Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pant WOOT Pant

I took my 5K training outside today, running the first mile, walk/running the second mile, and running the third mile.

Since I have another two weeks, I should be able to run the whole thing by the time I need to.

Know me as I do, I had better sign up for another run ASAP - with nothing but better health to motivate me, I might stop.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

5K run is almost here

I've been walk/running on the treadmill for 3.2 miles every morning for the past two weeks in prep for the 'Five Points of Life 5K' that's coming up on 2/13/10.

We clocked a 1 mile route around the block this afternoon, and starting tomorrow I'll take my training outside.

I'm looking forward to accomplishing this 'race' and working my way up to 10K and 15K distances as well.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Still Steaming!

You know you're too close to the source when it's still steaming during transport.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Laughed

Client: "Did you say 'Red Monkey'?"

Me: "No Ma'am; Brett Bunke."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Go Tesco!

Tesco is a supermarket chain in the UK - one of their stores has banned barefoot and pajama wearing customers. It's time we did the same thing here in the U.S.! (As I mentioned in a post from 2007.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Westin - Hilton Head Island

We recently spent four great days at the Westin on Hilton Head Island, SC. We lucked out with weather in the low 60's each day, amazing since this was in mid-January.

It's a good hotel which is probably five years overdue for a renovation. The edges were a bit frayed, but the place is still high quality. The staff were all very polite and helpful, even when we ran into them off-site and off-duty.

Many of the area attractions were closed for the season, but it's our fault for choosing this time of year (hard to argue with half price). One thing that was a bit irksome was that the in-hotel coffee shoppe seemed to open and close at whim. No days/hours were posted for the shop.

Since we were staying four days, I brought along our Wii, a few games, a DVD player and a few movies. Sure we could watch pay-per-view, but we might not be in the mood to do so. It was also possible to play GameCube games through the hotel network, but again this involved a fee.

I wasn't planning on spending a lot of times using the Wii or DVD player, but it would be nice to have options. I was bummed to discover that while the TV in our room had the ports needed to connect our DVD player and Wii, there was no way to get the TV to display a channel to use them.

The 'Room Features' list include a listing for 'Entertainment Center', by which they mean the TV, which admittedly can do tv, movies, music, basic card games and GameCube games.

I also brought an extra set of PC speakers and an iPod dock, which allowed us to listen to our own music. We used this setup every night we were there, and I was glad I brought it.

I have a very routine lifestyle in my daily life, and I tend to create a new routine wherever I end up. For our four days in Hilton Head, I would get up at 6:30, head down to the workout room for a 45 minute workout followed by a long hot soak/book reading session in our room's tub (delicious, endless boiling water). Next I would make coffee (free with the room) and sit on the balcony, looking out at the ocean and reading. Then I would wake Cindy up and do some web surfing on our little netbook (wi-fi was free/included with the room) while she was showering.

I'd definitely recommend the Westin at Hilton Head - it would be nice to go back during the season when everything is open. It would be cool to rent a boat that we could use to circle the whole island.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Highly Recommended

Very yummy burgers, though the fries need some work. And no shakes? Come on!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Etcher's Law #30

If you never get wet, you're not close enough to the edge.

(While I feel this is true, I too rarely get wet...)

Friday, January 22, 2010

More Vacation Pics

Here's a few more pics from our recent stay at Hilton Head Island, SC.

A hole in one! WOOT!

An interesting, alien-looking critter.

These homes remind me of the beach dwellings we remember so fondly from our biking of The Strand in Hermosa Beach, CA. (Sigh)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Actual Job Posting

..."Qualifications for this position include at least six months of related training experience and six months of skip tracing and/or collection experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Previous employment in a collection or call center environment strongly desired"...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Only $5 Per Day to Rent!

So it's a landlocked boat - it seems not every deal is a good deal. I have to say, my biggest disappointment is that we had no chance of resorting to obligatory cannibalism.

Sigh - another missed opportunity.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mystery Weather

Hilton Head Island, SC

Look, no people! Isn't it great?

No people - as if we're on our own private estate!

Me and a rented bike - the beach is so hard packed that it's like riding on cement.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

75/25 Hope & Fear

This is going to be an interesting year. We're feeling 'done' with Florida and talking about applying for jobs nationwide, finding something worth moving for, and making a move.

Personally, I'm thinking Seattle, but any city on the west coast would make me happy. The idea of going back to Los Angeles is a soothing one, but wouldn't it be more interesting to move somewhere new?

But why not go with what you know? I had good fortune in Los Angeles - I met Cindy, we went from no car, crummy jobs, and a small studio apartment in a questionable neighborhood to good jobs, two cars, and a nice apartment in a great area. (Some might say probably correctly that all that good stuff was thanks to Cindy, not Los Angeles.)

Still, We've done CA and it would be fun to shake things up a bit. I lived in Ft. Lewis, Washington as a kid and it's a beautiful area with great weather. Seattle is the most bike-friendly city in the US - I'm picturing a cute little downtown apartment that allows me to bike to work.

With all the software companies in the Seattle area and my experience with software, jobs for me will be a lot more plentiful than in Ocala Florida, 'Horse Capital of the World'. Jobs for Cindy will be more plentiful too - with all that rain, the culture is dominated by coffee and books.

It's exciting and a little scary to think our lives might be thoroughly juggled in the near future.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Vacation View

Off-season vacationing means we can actually afford an ocean view. The sound of the waves is good for the psyche, even if getting wet would mean a quick death.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Real Sign

I snapped this picture early today in South Carolina - It really is blocked out like this.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

No Headphones Allowed? Grrr

Hey, cool - I just registered for a 5K run in February. And since that involves paying $30 for the privilege to run in a big circle, I will definitely be participating - I can't stand to waste money.

I've never done anything like this before, so it should be interesting.

It's a pretty short distance, but it's a start. I would probably be more impressed with myself if it wasn't called the "5K and Kids Marathon".

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


If you can believe it, I have convinced my shy good lady wife Cindy to agree to a fun little project - podcasting.

We're both going to come up with a list of topics, then choose one from her list and one from mine, and create at least two podcasts.

Inspired by our odd neighbor, my first topic idea is: What should a person do if they think a neighbor is up to no good?

I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat in anticipation, so I'll keep you posted!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fun Pics

Here's a few fun pics I found online, taken by assorted folks during visits at the Creation Museum located in Petersburg, Kentucky (and one odd pic I came across while Google searching for images from the museum).

I personally tithe to the religion of science and technology, but whatever saddles your herbivore. Jesus was of course anti-saddle (but apparently not anti-bridle).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Hmm, Possibilities...

I just read an article and watched a vid over at Technology Review, which describes a robot arm that can guide people with fine motor control issues in perfecting muscle memory.

The focus of this machine is handwriting, which is all well and good (if largely obsolete - the exercises are more about fine control than the actual writing skill, I feel). I wonder how things like this could help aspiring graphic artists and musicians?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Frosty Windshield

Who knew Central Florida had so many days in the 20 degree range? And it might snow tomorrow night...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Kottke on Avatar

Jason Kottke is a well-known blogger who touches on a wide variety of interesting topics. A few days ago, he posted about Avatar, and his belief that the Na'vi would not be so technologically inferior to humans:

"It just doesn't add up. The Na'vi are too capable and live in an environment that is far too pregnant with technological possibility to be stuck in the Stone Age." (Full post)

I had been thinking on this topic as well, but came to an opposite conclusion:

a) The extreme fertility and bounty of the land would mean the Na'vi could easily survive as hunter-gatherers, especially with the flying ikran to make hunting over a large area much more productive

b) If hunting and gathering provides all a people's needs, they are unlikely to progress technologically

c) The connectedness of the Na'vi to all of the life around them, literally networked with the animals and plants would mean that they would be a lot less likely to clear the land, begin large scale agriculture, and end up more technologically advanced

d) Megafauna like the Hammerhead Titanothere would make farming open tracts of land and keeping the land cordoned off very difficult

I'm in the middle of a great book right now:
Guns, Germs and Steel, which tracks all the various seats of technological development across the world, across history and explains why certain cultures advanced technologically (such as China) and why others did not (such as Aboriginal Australians).

Development has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with resources and culture. I'm definitely no expert, so I would be very interested to read a piece by a cultural anthropologist on the Na'vi, but it seems likely to me that they would stay hunter-gatherers until external pressures force them to change.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

eBook Readers

I'd asked my good lady wife Cindy this question a month ago - 'how will authors autograph ebooks?' - and now there's a few articles/posts on the subject.

With the Nook, there's a handy touch-screen at the bottom where an author can sign with a stylus, all that's needed is a menu option for the feature.

But really, ebook readers are not long for this world - and by that I mean a dedicated ebook reader that does nothing else - heck, even the Kindle and the Nook play music and audio files.

Once tablet PC's really begin to hit the market, why would I want something that only displays text? As much as I love gadgets, I can't bring myself to buy an ebook reader.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Yay! Electronical Tidings!

When asked what I wanted for X-Mas this year, I requested Best Buy Gift Cards. With all the cards we collected, we bought a 20" monitor, the biggest screen we've ever had. It's so pretty!

Cause, you know - you need a 20" screen to surf the web. Yep.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Shelf Kitty

Patiently waiting for the sunbeam to reach the floor...

Book Progress 1/2/2010

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

715 words written today.

19,495 words total since the end of NaNoWriMo.

I'm making slow but steady progress on this first draft of the book, but I'm coming to the conclusion that it's going to be a pretty dull read.

There's nothing putting the pressure on the characters, of time running out or a desperate need to move forward. There's the risk that the single father might lose his 16 year old daughter to social services, but beyond that, it's largely an internal struggle as the main character loses more and more memory.

I keep trying to think of angles to add in some drama - a diabolical corporation, a crazed ex, an enemy from their past, an angry drug lord... but how would any of these help tell the story? Wouldn't an injection of action for its own sake seem superfluous? In the end, maybe the story concept would be better as a short story or short novella. Maybe I'll finish the first draft and then cut everything but the most necessary 1/3. Hm.

I need to take a few weeks off from the book and let it simmer a bit - I've been working on it nonstop for two months now.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Book Progress 1/1/2010

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

677 words written today.

Hexed Text #2

(When text messages go awry)

Mike: On my way. I'll call, you'll rub down?

Mike: 'run'