Idle Life

Enjoying a nice fire

When the power goes out we enjoy a quiet evening with the old-time comfort of a nice fire…

Finney enjoying a fire

And the glow of our phones as we check Facebook, play games and watch videos. I guess it’s not so old-time after all.

Idle Life Travel


I find it’s a good idea to drop in every once in a while to make sure the residents are taking good care of my town. A surprise inspection is always good for morale.



Here’s where I pat myself in the back

Weekend’s done, was i productive? I wasn’t feeling productive… but upon review,

Finished the screen for our trash bins

Finished my workbench

Trimmed the garage door

And cleaned out the garage.

I also managed to spend some of Ben’s money… but that was fun and doesn’t really count as work.


So… feeling good about your childhood?

When I was ten years old I could make a small jump out of snow and ride my bike over it. I was also pretty good at following Lego directions.

Yuto Miyazawa, on the other hand, plays guitar. Here’s Miyazawa-san tearing up Crazy Train on stage with Ozzy Osbourne.


Just so you know… the jump I made was really, really awesome.


A couple box packing tips

When a release is finished at Microsoft people pull their heads out of their current product and frequently move around between teams (and that means packing up your office to head to a new location). Watching professional movers pack my house for the move to and from Ireland did teach me a little about moving. There are two biggie tips, however, that stood out.

Tape your boxes the wrong way first

Going from flat cardboard to a box can be awkward with one person. It’s not tremendously hard to assemble a box, but if you want it to be nice and square you can speed the process by running the first piece of tape perpendicular to the seam.

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Align the bottom flaps and run a piece of tape across the bottom of the box and it will be held closed and aligned while you tape the seam.

Pack your boxes on top of other boxes

The first tip will save you a little time, but this second tip will save your back. No matter how careful you are, moving is tiring and often hard on your back.

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Once you have a box or two packed, put your next empty box on top of your packed boxes. Loading this top box will be much easier as you won’t be bending down to put items in the bottom of the box. You should, of course, protect your back from the beginning and start your first box on a chair.

Combo bonus!

I recommend combining the two tips and build your new boxes on top of the other boxes (see first picture). Constructing your fresh box on a raised pedestal will preserving your back even when you’re straining to lift your collection of dolls action figures.

Watch what you eat

Not really a packing tip per se, but the logo on the bottom of the packing boxes did make me worry that if I’m not careful I might die of dysentery.

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Take a trip, you’ll be happier

The New York Times published an interesting article this weekend about money and happiness. Sure, it’s filled with the usual “money can’t buy happiness” stories and tales of self discovery. I think it’s stuff we all know deep down inside but are good at repressing (Gizmodo hasn’t made me happy yet… but it’s my Ike Turner).

But wait, what’s this? If you dig deep enough you’ll find this little gem:

Thomas DeLeire, an associate professor of public affairs, population, health and economics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, recently published research examining nine major categories of consumption. He discovered that the only category to be positively related to happiness was leisure: vacations, entertainment, sports and equipment like golf clubs and fishing poles.

Now there’s some useful investment advice. It’s time to re-order my priorities.

Sure, a new computer sounds great… but schnitzel in Austria sounds wonderful right now.


I’m not sure I can keep eating this way

Paula and I met Dick for some drinks and snacks tonight and headed over to Lot no. 3 in downtown Bellevue. We had some Salumi cured meats, a PB & J (peanut butter, BACON and jelly) and, of course, a Plate O’ Bacon.


What the hell, this body’s just on loan anyway, right?


But I didn’t mean to sound like a jerk

IMAG0013 (2)_e This morning I rushed to catch the elevator up from the parking garage and as I stepped in I said “thanks” to the woman holding the door for me.

Turns out, however, that I reflexively said “thanks” only to realize, after I got in the elevator, that her hand was nowhere near the open button. She had seen me coming and made no effort to hold the lift for me.

How sad is it that the other person got caught doing a dick move and I feel bad for coming across as passive aggressive?


My inbox is possessed

Looks like my volume of unread mail has passed the “too much” threshold and has hit the level of “down right evil”.



New Year’s celebrations for the self-consciously introverted

As the years go by I get more and more blasé about celebrating New Year’s Eve. I’m not quite at the point where I need to whip out the walker, but staying up to midnight just to so I can shout “Woo! Goodnight!” doesn’t have the appeal it used to.

New Year’s Eve 2007/8

While I don’t have to worry about the sleep deprivation or hangover there still is post-party fallout to deal with: going into work and facing the inevitable “so… what did you do for New Year’s Eve?”

Well, I, for one, am not going to worry this year. I’m going to party my socks off.

At least, as far as you know.

Lay the ground work

You can’t just roll into a night of non-partying unprepared, you will have to get your act together first.

1. Make sure everyone knows you’re serious about tonight

With all the twittering, facebooking, texting, etc. going on these days, you can’t just show up to your fake party unannounced. First thing you need to do is publicize how excited you are about the upcoming festivities. Make sure it’s suitably vague but extraordinarily enthusiastic. I recommend the use of caps and exclamation points.

“I’m SOOOO stoked for tonight!!!!!”

2. Do a little alibi building

These days people don’t just expect you to have fun, they expect you to prove it. Any party animal worth their salt leaves a wake of twitpics, facebook albums and confetti where ever they go. To get ready, take your camera, wait until it’s dark out, then step outside and take a picture of yourself. Most party pictures are the same: bright flash and dark background.  Smile like you’re having fun and you can pass off the dark background as just about anywhere. Plus, the dark background allows you to stick yourself into other party pics as needed.

Party like you mean it

People now expect you to be partying, and you have photos to back it up with some good times. The key is to keep your fans in the loop throughout the evening. Since watching Golden Girls then nodding off at 8:30 isn’t going to cut it, you’ll need to get some fun ready before you turn in. Fortunately you won’t need to stay up late, you’ll just need to have your computer do the partying for you. Set up a bunch of “parking sucks!”, “awesome fireworks!” and “i’m soo drbunk” e-mails and then have your e-mail client or a web service like time cave trickle out the evidence over the course of the night.

Having a little bit of “real fun” couldn’t hurt either. Satellite, cable TV and even the interwebs give you a great opportunity to still ring in the new year, just celebrate with your fellow humans a few time zones to your east. Here on the west coast I was free to count down the new year’s ball drop in Times Square with my buddy Ryan Seacrest. Just don’t forget, this is also an opportunity for some more party evidence: turn up the volume on your TV and get a little video of you counting down, cheering and singing “Old Ironsides” (or whatever that once-a-year song is). Just be sure to keep the video tight on you, show just the ceiling or the TV behind you. If you don’t have a partner-in-crime to smooch, just fumble the camera to your chest like you’re getting unexpected hugs. Either that or you can kiss your cats.

Seal the deal

What’s a good time without a bit of lasting pain? When you get up on January first be sure to complain to all your virtual friends. Depending on how hard you “partied” you can make a post about anything from how tired you are to your splitting headache to how you woke up next to a tranny.

One request: if you do plan on waking up next to a tranny, please friend me first. I really want to see the reactions.