Saturday, December 24, 2005

Latest Productivity Black Hole

As one of my colleague's referred to them, Yahoo's new Widgets are "ridiculously cool!" Download the engine and then pick up a few more of the Widgets from the gallery. One of the guys responsible for most of the coolest ones is Arlo Rose. You can check out his blog at mouselabs.


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Know your current events?

Take the quiz over at The Week magazine's site to test your knowledge. It's a quick 10 question look at news from around the world that will check how well you've been paying attention. It's updated every Friday so it's a good (and humbling) way to end the week.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Musical Selections

Here are a few audio related selections from around the web today:

Pandora is an interesting self-guided streaming radio station builder.

RocketFM is a sleek transmitter for your PC or Laptop via USB connection, which is offered by one of the best iPod accessories dealer, Griffin Technology.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Optical Illusions

Here's a guy who draws scenes on the sidewalk that you would swear are 3 dimensional...


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Oracle Synchronicity

My wife and I were having breakfast at the Boudin Bakery in San Francisco where I was attending the Oracle conference. The HR recruiter that I had been working with to fill a vacant position on my team called to tell me that the candidate that we had made an offer to had just accepted. I hung up my cell phone and went back to eating my croissant and glanced out the window at the street sign. The bakery was at the corner of 5th & Jessie Street. The candidate's name was Jesse and he was an Oracle database administrator .


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Golf Synchronicity (Cont.)

My buddies and I have been going to Gaylord for over ten years to play a 4-man Skins golf game. This year we decided to break tradition and go to Lewiston and a resort called Garland. On Friday we usually try to get in 9 holes before dark so we went to the resort and asked if we could tee off on any of the four courses that were there. They asked us to play The Reflections course. A couple weeks later, I noticed that it had been awhile since I had pulled the pages off my golf course page-a-day calendar at my home office. This calendar has golf courses from all over the world. As I was pulling the pages off, there was a photo of one of the holes from The Reflections course. It was for the Wednesday before we played it.


Monday, December 05, 2005

Running Synchronicity

When I'm out running, I listen to my MP3 player in shuffle mode and I have around 125 songs loaded. The other day I was running my usual six mile loop around the lake and Relient K's "Falling Out" was playing. In that song there's a line "...and at every angle there's a Band-Aid." At the exact moment they were singing Band-Aid, I stepped on one that was stuck to the bike path that I was running on.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

Manhatten Synchronicity

A golf trip I take every year is with a group of around 16 guys that go to Myrtle Beach. The cheap tickets we buy take us through New York's Laguardia airport. As our plane took off, I started paging through the November 2005 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. I looked out the window as we started to make a banked turned to the South and was treated to a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline. When I returned to my magazine and flipped the next page there was an article on the statistics around the daily commuter traffic on and off the island of Manhattan. It included a map of the island that matched the overhead view I had out my window.


(FYI - I published this post from my Verizon Treo 650. To learn more, visit

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Golf Synchronicity

A couple of Fridays ago, a colleague passed along the resume of a contractor that he was planning to bring in to do some work in his area. The contractor's name was Tom Watson. My name recognition trigger of course fired right away to the golfer Tom Watson. When I came home from work that night, I learned that my son had attended a nearby Senior PGA event and as I was reviewing the resume of Tom Watson the contractor that afternoon, he was having his hat signed by Tom Watson the golfer.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Life's Not Fair

How do you feel about your career and the contributions you've made to the world? It could be worse - you could be actress Angelina Jolie. Of her 19 movies that are included on the Rotten Tomatoes site, 16 of them were rotten. I feel pretty good about my portfolio and resume and yet Angelina will likely make more money in her next 12 minutes onscreen than I will in a lifetime and if her track record holds, it will be in a rotten movie.

C'est la Vie

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Synchronicity (cont.)
I have some friends that were celebrating their 40th birthday so we found ourselves at a local restaurant enjoying good food and fine wine until someone, in fact it might have been me, decided to order a round of "jagerbombs" which is essentially 1 shot of Jagermeister and 1/2 can of Red Bull. Although I had heard of Red Bull before, this was in fact the first time that I had ever tried one. Nine days later, I found myself on vacation with my family touring on a bus to the shooting locations used in the movie "The Sound of Music" in Austria. On our way to one of the remote lakes used in the opening scene, the tour guide says "If you now look out the right side of the bus you will see that we are passing the headquarters of Red Bull in Fuschl am See (pop. 1,344)."

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Okay - here's a candidate for technology at it's best - Remote Chicken Petting.

Here are two movie related synchronicity events of late:

1) On Friday, May 6, I booked 4 nights at the Hilton London Hyde Park Hotel as part of our summer vacation. On Sunday May 8, I watched Moonlight Mile. In the beginning title sequence there was a splash screen for the film's production company - Hyde Park Entertainment.

2) On Thursday, May 5, I received the DVD of Pollock from Netflix. I ended up watching it on Wednesday, May 18. After watching the movie, I Googled for more info on Pollock and came upon a story from NPR that on May 10 it was announced that a friend of Pollock's had discovered 32 of his paintings in an old storage locker back in 2002.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Theo Jansen is a Dutch artist who creates new forms of art and nature with his wind-powered creatures that walk the beach. You can check them out at Strandbeest.

I was at a friend's house last week watching the Peter Gabriel concert DVD "Growing Up Live" and he rolled around the stage in one of these. I always wondered who would ever buy one - and now I know.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

I was out running this past Sunday morning and I saw a guy running with his dog. This of course is not uncommon where I live nor is it uncommon to see the owner running with a plastic bag full of dog poop. However, this guy was tying the bag of dog poop to the dog's collar so he could carry it under his chin. So later over the fence this dog was heard to say to his neighbor, "My owner loves me. He takes me running with him. He lets me carry my own poop in a bag tied to my collar."

Here's something odd languagewise that I encountered this week: If we eat Thai food from Thailand why don't we eat Eng food from England?

Some tidbits from around the internet today:

If you’d like to congratulate the new pope, you can send him an e-mail at No lie.

If you’ve always wondered why Bluetooth is named Bluetooth and even more about how it works, check this out.

And here’s a group who make art out of robots. My favorite is Super Dog Monkey of course.

Monday, February 21, 2005

If you want to hear new music, purevolume has over 100,000 rising bands with over 125,000 free songs available for download. There are garage bands as well as those who have signed with tiny labels. I was referred there by the band Relient K (yes, named for the affordable Plymouth).

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I have a couple of synchronicity updates but first here's the coolest thing I've seen this week. The gang over at Google have a new beta for maps. It's the closest thing to using paper. Okay so here are 3 updates:

1) My son and I went on a campout the weekend after I posted the Wizard of Oz/Pink Floyd thing. On Sunday morning, the camp director was telling us how breakfast was going to work and she pointed to the cooks in the kitchen window of the dining hall. One of the cooks was a young guy wearing a Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt. I thought long and hard about whether or not to ask him if he knew about the whole Oz/Floyd thing and came up with what might have been his responses:
a) "I have no idea who Pink Floyd is. This was my brother's shirt."
b) "Why no, I haven't. Thanks for letting me know - I'll have to try that."
c) "Duh. Everyone knows that you can watch the Wizard of Oz and turn the sound off and play Dark Side of the Moon and have the music match what's going on."
d) "Dude, my friends and I did that last night!"

It was answer "d" that I was afraid of so I reluctantly avoided asking him although now I wish I had.

2) My daughter and I decided to go out for Valentine's dinner rather than attend the Daddy/Daughter dance this year. We went to one of our favorite restaurants, Rose's, and as we were walking in the door, we noticed a brass plaque that had engraved on it "In Memory of Jack and Emma Rose." While we were eating dinner, a family came in and sat next to our table. They had two girls and were on their way to a different Daddy/Daughter dance after dinner. One of the girls was named Emma and because she was going to the dance, she was wearing a flower on her dress - it was a rose...

3) I was asked to help interview two candidates who had applied as a Jr. High coordinator at our church. I found out prior to the interview that one of the candidates was named Christian and I knew him very well from his time in High School when I helped lead that group. So during the interview, I told him I always ask 3 questions; "What are your strengths, your proudest achievement and your passion?" Following his answers, another leader said that his boss has a question he always asks candidates because it reveals a lot about the person. He asked Christian what his favorite movie was. He answered "The Shawshank Redemption" because he said it was the first movie he watched that made him realize that movies could be more than pure entertainment but could actually have a profound affect on the rest of your life. Someone else asked when he had made the decision to focus on youth ministry and he said it was during his last mission trip to Trinidad in 2004. So a couple days after the interview, I get an e-mail stating that Christian has been offered and accepted the job. I started composing an e-mail to him to congratulate him and let him know I looked forward to working with him when I glanced at the picture on my desk next to my computer. It was taken during my second mission trip to Trinidad in 2001. It was taken from the 2nd floor of the church we were building looking down at me and a bunch of high school kids digging a drainage ditch in an old cow pasture. It's raining very hard and when we saw we were getting our picture taken, someone yelled "Do the Shawshank Redemption!" So we're all standing with our backs arched and our arms spread out and our faces catching the huge raindrops. And standing next to me in the picture is Christian...

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

In the past couple of weeks, I've experienced three bizarre synchronicity events. First of all, let me point out that I'm a Christian, and as such, believe that God moves in mysterious ways, answers prayers, performs miracles, etc. I don't believe in luck and do believe that coincidences are simply coincidental. Having said all that, I'm not sure where to file these:

1) I visited a used bookstore in town that I've always wanted to check out. It's been at least 6 months since I've purchased any used books to add to my collection of antique fiction. I came across a clean copy of Don Quixote by Cervantes and picked it up. A couple of days later, I decided to start reading it. A couple of days after that, I'm at work and I get a Yahoo! alert message in my inbox based on the name of the company that I work for. I check out the associated article which is from an Idaho newspaper talking about a competitor of ours opening up in a new market. The article references my company as the leader in this space which is what triggered the alert. On the same page is a headline link for "Don Quixote at 400" and it catches my eye. I read the article which says that the 400th anniversary of Cervantes' novel is to be celebrated on January 16, 2005. I started reading it for the first time on January 12, 2005.

2) I mainly use ICQ because most of the people I work with use it, but I have a friend that is only allowed to use Yahoo Messenger at his company. To make life simple, I had used Trillian, which allows you to have a single interface for multiple instant message solutions. The problem was that the free version used to randomly show you as "Away" so it was annoying and I abandoned it. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to give it another shot because someone told me there was a new version available. I installed the new version and found that one of the new features was integration with the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. When a word or phrase matches an entry, it will be underlined and you can hover over the entry to get the definition. I was IM'ing with a colleague who was asking if I wanted him to share with a group that we work with some of the changes that we had been making to servers that they support. I said, "Sure - go ahead in the spirit of open communication." The words the spirit were underlined which I thought was odd. I hovered over them and the definition I got was that there was an old comic strip called "The Spirit" written back in the early forties. I had never heard of it so of course I Googled it for more info. One of the first hits was a headline stating the author of "The Spirit" had passed away on January 3, 2005. This was on January 14, 2005.

3) I took my team out for a Christmas lunch on Tuesday, January 18, 2005, and called it a "Procrastinator's New Year's Celebration" at which they gave me a gift card to Best Buy. Later that night, I went there to buy a few things that I wouldn't normally spend money on. One thing I wanted to get was Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" CD. (I have a list of albums that I used to have on vinyl that I'm slowly replacing with CD's and this was the next one on the list.) Unfortunately they were out of stock. The following Sunday, I picked up the book that we've been using for our 5th & 6th grade group at church, because I was on the schedule to teach the following Wednesday. The book highlights movie clips that can be used for drawing parallels to stories in the Bible and biblical truths and applications to daily life. I decided to go with the lesson that talked about King Solomon's choice to ask for wisdom to help him rule over Israel. The movie clip that went with it was from "The Wizard of Oz", where Dorothy meets the Scarecrow who thinks he isn't very smart because he doesn't have a brain. I chose this one because a friend had recently sent me a video clip of some William & Mary soccer players hitting themselves on the head with boards in a drunken state with the soundtrack playing "If I Only Had A Brain." Anyway, I asked my wife if I should rent the movie or if it was worth adding to our collection. She agreed we should buy a copy so I headed off to Best Buy to pick it up. While I was there, I decided to check again on the Pink Floyd CD. This time they had it so I bought it with what I had left on my gift card. The next day at work, I told a colleague that I had just picked up a copy of Dark Side of the Moon if he was interested in borrowing it. He said, "Cool. Makes me want to go down to the planetarium for a laser light show. Either that or play it while watching The Wizard of Oz with the sound turned down." ??? I went and asked my boss about this because he is wise in the ways of music and he said, "Oh yeah, there's something like if you start the album during the tornado or something the songs sync up with what's going on in the movie." A quick check of Google again and turns out people have been doing this for years. I had never heard of this before and yet I bought the movie and CD together the night before. The checkout girl at Best Buy was probably thinking I was pretty cool.

So I'll continue to monitor my 'synchronicity' events and post any further developments here. Stay tuned...