Today’s Farm Gym Workout


Installed a fence to split the pasture (so half can rest and grow back) – with lots of help from the girls (yay!), gathered up wood scattered across property, planted a huge maple, hung a couple bird houses (one on the back of the tractor barn), took down Christmas decorations, filled a big hole in the pasture, and cooled down playing fetch with the dogs. World’s best gym. :-)

Y’all make sure to get your exercise too. :-)

8.5 Rise Against: Endgame

I didn’t think I could ever warm up to this kind of over-produced hard rock.

Even if it is labelled punk rock. PUNK?? What the… cmon this is NOT PUNK. This is fast-paced arena rock. It has NOTHING TO DO WITH PUNK ROCK. Thin Lizzy was writing this stuff years before the Clash existed.

But something about it caught my attention. Lyrical strenth. So i wikied the band. And discovered truth. Straight-edge vegan truth. Rockin! So I opened up and listened. And the lyrics don’t get any stronger. The videos are inspiring. And once I got that far, it became most excellent running music – I ran the hardest few miles of my life on this stuff yesterday.

So I guess I have to let it be lumped in with other dispensers of truth – like my favorites, Consolidated, who have spun into outer orbit. Oh yeah! Truth comes in many strange forms. :>

9.5 Fallout New Vegas

Fallout New Vegas
Gaming has been such a rich experience for me, and my life has been better for it. There are so many wonderful worlds in my head created by game developers and shared with my family and friends.

But just like my moral objection to vengeance-fueled thrillers that play on people’s worst desire for vigilante justice, I don’t like useless gratuitous violence in video games. It’s polluted the space that should be filled with wit and creativity. I realize this places me outside the typical gamer demographic, and reduces my street cred. Whatever. It also makes it nearly impossible to indulge in gaming without some compromise. Continue reading “9.5 Fallout New Vegas”

10.0 TEDx Talks, Raleigh

If you don’t know what TED Talks are, they are 15-minute talks on Really Important and Inspiring Topics, meant to quickly educate and inspire you. They have been going on for quite a while. Bill Gates famously released mosquitos at one talk, and explained his plan for extracting energy from spent nuclear fuel in another. There are talks on stopping aging and poverty and global warming. In short, they are just fantastic. If you haven’t ever seen them, go browse. Now. You will have one of the better days of your life. :>

So when I heard that there was going to be TED talks here in Raleigh, I just about blew a fuse with excitement. Turns out it was a TEDx event. These are not official TED events, they are put together by anyone that wants to, borrowing the format and a few resources from TED.

It couldn’t have been better. Jim Brown checked in and wanted to meet for lunch – NetApp finally wised up and hired him after a dozen interviews, whoooop! – so he biked downtown (of course) and we headed over to the Raleigh IMAX for lunch, where the event was taking place all day.

I had been streaming it at work in the morning, and was already pretty amped up. When we got there, there was no one really manning the entrance. We asked one guy behind the main desk and he sort of shrugged his shoulders and mumbled something about preregistering, so I said “Oh OK, well we’re just going to peek in and grab some empty seats for a little bit”. I sent a tweet that we got in, and someone tweeted back that I’d better run, they were coming for me. But I was long gone by then. Whee!

The two talks we saw must have been custom-designed for me. The costs of factory farming and unlimited geothermal energy. Holy crap

The first talk was from a local farmer who got out 30 years ago and recently got back in. He was alarmed at the extent that factory farming had taken over. To optimize production at all costs, the “natural” farm cycle had been split into specialized factories. Hogs are produced in one place, corn in another, etc. This broke the cycle of efficiency of the traditional farm, where animal waste fertilized crops that fed the animals. With the new methods, hog waste is a toxic waste problem, and corn fertilizers are produced from largely imported petroleum products. And the products themselves are tainted – milk has to be pasteurized and meat cleansed with ammonia. While the production has actually not gone up that much, the energy efficiency has dropped significantly, requiring an enormous amount of input energy offset by subsidies and military action to protect the flow of oil. Jim took exception to that :> but otherwise generally agreed with the good points. Which was good to hear because I felt like he thought I must have set him up with this talk. Which I didn’t! :>

The second talk was from a retired NASA engineer who is looking for investors for his geothermal energy plants, wahoo! He has everything designed already, he just wants about $200 to build a prototype and get things rolling. Basically it’s a plant that takes advantage of the temperature differential between deep-ocean and surface temperatures. Turbines produce energy, you can harvest purified water from it, and you can even set it up to produce hydrogen fuel. He said with 900 shoreline plants, we could replace the need for imported oil. Get this thing rolling now!!

Back at work, I watched some more and got further pumped up. Videos about the amazing magician who trained to break the record for holding his breath, another documenting the horrible result of our disposable plastic society – all gathering at various oceanic locations around the world. I’ve been going bagless at the grocery store ever since.

It’s so great to know that people are engaging in real problems and taking them head-on. It’s a good day when your faith in humanity is somewhat restored. Keep at it good peoples! :>

An ode to bro

My bro is constantly trying to fight the right-wing hate machine that lives and breathes through all the bitter old people that use the internet (read: forward junk mail).  He does a beautiful job of debunking the bs, but it always falls on deaf ears (and minds).

So… I am reposting his inspired responses so they aren’t lost in the bottom of an overstuffed inbox.  All in good fun. Continue reading “An ode to bro”

Chattanooga, TN mission trip

Rei and IReiley’s middle school youth group is on a mission trip to Chattanooga and I’m along as an adult chaperone. It may be the best thing I’ve done in my life. We’ve spent hours pulling an invasive exotic (privett) from a beautiful Cherokee historical site run by a wise strong woman named Ms. Cleta, we’ve set up assembly lines to organize food at the massive Chattanooga food bank, and the kids are throwing themselves into it and working really hard. And having lots of crazy fun too, inevitable when you put 60 kids into one big church for a week of sleepovers. I should be unplugged so I’ll stop there for now – I just had to share a little bit.

Back now. Wow, what a great week of high-energy service from some wonderful kids. We finished up by working on the Girls, Inc. property and visiting the Life Center rehabilitation facility. Girls, Inc. is a home for young girls that gives them the skills and confidence they need to dream big and plan for college. We attacked the weeds that were choking out the back yard – more privett! – and helped them move supplies from one location to another. At the Life Center, we mingled with the folks, most of whom were older and severely challenged in one way or another. On the second day, we loaded a few folks on their bus and took a trip to a senior center to play ping-pong. The kids rose to every occasion and really shared God’s love with the whole of Chattanooga. Well done kids!

Plan 101

How do you organize your life? In the past I’ve entertained the thought that the important tasks rise to the top like cream, and there’s no reason to waste time shuffling todo lists when that time could otherwise be put to productive use – oh the irony! There’s truth to that – you can’t be anal about every possible task you have. But… I HAVE TOO MUCH I WANT TO DO. I don’t want to be the jellyfish caught in the tide of life. I am pretty good at “not catching the ball” when it’s not the right thing to do, but I want a system that helps me be laser-precise in applying my limited resources. It just happens to be the time for that “sequence” in my life – no one is driven like a man in his 40’s. The requirements of the perfect task planning system:

  • responsive, intuitive – i.e., FAST task-calendar flip
  • quickly offload tasks from memory – i.e., available anywhere

UPDATE: Chandler is the current champ, and I got it working through a proxy, so I’ll give it a good strong thrubbing.

Continue reading “Plan 101”