Saturday, January 30, 2010

Free Verse

Tales from the Insanely Active

The lecture this morning was "How to Train for a Marathon". There are four people we have been given permission to call "Coach". They stand in front of our group and share knowledge, wisdom, insight. The auditorium contains some 80 or so people in varying stages of marathon readiness. Yes, I am amazed to say, I am in this audience. And yes, they are addressing me. How cool. You can probably guess my variety of marathon readiness. Never mind that part. The best part is the Question & Answer section.

The hand the head coach picked came down and a cute young voice piped up, "What about cross-training?"
"I'm glad you asked that." started this coach. "First, the schedule will be adhered to, especially the rest days. Bodies need time to recover. More recovery is better. Over training is a real danger. Bodies literally break down during running and need the time to reconnect - that's where muscle is strengthened. Cross-training is good, but hey, let's keep it light."

They have seen serious injuries in extramural soccer and in the group of ladies that were doing Kick-boxing. We may want to take these selections off our list during training.

More hands come up as people here in this running group are looking to add this as a layer of activity into their lives. Until the one woman asked plaintively, "Well, can I still go to soccer on Thursdays?" At this point the man NOT in the running gear came out from the wall and said, "Let's get clear what we are doing here." The whole auditorium let off a loud chuckle. "Less than 1% of the population run marathons. It takes that much. This may be all the intensity you need."

At which point, I wonder what I have gotten myself into.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I am so in Love!

I have copied the entire article below. You can see it in it's original form at
I've read through the "missing" pieces. Who cares! I so want one!

Ten Things Missing From the iPad
By Charlie Sorrel
January 28, 2010
11:05 am
Categories: Media Players
The iPad was supposed to change the face of computing, to be a completely new form of digital experience. But what Steve Jobs showed us yesterday was in fact little more than a giant iPhone. A giant iPhone that doesn’t even make calls. Many were expecting cameras, kickstands and some crazy new form of text input. The iPad, though, is better defined by what isn’t there.
Many people will bemoan the lack of Flash in the iPad. It wasn’t mentioned, but eagle-eyed viewers would have seen the missing plugin icon on the New York Times site during yesterday’s demo, and given that Apple clearly hates Flash as both a non-open web “standard” and as a buggy, CPU-hungry piece of code, it’s unlikely it will ever be added, unless Apple decides it wants to cut the battery life down to two hours.
Who needs Flash, anyway? YouTube and Vimeo have both switched to H.264 for video streaming (in Chrome and Safari, at least — Firefox doesn’t support it), and the rest of the world of Flash is painful to use.
In fact, we think the lack of Flash in the iPad will be the thing that finally kills Flash itself. If the iPad is as popular as the iPhone and iPod Touch, Flash-capable browsers will eventually be in the minority.
One of the biggest rumors said that there would be two iPads, one with an OLED screen and one without. But as our own Apple-master Brian X Chen pointed out, an OLED panel of this size runs to around $400. Add in the rest of the hardware and even the top-end $830 model wouldn’t be making Apple much money.
OLED also has some dirty secrets. It may be more colorful, but it uses more power than an LED backlit screen when all the diodes are lit up (white on black text is where OLED energy savings shine). It is also rather dim in comparison, and making an e-reader that you can’t use outdoors would be a stupid move from Apple.
The iPad is meant to be an easy-to-use appliance, not an all-purpose computer. A USB port would mean installing drivers for printers, scanners and anything else you might hook up. But there is a workaround: the dock connector. Apple has already announced a camera connection kit, a $30 pair of adapters which will let you either plug the camera in direct or plug in an SD card to pull off the photos.
The subtle message here is that it’s not a feature for the pros: the lack of a Compact Flash slot says “amateurs only”.
Expect a lot more of these kinds of accessories, most likely combined with software. How long can it be before, say, EyeTV makes an iPad-compatible TV tuner?
Apple put a compass inside every iPad, so you’d think that there would be a GPS unit in there, too. The Wi-Fi-only models get nothing, just like the iPod Touch, but more surprising is that the 3G iPads come with AGPS. Assisted GPS can be one of two things, both of which which offload some work to internet servers and use cell-tower triangulation. The difference is that some AGPS units have real GPS too, and some don’t. We’ll know which the iPad has as soon as we get our hands on one.
From the demonstrations at the Jobsnote, it appears that, like the iPhone, we can’t run applications in the background. This will annoy many, but it will not matter at all to the target user, who will be using the iPad to browse and consume media. In fact, this user will benefit, as the lack of CPU-cycle-sucking background processes is likely a large part of that ten-hour battery life.
If you are authoring content, like this post, then multiple browser windows, a text editor, a mail client and a photo editor all make sense. If you’re reading an ebook, not so much.
Nobody really thought the iPad would have a physical keyboard. That won’t stop the whining, though. The difference, again, between the iPad and a MacBook is that one is a multi-purpose device and the other is a media player. The fact that Apple actually has made a keyboard for it is the biggest surprise (apart from the $500 price).
In fact, this little $70 accessory will mean that, despite its simplified nature, the iPad is enough laptop for many people. Why bother with a $400 netbook when you can have this instead?
No video camera, no stills camera, and no webcam. The first two will likely never make it into a future iPad, as we all have our iPhones or actual cameras with us, too. But the lack of a webcam is odd. I have this down as a straight cost saving measure, and it is the only thing that stops me buying an iPad for my parents, who I talk to on Skype. There seems to be no other reason not to have a webcam in the bezel other than price. We expect to see one in v2.0.
iPhone users hate AT&T, but the only alternative is T-Mobile, whose coverage isn’t as good. Until Verizon switches to the world-standard GSM SIM card, don’t expect to see an Apple product on its network. You can forget all those Verizon iPhone rumors right now.
The iPad screen is a relatively square, by today’s standards, 4:3 ratio. This is not ideal for watching widescreen movies: you get a thick black bar top and bottom. But take another look at the hardware: the Apple on the back, and the position of the home button both tell us that the iPad is meant to be used in portrait mode, at least most of the time. And a 16:9 ratio in this orientation would look oddly tall and skinny, like an electronic Marilyn Manson.
It’s a compromise, and a good one. If you really do spend most of your time watching movies on the iPad, maybe you should think about buying, you know, a big TV.
There will be video out, likely through the dock connector, as we were told in the presentation that you can hook the iPad up to a projector. But no HDMI out? How do you hook it up to your HD monitor?
The short answer is that you don’t. The maximum audience for an iPad screening is two. You want more? Use your laptop and hook that up, or your desktop machine. Remember, there are two kinds of people who will buy the iPad. One, nerds like you and me, who care about things like HDMI and also already own a computer that can do that.
And two, people who are buying this instead of a computer. Those people will probably still have DVD collections, or even VCRs. They don’t even know what HDMI is. I think I can guess what Apple thought about putting another expensive connector into the machine just to please a few geeks.
Photo: Jon SnyderRead More

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Thoughts That Create Beginnings

I had some time off this last year. Eight weeks when I lost my "permanent" job and then 7 weeks between contract assignments. I loved both of those stretches of real life. I used those weeks more wisely than I have ever used any time off. I was thankful for each and every day. For once I did not worry about what was to come next. I just knew with an inner knowing that everything is going to be okay. And it is.

I am looking into having more of this time off from a desk job and to make financial ends meet. There is a lot of helpful advise (and just darned interesting stories) out in the blogosphere and internet in general. As a member of a skipped generation I am just now getting my feet wet in Facebook. This evening I finally signed on at Twitter (@Glashows). In a year from now, late January, can I be making enough money to sustain myself doing something I enjoy? These are the thoughts that fill me lately.

I'll share what I find so maybe we can all Breath-e a little easier - ar, ar.

In the meantime, marathon training starts next weekend. This should keep me out of trouble for a while and give me a place and a way to blow off steam from this contract assignment.

Freecycle Furnishings!

Comfy chair!
(oh no! not the comfy chair ~Monty Python)

Book shelves are still on the list. No more chairs necessary.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Girly girl of Marathons

Somewhere along the line it appears women have taken over the marathon circuit. 37 people were at the meeting this evening for Team in Training. Three were men. Two arrived with their significant other girl. Only one entered on his own. I'm just saying if there are single men out there you might wanna try getting involved in a sport. Title 9 has definitely changed the playing field. And then again...maybe men don't train in teams.

I'm still surprised. I walked into a room full of women. Here I thought it would be an every one sport. I made two friends.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Only half crazy

There is a fellow in a nearby department at work that runs marathons, or did anyway. I was told to go talk to him when I admitted at work that I am looking forward to running the half marathon in June here in Seattle. From what I can gather it's been several years (several) since he's run anywhere. But he enjoys the topic and had some interesting perspective to share with me. It seems this fellow spent a lot of time training, untold hours running basically for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He tells me he does not do marathons anymore as he just doesn't have the time to train. I'm beginning to wonder what kind of commitment I'm making here by signing on for a half marathon.

Tomorrow night is the initial meeting at a local runner's store here in North Puget Sound area. I'll be meeting up with teams and trainers is how I understand it. I'll fill in the blanks tomorrow. This co-worker says that now I'm gonna be in training people will start calling me crazy - that's what people do to folks training for marathons. I just want to remind everyone, I've only signed on for the half marathon; I'm only half crazy.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Devil in the Detail

The training for my current position was short, brash, ill-tempered and good enough for government work. The position is a customer service position. I was shown, briefly, how to get rid of customers, how to cut their questions off and send them somewhere (anywhere) else and how to let them know as soon as they are done asking (when I do actually let them finish a question) that I don't have that information and if by chance I do they will have to sign a piece of paper before I can give it to them. It has been the most interesting training I have ever, absolutely ever, received. I get kudos for how well I get rid of people. When there aren't any tyrants (excuse me) supervisors around I've been known to smile for these people. That's another post.

In my current contract position I often answer the phone for the department. The same attitude is expected and accepted, in fact applauded. Often these people on the phone merely want to verify that we have recieved their request for information. I've gotten very creative in telling them I have no idea and there is no where to go to find out. I've told people to wait and see if it shows up in their mailbox, then they will know we got their request. I feel I am in a Milgram Experiment and I want out. I'm not handling it very well.

Since I started this assignment five or six weeks ago I have been asked for my name during the phone conversations. I feel so bad I don't give my real name. I've been using my supervisors name. This week I changed that. This week I told people my name is Angel. Initially I found this darkly ironic and funny. It was a form of entertainment for me. But somewhere, quietly during the week I've turned my back to the door of my cubicle and started actually helping people over the phone. I've been putting people on hold and digging through boxes of information for forms and requests and bringing these forms back to my desk and getting people taken care of. It's not funny anymore that when they say, "Thank you, Angel." at the end of the conversation I feel pretty damn good.

There's a lot to be said for a name.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The future

The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.

- Abraham Lincoln

Monday, January 11, 2010

Outwitting the Weather AND Metro!

There is construction blocking my favorite bus stop downtown. I will have to walk either two blocks north or three blocks south in order to catch my usual bus. I am so adept at bus riding now, what with knowing the Metro System AND the Sound System I am Bi-metro. (When I figure out Pierce and Kitsap Counties I will be Tri- and eventually so advanced as to be considered Quad-Metro. In the meantime...) I can now pick my bus and my bus-stop to best suit my requirements for either proper Downtown Seattle sight-seeing or immediate pick-up and getting home the absolute quickest way possible. Am I becoming a bus-snob? I never would have thought that possible. Not moi....To most of you I am sure the above scene looks like any bus or transit platform in any metropolitan area you care to name. (Okay, so it is) I would like to point out, dear readers, that this transit platform...pause...wait for dry. Yes, my dear readers. This is a non-wet, dry platform.
So is this one....
And this shiny one is dry too.
And the final transit platform before we come out of the downtown tunnel system - yes, this too is dry.

I get comfort, speed and a veritable plethora of options (okay, just four) for dry platforms throughout this fine city.

Maybe tomorrow I will post the story of the Friday downpour, the speeding bus, the curbside tidal wave and how spontaneous crowd reactions are still available among the commuter crowd.

Until then, please stay dry.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Let's Go Shopping!

You wake up in the morning, and your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. No one can take it from you. And no one receives either more or less than you receive.

- Dr. Thomas Arnold Bennett

I just bought the coolest experiences today - all for the price of waking up.

- me

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Am I wrong? Bus ride hell...

These people that ride the bus with me each day are absolute idiots. Half-wits, dumb-bunnies, goof-balls, nuts. This would be so entertaining if it didn't drive me so crazy. I rode two different buses this week. Two days on the one route, and two days on the other. Both routes are commuter routes. These buses are filled with people carrying briefcases disguised as backpacks. These people are wearing slacks, not "pants". They wear hard soled shoes that do not come with steel-toes, nor broken in "tennies". These people have earbuds and Kindles(tm) and read newspapers (that one has to pay for) when they are riding the bus. Moreover they ride the bus pretty much every work day. They know the "rules" to getting on and off the bus in a crowd. They understand not to hum along out loud to the music coming from the earbuds. They know how to pay their bus fare efficiently, whether with coins or bills or sliding cards or tap cards, they got it down and they keep the line moving.

My issue is at the end; at the end of the day, at the end of the ride, at the end of the route. I live in the north county. I am "up there". The bus ride from the time we leave downtown Seattle to the time we come to my stop, the last stop on the route, takes between half an hour and an hour depending on traffic. Both routes that serve me best have their respective last stop at the two different "Park & Ride"s in the north where I can leave my truck. What hit me this week is that this same event is happening regardless of which bus I take. It must be happening on buses all around the world. Just think of the implications, this same phenomena is more than likely occurring in Budapest, Hungary, somewhere in Bogota, Columbia and probably even on the Isle of Man. You can't deny this. I will have to get over it. There is nothing for it.

This amazing moment of stupidity happens each night as the bus driver makes the announcement detailing the last stop on the route over the PA system to all of us 10 to 25 riders still on the bus. Yes, folks, 10 to 25 people are still riding the bus after everyone else has already gotten off at their respective stops, and are probably home by now by the way. Each driver says, "Last stop for Route [insert bus number here]." It is not until that announcement and it is always after that announcement that some poor panic'd fool feels the burning need to pull the cord to notify the driver to stop for that next and final stop. Well, duh. Did they think the driver is going to take us home with her? Dipsoid.

"Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination" Mark Twain

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Freecycle strikes again...

seats 2, bulky but not heavy, took up the back of my truck.

I also like Resolve Uphostery Cleaner (don't kid yourself - these things come with spots). Resolve stuff works wonders.

And that's how I spent my new year's eve. Adding furniture to my home.

Friday, January 1, 2010


"Kaizen is the Japanese principle that focuses on continuous improvement. It doesn’t matter where you’re at, it’s the improvement that matters." I've lifted this from an oft visited blog. I like this concept. It doesn't matter where you're at.

I'm of the belief anymore that my resolutions and determinations have less to do with a happy New Year, and rather more to do with constant progress (snails and turtles and I are extremely good friends in this one) and an overall attitude of sustainable happiness.

Sustainable happiness. At this point in my life I now firmly believe happiness is sustainable after all.