Thursday, August 27, 2009

Morning Runs

I love 'em. I used to never run in the morning because I was usually up too late the night before or had to start work immediately so as not to throw off my day. The later I start my job, the later I get done. Therefore, when I would wake up, I tried to use every possible minute hacking away.

It took me a while to really appreciate the power of morning runs. However, once I started getting into the routine I realized that it's the only way to start the day. The best part about an early morning run around here is that the trails I run in the morning are always empty. It's a 95% guarantee that I'm the only one on the trail anytime before 10am.

Wednesday, I didn't wake up early and I didn't do my run before I started my day. It was obvious too because I was just wasting time all morning and it felt like even though I stayed busy doing things here and there, I didn't get a single thing accomplished. Once I got out and got my body moving I felt 10x better and came home with a head full of things I had to do.

I think it's confirmed that I'm now a morning runner...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tip of the Day

Copying gigs of data to a network share over wifi takes a long time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Online Social Network Diversity

I haven't been blogging as much lately. I've been blogging for years now and have never really had a problem coming up with content. I would just write what was on my mind. Now, all the sudden I'm faced with a decision of what to write, where it should go, who should see it, etc... I feel as thought I have consumed too many social networking sites. Now when I want to share a thought or story, I have to run through a series of questions in my head to decide where to post it, and most I times I end up just saying "screw it" and end up not sharing it at all.

In the past, when I was just blogging, if I wanted to write about something, I didn't think about it, I just gave it a title, wrote what I wanted to say, and gave it a few tags. Period. That's what I still love about blogging. However, ever since I've started using all of these other social networking sites (ie. Twitter, Facebook, GoWagon, FriendFeed, and (yes, even) Google Reader), I've noticed that they all have the same theme about them; they all want you to be the "One Stop Shop" for your online experience.

I didn't understand blogging at first when I started it back in 2004. I enjoyed reading blogs and I learned a lot from them, but to write my own seemed weird... until I started doing it. Then I got it! I still love it, and need to get back into it. I will continue blogging until I flat run out of things to talk about... which is never going to happen. This is great for writing a random journal entry out of the blue. It's also great for sharing your thoughts on what is going on in the world, or some random content on the Internet. It's good for anything. It can be one word, it could be one thousand words. Just type!

To be honest, I didn't get Twitter at first either and it took me a few months to understand its purpose and power. It's basically just a service that let's you be a "lazy blogger". I can go out to twitter and write 10 words about what I did today and be done. I may even respond to some random tweet from a buddy from yesterday just to say "hey, I read your tweet" or whatever. It's still a bit strange to me how I communicate with so many people through twitter and only know what they look like through their profile pic. :) This is a great service for bookmarking content as well. For example, when I post this blog entry, my twitter feed will show that I posted a blog feed with a link to it. Very handy!

This is a great service for building a professional network. It's a bit advertisy and has some spam elements to it, but all in all it's a great service. It's like having an online resume with various professional acquaintances attached to your resume. Head hunters can go out here and find you or you can go out and find companies from this service. You build your network and recommend people that have worked for you and so forth to help them out, etc... Again, it's a great service if you can see past all of the (growing) advertising crap.

When I was introduced to FriendFeed, I was just a blogger (nothing else) and I didn't really get it at first either. Once I started using multiple online engines to aggregate my content, it clicked! This is the real "one stop shop" for all online activity. You can link up almost any online service to this engine and let it aggregate it into a single "stream" of content. So, for example, if you want to know where I'm at or what I did while I was online at anytime, simply check out I love this service, but don't spend much time on it's website like I probably should. I highly recommend that everybody get a FriendFeed account if you have multiple online services you subscribe to. For example, you can link your Amazon wish list to this service, your Netflix queue, Flickr feed, Twitter, anything... Check it out!!

Love it! In a matter of minutes after signing up, I was instantly connected with my entire graduating class, and everybody else that I ever came into contact with in my 31 years (or so it seems). There are some people that send me friend requests that I barely even know, but (sometimes) I accept them anyway thinking maybe this is a great way to meet them. I thought it was so great that I even talked Jennifer into signing up. Once she signed up, and figured out how to use it, she was instantly hooked, and has been ever since. The word "Facebook" enters a conversation everyday in this house now. I think it's great to have such a tool, I really do! For example, she will now post something totally zany on her Wall, and immediately she gets responses from random people. Some she might know very well, others she may have never met before. Kweepy?

This is what I use for my online photo album. The reason I got started using it is because I love the Picasa Photo application! It is what Jennifer and I use for managing our tens of thousands of digital pictures. It's easy to use, extremely powerful, and best of all, it's free. I can easily upload photos to my online Picasa web album with a single click. it is for this reason that I have a PicasaWeb account. It's also pretty slick for sharing photos with the family and friends from around the world as our girls grow more and more every day. Yes, I know it's rather outdated and I need to upload some pics. :)

I use this service for sharing my workouts online with my active buddies. I have met so many people from around the world through this service. It started out as, but the brainchild behind that site (my buddy, Ben) integrated a Facebook-style service that lets other outdoor enthusiasts share their workouts in the stream-like fashion and has "Wall" concept for writing on other peoples feeds. There is a lot of overlap with Facebook here, but this site is directly related to athletes. If you like to do outdoor activities (running, biking, hiking, surfing, walking, whatever...), you should definitely check it out.

Google Reader
I use this service for reading blogs. It's got a new element to it now similar to Facebook and FriendFeed in that you can "Like" posts and share posts with comments so that others may see blog posts that you might find interesting or worthy of sharing. While some online services let you share web content, Google Reader is mainly aimed towards sharing blog posts. Period. It's a killer service and lets you see how much you use the site and so on. I can't live happily in cyberspace without my Google Reader.

All of these services combined are making the world a much smaller and fast paced place to live. There is a lot of overlap in all of these online services, but these are the ones that I use and I've briefly described how I use them. Who knows maybe one day there will be a single online site that I use for all of my social networking. Could it be Google Wave? Not sure, we'll see...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Importance of Rudiments

I used to march in the Newark High School Marching Band. Yup! A band dork! I played in the drumline. My freshman year I played Quads, my Sophomore, Junior, and Senior year I played snare drum. I remember coming up from middle school and knowing very little about the drums, and music in general really. I struggled reading sheet music and I barely knew how to do a drum roll.

The first thing I learned the summer before my freshman year "at band camp" was the importance of the percussion rudiments. A rudiment is a simple pattern set of stick combination that are meant to practice stick control. Think of it as the vocabulary for drummers. In order for a non drummer to appreciate the importance of rudiments, just watch this video of the Blue Devils warming up. Be sure to pay close attention to their sticks and hand movements (link):

This is an example of rudiments at their best!

My favorite rudiment is the paradiddle, hands down. It is nothing more than RLRR LRLL RLRR LRLL RLRR LRLL, over and over. In high school, I understood the importance of rudiments, but didn't really "appreciate" them. I just knew I had to know them. However, as a drummer sitting behind a drumset, my knowledge of rudiments has really given me the ability to play complex grooves with very little effort. The faster you play them, the groovier they sound. It is also true that the faster you play them, the easier they are to play honestly. I remember the process of learning them and recall how difficult they were to learn. Not only that, but when I would have to also march to a steady beat, my sticks would just get tied up.

Anyway, I saw that video today from the drumfunny twitter feed and it too me back about 12 years.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Hartford Fair Models

Jennifer took the girls up to the Hartford Fair yesterday and they got their pictures in the local paper (link).


Apparently they are the poster children for the Hartford Fair, because we've also heard that they are in the commercial for the Hartford Fair this year as well. Needless to say, Jennifer and I have been watching Channel 10 and Channel 4 religiously so that we might see the girls on TV.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Jennifer's House Fettish

I love my wife. I do. I love her so much that it only makes sense that I recognize her problem with real estate. :) She has been looking for "the perfect house" since we met 13 years ago. I give her all the credit on every house we have ever lived in. She has hand picked the houses that we've lived in over the years. From the renovated garage in the back of an alley, to the german cottage style house by a trailer park. From our dead-end dream home in town, to our country home out here in the sticks. All of the credit goes to her, and she knows that I know that because I tell her all the time. I don't know where I'd be living without her knack for quality living.

So I guess the real question is: What makes a perfect house?

This answer would be different for almost everybody that you ask. Some might say "open floor plan", while others might say "nice view" or "central air" or "downtown". To me however, it has nothing to do with the location, structure, or subtle amenities inside. The perfect house is the one I'm in right now, at any point in time. As they say: "Home is where the heart is". I understand that now that I'm older and have children. I believe that I would be just as happy in a 1 room hut down by the river with a dirt floor and no mortgage; as long as I had my Jennifer and our girls along with their simple child-like innocence to keep us company all day.

So again: What makes a perfect house? You do. The only reason I know this is because I grew up in the perfect house. My parents are strong-willed and family-valued people. There were times when my parents had to choose to downsize and move my sister out of our current school district and away from our friends, or stay and fight to keep what was theirs. In hind-sight the actual house had nothing to do our happiness. Sure it helped, but the happiness was derived from the fact that we were all together.

While I feel like we are raising our family in the perfect house, my wife is convinced that there is another place out there that is screaming our name. If she feels this way, then by golly I'm gonna follow her because she is my home. A new house with different surroundings won't change that. Her latest find is about 5 miles up the road and is about 50% more expensive than this place. I love my wife. I do. :)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Burning River Shout Outs

As I stated in the first paragraph of my last post, I've been pretty busy and haven't been keeping up on my blog roll.

However, I just wanted to give a quick shout out to all my running friends that have been training for and will be running 2009 Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Race this weekend. I wish them the best of luck and know they're going to have a great race!

Go Kimba!

Go Mark!

Go Michelle!

... and anybody else I'm missing! :)