Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Freaking Exercise

This post isn't so much a ?! as it is a !!

My awesome wife got me this cool nike+ this for my 31st birthday (this saturday, Jan 24, if you were wondering).  Not only is this hilarious because she's obviously telling me I'm fat, but it has also motivated me to start running again.  Since becoming a father, I have let the whole working out thing slide a fair bit, so I'm just getting back into the swing of it.  We got a jogging stroller on craigs list, and I've changed my work schedule because Rechelle is going back to school.  I get home at 3ish, so Claire and I get to spend some quality time running around the neighborhood.

I've added a widget on the right hand side of the page if you're interested in my progress.  I've set a goal for myself to run 25 miles in the next 4 weeks.  Thats 25 total miles over 4 weeks, not a 25 mile run in 4 weeks, that would be crazy :-)

In any case, feel free to make fun of me for being fat and lazy, but be sure to check my progress and give me crap if I am not meeting my goals.  Afterall, if the approval of random anonymous people on the internet is not motivation for me to get out and run, I don't know what is!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

And thats why you don't make bets!

Ok, so today I have a special treat for you all... today is a twofer.

So, it all started quite some time ago when just about everyone I know started bugging me to get facebook. "It's awesome" they said. "You'll love it" they said. "It's perfect for an attention junkie like yourself" they said. But I refused. I had myspace many moons ago, and I deleted my account. This was before it was cool to delete your myspace account mind you, I deleted it because I couldn't stand it. "But facebook is different" they said. Well, you can pretty up a mustang, but in the end it's still a Ford... but now I'm getting ahead of myself.

So why is any of this important? Well, enter in culprit number two: Apple. Let me start off by saying, I love Apple. I love their products. I think Steve Jobs is an amazing CEO and one of the best corporate leaders of the 20th century and beyond. Well, Apple makes this cool little computer called a "Mac Mini". For 2 years now I have wanted one, but it was missing one key feature. So I waited. Every 4 or 5 months a new rumor would surface that Apple was going to refresh the Mac Mini, and this one feature would finally be included. So I would get my hopes up, only to have them dashed against the rocks. I advised other people not to buy one now, because a new model was just around the corner. For two years this went on. And everytime it didn't happen I died a little inside.

But then, suddenly, I had a real glimmer of hope. New Macbook and Macbook Pro models were announced. The Mac Mini uses notebook components, so the spark of excitement once again glowed brightly in my heart. The rumor sites were rife with news of a Mac Mini refresh. Wall Street analysts even chimed in. Macworld San Fransisco 2009 is where it would happen. I was beside myself. Finally! I couldn't stop talking about it. My loving wife, always one to keep me grounded, was less optimistic. "You've been saying this for two years, don't get your hopes up, it's not going to happen". But it was too late. Like Ralphie, so focused on his official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time, I could not be swayed. I was so sure that this was the time, so sure that it was finally going to happen, so sure that I would not shoot my eye out, I made a bet that I thought was easily a sure thing. "If Apple releases the new Mac Mini at Macworld, I can buy one (w00t!), but if not, then I have to sign up for facebook". Words that will live on in infamy.

I won't bore you with the details of the buildup of excitement, the trip to the Apple store I planned for Tuesday, January 6th at lunchtime to claim my prize, the panic that gripped my heart and soul as I slowly and helplessly watched my fate unfold before me with every word Phil Schiller spoke, and the shame every keystroke brought as I signed up for a facebook account... I am sure you could care less. The point is, I lost.

So I begrudgingly signed up for a facebook account. And since I am being completely honest, I actually kind of enjoyed it for the first 24 hours. "Hey, this is different than Myspace" I thought to myself. Stuff is kind of easier to find, people can't decorate their pages with the stupidest backgrounds ever that make it impossible to read anything on the page, there is no terrible, obnoxious, loud music playing that causes my browser to throw up and my sensibilities to be offended... this is kinda nifty.

But then it happened. I started getting friend requests from people I didn't even know. People I've never even heard of! I realize it is probably just because I am old and don't understand technology, but I don't get why people want to have large friend lists, full of anyone who will click "Accept Friend Request". "Oh, you're a friend of this person, who is a friend of that person, who is a friend of some other person who once fell off the monkey bars at a kindergarten I lived down the street from when I was a child... we should be 'friends'!". It makes no sense to me! And then, once you accept them, you start getting notifications about stuff their "friends" are doing... even though they're not my friends. I'm relatively certain I ended up getting status updates about Kevin Bacon somehow. I had the sensibility to click ignore on some of those requests, but you're going to penalize me for someone else's lack of click control? I just don't get it. I know there are people who can go back even further than this, but I remember the day when you used to write a real letter, with pen and paper and stamps and letter carriers and mailboxes, if you wanted to keep in touch with someone. When you used to pick up a telephone, that had wires and everything, to speak with someone far away. I remember a day when being "friends" with someone meant something more than just knowing what they were up to at that moment, and what their "friends" thought about that, because they posted it on twitter, facebook, or their blog. It is a rare thing that can be truly appreciated if you did not have to work for it. So in the end, I have facebook. But after an intense 24 hour love affair with it, I found it left me unhappy and unsatisfied. This was nothing new, it was the same old concept, with different CSS. Fortunately, actually using said account was not part of the bet, so I will live to blog another day through the grace of a loophole.

So what is the lesson we've learned here? Well, I personally have learned a few. The first is, I was right to fight it for so long... I can't stand facebook. The second would be, don't make a bet you know you're not absolutely guaranteed to win, it only ends badly. And the third is, regardless of how insignificant the penalty for losing a bet seems, never underestimate the sting of what that penalty means: "You Lost".