This Just In: Not EVERYTHING can be engraved on an iPod

For my birthday this year, the loving ThatOneWife got me an iPod Touch, and had it engraved.

For the clever, there are some things that Apple won't engrave on the back of an iPod.

I just got this link. Check it out - pretty funny stuff.

Something I like: light-colored wood

One of the easiest ways to get into a place that has that open floor plan feel wihtout actually having to build something, you might be looking at a loft space. The problem there is, though, that you now have one giant open space, and while some may be able to live in a space like that, some would not. Enter PLI Architects They have a beautiful way of dividing space without constructing walls. One might think of the system as "residential cubicles" - only NICE.

Here are a couple of pictures:


A Collection of Non-Numbered Nothingness

When I was away for a few days, I wasn't checking email or news feeds. I had my computer with me, but I was more interested in eating, golf, hot-tubbing, and partaking of the adult beverages, not necessarily in that order.

So when I got back to work, I had this DELUGE of news feeds to get through - it took me two days to scan everything. I have several categories of stuff downloaded to me - Business, Design, Blogs, Architecture, News, Finance, etc. Usually, it's the eye-candy design stuff that catches my eye, and I have this sensory overload thing where there is so much that is cool that I just glaze over for a while....

For instance, we note this week that the US record high price for a residential property now belongs ot a property in Colorado. A hedge fund manager bought a residence/ranch there for 175 Million Bucks from the Forbes family. The previous record was held by a home in the Hamptons selling for 103 Million. tough credit markets for lenders? Apparently not for the uber-wealthy residents of Richistan.

Then there is this lamp - lamps are so cool for me - an opportunity for great design in such a small package, all they have to do to qualify is actually function. Most of the time, they accomplish this in spades.

Moving on to other really great clean design, there is this yard bench. Dang good lookin'.

Then we move along to some wonderful architectural design work. Well designed interior space actually maximizes square footage, making true the adage "less is more"...

I get a ton of this sort of thing in my feed box every day, and I often want to post tons of it all the time, but then I know most of you loyals would bail on me, making this space kind of boring... but here's a small sampling:

And after that, check out this lovely townhome - small, and practical...

And now for something completely different: I was once a missionary in my homeland country of Denmark. On one of my first days in Copenhagen, in the main train station, right there on the floor, my eyes were treated with a couple "rubbin' the nubbin".... right there in the open for anyone to see. Why do I bring this up now, about 25 years later? I was reminded of the whole thing, by seeing this story sitting in the feed box.

And that, as they say, is that.

Confession: I used to be a sweater

That's right, a sweater.

Not that kind of sweater though, this kind.

Let me 'splain....

In the first part of my career I was employed in the entertainment industry as a Recording Engineer. It was my job to set up equipment for recording sessions, make sure everything worked right, and make sure the right kind of sounds actually get recorded to tape.

As an engineer, you work for either the studio, or you're freelance, hired by the artist or producer. Either way, you aren't the one paying the bills for studio time. (which can be SERIOUS money per hour) Particularly stressful is having a studio full of 60 symphony players, and having some sort of malfunction in the equipment, not getting the right sounds recorded to tape. Musicians who are paid $45 per hour, regardless of what they are doing can make a bill paying producer a bit cranky if they aren't playing to tape.

During these times, I was a PROFOUND sweater. My shirts always looked like i had just come from the gym, and didn't smell much better either.

I worked in this field for a long time, doing studio work, as well as location work. I believe I once wrote about my little adventure with Sandra Bullock in this area.

Check it out

Anyway, you could virtually wring my shirts out by the end of a long day. I know, sexy to the maximus. This was a complete stress response, just the way my body reacted....

I decided to leave that part of my life behind and was offered a position at a theater, doing Sound Design. Theatrical sound design is a lot the same as studio recording, except for one important difference: in theater, you have 1000 paying butts in the seats, and you have one chance only to get it right - if you don't get a microphone open in time, or you forget a sound effect, forget to bring the music in, etc., you don't get to go back and have a do-over.

Theater sound design was a natural fit for me, I had steady work, and as a well trained recording engineer, I was better at it than the hacks that normally work around here providing sparse and inadequate reinforcement. I was a member of the national association of theater technical disciplines, and lectured once at one of their national conference in, of all places, Kansas City.

Anyway, this "one chance only" paradigm didn't help my stress level, and therefore, my sweating was as profound as ever, if not moreso. I was running up to 40 individual channels of audio, often with a live band or orchestra, sound effects, and perhaps up to 16 tracks of other recorded audio. Getting it right every night was a monumental task, and when it came together, it was stunningly tantalizing. But not without a cost, to my shirts.

It was bad enough that I would only buy light-colored shirts, to minimize the impact, but no matter what I did - I was a sweater.

After about 6 years, I grew tired of working every night til 10:30, so I began looking for something else to do. During my years in the recording studio, followed by the theater, I had a vast knowledge of the equipment used in the process. At the same time, one of those brands was purchased by a large public company, who promptly moved the entire operation to Utah, and one Sunday I was looking through the paper, and saw their logo advertising a technical writer position for hire, and I was there on Monday morning, several years' experience under my belt. I was hired shortly thereafter.

Writing, like music, is a rather subjective endeavor. That is, people either like your work or they don't. It isn't a matter of whether it is "right" or not (but sometimes it may be, especially in Technical Writing), it's about whether your audience LIKES it.

For me, this was stressful, a moving target of whether I was doing my job right or not.... it all came down to how my boss was feeling that morning. And a whole list of other factors.

Therefore, no solution to the "stress=sweat" factor.

From there, I was moved over to marketing and web design. This was during the middle to late 90's , what some refer to as "web 1.0". The days when you were coding pages by hand in HTML. Yeah, I'm that old. From there, my career path led me to publishing, art direction, marketing.

Anyway, as you can imagine, there was STILL this factor of subjective job approval in what I was doing. Therefore I was still DESTROYING my shirts in about 4-5 months of normal wear.

Then 9|11 happened, and the dot-com burst, and short-term-but-deep recession. Along with that came a period of unemployment, for both ThatOneWife and myself - at the same time. Stress? Ummm, yeah.

I decided to take a run at self-employment at that point, and luckily, I chose to do it in the field of ones and zeros, balance or not balance, right or wrong. However, this didn't cure my problem entirely. Being self employed has its benefits, but it is also a royal bitch sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time. You have to be able to find people you can trust, and in whom you can PLACE trust. That is easier said than done, and I have learned hard lessons along the way. If I had only known then what I know now, how different things would be...

Anyway, to solve my sweating problem entirely, I found a product called MAXIM. Not the magazine - that does other things. Like make your palms hairy...

Maxim is a product that comes out of Canada, I believe. It's chemical strength is only available via expensive prescription here in the states. I found it online. After some reading, I decided I had a condition called hyperhydrosis, or simply-put, over active sweat glands. Some people have it on their face, back, hands, etc. Luckily, this was not me, but it was nevertheless very embarrassing for me, and expensive on the clothes budget, and limiting in what I could wear.

So, I got some. The treatment is supposed to go for five applications. It basically shocks the sweat glands back into line of normal operation. Frankly, it's a low-level chemical burn, BUT I'll be damned if it didn't work. No amount of stress could overpower it's chemicals.

I used most of the first bottle through about four or five applications, each one's effects lasting longer than the last, until finally, I was able to manage the situation with occasional applications and felt really great about this great breakthrough for me.

As a side benefit, the stuff actually helped reduce my stress as well. Previously, as the sweat stains came, my stress level would go through the roof, which would exacerbate the entire situation.

Now I can buy whatever color shirt I want, out of whatever fabric I want, and I don't worry. and I don't have to replace everything I wear after only a few months. I haven't had to use the stuff for some time now, as my glands are pretty much operating under normal conditions. But I undoubtedly have a reserve stash in case those damn sweat glands get out of line again.

So there you have it. I have no idea what would possess me to write this post and put it out there in the public domain, but hey, maybe I can help another serial sweater out there. Or someone you know.

Just send an anonymous link.


Here you go - enjoy four fireplaces:

In honor of the first real snow of the season beginning to fall about an hour ago...

Back at it: I'm Grumpy and Scroogy

There, I said it - I'm a scrooge. Nothing puts me in LESS of a holiday spirit than witnessing the frantic 4 AM shopping spree the day after Thanksgiving. Not to mention the endless ads touting the door-crasher deals offered to the intrepid.

I think I did a post on "Buy Nothing Day" last year - I still stand by that post.

Anyway, in my absence here, we did get away for a non-traditional Thanksgiving in southern Utah. We had a nice time, played some golf at Coral Canyon (WOW!), and generally enjoyed some hot tub time, adult beverages, and some "less-cold" time.

Happening in the "news" since I kept watch here, we find that Kanye West's mother died from complications of some bad cosmetic surgery performed at a strip mall. Proving that money doesn't buy class.

And also in that category, the Utah Jazz picked up a backup point guard in the off-season, replacing the absent Derek Fisher. It was reported in the Salt Lake Tribune in the last couple of weeks that Jason Hart got his Giant Escalade smacked in an accident. When the insurance company provided a replacement vehicle, he not-so-politely "informed" the agent that his children were not going to be seen in anything less than a black Escalade, and she better hurry up and find a suitable replacement vehicle - ie - another damn Escalade, thanks.

So money buys neither class nor brains. Mr. Hart, this doesn't endear you to your new city. We think you're a moron who is more part of the problem than the solution. That said though, the Jazz are off to a nice start, and Deron Williams is proving himself to be a franchise player. Not a franchise player like Kobe-Bryant-franchise-player, but a real team player kind of guy. Last night against the Knicks, they had 13 field goals and 11 assists in the first quarter.

Anyway, this also appears to the first post written from my new MacBookPro. Love this machine. I've been a Mac guy since college in 1988 or so and I can count on one hand the number of years I haven't owned one, but I haven't owned a portable unit before, and I can't imagine now why the hell not.

So, I'm back at the blog, fear not. But no pictures this time - gotta save that for next time when I actually HAVE SOMETHING OF VALUE TO SAY.

Until tomorrow, then......


The little thing called a DIET

Since the end of August, ThatOneWife and I have been on a diet. We were both cranky with how things had gone in that department for a while, and over time, we had probably said we were going to do something about it, oh, 10 or 20 times, but we finally jumped on it, and got under way.

For me, it started about two years ago when mortgage rates were incredibly low, lenders were only requiring a general pulse from prospective borrowers of mortgage money, and we had a couple of big contracts with big builders to work on their "troubled" files. We were a 2-man shop with one processor, closing, at the peak, about 20 loans per month. This went on for some time, and while it was going on, we were working very long hours, and we brought lunch into the office almost every day, so we wouldn't need to leave to get something to eat. Believe me, when the Pizza Hut guy answers the phone and knows you by name, asks you if you want "the regular", it's not a good thing.

I gained about 20 pounds during that little stint. And up til August, I still owned every pound of it. Not that I was a total "slim-jim" at that point, but I could see my feet for sure.

So, we got serious, and as of this morning, I have dropped 20.5 pounds. It's nice to be wearing clothes that have been tucked into the back of the closet for a long time, and even those are starting to fit loosely. Things were starting to get out of control, and frankly we have plans for later years in the future, and being fat, diabetic, unhealthy, and unable to walk around the block is not a part of that plan. There are still about 15-20 more to go for me before I get to where I REALLY would like to be - which would put me back to the weight I was decades ago, at about 205. I don't know if I will actually get that far, because at some point, I will start doing more at the gym again than straight cardio to loose weight. Once upon a time I had pretty thick arms and shoulders with a fairly slim waist. I will probably seek some of that back again at some point. But not yet.

The diet is not the only thing we have done to help with the weight loss - we golfed a lot this year, choosing to walk when we could, which was helpful, and we have also gotten back to going to the gym on a regular basis. For me, three times a week as about what I can handle. But hopefully over the winter I can raise that to four or more times.

My downfall is bread. I love bread. Almost any kind of bread. And you can take away the "almost" in that sentence if it's WARM bread. Bread Bread Bread. I love bread. Did I say that already? But I'm learning how and when to splurge and still be able to keep control of the situation.

Now I have just one or two other nasty habits to break.

Like telling people to their face how stupid they are.

And blinking.

Misc interesting home photos:

Back to some design thoughts:

Much of my design senses run deeply toward the Mid-Century Modern period. Mid-Century modern is an architectural, interior and product design form that generally describes post-war developments in modern design from roughly 1945 to 1965.

Mid-century architecture was a further development of Frank Lloyd Wright's principles of organic architecture combined with many elements reflected in the International and Bauhaus movements. Mid-century modernism, however, was much more organic in form and less formal than the International Style.

Scandinavian designers and architects were very influential at this time, with a style characterized by simplicity in design and natural shapes. Like many of Wright's designs, Mid-Century architecture was frequently employed in residential structures with the goal of bringing modernism into America's post-war suburbs. This style emphasized creating structures with ample windows and open floor-plans with the intention of opening up interior spaces and bringing the outdoors in.

From this style, one of the easiest next-steps is the style we refer to as "modern contemporary". Its openness recalls that of Mid-Century, but it makes a few adjustments, moving to very cool color schemes, and keeps the simple lines of its predecessor. Mod-Contemp eschews the linear lines in architecture, favoring curves and non parallel interiors. Variations of this style are often seen in larger, custom designed homes - at least in this area.

I often wonder if my Scandinavian ancestry and genetics draw me toward this particular design style. Having spent time there many years ago exposed me to it early on, but I wasn't very in tune with this sort of thing then, so I don't know. I do know it was the first time I had ever seen Bang & Olufsen in person, and I do remember how I felt then.

Because Mid Century was meant as a means to bring contemporary ideals to the regular suburbs, it can be found in the most unassuming places. There are a couple of wonderful examples in my neighborhood, and if they were somewhere else in this valley, they would be worth several times more than they are where they sit.

Often, Mid Century homes are renovated and refurbed to the point that it takes some creativity to see the original potential in the design, and that's too bad.

Anyway, WAY TOO MUCH TALK, not enough pictures. And you want pictures. You know you do.

So, here are some. First two from two homes designed by Richard Neutra, one of the movement's greatest:

Here are some other random designs I've come across recently. The architect is Antonio Cardillo. The first three here are "The Ellipse House".

Take a look at that staircase... it's like taffy in one of those electric taffy pulling machines... wonderful.

Although neither of these homes is something I would find myself buying, they serve to represent the idea of what can be accomplished when one spends the energy to analyze space and truly make it different.

When "TimeOut" no longer works:

One Hung is having kid troubles. In my experience, sometimes you have to "escalate" the situation.

Here is my suggestion:


Michael Jackson Neverland Ranch Appears in Foreclosure Report

This has been reportedly in process for some time. But its actual appearance on the report makes it pretty concrete...

All you need to bring it out of Foreclosure is the $22,000,000 to cure the default.

Liz Taylor - here's looking at you.

click it to big it.


Why Mortgage Lenders Didn't Care About a Borrower's Ability to Pay

"With defaults at record levels, people have begun to question why underwriting standards became so lax during the housing boom. The answer is relatively simple: mortgage lenders were looking at the bottom line, not the borrower."

original article

Dear Comcast: Lick Sweaty Goat Balls

Dear Comcast,

You are holding The Mountain West Conference hostage. The universities comprising the conference are partly to blame for this, but I also assume that when you sold them the idea of starting a television network to support the conference, you told them that partial ownership of the broadcast entity by Comcast wasn't going to present a conflict of interest on your part. But that is exactly what you have done. You told the schools in the Mountain West Conference that you would provide a venue where more games would be on TV, and you would get more national attention for the schools in the conference. You also told them they could schedule games when THEY want, as opposed to being held hostage to the crowded sports programming of networks like ESPN, etc.

But there's a problem.

You see, "The Mountain Network", partly owned by Comcast, and in fact originating from the behemoth Comcast Campus in Denver is holding the local fans hostage for THEIR OWN GAIN. They show the network here in the states served by the conference on the Comcast cable system. But it's not available on any other cable or satellite provider's system. If we don't subscribe to Comcast, we don't get the coverage. Period.

Comcast, you claim this is because those other providers are failing to see the value in your network, and they are not confident in the network being able to bring the viewers to the system. You are running ads on TV right now, asking those of us whom you are underserving to call DirecTV and DISH Network and ask them to change their minds and carry the network on their systems so we all can see.

But here's the other thing. YOU HAD A DEAL WITH AT LEAST ONE OF THOSE SATELLITE PROVIDERS THAT WOULD HAVE BROUGHT THE PROGRAMMING REGIONALLY TO THE SEVEN STATES SERVED BY THE CONFERENCE. But you refused, thinking you could sell the deal to get NATIONAL exposure, rather than regional, and the bigger cash deal that would have garnered.

So, you are asking us to call THEM and tell them to carry the programming? Every person not getting the coverage of our local schools' athletic activities should be CALLING YOU to complain about the monopoly you have created because you were too greedy to let the conference have coverage in the states where the most eyes would be for the programming anyway.

And shame on the Mountain West Conference leadership for allowing you to even enter the door. Network ownership by a competitive cable provider was a bad idea from the outset, and they allowed the monopoly to be born, from the very beginning. Shame on the Mountain West Conference.



Got Blog?

It seems I collect half-written posts in my little queue over here. Not wanting to overload you sensitive readers with too much over the top design crap, I tend to keep that stuff and then surprise you with too much all at once.

So what is it about Twitter that has everyone all um... A-Twitter?

I don't really get that. Send a cryptic text message from your cell phone to your twitter account and have it automatically posted to whatever public space you use, like MySpace, facebook, Blogger, etc. Because we all want to know the stupid and inane details of your life sent to us via text message.

Jst stped in dog poop. Stinky. LOL.

Um... who cares?

But then I was thinking about it over the weekend... all through the day, I have these little ideas that could be expanded to a nice little blog post - one that actually DOES something, like tell a little bit about me, or express an opinion, or talk about something I thought was particularly funny, but every time I open this little application, I GOT NOTHIN.

So maybe I should Twitter myself, and then I would have a pretty instant set of reminders for good posts, and you wouldn't have to read this crap all the time.

I twittered myself in the shower this morning. LOL.

So, in an attempt to get some good stuff up here, I'll go back to the archives of half baked posts and get a couple up and ready to go. The next couple of those will be that.



Yeah baby... the first Utah Cheesecake Factory opens here in Salt Lake today.


I can't remember a restaurant opening here that has garnered more press than this crappy old chain restaurant. I wonder just how many 6000 calorie cakes they sent out anyway!!?

This is the restaurant that served as the ictus for our esteemed Liquor Control Board to ask for more than glass barricades to block the view of The Evil Alcohol from the tender view of the fat-cake eating public.

The dude from Commerce CRG, or whatever, said in the paper that "It's like Utah has finally arrived..."

Arrived at what exactly? What we DON'T need is more chain restaurants.

Incidentally, the only reason we don't have more of the up-scale restaurants here is because of the stupid liquor laws. Cheesecake Factory was forced to change the way it does business here in Utah, because they will lose money on the liquor service compared to their other restaurants. See, in their others, they have ACTUAL BARS, with stools and everything! GASP!

Here, it's scaled back, and patrons must sit at tables in a small cordoned off area and be waited upon. With watery drinks.


Well, THAT'S a good thing.

And by the way, the place I came here from had a CF more than 2 decades ago. It's just not that big a deal. It's a CHAIN.

Tagged. lower case yay.

Yeah, so I've seen this going around many of the blogs I read for several days now. I always look at the bottom to see if I've had the unfortunate pleasure of being hit with it.

But being the swell guy I am, I'll play along.

She Who Is Tall tagged me for this - so thanks for THAT. She just started her blog a little bit ago, so go give her some eyes, will ya?

Anyway, here are my seven oddball facts:

1. If I had it to do all over again, I'd be a residential architect. You probably could have guessed that one. I'm constantly inspired by living spaces designed for living, as opposed to maximizing some builder's bottom line potential. The common and regular is rarely acceptable for me in this vein.

2. My first job was as a dishwasher in the short order kitchen of a hotel. That's when I first smelled marijuana. With my first paycheck I bought a jacket.

3. I feel that I have a lousy short term memory. When I'm introduced to someone, I forget their name unless I repeat it back to them immediately. But around the office, I am "the keeper of odd knowledge". I'm also called "the wordy bastard" by some here. I wear that with pride. I can write prolifically. A blog is a good outlet for that.

4. I read in spurts. I like to read, and I go through periods of time when I will read a book a month for a long time. Then I will go through a time when I don't read a book for an extended period of time. I read the newspaper and several magazines all the time though. ThatOneWife can read a book a week in perpetuity.

5. I have fewer real friends than I would like. This year though, I made a small goal to try to reach out to some older friends of mine, and that's been very rewarding for me. This summer, we had probably my best friend of all time as a house guest overnight. I hadn't seen or talked to him in about 20 years. Life is too short for that. Sorry Sean.

6. I've never "partaken" of one illegal drug. Ever. It scares me. I've been around people who have, and I've been offered plenty of times.

7. My mom once caught me skipping school. She was coming out of the mall, and I was walking back to the bus to get home. I was about 15 miles from home (and so was she), and I was hanging out at my girlfriend's school, rather than my own. It wasn't a good day. I skipped a pretty large portion of 10th grade.

Since I believe I am the last person on earth to have been tagged with this, we'll leave this at that - play along, leave a comment that you played along and we'll all come over and see how you have publicly emasculated yourself.