Today, I am the Answer!

Today is another big milestone.  It’s the day I become the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.  Yup, I turn 42 years young.  I do have to say that I feel pretty good about things.  Been losing weight, loving my family, enjoying my job, and trying to focus on keeping things positive in life.

I don’t always do a great job in this regard, and I recently had a couple of fairly pissy weeks.  That said, when I just started tallying all up all the things I should be thankful for, it’s a really long list.  I cannot lose sight on just how lucky I am.

So, I’m grabbing my towel, and here’s to many more of these awesome milestones.


Sharepoint is the next generation of Lotus Notes

I got an email from a sales rep at a company called HexaCorp in Somerset, NJ.  In my role I get emails from vendors trying to get my company’s business all the time.  Most of the time I delete them and move on.  Once in awhile I’ll respond and let them know that either we don’t need their services, or we don’t use the software they are shilling.

So this exec, let’s call her Marilyn (because that’s her name) left me a voicemail and sent me a message stating that they were a Sharepoint partner and if we were planning any Sharepoint implementations or upgrades, that they would like to help.  Instead of just deleting it, I responded so she knew she was barking up the wrong tree.

Thanks for reaching out, but we don’t use Sharepoint and have no plans to.  We are an IBM Lotus partner, and will continue down that path, thanks.

So I figured that was that.  Until I got an email just now, this was the first line:

I discussed your email with my CEO and he told me that Sharepoint is the next generation of Lotus Notes.

Yeah… okay then. First, you had to discuss with your CEO?  And THAT is what he came up with? As you can imagine, my next email wasn’t as pleasant.

Remove me from your list.

That comment shows your ignorance of an entire software industry.

Sometimes the lack of knowledge people have about the industry simply astounds me.  There are a lot of things Notes related I can bitch about, but Sharepoint is definitely not the next generation of Lotus Notes.

So Marilyn from HexaCorp in Somerset, NJ, and your willfully ignorant CEO.  You may want to do some homework.

Nine Years of Meanderings

Nine years ago today I officially started my public-facing blog.  I had done some personal blogging just for me before that (starting about a year prior) but it was Sept. 24th 2003 when I first said hello to the Lotus Notes and Domino blogosphere.

Blogging has been very good to me over the years.  It’s been a creative outlet, a stress reliever, a matter of record, a gateway to paid writing gigs and a conduit to meet some people I’m very happy to call close friends. Starting to write and put it all out there is really one of the best decisions I’ve every made.

This year has probably seen my least productive output ever here on the blog.  Obviously Facebook and Twitter have really kind of taken over the majority of my output, but this site won’t go away any time soon.  I still need a place to go on my longer rants, I just need to find the time to write them.

For all of you that still subscribe to my RSS feed, find your way here via, or just keep coming back to see if I’ve posted anything, thank you. I really appreciate it, and thanks for being a part of this for nearly a decade.  I’ve always done this for me but it’s nice to have you along for the ride.


My Brief Lusty Fling with the Galaxy S3

Recently my long time love, the iPhone, had been seeming a little distant.  We had fallen in a rut, the two of us.  We did the same things, never switched it up, and life became kind of boring. Maybe it’s a mid-phone release cycle-crisis, but I was yearning for something more, that spark, that sexiness that was lacking.  That’s when I saw her.

The Samsung Galaxy S III.

She was beautiful.  Thin, gorgeous face, lightweight, and curves and buttons in all the right places.  I’d never been in a relationship with an Android before.  Sure, I had a couple dates in the past, but never really committed.  So I thought that this time I would give it a shot.  I would go full on Android and see if the grass truly was greener.

At first, everything was new and exciting.  Connecting to my Google services was a snap, and installing Lotus Traveler worked like a charm.  Then as the courtship continued, we started to visit all of the same old haunts.  Foursquare, Dropbox, Foodspotting, Facebook, Twitter, Rhapsody, Yelp, TripIt!, and even 1Password welcomed us.  Everything was comfortable and familiar again.  A new coat of make-up perhaps, but everything worked as expected.  Getting them from the Google Play store was pretty decent as well.  Seemed easy to shop and find what I was looking for, and clicking them brought them right down to the phone nicely.

The S3 wasn’t afraid to mix things up either.  “You don’t like the default launcher?  Let me try on something more comfortable.  I have an entire wardrobe I could switch into.”  And for role-playing, let’s just say she wasn’t afraid to be Chrome or Firefox or Dolphin if I really wanted her to be. Flexibility, oh yes.  She had some kinky new things she wanted to try too, like tapping other phones and swapping data.  And while hot, unfortunately it was hard to find many others in the crowd that swung that way. When we did, it was really exciting the first time we tried, but after that we would get disappointed when everyone didn’t want to play. It’s still kind of an underground community, but I think more people will become uninhibited as time goes on.

But some aspects of her personality really got to annoy me after awhile.  She kept notifying me of things over and over again, and I couldn’t easily convince her to only tell me about the things I wanted to hear.  She wasn’t a very good listener either as time and again she would screw up or ignore easy to understand requests. She also seemed to wear out more quickly than iPhone did.  I could spend marathon sessions with iPhone no problem, but Galaxy S3 got tired and always wanted to go to bed early. Even when she would stay up, I could never please her with only one hand.  She always required that I used both my hands on her tall frame.

Dealing with her schizophrenia Dissociative identity disorder about email was a nightmare too. It was a little too much with having to switch between mail, and a GMail client and a Traveler email client.  I mean, pick a mood and stick with it will ya? She even sported three different messaging clients by default. I just never knew what I was going to get. Lastly, she was inconsistent. Sometimes I would push her buttons, and how she responded today might be different than how she responds tomorrow. It sometimes became a guessing game trying to figure out how she felt.  It became tiring after awhile.

So as of today, I’ve broken up with Galaxy S3.  Sure, she’s sexy, and we had some incredible nights of passion, but quite frankly, iPhone really gets me better.  iPhone really knows how I like to work it, and will be there for me when I need her.  There’s a lot to be said about someone you can rely on, and iPhone has never let me down.  Despite our rut, I still love her, and probably always will.

All of that said, the Galaxy S3 might be your personal dream girl though, so feel free to date her, I won’t be mad.

Galaxy SIII Pros

  • Great Camera
  • Big Screen is gorgeous and easy to read
  • Light and Thin
  • Flexible Software Choices
  • Connects great to Google Services
  • Near-field communication features
  • Expandable storage

Galaxy SIII Cons

  • Big Screen is too hard to work one-handed
  • Multiple clients for email and messaging
  • Lack of consistency in apps (menus and such)
  • Battery Life isn’t quite as good as my iPhone
  • Plastic outer shell feels a little cheap
  • Lack of notification granularity
  • Default storage (without additional card) tops out at 16 GB
  • Back button was sometimes inconsistent
  • S-Voice was no where near as accurate as Siri


Twenty-Five Pounds

Our Biggest Loser weight loss challenge at work is exactly two weeks away from our final weigh in.  As of today, two months in, I’ve lost 25 pounds.  Twenty. Five. Pounds.  I know that’s not a lot in comparison to some folks in the world, but man it feels good, and more importantly “I” feel good.

When grabbing 25 pound bag of dog food I can only think, “Holy crap, was I really carrying this much around as part of my body?”  And I was, and when you can visualize it in such a way, it’s brings it pretty clearly into focus.

Now you may think I’ve gone nuts and worked out like a fiend and only eaten sprigs of parsley this whole time, but that could not be farther from the truth.  The only thing I’ve really done so far is to eat less and eat better.  I only really drink water and coffee now for the most part.  And I use the application LoseIt! on my phone to track calories and try to stay under 1600 a day.  I do okay MOST days, but not all.  And if you look at my flickr or Foodspotting streams, you’ll see I’ve eaten some really good food these past two months.

The point I’m trying to make is, I didn’t make a whole lot of changes in order to lose these 25 pounds.  If I can do it, you can too.  Watch what you eat and eat a little less and that goes a long way.

Now early on I was walking a mile at lunch, and I bought a FitBit Ultra to track my steps.  FitBit wants you to hit 10,000 steps a day.  On a typical day I’ve been hitting 3,000.  Yes, ONLY 3,000 and I’ve still shed the pounds.  I really have not exercised much, it at all.

For the next two weeks (the homestretch of this challenge) I’m going to exercise by walking, using our Gazelle at home, water walking in the pool and limiting the calories even more.  I’m going to go nuts for these two weeks and see what happens.  Each member of the winning team gets $250 bucks, and that my friends, can buy a lot of sprigs of parsley.

The Power of Music

Last weekend, my family and I went to a little wine bar in town. It was open mic night, and a couple of my daughter’s friends were going to perform. We went and watched as the girls each performed, and then continued to hang out to see several different sets of people take the stage and do their own thing.

Some of the people did original songs, some did covers, there were even some really good instrumental guitar from a couple of the guests. The music ranged from pop, to punk, to flamenco, to classic rock, but the cool thing was that everyone was supportive, and really had a good time listening to all of the different types of music.

My eldest daughter has been taking guitar lessons for around the last six months. She has never wanted to play AND sing before. But after hanging out and seeing the live music, she immediately started learning some songs at home and singing along. It inspired her to want to perform. It helped her get past that feeling that she couldn’t do it. She was excited about the music, and excited to practice and get better.

My youngest has been teaching herself to play some piano (with a little help from my wife) and has also been taking some voice lessons. Well she immediately asked the wife to get her sheet music to “Lean On Me” so she could learn to play it and sing along as well. Seems she really liked what she saw too.

Hell, even I got the itch to perform again. A couple of the other Dad’s play guitar, so I might try to con them into playing something I could sing along to. Watching everyone perform really made me want to be creative again. I’ve started looking at old song lyrics and poetry, and wondering what I could do with it nowadays. That joy and adrenaline rush you can get from performing is like no other, and who knows, maybe I’ll experience it again soon.

No matter what though, I’m really thankful to have a great local venue that is welcoming to musicians. Good live music is something that inspires everyone, and it’s so cool to have something like that in my hometown. It makes me want to be creative again, and that includes coming back here to write. Let’s hope it becomes a trend.

Weapons of Mass Reduction

Earlier this week, my office at work embarked on a Biggest Loser weight loss challenge. I had planned on attempting to lose weight soon, so this was the perfect thing to jump start me. Myself and three of my colleagues formed a team, and we weighed in this past Wednesday. We are up against seven other teams of four people each. So with the competition so rough, we trained… by eating total crap.

For the week leading up to the weigh in, I ate all the nasty stuff I wanted as a last hurrah.

  • Pizza
  • Chili
  • Chili Dogs
  • Burgers
  • Burgers stuffed with OTHER meat
  • Gyros
  • French Fries
  • Garlic Butter French Fries
  • TONS of sushi (went for some of the deep fried rolls)
  • Meatloaf
  • Sausage Egg and Cheese McGriddles
  • Candy bars
  • Regular full-calorie Coke products

It was a great run, but quite frankly by weigh in, I was actually feeling ill from eating so unhealthy. So it was time.

As always with my attempts at weight loss, I need technology in order to help this geek out. So, I bought a FitBit Ultra and started tracking my food intake on Lose It! I’ll write more on that at a later date, but I really like the combo so far. We’ll see how it holds up.

So wish me luck. I’m off to an awesome start. I’ve already lost six pounds :-)

Close your legs #firstworldproblems

Man, I’ve been away from the blog for quite some time, and what’s the first thing I do upon my return? Bitch.

There’s this burger joint near where I work that’s a Chicagoland landmark, and has been an awesome place to eat for years. Always has great food, and the waitresses (who have been there forever) are awesome.

Well today I go in there, have a seat and I don’t see anyone I recognize. No worries, the place always rocks. My never-before-seen waitress takes my order and then things immediately go downhill.

I order a meal that has chili, a burger, fries and a drink (I’m bulking up for my initial weigh in for a weight loss challenge. More on that in future posts)

Anyway, the chili has add-on’s here. Cheese and sour cream cost $.89 extra for each. I order both. In addition they always ask if you want raw or grilled onions on the burger. Always. This waitress just asked if I wanted everything. I said yes, and that I wanted the onions grilled.

She drops the chili off at the table and then sprints away like she just pulled the wrong cord while diffusing a bomb. Because of her rapid departure I’m not able to tell her that she forgot the cheese. No worry, I probably don’t need it anyway, so I figure I’ll tell her at the end of the meal.

So next she comes by and drops off the burger and fries. She asks if I need anything, and I ask for a side of mayo for the burger. She says sure, and then like the Flash, she’s gone again. I realize then that there’s no onions. Okay, strike two. I’ll inform her when she returns with my mayo. So I wait…and wait…and wait some more.

She’s flittering about the restaurant taking care of people, so I figure the mayo has slipped her mind. I try to flag her down a couple of times to no avail. Fine, before everything gets cold, I’ll eat it without the mayo or the onions. Strike three.

I don’t see her again until after I’ve consumed everything. She does a high-speed fly-by and drops off the check. Not once did she ask to refill my drink (which had been drained since mid-meal.) Strike Four. I look at the check and everything I ordered is on there, including the cheese I never got for that additional $.89 cents. Strike Five.

The waitress has now gone full ninja and I can’t find her anywhere. She didn’t catch a single mistake, didn’t refill my drink, and wasn’t around to ever tell her any of it. That was all annoying enough, but at one point I heard her talking to the people seated in a booth behind me.

“I’m good at this because I can juggle seven kids and this job at the same time.” “Seven kids?” they ask. “Yep, keeps me on my toes.” she says as she sprints away at Mach 5.

That’s the part that really pissed me off. She thought she was awesome at this job, and she bragged about her over-population of the Earth as if repeatedly fucking without contraception was a job skill. In reality she has nothing more than a clown car for a vagina.

So honey, apparently you should have closed your legs years ago, because seven kids was too many to allow you to also be a good waitress. I think I’ve had my last burger there.

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