I'm home this afternoon, feeling feverish and sick enough that I think I shouldn't be in the workplace passing the microbes around. After a long, needed sleep, I woke up in time to watch... wait for it... yes... that's right... OPRAH!!!
Now, I'd never plan getting sick or a day off in order to watch Oprah, but I have to admit that when the opportunity arises, it's a welcome one. Kind of like chicken soup for the... OK, I won't say it. Too trite!!!
But today... bonus! Oprah had Sean Penn on and the young actor, Emil Somethingorother (sorry Emil) with clips and information about the new movie "Into the Wild." This sounds like a must see movie... at least for me. I'm reminded so much of my youth, my old hitchiking days, my solitary times in the woods of Central and Northern California, wheat fields of the midwest, hidden cabins in Canadian wilderness, close encounters with bears, stints in apple orchards, sleeping on highway shoulders and cow pastures near said shoulders, hiking beside creeks and waterfalls... and more. There's an urban wilderness few know of... all night bonfires in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, spending the night by walking the entire city or hiking land's end until sunrise. Certainly, I didn't go so far nor to such extremes as the real-life person this story portrays (Chris), but I promise there's enough there to pluck the proverbial harmonic strings of familiarity. I feel fortunate to have experienced such times in my life and to be able to carry those memories of self-testing, self-discovery, introspection... Even in my late days, I remember those times with clarity, and on occasion think to myself that that was real, that was the edge, that was "alive." I fall just short of thinking, "That should be repeated!"
In the mean time, Oprah! My goodness girl... have you no shame? You are becoming a characature of yourself I think, and you totally gushed at being next to Sean. Maybe that's not a bad thing. At least you still have it in regard to picking things (books, movies, music) that we all should pay attention to... that expresses our current culture, national angst, community heart and the better part of our human-ness. Although embarrassed for you from time to time, I appreciate these moments to meet and hear from important people in our culture... in our day... Gracias.
There are only four questions in life:
What is sacred?
Of what is spirit made?
What is worth living for?
What is worth dying for?
Johnny Depp - Don Juan De Marco
I flounder much of the time between perceived reality and real-ness. Say what you will, real-ness seems to be embodied in the aforementioned quesions rather than in a person's financial portfolio, resume'd skill set, persona, hair cut, iced coffee drink preference, leveraged credit, automobile choice (see previous), trophy wife/husband/child/pet, or backyard smoker.
My deepest gratitude and appreciation to those in my life: past and present; and to those who've been in recent contact!
Uh-oh, how'd that happen?
Months slipped by once again and I find myself in another year. Hold on... I'm in another place... like a whole 'nother state! Just a little while ago I was in my Palo Alto tree house, running up and down the Peninsula between my place and Bonnie's, and now I'm 2100 miles away.
It's the middle of winter here in Northwest Arkansas... ice storems, snow, barren trees... but I've been here in the spring, summer and fall, and I knonw how beautiful it gets here. Deciduous woods, lakes and streams, hills and meadows, cows, chickens, sheep, chickens, firework stands, incredible birds, chickens, firework stands, sunsets, lightning... did I say chickens? Right. Oh, and did I mention the firework stands? Ok, goood.
I'm not willing yet to say my California adventure has come to and end... I left half of me there, so I'll be back often to visit, and one never knows what the future will bring. But for the time being, I'm on a new adventure back here in the midlands. My childhood roots are in middle America, so there's an aspect of this that seems familiar. I think the thing I missed the most while living in Northern California was the power of the seasonal weather changes. I often mentioned to people that it took me a couple years to notice the seasons in San Francisco... it all just seemed to blend together. Here, the land and the skies won't let you doubt for long what time of year you're in.
My daughter lives in this area, so you can well imagine the comfort and joy that brings. And a new job starting up at Wal-Mart in the technology group (they call it ISD) promises to be challenging, educational and fulfilling. I immediately warmed to the group I'm working with there (Retail Link Development), but am even happier when I hear from other teams around WM that the Retail Link folks are the best! It seems like it's been a really long time, but I've begun to notice that I go to work in the mornings looking forward to my day.
What I learned while watching TV tonight...
Ok, this is pretty cool stuff. Check this out by clicking here.
Simply and update...
I'm working in corporate America... and not particularly fond of the experience... but that's what I'm doing, 'cause I have to at the moment.
So what? So, this: I'd love to retire. Of course for the reasons you'd imagine, but not for those reasons... really. I've always felt, wouldn't it be great if I could just offer my skills, talents and expertise to organizations that need it but may not be in a position to afford it? That's what I'd really like to do... build or re-build sites for nonprofits or organizations that could really benifit from a first class web presentation of their mission or niche.
Witness Western Grasslands' site. I'm in the middle of reading Michael Pollin's book, Omnivore's Dilema (Oh my god people -- please, please please read this book!!!), so obviously I'm on board with what these ranchers mean to my local markets. I would like to support organizations like this at no cost to the organization, but alas, I must bring in income, so I need to convince organizations like this that my commitment to their mission, coupled with my experience and rapid development prcedures will benefit them, even within my low-cost proposals.
If I could truly retire, I'd just offer the opportunity to them without consideration of payment or cost. Wouldn't that be great?
Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime...
Clearly I don't get the "blogging" thing! I've tried... sort-a... and I just don't seem to get back into here and bare my soul, my life, my secret yearnings... who cares anyway? Frankly, I think this whole bogging thing is a little abused, and I go on record that within 5 years, blogging will morph into something quite different that what we have now.
I get those that are blogging about something they're either expert in or passionate about. What I don't get are the so-called bogs (like this one!).
I guess we all have those favorite blogs we visit... for me there's only a few that I return to time and again. Some of those would be boingboing.net, trendwatching.com (more of a newsletter I suppose than an actual blog... but hey), strong bad (offshore team-building pottery classes and David Coppafeel performances not withstanding!), Dilbert.blog, and of course... Mark Morford's Culture Blog.
Otherwise, in case anybody's listening out there... My job at VeriSign is going well. The commute's great (a casual 5 mile drive on city streets after coffee from my local neighborhood grocery store), the team's superb, and I think my manager's is someone I can learn a lot from!
Father's Day... or in my case: Daughter's Day!
My daughter! I can't say enough how I love her, how proud I am to be her father, how happy I am for her and the life she is creating for herself. She rocks! My fervent hope is that any father should enjoy such an experience with their child... daughter, son, twins... whatever!
So, on this Father's Day it should be no surprise that I would make such a list as this:
- I am my daughter's father because I have her blue eyes
- I am my daughter's father because I had her blonde hair when I was young
- I am my daughter's father because I like to cook and watch the Food Channel... Rachael Ray rocks!!!
- I am my daughter's father because I've inherited her passion for recognizing and helping those who are less fortunate
- I am my daughter's father because I love to discover new music performed by talented artists
- I am my daughter's father because I love with a heart so big it can't be broken for long
- I am my daughter's father because I see beauty in unexpected places
- I am my daughter's father because whenever we're together, people always say I look so much like her
- I am my daughter's father because I am passionate about my friends
- I am my daughter's father because I cry in movies
- I am my daughter's father because I hate spiders
- I am my daughter's father because I love art tools and what they can help me do
- I am my daughter's father because I shine at her every "hi Daddy"
- I am my daughter's father because my life has meaning as father to such a human being
- I am my daughter's father because I can never expect how she will surprise me next
- I am my daughter's father because we "do" math in our own way... and we're good at it!
- I am my daughter's father because she showed up in my dreams saying "Hi daddy, my name is Alli Rae."
- I am my daughter's father because she taught me to relax, become more empathetic, love more, stress less, and show the courage of my convictions
This has been a wonderful Father's Day! Thank you, Allison.
It's Memorial Day... almost...
And I hear there's a crack in the Unknown Soldier's Tomb. Not "some crack" but "a crack!" Like about 3/4 of the way around... correction, there's two horizontal cracks apparently, each moving about 3/4 of the way around the tomb. And... apparently, there's a business man in California willing to donate the marble and the labor for re-carving the tomb to our U.S. government! And yet they balk!!!
Now, you gotta ask, "what's a peace-nik, draft-dodging, hippie care about something as tangential as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?"... to which I say, "if you have to ask such a stupid, stupid question, obviously we have little to discuss!"
Many never understood, and still refuse to try to understand, what and why my brothers and sisters were about in the sixties and seventies. Never-mind you're all wearing our uniform now, long hair is nothing to even talk about, have adopted our codes of conduct, and have even embraced such radical agendas as organic foods and spiritualism (though the later is often be masked in fundamentalism!).
None of this or anything else you might imagine can be a hinderance to how we, or at least I, might feel about my brothers and sisters that have chosen to put on a military uniform. There are so many subtleties to this action today that there's not room in a simple blog like this to even begin to broach the notion. Suffice to say, we all choose our own path toward the fight for freedom. What I know about Americans, and more specifically our young Americans, is that the fight for freedom takes as many paths as there are people to take them. I honor those choices, and I honor any American's right to choose how they will express their personal fight for freedom.
So today, I honor all those who have fought and lost gravely in the pursuit of freedom. I respect that I would not have the freedoms I now have if not for courage and braveness of many before me. And, to glance even further from the core, I advise any who read this to watch "Mrs. Henderson Presents."
I watched a movie today, and was thrown into the fray with my mother whom I miss desparately. Her spirit is captured within that story. It is one of the most sensitive and artistic films I think I have ever watched! I cried, remembering my mom and the spirit that was her!
I have resigned my employment position from CafePress.com. I feel very close to the company and wish it every success! I'll be watching and rooting from afar. But, another opportunity has come my way which I just cannot pass up. VeriSign... here I come!
Yeah... I don't get it either!
That last post was just out there... but isn't that what these "blog" things trend toward?
So, here's something: I'm watching the news (I know, bad idea) over the last few days, and I'm just apalled. We have this incredibly free-ing thing called the internet at our disposal which would tend to cause you to think that "hey, life is good and the playing field is leveled." Ha!
Perturbes me greatly to say, but consider this:
People going to cafes and wireless hot spots to have their coffee, get some work done, use their laptops... who knew? They're putting their lives in danger! That's right. Theft (like in "robbery") is on the rise. Theft of laptops. Theft of laptops sitting right in front of the owner/user on their little coffe table in a public coffee shop. Some poor buy grabbed his laptop as a thief snagged it and ran, only to get stabbed! Stabbed!!! Hello... is anybody out there? Are we such a sheepish lot we're letting this happen to our fellow patrons of coffee shops... for one? For number two, and more importantly... are we that desparate a species that we're that predatory? Gawd folks. Come on... E-Freaking-Volve already!!!!
I just heart that one in 5 teenagers online have been victims of a sex predator. That's ONE IN FREAKING FIVE!!! Are our teenagers so hungry for affection and acceptance that they turn to seeming strangers online and go into a trust fall state with these total strangers? Who knew that once armed with such a seductive and powerful media as an online environment that so many predators would show up? It's like this: next time you're out to dinner or on a bus or in an ATM line or waiting to use the urinal at a ball game or buying tickets at the local mega-plex, look to your right, look to your left, and realize that one of the three of you is a sexual predator, or at the very least, a theif... willing to stab some poor buy in a coffee shop for a stupid laptop... a laptop that probably wasn't even an iBook for chrissake!!!
You're only as good as you believe you are!
Like that's difficult, right? Like you get much help in this arena... like ever?
Well, I'm sitting here watching the TV (doesn't really matter what, right?), and all I can say is we're all on our own to make what we can out of this little window of time. What we own is what we own... time, relationships, legacy, creations, whatever.... That's just what is... like water's wet and rocks are hard and what you got is what you got!
So why chime in with this drivel after 2 months? Ha... why ask why. It's just what was on my mind. That's all.
Holy Crap Bat Folks!!!
Ok, I'm not typically considered a conspiracy nut job, but today... more accurately, this evening... would challenge that I suppose.
First of all, while working on a client's site files, I had the TV on mute, but decided to turn it up a bit for the news. Meanwhile, I've had iTunes running radio paradise all day; and wouldn't you know that just as the apparent civil war-like activitities was being displayed and commented on the news program on NBC, radio paridise began playing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata... odd if for no other reason that they typically play more rock/pop than classical music. But you'd have to have been here to grok the ultimate appropriateness of the sound overlaying the news footage!!! Geez.
Then, as if that's not enough, Dark Side of the Moon is now playing as the news continues to comment on how poorly FEMA responded to hurricane Katrina and othe governmental fiascos. How are we supposed to stay calm, centered, and unemotional when our own media conspires to lay on layers of seemingly conspiritorial backgrounds and foregrounds to the daily events of our lives????
Happy New Year folks!
One of the nicest holiday seasons ever for me. Family, friends, daughter... not necessarily in any order. Topped off with the annual New Year's Day party at Ray Leockle and Diana Ankrom's beautiful house in SF. A few old friends that I knew, but this annual NYD party is standing room only every year. I'm not sure, but think they've done this for at least 20 years now.
Back to work?
Uuugh... was pretty sure I'd be totally ready by now, but as of tonight I'm still not sure how I'll get myself up early and get into CafePress. Not that I don't enjoy working there... just became addicted to this time off thing. Still some hours left though to get myself into an attitude adjustment routine.
Ok, I'm the world's worst BLOGGER!!!
Like anyone reading this is surprised to hear that?!? August 31??? What self-respecting BLOGGER would ever let that lapse happen? Arrrrgggghh!!!
Ok, having stated that, if you're here reading this, I so totally appreciate it and bow down to your scanning eyes...
>So, what the heck's new? Well.... lots. First of all, since I spent so much time on CafePress stuff in the last postings, I should at least catch up on the latest there: Black T-Shirts!!! Yes, that's it. Black t-shirts are here and produceable on CafePress.com. Why is this important enough to show up on such an imfamous BLOG site as conzz.com???? Well... while other's have stuggled..., while other's have hoped..., while others have promised..., FINAllY, CafePress.com has delivered!!!.
That's right: Print On Demand Black T-Shirts!!!
The Holy Grail of on demand printing services has finally arrived! Did we have problems? Yes! Did we do everything imaginable to overcome these problems...? We think so, but we'll let both our customer base and our shopkeepers be the final judge. Afterall, if CafePress.com shopkeepers aren't pleased, certainly customers won't be pleased... so we've invested a lot into making things not only work better day by day, but making sure customers and shopkeepers alike are happy with the results. CafePress.com's Customer Support deserves a lot of credit, as does the production team in Kentucky!
Spending time with my family during the holidays, taking a much needed and can't remember when I've done it vacation at home. Had a wonderful Christmas day with Bonnie in So. San Francisco, then picked up daugher Allison Christmas night. She and her mom arrived and were picked up at the airport by Allison's aunt and uncle, Dennis & Cynthia, so I picked them up in San Fanciscco at their house and drove Suzanne up to Sausalito where whe'll spend a few days with her friend Kimery. Allison's with me in Palo Alto until Friday. My 82-year-old father arrived as well. He came into town with my sister and her husband to spend a couple days in SF with his other grand daughter, Melissa Perello (head chef at Hotel Palomar's 5th Floor Restaurant.), and a couple days down here in Palo Alto with me. And I'm off work until January 3rd, 2006!
This might not be the best time to blog. Been up all night. Volunteered to help with testing of a new release at CafePress.com. Big news is that now you can purchase your own custom designed U.S. postage as well as some additional new products. As always, the difference between the minds of our brilliant engineering staff and our design staff have their little face-offs, but for the most part, it's a solid release.
My birthday passed without much "ta-daa," which was as per my wishes. Don't know why, just not into the big party scene these days. Bonnie got me an iPod Mini! Fell in love with my daughter's, so now I've got my own. It's great. Once again, Apple points the way with that elegant blend of software (engineering) and design (UI). If y'all are wondering why Apple's eating your lunch, get over your bad-assed-engineering-windows-loving selves and bow down to the user like they have done. At least there's one computer company in the world that understands computers are meant to do stuff for us, not the other way around. Ok, so they still have their problems, but they're definately on the right track and the rapid adoption of Macs & iPods over the last years ought to be the "for whom the bell tolls" moment for the rest of the computing hardware and software world.
...as in demolish! We've gotten through the major part of the demo phase of Bonnie's bathroom and kitchen remodel. Woo-hoo. Love all that sling'n hammers yank'n nails, breath'n dust, sweat'n 'n grunt'n work. Thank gawd. If not for that and the fact that I live three flights of stairs up, I'd probably never get any excercise. Don't think this is enough though to get me ready for one final assault on Half Dome! Better get aerobicc somehow sometime.
Yes, after all the stress and anguish, RUSH week is over and it's Pi Beta Phi's who benefit! Allison has been inducted, accepted, bid, whatever... and is now official. Again, I resonate with the literacy efforts of their philanthropic direction. Allison should feel that she's been put in the right place.
Remodel's rule??? Ok, not so much, but it's an adventure!
Haven't posted the latest pics of Bonnie's remodel project (kitchen & bath). We've spent the last 4 or 5 weekends busting out walls and drywall, getting ready for the contractor. Will update with links once that's ready. For the record, we've removed drywall, floors, appliances, cupboards, almost countertop & cabinets (turned out to be a plumbing problem we didn't want to get into... leave that for the contractor). Good news is we've found a fantastic contractor for this project. Very conscientious. on time, attention to detail, etc...
University life 101
Back from Springdale and moving the daughter unit into her dorm room (5 flights up, no elevator, thank you very much) at UofA. Fast trip. Alli and I made a quick drive over to Wichita Falls to see Dad and his new abode, plus see what we could do to help with relieving his material woes. Not much that we could do, but salvaged some of Mom's precious artwork from the estate sale sharks.
Alli's in the throws of RUSH week at UofA. It's looking like PiPhis are the current choice. Not her first choice, and I'm heart-broken only if she is. Looked at their web site today, and I think they would make a good match for her and her chosen direction (at this point). Waiting to hear how she feels about it all.
The one thing I know is that I must trust her resilience and remember, I still have much to learn from this child. She doesn't know it now, but she is my guru, my hope, my director, my reminder, my kaleidoscope, my all-in-all. One day I shall tell her so. Right now it's enough to simply tell her I love her.
Adventures with roommates
Four years ago, I drew out designs, then put them into a CAD file, so she could visualize where this would all lead. Visualizing how demolition (what a horrible word), etc. would change her major investment in life... her home, was not easy. But knocking out the openings and shapes in walls helped her see it all. I'm amazed at how much better the look and feel of it all is than I would have imagined myself. Soon there will be some pics posted of the process.
Bonnie moves into my place this weekend. Time for the contractor to take charge of the kitchen/bathroom remodel. It's only been 5 years in the making. Hey, what? Ultimately, she's made very good choices in appliances and design, so I'm looking forward to how this will all turn out.
Making an honest stab at "blogging"
Ok, so "honest" applies to at least today. Perplexed by the notion of "who the "f" cares," versus "I said I'd do it so I better do it," I'm at least giving a small amount of blood here. C'mon folks, gimme a break. This ain't easy for an old fart used to keeping secrets!.
CafePress.com trucks along. Great company... really! Love working for them. Some dysfunctional cutlural bits in there, but hey... who's perfect, eh? The business model is sweet! I'm totally on board.
About to leave for Arkansas to get my daughter moved into her dorm for her Freshman year at U of A. Exciting? Yws!!! Poignant? Yes!!! Sad...? Not really, but there's something going on there that maybe some other parent would be more versed in explaining. I have to say that I really believe that mostly I'm excited for her. What a wonderful moment in life... the moment you finally leave home (OK, kind-a) and get to fend for yourself! I can remember so clearly my trek to college!!! The beginning of adult life... as it is or may be.
I had dreams for years... wanting for the home bed, yet not wanting for a moment to go backwards. What is that all about? My hope... my prayer... is that Allison moves on forward without concerns of what's left behind. This girl has so much to look forawrd to... OK, sorry, I'm the dad... if you're here reading this, you have to put up with a proud, happy, expectant father, loving the life that his daughter has before her. Proud. Happy. And unexpectantlly sad. What's that all about?
"Tag"... you're it! C'mon, go buy some t-shirts!!!
Talk to you soon...
08/04/05 - Well I'll be darned. It would appear that I have at least one reader! I received an email from my dear friend Suzanne Smith letting know that she had caught herself up on my antics via this page. Does that mean I have a blog on my hands? LOL!!! Blog indeed. As if my life were interesting enough for anyone else to spend time reading about.
So, in the interest of "catch-up," I'm still workding for CafePress.com which is growing quite nicely. We've just moved into a beautiful building in Foster City (I believe that's about the technical northern boundery of Silicon Valley, although I'm not sure where that boundry lies for sure. We're beating out a path towards the e-volution of commerce. Entrepreneurs, nonprofits, creatives, soccer leages and the like have the opportunity to set up an e-shop with nothing but their digital files of artwork, logos, sketches, doodles, what-have-you, and sell baby sell. No cost, or low cost for something more customizable, but the key feature is no inventory cost, print on demand, you draw it - we print it kind of a business. Believe me, we have some shopkeepers making annual incomes in the six-digits! Check it out. And now, we're about to release an affiliate program, which means you don't even have to be creative... just have a web site, put up some links/banners, and "bam," you've got commission, and a handsome one at that. Did I say "check it out" yet?
So, for you SEO fans out there, you'll understand that what I'm about to do here, with mention of cool t-shirts, thongs, mugs, clocks, prints, apparel, and print on demand prouducts, I'm appealing to the search engine spiders to pump me up. Come on in here you little insects, gobble this up: we've got funny t-shirts, sexy and adult humor stuff, trendy tees, gifts out the wazoo (or is that wazzoo?), sweatshirts, baby-doll t-shirts, you name it. You see it. You order it. We print it. We ship it. The shopkeeper is happy. You're happy. We're happy.... is everybody happy yet?
Now you can imagine, with an affiliate program coming on, with the ability to set up a shop online for damn near nothing, I've got to take advantage of that. So look for some changes here. I'll be adding the affiliate banners first to this page for you to see, then throughout the site. Start clickin' and checking this sh*t out, man!
06/02/05 - Suffice to say, I haven't learned my lesson! I'm still way overdue on this page. No excuses this time, just cut to the chase. My daughter, Allison Rae Ward-Seidel, graduated from Springdale High School last month. Bless her heart, she graduate top of her class of 600+ graduating seniors, and received a full-ride, five year Govenor's Scholarship (NOTE: I preveiously stated this was the Chancellor's Schollarship -- well, I was wrong -- this is better!) from the University of Arkansas!!! If you think I'm a proud dad, well, "duh!", like of course!!! But more than that is the happiness I feel for her for accomplishing so much. Doors will open for her in her life and she'll have many opportunities. What more could a parent hope for for their child?