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Blog Posts for "my life"

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Yayy!

 

The long sprint of work is nearing the end. I can soon go back to a light jog. I've really enjoyed the project on which I've worked and people are very happy with it. In short, I created a 350+ page web site in about 6 weeks, and it's a very beefy site - loads of functionality - to help manage projects here at Wells. There's still work to do, but the heart of it is done and it will go into production in two weeks.

During all of this, a few other good things happened. I'm now down to 318. That's a loss of 38 pounds since last summer, and a loss of 20 pounds since dropping refined sugar from my diet back in May. My clothes are getting baggy and I need a new belt - or at least I need to create a new notch. I expect to be around 310 by the end of August.

I may soon sell my truck and get out from under my payments. I'll buy a used van for around $2K and then have no payment. Couple that with the extra money I've made while working 70-hour work weeks for 6 weeks and I'm closer to being debt-free, which should happen about summer of next year.

I learned last night that the group for which I've worked on this project is making me a job offer to come on as a project manager. No details yet, but I was interviewing for the position in the last week and that went well, evidently. So that's very exciting.

Yesterday, a fella named Dave with whom I work came to me and handed me the Des Moines Register business section. "Is that you?" he asked.

Sure enough, at the bottom of the page, there I was. The previous day, Wells brought a beam from its new building under constructoin out to the parking lot for us to sign. So tons of people did. I drew a caricature of myself instead of signing. The Register photographer captured that cartoon and it was on the front page of the business section, so ta-da! My first published artwork! (I'll post a picture later...)

Life is really cool :)

 

0 Comments
Tags: my life | health
by Brett Rogers, 8/3/2005 8:13:18 AM
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Ledges and Brookside

 

Went to the park early in the morning before the heat got obscene and played around. Nick, Ali, Austin, and Jacob had fun... oh, and me too.

Ledges is a beautiful park with a stream that runs through it. I had expected that the water would be higher, but unfortunately not, as you can see.

Nevertheless, it was a good time.

And scenic...

Then off to my favorite city park, Brookside in Ames, Iowa. It sports huge oak trees and several playgrounds.

And if you're there long enough, the little guys get to see a train or two pass through. Which we did.

Ali and Nick goofed around on a park bench.

I can't imagine the two of them breaking up. They're wonderful together, which is great to see for my son.

Good way to start the day.

 

0 Comments
Tags: nick | austin | jacob | my life
by Brett Rogers, 7/23/2005 5:33:02 PM
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Wide Awake and Ready To Go

 

Balance is a good thing. After 5 weeks of workaholism, I'm done with my mini-marathon and it's time to resume life.

In preparation for our camping trip to Ledges State Park next weekend, I purchased the big tent and then this past week, 5 air mattresses from campmor.com. I couldn't be more satisfied with their prices, their selection, and their service. If you camp and need gear, go there. You won't be disappointed.

So last night, Austin and Jacob spent the night, sleeping on their new air mattresses and having a ball with them. They crashed in the living room while watching a Spongebob video, and me, I conked out on the couch above them. I woke up at 11:30 to find the DVD finished and now stuck at the menu selection screen and music blaring - or at least it seemed so in the nighttime quiet of the apartment.

Bari and Nick were not home yet. No, Bari had driven herself and Nick and his girlfriend, Ali, to the local Barnes & Noble to pick up the latest Harry Potter tome. I smiled and went to bed and woke up around 4:30 - habit, I guess, from having been going to work by 5:30 each day. So I went out to the living room to check on the boys and was greeted by a wafer of light from beneath Bari's bedroom door. She was well into J.K. Rowling's story (somewhere past 250 pages) and no sign of stopping. Good for her :)

Friday was also interesting because it was the day that I learned that my credit card number had been hijacked by some bloke (or blokette) trying to buy airline tickets through London's lastminute.com. They tried to purchase around $1,200 in tickets. Unfortunately for them, I caught it and I learned in the afternoon that my bank had caught this as well. No biggie. The transaction hadn't yet cleared, nor will it, and the new card is on the way. I do quite a bit of online banking/purchasing. I pay most of my bills this way and buy everything from music at musicmatch.com to books at Amazon to art supplies from pochade.com and misterart.com to domain re-registrations at godaddy.com. So where did this thievery happen? No clue, but I've been shopping at most of these places for a while and I don't think that they're to blame. I don't expect this to curb my desire for online finance. In fact, if anything, the fact that the bank and I caught this less than 24 hours after it occurred says that the system works. Terrific, and no harm done.

Tomorrow, I plan to catch up on blogger friends listed at left and see what I've missed for the last month. I did visit instapundit and buzzmachine in the past couple of days and even left a comment on Jeff's site. Chris Muir of Day by Day caught my comment and came here to give a thumbs up. Kind of cool how the blogosphere connects people.

I have caught up a bit on the news, and here are a few thoughts:

  • Grand Theft Auto's hidden sex scenes should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the game. Why any parent would let their kids have the game in the first place is beyond me, but the involvement of those in Congress is overreaching and nanny-ish.
  • Saw that Bernie Ebbers got 25 years. That rocks. Rot in hell, asshole. And pack a cork.
  • Lots of breathless "ooh goody" going on about Rove and Plame and the media. I'll probably watch NBC tomorrow morning and catch the Cooper interview, but to address the facts - Valerie Plame worked at a desk in Langley and her neighbors knew that she worked at the CIA. It was she who suggested the her hubby, Joe Wilson, go to Niger and debunk the yellowcake claim. Now to read the media accounts of this, you would think that she was a covert spy deeply undercover somewhere sinister and that her husband, asked by the White House, brought back an unflattering report and so Rove outed Ms. Plame as vengeance. Why do I not take the media very seriously? Really? You have to ask? Good gravy. If Rove is guilty of outing a covert agent, then by all means toss his butt in jail. Along with anyone else who reveals covert operatives and covert operations (journalists, be careful what you wish for). But if Rove didn't do that, then whoop-tee-doo. Next...
  • Go Lance - I hope he wins.
  • And speaking of France, Jacques Chirac lives up to his nickname of "Le Worm" by insulting the British over and over again redundantly non-stop. Britain gives him the finger; the French like him all the more. Although, since his popularity only rose to 32 percent, I'm not sure that's exactly a cheer for the smarm king. (The other 68% are probably unemployed due to France's high taxes... except for Johnny Depp.)
  • I saw that the UN is still shredding documents to cover itself in the Oil-For-Food fiasco. Anyone who wants these guys to lead the world is, unfortunately, blissfully ignorant. In fact, in 2008, what's shaping up to be my biggest issue to determine my vote is the one who seeks to protect our national sovereignty in the face of international pressure. Absolutely nothing should be ceded to the UN, or anyone else.

Hoo - that was fun.

I was getting bummed out about the lack of good news in the media. But as Seven Habits taught me, there are things in my control, and things not in my control. My mouth is in my control; the myopia of the press is not in my control.

So, I've decided that I'll use my roost here at beatcanvas.com to occasionally poke my finger in the eye of socialists, terrorist-appeasers, and anti-US'ers. Oh, and people who still think that John McCain should be taken seriously. Anyone who authors legislation that curbs free speech deserves ridicule. And Bush deserves just as much jeer for signing the awful law. Bastards.

It's good to be back.

ETC: Caught the Cooper interview - it was nothing but marketing.

"TIME has good reporters who won't give up a source. Really. I only did so because I had a waiver from my source."

 

10 Comments
Tags: my life | free speech
by Brett Rogers, 7/16/2005 8:20:32 PM
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What??? A Post?

 

Quick update...

If you've read the five or so previous posts from the last month, you know that I've been very busy on a project of big proportions for my client, Wells Fargo. While Home Mortgage has had various project tracking systems in the past, my current spate of work is to bring these systems together into a more coherent whole, so that upper management has one source of truth for managing all projects.

It's been a fun ride, although I do miss my life. But some good things will come of this, and one of those is introducing blogs to the project management cycle. In a series of conversations through the development of this tool, I suggested the use of blogging to help communication on a project. Since I wrote beatcanvas.com's blogging backbone from scratch, no problem - I'll just migrate it to WF's needs. And that's the feature of this whole implementation about which I'm most excited. The ability for group-blogging and comments in the workplace, with threads and categorization where needed. Hoo-wah!

So, I'll finish soon and resume life and painting and all will be great. And my present to myself for all this effort will be that cool painting sketchbox that I highlighted in a previous post.

Makes me giddy to think of it...

 

3 Comments
Tags: my life
by Brett Rogers, 7/13/2005 1:14:52 PM
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Happiness Is...

 

...a really big tent.

ETC: And then later, getting ready to "call it a night," but not before Cub stirred up a bit of late-night wrestling with his brother, Austin.

I bought the Eureka Extended Stay Tent from campmor.com. It's a 50-pound package that only cost me $5 in shipping and I ordered it Monday; it got here Friday. Great deal.

The tent itself is very good - roomy, great ventilation, good design - but there are a few things I wish were different. First, and probably of course, the setup instructions were lacking. It took me about 30 minutes to set it up, and I'm a very experienced camper. Second, it would be great if the base of such a large tent had more opportunity for staking to pin the floor down better. And third, I'm not sure that the rain flaps reach quite far enough if there is a really good rain - but then that's true for all tents pretty much.

As I lay in the tent last night, it occurred to me: it's the first time that I hadn't thought about work and the big project for a couple of weeks. The project has literally consumed all of my waking hours, so the reprieve was nice. Fortunately, the project is right on schedule, so I could relax.

Nick is back this morning from his trip to Arizona and the Grand Canyon, and he just woke up, so I'm ready for all of his great stories from the trip.

Nice to feel a little back to normal. The project will go on like this for about two more weeks, so today and tomorrow is like a vacation. :)

 

1 Comment
Tags: my life | jacob | austin
by Brett Rogers, 7/1/2005 8:40:59 PM
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A Reason for the Rain

 

Today's a day for the Des Moines Art Festival. I'd wanted to go, but I think I'll end up missing it this year due to non-stop work for another two or three weeks and because my truck's in the shop. That's okay with me because next year I plan to be a participant in the festival.

I woke up last night around 2 AM. No clue why, but I'd come home at around 7-ish and stayed up for an hour and then crashed. So I'm up at 2 AM, and the rain started to come down and by 3 AM it was coming down pretty good. I stood in my living room where my son, Nick, was half-asleep on the couch. I watched the show out the sliding glass door and decided to shut off the AC and open the door to allow the breeze to come in. In opening the door, I was greeted by rain blowing in through the screen. And then it occurred to me - the last painting that I'd started, the Botanical Center one, was sitting by the open window in my room.

I walked to it and sure enough, the watercolor was a bit waterlogged. I think that's it for that painting. And probably best. It was an effort to make a picture-perfect copy of what I saw, which has its own charm and I've demonstrated to myself that I can do it, but it's not the direction that I want to take my art.

I brought my watercolor stuff to work today. I thought it would make a nice break in coding a project management web site for Wells Fargo (a very hang-on-to-your-hat effort due to a cramped time frame, tall requirements, etc). I want to get something down and then go after it with the pen and ink that I bought a while back.

I don't know if you've seen Strictly Ballroom, which is a favorite movie of mine. But today I'm reminded of it.

 

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Tags: my life
by Brett Rogers, 6/25/2005 11:34:43 AM
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A Boy and His Bike

 

I drive a 1999 Ford F-250. Big truck. I initially bought it because I lived an hour from Des Moines, deep in rural Iowa - like almost 9 miles of gravel road from my little white house on 10 acres to the nearest paved road.

But now that I live in the city, the truck is overkill. I like the comfort of the cab (being 6' 3", I need ample head and leg room), but it's just too much.

When I lived on the acreage, I once got the truck stuck in the back of the property and was mid-wheel high in mud. Oh, the luxury of four-wheel drive. I cranked that V-10 Triton engine and had all four wheels muscle their way out of the mud. Hoo-ah. But, it came at the expense of my alignment. I messed up something in the front end. I had a mechanic do a few things to it and the truck drove fine, but the steering wheel was cockeyed.

Fast forward three years and I'm in the city. A few weeks ago, I noticed a weird grinding noise coming from the truck. At first, I thought it was pebbles in my hubcaps or something, but no, it's the front end. Related to the alignment problem and the mudbath from long ago? I don't know, but something's awry.

So yesterday I threw my bike in the back of the truck and drove to my favorite mechanic, a guy named Larry Rogers. Good work. Honest. And no relation to me.

"Larry, my truck needs a checkup."
"I'm here to help."
"Here's the keys."
I pulled my bike out of the truck bed and Larry raised an eyebrow. "You know how hot it is?" he asked me.
"Beautiful day for a bike ride."
"How far?"
"West Des Moines. Maybe 5 or 6 miles."
"You're crazy."
"Hey, my bike is more reliable and less expensive than that thing," I said, pointing to my truck.
"Suit yourself," he said, laughing. "But your truck has air conditioning!"

The ride home was fabulous. I rode through Greenbelt Park on its bike path. Loads of shady trees and a lovely brook that runs parallel to it. You'd never know that you were smack-dab in the midst of the city if someone just set you down there. And so I rode, finally leaving the park and angling through a ritzy subdivision and then pedalling down the street that led to my home.

Good ride.

If I could get away with it, I wouldn't own a car (or van or truck). I hate driving. I'd much rather take my bike. If you asked me what it is about a car that I don't like, I'm not sure I could tell you. Maybe that they feel dirty and wasteful to me. Convenient, sure, and even necessary, but obese America isn't helped by its love for the automobile. Maybe that sounds silly coming from a guy who weighs 328 pounds.

But a bike is simple. It's freeing. I even like pedalling in a rainstorm. I hope that I always live close enough to where I work that I can ride my bike. And so, for the next few days until Larry figures out how many hundreds (or, gulp, thousands) of dollars I'll owe for him fixing the big green truck, I get to live in a world where my sole transportation is my bike.

Perfect.

 

0 Comments
Tags: biking | my life
by Brett Rogers, 6/23/2005 7:33:21 AM
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A Place of My Own

 

For the first time in 16 months, I'm going to sleep in a room I can call my own. It's delightful, the childlike joy that I feel.

ETC: And a picture this morning...

 

5 Comments
Tags: my life
by Brett Rogers, 6/17/2005 12:10:46 AM
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First-Time Photographer, Part-Time Weatherman

 

Jacob and I went to the playground today and messed around in the large wooden fort near my home.

We played hide-and-seek and, like any kid, Cub loves to have his picture taken. But today, he asked a different question:

"Dad, can I take pictures?"
"Hmm... sure, why not."

So, I taught him where the button was and he went to town. Here's his first picture:

And then you can see in the following set of pictures where his real interest lies:

Yep - the boy likes cars.

On the walk back home, he announced that he would like me to take a movie of him giving the weather report.

I love just hangin' with the boy.

One other thing: I discovered GarageBand.com late last night. If you go to the Folk section and choose Syd's "Back Home," it's an amazing song. Among others that I found. Some of the songs are free downloads, and for those who want to push their music to the world (re: Kris!), it looks pretty cool.

 

1 Comment
Tags: my life | jacob
by Brett Rogers, 6/11/2005 3:14:24 PM
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Surrounded by Boys

 

This weekend, the little guys are with us. Lots and lots of playtime...

We bought Boggle Jr recently and it's not at all the same as Boggle, but leave it to Cub to then take the cards and start organizing them into a coherent story.

"See Dad? The S U N was out and people ate C A K E after they got to the party in their C A R..."

The kid could be entertained for hours with a toilet paper tube. I love that about him. We played for a while and then he got bored with spelling and started being his creative self.

Austin and I played some checkers. When it comes to logic games like that, I try to play in such a way that they learn things from it. One of the rewards of parenthood is seeing your kid apply what you learned in such a way that they become good. The little rascal beat me in the second game - and legitimately so.

You can see by the look in his eyes that he knows I'm history. It's a rematch tomorrow ;)

Sundays are always special breakfast day. I make chocolate chip pancakes and everyone pigs out. Being sugarfree, it's tough sometimes to remember not to lick my fingers. And it occurs to me - I've had no chocolate for 3 weeks. D'oh! But I will behave and be very satisfied with my morning smoothie - I swear I will.

 

2 Comments
Tags: jacob | austin | boggle | my life
by Brett Rogers, 6/4/2005 9:23:17 PM
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