April 9, 2006
If I try my hardest, I might just be able to recall a day when I would sit down and fire up the old internets to check my email with great anticipation. I can almost hear the modem connection now (remember how high-tech that screeching noise used to sound?), followed by the "Welcome!" message from AOL, if I were so lucky to find a connection number that wasn't busy (remember how low-tech hearing the busy sound through your modem speaker was?). Then, with baited breath, I would wait. Wait for those three little words.
You've got mail.
The Greater Good
November 9, 2005
As someone who spends quite a bit of time in Canadian airports, you can understand how this made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but probably not for the reason you think.
Let the Madness Begin...One Year Later
March 16, 2005
Without further ado, and just before the deadline, I present to you my final four for this years Tournament. Now, before you go scoffing at me, I would have you remember back last year, on this very blog, when I predicted 3 out of the 4 final four teams.
Final Four - (Winners in Bold)
Illinois vs Wake Forest
Kansas vs Oklahoma
Kansas vs Illinois (85-80)
There you have it, ought to be a good one. I am personally hoping to see a North Carolina - Kansas Regional Final. Wouldn't that make for a plot?
SSPAdmin, Brackets and New Material
March 14, 2005
Just a random update to the loyal few. Here is what is happening in my neck of the woods:
- SSPAdmin has passed 70 downloads in just 2 weeks, better than I could ever have imagined.
- My Brackets are filled out, are yours? More thoughts on that before the tourney starts...
- A new article over at Step Away from the Tables entitled Playing the Percentages.
That is all for now, check back Wednesday for my NCAA predictions!
24 Hours in San Diego
January 26, 2005
Recently I was able to escape the sub-zero temperatures of Montreal for a meeting in San Diego for a few days. That would have been enough until I saw my lodging arrangements and noticed I would be staying at La Jolla Torrey Pines, along the 18th fairway of one of the most recognized golf courses in the world. Again, this would have been enough until I learned we would be there the week the Buick Invitational would be held at Torrey Pines. Luckily, I wasn't leaving until Thursday afternoon, and was able to catch my first ever glimpse of a professional golf event, which featured four of the top six players in the world. My experience starts the night before.
December 6, 2004
A year ago today, I tentatively stepped into the blogosphere with a post aptly entitled, "As If I Didn't Have Enough to Do". One year, 64 posts and 180 comments later, here are some favorites from the first year:
- A Tough Day for Sports Fans (Dec. 7, 2003) - Still relevant one year later...
- Pete, Tell us something we don't know (Jan 6, 2004) - Also relevant in light of recent baseball events
- Handling the Heat (or Lack Thereof) (Jan 26, 2004) - I found my niche: self-deprecating humor
- iTunes Music Store: My First Twenty Bucks (May 20, 2004) - My unconditional love for the ITMS
- Weekend Reading (June 5, 2004) - A pretty intense rant about the state of personal computers
- The Oprahtization of Televised Sports (July 14, 2004) - Post All-Star game frustrations
- Why I Love the Internet (to be Followed Closely by Why I Hate It) (Aug 25, 2004) - Ups and Downs of our friend, the internet
- The Great Toilet Paper Incident of 1997 (October 31, 2004) - The Classic.
Here's to another year of banter...
November 4, 2004
This is the 59th post here at northoftheborder over the last 10 months or so. In the previous 58, I have steered clear of the impending US election for many reasons, but lest you should think I am indifferent, I present to you an essay on just how much of a political junkie I have become.
The Great Toilet Paper Incident of 1997
October 31, 2004
I went skimming through the archives here at northoftheborder and came across something in the comments I have been meaning to write about for some time. The comments I'm speaking of are found starting here where my good buddy Kevin makes a reference, with a few follow ups. Aunt Maxine's not the only one in the dark about this story, few know all the details. Until today...
I Say iPhoto, You Say Picasa
October 4, 2004
When I step up on my little soapbox to tout the greatness of the Mac, one thing I point to is how well it handles all your digital media. This used to be an argument that applied to only a small percentage of decidedly geeky users, but now every Joe Shmoe has a camera, or worse a camera in his phone (don't get me started). The mac is great at handling photos with it's built in iPhoto application, however recently I have been cleaning up my old PC laptop for Nora to use, and with her being accustomed to scrolling through our pictures on my Powerbook, she was immediately disappointed at the lack of such a program for the Dell's Windoze platform. So I went Googlin, and boy did Google have an answer for me.
Worst Job Ever
September 15, 2004
Am I the only one who feels really sorry for this guy?
July 12, 2004
It's been a bit busy 'round here, but look for more posts soon. In the meantime, enjoy some selected pictures from the honeymoon.
June 30, 2004
We're baaaaack. After a wonderful 9-day tour of south Florida, we are back to a little bit of normalcy here. But of course I wouldn't go without sharing some randomized thoughts of our little journey...
June 22, 2004
Would you write more with a view like this? See you next week...
June 14, 2004
Is that light at the end of the tunnel? Or is it an oncoming train...
The wedding is approaching quickly and things are about to get real crazy. So I thought I should write before it gets too out of hand. The problem: No topic....
June 11, 2004
Sometimes images tell the whole story. Today the nation says goodbye to Ronald Reagan. Imagine what the world would have said if you had shown them this photo when Reagan took office in 1980. One time adversary Mikhail Gorbachev was one of thousands who paid their respects in the Capital Rotunda Thursday. Later he visited with Nancy Reagan, who told him, "I'm so glad you came."
Lincoln had this same quality. Lincoln was often underestimated and labeled as a less than legitimate thinker. Remember his War Secretary Edwin Stanton and his famous words at Lincoln's deathbed, "Now he belongs to the ages"? Years before he had called Lincoln every name in the book, openly referring to him as "that monkey in Washington". Patience and an understanding of a higher calling helped Lincoln win over Stanton. He knew that the Civil War must be won, and Stanton was the man for the job. There is a lesson in there for all of us.
Reagan learned it somewhere along the way too. With tough love and unmatched determination he eventually won over the then young and cocky Russian leader. He didn't just beat him, he befriended him. There was just something about Reagan that brought that out of people. Try finding this in politics today...
Reagan was my first president and I echo what I have heard many people say this week, he will always be Mr. President to me. Was he perfect? No. A great president? Yes, but that's not for today. Today is to to honor a great man and his contributions to America and the world.
June 3, 2004
This has been an exciting week for me, with two (1, 2) listings on public sites that made my head swell even bigger than its' natural proportions (Right, Doy?). It has, however, introduced me to a relatively new idea I have been getting to know over the past year: Public Scrutiny. As a Communications Director, I often have pieces of my work floating about through Canada and even the US, whether it be on the web, in print or in the form of a video. What have I learned? A couple of things....
May 31, 2004
If April Showers Bring May Flowers...
April 5, 2004
Then what the heck does this mean? After a brief warm spell with temps pushing the mercury all the way to the high forties, mother nature threw a nice April's Fools joke on us and dropped a few inches of snow last night. Above is the view from the balcony this morning.
Been a busy time with moving to a new apartment, work, watching the Jayhawks lose, etc etc....will write more soon...
The 5 a.m. Something or Other
March 1, 2004
Captain's Log: 5:13 a.m.
If your reading this and know me to any extent you realize that 5 a.m. and I don't necessarily get along too well. In fact there are only two reasons why I would be up at this hour:
1) I am not yet asleep - some project has spun out of control and before I know it the sun is coming up...
2) I am traveling - Much worse than reason one. Reason one can be rectified with three good steps and a swan dive into the nearest horizontal sleeping device.
Well obviously since your reading this I am awake and therefore on the road again. My monthly trip to Calgary is upon me and it is a doozy (11 days) and as usual I am on the earliest flight to leave Montreal, which meant an ungodly cab ride to Trudeau Airport in the blackness of 4:30 a.m.. But there was a little pot of gold at the end of that rainbow. I arrived at Moe's, a little breakfast joint in the terminal, to scarf down some eggs when I realized one good thing about being up that early. The televisions were tuned to ESPN and I was privy to an edge of your seat golf match. Tiger and Davis Match Play Repeat? No no...I am talking the real deal, the Putt-Putt skins game. In case you haven't seen it, I will sum it up for you. It is a bunch of guys getting way too excited about mini-golf. The crowd hanging on every stroke, holding there breath to see if ol' Fred can judge that windmill just right. Oh well, anything to keep me awake...
Big City Lesson Number...Well, I Lost Count
February 20, 2004
That seemed like quite a bit of money to place a small classified ad (see below) for my apartment. I wrestled with it a bit longer but finally gave into the salesperson on the phone from The Gazette, the major english newspaper in Montréal. It was Tuesday and the ad was set to begin the next day and run for a total of eight days. "Eight days for 70 bucks," I kept thinking. it just didn't ad up to me.
And then wednesday came.
The phone rang just after 8 a.m. and has not stopped now for three days. I have averaged around ten to fifteen calls a day since wednesday, and they all begin with something similar to, "Yes I am calling about the four and a half, is heating included?"
The lesson: You ain't in no small town no more, boy (triple negative mine). The Gazette is not just something people use to line bird cages and start up their fireplaces. After doing a little research I discovered that The Gazette has a circulation of almost a million readers a day, not too shabby and well worth the price.
Alive and Kicking
February 18, 2004
Yes, I know. I haven't written in forever and you want your money back. This page gently slid to the bottom half of the priorities list as February shifted into high gear. I know some of you were worried I was face down in the snow somewhere. Sorry eh..
But there is good news to report. After pouring over every newspaper in Montréal until our fingertips were black, Nora and I have found an apartment to live in post-wedding. Our challenge was to find something close enough to her store so she could walk and not spend our entire paychecks on it. We were very lucky to find something less than a block from the store and we are thrilled with it. I will move down April 1st to get set up if all goes well. We also continue with wedding plans and I promise a new web page devoted to that very soon.
Other than that, my time has been filled with several projects for both the CCSB and bradleyboy including a 10-year anniversary video for Ripley's Believe It or Not Branson, a new bradleyboy home page (coming soon), a video project for the Missouri Baptist Convention, and various other web projects. More to come...
Handling the Heat (or lack thereof)
January 26, 2004
Life is full of decisions. We strive to use our best judgment and often do, but sometimes our senses leave us and the opposite of good judgment takes over: stupidity.
One such occurrence came upon me this past weekend. Dreadfully in need of some food and laundry supplies, I stared out the window of my apartment here in Montréal. Staring right back at me were temperatures in the -20 to -25 degree Fahrenheit range and, more importantly, wind chills closer to -40. All the voices in my head suggested I stay in, while my stomach and growing pile of laundry dared me to brave the elements (although some factions of my stomach hinted at pizza delivery). So I put on my coat, then my other coat, scarf and hat then headed downstairs.
Plan A was to awake "Bessie" my '95 Ford Explorer who, like me, is from the south therefore not accustomed to such temperatures. With a resounding 'click' she voiced her opinion..."Hey, if you wanna be an idiot, knock yourself out. I'll have no part in it." Yet another point of decision. I could have turned back. The enveloping warmth of the lobby of my building was just steps away.
I instead turned the corner onto the main sidewalk. The convenient store (known as a 'dépanneur' here in Québec) next door would not do, no detergent. So I set my sights toward the Uniprix pharmacy a little under a half a mile away. Lunacy. I arrived there some ten minutes later, somewhat resembling an oversized, novelty popsicle. I burst through the doors into the warm oven that is the Uniprix. I stopped short of asking if they had rooms available for the night.
So I made my purchases and began psyching myself up for the walk home. Could it be any worse than the walk here? Of course it can. The addition of a grocery bag to each hand and the fact that I was now walking into the wind made me wonder if I would ever make it back. I could see the headline now: Man found frozen to death clutching box of Tide, pack of Starburst.
I struggled home, passing Bessie as I made my way to the door. She just laughed. Decisions, Decisions...
News from the front...
January 13, 2004
Well, not a whole lot of news from up north. I am in Calgary, Alberta for a week. I travel here once a month to visit the home office of the CCSB so that they can get a good look at me. More accurately, it means that a week each month I have to get up early, shave, drink coffee, eat breakfast, and generally act like a grown-up. But hey, its only a week...
It is a nice departure this month as the weather here is decidedly warmer than it is in Montreal. The cold snap that has hit the Northeast has extended to Montreal in the worst way, and last week we dealt with high temperatures at around -10� F. Now, that may seem like just a number. You may say, "Well, when it gets a certain temperature it doesn't matter". Wrong. I tend to use the bradleyboy scale of cold. It measures the misery of conditions by how fast the inner workings of your nose freeze up. And, in 10 below weather, it takes about 2.74 seconds for every drop of snot to solidify. As of this writing it has apparently warmed up to 10� above, but the weather outlook is not so good. Here in Calgary, they are experiencing what is known as a Chinook, where warm winds come off the mountain and the temps rise ( a balmy 40� F today).
For those of you interested, we are in the process of wedding plans. One thing I hope to do in the next week or so is get a wedding page up with info about travel, hotels, registry and the like. Check back soon...
My So Called Christmas Vacation
December 29, 2003
So Christmas just steamrolled on by (anybody get a plate number on that mack truck?) and Santa left nice things here in Montreal, including The Civil War (documentary by Ken Burns, which with its 9 hours of material managed to keep me up most of the weekend) and another couple of feet of snow. Interesting phenomenon here, the idiocy of drivers is directly proportional to the amount of snow, ice, and other dangerous materials on the road. That's not including me of course...(wink, wink).
So it is back to the grindstone as we continue wedding plans, look for a place to live, and I am working on several projects for bradleyboy and the CCSB. I am sure I will run into a few of you while I am in the Show Me State this weekend.
Good Ol' Ronnie
December 23, 2003
Haven't had much to post lately, but I did run across this great quote from my favourite president since Lincoln. I have even been thinking lately that if one day I should have a child, and that child happens to be a boy, Abraham Ronald wouldn't be a bad name. Of course Nora might have something to say about that...
Anyway, here is a joke Reagan used to use to great effect back in the Cold War Days. It goes like this...
A Soviet citizen stands in line for three days to requisition a car. On the fourth day he reaches the counter. At last he concludes his transaction.
"Congratulations, comrade!" says the Soviet official. "Your automobile will be delivered to you on the fifth of March in the year 2005."
"Morning or afternoon?�" inquires the citizen.
The official is puzzled. "Why do you ask?"
The citizen explains: "The plumber is coming in the morning."
Mark Your Calendar
December 15, 2003
Well, here in Montr�al, we are sitting tight under about a foot and a half of snow (See pic below). And after talking with pastors, checking church availability, consulting with the UN, etc etc...we have finally settled on a date for the wedding. The big day will be June 19th, and the wedding will take place here in Montr�al. We are looking at a late afternoon, early evening start time. Obviously, we will have much more info as we get closer to June (which, judging by this snowfall, seems a long way away). Check back soon!
voici venir l'hiver...
December 13, 2003
For my monolingual friends (who are just like me by the way), that's "Here comes winter...". Much thanks to my friends and family in the midwest who just received a touch of snow themselves, for someone down there gave the nasty weather pattern a quite detailed map to my place. That storm is bearing down on the northeast and we are to get our first major snow (8-12 inches Sunday and another 5 or so Monday) of the season. Not to mention that it is downright cold here as well. That is no typo at the top of the screen, it is really that cold (9 degrees Fahrenheit at the time of this writing).
Be sure to check back Monday, as there will be a big wedding announcement and maybe a few pictures of the snow.
Geek Alert: I have received some questions about how this page always displays updated weather. Well, I obviously don't jump on here every time there is a change and update it myself. The new kid on the block in terms of web data (and everything else for that matter) is a format called XML (Extensible Markup Language). It stores data in custom tags, making it easily tailored for any application. Well, the weather channel outputs XML weather data for thousands of cities every 30 minutes and, using PHP to parse the XML data, this page always has updated weather. Check out this site for more info.