I Should Start Selling Water

A couple weeks ago, I forgot to bring some water while taking a walk (to get my car), so I stopped at a gas station to buy a bottle. Problem was, I only had a dollar in my wallet, and I really didn't want to use my card to pay for a water. I tried to find a bottle of water for under $1, but the cheapest ones they had were 16oz for $1.20 or so. Couldn't afford to buy water... Fortunately they had a drinking fountain.

Then today, I opened my water bill... Ten thousand gallons used, twenty four bucks. 10,000 gallons for $24. 16oz for $1.20. Doing some math... 16oz is a pint, 8 pints in a gallon, that's 80,000 pints for $24, versus 1 pint for $1.20. It would cost $96,000 to get the same quantity of water in bottle form at retail price. But I get it for $24, minus the plastic bottles (which are just an inconvenience anyway).

That got me thinking... At 416 gallons per dollar, I could sell gallons of water for a massive profit even if I was just selling them for 50 cents or so. That's cheaper than the gallon water at the grocery store (which I think was about $1 last I checked), and I would argue that my tap water is as good or better than a lot of the stuff sold at the store. And I'm not just biased - the water here has won awards nationally and is the reason that many microbreweries decide to open in this area.

Of course you ask, who would buy water from me? Obviously it wouldn't be worth the cost of shipping water to some far off location... But, there are some areas close by where good water is not just flowing out of the ground. Older houses in the old part of town are likely to have rusty pipes, creating off flavors in their water. People out in the country might rely on a well, which is not always reliable in drought conditions. And then there are just some people who prefer to drink water out of a bottle than tap, for whatever reason. If I felt like making the effort to find customers, I could make a lot of money selling my own tap water. (I suppose I would have to do it illegally since I wouldn't bother getting licensed or inspected, or I would have to disclaim that it is not "potable" and advertise it as something else...)

I wonder how much empty/clean gallon jugs are?
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Good News!

Most people probably don't see this as good news, but I feel like this is exactly what I've been wishing for... Today I found out that my job is going to be "downsized" (probably actually means "outsourced") at the end of this summer. I have a little over 4 more months at my current job, where I have been employed for over 6 years.

How is this good news? Well, there are a lot of reasons. To me, the biggest reason was the simple fact that I have come to hate computers in general. I feel like computer technology is on a downslope, such that it seems like it is becoming more expensive to have a computer than it is to do everything by hand, the old-fashion way. I know that's not really the case, but it just gets so frustrating when I spend more of my time simply dealing with the cost of computing than I actually do getting any work done. Granted, as an IT support person, it is my job to deal with that overhead so that the business users don't have to. But still, I would rather spend a majority of my time working toward improving the systems than keeping up with the bare-minimum of maintenance. It frustrates me to see how quickly things become outdated. This wouldn't be a problem if people would ever be content with the status quo, to leave things just the way they are... But the software companies don't understand the concept of static operation, and so they feel the need to constantly improve things, even things that were already right where they needed to be. Instead of solving problems they just leave them behind and move forward to create new problems. Because there is more profit in that. Always upgrade, never fix the old stuff... And every time I need to upgrade to a new version of WebSphere, Oracle, Sybase, Java, whatever, there is significant cost in analysis, development, testing, project management, resource management, impact communication, and so on... Most people don't realize just how much it costs to make a minor change to a multi-environment system. It's exhausting. And it's endless. I like the idea of finishing something. You get everything working just right, solve all the defects, call it done and leave it just the way it is. But life doesn't work that way...

So I have been looking for an excuse to get out of IT for a long time, but that's only half the equation. The bigger question is: what's next? Well, I have a few options, but my primary and most realistic goal is to open a microbrewery. The reason I say this is realistic is because I'm already half way there. Well, it was the easier half, but it's an important one. A couple friends and I have been studying the art and science of brewing since last July, brewing consistently better and better beers as we improve our techniques and upgrade our equipment. We have several recipes that are essentially complete, and have already impressed numerous friends and brewers. And I don't just mean that "Oh, it's good!" feedback where you can't really tell if they're being honest or just being nice... I mean the kind of response that even a seasoned actor would have difficulty pulling off. Genuine surprise. Even from myself. You see, I don't even like hoppy beers, yet I could drink our IPAs (two different recipes) all night without ever getting that dry sticky hoppy feeling. No headaches which means we aren't introducing tannins in the mash, yet still high ABV which means we're getting good fermentable sugars in the wort. All we really have left to do from a process perspective is to perfect the keg carbonation process. The next step will be upgrading to microbrewery-volume equipment (maybe start with a 2-barrel system, roughly 4 16-gallon kegs per batch). And of course opening a facility.

We have been talking about this brewery being a real possibility for quite a few months. We even have a number of investors interested in helping us get started. I have been paying attention to any local news relating to new brewery and distillery start-ups, watching for any useful knowledge to help get an idea what something like this might cost. In one recent article, a new microbrewery in the south end of Fort Collins had a budget of $30,000 to remodel and furnish their brewpub. So that's a number I can expect to be reliable for us. I also know that that brewery is planning on opening in about 5 months, and they are just starting on their remodelling project, so that gives me an idea of how long it would take to get a facility opened. Also, this particular brewery is opening in a location that will hopefully bridge the gap between Fort Collins and Loveland, creating a channel for business to flow south from the Microbrewery Mecca that is located just northeast of Old Town Fort Collins, which includes local heavyweights New Belgium, O'Dells, and Fort Collins Brewery, among others. A pocket of new successful microbreweries has opened in Loveland not far from the Big Thompson river, which at this point is a little bit out of reach for brewery-tourism to spill over from Fort Collins. However, if we opened a brewery along the 287 corridor between Fort Collins and Loveland, we might just be able to bridge that gap, and open the door for brewery tours that travel from Fort Collins to Loveland, stopping off at our spot along the way. There is a perfect area that I have in mind, with excellent views of the mountains and plenty of available space. I'm planning to take a drive over there later to see what kind of properties might be available to lease.

Normally I would say that, with so many new breweries opening every year, this would be a bad time to open yet another because the market is somewhat saturated... Except, the market-saturation is resulting in something else: brewery tourism. Northern Colorado is quickly becoming (or has already become, depending on whom you ask) the Napa Valley of beer. There are businesses devoted simply to marketing and promoting microbrewery tourism. Every time a new microbrewery starts up, they instantly get a steady stream of business. And, if our beer is as good as it seems to be, we might actually outperform a lot of the other start-ups which have been a little hit-and-miss quality-wise.

As the thought of no longer sitting in front of this computer every day starts to set in, I have difficulty imagining a different life. It's both frightening and exciting. I keep thinking of Morgan Spurlock's reality-show-type-thing called Failure Club... The idea is that people will be more likely to find their dreams and goals come true if they have a real threat of failure looming over them, with real consequences. It's one thing to try to start a business in your spare time while simultaneously keeping your nine-to-five, but when you have no safety net and all the free time in the world, there is no room nor excuse for failure. I never watched this show but I guess the idea is that they find people who have ideas but can't seem to get them off the ground (can't get a foot in the door or whatever), and they get them to quit their jobs and give them the motivation to make it happen at all cost.

Even if the brewery thing doesn't come together, I still have other options. Music would be my next best bet. Harder to make a living with, but if I can downsize my cost of living to a point that I don't need a lot, I can get by on gig pay and side jobs. I have a friend who actually pulled that off, quit his day job and makes a majority of his income from shows. It's not a lot, but he has a very low cost of living. And, I have additional music-related skills, such as sound engineering. Right now I'm in 4 bands, plus I have been asked to fill in for one show with one of my favorite local bands, and I have numerous other people inviting me into their side-projects. Unfortunately I have to decline because I'm busy enough as it is.

I also had a neighbor tell me I could go into business building custom countertops. He does that for a living and was quite impressed with the end result of my countertops. I'll post pictures some day, when I have time... (If I ever have time...) I said it was too much stress to be something I would want to do for a living, but at least it's good to know I could take on some side jobs doing remodelling type of stuff (like what I've been doing with my kitchen).

But whatever I end up doing, all I know is that it will be better than what I'm doing now, because I absolutely could not continue in my current rut forever without something big changing. My original plan, before this new development appeared today, was to try to figure out a way to become a telecommuter on the road, living in a customized RV and travelling from RV park to RV park across the country, travelling where the weather is warm, dialing in from the campsite wireless during the week and heading out into the wilderness to camp during the weekends. That probably won't be an option anymore unless I find another telecommuting job, but even if I do find one I still wouldn't be looking for something in IT. I told the business analyst about my impending departure today and he said that's devastating news for him because of how much he relies on my expertise... I said "well, if a telecommuting job opening happens to appear that might be a good fit for me, I'll consider it." Basically hinting that if the business wants to keep me around, they can find me a job within their organization (not part of IT). They've got 4 months to decide if my knowledge and experience are worth creating a new job (or replacing somebody else if someone happens to leave or get promoted).

One way or another, I see this as Good News. An opportunity, and motivation, to make my new life into what I want it to be. Since the divorce nearly a year ago, I have been kind of stuck between the life I was in (the house, the remodelling project, the job, etc) and the life I have started to build (the bands, the brewery, and spending more time travelling the country). I couldn't move forward without leaving the remnants of my previous life behind, especially the house. Without the job, I won't be able to afford the house (unless the brewery takes off instantly), so those problems will pretty much solve themselves one way or another. (Hopefully I'll be able to sell the house for a decent profit, but if not I could always rent it out or get a bunch of roommates.)
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    Awolnation - Knights of Shame
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Aw Hell Yeah

Just found out that Wes Welker signed with the Denver Broncos. Decker and Thomas aren't exactly having trouble putting up numbers of their own, but add Welker to the mix and you've got an undefendable offense. Kind of like the team that New England has been for years. But now, New England's not-so-secret weapon is playing for my team. (For the record I haven't stopped cheering for the Vikings, just not that optimistic about their chances right now.)

Anyway, Peyton Manning has no shortage of targets at receiver and tight-end, the only thing the team needs now is a better defensive secondary. Champ Bailey is due to retire, and they need a shut-down cornerback to replace him. Fortunately I heard the Broncos are wooing a particular star free agent who would fill that need. They've also been talking about trying to get Mendenhall at running-back, which is probably a good idea since McGahee can't be getting any younger, and Moreno is only just now starting to figure out how to play this game.

I predict good things for the Broncos this year. Undefeated? Possibly. Super Bowl? Probably. First-round bye? Almost certainly. Of course I thought similar things last year, which was an absolute heartbreaker, but I know the Ravens won't stand a chance against an even-more-dangerous Broncos team, especially now that Ray Lewis has retired. This year, Peyton will be coming out of the gates firing on all cylinders, and there will be no looking back. Or so I hope.
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    Mojo Kamikaze - Bedouin jam (track 6)
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Tired of Technology...

I am getting so close to giving up on "modern" technology entirely. Especially the internet. That's right, I'm posting a blog entry on the internet saying that the internet has failed. How cliche'. Anyway, I don't understand why status-quo is not an option with techology. Today, I discovered that IE6 no longer works with anything. It had been gradually losing support, one website at a time, but as of today I can no longer do a damn thing with it. Even LiveJournal no longer allows me to save my posts in IE6. (I clicked the Post button about a dozen times before I opened Firefox and copy/pasted it over...)

You might ask: why the resistance to change? Because I don't want to spend my entire life upgrading everything all the time. I have a computer that works, why can't I just leave it at that? My computer is over 10 years old, still works just fine except that I'm sure it doesn't have the physical resources to handle the bloatware everybody runs these days. My work laptop is 3 years old, "cutting edge," and is so slow and buggy that I can't imagine having something like that for personal use. If it was mine to do as I pleased with, I would've thrown it away 2.5 years ago. Meanwhile my personal desktop is smooth-running and fast, and I WAN'T TO KEEP IT THAT WAY. But no, I have to upgrade my browsers all the time to keep up with "new technology" (which has shown me no improvement whatsoever, the internet worked just fine before!), increasing the resource utilization and further slowing down my otherwise pristine (yet antique) computer.

And to all the people who will tout the glory of Firefox over IE: it's not very good either, in my opinion. They all are just terrible, and I don't understand how people can keep making things worse and worse in the name of "improvement." I'm sick of this downward trend and I hope it accellerates to such a rate that the entire technological world collapses with it.

As I'm typing this, I'm still trying to get my work laptop reconnected to the network. Not sure why, but as soon as I upgraded to IE7, Outlook lost it's ability to connect to the server. It's not my internet connection, able to get to Google just fine... Speaking of which, Google is the only piece of the technological world left that I don't quite hate yet.

On a related note, I figured out where the ideal post-apocalyptic paradise would be (in my opinion). I haven't been there personally, so I need to confirm this before I make it my go-to spot, but based on the criteria I have in mind, this could be a winner...

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The "Do It Now" Philosophy

A couple years ago, I came up with a new approach to managing the tasks and chores in my life. I call it the "Do It Now" philosophy, and it's pretty self explanatory. If you see something that needs to be done, do it now.

Of course, that's always easier said than done, especially when I look around my house and all I see are things that need to be done. It becomes overwhelming, to the point that I see so many things that need to be done that I shut down and do none of those things.

Lately, I've been getting especially overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done... In addition to my job sucking and taking way more of my time than it's supposed to, I have also been dealing with the following:
  • I'm currently front-man of 2 bands and we're supposed to have our debut show for both bands in about a week and a half. I don't know most of the lyrics yet, and we're not done writing a couple of the songs.

  • I just agreed to join another band, a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band, which will involve a hell of an effort on the bass lines because I want to do Flea justice in performing his music. Our first jam is this Saturday. I haven't played any of the songs yet.

  • Another friend invited me to join a progressive rock group along the lines of Frank Zappa, which is so intriguing and exciting that I couldn't possibly say no, so looks like I'll be juggling 4 bands soon... That's a new record for me. Gonna have to cut it down a bit, we'll see how things go...

  • The house remodeling project is still heavily under way, although getting very close to completion now. I'm waiting for the laminate for my countertops to arrive, had to be ordered because they didn't have any in-stock in this part of the country... As soon as that arrives, I'll turn my living-room into a custom-countertop factory for a few weeks, then once I have the counters installed I'll return my focus to the floors, which are almost leveled and then will be ready for Pergo.

  • On Monday, I noticed my house was getting unusually cold, which is odd because it was the warmest day of the week (got close to 60). That's when I discovered that the household heating system had crapped out. It was still generating heat, just not circulating it through the house. Replaced the pump, $150 down the drain, but at least I'm not freezing.

  • Yesterday I noticed the BRAND NEW circulatory pump making a noise it's not supposed to make. There's a 3-year warranty on it so I'm not going to rush to replace it unless it craps out completely, but just worried that I might find myself freezing in a couple days, weeks, months, who knows...

  • I completed the divorce process almost 2 months ago and I still haven't sent my ex the final package of documents and knick-knacks that I promised to send... I need to find a few dishes she asked for so that's why I've been procrastinating on that, but I can't finish cleaning my office until I get that stuff out of the way.

  • Almost forgot, I also need to make a run to the music shop because the brand new Ernie Ball Cobalt bass strings I got for the Schecter had a defective string and it broke before I even got the thing tuned up. Those strings are supposed to be the top-of-the-line longest lasting strings available, even better than the stainless steels that I used to use. Kind of disappointed since this is my 2nd time breaking a brand new Ernie Ball string. Never had this problem with Rotosound.

There's probably more, that's how freakin' busy I am, I can't even keep track of all the crap I'm working on. And I didn't list ANY of the projects on the back-burner, the things that are waiting for everything else to be done...

So, as I found myself sitting here doing nothing about the immense pile of crap I have to do, I kept trying to tell myself "do it now." But Myself would respond with a conversation that went something like this:
Me: Do it now.
Myself: Ok, which thing?
Me: How about the Peppers practice, that's the most urgent deadline...
Myself: Sure, but, there's no room for an amp in here, the floor is covered with documents that need to be sorted and filed.
Me: Ok, then file those damn papers already, I'm tired of tripping over them every day.
Myself: ...

When I finally realized I had no excuse to keep procrastinating, I went ahead and did it. Now I'm looking at an almost-clean floor in my office, with plenty of room for my practice amp.

And then I remembered another project I wanted to get started on... Yeah, as if I needed more work, I've decided to add some more. Anyway, this one stems from my realization that if I have too much stuff going on all the time I'm never going to be able to remember this part of my life. The human brain is quite good at organizing its thoughts, if it is given time to do so, but when I spend every moment of every day rushing from one thing to the next, those memories are going to be filed away in a sloppy manner, and this period of my life will be a blur when I look back on it in the future...

So, my new project is: The Story of My Life
(Can't decide right now if "My" should be capitalized... As a buddhist I feel compelled to downplay the significance of self. Whatever, it's not important.)

So, starting right now (Do It Now), I'm going to start writing the story of my life, from the beginning, featuring as much detail as I can remember and am willing to share. There are some memories which I have been trying to escape my whole life so those will not be recounted here, in hopes that some day they will disappear completely. Nothing horrible, just emarrassing crap from my childhood. Awkwardness was my biggest enemy.

Here goes...
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    red hot chili peppers - under the bridge
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Amendment 64: Time To Act Like Adults

For years, legalization advocates have only been looking for one thing: to be treated like adults. What is the difference between an adult and a child? Children have people telling them what they can and can't do, and we accept that because we believe children lack the wisdom and education that enables them to make responsible decisions for themselves. Adults are given the freedom to make their own decisions, including ones that could potentially have a negative impact on their lives, and now marijuana supporters finally feel like they are starting to be treated like adults.

Now is the time for the people making a living in this young industry to start acting like adults. When medical marijuana (MMJ) shops started popping up everywhere around here, I found myself a bit embarrassed by some of the signage that some of the stores chose to use. If it's supposed to be a "medical" facility, why does the storefront need to look like a tie-dyed T-shirt? It felt like some of the MMJ shops were making a mockery of the medicinal aspect of marijuana, and I understand why so many voters quickly had them banned locally.

You have been given a second chance, marijuana industry. In fact you have been given a promotion, and now you can finally stop dancing around the word "medicinal" and go straight for the truth: it is recreational. Don't get me wrong, marijuana does help some people with medical conditions, just like drinking a glass of wine a day can be good for your heart. But for the vast majority, it's just for fun.

That being said, try to act like an adult about it, please. This means not rubbing it in the faces of those who are uncomfortable with the idea of "street drugs" being sold in stores. This means showing a little class, a little discretion, to prove to the doubters that you deserve to be treated like an adult, and to demonstrate that this will not be the downfall of Colorado. Don't cover your store-front with psychadelic artwork. You don't see liquor stores spray-painted with pink elephants. If you want the general public to take your business seriously, if you want respect, you must act the part; be professional.

I believe the passing of Amendment 64 will be a great thing for Colorado. It is a statement to the nation that we can stand up to failed prohibition policies, and I believe other states will follow suit in the near future. Better yet, it is a way to solve financial troubles in several ways: by bringing in massive amounts of tax revenue, eliminating the cost of prosecution and incarceration, and creating a huge market for new legitimate businesses, driving out the underground market that currently operates tax-free. This is why I am begging those who will be setting the standard for the recreational marijuana industry in Colorado (and perhaps the rest of the nation), please don't screw this up.

So Glad The Election Is Over

Politics brings out the worst in some people. A lot of people. Especially people commenting on the internet. Of course, commenting on the internet in general brings out the worst in people, because they can hide behind the protective anonymous glass of a computer screen (I suppose most of them aren't glass these days though...). One particular blog I follow on a daily basis normally has a lively and intelligent conversation taking place in the comments every day, with insightful and respectful messages all around. But yesterday comments were turned off (good call), and today there was quite a bit of hostility. For the most part I have seen the conservatives quietly hanging their heads in disappointment, and most of the obnoxious crap I've been seeing is in the form of graceless gloating by the left.

And that's when this popped into my head:
"Unsportsmanlike conduct, de-crats, taunting in the end zone. Four year penalty, repeat first term."

I know, it doesn't really make all that much sense, but I think it's funny. If I was on Twitter, I'd probably tweet this. But I'm not, because it's incredibly rare for me to have anything to say in under 140 characters. Word limits don't work for me, I like to rant.

Speaking of word limits, I wrote a piece that I was going to submit to the Fort Collins newspaper in response to Amendment 64 (woot!), but it exceeded their word-limit for letters to the editor, and not sure I want to go through all the hassle of submitting it as a "Soapbox," so I'll just post it here instead. I realize nobody reads this blog, but maybe somebody will repost it. Please do.
  • Current Music
    My Morning Jacket - Steam Engine

The Eight-Year Cycle

I decided it's time to revive this old blog...

There are a few perfect numbers in the world, and 8 is one of them. I curse the early humans for choosing to include their thumbs when they counted... Imagine if we lived in a world of base 8? Think about it... 8 / 2 = 4, 4 / 2 = 2, 2 / 2 = 1... You can't do that with 10. (10, 5, 2.5, 1.25, etc...) And then you could use your thumbs to represent the "tens" (not actually 10 since it's base-8), thus you could count to 30 on your fingers, which would actually be 24 in base 10. Anyway, I'm not trying to convince you that base 8 is way better, just saying there's a very good reason there are 8 bits in a byte, and I think the number 8 carries special powers in other ways too.

One way is in the cycle of my life... Every 8 years, it seems I go through some sort of major change. For the first 8 years of my life, I was just a kid doing kid things, barely thinking about anything other than my own world. From 8 to 16 I went through more of a self-aware phase, during which time I developed cynicism and pessimism. Around the age of 16, my world changed drastically as I transitioned from kid to pre-adult, a phase that lasted a surprisingly long time. I never really felt like an adult even after I was done with college (dropped out after 1.33 years), moved out on my own, bought my own house, etc... A part of me always felt like a kid waiting to grow up. It was probably around 24 that I started to transition over into full-blown adulthoot. Around that time, my idea of a good party stopped being 100 people crammed into a smokey house with 2 kegs, and started being more like a dozen good friends, a couple of 12-packs, and maybe a bottle of tequila. During this phase, I also started to try to figure out my path for the rest of my life.

One of the big questions I asked myself during the past 8 years was whether or not I wanted to settle down and be a family-man, or pull up my roots and float on the breeze. I had always been tempted to wander off aimlessly, but I knew that if I ever wanted to do the family thing, I would have to start soon. So I made an ultimatum: try one more time, and if it doesn't work out this time, then it means I'm supposed to follow the whims that take me wherever they may...

About half way through that 8-year period, I thought I had achieved my goal of settling down, and I thought I was on my way to creating that American Dream suburban family that would become my life for the next couple decades and maybe more.

But then, last October, I was thinking how odd it was that turning 32 was far more significant to me than turning 30. People always think of 30 as a big turning point, because it's the end of your "twenties" and for many it signifies the end of youth, and for a depressingly large number of people, it seems to be viewed as "the beginning of the end." That's a sad way to live... That's like looking at your watch on Saturday afternoon and saying "crap, the weekend is almost over, that sucks!" I guess it will feel like a downhill slope if you choose to look at it that way, but I'm still climbing over here.

Anyway, as I was thinking about how little things changed when I turned 30, and how much things started changing when I turned 32, that's when I realized why. Subconsciously, I don't look at life in a base-10 perspective, because it doesn't make sense. We have 4 directions on the compass, 4 seasons in the year, 4 tidal cycles a day (rise twice, ebb twice)... My human-education teaches me to use base-10 but my heart knows base-8 is the true natural system. And so, the significant dates in my life fall on cycles of 8 years. Think about it, did anything special happen on your 10th birthday? 20th? At 20 you were probably just counting down the days to 21, if you're anything like me. The birthdays that mattered most were 16, 24 (right after the novelty of being 21 wears off), and now 32.

So it came as no surprise when my marriage started to crumble... It happened so gradually that we barely noticed. Just took a few big catalysts to shake the dust off and expose our true feelings... The hardest part of it all was that we still had a lot of love for eachother, but it was soaked in sadness. Not about anything specific, just about the fact that our love has no foundation to stand on. We thought love is the only thing we need to make it work, but the truth is you need compatibility at numerous levels. You need to be compatible not only in your day-to-day activities, but also in your fundamental perspective on life itself. We discovered that we had different definitions of marriage, different expectations of how our lives would go. We found that we have very few interests in common, she had no interest in most of the things I enjoy doing, and I had no intrest in the things she wanted to do.

What's more is that I don't believe it would be right for either of us to ask the other to change. The thing is, you can't change who you are, you can only pretend to change. Doing that will just cause problems further down the road. If we tried to compromise for eachother to make it work, one or both of us would end up resenting the other eventually, leading to a situation where we're stuck with a family and counting down the days until they move out and we can go our separate ways. Kind of like what happened with my parents.

Fortunately, I have a rare gift. Sometimes it seems like a curse, but I am thankful that I have this ability anyway... I can see into the future. Not the complete future, just my own future. You see, my life is almost perfectly parallel to my dad's life in many ways. We both grew up in Minnesota, dropped out of college, had dreams of moving west, eventually did move west... So far, the only major differences are that I moved west before getting a divorce, and I got divorced before having kids. I know my dad doesn't regret having kids, as any parent would say, but that's because things are different after kids are born. Before a kid is conceived, it is nothing more than an idea, and you can't feel regret over an idea, you can't feel guilty about an idea, because the idea cannot be hurt. If I have kids, then I run the risk of seeing them hurt, but if I never have kids then nobody can be hurt by my lack of action.

So, because of my ability to see my own destiny, I have been able to derail my path for the time being. I'm not saying I changed the future, it is entirely possible I will still end up in the same place eventually, but at least for now I have opened the door for a new future, one that does not result in me living in a castle in Idaho waiting for the kids to visit. Not that that would be a bad thing, just that maybe I'm supposed to do something different.

The obvious next question is: what's next? Well, at this point it's too soon to say for sure, but my immediate reaction is that I feel compelled to be a better buddhist. I helped some people get home from the bar a couple weeks ago, and even though I sacrificed several hours of my night and walked 3 miles on a sprained knee, I felt good helping them, and one of them gave me valuable advice about the troubles with my relationship, so it was an all-around good experience in my mind. And even though that night was the catalyst that ultimately put the final nail in the marriage's coffin, I know that it was inevitable anyway so it's not like things would've been different if that night never happened. It would've been the same, just would've taken longer and therefore wasted more time.

So anyway, my current plan is to go with the flow and try not to say No to anybody. If you need help, or just need a friend, or whatever, I'll be doing my part to spread good karma. I'm probably going to travel a lot. I'd like to see if I could take my home office on the road, work from wherever I end up each day. But first I have a ton of work to do on this house so I can sell it soon. No point in having this much room if I'm not going to need it... Unfortunately I tore out the kitchen, dining room, and living room right before things started to fall apart. Now I'm committed to finishing it, but at least now I can do things my way because my original project stakeholder is no longer concerned with this house. I'll save about $1000 by using the materials I want to use, and cutting out some of the unnecessary pieces of the design (like the window through the wall, all it does is lose wall space).

On a side note, my personal website has been shut down until further notice, I got tired of paying too much for domain registration and website hosting, and unfortunately I have to let 90 days go by before I can get my domain back from the registrar. FYI: register.com is evil. Anyway, what this means to me is that any pictures posted to this blog (which were hosted on that site) are going to be broken either indefinitely or until I decide to re-instate my website with a different provider. Since I don't really care that much about pictures, I'll probably just leave it down.
  • Current Music
    Mogwai - Like Herod

Windows 7 Sucks

I guess I was gullible, and believed the "hype" about how "great" Windows 7 is. I'm still running XP on all my machines, but my wife's new laptop came with Windows 7 pre-loaded. I figured it would be a good opportunity to find out how well it works, a pilot test to find out if I should install it on any of the other computers...

Problem is, every time she asks me to help her configure something or find something in the filesystem, I'm at a total loss. The UI is useless. They dumbed it down to the point that it's basically just a video game for people who don't know how computers work. "Ooh, look at me, I'm computering!"

For example, we wanted to change the default program for the Edit option on HTML files, to use Notepad instead of Word for editing the HTML... You can change the default program to Open a file, but there doesn't seem to be a way to change the default program to Edit a file. I searched the internet for solutions to this problem, and here's what I found:
  • This feature was removed in Windows Vista and they didn't bring it back
  • It is possible to change the default Edit program by editing the registry
  • You can download a program that automates the registry editing
  • You can format the harddrive and install Windows XP, because it isn't retarded like Windows 7
I'm not sure what pisses me off more:
  • That Microsoft claims that this is an improvement,
  • That Microsoft insists that Windows XP will no longer be supported,
  • Or that there are enough idiots out there using computers that this kind of operating system is being tolerated by the market.
Bottom line is, I'm formatting the drive and starting over from scratch with Windows XP. It might not be perfect, but it's a hundred times better than Windows 7.

Shit like this actually makes me consider Macs. But I still hate Macs for the same reason I hate Windows 7, they think users are too dumb to understand logical user interfaces, and try to simplify things to the point of being useless.