I write... occasionally

Here's a collection of 641 pieces of nonsense that I've felt the need to journal about over the past 22.23 years.

My 2009 80/35 Music Fest Thoughts

I meant to blog about this year's 80/35 festival a lot sooner but never got around to it.

For those that don't know - Des Moines started a music festival last year called 80/35. It showcases both big names and local groups in an effort to listen to awesome music, party, and promote music culture in the Des Moines area.

Last year I was super impressed with the festival - We had the Flaming Lips, The Roots, and an amazing effort put on by the organizers. I don't want to discount the organizers this year, because it is obvious that they worked crazy hard again... but the festival seemed to progress far less than I expected.

The things I was disappointed in...
  • The Weather - obviously out of everyone's hands, but rain definitely puts a …

A week with Android and the G1

So, just to bring you up to speed - Harper (and Google) hooked me up with a developer version of the "Google Phone" or G1. As a developer phone it's sort of "unlocked" or rooted and comes with a fancy case. In short, it's awesome - but definitely, definitely a geek phone. I imagine the actual unrooted version you get from t-mobile is a bit easier to work with, but I still think it's more of a geek phone than a mainstream device like the iPhone. However, I can totally see this OS growing - especially with some better hardware in the future.

Here are my thoughts on the device after a week of use.

Android - the Google OS

I am really, really digging the OS, its openness, and its tie to all of my Google account data, but it still …

Welp, She Got Away Again

It started a year and a half ago, when Kari and I began casually looking at foreclosed homes. We wanted something to fix up for ourselves that was in the city of Des Moines, brick, full of character, and easily customizable. ...We basically wanted to build a new home inside of an old home.

So my realtor took me to a home in the Des Moines village of Beaverdale. An enormous brick home on an acre of land, secluded by woods, a stream in the front yard, and only a few miles from downtown. It was a real shithole, haha. No really, a real shithole. When my realtor took me to check it out for the first time, she slammed the door open and yelled, "POLICE" - just to try to scare off any weirdos that may be inside. Then, half of the rooms …

Seven Things (a bit late)

About 4 years ago I met Harper's friend, Jon Ruth. Then, about 4 months ago, Jon tagged me in a "7 things" blog. See, there was this thing going around where you write 7 interesting things about yourself, tag 7 other bloggers - then they have to do the same. I kept meaning to fulfill my duty to write my "7 things" blog, but I just kept forgetting and putting it off. So hopefully everyone's forgotten about this trend and I can bring it back to life, haha.

I was pretty surprised to be tagged by Jon. Even though Jon has never really told me a story, Harper has told me lots of Jon's stories. He's a pretty amazing dude - with some pretty amazing stories. So it was cool that he tagged me.

That said, here it goes...

1. I do …

Joyce Turns 60 in Chicago

So Kari's aunt Joyce is a traveling nurse. As such, she gets her choice of where (and when) to work in various cities around the country - 6 weeks here, 6 weeks there, 12 weeks at home, etc, etc. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous; I'm incredibly jealous.

Anyway, lately Joyce has been in Chicago to be near Kari's cousins; helping Stephanie with the baby, ya know. And Kari just happened to be flying back (through Chicago) from math camp on Joyce's birthday. So, we all decided to celebrate!

Friday afternoon, Kari's parents and I braved the longest drive to Chicago ever. I don't mean long as in "road trip with the in-laws" long, cause my in-laws are awesome. I mean long as in, "htf did it take 10 hours to drive 5 hours away" …

Arizona Friends and Family

Wow, that was quite a vacation. Completely packed, totally fun, and also completely draining, ha.

So, if you didn't know, Kari and I visited Arizona for 9 days. The first 5 days were spent with my grandparents and the last 4 were spent with friends. I'm gonna try to summarize my trip as best as possible - otherwise this blog could be incredibly long... and I've already uploaded too many photos... so, here we go!

Sunday the 8th. Grandma and Grandpa picked us up in Phoenix and drove us up to Cameron where we had american indian food and shared a hotel room.

Monday, we visited the Grand Canyon then drove down to my grandparents' house in Green Valley. It was Kari's first time seeing the grand canyon and my second. That thing …

So I Bought My First Mac Today

But first, a little history...

I started getting into Apple shortly after I got my first iPod 6 years ago. I began to think of Apple as a media company and Macintosh simply as "media machines." I even said things along the lines of, "yeah they're awesome for music and photos and such, but you could never develop with them."

They even released a Mac Mini to further prove my point. It seemed to be the perfect "media machine" at the time. I even had some big plans to throw one into my home theater system for internet browsing, sharing videos, etc. What a fun little toy.

Fast forward to now. I've developed web apps on a Mac full-time for the past year and a half. And to tell you the truth, I can't imagine going back to …

Bock Fest 2009

Well that was another successful Bock Fest - filled with drinking and laughing until your face hurts.

Despite how awesome it was, Rico had to drop out at the last minute, which was LAME... however Cedric stepped up and stood-in for him. Tobbie also tagged along since she's been fitting in with our crew so well.

So this year I felt more prepared than ever. First of all I wasn't sick... But we seemed to have all the right gear - including my giant beard and Kari's 4WD vehicle. The drive for real took us about 2 hours longer than normal with complete white-outs all over. It was a rough, rough drive... However, we prevailed, pulled into Morgan, grabbed a beer at Josh's, and met everyone at Front Street.

The first night was all …

Upgrading via Trading - Real Life and the Internet

About a year and a half ago, my father-in-law, Jeff, gave me a studio flash kit. You've seen them; the white umbrella-flashes that photographers have. Well, Jeff had one that'd been sitting in storage for years. It looked like it had never, ever been used. So one day he offered it to me and I accepted. I thought, "wow, this could be really fun to play with." I could setup a little portrait studio for a costume party or something... Awesome.

So I brought it home, put it away, and never got it out again, haha.

Fast forward til this Christmas - Kari got me a fancy new camera. Shortly afterward, I dug through storage and got the flash kit out. Once I got it all setup and figured out it worked like it was brand new I thought, …

Two Things that Des Moines Needs

Des Moines has come a crazy long way in the past 5 years. But there are still 2 very important things that I think it's missing.

1. Basic Shopping Downtown (groceries, hardware)

I live in Ankeny. My house is 1 mile from Target, Menards, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, a whole slew of restaurants, and soon - a Best Buy. Within 3 miles I've got a Dahl's, a Hy-Vee, 2 Fareways, and you can pretty much double the bars and restaurants.

Basic shopping and dining just doesn't get much more convenient.

I mean, don't get me wrong, Ankeny is definitely lacking in locally owned establishments - as it's mostly chains. We also don't have a place to get a martini, and we definitely don't have a venue for shows. BUT picking up groceries or some other …

Get More Bank Accounts! (How Kari and I Bank)

Let me start off by saying that this may not be the absolute right way to manage your money, but it's definitely the best way for us; it's simple, it keeps us happy, and it keeps us responsible... so I wanted to share it. Hopefully it'll work for someone else.

Everyone knows that money management can be a real stressful thing for any couple (and single person, I guess). In fact, Kari and I's marriage counselor, Dr. Don Gilbert, told us 3 years ago, that the 3 most common things that break up marriages are money, sex, and communication. And not that any of you care, but we got the second two on lock.

So Dr. Gilbert gave us all sorts of amazing money tips. Most were pretty straight forward; there were some stories about buying …

Bring on 2009!?

Well, 2008 seemed to suck pretty bad for a lot of people. The economy, floods, etc. It was a rough time. I gotta say though, aside from gas prices, 401k losses, and a missed job opportunity, mine was pretty damn good. And our new year's eve celebration also bounced back to being good this year.

See, the last 2 NYEs have sucked pretty bad. We stuck around Des Moines, hoped for random craziness (like we'd gotten in Chicago the 2 years before that) and instead got relaxed, uneventful nights. I don't think NYE is supposed to be relaxed. It's supposed to be a celebration. Celebrate the good things that happened the past year, and also celebrate in hopes of an even better year. To me, celebrations of that scale, should be crazy, …

With a Rebel Yell

She cried, "more? more? more?"

So Kari got me a digital Rebel xsi for Christmas. For those of you who don't know what that is - it's a 12 megapixel digital SLR camera made by Canon.

I love taking photos. I love documenting life. And I've always said, that you should always have a camera to do just that. So it was an excellent gift.

Before yesterday, my "life documenting" camera was a 6 year old Sony DSC-F717. It was digital, 5 megapixels, fully manual, and you could attach lenses to it. So it was basically a Digital SLR wannabe. I even had it all outfitted with a remote, flash, tripod, fisheye lens, etc. And the thing was a freakin tank.

It's been soaked with blood after skidding through alleys with me. It's had beer …

Amy and B Vaughan's Wedding

Geez man. I am really bad at this.

It's been like 2 weeks now, but I definitely need to blog this event.

So yeah, a couple weeks ago we went over to Chicago for Amy and B Vaughan's wedding. We started by meeting our hotel roomie (Tara) at the Lisle Hyatt. You know, that long, skinny Hyatt that i88 almost runs into just outside of Chicago. So we got ready, and then took shuttles (great idea for the party that was about to take place) over to the wedding.

Kari was, of course, super excited to see her friends... and I have to admit I was too. Kari at weddings is hilarious. She can hardly contain herself during the ceremony because she's so freakin excited for the reception.

So the wedding and reception were at this place in …

Our First Emmitt Visit

This past weekend, Kari and I flew down to Texas to visit my sister and Chris. We've never really hung out with just the 2 before, so it was nice to finally get to visit - just us.

And as an extra bonus - travel was crazy smooth. NWA didn't charge us for checking bags (in fact we could've each checked an extra bag if we wanted), plus we got free sodas, and 1 of our flights even landed 30 minutes early, nice!

So anyway, we got into San Antonio late Thursday said some words, then we all basically crashed.

Friday, Halloween, we took Daniel to a pumpkin patch and then checked out the new house that Bre'anna and Chris are building. It is stupid nice. And yeah, I'm a bit jealous that my younger sister has a nicer house than I do. …

Cornell and a Wedding

Man, my weeks are getting so busy that it takes til thursday to blog about the past weekend, ha. Or maybe it's because I actually work at Red 5 and can't blog at work like I used to. Either way, it's a good thing. But I do sorta feel bad for not journaling as well.

So anyway, as you may have gathered from photos or tweets, Kari and I visited Mt Vernon last Friday for Cornell Homecoming. And on top of homecoming, it was also my "5 year college reunion." Yeah, we have college reunions at Cornell and yeah that is funny... but - I love visiting that school. Especially when people I know are there. And that, there was.

All the familiar faces basically put me into happy friend mode. Nearly everyone that I recognized from college, …

Des Moines Oktoberfest and Sushi Class

I forgot to mention, aside from tweets and photos, that Kari's parents were in town last weekend to visit and do some early birthday celebration for Kari.

We started out saturday by brewing our first batch of beer since... last december (wtf). During our 10 month homebrew drought, we made some major plans to upgrade our process and do our first "full boil." So we spent most of the day running around and getting supplies for this fancy brew. We found everything we needed - except for 1 item. We couldn't, for the life of us, find a freakin high output propane regulator. *sigh* So we resorted to our typical partial boil on the stove.

I was a bit sad to revert to the stove, but we made a porter, and we still upgraded our process a …

Slapping Harper With The Froehlichs

Kari and I's buddy, Steph, recently bought a place in Chicago - a really nice place right downtown. Last Friday was her condo-warming party and we of course couldn't miss it. So we planned the trip and everything fell into place. Family was in town for Elias' baptism, and our Chicago friends were ready to party. There was much visiting to be done.

So Friday we rolled to Steph's, which was quite an awesome place. Very nice decor, paint, location, atmosphere - an all around nice place to live. I'm both happy for and jealous of her, ha.

The party was good too. There was a ridiculous amount of food and probably 30 people. It was really nice to see the Froehlich's, however I was a little sad when Dr. Bob and Cheryl left so early. …

Why I Might Vote This Year - A Non-Voter's Take

I'm not going to say anything profound in this article. I'm sure all of this stuff has been said, but this time, it's coming from me... and as you probably know, I'm not into politics - at all. I've never followed them, nor have I paid attention to them. In fact, I've always said that, until a presidency is directly affecting my daily life, I have no reason or need to vote. ...I realize that both of those statements can be argued, and they have been... but that has been my reasoning.

Basically, I've chosen to be politically ignorant - and I do not think that misinformed, underinformed, or ignorant people should be voting, whether it's their right or not. I've always trusted that the majority of Americans, who are (hopefully) …

Do I Sue Metallica? Or Do I Sue Harper?

I sorta feel like I could sue someone's pants off Napster style, but obviously I'm not going to try; because I like Harper and I like Metallica.

So let me explain.

I bought the new Metallica CD today - Death Magnetic. And once I got it, I immediately opened the CD up and started flipping through the coffin booklet... which sort of resembles a hairy vagina on the cover, but that's beside the point.

The Metallica - Death Magnetic Cover

There's a die-cut coffin through the entire booklet of album art and with each page, the coffin gets smaller and smaller. All of the pages have fancy, professional photos along with lyrics to the songs. It's really a great booklet. The album art is really well done.

Once you get to the last page - the bottom of the coffin - there's a bright …