Friday, January 12, 2024

The choice is yours.

My high school principal would give us this tidbit to think about every time he did morning announcements over the PA system: "Have a great day, or not, the choice is yours."  I was very much not awake for something so deep.  I think about it from time to time, and usually it makes me think about how something significant in-the-moment can seem so insignificant weeks, months, or years later.  Time really is the great equalizer.

It also makes me think how us millennials grew up with D.A.R.E. (a statistically questionable drug program targeting youth), and the onslaught of media and emphasis about how the youth were going to solve all the problems and pollution issues in of the world. (Captain Planet? Reduce/Reuse/Recycle? Oil bad. Save the animals. Only you can prevent forest fires.)  I feel cynical saying this, but it does seem kind of messed up to put that much responsibility on children, let alone promoting lies just backed by good intentions.  At least Gen X was left alone and forgotten about, being latchkey kids and all.


The other thing it makes me think of is that last 90s 7-UP ad campaign (one) (two) (three) :)


Tuesday, January 2, 2024

2023 Wrapped

 I've fallen way behind on blogging.  Mostly felt like I've lost my "public" voice, or having interesting things to say.  It gets a little tiring yelling into the empty abyss of the internet.

Let's see, where did I leave off?

Tool came out with a new album in later 2019.  Got to see them perform.  Kelc and I went all the way to Anaheim to see Thrice in Dec 2019, playing an entire album as a show.  Then just a handful of weeks later in 2020 we saw them again.   Those were good times.

Spoiler alert.  2020 happened, a virus spread around and totally changed life around the world.  Everyone completely miscalculated the stock market and housing market.  Live shows of any kind didn't exist for a while.  There was a slight lull in the number of cases in the summer of 2020, and we happened to luck out with a trip to South Padre with some friends.  Was it the best idea?  Probably not.  Kelc and I also really leaned into home renovation, along with most everyone else stuck at home all day.

In early 2021, still in the middle of a pandemic, Texas experienced a major snow and ice storm that really put a strain on the grid.  We've been super fortunate at home, rarely losing power or gas.  This year also saw my very first work trip, traveling over 1,000 miles to a testing facility.  I am not one to be enthusiastic about traveling, but I survived.  I actually opted for McDonald's McNuggets on my first night alone in a hotel, forcing myself to eat without any appetite.  This year actually started to show more volatility everywhere, like supply chain issues and market craziness.  I also took a solo trip (about 1,000 miles) to meet the Happy Couple™ at their new place in Atlanta, GA.  We got to check out Piedmont Park, the Botanical Gardens, a puppet museum, an art museum, and a Thrice concert.  Kelc met up halfway through the trip, as she went to Pittsburgh for a football game with family, then flew to Atlanta.  Later in the year, we went to a wedding for one of my cousins.  The social gatherings started to feel a little more normalized, but some people were still not comfortable.

2022 kind of felt like a repeat or do-over of 2019, except having knowledge of a pandemic now.  Time is such a weird construct.  Concerts and shows started back up as venues were starting to figure out protocols, and vaccines were rolling out.  This year, we got to see Tool, Puscifer, Bad Omens, Spiritbox, Sigur Ros, Spiritbox (again), Mastodon, and Ghost. (MJK is pretty sure he's had "the virus" multiple times by this point.)  Kelc's dad also retired, and is working on transitioning into that stage of his life. The home renovation project is still in full swing, and in late summer we got just about everything in the kitchen replaced, most of the house floored, re-textured, and painted.  At work, we did a complete campus move.  My distance to work decreased by a few miles, but the number of traffic lights I sit through increased 12-fold.  Google incorrectly thinks my commute should be quicker.

Then we get to this most recent year, 2023.

Early in the year, Kelc and I took a trip to Hawaii for two reasons: whale watching and a friend's wedding.  We did a ton of sight-seeing and whale watching on Maui, just north of the Lahaina area.  (Later this year, a massive wildfire will totally destroy this area, which really hurts my heart. 😢 )  The place we stayed at in Maui was amazing, even if a little pricey. On the second leg of the trip, we stayed in Honolulu.  This place was not as expensive, nor was it all that amazing.  However, the wedding was on this island (O'ahu), and it was absolutely beautiful.  While here we got to check out the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.  This was a very heavy experience, and not just a quick sight.

We got back to town, and soon after experienced another crazy snow/ice storm sweep through Texas.  Again, we were very fortunate and very thankful for conditions we endured.  We lost a lot more trees parts, and an entire tree came crashing down this time.  Now I have a substantial stack of firewood.

About midway through the year, Kelc had completed her MBA!  Very proud of her for sticking with it through to the end.  I remember doing a full-time job and part-time student work for some Graduate Certificates, and have a hard time being motivated to do that again.  On the way back from her ceremonies and celebrations, we both started to feel like we were getting a sore throat and headache.  Uh oh.  Quick testing when we got home and ... yep, we caught THE bug. 💀 I guess I'm still thankful that it took three years to find us, and at this point the severity totally changed.  Honestly the worst part for me was the brain fog.  I felt physically back to normal in a handful of days, but mentally I felt foggy, and difficult to think things in detail.  Really sucks when your job is based around your brain creating, designing, debugging, and logic.

Over the year, we saw the entertainment aspect of humanity ramped up even more.  Seems like society is ok with inherent risks.  Kelc and I saw Ludovico Einaudi, Spiritbox, the musical Hadestown, and TesseracT finally visiting the US.  (Kelc also has been going to various touring Broadway shows that you are welcome to ask her about.)  Lots of artists have been putting out new music as well.  (Seriously, check out TesseracT.  Definitely one of my favorite bands.  I wish I remember how I first heard about them.)  Kelc and I also took a trip to the Dallas area to meet with some friends.  While there we saw an interactive art exhibit called MeowWolf, and a Harry Potter "Forbidden Forest Experience".

For my work life: Somewhere in the past few years the company lost a fairly large contract of work, surprising quite a few people.  That wasn't fun, but life is a roller-coaster that you just learn to keep riding.  Lots of new people around, new campus, new changes, and sometimes the same old same old.

Looking forward to 2024.  I have three goals I'd like to work on:

  1. Emphasize being thankful. Maybe keeping a log of things I'm thankful for?  I've noticed it's really easy to be critical of just about everything, but being mindful or appreciative of things that are going well often goes unnoticed.
  2. Getting a better grasp on overall health, and getting back to the gym.  Specifically getting my general strength back. (Deadlifts?)  I've been feeling drained and exhausted a lot more lately, not sure why.  Maybe I need to get some tests done, or finally go get a sleep study done.
  3. Finishing the house renovation.  *sigh*
What are your goals?  What new music has you hyped?  Where is your blog?

Friday, September 6, 2019

2019.09.06 Friday

I'm a little late on posting this.

Tool has put out their next album, Fear Inoculum.  It's pretty awesome.

Check it out:

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wrapping up my 2015

I fell behind on my blogging.  Took multiple months for somebody to say something (thanks Kelc) then another month or two for the next person to notice (the Happy Couple™).

I don't really blame anybody for not reading anymore.  My writing slowly transitioned into a really monotonous, almost robotic, data collection.  The only nice thing about being boring-and-diligent was that I could search back through the blog to figure out when something happened, or where I have been.  That's great... if I actually went places and did things.  Soooo yeah I've been pretty boring lately.  I feel like I'm getting old.  Things just don't sound fun anymore, or worth the effort.

  • On the work side of life, I started the year working on a high visibility project, then transitioned to driving the software development on another high visibility + short schedule project, all while multi-tasking another solo development effort.  Obviously I'm going to be ambiguous with my descriptions, the rest would bore you to death.  I've been at the same company for a while now, seeing people come and go, mostly go.
  • On the school side of life, I took a class between Jan and May, and then another between Aug and Dec.  Both classes ended up being more time-intensive than originally planned.  They weren't exactly challenging with the content, just lots of manual work.  In theory, I have completed all the necessary classes for the program, but I have yet to receive confirmation on that.
  • On the family side of life, I lost my last grandparent :( my slightly-younger-than-me cousin got married, the Happy Couple™ moved out of state for greater things, my brother and sis-in-law got a house and a puppy, and my sister and bro-in-law traveled the world and lost a cat.  Kelc hosted another annual murder mystery party, also traveled the world, stood in her Lindsey and Jon's wedding, and performed the wedding of Michael and Taylor.
  • On the health side of life, I have given up coffee and soda, and only unintentionally get caffeine from chocolate, which is also infrequent.  I don't drink much in general, other than trying a sip of other's drinks.  I can't even remember the last time I drank an entire beer.  I've been getting better about putting time in at the gym, but the results are dismal.  I've been slowly incorporating sushi into my diet, and trying to eat clean in general.  I definitely feel better when I eat healthy.  I started seeing a chiropractor, with positive results in relieving chronic aching and fixing the curves in my spine.  I know that the chiropractic industry is seen as "hokey" by a good portion of the medical industry, and sure it might not work for everybody.  A spot in my mid-upper back was consistently tender, and ached pretty bad (especially after a jog).  Turns out all the muscles in the area were constantly constricted trying to keep the joint from moving.  Us bipedal creatures are meant to move.

Now, to turn things into something a bit more engineering-like.  I spent a majority of the year using a time tracking application on my old-school smart phone.  This is a pretty cool little app, as you can make tasks and sub-tasks, helping to organize everything.  It actually works out really well for the way things happen at work. To be a bit more precise, I tracked between March 2nd and December 31st (304 days, or 7296 hours).

First up, I spent 2371.5 hours in bed.  Now that isn't necessarily sleeping time, as I tend to watch some TV or play a little on the phone before getting tired.  This averages out to about 7.8 hours every night, not bad.

If I'm spending 7.8 hours in bed every day, then that means I have 16.2 hours to work with for the rest of the day. Turns out, on average I spend over an hour every day driving.  Yuck.  There is a huge category of "unaccounted", which is a polite way of saying that I wasn't tracking anything during this time.  I know for sure that some of that unaccounted time should be in the work category, but fell out probably due to me deleting projects/tasks in the program.  There are also times when I forget to start tracking when starting to commute, exercise, or doing homework for short periods of time.  This pie graph is a mediocre visualization of where my time goes, but spreads everything across the entire time period.  For instance, my work time tracked likely falls only between Monday and Friday, but the below graph showing ~36.6% would have you believe that I spend ~5.93 hours every day working, which obviously doesn't make sense.  Similarly, yardwork is usually a chunk of time just spent on Saturday xor Sunday.

If anybody wants other analysis of the data, just let me know what you would like to see and I'll make it happen.  The "unaccounted" category is pretty alarming to me, as it definitely does not feel like I have that much free time.  Maybe I can track time spent on various forms of entertainment.  I definitely waste time surfing the internet, playing video games, and watching tv/movies/netflix.  Who knows, maybe that time will go to a pet.

"News" of 2015

Since my blog has been degrading over the last few years, I decided to do something a bit different that might be more interesting to read.  Over the course of this year, I have been keeping track of various news topics that is I felt were getting an greater than usual amount of coverage or attention.

Looking back, some of these stories were probably deserving of the coverage, and some were clearly just "news" in attempt to get people outraged.  It's weird to look back on this and how irrelevant some of these are, or or quickly everybody just forgot about it.

Thank me for not making this a shitty slideshow that you have to click through.

Terrorist shooting in Paris at a magazine office, killing numerous staff at Charlie Hebdo.

Deflategate.  Patriots are cheaters (along with all NFL teams) and were called out on under-inflated balls, supposedly giving an extra advantage.

Super Mega Blizzard hits area of country that normally gets hit by winter storms, State of Emergency declared before storm hits.

Disney Land and other parts of the country are having outbreaks of measles because some people are afraid of vaccines.  Luckily this appears to be over.

Nobody can believe that a football team might do a passing play from the 1-yard line.

A movie released made from a book that was an adaptation/fan-fiction version of a teeny-bopper book.  50 Shades of Grey, which could be described as a porno disguised as film/literature. released just in time for Valentine's Day.  Make sure you give thanks if you forced your significant other in to this.

ISIS burns a guy alive.  Media emphasizing the event to make lots of people upset.

Everybody is colorblind and can't agree on the colors of a fucking dress.  I still cannot believe how crazy this was.

Net Neutrality was passed, some big companies put out bitter statements, while smaller companies put out statements of joy and welcome.  People on the internet say the war has just begun.

Waco biker gang shooting happens at a restaurant, lots of people killed and injured.  Media spinning this to have people outraged at biker gangs, or outraged at SWAT/police, or outraged at the coverage by the media.  Outrages for everybody.

Hefty storms rolling through Texas, now dubbed the "Memorial Day Floods".  Tons of water falling from the skies at a higher rate than the landscape can handle.  Lots of damages.  On the plus side, the lakes are getting back to normal levels.

Lake Levels of the previous 5 years

I probably spend too much time surfing the internet, and one of the portals I frequent is reddit.  Early June, reddit decided it was time to start rolling out subreddit bans for "behavior" issues.  Tons of people are threatening to leave the site.  (Many do end up leaving.)  Many people openly expressing how much they hate the subreddit that hates on _____.  I really don't get this, as I see hate as hate.  You can't fix hate with hate.  Furthermore, suppressing thoughts and ideas is seen as terrorism when it is an attempt to shut down a magazine (see above), but seen as heroism when shutting down a website.  I don't get it.

Cobra loose in Austin... then found dead.

Jared accused of inappropriate conduct related to pornography and children.  Further solidifying his fade into obscurity.

Amazon Prime Day was hyped as "a new black Friday" and turned out to be a garage sale of junk, with little or no discernible discount.  I didn't actually participate; part of my gut instinct to go against the norm.

News journalists killed during live reporting by crazy person.

Irving student gets taken out of school due to electronics project, also called "bomb clock".  (Hey, I have that NASA shirt too!)  Student is non-white, allowing the media to latch on and turn this into a racism/stereotyping event, but also a safety-for-everybody-always thing.   The part that upsets me the most is the lack of understanding of electronics.

Dog bites unattended child. "Irresponsible parents" want dog put down.  "Animal activists" want parents put down.

Black female student gets pulled out of her chair aggressively by a white male cop.  We are presented a whopping 15 second video, and get to judge and analyze the entire situation.  People upset about police brutality, and violence in schools.  Yay everybody, let's get outraged.

The media tells us ISIS brings down a flight, attacks France.  France sends missiles to ISIS.  Merry Christmas.

A person that the majority of humans will never interact with, announces on TV that he has had HIV for years (but not AIDS). People have no sympathy and start the blame game.

San Bernardino experienced a mass shooting at a company holiday party.  First reaction is to play the blame game (guns, FBI, encryption(?), mental illness, Obama, etc.)  Obama actually made a public statement in response to this because of all the outrage. -- I personally tried to really get away from the media around this time, as I was wrapping up class and work projects, eliminating anything that wasn't crucial to life.  It is highly likely that there is a ton of misinformation going around.

That wraps up everything that I got wind of.  There are likely missed stories as you can see from the gaps in dates... or maybe outrageous news is seasonal... or maybe the media floods us with junk news to hide the real good stuff.

What do you remember from 2015?
Do you think any of the above stories are worthy of our history books?
Have I made a good argument for turning off the TV and getting some fresh air?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

2015 Week 27 (28-04)

Not much ending the weekend


Went in to the doctor to check out my throat.  Not strep.

Stayed at home to prevent transmissions, if possible.


Off today.  Errands and chores, mostly took it easy.

Out at the lakehouse to enjoy the 4th.  Lots of people hanging around and enjoying the boat.  Kelc ended up crashing pretty hard, so we stayed around and watched fireworks, and made a fire for s'mores.

2015 Week 26 (21-27)

Watched a ton of The Jinx, completing it.  Then watched a Dateline that filled in some gaps.
Went to Chicken Express, HEB, and grilled up some food in between episodes.

Just about all of these days were typical "work".  We had some higher-ups come to see how things were going.  Same ol' same old.  There were a few times were I had to chime in as well, cool to have everybody listening to what I have to say without having to be formal about it.

Mark injured himself, so I went to go see how he was doing one of the evenings.

Brother stopped by to pick up the pressure washer.

Looked kinda gloomy early, so I passed on mowing and vacuumed instead.  Eventually the sun came out and I did actually mow the yard.  It was gross humid, not much wind, and sun beating down.

Watched Bruno; it was hilarious.  Watched Parallels, kinda weird and funny, but kinda not a complete movie.  Pretty sure they planned that to be a start of a series, kind of like Battlestar Galactica.