Woohoo!

This has been the most exciting and eventful few days that I can remember. First off we had all the holiday madness, friends, family and all the turmoil as usual. We had a good Christmas and got some great gifts. But after all that, like two nights ago it all got a little weird.
I’m sure most of you know that I’m on twitter (@gibb626) and pretty active within my one little group. I follow about 300 people and its mostly reciprocal. I “speak” with probably 15-20 regularly. Jim Irsay is someone I follow but he doesn’t follow me and I don’t speak with him at all. Until Tuesday night. He posted a riddle and the winner got a trip to Hawaii and the ProBowl.
I won.
Seriously, yesterday I spoke with his assistant and they are working out all the flight and hotel details, but we’ll be spending 5 nights in Honolulu and the end of January! Erin and I are both still in shock a bit to say the least.
The answer to the riddle was “one hundred forty characters” the question was basically a long tweet that had the numbers 1, 4, 0 and the word characters at the end. It wasn’t that hard but it wasn’t that easy either. Tons of people got it right after me. I was lucky.
After Irsay declared that there was a winner but that they were working on determining exactly who it was, I started to check to see if it was me. I was flooded with tweets that said i had won, of course not from anyone with any authority but still… People were saying I’d won! I was wired. Did I mention it was after 11pm and Erin had work the next day? She didn’t quite believe what I was talking about mainly because she wanted to go to bed and secondly because I think she thought my Twitter fascination was a waste of time. But I didn’t really care, I thought I had won and I had no chance of actually sleeping until the real winner was announced. Irsay then tweeted that they would announce the next morning.
Kyle and I headed the Steak N Shake to kill some time. I got home about 2:30am. I laid down and stayed awake all night. Waiting…
The next morning at 8 I moved to the couch to wait. At 10 I got a direct message that they thought the winner was me but they weren’t announcing for sure yet. Well that pretty much made me twice as excited, phone calls went out to friends and family with the caveat that it wasn’t official yet. At 2pm I got another direct message this one was a phone number to his assistant to setup the travel arraignments. Moments later he announced it on Twitter. I was flooded again…

The other big news is that Erin and I are moving forward on our Debt Snowball. Yesterday we also paid off the next in the line. We still have a ways to go but since this was our first big payoff, I think now this is just the start of really getting the snowball rolling. It only gets bigger as it rolls along.

I rebuilt the shed today

Rebuilt the shed today So there it is, the rebuilt shed. It started yesterday, got off work a bit early and starting tearing off the sides. Essentially we took both ends off, cut part of the sides off and then put it all back on with new wood.

It took another 9 hours to finish the trim and stuff today but it’s done now. It’s painted now, just simple white, and it still needs one more coat though, new wood just keeps soaking it up.

I’m happy with it, it definitely made the yard look better than it did a few days ago.

Big day tomorrow with friends, food, and fireworks.

Sharing food with others…

“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”
M. F. K. Fisher

There’s something I love about sitting down with friends and serving them a meal.

I love the preparation and planning that goes into it, whether its just hamburgers or a full five course meal. I love finding just the right ingredients, taking the time to cut and prepare things just a little bit special, maybe trying a new recipe or tweaking an old one to make it just a little more special. I love sharing my food with anyone around me, I hope that they find the joy in it that I try to give them.

That look on someone’s face when they take the first bite and it melts in their mouth. The gasp of air they take in when they start to chew and they can’t help but to make a “mmmm” noise.

Getting friends together to tell old stories and new, around a table or a fire, just taking the time to get away from the hustle of life and enjoy each other’s company.

Sharing a meal with someone is the highest honor they can bestow on me, making the meal is my honor to them.

Looking back…

The other night, during one of our storied visits to McAllisters, Kyle and I started reading some old posts from here. Mostly ones that were from this time last year, the year before and even three years ago. We had several inches of snow on November 23, 2005, I totally forgot.

It was a bit strange honestly, looking back at years gone by, and even though it seemed like forever, three years isn’t that far back. I wonder what posts would like if I had blogged in high school. What was I thinking in November 1996? Surely there would have been something about freshman year, the girls I was dating, band practice, new friends and the excitement of the friends who had a car and could take me places! I wish that I had started blogging, or at least journaling much earlier in my life. In my younger years there was usually a notebook, a sketch pad or just a scrap of paper that I would often write things on, I wonder whatever happened to all of those? I know where some of my “note books” are, essentially composition books that I passed back and forth with girls I dated instead of tearing out paper from our notebooks. I have 2 or 3 around somewhere. Maybe I should delve into those sometime to reminisce. But I’m not sure there are any surviving “journals,” places where I wrote the kinds of things that I write here. Pieces of paper with short quips, quotes and long, drawn out prose on my life and my thoughts. The memories I have of that time are incomplete, not because I can’t remember every detail (which I can’t) but also because I’m sure there are days gone by, and thoughts that passed to quickly that I didn’t document in some way. How sad, my past is but a memory because I didn’t take the time to record it.

Looking at those posts from a few years ago I realize that life has changed and has changed me. Mostly I think it’s been for the best, but at times there I things that I miss about the past, things that I wish didn’t happen or things that shouldn’t have happened. I like where things have ended up though. I’m happy with life and where it’s taking me in the future overall.

I am grateful for the future that I have and still, at times, I mourn for the past that is no more.

Vacation Days 2 and 3

I didn’t forget to blog last night, I was just busy and today was more of the same. Christmas with my family and friends is more than just a few hours on the morning of the 25th, it’s an extravaganza lasting a few days before and maybe the day after too.

Yesterday was glorious. I did absolutely nothing and I loved it! I watched the Colts beat the Texans in basically one half. I finally got dressed around 7 and headed out to meet up with Kyle for our traditional Sunday night tea and talking. Good times.

Today I started bright and early at 8 although I wish it could have been 10 because I really didn’t sleep much the night before. Seriously do that trash trucks have to come at 330 on a Monday morning? We headed to my grandparents for a little Christmas Eve lunch and to open some presents. I got some good stuff really and it’s only just begun.

In the afternoon we headed out to Erin’s for Christmas with her family. An amazing roast beef was waiting as well. I got some really great presents again. A blender (you might not understand but I really wanted one, one with a knob especially), some money to put towards some new glasses which I desperately need, and a pair of leather Chucks are some of the highlights. Erin got me tools, Craftsman, the only kind I want ever, and some nice sweaters and I’m sure there is tons more that I’m forgetting. I love it all and know that I am truly blessed to receive so much.

Tomorrow is Christmas proper and I’m ready. The holidays are hard for me to get in the mood for lately, I just can’t find the spirit. I found it tonight, on the drive home I jammed to some Christmas music and it hit me. The holidays are about giving though, I still have to give something, I don’t know what or how yet but there’s still one thing missing that I do year after year. Just being that lifeline for someone that needs something a bit more than I do, I’ll find the opportunity soon enough I’m sure, though time is ticking.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and that your time with family and friends can be as rewarding to you as it has been for me.

Only one post for tomorrow, my traditional post, I’ll update late in the evening or the day after.

8 years!

On November 30, 1999 I made the first blog post of my life. In the last 8 years I’ve posted 1,554 posts with over 200,000 words.

In all those years much has changed. New friends, new loves and hates, new jobs. So much in what has been essentially 1/3rd of my life.  It’s really kind of amazing when you think about it, for nearly 1 out of every 3 years that I’ve been alive, I’ve been keeping track of triumphs and tribulation averaging one post every 2 days.

Over the years I’ve been met by people who think that blogging is worthless or useless. I beg to differ, it’s my outlet, my escape, my place to be me and sometimes its just there to mark occasion. As I’ve said before, it’s my space, way be there was that horrendous thing known as MySpace.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed the insight into my mind and my life. There have been some hard posts to write, some that I wish I would have taken more time with and some that I still question their value. If you don’t blog, or don’t blog enough I would encourage you to post now and then, make it a habit, say something, anything is better than nothing. In a few years you can look back at what you thought was important and realize that life is in control of you much more than you are controlling it.

OneWebDay 2007

Today is OneWebDay a celebration of the community that exists on the web. It’s a day to celebrate this great huge thing that exists all around the world. In my opinion it’s the one thing that we can all share in. There are no borders, no real class systems that block people from coming on board, there is just this space that we can all share, create and explore together. This isn’t something that can be necessarily controlled, what is taboo in one place may be perfectly fine in another. A space exists for all, whether it be large corporate sites that are entirely commercial to user generated content sites that make money for the creators as well as the owners of the site to totally informational sites about every subject under the sun and beyond and even blogs and other personal sites that are merely there as an outlet to express themselves to others around the world.

I’m proud to be a part of that community, I not only contribute here with my personal thoughts, links and stories but I have also built several websites of varying success for commercial enterprises. The tools that we use to build this community are not just tools; they are works of art. We can use simple tools like notepad and other text editors, complex HTML and WYSIWYG tools and even drag and drop tools that don’t require any knowledge of design or code. Anyone can create a page or site in just a few minutes.

Of course the real gift to community is not the design, layout, and technology of the web, but the content that can be delivered on it. Sites like Wikipedia are not particularly well designed, simple text, images and links are all it takes to get the correct information to you. Other sites like sports sites, news sites, and most social networking sites are enormous arrays of code, images, text, video and community modules that function as a huge organism in and of itself. The content makes the site however. How do you want your information? Do you want simply information in its simplest form, which in my opinion is simple hyperlinked text or do you want to watch a sports event clear across the world with live video? You can have both or something entirely different, look around, if you want it, you can find it and if not, build it, someone else might be looking for it too!

We all contribute here on basically level ground. A large corporation and purveyor of information like CNN must compete with a simple young blogger for readers. Perhaps CNN offers the most complete analysis of the particular story of interest but if the blogger is eyewitness to the event they may have insight that CNN could never hope to have. We are a community and as such must interact with all around us, big, little, corporate and personal.

The community on the web has changed for me in the last year greatly. I’ve changed the way I work on the web and on a computer in general. With my recent acquisition of a Mac I have been thinking of getting a Windows virtual machine software solution to install my software on. I realized quickly though that there is really nothing that I need Windows software for. I use the web for nearly everything I do, I use Quicken, iTunes, and MS Office all of which can be used on the Mac and everything else can be found on the web. We don’t need smart computers anymore, we need a smart network that we can always be connected to.

Since the last OneWebDay I have changed my social networking approach. I’m on Facebook but greatly reduced my friends after a long hiatus from the site altogether. I didn’t want to be involved in the community in the aspect that it was being used. I like using sites like Facebook to stay in touch with friends, but pushing all of their information to me all the time got annoying. I don’t need to know every little thing that people do. I see social networks as a solution to email, a simple way to keep in touch with select people about select things without the need to remember everyone in particular all the time. Sites like Twitter make it possible to send out quick updates on your stream of consciousness quickly but low adoption by the masses have hurt them into being a true way of communication. In the future I think that these sites will catch on with the generation yet to come but being connected in general will continue to grow in ways that we can’t even begin to think of yet.

Tools like the iPhone, Blackberries and smaller and smaller laptops have made keeping up on the happenings of your friends, business contacts, and even news stories all over the world nearly entirely ubiquitous. This is the future, always connected to each other. The way that it’s implemented will be crucial to the future though. There has to be a happy medium between pull and push information. I want to know what my friends are up to, but I don’t need to know exactly what they are doing all the time. I want to know about important news topics during the day, but I don’t need it right now all the time. I want to be able to contact anyone I need at the drop of a hat though in various ways including SMS, email, and voice. Connecting the infrastructure of the old media, phone, television and radio with the infrastructure of the new media like SMS, podcasting, and the web in general will be the next step. How can I get one device to connect me to the world anytime all the time without being cumbersome or bothersome?

I encourage you to participate in this community, in whatever way you can, a blog, a photosite, a podcast, reporting news important to you (firsthand or not), even just adding comments to forums, blogs, and other chances at be social in this space is important. We have built this community and must continue to help it grow.

OneWebDay