin adds new feeds with reckless abandon, and is able to keep up with all of them easily.

Getting Started

You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a feed reader.  If you have a favorite reader go ahead and use it.  If you don’t have a favorite, use mine – Google Reader http://www.google.com/reader.

Sign in, or create an account if you need to.  Then in the upper left corner of the page, click the “Add a subscription” button.  Then type in the name of the site that has the feed you want to subscribe to.  Google Reader will automatically discover the feed and add it to your list.  Repeat this process with each of your favorite news sources, and soon you’ll a list of feeds that contains all the news that thrills you.  If you’re using a different feed reader, you’ll see different buttons, but the process will be the same.

After you have subscribed to all your feeds, you won’t have to visit those web sites again.  Just open your feed reader, read all the news, and save yourself all the time of visiting each sites separately.

Also, please subscribe to this blog in your reader!

 

benefits of daily blogging

Posted in blogging tagged at 5:28 am by weiszguy

benefits of daily blogging:

  • you develop the habit of doing something consistently, even when you don’t feel like it
  • you learn to use language to express inner thoughts and emotions
  • you learn to use language to discover what those inner thoughts and emotions are, in the first place. Sometimes you don’t know what you think about something until you’ve tried to put it on paper.
  • helps you stay up-to-speed on what’s going on around the internet, as you read other blogs and other bloggers read you
  • stimulates creativity. It can be hard to come up with something new to say every day. Forcing yourself to write stirs up your mind so we can see what’s in there.

 

January 3, 2011

lost drain plug

Posted in philosophy, theology tagged , at 6:47 am by weiszguy

We lost the drain plug for the kitchen sink today. Without it we can’t do the dishes.  While this was a matter for some joy in certain quarters of our house, I’m sorta bummed by the festering mess on the counter.

Can I learn something from this?  Where’s the life application?

Each plate is a life. The gunk on the plate is the gunk we each carry around with us. The water is our best effort to remove our gunk. But after the water has done its work, the gunk is in the water. It’s still hanging around. The drain plug is the only thing holding the gunk from going where it needs to go. Can the plate remove the plug?  Can the water?  Of course not, we need someone to pull the plug for us.

You could do better?  Take your best shot.

 

January 2, 2011

fathers deserve more credit than they get

Posted in gender differences, marriage, parenting tagged , , at 8:16 pm by weiszguy

Fathers deserve more credit than they get.

Fathers are usually raked over the coals for not being better fathers. Fathers are no good at being involved in their children’s lives, no good at probing for deeply held feelings, no good at comforting broken hearts. Fathers are no good at dishes, laundry, and shuttling kids to soccer practice.  In short, fathers are not very good mothers.

Nobody ever mentions the paychecks, or bailing out the basement during a flood, of forbidding the wearing of mini-skirts by daughters. If fact, people usually look down on fathers for being workaholics  and for preventing their offspring from having any fun. Nobody considers that most fathers, at one point in their lives, were 17-year old boys.

Don’t make a father be a mother. Don’t make a father be a teenager. Let a father be a man.

January 1, 2011

blogging is better that facebook

Posted in blogging, philosophy tagged at 8:50 am by weiszguy

Facebook is good for things like telling the world you just had a bagel.  But if you want to get any more detailed than that, Facebook is not the most ideal platform.

For the most part, I don’t care if you just had a bagel, and I can’t imagine you’re too interested in my breakfast either.  What I’d really like to talk about is meaningful, deeper stuff.  Anything really.  Everything from world-stage type stuff all the way down to deeply held personal thoughts and beliefs.

In 2011 I’m going to try to stay almost completely off of Facebook.  This move should reduce meaningless noise in my life, and probably in yours, too.  If I have something meaningful to say, I’ll say it here.  If I don’t have anything meaningful to say…

December 31, 2010

3 countries I’d like to visit

Posted in travel tagged , , at 6:06 pm by weiszguy

There are three countries I’d like to visit.

France

For some reason I can’t explain, I’ve gotten into 19th century French literature. Specifically, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Les Miserables. Isn’t that weird? Either of these books, by themselves, could anchor an aircraft carrier. I want to go to France and see all the places these books talk about, including the angles of Fort Saint Nicolas in Marseilles, that Edmond and Mercedes disappeared around. I was in France once, in college. I am sorry I didn’t take better advantage of the experience.

Italy

The place just breathes culture and class. I guess I’m hoping if I go there I’ll find some. Watch the Godfather movies and tell me you wouldn’t like to have a close-knit family like that? I was in Italy once, too. I’m sorry I didn’t have the chance to meet up with any mobsters.

Antarctica

Man. Vast, white, frozen expanses of land. What’s not to love? I want to see penguins. I want to trace Shackleton’s voyage. I want to see the south pole. I want to join the 200 club, where you sit in a 100º sauna, then go outside and run around the actual south pole at -100º, for a total temperature differential of 200º. I need to wear that badge of honor.

Name three countries you’d like to visit.

October 28, 2010

The 1960s was not a pivotal decade

Posted in stuff I think about tagged , at 6:58 pm by weiszguy

It’s getting a little old.  Why do we keep hearing about the “Pivotal 1960s“, the “Counterculture of the 1960s“, or the “turbulent 60s“?  Why do we worship the 1960s?

Yes, the 60s offed the Kennedy’s and Martin Luther King Jr. Yes, there was that little struggle in Southeast Asia. Yes, we went to the moon. But so what? Is that any more “pivotal” than any other decade? Has anything “turbulent” happened in this decade? The September 11 terrorist attacks and the election of the first black US president spring immediately to mind. But nobody calls the 2000s turbulent.

Is there nothing countercultural about Lady Gaga, Eminem, or Madonna?

Come to think of it, has there ever been a decade that wasn’t turbulent? In the 1970s we had Watergate. In the 1980s we had the beginning of the digital revolution. How about the 1940s – can anybody think of anything pivotal from that decade? How about the 1860s? The 1770s?

The 1960s were no different from any other decade. The only reason we look back in awe at the 1960s is because the people from that generation, the baby-boomers, write about it in hushed tones. They grew up then, and so they think the world began with them. They think they changed everything. The world was monochrome and monotonous before they arrived, but – praise God – they did arrive.

The fact is, turbulent times have always been with us, and they will always be with us.  There is nothing new under the sun.  Boomers, I love you, but you can have your 60s back. We don’t want ’em.

May 11, 2010

a man of principles

Posted in gambling, stuff I think about tagged , , at 6:38 pm by weiszguy

Some principles must not be violated, ever, for any reason.  Others are more like guidelines, really:

Facing high unemployment and the aftermath of a $3.2 billion state-budget shortfall, Ohioans voted to allow casinos in November. Gov. Ted Strickland dropped his longtime opposition to video lottery machines, proposing to add them to racetracks to generate new tax revenue.

“If I had not been confronted with these difficult circumstances, I would have obviously opposed expanding gambling in Ohio,” says Mr. Strickland.

Obviously.

April 15, 2010

silence

Posted in communication tagged , at 7:35 pm by weiszguy

I just ran across this quote from Thomas Merton:

If our life is poured out in useless words, we will never hear anything, will never become anything, and in the end, because we have said everything before we had anything to say, we shall be left speechless at the moment of our greatest decision.

I think there is some pretty amazing wisdom in these words.  I speak when I have something to say.  When I’m not speaking, it’s because I have nothing to say.  If you force me to speak when I have nothing to say, what do you expect to hear?

February 11, 2010

some annoying keyboard shortcuts

Posted in stuff I think about tagged , , , , , at 7:39 pm by weiszguy

I’m a big fan of keyboard shortcuts.  Keeping my hands on the keyboard and off the mouse is what I’m all about.  But there have been a couple lately that really annoy me.

In Google Reader, “j” means next item.  I get really used to “j”-ing through my feeds.  But in Thunderbird, “j” means junk.  I hit “j” and my email disappears!

In Gmail, “a” means reply all.  In Thunderbird, “a” means archive.  Again, my email disappears.

In Firefox, “Ctrl-T” opens a new tab.  In Notepad++, “Ctrl-N” gives you a new tab.  In Firefox, “Ctrl-N” opens a new window.  I always have to pause for minute and think about which application I’m in.

In Firefox and Chrome, “Ctrl-L” places the cursor in the address bar.  In IE6, which I’m required to use at work, “Ctrl-L” opens an Open dialog.  Really? Who opens a browser, and then wants to open a file from in there?  In IE6, it’s the “F6” key to get to the address bar.

I wonder if it would be too much to ask to create an International Keyboard Shortcut Compliance body?

January 10, 2010

Wave? I don’t get it

Posted in technology tagged at 9:18 pm by weiszguy

I guess I have to throw my vote in with the “Huh?” crowd.  I’ve been on Google Wave for a couple months now.  My list of contacts is extremely short because I know very few people who Wave.  I’ve invited some people myself, and most of them have accepted my invite, but there just doesn’t seem to be any reason to use Wave.

I know, I know, you can take polls and playback conversations – but so what?  I never needed to do those things before Wave, and I haven’t needed to do them since Wave.

Anybody know any reason why I should use Wave?  Had any positive Wave experiences yourself?

November 23, 2009

i’m Waving

Posted in technology tagged at 8:55 pm by weiszguy

I finally got invited to Google Wave.  But now I don’t have anybody to Wave with.  I don’t have invitations of my own, so I’m kind stuck until more people get on the system.

Unless you have a Wave account and you want to Wave with me?

November 13, 2009

anyone got a Google Wave invite?

Posted in technology tagged at 2:32 pm by weiszguy

I’d love to get an invite to Google Wave, but haven’t found one yet.  I could get one here: http://lifehacker.com/5403318/the-google-wave-invitation-donation-thread-is-open, but I don’t have an approved commenter account.  If you have an approved commenter account, you could request an invite, and then send me an invite.  Or if you are already in the Wave, just invite me.  I’ll be your friend forever.

October 14, 2009

the end of the office

Posted in stuff I think about tagged at 9:30 pm by weiszguy

I just finished The Office wedding episode.  What a colossal disappointment.  A failure of astronomical proportions.  What should have been the most exciting episode in the entire series, was instead very likely the worst.  Instead of great Office humor, we were treated to a smorgasbord of junior high toilet and sex jokes – and not even funny ones.

To say nothing of the near-constant, not even subliminal, message that sex is and should be free and easy between complete strangers.  Please.

Good bye, Office.

September 26, 2009

Why I love Colorado

Posted in stuff I think about tagged , at 7:26 am by weiszguy

whyIloveCO

September 8, 2009

Monopoly fans!

Posted in investing, money tagged , , at 8:18 pm by weiszguy

Monopoly on steroids!  I played countless hours of Monopoly growing up.  I had most of the numbers on most of the cards memorized.  But now that I’ve grown up, I see a lot of deficiencies in the game.  It doesn’t emulate real property investing very well.  Looks like that’s about to change.

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/09/07/googles-monopoly-the-board-game-not-antitrust/

August 28, 2009

forget elephants, Amazon never forgets

Posted in money tagged at 8:20 pm by weiszguy

I was messing around in my Amazon account today.  I can browse all my Amazon orders back to 2003.  I don’t know if that’s impressive… or scary.

May 25, 2009

star trek

Posted in movies tagged , , , at 6:47 pm by weiszguy

I saw Star Trek this weekend with my son.  As a mild Trekkie, I have to say it rocked.  It had suspense, action, humor, lots of explosions (which made my son happy), and lots of the human element (which made me happy).  The opening scene had me in tears, because of the sacrifice and heroism depicted.  And just a few scenes later is the classic man-up-and-take-responsibility-for-your-destiny challenge, but still made my heart swell.  It made me want to go bust some Romulan heads.

Karl Urban completely nailed Bones.  Zachary Quinto was a better Spock than Leonard Nimoy.  And Chris Pine’s Kirk is exactly how I imagined Kirk at that age.

Of course, there were a few timeline flaws.  We know from all the other Star Trek shows and movies that Romulus and Vulcan still exist, so their annihilation here is a little problematic.  But as long as you don’t stick too closely to the Star Trek mythology, this is a kick-butt movie.

May 22, 2009

comparison

Posted in philosophy tagged , , at 5:57 pm by weiszguy

“Comparison is the root of all misery.  That and intestinal parasites.”

May 18, 2009

music critics are weird

Posted in music tagged , , at 7:02 pm by weiszguy

This is from a brief bio of AC/DC:

AC/DC’s mammoth power chord roar became one of the most influential hard rock sounds of the ’70s. In its own way, it was a reaction against the pompous art rock and lumbering arena rock of the early ’70s. AC/DC’s rock was minimalist — no matter how huge and bludgeoning the guitar chords were, there was a clear sense of space and restraint.

I have no idea how music can be pompous or lumbering.  I also can’t tell you what art rock is, or what arena rock is.  Furthermore, I don’t understand the use of the words minimalist, huge, bludgeoning, space and restraint.  I hope the critic is proud of himself.

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