We had breakfast for dinner last night at the area IHOP. It was a pleasant winter’s walk from the downtown square – the kind that makes a warm restaurant all the more enjoyable! I had their new meal, the BIG Country-Fried Steak and Eggs dinner, which included a huge slab of battered cube-steak, white gravy, three eggs, hash browns, and pancakes too! Let me tell you – it was legendary. I felt thoroughly satisfied afterward, if not a bit over-stuffed. We had our walk back, which I like to think mediated the metric ton of food in my belly, but it probably didn’t. Hell, it’s winter; I’m just trying to build-up a blubber layer to survive.
My wife and I like to think strategically about our future. Planning and foresight can save you a lot of grief and work in earnest.
In the event that we should become multi-millionaires in the future, we want to make sure we know what we’re going to do with the money. The following is an ongoing list of major things on our list:
Establish a Commune
And by commune, you have to understand my interpretation of the word. The usual ideas just don’t cut it – my idea of a modern commune is little more than a community of friends living in close proximity, each generally having some arcane talent. Other than that, everybody maintains their own job. The added benefit is that you have a community of actual friends in close proximity to help with things. Think about some of these nicer neighborhoods going up that include parks and community facilities like a club house or picnic area. That’s where the millions of dollars come in – someone has to pony up the money to put it together.
Establish an Olde World Arts and Crafts Guild
Look into America’s early years after the Declaration of Independence. As was popular in Europe, guilds popped up all over the place. Funny thing was, they never seemed to last. The guilds cranked out some epic-level work, but rarely made the profit needed to keep the their doors open. The Industrial Revolution was what put them out completely. Mechanized art, while not for the purists, was the way of the future and a clear winner in the end. Revival after revival, it was only when the the passion was washed out by insufficient funds that the guilds closed their doors. An arts and crafts guild would work today, but only if I could poor money into it endlessly.
Create an Elderly Care Facility that Cares
Most elderly care facilities – the ones that the average senior citizen could afford – are clever facades on the same old song and dance. There are too many horror stories to count as you look across the gamut and research their “customer appreciation.” A big reason for this is funding. The hired help is majority volunteer, public service workers, or minimum wage. When you’re not paying well, it’s hard to attract good help, but that’s just what you need.
My wife is the one with real passion for this one. She would love to pour many into a retirement home that is treated more like a spa than assisted living. It would have to be a non-profit venture with backing. The key is to rally support within the area communities, government, and of course, mad money.
Build the Lake Lanier Boardwalk District
How cool would it be to have a boardwalk district on Lake Lanier? I envision long wooden decking, boat slips, a beach, and fantastic night life and retail shopping. There should be bars with karaoke, an outdoor stage, a gallery, and much more. Normally, this kind of thing wouldn’t need so much money to keep it up, but I think I’d have to pay off the Corps. of Engineers a hefty sum to allow it!
Create a Seafood/Freshwater Fish Restaurant on the Lake
Along with that whole boardwalk idea, you have to have some big foundations. I purpose a fish restaurant out on the water. It would be awesome to have its center piece being a large circle of the lake with underwater lights and sub-level glass for viewing. Above that, have two to three stories encircling the “aquarium” for diners to look down upon. There is some real opportunity to make a case for the environmental concerns surrounding the lake in a venue like this.
Build an Irish Pub
Another permanent resident of the boardwalk should be a good old-fashioned Irish pub. If you know of McGuire’s in Pensacola, then your thinking along the same lines. Good food (or bad, but traditional!) and drinks. These relics of America’s past have always been places of fun and festivity.
- Kids’ countdown to the new year at noon at Ink in Gainesville. #
- Happy New Year! We’re out of here and heading to the beach in the later A.M. #
- I was just singing along to a song using my bass voice. My wife said it sounded like a burp! #
- New Year’s Day is nearly over. We made it to the beach in time for dinner and look forward to some post-holiday vacationing! #
- Heading to the beach on a warm-ish January day! #
- Just ate an *immense* amount of food at McGuire’s in Pensacola. #
- Mama Mia! The ladies picked the movie tonight… #
- Just got back into town. Having real Internet access again is like a sip of really good coffee after a camping trip! #
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From the folks that brought you surströmming, a kind of fermented herring, comes something a bit different to entice your palate! When I first heard “cloudberry,” I thought it a playful term for flatulence. Turns out, it’s an indescribable fruit found in northern latitudes. It’s rare, and rather difficult to cultivate as I understand. The smell reminds me of some sort of baked fruit pie. It’s thick like a meal and very sweet – kind of like figs, though nothing like a fig. It was recommended that I try it on ice cream, which I can say that I have now done. It’s very good as long as you’re okay with the seeds; almost pomegranate in size and texture. I first had it on a biscuit and enjoyed it there. It’s sweet enough that ice cream tastes a little diminished in its presence.
Perhaps some of you are aware of Charles Lindbergh’s other work. Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, but a few years later he was able to get some time with the surgeon, Dr. Alexis Carrel to discuss some common interests. It turns out that Lindbergh believed it to be possible to build a heart valve replacement synthetically. Carrel was already in the process of studying organs outside of the human body in his own designs, but infection inevitably set in and destroyed the parts. With Carrel’s help, Lindbergh was able to build the perfusion pump by which organs could be maintained “indefintely.”
There’s a more sinister element to this story when you tie Carrel to this story. Carrel was influenced by the times leading up to World War II in Europe and believed he was working towards a common ideal of eugenics. While he might have used the word eugenics at the time, put in perspective with World War II most of us think Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany, and genocide. There were some debates in the late 1990’s that give rise to the question of whether or not Carrel was involved in any inhumane practices to harvest the organs on which his experiements relied. In Carrel’s book; L’Homme, cet inconnu (Man, The Unknown), published in 1935, he advocated the use of gas chambers to rid humanity of “inferior stock.”
It’s 2035 c.e. now and the 100th anniversary is upon us to commemorate Lindbergh’s and Carrel’s fantastic inventions based on the perfusion pump. Young adults, classrooms, and spoiled children everywhere are keen on one thing this Christmas – the Centennial Man!
In 1935 Charles Lindbergh and Alexis Carrel unveiled the perfusion pump; a thing of science fiction creativity and unimaginable medical repercussions. In its early years, the perfusion pump could maintain whole organs outside of the living anatomical system. Soon after, these pumps were perfected to maintain more complex systems for extended periods of time. Now, it seems, organic cellular metabolism has no mortality given the proper, sterile conditions of its vascular system. What was once termed “a twist of vitrified bowel oozing out of a clear glass bottle” becomes the concept for Rockefeller University’s “Centennial Man.” The Centennial Man will last 100 years with no maintenance at all and fully encapsulates the human anatomy for the entertainment and education of its controller. The Centennial Man is operated on a simple wireless controller which takes standard programmable function logic from a computer system running the Centennial Man SDK. Provided with over 140 pre-built routines, you can control Centennial Man to behave as though it were alive! Centennial Man is made entirely from natural organs encased within a cadaver for life-like simulations. While not exactly the perfusion pump of 1935, Centennial Man is based entirely* on a microscalar version of this premise – systematically reintroduced inline with the organs and vascular system of the anatomy to maintain the organic cellular functions as if it were a living body. Only this body will last 100 years through the genius of a fluid regenerative micro perfusion pump system!
Educators will enthrall their students with a complete functioning anatomical system to dissect. Impress your friends with your very own animated cadaver – program it scratch your back, rub your feet, or fold your clothes. The possibilities are endless!
* Centennial Man does not have a functioning nervous system. To replicate this function and provide programmability, the nervous system (including the brain) has been replaced with advanced micro circuitry and an AI logic core function processor. Carbon nano tubes are necessary to interface this system with the various micro perfusion pump systems and vascular control valves to maintain their viability within the system.
Centennial Man requires special food, available from most major retailers, to maintain its growth nutrient and blood supply to organs. Centennial Man also discharges an excrement approximately weekly that should be disposed of properly.
I’m driving to work this morning, minding my own business, when I notice a monstrous bag skulking across the road. It’s one of those clear cellophane bags; the kind you get at the grocery store to hold your vegetables, only this one can probably hold the whole “Fresh Foods” section. Likely a furniture bag, and it looks like it’s up to no good. The bag creature deftly slips through the air, avoiding a near miss with a large truck. Oh, no, the garbage truck is not the target prey of this ruthless, inorganic spirit. I slow so as to go unnoticed by the bag creature, but too late! Just as it nearly passes over my lane entirely, it suddenly curls back in a vicious closing move to engulf my unsuspecting Mazda 3. The hatchback is no match for such a skillful killer.
What a way to start the morning! I was able to pull the bag off, which seemed mostly intact, and throw it away properly at a gas station. However, I’ve been huffing molten plastic bag fumes for about half an hour now. It smells like burning, and I can’t breath so well.
I was just reading “16 Tips for Blog Idea Brainstorming” to try and kick myself out of my latest dose of writer’s block. I’m slowly coming to the realization that it’s not writer’s block that I’m experiencing, but rather “pudding brain” (or some scientific explanation therein). Pudding is a wonderful substance. It has great things mysteriously captured within it and converted into the silky, sweet bliss that is puddin’. It’s worthless really, but wonderful in the moment. At some point though, you may realize that you’ve eaten 13lbs of pudding and now you’re having trouble getting up from the couch…let alone back to solid foods. So pudding brain is something like that. Others may refer to it as a sort of mental hiatus. But when you’re on a mental hiatus, you can only come up with puddin’ brain.
Tangents aside, the 16 tips that John Pozadzides offers are decent enough, if not mostly well known. I did find one real error in John’s ideas. It doesn’t take into consideration those afflicted with Pudding Brain. I hit Thoof on his list of aggregators to read – one I hadn’t seen before – and got really stuck. It’s one of those new-fangled aggregators that automatically load more items as you get closer to the end of the scrolling page. You can waste a lot of time there!
There’s something to be said for focus. Hitting the hot spots on the web for news is well and good, but it’s probably more productive to focus on those places that can offer you something to comment on, rather than simply steal your attention away from what you came there to do. Sites like YouTube, Thoof, and even Digg (though less so for me) are real time sinks. When it comes to blog idea hunting, I have more success trusting my own RSS aggregation. It may have a lot of the same stuff, but it’s interspersed with other sources and is slightly less accessible because RSS is abstracted from the website. I also like the idea of hitting the unpopular sites our there with very specific information to get ideas. It’s more likely to be original and it’s probably something you’re very specifically interested in.
Now, that said; I haven’t been inspired to write about much lately. But it’s not so much about my sources as it is my own intentions. The number one tip for blog idea brainstorming is this:
Take an interest in what you have to say.
If you have no interest, you have no story. You can see right through a post that is paying lip service to its readers by reposting content someone else has written. John mentions in his tips that he goes the extra mile to do some research on topics he is reposting. That’s exactly the right idea in my mind. He’s taken an interest and is providing original commentary on a popular topic.
So in between original content I fill in with interesting things I find elsewhere, or current news events. But I don’t just re-post other people’s content.
I was just pulling out of driveway (a severe angle up to the road), and I burned the clutch a bit to keep from stalling out in reverse. Balthazar says, “Daddy, I smell chicken nuggets.”
So a burning clutch smells like a chicken nugget, or perhaps it’s more apt to say that chicken nuggets smell like a burning clutch. *Mental Note; remove fast food chicken nuggets from the boy’s diet.
This past week, Fiserv announced that it is acquiring CheckFree Corporation, the company I have worked for over the last few years. The news came as quite a shock to everyone I spoke to, though that doesn’t necessarily mean people fear the worst. It’s split pretty evenly between pessimists and optimists. I’m a pessimist, though only for good preparedness. That is, as I’ve been on both ends of acquisitions, I know some variations on what can happen to a company that’s acquired. So I’m pessimistic on this not because I think it’s the end of CheckFree and my job there, but because I think it valuable to envision some poor cases and then consider a plan for those cases. Having done that, I don’t feel any worry or stress about the worst cases. On the other hand, if everything is like management wants its employees to think – nothing changes, jobs are safe, no one will be asked to move – then I have nothing to plan for nor worry about. Either way, I feel that my future is taken care of.
Did I ever tell you about the last company I worked for? I used to work for ConAgra Foods – the poultry division out of Duluth, GA. They were acquired by Pilgrim’s Pride out of Mt. Pleasant, TX. Shortly after the deal was said and done, we were told about how the two cultures would come together nicely and nothing would change. The president of Pilgrim’s Pride, Bo Pilgrim, came to the Duluth office to boost morale and exemplified the “combining cultures” by handing out “Good News for Modern Man” to each employee with a $20.00 bill inside. He also positioned a chaplain at each new location in the acquisition. The workforce at the former ConAgra Foods division was divided into multiple races and nationalities which made-up any number of religious preferences such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, and Atheism to name several. It seemed that Pilgrim’s Pride would have a simpler system of Baptist Christianity as the preferred religion within the combined companies. Previously, I had not known religion to be an attribute of my employment. Needless to say, I was not the only one feeling a bit unsettled about the new management.
I broke out of my comfort zone in two big ways this weekend; both involving drumming. When it comes to personal challenges, those involving my creative efforts are the most difficult to engage. A failure at something coming from creativity is a personal one, to me. However, I don’t feel that I lost in either of my explorations this weekend.
I’ll start with the last event because I’ve only just sat down from it recently. The wife and I rallied the surrogate siblings (DR Boy and Spazzmanda) to join us in facilitating a drum circle for the United Hospice. The event was held at Tallulah Falls, GA for Camp Cocoon – a bereavement camp for children. Alchemy Drumming & Dance was called to put together a drum circle for children ages 5-17. About 60 of them. So four people made the trip to the Tallulah Gorge with a van full of buckets, beaters, and various percussion instruments. The intense sound of kids with percussion instruments filled every corner of an outdoor gymnasium. My wife and Spazzmanda brought their dance moves to the floor and got everybody hopping to the groove DR Boy and I laid down. I think we found some closet drummers, dancers, and gymnasts! The whole gig was a volunteer effort by the Alchemy crew and I think it was really rewarding to everyone. We got a lot of really great compliments from the camp organizers. Each of us also found a little something in ourselves in the challenge.
I also had a Friday night gig with Christine Zaarour at the Mezza lounge in Decatur. I met Christine at a debke workshop. My wife and her friend were there to learn the dance style and do a couple of performances afterwards. That’s also where I performed my first drum solo, and also the reason Christine was interested in having me out at her performance at Mezza. She’s from Lebanon and doesn’t know any drummers in the area, but “I’m the best drummer she knows” sounds better. It so happened that Mezza was having a private party coming that night and was standing room only. 50 or 60 people showed up to see Christine Zaarour perform her dance routines…and I’d have my ultimate test as a solo drum performer. I think everyone had a really good time – it was really a party by the end of the night, which came quite late. The food at Mezza is really wonderful as well. The nicest people, live entertainment, and delicious Lebanese food – this place has it all! Against the staff’s expectations, I also had some Arabic coffee. It’s not entirely different from the Minas coffee I’ve had from Bosnia.
So a weekend of opportunities taken. Stepping out of my comfort zone; once while performing as a solo drummer for Mezza, and again at Camp Cocoon as a facilitator for children of all ages. I think next weekend I’ll try mowing the lawn. Talk about breaking out of your comfort zone!