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  5. <title>Greyhawk's Meanderings</title>
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  7. <description>Stop, collaborate and listen!</description>
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  13. <title>REVIEW: Lucky Boys Confusion – Stormchasers</title>
  14. <link></link>
  15. <comments></comments>
  16. <pubDate>Wed, 10 May 2017 21:50:19 +0000</pubDate>
  17. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Greyhawk68]]></dc:creator>
  18. <category><![CDATA[Entertainment]]></category>
  19. <category><![CDATA[Music]]></category>
  20. <category><![CDATA[lbc]]></category>
  21. <category><![CDATA[lucky boys confusion]]></category>
  22. <category><![CDATA[music]]></category>
  23. <category><![CDATA[review]]></category>
  24. <category><![CDATA[stormchasers]]></category>
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  27. <description><![CDATA[Back in 2001 Lucky Boys Confusion released their debut major label album on Elektra records.  The band mixed a great rhythm section, melodic pop punk, great vocals and some pretty catchy guitar hooks.  The first single “Fred Astaire” really resonated with me and I instantly became a fan. They were a local Chicago southwest suburbs [&#8230;]]]></description>
  28. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p class="p1">Back in 2001 <a href="">Lucky Boys Confusion</a> released their debut major label album on Elektra records.  The band mixed a great rhythm section, melodic pop punk, <img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-4452" src="" alt="" width="300" height="300" srcset=" 300w, 150w, 768w, 800w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />great vocals and some pretty catchy guitar hooks.  The first single “<a href="">Fred Astaire</a>” really resonated with me and I instantly became a fan.</p>
  29. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">They were a local Chicago southwest suburbs band and I had heard some of their songs locally, including Fred Astaire and Dumb Pop Song, since their inception in 1997.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So when they hit a major label it was home-town boys done good story.</span></p>
  30. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Fast forward 20 years since their inception, and after an 11 year absence of new music (save one b-sides album I’ll just not mention) they have returned with their best, most solid album yet, Stormchasers.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>This one was done by the band without label support, and it’s the best thing they’ve ever done.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  It <a href="">debuted on the Billboard charts at #16</a> Heatseeker.  </span>It proves that if you are a good artist, you don’t need a label telling you what to do.</span></p>
  31. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">LBC currently consists of Ryan Fergus on drums, bassist Jason Schultejann, guitarist/vocalist Adam Krier and self-proclaimed “brown guy with the microphone” Kaustubh “Stubhy” Pandav.</span></p>
  32. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">This album is melodic upbeat pop rock, <del>or as Adam calls it in “Good Luck” &#8211; punk rock with the polish</del>.<strong>*</strong><span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ve always loved Stubhy’s vocals as they have a unique edge to them that makes them instantly recognizable.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>But don’t think that these are all happy-go-lucky tunes, the lyrics are somewhat dark but very relatable.</span></p>
  33. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">There are songs about having a record company press you into being something you aren’t “Name in Lights” a couple apart during wartime “Candle in the Window (Please Come Home),” working for the man “White Collar,” being stuck in your hometown and having to keep secrets “Your Friends are Whispering” the very melancholy (for me anyway) “The Sun In My Eyes” which is hopeful but also talks about how we make up the past in our minds as being better and then “Burn a Little Brighter” that’s either about suicide or school violence where they lost a friend where the officer said “that you didn’t come home from school today.”</span></p>
  34. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">You’ll find yourself quickly singing along to all the songs on this album and also really contemplating the lyrics and how you can relate.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Especially if you are older fans of the band. Better yet, for someone like me it’s really inspiring me to write lyrics and maybe create music again.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>As a 46 year old IT Director, I miss being on stage singing to an audience.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I didn’t do it much in college, but it among my most fond memories.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>There’s nothing like sharing your music with other music fans.</span></p>
  35. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">So that brings me to the song “White Collar” again.</span></p>
  36. <blockquote>
  37. <p class="p3"><span class="s1">Aren&#8217;t we all<br />
  38. Worried about things that don&#8217;t matter<br />
  39. </span><span class="s1">So take a chance<br />
  40. </span><span class="s1">And press against this glass &#8217;til it shatters<br />
  41. </span><span class="s1">Show up, get paid<br />
  42. </span><span class="s1">Hold on to your breath while you plan your escape<br />
  43. </span><span class="s1">Show up, get paid<br />
  44. </span><span class="s1">&#8216;Cause they&#8217;re on to you<br />
  45. </span><span class="s1">&#8216;Cause they&#8217;re on to you</span></p>
  46. </blockquote>
  47. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I actually love my job, but sometimes it does feel like everything is arbitrary, and no matter how confident you are, sometimes you get <a href="">imposter syndrome</a> where you are worried you’ll be found out as a fraud.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  &#8216;</span>Cause they’re on to you indeed.</span></p>
  48. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">In “I Slept With the Devil” the following lyrics are actually pretty inspirational to me.</span></p>
  49. <blockquote>
  50. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Our dreams our burning<br />
  51. </span><span class="s1">We breathe the smoke<br />
  52. </span><span class="s1">There’s only so much time before we choke<br />
  53. </span><span class="s1">So stop complaining<br />
  54. </span><span class="s1">Embrace the thrill<br />
  55. </span><span class="s1">There’s only so much time left here to kill</span></p>
  56. </blockquote>
  57. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I know it might seem fatalistic, but quite frankly they are right.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>If you have dreams, you need to go for them because if you don’t, you’ll run out of time.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So do it, it’s scary but embrace that thrill.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Don’t waste time just sitting around being lazy and complacent. Take up that hobby. Ask that person out. Try out for that play. Write those lyrics. Don’t let your dreams burn out.</span></p>
  58. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">So in the end, this is the best thing LBC has ever released.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Not a skippable song on the album, and if you give it a listen you won’t be disappointed.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I can’t wait to see them live, and here’s to another 20 years. </span></p>
  59. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">In “Good Luck,” Adam sings:</span></p>
  60. <blockquote>
  61. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Burned out, they call us<br />
  62. </span><span class="s1">Screw ‘em, we got endless memories<br />
  63. </span><span class="s1">Punk Rock and nail polish<br />
  64. </span><span class="s1">I hope it gave you something to believe<br />
  65. </span><span class="s1">If we burn out fast<br />
  66. </span><span class="s1">Don’t surrender<br />
  67. </span><span class="s1">Summer songs will last forever<br />
  68. </span><span class="s1">That’s forever<br />
  69. </span><span class="s1">Now and forever, good luck</span></p>
  70. </blockquote>
  71. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">It did give me something to believe, so thank you.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>And the songs will last forever.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Good Luck.</span></p>
  72. <p class="p1"><a href="">Buy it on iTunes</a>. <a href="">Stream it on Apple Music</a>. <a href="">Stream on Spotify</a>.</p>
  73. <p class="p1"><strong>UPDATE</strong>: @Stubhy let me know on Twitter that I had some lyrics wrong, and one of those is &#8220;punk rock and nail polish&#8221; instead of &#8220;punk rock with the polish.&#8221;  I&#8217;ve updated accordingly <img src="" alt="🙂" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />  That said, I do think LBC is punk rock with some polish to it, but okay.  I personally think that &#8220;summer songs will last forever&#8221; is actually &#8220;some our songs will last forever&#8221; but I&#8217;ll track it down for sure at some point.  Lyrics are supposed to be in the forthcoming vinyl, so I&#8217;ll know for sure <img src="" alt="🙂" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /></p>
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  84. <title>Resolutions 2017 Edition</title>
  85. <link></link>
  86. <comments></comments>
  87. <pubDate>Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:01:34 +0000</pubDate>
  88. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Greyhawk68]]></dc:creator>
  89. <category><![CDATA[Personal Life]]></category>
  90. <category><![CDATA[2017]]></category>
  91. <category><![CDATA[resolutions]]></category>
  93. <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>
  94. <description><![CDATA[I know it’s already the middle of January, but I’ve just not been able to gear up to write this like every year.  I imagine it’s because I’m kind of afraid of where 2017 will take us.  Well enough with my lethargy, it’s time to stand up and get to work damnit. So here we [&#8230;]]]></description>
  95. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p class="p1"><span class="s1"><span class="Apple-converted-space"><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-4428" src="" alt="" width="240" height="300" srcset=" 240w, 768w, 819w" sizes="(max-width: 240px) 100vw, 240px" /></span></span></p>
  96. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I know it’s already the middle of January, but I’ve just not been able to gear up to write this like every year.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I imagine it’s because I’m kind of afraid of where 2017 will take us.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Well enough with my lethargy, it’s time to stand up and get to work damnit.</span></p>
  97. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">So here we go:</span></p>
  98. <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">Create instead of just Consume</span></strong></p>
  99. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I need to be more creative to be fulfilled.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So this year I’m going create more.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Write longer pieces, write poetry/song lyrics, blog, take pictures, make music, code.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>A little less consumption, a little more creation.</span></p>
  100. <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">Declutter and Organize More</span></strong></p>
  101. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I have more things to clean up at home.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Clothes to get rid of, closets to clear out, photos to tag, all of my old CD’s to sort.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I also want to do more to organize my day to day life.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’m going to put what’s going on into To Do lists so I can more easily remember everything I need to take care of. The more I can declutter, the better I feel.</span></p>
  102. <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">Concentrate on Health</span></strong></p>
  103. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">This past year had my mother fight and beat cancer, and my Dad dealt with back issues that resulted in spinal surgery.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Take that and all of our childhood idols dying and it’s made it very clear to me that I need to get more healthy.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I know I say it almost every year, but damnit I need to make it a reality.</span></p>
  104. <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">Be Vigilant</span></strong></p>
  105. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I believe in empathy for all humans.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’m against racism, misogyny, xenophobia, anti-LGBTQ sentiments and anything else people do to make others feel small.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’m a straight middle-class white male.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>A lot of the hate and the vitriol in the world isn’t directed my way. It’s definitely a place of privilege.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So if I see things in real life that go against my firm belief that we are all equal, I’m going to speak up for those being attacked or belittled.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ll do this in real life, at work, in the store, on the plane, at the restaurant and anywhere else I happen to be where I see crap like this taking place.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>We all have to stand up to this kind of hatred, wherever we see it.</span></p>
  106. <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">Pick My Battles Online</span></strong></p>
  107. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I know it kind of goes against what I posted about being vigilant, but I need to do much better at picking my battles online.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>You see, this last year I got into a lot of debates online, and spent a lot of time debunking stories that just weren’t true.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>And for some people, no matter how much I cited facts, they still believed the false news.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So screw it, I’m basically unfollowing (not unfriending) people for whom you simply can’t have a debate around facts.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I do have conservative friends with whom I can debate, and I’ll continue my efforts around those conversations.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>To the other folks who post nothing but articles that have been proven false, I’m not wasting my time.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>You only believe the world view you wish to believe, and won’t be swayed. You aren’t worth my time any longer.</span></p>
  108. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I think it’s going to be a rough year, but I certainly hope I’m wrong.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Either way, I have things to work on.</span></p>
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  118. <item>
  119. <title>2016 Recap</title>
  120. <link></link>
  121. <comments></comments>
  122. <pubDate>Thu, 29 Dec 2016 20:54:10 +0000</pubDate>
  123. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Greyhawk68]]></dc:creator>
  124. <category><![CDATA[Personal Life]]></category>
  125. <category><![CDATA[2016]]></category>
  126. <category><![CDATA[recap]]></category>
  127. <category><![CDATA[resolutions]]></category>
  129. <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>
  130. <description><![CDATA[As I do every year, I like to recap how I did on my resolutions from the previous year.  I’ll get to that in a minute, but I wanted to touch on 2016 for a bit. 2016, in general, was a shitshow.  The election had us more divided than ever, Brexit did the same.  And [&#8230;]]]></description>
  131. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p><a href=""><img class="alignright wp-image-4419 size-medium" src="" alt="My girls at Universal Studios" width="225" height="300" srcset=" 225w, 768w" sizes="(max-width: 225px) 100vw, 225px" /></a></p>
  132. <p class="p1">As I do every year, I like to recap how I did on my resolutions from the previous year.  I’ll get to that in a minute, but I wanted to touch on 2016 for a bit.</p>
  133. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">2016, in general, was a shitshow.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>The election had us more divided than ever, Brexit did the same.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>And it seemed that in both, common sense and decency lost.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>More icons died than you can count. Many of them profoundly influential to me.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Prince was probably the hardest one for me.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>My mother got cancer and my Dad had back problems that resulted in surgery.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Wars, refugees, and pussy grabbing.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It was all kinds of surreal and depressing.</span></p>
  134. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">The good news is that it’s almost over.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>My mother is cancer free, my Dad’s surgery went fantastically and he’s without pain and those two things are huge.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So 2016 sucked, but at least my parents kicked its ass.</span></p>
  135. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">As for my resolutions, let’s see how it went.</span></p>
  136. <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Maintain or Lose Weight.</strong> <span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It went well until the summer.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>We got really busy and stopped cooking at home as much, ate out more, and I gained weight when I was supposed to lose.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I was trending down again, but then, you know, the holidays arrived.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I *WILL* do it this coming year, because after my parents health scares, and every childhood icon dying, I have a renewed urge to get healthier.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I want to be here writing these for several decades to come.</span></p>
  137. <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Focus on Photography.</strong><span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>This was okay.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Once again, earlier in the year I did really well, and had a wonderful time taking pictures on our vacation at Universal Studios.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I also did clean up some stuff in the photo library, and got everything organized on Google Photos.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I even took one of <a href="">my favorite pictures of all time</a>.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So I did okay.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I could still do better.</span></p>
  138. <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Work/Life Balance.</strong><span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>This went wonderfully.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Since I now have a CIO running the show and another director on the team, we’ve split up a lot of the duties that were solely mine in the past.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>This has meant less travel and less stress overall.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It was a hard transition from owning the whole team, and now being a part of the team, but for me personally, it’s been good.</span></p>
  139. <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Read More.</strong><span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I did actually read more than last year.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>That isn’t saying I did a ton, but I did enjoy reading several full length novels, a bunch of magazines, and comics.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I do need to continue on this upward trajectory because I really do love to do it.</span></p>
  140. <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Clean Up My Stuff.</strong><span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>This one I knocked out of the park.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I redid my office and it looks fantastic, I redid the Man Cave and I really like how it turned out, and we redid furniture in our bedroom that totally cleaned things up.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It also allowed me to get rid of a bunch of clothes that we donated.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>On the digital side I cleaned up a lot of duplicate pictures and deleted photos that I really didn’t need to keep.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So this was my biggest success of the year.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>And having it all clean has been very calming as well.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Really glad I did this.</span></p>
  141. <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Continue Kindness.</strong><span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>This was hard.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Everything was so divisive this year.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I tried my best to be kind, but I also fell into the traps of arguments over politics and everything of that nature.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It was frustrating, and hard.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>That said, moving forward I’ll keep the kindness going in real life.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>And I’m going to try to avoid the drama online as much as possible.</span></p>
  142. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">In general, the world sucked in 2016, but my family and I are healthy and here, and that’s what I’m going to focus on.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Let’s end this, and start off on the right foot.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Here’s to 2017.</span></p>
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  152. <item>
  153. <title>Everyone Should Matter</title>
  154. <link></link>
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  156. <pubDate>Sat, 09 Jul 2016 19:24:25 +0000</pubDate>
  157. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Greyhawk68]]></dc:creator>
  158. <category><![CDATA[News and Politics]]></category>
  159. <category><![CDATA[BLM]]></category>
  160. <category><![CDATA[inequality]]></category>
  161. <category><![CDATA[race]]></category>
  163. <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>
  164. <description><![CDATA[I&#8217;ve seen quite a few of my friends and family post with the hashtag ‪#‎alllivesmatter‬. And for the vast majority of those people, it&#8217;s with good intentions. They are saying that black people, and police officers, and gay people etc. all matter. And they do, absolutely, I agree. But there&#8217;s a problem with simply saying #alllivesmatter, [&#8230;]]]></description>
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  166. <div id="js_8" class="_5pbx userContent" data-ft="{&quot;tn&quot;:&quot;K&quot;}">
  167. <p>I&#8217;ve seen quite a few of my friends and family post with the hashtag <a class="_58cn" href=";story_id=10155154710883569" data-ft="{&quot;tn&quot;:&quot;*N&quot;,&quot;type&quot;:104}"><span class="_58cl">‪#‎</span><span class="_58cm">alllivesmatter‬</span></a>. And for the vast majority of those people, it&#8217;s with good intentions. They are saying that black people, and police officers, and gay people etc. all matter. And they do, absolutely, I agree. But there&#8217;s a problem with simply saying #alllivesmatter, it tends to dismiss the real issues that black people face in our society.</p>
  168. <p><a class="_58cn" href=";story_id=10155154710883569" data-ft="{&quot;tn&quot;:&quot;*N&quot;,&quot;type&quot;:104}"><span class="_58cl">‪#‎</span><span class="_58cm">blacklivesmatter‬</span></a> rose in response to the killing of black people by the hands of police officers where the suspect was unarmed, or not being confrontational, or already subdued by police. This has happened at at alarming rate. I really think the BLM movement should have labeled it <a class="_58cn" href=";story_id=10155154710883569" data-ft="{&quot;tn&quot;:&quot;*N&quot;,&quot;type&quot;:104}"><span class="_58cl">‪#‎</span><span class="_58cm">blacklivesmattertoo‬</span></a> because that would cause less controversy.</p>
  169. <p>The problem isn&#8217;t just that it has happened, it&#8217;s that in a lot of cases, the officers in question never get punished. Take the Eric Garner case, they had an officer ON VIDEO taking down Eric with a chokehold that is prohibited by the NYPD. There&#8217;s no disputing any of it. That banned chokehold killed that man, but the police officer was never charged. It was fully documented on video, and you couldn&#8217;t even press charges then.</p>
  170. <p>That&#8217;s why Black Lives Matter exists, to try to help right these wrongs when and where they occur and to bring awareness to the fact that there is still a real problem when it comes to race.</p>
  171. <p>I have friends and acquaintances who are (and who were) police officers, and I know that they are decent, awesome people who would never commit these kinds of acts. In fact the majority of police in general never would. But when it happens, all I want to see is that the bad cops who perpetrate such acts are brought to justice. And that doesn&#8217;t happen enough.</p>
  172. <p>And if you don&#8217;t think this is about race, google for pictures of white people with guns around police. You can find lots of pictures with white gun advocates armed to the teeth where police aren&#8217;t flinching and killing them. In fact take the guy who shot up an abortion clinic not too long ago. White guy, who killed a police officer, wounded several more, and killed two civilians was taken alive. If there&#8217;s ever someone who should have died in an incident, it should have been him. You shoot at police officers, all bets are off, you SHOULD be gunned down. But he wasn&#8217;t.</p>
  173. <p>So there IS still a problem, and that&#8217;s what BLM is about. I still really wish they were called #blacklivesmattertoo as I think that&#8217;s really the point they are making. They aren&#8217;t saying that ONLY they matter, they are saying they should matter as much as a privileged white person, of which I am one.</p>
  174. <p>So please, don&#8217;t use #alllivesmatter even though your intentions are good, because it sweeps the real problems black people face to the side and it&#8217;s still a very real issue.</p>
  175. <p>So in case any of this is unclear, my stance is the following:</p>
  176. <ul>
  177. <li>I support law enforcement</li>
  178. <li>I support the rights of people to protest injustice</li>
  179. <li>I want to see bad cops face consequences for their actions</li>
  180. <li>I want to see actual criminals face consequences for their actions</li>
  181. <li>I want unnecessary killings to stop</li>
  182. <li>All lives do matter, but there is still a racial problem in our society</li>
  183. </ul>
  184. <p>The Black Lives Matter march in Dallas was peaceful, no incidents, in fact the Dallas PD twitter account was posting pictures including ones of protesters and police officers shaking hands and posing together. The attack was a disgusting, horrible thing perpetrated by a sick mind. It&#8217;s not anything anyone in BLM wanted.</p>
  185. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en">
  186. <p dir="ltr" lang="de">Demonstration in <a href="">#Dallas</a> @ Belo Garden Park <a href=""></a></p>
  187. <p>— Dallas Police Depart (@DallasPD) <a href="">July 8, 2016</a></p></blockquote>
  188. <p><script src="//" async="" charset="utf-8"></script></p>
  189. <p>Right now I&#8217;m scared for our country. I&#8217;m scared that violence will escalate and we&#8217;ll see more of these incidences. I fear for the safety of my police officer friends, and I fear for the safety of my black friends. It&#8217;s not a good time, but maybe, just maybe this incident will help people come together. People will support police, and also weed out injustice when it happens. We can only hope, and hope is a commodity that I have precious little of nowadays.</p>
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  202. <item>
  203. <title>Disconnecting</title>
  204. <link></link>
  205. <comments></comments>
  206. <pubDate>Tue, 26 Jan 2016 15:40:23 +0000</pubDate>
  207. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Greyhawk68]]></dc:creator>
  208. <category><![CDATA[Blogging]]></category>
  209. <category><![CDATA[IBM Lotus]]></category>
  210. <category><![CDATA[Work Life]]></category>
  211. <category><![CDATA[career]]></category>
  212. <category><![CDATA[connect]]></category>
  213. <category><![CDATA[ibm]]></category>
  214. <category><![CDATA[IT]]></category>
  215. <category><![CDATA[lotus]]></category>
  216. <category><![CDATA[lotusphere]]></category>
  217. <category><![CDATA[software]]></category>
  219. <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>
  220. <description><![CDATA[IBM Connect (formerly Lotusphere) starts next weekend in sunny Orlando, Florida.  This is a tech conference I’ve attended every January for nearly the last 20 years.  I’ve attended as a developer, an admin, a speaker, the press, a blogger, and as a pointy haired boss. This past week has been filled with throwback photo apps [&#8230;]]]></description>
  221. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p class="p1">IBM Connect (formerly Lotusphere) starts next weekend in sunny Orlando, Florida.  This is a tech conference I’ve attended every January for nearly the last 20 years.  I’ve attended as a developer, an admin, a speaker, the press, a blogger, and as a pointy haired boss.<img class="alignright size-full wp-image-4375" src="" alt="disconnecting" width="480" height="360" srcset=" 480w, 300w" sizes="(max-width: 480px) 100vw, 480px" /></p>
  222. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">This past week has been filled with throwback photo apps showing me pictures of this day and that day in history, and every one has been brimming with pictures of this awesome yearly pilgrimage.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So many memories of really wonderful times.</span></p>
  223. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">This conference has meant an awful lot to me all these years.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ve met people from all over the world whom I will consider friends for the rest of my life.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ve been able to hire and work with people who were part of this community.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ve experienced bachelor parties, and cigar meet ups, and random dinners with folks who happened to be in the same town as me at the same time. It’s a special thing, this community.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>And I’ve been thrilled to be such a part of it over the last 20 years.</span></p>
  224. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">So why am I not officially attending this year?<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Well it really comes down to the technology.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>We’re moving to Outlook and Office 365.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>We will also be replacing our HR and ERP systems, and with it, some of our Domino development. Quite frankly a lot of the choices make sense, and we’ll probably have a better environment because of it.</span></p>
  225. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">So as IBM Technologies are fading within my place of business, so too are any valid reasons for attending Connect.</span></p>
  226. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Unless I have an abrupt career change (which I’m not anticipating) I will be starting a relatively new chapter in my technology career.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It’s going to be weird, but the yellow bubble is like Hotel California.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I can check out, but I can never leave.</span></p>
  227. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Nor do I want to.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ll still be on Twitter, Facebook, and here and I’m even taking a family vacation during Connect this year so I can stop by and see everyone.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I would miss you all if I couldn’t.</span></p>
  228. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">So, since my time in the bubble is coming to an end, I figure I’ll lay this out there for posterity.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It kinda seems like tooting my own horn, but it’s more for me to remember all the stuff I’ve accomplished with this technology.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I loved this tech, and it is what gave me an IT career and for that I will be forever grateful.</span></p>
  229. <ul>
  230. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I started as a trainer, training 1700 users of a bank how to use Lotus Notes (version 3 to 4 I believe)</span></li>
  231. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I became an admin and help desk for those 1700 users, supporting the software for everyone.</span></li>
  232. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I became a consultant and was trained as a developer, and did work on Fortune 500 accounts</span></li>
  233. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">That same consultant gig lead me to admin work for a tech services company</span></li>
  234. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">So I was back to being an admin, and doing some dev work, and helping run an IT org</span></li>
  235. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">Then I went to my current company as an admin of all the collaboration services</span></li>
  236. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">4 years later I took over as Manager of IT</span></li>
  237. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">The next year I became Director of IT and have been doing that for the last 7 years</span></li>
  238. </ul>
  239. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">In the same time span</span></p>
  240. <ul>
  241. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I wrote professionally for Intranet Journal for 3.5 years on how to use Lotus technologies in your intranet.</span></li>
  242. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I was a board member of Granite, the Chicago Lotus user group</span></li>
  243. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I’ve blogged here about IBM/Lotus for over a decade</span></li>
  244. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I had a white paper I wrote given away by a vendor at their booth at Lotusphere</span></li>
  245. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I had a picture I took appear in every Lotusphere giveaway bag</span></li>
  246. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I’ve spoken at Lotusphere</span></li>
  247. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I’ve spoken at IBM Edge</span></li>
  248. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I’ve been the official photographer of IAMLUG</span></li>
  249. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I helped our company become a member sponsor of OpenNTF</span></li>
  250. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I’ve been a part of several official IBM whitepapers, including writing one with John Head </span></li>
  251. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I was one of the customer interviews for the worldwide webcast launch of Notes 9</span></li>
  252. <li class="p1"><span class="s1">I’ve had the privilege of managing and being teammates with the absolute best private company group of X-Pages developers on the market.</span></li>
  253. </ul>
  254. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">And as much as I have championed the technology, I wasn’t a total fanboy.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I made sure to use software that was always best for the job, not just because it had IBM branding.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>A look back through my blog will attest to that.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Workplace Services Express is a very good example <img src="" alt="🙂" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /></span></p>
  255. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">That said, I owe IBM and Lotus an immense debt of gratitude.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Those companies are really responsible for me having a career and two decades full of wonderful memories and friendships. </span></p>
  256. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">So thank you IBM, thank you Lotus, and thanks to all of you reading.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I hope everyone really enjoys IBM Connect this year, and I hope it goes on for decades to come.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It’s time for other people to enjoy the kind of things I have.</span></p>
  257. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Anyway, I’ll still be around.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Don’t be a stranger.</span></p>
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  267. <item>
  268. <title>On Appreciation</title>
  269. <link></link>
  270. <comments></comments>
  271. <pubDate>Fri, 22 Jan 2016 16:26:27 +0000</pubDate>
  272. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Greyhawk68]]></dc:creator>
  273. <category><![CDATA[Personal Life]]></category>
  274. <category><![CDATA[Work Life]]></category>
  275. <category><![CDATA[appreciation]]></category>
  276. <category><![CDATA[happiness]]></category>
  277. <category><![CDATA[work]]></category>
  279. <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>
  280. <description><![CDATA[My pointy hair and I have been thinking about this topic a lot over the last six months and it was finally time to sit down at a keyboard and get it out. There are a lot of things that determine job satisfaction in this world.  Money, benefits, being challenged and not bored, work/life balance, [&#8230;]]]></description>
  281. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p class="p1">My pointy hair and I have been thinking about this topic a lot over the last six months and it was finally time to sit down at a keyboard and get it out.<img class="alignright size-full wp-image-4372" src="" alt="appreciation" width="480" height="480" srcset=" 480w, 150w, 300w" sizes="(max-width: 480px) 100vw, 480px" /></p>
  282. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">There are a lot of things that determine job satisfaction in this world.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Money, benefits, being challenged and not bored, work/life balance, commute time and more.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>To me however, one of the most important things is simple appreciation for the work that you do.</span></p>
  283. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Now I work in IT.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>And in IT you have to have pretty thick skin as generally the only time people tend to talk to, or about IT, is if something is malfunctioning.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Joe Blow can’t get his email or Jane Doe can’t get to her files.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>When everything is running smoothly and all systems are at 100% we simply don’t exist.</span></p>
  284. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">No one tends to realize how much work goes into maintaining networks, servers, laptops, desktops, tablets, software stacks, phone systems, mobility options, printers, wireless connectivity, software development, security and everything else that a typical IT team deals with.</span></p>
  285. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">In addition, we, as IT Professionals, would never fathom that we could do the job of a carpenter, accountant, or a mechanic better than those experts in their fields.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Yet, anyone with a smart phone seems to think they know how to run an IT organization.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It’s frustrating, but it comes with the territory, and most of us in IT have grown to understand this phenomenon and deal with it accordingly.</span></p>
  286. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">We have grown to accept the fact that folks rarely show us any appreciation.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It’s kind of a sad reality, but one I know every IT person reading this can relate to in some form.</span></p>
  287. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Now in my role as an IT leader, I try hard to let my team know how much I appreciate the work they do.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I thank them often, and let them know that the work they do matters TO ME.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>That I appreciate what they do, and how hard they work, and all the long hours they put in when issues rear their ugly heads.</span></p>
  288. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Now sometimes even within an IT organization, teammates will bicker about each other, and still focus on the bad stuff some people do, without ever considering all the good things a person brings.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>This is also detrimental.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Situations aren’t always ideal, and you need to look at the good as well as the bad traits someone may exhibit. <span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>There’s always a tipping point mind you, and bad employees do have to be dealt with, but if no one ever has an appreciation for what others bring to the table, how can they expect to be appreciated themselves?</span></p>
  289. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">There’s not much worse than knowing you’ve sweat and bled for something you’ve done and no one gives you any sort of credit for it.</span></p>
  290. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">So if you manage a staff, let them know how much their hard work means to you.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>And mean it, don’t just say it.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>If you work with others, let them know.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Thank them and let them know that their work hasn’t gone unnoticed.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>And even random people you deal with, thank them and let them know that you recognize how hard they work.</span></p>
  291. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Simple appreciation that someone works hard to be good at what they do (no matter what it is) goes a very long way. </span></p>
  292. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I like to think I’m a decent manager, and I hope I’ve been good at telling my staff that I really couldn’t do my job without them.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ve worn the pointy hair in my current gig for nearly 8 years now, and I am insanely proud of all we’ve accomplished with so little.</span></p>
  293. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I know what we’ve done, and I know how hard everyone worked to get to where we are.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’m full of gratitude and appreciate for that.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>And I try to let them know as much as possible.</span></p>
  294. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">How about you?</span></p>
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  305. <title>2016 Resolutions</title>
  306. <link></link>
  307. <comments></comments>
  308. <pubDate>Sun, 03 Jan 2016 21:57:56 +0000</pubDate>
  309. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Greyhawk68]]></dc:creator>
  310. <category><![CDATA[Personal Life]]></category>
  311. <category><![CDATA[2016]]></category>
  312. <category><![CDATA[resolutions]]></category>
  314. <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>
  315. <description><![CDATA[Maintain or Lose Weight This past year I did pretty well bringing my weight down, but I would really love to lose another 10-15 pounds.  I need to keep at it and at least maintain where I am, but it would be good to get some exercise going too.  If I can do that, I [&#8230;]]]></description>
  316. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p><img src=''></p><h3 class="p1">Maintain or Lose Weight</h3>
  317. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">This past year I did pretty well bringing my weight down, but I would really love to lose another 10-15 pounds.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I need to keep at it and at least maintain where I am, but it would be good to get some exercise going too.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>If I can do that, I might be able to shed some more weight.</span></p>
  318. <h3 class="p1"><span class="s1">Focus on Photography</span></h3>
  319. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Okay, I failed on this last year, but photography is a passion for me, something I love.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So I am going to try to post at least one picture a day on Instagram.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>If I keep doing it, I&#8217;ll focus on composition and trying to keep my skills up.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I also really need to focus on cleaning up my Lightroom library.</span></p>
  320. <h3 class="p1"><span class="s1">Work/Life Balance</span></h3>
  321. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">2016 is going to be a very interesting and challenging work year for me for a variety of reasons.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Because of this, I need to be in the right mindset to deal with what is going to happen.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It&#8217;s not that all the change will be bad, I just need to deal with it in the right ways.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I also need to make sure that I don&#8217;t bring my work home and take out any frustrations on the family.</span></p>
  322. <h3 class="p1"><span class="s1">Read More</span></h3>
  323. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I like to read but I just never make time, so there&#8217;s no excuse.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I enjoy good novels as well as magazines and some comics.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I have Texture so I should take some time to read magazines as well as some stuff I have queued up on Kindle.</span></p>
  324. <h3 class="p1"><span class="s1">Clean Up My Stuff</span></h3>
  325. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I need to redo my basement office with a new more streamlined design.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I need to sort through my clothes and pair them down to what I really wear.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I need to throw away all the old technology boxes I&#8217;ve kept for far too long. I also need to go through and rip a bunch of DVD and blu-rays and get them on my file server.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So whether my stuff is physical or digital, I need to tidy up this year.</span></p>
  326. <h3 class="p1"><span class="s1">Continue Kindness</span></h3>
  327. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">With the election coming up, the refugee crisis, and terrorism rearing it&#8217;s ugly head, people will be even more divided this year.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It&#8217;s going to suck, and I think all I can do is simply be kind to people.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Be nice, be kind, and don&#8217;t engage in arguments that will lead nowhere.</span></p>
  328. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">So here&#8217;s to a good 2016.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I&#8217;m generally an optimistic person, and I think I can make this an extraordinary year ahead.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I hope to share it with you along the way.</span></p>
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  338. <item>
  339. <title>2015 Year in Review</title>
  340. <link></link>
  341. <comments></comments>
  342. <pubDate>Fri, 01 Jan 2016 17:54:48 +0000</pubDate>
  343. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Greyhawk68]]></dc:creator>
  344. <category><![CDATA[Personal Life]]></category>
  345. <category><![CDATA[2015]]></category>
  346. <category><![CDATA[review]]></category>
  347. <category><![CDATA[year in review]]></category>
  349. <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>
  350. <description><![CDATA[Every year, I go back and look at my resolutions and see how I did.  Let’s take a look once again. Get Healthier On this I think I did pretty well overall.  That curve on my weight chart keeps going down, but I’m not totally where I want to be yet.  I did it mainly [&#8230;]]]></description>
  351. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p class="p1">Every year, I go back and look at my resolutions and see how I did.  Let’s take a look once again.</p>
  352. <h3 class="p1"><span class="s1">Get Healthier</span></h3>
  353. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">On this I think I did pretty well overall.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>That curve on my weight chart keeps going down, but I’m not totally where I want to be yet.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I did it mainly through what I ate.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>What I really need to do is actually commit to exercising.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>But I feel pretty good about this one.</span></p>
  354. <h3 class="p1"><span class="s1">Do more with my Photography</span></h3>
  355. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I pretty much failed miserably at this again.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I barely took the DLSR out this year, and primarily took pictures with the iPhone.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Nothing wrong with that, as it’s always with you, and it does take some damn good photos.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I just never did all I wanted to do in Lightroom by cleaning up my catalog, and I never just took pictures for the love of the art.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ll try to do more this upcoming year.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>One thing that was really cool though was Google Photos.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Basically everything I take gets uploaded to Google, and it does some magic sometimes, and is easily searchable.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So that was nice new addition.</span></p>
  356. <h3 class="p1"><span class="s1">Write more again</span></h3>
  357. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Fail. Fail. Fail.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I do a ton on Facebook, and was less prevalent on Twitter this year.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>That said, I wanted to do more long form stuff, and other than what I wrote about Lotusphere and the Apple Watch, not much got done.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I need to get back to that.</span></p>
  358. <h3 class="p1"><span class="s1">Learn</span></h3>
  359. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I learned a lot this year, just not in the way I had planned.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It was more about patience, how to be humble, and how to deal with adversity than anything fun.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>That needs to change.</span></p>
  360. <h3 class="p1"><span class="s1">Work/Life Balance</span></h3>
  361. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I had a really rough year this year.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>A lot of anxiety, a lot of change, and my stress levels were through the roof.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So at times I think I failed miserably at this, but despite how rough it was overall, I think I did pretty well.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I still let the family know how much I love them, and I didn’t let work get in the way of major family milestones. </span></p>
  362. <h3 class="p1"><span class="s1">Be Kind</span></h3>
  363. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I feel, and hope, that people around me feel I did well on this.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It’s been hard, with all the divisiveness in the world to not want to lash out.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>That said, I have tried hard not to engage in arguments, and tried hard to ignore things that would really make me angry at people I know.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ve really tried to be nice to my fellow humans and keep things positive.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It was hard, really hard this year with all the stuff I’ve been dealing with, but because of this resolution, I think I’ve come out better on the other end.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>The simple words of Be Kind can make everyone’s life better, and I’ll continue to keep trying.</span></p>
  364. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">As for the world, it’s gotten even worse since 2014.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Here’s hoping that 2016 will see some more healing and less vitriol.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Let’s all work to make that happen.</span></p>
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  374. <item>
  375. <title>Six Months with the Apple Watch</title>
  376. <link></link>
  377. <comments></comments>
  378. <pubDate>Wed, 04 Nov 2015 21:17:13 +0000</pubDate>
  379. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Greyhawk68]]></dc:creator>
  380. <category><![CDATA[Mobile]]></category>
  381. <category><![CDATA[Technology]]></category>
  382. <category><![CDATA[apple]]></category>
  383. <category><![CDATA[apple watch]]></category>
  384. <category><![CDATA[review]]></category>
  385. <category><![CDATA[watch]]></category>
  387. <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>
  388. <description><![CDATA[Six months ago, I received my shipment containing Apple’s newest gadget, the Apple Watch.  I’ve been wearing it every day since, and I get asked quite a bit what I think of it, and whether it’s worth a purchase.  For me, the answer is yes, but it may not be for everyone. You have to [&#8230;]]]></description>
  389. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p class="p1"><span class="s1"><img class="alignright size-full wp-image-4352" src="" alt="IMG_3373" width="312" height="390" srcset=" 312w, 240w" sizes="(max-width: 312px) 100vw, 312px" />Six months ago, I received my shipment containing Apple’s newest gadget, the Apple Watch.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ve been wearing it every day since, and I get asked quite a bit what I think of it, and whether it’s worth a purchase.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>For me, the answer is yes, but it may not be for everyone.<br />
  390. </span></p>
  391. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">You have to understand that I’m somewhat of a gadget addict.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I like new technology and tend to try everything as it comes out.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So I was excited to receive this new toy and put it through its paces.</span></p>
  392. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">So what does it do well?<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>For starters, it’s a great fitness band.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>If you are used to wearing something like a Fitbit or a Jawbone, the Apple Watch serves the same purpose and serves it well.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It counts steps and calories burned, can track workouts, and even has a heart rate monitor.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>All of this data flows into the Apple Health app on your phone, and allows you a really nice way to keep metrics on how much you move throughout the day.</span></p>
  393. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">It also measures if you’ve stood up and moved every hour, and if not, it reminds you to at ten minutes to the hour.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Some people find that annoying, but for me it does remind me if I’ve been sitting at my desk for too long.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It also tracks your calories burned, how many hours you’ve been active throughout the day, and how much exercise you’ve gotten in a nice display of three circles.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>The closer you get to your daily goal, the farther the circle goes around.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Some people find that to be quite the motivator.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>There are also awards you can get for doing things like filling the circles every day, or going a whole week or month filling the circles.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ve known a few people who have used this quite successfully for motivation.</span></p>
  394. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Now the Apple Watch is meant to be put on its charger every evening, so it’s not something you wear overnight.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>This means that there is no built in sleep tracking.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>There are a couple of third party apps that can do it, but I think most people don’t want to have to keep an eye on their battery that closely to make that work.</span></p>
  395. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">That’s not to say battery life is bad.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It easily lasts a day.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Most days when I put it on the charger at night I have at least 60% battery life left.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>But, I don’t do any major exercise, so for those of you that do, that battery will drain more quickly as exercise utilizes the heart rate monitor for the duration of the workout.</span></p>
  396. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Other than the fitness aspect, the Apple Watch is a decent, informational timepiece.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>You have your choice of multiple watch faces that can show as much or as little data as you wish.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>There are data heavy faces, fun faces like Mickey Mouse and Photos, or even ones that look like their analog counterparts.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Most faces allow you to customize what data is shown via “complications.”<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Complications are the various pieces of data you can show on the watch face at any given time.</span></p>
  397. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">For example, on the main face I use, called Modular, I have a complication that shows the date, one that shows calendar info from Fantastical, weather info from Dark Sky, my fitness progress and the Sunset/Sunrise time.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It’s quite a bit of data to see at a glance, and I have it set up just like I want it.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>You have quite a few options to choose from to find something that works well for you.</span></p>
  398. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Another nice thing is that the watch allows you to receive notifications from your phone directly on your wrist.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>You can tailor which notifications you want to allow, and I definitely suggest you pare it down to the bare minimum you care about.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Otherwise your wrist would be buzzing constantly.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I set mine up to get notified of texts, some email, and a couple of social networking things, but I let my phone handle the rest.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I do really like the ability to be notified of something and quickly check my wrist rather than having to pull my phone out of my pocket.</span></p>
  399. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Now I have noticed that social norms have not caught up to this quite yet.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I try to be discreet when I look at my wrist, but if you are talking with someone and they notice, they think you are looking at your watch to check the time and rush the conversation along.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ve had to apologize to people a couple times and explain that no, I’m not trying to get rid of them, I just got notified of something on the watch.</span></p>
  400. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Checking the watch can definitely be construed as rude behavior by some folks, although it’s no more rude than pulling out your phone.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>That said, I only try to do it discreetly to see if something really needs my attention.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ve also found that it’s great for things like waiting in line, or sitting in a meeting or other situations where a quick glance allows you to notice the information, but no one thinks you are being disruptive.</span></p>
  401. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Another thing you can use the watch for is Apple Pay.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Apple Pay allows you to connect a credit or debit card to your phone and watch, and you can pay simply by touching your device to compatible credit card readers.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I’ve paid with my watch at a variety of places including Walgreens, McDonalds and Best Buy.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It’s very easy, more secure than swiping your card, and fast.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I could even leave my house and leave the credit cards at home.</span></p>
  402. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">The way Apple handles the security on this is pretty clever too.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Once the watch is on your wrist, you authenticate it by using the fingerprint reader on your phone.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Once you’ve proven it’s you with the fingerprint, the watch is authorized on your wrist until it loses skin contact.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Once it loses contact, it locks and cannot be used for Apple Pay until you re-authenticate with your fingerprint.</span></p>
  403. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">The last major thing you can do on the watch is install apps.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>There are tons of different apps out there and quite frankly, most of them I’ve run across aren’t that great.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>There are exceptions, but so far, app developers haven’t done the best job of making apps run quickly on the device.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>There is a lot of waiting and refreshing, and many times it would simply be faster to pull your phone out of your pocket.</span></p>
  404. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">That said, there are a couple apps I love.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>One of them is Overcast.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Overcast is a podcast player that allows you to subscribe to and play back podcasts.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>For me, I mount my iPhone in the car to use as a GPS.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Most times I have Overcast playing in the background with the GPS up on the screen as the foreground app.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So before, this meant that if I wanted to do anything in Overcast, I would have to close the GPS and switch to Overcast to do things like switch podcasts or fast forward through parts of the episode.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>This is obviously a dangerous thing to do while driving.</span></p>
  405. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Since I have Overcast as an application on my watch, it’s very easy for me to make those changes while still keeping my eyes on the road.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I use that constantly, and it’s made my commute that much better.</span></p>
  406. <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><a href=""><img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-4353" src="" alt="IMG_3377" width="312" height="390" srcset=" 312w, 240w" sizes="(max-width: 312px) 100vw, 312px" /></a>Another fun one is the Philips Hue app.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Philips Hue are lightbulbs that can change color at your command.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I have an app on my phone that allows me to turn on lights, dim them, change colors and more.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Well the watch app allows me to do the same thing.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>So when we are getting ready to watch a TV show I can pull up the app on my watch and easily turn off the lights.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It’s kind of a dumb thing, but I find myself using it all the time.</span></p>
  407. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">The last one that’s gotten a large amount of use is storing my boarding pass for Southwest airlines on my watch, and using it to board the plane.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>When you check in for a flight on Southwest, you can get a QR code on the Southwest app on the phone.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>You can then save that QR code to the Wallet app on the phone.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Once it’s there, it’s also available on the watch.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>When I get in line to board a plane, I simply pull up the code on my watch and wave it under the scanner and board the plane.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It’s sparked a lot of conversations with other passengers and I’ve probably sold a couple Apple Watches based on that alone.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It’s a simple thing, but works elegantly, and has made boarding a plane a tad more enjoyable.</span></p>
  408. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">The last major thing I enjoy is the Siri support on the watch itself.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>If you raise the watch and say “Hey Siri” you can do all sorts of things.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>You can initiate a phone call, text someone, search for things, and the one I use the most, set reminders.</span></p>
  409. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">For example, my most used reminder is “Hey Siri, Remind me to check the laundry in an hour.”<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>That automatically sets up a reminder for an hour from now that will buzz on my wrist when it’s time to switch out loads of clothes.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I do little reminders like that all the time, and it’s incredibly handy.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Imagine having your hands dirty while cooking and you want to set a timer, just raise your wrist and ask Siri to make it happen.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It’s really a nice feature.</span></p>
  410. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">As for style and comfort, I purchased the black aluminum with black band and I think it looks really nice.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>The flouroelastimer band (i.e. fancy rubber-like material) is very comfortable, and I like the fact that you can easily change out bands to match outfits or types of events you might attend.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>I haven’t bought any of the additional bands myself as they can be somewhat pricey, but I think I’ll probably get one or two more down the road.</span></p>
  411. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">So, the question is, am I happy with my purchase?<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>For me yes, it’s not a world changing gadget by any means, but it does a lot really really well, and it does make my life easier and more quantifiable.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>If I was a mile down the road in my car and forgot it at home, would I turn around to go get it like I would my phone?<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>No.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>If I walked down to the garage and forgot it, would I walk back upstairs to make sure I had it? Absolutely.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It does enough that I miss it and want it with me.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>And really, isn’t that what a good gadget is all about?</span></p>
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  421. <item>
  422. <title>20 Years</title>
  423. <link></link>
  424. <comments></comments>
  425. <pubDate>Wed, 03 Jun 2015 12:10:14 +0000</pubDate>
  426. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Greyhawk68]]></dc:creator>
  427. <category><![CDATA[Personal Life]]></category>
  428. <category><![CDATA[anniversary]]></category>
  429. <category><![CDATA[jen]]></category>
  430. <category><![CDATA[marriage]]></category>
  432. <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>
  433. <description><![CDATA[20 years, two decades, 7305 days (according to Siri), three homes, five full-time employers, two children, three cats, six dogs, six vehicles and one woman. 20 years ago today, I married my soulmate.  It was a beautiful early summer day as we said our vows next to the Kankakee river in Wilmington, Illinois. We were [&#8230;]]]></description>
  434. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p class="p1"><span class="s1"><a href=""><img class="alignright size-full wp-image-2850" src="" alt="JenAndJohnSML" width="480" height="690" srcset=" 480w, 209w" sizes="(max-width: 480px) 100vw, 480px" /></a>20 years, two decades, 7305 days (according to Siri), three homes, five full-time employers, two children, three cats, six dogs, six vehicles and one woman.</span></p>
  435. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">20 years ago today, I married my soulmate.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>It was a beautiful early summer day as we said our vows next to the Kankakee river in Wilmington, Illinois. We were surrounded by family, friends, and geese wearing bow ties.</span></p>
  436. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">We were about a year out of college and were just starting our adult lives.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>We had actually lived for a time in a van down by that very river which rendered that joke on Saturday Night Live all the more humorous.</span></p>
  437. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">We weren’t quite sure what the future held, but we knew we wanted to go through it together.</span></p>
  438. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Times weren’t always easy, and we still can joke today that we’ve spent 18 years happily married.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Two of them were really bad, but at least we agree on which ones.</span></p>
  439. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I’m 44 years old now, and nearly half of my life has been spent in love with this person, the mother of my children, my best friend, partner in crime, and pillar of support.</span></p>
  440. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I honestly cannot imagine doing this with anyone else.</span></p>
  441. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I love you Jen, thanks for always being there for me, and being my definition of “home.”</span></p>
  442. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Here’s to the next 20 and beyond.</span></p>
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