Nov 28, 2008

USABILITY: This has always cracked me up...

... and I finally got a picture I could post. Having worked in usability testing for about a year I found this really funny from the first time I saw it.

Nov 22, 2008

Funniest Tweet of the Week: TNAuctioneer

TNAuctioneer gets my first entry as my favorite tweet of the week:
TNAuctioneer: just watched Dirty Jobs and poo eating Talapia! then wife tells me we are having Talapia for dinner! can you say loss of appetite?

Nov 2, 2008

Coloradans Will Laugh (or at least smile)

My mom sent this to me. If you live or have lived in Colorado it will either make you laugh or smile too:
A winter statistic:

98% of Americans scream before going in the ditch on a slippery road. The other 2% are from Colorado and they say, "Hold my soda and watch this".


You're from Colorado if You'll eat ice cream in the winter.

When the weather report says it's going to be 65 degrees, you shave your legs and wear a skirt.

It snows 5 inches and you don't expect school to be canceled.

You'll wear flip flops every day of the year, regardless of temperature.

You have no accent at all, but can hear other people's. And then you make fun of them.

'Humid' is over 25%.

Your sense of direction is: Toward the mountains and Away from the mountains.

You say 'the interstate' and everybody knows which one.

You think that May is a totally normal month for a blizzard.

You buy your flowers to set out on Mother's day, but try and hold off planting them until just before Father's day.

You grew up planning your Halloween costumes around your coat.

You know what the Continental Divide is.

You went to Casa Bonita as a kid, and as an adult.

You've gone off-roading in a vehicle that was never intended for such activities.

You always know the elevation of where you are.

You wake up to a beautiful, 80 degree day and you wonder if it's going to snow tomorrow.

You don't care that some company renamed it, the Broncos still play at Mile High.

Every movie theater has military and student discounts.

Everybody wears jeans to church.

You actually know that ** South Park ** is a real place not just a show on TV.

You know what a 'trust fund hippy' is, and you know its natural habitat is Boulder

You know you're talking to a fellow Coloradoan when they call it Elitches, not Six Flags.

A bear on your front porch doesn't bother you.

Your two favorite teams are the Broncos and whoever is beating the crap out of the Raiders.

When people out East tell you they have mountains in their state too, you just laugh.

You go anywhere else on the planet and the air feels 'sticky' and you notice the sky is no longer blue.

Oct 30, 2008

What a blast! IgniteBoulder - Oct 29, 2008

Dan Borgmann (, Ryan Wanger ( and I at
Dan Borgmann (, Ryan Wanger ( and I at

Slideshow via Flickr

Video via YouTube

So last night, Dan of, Adam (AK my son), and I went to the IgniteBoulder event in Boulder CO. It was a blast! We hooked up with Ryan Wanger (of The Reluctant Eater) before the event began and got acquainted. Ryan and Dan had hooked up via Dan's new interest in blogging and Ryan may be a food reviewer for Dan's site.

Perhaps the most fun of the night was the look on Dan's face from about the third presentation on... (wish I had a picture) but it's that blank stare you see when it's obvious someone has been drinking from a fire hose of info. But he did great.

We heard/saw 20 slide (timed automatically at 15 second intervals) presentations on everything from what soap bubbles have in common with yoga (really a bizarre presentation, seriously), to info about Lucid Dreaming (maybe more bizarre than the yoga/soap), to instructions on branding yourself, perception possibility, what angel investors are thinking, and more.

Maybe next time I'll live blog the event. A video of the event is in process. I'll edit and post a link here when it's available for anyone interested.

Overall a great evening of branching out and exploring new stuff. There are Ignite events occurring all over the country (world?) and you should definitely check for one in your area and go if can.

Thanks to Andrew Hyde of Boulder for coordinating this event! Let's do another!

Oct 13, 2008

Interesting Whose Lists You End Up On

The whole social media thing is a very interesting and inexact science. While I'm certain I was and continue to be on many people's "lists" from work over the years, every now and then you'll get random emails and tweets you were never expecting and you end up on someone's list. Todays came from twitter nflscore:

Oct 8, 2008

Fall 2008 Color Ride in the Rockies

Last Friday, October 3, Julie, our house guest Chris Papetti, and I took our two HD video cameras for a ride in the Rockies to see the Fall color. We ended up putting one of the cameras on the tripod bungied in between the front seats with the top down. We shot video for most of our trip through the mountains to Estes Park via Golden. We wish we could share GORGEOUS Colorado with all our friends, but since so many live in other parts of the country and don't get to enjoy it, I thought I'd share a little taste here with you. Since you probably don't want to watch 30 minutes of video I increased the velocity of the playback so 30 minutes is condensed down to about 7. Enjoy!

(this is the super high bandwidth version... which will take a little longer to load - see below for lower)

(a little lower bandwidth version)

Oct 6, 2008

Latest Finished Project

Web commercials, web-mercials as I like to call them, are becoming very popular with the explosion of video on the web. Today, I finished editing one for a local Greek food service. Here's a link: (click on Giggling Greek to view just that video)

Oct 2, 2008

Classic Game Meets PHP

So today in class our instructor led us in an activity where we group coded a web version of the classic game Rock, Paper, Scissors. It was a very interesting exercise and very educational to work as a team. I kept up with most of what we did, tweaking it a little on the way, and then massively tweaking it when I got home this evening. So, if you want to take a look go play Rock, Paper, Scissors online (WARNING: It's a little addictive.)

Sep 27, 2008

Celsius to Farenheit and Vice Versa

So, assignment #2 for my PHP/mySQL class was to create a page that will convert a numeric value from Celsius to Fahrenheit or vice versa. I started out this morning writing on my big marker board to write out all the stuff I had to have and process.

That part went pretty smoothly so I sat down to start coding the stuff on the board. But, when I uploaded the file I was in dismay as the calculation functions were obviously doing something, just not the right thing. After a couple of hours on and off it (doing other stuff that actually paid) I finally realized I had left the "$" off of a variable in both calculation functions... AMAZING! No telling how many sets of working code I had been through before discovering that.

So I finally got it working... or so I thought. The page is supposed to issue a error message if the input field is blank or if it has non-numeric input. Mine did that, but it also issued the warning when you loaded the page before any input. UGH! Back to debugging. I finally figured that out and all was going very well... or so I thought...

So when I tried to convert "0" from either F to C or C to F the page just kind of stared back at me with nothing. I looked over the formulas and saw nothing that could be wrong so I emailed my professor about it. He was kind enough to tell me I had discovered a nuisance in PHP. It seems that "0" is considered empty by PHP. So, there was nothing to convert, and it was neither empty or non-numeric so it did nothing. First he told me to play with using the === operator (which I had done early on when I was missing the $ in the variables) and then he suggested the is_null() fucntion. Shazaam! Put that on in and all was great... problem solved!

Or, so I thought. Another problem which had always been there, it just was not till now I could test to see it. When you enter 32 F to convert to C the result is seen as... you guessed it... empty by PHP. Now I have that conundrum to solve. Oops.. solved it by using the same is_null() instead of empty() again in the output.

YAY! Done. Here's the page. Now, wonder if I can give a visual diagram of this output like last week?

Sep 18, 2008

Pro Coders Would Consider This Child's Play

But, I don't care! I'm stoked I actually could do it! And without copying and mimicking someone else's code. For those of you who don't know, I enrolled in a PHP/mySQL course at Front Range Community College this semester. I figured it was time I actually buckled down and learned how to code for real (rather than finding code someone else wrote and using it or modifying it to suit my needs).

Today was our fourth class meeting and we came out with five assignments. I have to say the last one made me a little nervous. Especially when the instructor told us we would really not like him when we got to step 4 and 5 of the fifth assignment. Guess what... I don't hate him at all. (Of course, it's yet to be seen if I did it "wrong")

The fifth assignment was a story problem instructing us to create a PHP script that fictional high school students could use to estimate the time and cost for their jobs mowing lawns around the neighborhood. Here's the text of the problem:
    The students use the following method to estimate the time and cost of their jobs for customers:
  1. Calculate the total area of the yard in m² (Multiply the length of the yard in meters by the width of the yard in meters)

  2. Calculate the total area of the house in m² (Multiply the length of the house in meters by the width of the house in meters)

  3. Subtract the total area of the house from the total area of the yard to find the total area of the lawn that must be mowed.

  4. Find the total time it will take to mow the lawn knowing that a high schooler can mow 4.3m² of lawn/minute

  5. Find the total cost for mowing the lawn. The high schoolers charge $10 per hour to mow the lawn

    Given the following dimenstion for a Customer:
  • Length of Yard: 62 meters

  • Width of Yard: 93 meters

  • Length of House: 27 meters

  • Width of House: 20 meters

Write a program which uses PHP to output the following (and then a sample text output that should appear on the page).

So, check out my page (P.S. It looks like the output with the correct calculations... YAY!)
And, here's a link to my main page I'll use throughout the semester to link to all my projects/assignments... if anyone cares!

So, here's the crazy thing. I finally understand the addiction of coding. I've had friends for years who were hard core coders. And, though I always appreciated their zeal and passion to just sit and write code... I actually understand and have experienced it myself tonight... whoa! More problems... more code! I'm ready! (I think I'm addicted!) Is there a CWA (Code Writers Anonymous) chapter near me? I may need it!

Sep 16, 2008

Flashback Charts

So I stumbled upon a cool site tonight while reading some forums. It's called Flashback Charts and allows you to look up the number one song on the day you were born.

Mine is 1960 ... "Are You Lonesome Tonight" by Elvis Presley. And for those of you young critter friends who don't know this song...


Go look yours up and post it here if you have a minute.

Sep 7, 2008

vendorHIPPO Video

Today should be fun. For the last couple of months I've been helping Dan Borgman over at with some stuff. We're about to switch him over to a new site later this week so we have lots to do.

One of the things Kendall Media Group is coming alongside the HIPPO to provide is video services for the markets and vendors he's working with. And, Dan wants to do some video on the site as well. So, today we're going to shoot an intro video as a "welcome to vendorHIPPO" piece for the main page of the site. We're shooting it at the Twenty Ninth Street Market in Boulder, CO so we have an authentic backdrop. It should be lots of fun and I'm hoping for some great outtakes to bribe Dan with.

Aug 11, 2008

Monday Match - Craig Kendall LAS VEGAS

So I must not be true to my namesake. Seems there's musicians all over named Craig Kendall. Here's today's Monday Match:

Aug 5, 2008

Afternoon Snack

Lily got to enjoy the afternoon snack on the front porch with me. Peanut butter & jelly on saltine cracker! Yum!

See how good she is to wait till we tell her okay! I love the way she looks away but keeps her eyes on it intently.

Because I Can

So, we seem to have made it past the summit of the hot part of the season and have begun the descent into Fall. I think I heard we set a record with something like 21 straight days of 90 or above highs.

Anyway, the high today was 88 and a storm blew by just as it got up there. So, I grabbed my book and am sitting on the front porch watching clouds go by and enjoying the afternoon breeze.

Love working for self from home! Time for some water and snack!

Aug 4, 2008

Monday Match - Craig Kendall - Curve Design

So, today ("bad blogger" he says slapping his own hand, haven't blogged in a week) I submit another episode of Monday Match - those random weird connections on the web with people who share a name with me. Today's match is a design business:
Surface pattern and decorative imagery for interiors, greetings, gift-wrap and textiles.

Here, you'll find details of a wide range of original, fresh and exciting designs - many of which are now available to purchase as Canvas Wall Art, Mounted Prints or Handmade Greeting Cards.

Whether its mouth-watering glamour or cool elegance, our aim is to provide stylish and contemporary alternatives to the everyday - allowing you to achieve the look you want.

Check it/him out at

Pretty random and awesome that design runs in the family... especially when there is no direct relationship between

Jul 28, 2008

Monday Match - Falling On Her Own by Craig Kendall

This will begin a new series for what I hope will be consistent on Mondays each week. My post, Random Letter - Thanks to a Good Samaritan inspired me to see what other Craig Kendall's in the world are up to. So I googled (actually I was trying cuil, a new search engine player) "Craig Kendall" and found there are a bunch of us listed. I'm not quite sure if this song is by Craig Kendall and he's the guy in the video singing, or if the song is about a girl (what!) named Craig Kendall who lives in Australia. Either way, here's today's Monday Match...

Jul 26, 2008

One year ago today...

... we landed in Denver for a scouting trip with our good friends Ray and Katie Carman. We looked around at several communities to see what the housing market was like. Sad to say, the housing market then was better than now, well for sellers anyway. We had not even put our house on the market at that point. We did so when we got back and five days later it sold leaving us three weeks to be out.

It's been an interesting year. One month later we were actually here in Denver and moving our stuff into two storage units until we could find a place. WOW how time flies. Kinda like how it's flown between my blog posts the last couple of times.

And on an interesting note, I was at a restaurant this week sharing lunch with a friend when our server (another friend) came up and told us that until moments before she thought she had seen it all as a server. Seems another server's table/guests left a $5 bill and a hand full of coupons (some were actually expired). At first we thought the folks had actually left the coupons as the tip. Then when we found out about the $5 bill we were more inclined to believe the guests were merely cleaning out their coupon envelope or something and left those as trash. But, what a funny thought. Anyone out there leave coupons or something other than money as a tip for your server (not counting those of you who leave tracts... I know about that one)?

Jun 29, 2008

Random Letter - Thanks to a Good Samaritan

Random Postal Stuff

So yesterday I checked the mail at our office PO Box and found I had received this letter. I wasn't sure who I knew at Maritech Resources, Inc. in The Woodlands TX. I rifled through all the people I knew in TX as I drove home and no one whom I remembered the location of was in The Woodlands. So, I began to wonder if someone at Maritech had seen something on our business web site that prompted them to contact us by mail. Funny all the thoughts that race through your mind as you process something like this. I was even more baffled when I opened the letter to find the contents pictured above. It took me a few seconds to process what must have happened. Someone appears to have purchased a book titled Cat & Mouse (I found one by that title on Amazon by James Patterson) on June 12th and discovered the photo and the two airline boarding pass stubs. Being the Good Samaritan that he or she was (I'm going to say "she" from now on as the writing looks to be that of a lady), and assuming the photo was ours and was a cherished memory she must have obviously sought out a Craig Kendall on the Internet and found our series of sites that are out there. The only one with a physical address listed is the PO Box for the business so she kindly packaged up the leftovers from her used book purchase and mailed them to us at that address. How sweet. Thanks to you Good Samaritan for trying to return to us what appear to be keepsakes.

Now, some interesting observations from the encounter. I'm not sure who the picture is. I've not read Cat & Mouse. The boarding passes might have been mine as I have been to Houston by way of Phoenix and have connected through Minneapolis before. The dates threw me as I have only been to Phoenix three times that I remember and it was odd that none of the boarding passes showed a departure from Nashville, Dallas, or Denver which is where I would have most likely originated going into Houston. Then it hit me as my mind flashed back to my college encounter with a second "Craig Kendall" that lived in the same small college town I had been in while attending college. I realized I could look up the OnePass frequent flyer account to see if it was mine which it was not. So, from my side at least, the mystery is solved. Sorry Good Samaritan, but the stuff you kindly sent was not mine. I've posted them here and maybe some Craig Kendall searching his name on the Internet will happen across this and I can return the favor by mailing him the photo when he contacts me. I love the Internet! Here's the possibilities I found on a search in the Houston TX area:

screen shot

Jun 19, 2008

TurnHere, Citysearch, 1515 Restaurant

One of the fun things Kendall Media Group appears to be branching strongly into is all kinds of video work. We got set up with several of the Internet video services who are contracting with local videographers for web commercial and how-to video shooting. TurnHere contracted us recently to produce, shoot, and edit a web-mercial for Citysearch for a local Denver restaurant which we completed on June 8. It went live this week so I'm very excited!

1515 Restaurant

1515 Restaurant in Denver

Jun 15, 2008

Commemorating Dad

Pa in pilot gearYou know, I don't know if it's just me, or if everyone struggles to remember stuff going way back. I think my first real memories of individual scenes from when I was a kid date back to the time of my dad's assignment to Germany (he's retired Air Force). I vaguely remember one night being left at some kind of kids care on base with my brother (and what seemed then like tons of other kids). I think I remember us getting some kind of little super hero flashlights for when it was dark there. I also vaguely remember, or think I remember some canvas cots all lined up one beside the other in rows and head to toe in columns. Maybe in a gymnasium on base or something. Who knows.

I also have mini video clip memories of the day John F. Kennedy was shot. I think that was because I paid super careful attention due to the obvious emotion and concern I saw in my mom as she monitored the news about what was going on stateside. I'm pretty sure we were still in Germany when it happened.

And I remember my brother and some of his friends thinking it was funny to scare the little brother walking through tall grass between our apartments where they could duck down and knew I couldn't see over the grass like they could to find them. Pretty scary when you're a little kid and all you can see is sky above and grass all around and the comforting hand of the person who can see disappears amidst laughter and "shhhh!, He'll find us!"

All that aside, as I reflect on Father's Day about memories of my dad, here are a few:

Favorite: Both my brother and I got motorcycles when we were kids so we could enjoy riding. When we were teenagers in New Mexico we went on a weekend camping/riding trip with my dad. It was quite the adventure. We trailered the bikes to somewhere in Northern New Mexico (near Madrid I think I remember) and set up camp in what seemed to me a desolate rock quarry area. I just remember the tents on lots of gravel and not much vegetation around. We had two tents, one for Kenn and I and one for dad. We were so tired I don't remember anything about the night. However, I will never forget breakfast the next morning. Seems we had remembered EVERYTHING when packing except more than one pot to cook breakfast in. Now understand, I love grits and I love corned beef hash, but first thing in the morning and cooked in the same pot... well, it looked like it had already been eaten and brought back up for a vote. Joking aside though, one of the qualities I remember about my dad that has influenced who I am was that no challenge would overcome him. When something seemed impossible he would always back off, think about it, and then solve it.

Alfred E Newman MaskScariest: I don't remember much of the details, but when we lived in the San Fransisco area one night I got up late for some reason and met what I later found out was only my dad in a Alfred E Newman mask and trench coat in the hall. I don't think I want to know any more details.

Most Humorous: (Punked!) I worked at a stereo store just after I graduate high school. One of the perks was that we could bring equipment home to try out while the store was closed. One Saturday after a long day at work for me and a long hard day of working in the yard at home for dad, I had brought home some really nice equipment and an amazing record (yes, even though cassettes and 8-tracks were around then) of rain and thunderstorms. Just after sitting down to dinner I excused myself briefly and set the speakers in the hall right outside my door (where they would not easily be seen) and set the record to play from the beginning. I wish I had pictures of the complete problem solving looks on his face as he attempted to figure out where the freak and enormous rain and thunder storm had come from when he had just come in from what looked like an amazingly clear evening. Oh, and the sound of the water falling off the roof and hitting something... he was really stumped by what the rain could be hitting. When he got up to check, as he neared the sliding glass door it became clear something was out of whack and then his ears led him to the hallway where he found the speakers I had set up. The look on his face was priceless. Oh...wait. There's one better than this... ask him about night he came home from the theater where he saw Jaws and the plastic shark in the toilet!

Proudest: There are lots of times I remember to be proud of my dad. He was always the rock and everything seemed more stable when Pa (I started calling him "Pa" when I was in high school... daddy was just too childish to say as a teen and dad was not cool) was around. As an Air Force officer who promoted from 1st Lieutenant to Colonel he had many promotions, but there was only one the whole family went to. I know he went through many, but other than it being a lot like a graduation ceremony (people talking FOREVER ... but it was cool because they were talking about my dad!) I remember when he stood at attention to have his oak leaf clusters pinned on in Albuquerque. "That's MY dad!" I remember thinking.

Freakiest: When he almost drowned me capsizing our sailboat when he was learning to sail on a tricky lake and he used my back as the bottom to push off and get to the top. - haha, Pa, you know I had to put this one in here ;o) He still swears he didn't, but I think the footprint is still on my back.

Commonalities: Though I know my wife and children would like point out many more things my dad and I share in common, here's a few I'm fond of:

  1. Strong love for Mexican - I think we could both eat it 3x7x365

  2. Geekiness - we both love gadgets and tech stuff

  3. Love the outdoors - though I can't stand to be outside much in the South, out here in the West, where I grew up with daddio we spent lots of times outdoors doing stuff

  4. Motorcycling - My dad planted this love in our hearts early on. I still remember the day he brought his first Suzuki home when we were in Colorado Springs. Now I ride a Suzuki (haha, Pa, mine's BIGGER now!)

  5. Analytical mind - Though we were on very different career paths the skill sets we both seem to have are amazingly similar. Problem solving is one of our fortes.

  6. Temper - yeah, blah, blah, blah. Thankfully we've both learned to control it more as we've gotten older.

  7. Opinion - we both have one. Sometimes they're similar sometimes they are not.

So, here's to Pa on Father's Day. There's a lot more I could say, but hey, what would I post about next year?

Jun 12, 2008

Happy Anniversary Baby!

Some events in your lifetime pass and are never remembered again. Well, the date anyways. You may remember what actually happened, but the date not so much. Those are not necessarily etched in your mind.

This date however will likely be etched in my mind for quite some time. One year ago today I sat in the office of my supervisor at the company I had worked at for 11 years and was informed that my position was one of three being eliminated to make room in next year's budget for other types of personnel. I cannot describe the rush of things that go through your head in a moment like that. If you've been there you know what I mean.

A folder is pulled out and you go over all the paperwork related to severance and all. How crazy is it that once you are told you will be without a job they go over all these details and expect you to sign a piece of paper agreeing to all the terms right there as this amazing thought-flood is going on. Anyway, I elected to have a lawyer friend review mine before I signed and left the office.

I was told I could go for the rest of the day, finish the week, and then, though I officially was not finished until July 31, if I had transitioned all the stuff I was working on I was no longer expected to be in the office after that Friday. I have to say, all this flexibility and a generous severance package was the bright side of the coin but there still is no rush like being told you are being laid off permanently. (I guess that's different than being fired. Fired would be if you screwed up or did something immoral or illegal. Laid off is when the type of service you have to provide is no longer needed or organizational changes mean your skill set is no longer part of the mix.) Either way, after Friday the 15th I was gone.

One of the interesting pieces of all this was how Julie and I had already discussed that we wanted to have our own business established by the date the severance was set to run out. Difference was rather than working full time and at the same time laboring to launch a sustaining business, we now had a severance period to concentrate on establishing the new work and would not be looking at a two week notice and transition.

On the way to lunch the next day before going in to begin the transition and cleaning out process it hit me that this was the perfect time to move back to Colorado (where we had lived before going to Nashville). And, if we were going to be working to establish a business, it was better to establish it where we ultimately wanted to live rather than establish it and then relocate later. Hence, the whirlwind escalated. That was June 13. August 1st our house went on the market. August 6th we had a contract. August 26th we were out and on our way to Colorado to find our way. So, here we are. One year later. Since this is getting long, I'll wait till August 1 to update the status and reminisce about where the business is now.

Thanks to everyone who helped us through the amazing transition train we've been on. Here are some of our transition support super stars to whom we are SO SO grateful:

Ray and Katie Carman who helped with the whole house sale/purchase thing (even so far as traveling to CO for a scouting trip Jul 26-31) as well as being amazingly supportive friends to lean on, and were gracious enough to host a drop by for folks who wanted to come by and say good bye before we left. Oh and hats off to Ray who was the packing/loading ANIMAL! We never could have gotten out of there if it were not for you guys.
Todd and Monica (as well as AJ and Ashley) Donaldson who opened their home to us in CO while we house hunted and were here for us to lean on at the CO side of our journey.
Scott Wendland, Chris Papetti, and Tripp Karrh who graciously labored to help load us up, drive out on the trek from Nashville to Denver in the dual-26-foot-Penske-truck-with-car-carriers-Pathfinder-motorcyle-trailer caravan, and unload and stuff all the stuff into storage buildings.
Our awesome kiddos Jes & AK who helped with lots of stuff and checked in on us to make sure we were making it okay (oh and have since relocated to CO as well... what sweeties!). You guys were so strong and never showed any nervousness which helped mom and dad not worry so much about leaving you in TN.
John and Debbie Revell who helped pack and were amazing pillars of support for us when the pressure began to mount.
Denver and Amy Bierman who were the rocks we leaned on. Though we know you were incredibly busy (Denver with the whole Next Great American Band thing and Amy months from delivering London) crushed by our leaving, you continue to be incredibly encouraging and full of support emotionally and spiritually through the transition.
Kathie Hill of Kathie Hill Music who was one of my first clients back in 2005 and who patiently endured during our moving right in the middle of her launching WAM! a whole new revolutionary product line for kid's music.
And everyone else who encouraged us and whose thoughts and prayers supported us in the transition.

So, we press on in Life 2.0 mode one year later.

Jun 11, 2008

The Green Meanie

BeforeI've always heard people who can grow stuff referred to as having a Green Thumb. Well, since I'm the opposite of that I guess I'm the Green Meanie.

As the snow melted off this Spring it became obvious that some issue had developed with a section of our front lawn. We've had landscaping people look at it and they all are stymied. Everyone rattles off a list of things they think it could be, but then they eliminate all of them pretty quickly because it looks like nothing they've ever seen that have those conditions.

MangeIt's very disconcerting. When we moved into our house I thought to myself, "Finally! With a sprinkler system and established grass, surely we won't embarrass the neighbors with our lawn here." HaHa. Right!

So, I contacted the folks who put the lawn in months before we ever bought the house and the girl I talked to looked our address up and informed me I had called on the last day of the warranty. I won't go into all the long litany of interactions that followed. Suffice it to say that I essentially reached the point that I realized they were not going to honor the warranty after being told by their own folks that it was very weird and like nothing they had seen and acknowledged that the grass had never taken root in the areas where the mange (that's the name we've given the condition) had set in. It's like it was sod that had just been put down today except it was dead. It could just be lifted up with no roots and a smooth dirt bottom existed on the downside of the dead grass rug.

(Side note: Later the same day I called the landscaping company when I checked the mail I had gotten a letter from our HOA manager informing me that if the problem was not corrected we would receive a fine. Good grief!)

So, while I was standing in Home Depot, grass repair supplies in my buggy, I made one last attempt (I owed the landscaping company a payment on the backyard sod which had been put in a couple of weeks before) to leverage my position and attempt to get my hands on some of the scrap pieces which I had seen evidence in the vacant lots in our neighborhood were cast off after an installation. This time though, I was not so nice with the guy. I shared with him how VERY frustrated I was at the lack of communication the company provided through most of my dealings with them to date (except when they wanted money... they were very timely and persistent in those contacts) and with the lack of willingness to accept responsibility for sod that never took root but appeared only to grow on the surface for the previous year. I emphasized how frustrating it was that during my first contact regarding the issue I was informed that it was the very last day of the warranty only to be told the lawn was now out of warranty when I finally got to talk to anyone to follow up. So standing there with $55 dollars worth of repair supplies I pleaded to be informed of a location where I could stop by and pick up some of the scraps that were to be cast off from an install which I could piece into my mangy spots.

To my surprise, after discussing the approximate square footage of the areas affected, the guy asked if they could drop off several rolls of fresh sod at my house later the week when they came to collect the check for the work completed in the back yard. I was shocked. I just about fell over. Finally! I jumped for joy, put my repair supplies back on the shelves and headed out of the store.

Yay! Maybe my neighbors won't be embarrassed by my mangy lawn anymore after Thursday! I wonder if I should have someone else affect the repairs so my greenie meanie-ness doesn't kill the repair grass or what's left in the front?

May 12, 2008

70's, shorts and flip flops today, tomorrow snow and gollashes in forecast

love co weatherMost of the southern folks I know just don't get it (except you Amy!) but part of what we love about living here in the Denver area is the excitement of having the Rocky Mountain weather makers right in your backyard. It makes for interesting swings and never a weather dull moment.

Today I mowed my lawn in flip flops and shorts and tomorrow they say there's snow on the way (backed up by the radar image to the left). Mountains are supposed to get a foot of snow and they are saying like 3" here! Yay! in May no less!

May 2, 2008

Yes, it did snow on May 1st, 2008!

YAY! I know, I know, most people are thinking beach and sunshine on May 1st. But not us. We were delighted to have a Spring snow shower off and on all day May 1. Here's a glimpse of what it looked like in our back yard early in the day.

Apr 23, 2008

We're gonna be in pictures!

Well, sorta anyways. Maybe only the backs of our heads or something. On Craigslist the other day I saw a post for movie extras for a feature film being shot in the Denver area so I replied... and check this out! We got invited to come today. YAY! Have no idea what we are getting into. Hope it's not some shady film production. We shall see! Heck, we get a free meal out of it and a final copy of the DVD.

Oh, and on a side note, referring back to my post about An Exciting Day for Kendall Media Group while we're still waiting for expertvillage to get our videos online, I had to get some samples up for another similar service we are working to get set up with so here's a link to some of the video we shot with Sam Brede of Carver's Ski Snowboard Sports in Breckenridge CO on Feb 22. You can't see them, but Julie's on one camera and Amy Bierman, a.k.a. The Super Amy, who was visiting with us at the time we did the shoot, is crawling around on the floor holding the boom mic pole. Oh, look... I found a picture! Love ya Amy!

Amy the Boom Grip

Apr 16, 2008

Some excitement at the end our street yesterday

So, yesterday Julie and I were out shooting some test footage for a video service we are attempting to get set up to work freelance for when puffs of smoke appeared over our shoulders toward the highway. After finishing up some of the video I grabbed the camera, jumped the fence and climbed the sound barrier mound between our neighborhood and the highway to see a grass fire. Particularly interesting was how fast the fire crew got there and the fact that grass fires were a major problem down south of Denver yesterday. In fact, it seems a few people were killed in other grass fires in CO yesterday. Here's some of the raw footage I shot while observing the effort to squash the flames.


Apr 15, 2008

Happy (yeah, right!) Tax Day :o(

Why is it that every time I finish and submit my taxes, even though I've truly done my best to track and record accurately everything the IRS requests, I always feel a little sense of fear and concern over the potential for "the audit". Funny, I've never been audited (Although my trusty TurboTax risk meter put me in the top of the yellow area for risk this year due to the fact that our business expenses were more than our income with all the startup costs, that we moved and had moving expenses, and that we sold our house) but that still doesn't change the feeling it incurs. I hate that feeling... I hate whatever it is that makes me have that feeling. I guess, like you, I just hate taxes in general! Oh well, 364 days till the next time.

Oh, some good news: We're getting a refund of taxes we paid in 2007!
And, some bad news: We had to pay CO state income tax on severance paid by my former TN employer for the months we lived in CO while getting the severance. UGH!

How about you? Did you come out on the refund side or the "please, take the rest of my blood, sweat, and tears" side this year?

Apr 11, 2008

Stuff I Did Today...

Ever feel like your day went by and you got little or nothing done? Just for kicks I'm going to list what I have gotten done to see...

  1. Tweaks to my wife's newest endeavor (header text refined, added social bookmarking links, added Google analytics)

  2. Set up several social book marks to myself... Facebook, StumbleUpon,, Google Bookmarks

  3. Initial set up on a podcast page for Denver and the Mile High Orchestra

  4. YouTube page initial set up for Denver and the Mile High Orchestra (thanks to my friend Nancy Hawthorne who works with Kathie Hill Music for a promo idea I may pitch to Denver & crew).

  5. Watched a tutorial about video specifications for a video service called who we hope to be shooting some video for soon.

  6. Checked to see if our first ExpertVillage assignment has been posted yet... ugh... it hasn't!

Hmm... that's it so far. Not good. Almost all non-billable. Not good at all for a guy trying to make his own way. Got a lot done, but not much of personal financial influence. Guess I better look into some billable stuff.

Mar 31, 2008

aksings (or AK Sings - his myspace identity)

Many of you may not know the many talents of both our kiddos. One of AK's less known talents is writing songs and recording them on his Practice Room Records label (because he records them in his practice room -- ha, go figure!)

So, I'm posting them without his permission and he may sue me for copyright...
I Want You

Not That Bad
I'm Through (remix... he's already doing remixes of his own work)
The Christmas Song

Proud papa has these rights I think!

Mar 28, 2008

Our friend Katie & her boyfriend Todd

Katie & Todd

Ever been to a "Let's all celebrate I didn't die!" or "Let's all say goodbye to my kidney, ovaries, and uterus!" party? Well, neither had we until last Wednesday night. Katie, a friend we met here shortly after we arrived back in Colorado, had what I would totally justify as a horrible month... well, several months really. Back in November we went to her engagement party and shortly thereafter she found out she was facing a recurrence of cancer. Her lousy fiance (not Todd who is pictured btw) dumped her with the "I can't handle a sick wife" line cleaning out their joint bank account and anything else not nailed down in the house. Her surgery to remove her uterus and ovaries was a success... well sort of. Seems they nicked something during the surgery which caused lots of bleeding and just when she thought she was on the road to recovery an urgent emergency room trip uncovered that her abdominal cavity was filled with blood. They had no idea from where it was coming. Two surgeries and two transfusions later, they had removed her kidney which had gone septic due to the enduring presence of all that blood. Next thing she knows, they diagnose her with a rare blood disease (von Hitler or something like that she jokes) which resists clotting in certain cases. Now she carries with her a small emergency injection which, should she be injured, will help her blood to clot.

The best news is our friend Katie is on the road to recovery. She met a great guy on named Todd and they are dating. We had a great time at her uterus/ovary/kidney wake a.k.a. glad Katie didn't die party and we are truly glad our friend Katie did not die!

Mar 21, 2008

Given my "launch" of econoclips...

So this week I sort of "launched" our new HD stock video footage sales site . Hence, my radar is kind of up for anything related to stock video footage. This one came across my DIGG radar (P.S. I'm NOT into the political stuff so don't comment or consider this an invitation to go into a political debate here):


The Waldo Ultimatum: File it under funny flashbacks

Sorry, this was just too funny and creative to pass up.

Mar 20, 2008

Hooray! Exciting Day: Follow-up

Well, last month I wrote (wow... almost a month between posts) about Kendall Media Group's first video shoot assignment for and I'm pleased to report that yesterday we were informed they officially accepted our first completed assignment. They had some constructive criticism, which I was hoping for but... YAY! They accepted it. It's not up on their site yet that I know, but that will be forthcoming. I'll post something here about it when it goes up. Then everyone preparing to go snow skiing or snowboarding can checkout our work and learn what to wear while skiing or snowboarding as well. logoIn addition, two years ago I registered a domain with the bright idea of selling high definition stock video footage of the various places we go and stuff we see while there. Yesterday the first videos were officially up. It's a small library, but hopefully I'll be able to continue adding new clips every week (maybe every day for a little while) and eventually have enough to generate some portion of our monthly income from the purchases by video editors looking for a quick clip and not wanting to purchase a whole DVD or collection of clips. Check out the three clips up as of 3/19/2008 if you are interested!

Feb 21, 2008

Exciting Day for Kendall Media Group!

Kendall Media GroupToday is an exciting day for Julie and I (and Amy Bierman because she happens to be here at the right time). It's 4am and we're getting ready to head up to Breckenridge (yes, again... we were there to ski on Wednesday) to shoot our first of what we hope will become many video segments for - Today we're teaming up with Carvers Ski Snowboard Sports, a local ski/snowboard/sports store to shoot "What to wear while skiing (or snowboarding)". Expert Village.comOur goal is to shoot on average 3-10 of these how-to videos a week as part of Kendall Media Group's regular monthly income. If you have not seen ExpertVillage you should check them out. They bill themselves as The World's Largest How To Video Site and I have to admit, there's lots of videos on there. We'll post a link when we have completed the work and it's available on Expert Village. Then, if you are going to go skiing or snowboarding you can check out Sam's instructions on what to wear while skiing.

Feb 17, 2008

Okay, this is a little over the top!

to-do-tattooI'm the first to admit I need a little help with the whole organizing and getting things done thing. I LOVE vitalist and have been using it for about a year (though still not as efficiently as I'd like or as I need to). I find it interesting that my iPhone doesn't have a to-do list application, but I do have iPhone optimized access to vitalist and that way it stays up to date and more importantly in sync. I just started using slimtimer to track all the different tasks and time worked on them in our new self-employed world. It makes tracking time and billing much easier if you can get disciplined to keep up with it.

But, this HAS to be over the top!

I guess it's the month to release cool cooking apps...

CookThink logoIn case you missed it, I mentioned SuperCook on February 1, and then today, this shows up on my radar. What is it with cooking sites in February?
Cookthink is an online cooking resource made up of three related parts.

We are the Cookthink blog, where we feature recipes and daily posts on seasonal ingredients, kitchen tools, techniques and food news.

We are the Root Source, a weekly newsletter in which we look at one ingredient and chew over the best way to buy it, store it, prep it and cook with it.

Most of all, we are, an innovative cooking website with recipes and related tips, all pulled together by the Recipe Mapping Project. Our unique, trademarked “cookthink it” tool is the first of its kind to let you search for recipes by a combination of ingredients, dish types, cuisines and moods so that we can answer the question: What are you craving?

Feb 11, 2008

What HAVE You Been Up To?

Kathie Hill MusicWow! After a very busy month I'm glad to say I'm finally pretty much done with one of the most insane all-at-once projects I've ever tackled. And now that crunch time is slowing I actually have some time to talk about it. On December 19th we were scheduled to begin a major web site re-vamp project for Kathie Hill Music, one of Kendall Media Group's clients since 2006 (we started out updating a web site someone else had designed for her years before we came along). An unfortunate renewal timing issue forced us to start a little sooner, and another issue delayed the project a little along the way. We had wanted to do a complete site refresh for some time. At the same time we needed to move her to a new server using a new online store backend. With that, she had a new set of her almost all digital WAM! products to launch, and we wanted to switch her over to a new email newsletter management system. Needless to say, it was an arduous and crazy task. While we're not completely done with some of the fine tuning and clean up, I actually fell like I can breathe again. Maybe now I can get back to the important task of blogging.

Feb 1, 2008

Every now and then a great idea comes along!

Super Cook

This is a once in a lifetime GREAT idea someone had. Supercook is a new recipe search engine that finds recipes you can make with the ingredients you have at home. To begin, simply start adding ingredients you have. The more ingredients you add, the better the results will be.

Keep this one bookmarked away for that time you don't have time to run to the grocery store but need to put something on the table with just what's on your shelves. I think it will be interesting to see who can come up with the most bizarre combination of stuff that ends up finding a receipe. If you do, post it here as a comment.

Actually, if you use this at all, post a message here with what you input and some description of what it offered you and if you made it.

Jan 30, 2008

New Look

Well, for my two readers, I thought I should do something about how slow the pages on my blog loaded (plus it was frustrating because on my iPhone the heavy template I was using would never load). So, life|simple has a new look. I really like it... it's... well, simple.

I'm kind of buried doing a site refresh for a client so I've not posted much recently. Hopefully I'll try to get back to regular updates as soon as possible. Pant, pant, pant....

Jan 14, 2008

Hooray! Over 4GB later...

... after over 24 hours I've finally finished uploading over 4GB of files for a site switchover I'm doing for one of my clients. WOW! Imagine uploading 0ver 4GB of data at about 24KB/s. And it slowed down our connection so much it was laborious to think about doing anything else that required an Internet connection. But... whew... I'm done (for now anyway)!

Jan 12, 2008

She was Beth Collins before she married...

Beth in video

... and she goes by Beth Farris now since she married, but it's the same sweet Beth we knew as a middle schooler in Colorado... and she got a cameo in a music video. Here's a link to the video! Way to go Beth!

Jan 3, 2008

Holiday Recap

Well, it's been about a week since I last posted. A lot has been going on, and not much has been going on at the same time.

Since our kiddos (for a little while anyway) are on the other side of the country and work in retail we awaited their arrivals to have our family Christmas day. AK arrived on the 24th, and Jes came in on the 27th. Then we enjoyed a Christmas-evening celebration the 28th.

AK the GimpAK had wanted for his Christmas a series of snowboarding days... he got one. We went up on the 26th (were supposed to go on the 25th but an all day snow made mountain roads treacherous... we'll more treacherous than we wanted to navigate or risk) it was a great day... until AK took a front side toe edge spill and landed squarely on his shoulder. At first he thought it was only a bad bruise or strain so we worked our way back down the 2/3rds of the mountain left (we were at Keystone, so that's a long way). When we got to the bottom, we were in a different place than we had parked since we took the easiest way down possible. I decided to find somewhere to sit him that was warm while I went to get the car and Julie, who had finished her day several runs earlier. The best place to leave him was the lobby of the on-site medical facility at the base of the mountain. When I returned with the Jeep and Julie, he was hurting bad enough and to avoid a potential later trip to an emergency room we decided to have someone look at him. Yep, he broke his clavicle. And, is this our family or what, not your usual break. His was basically at the tip of the clavicle. We followed up with an orthopedic doctor the next day and AK was grateful to hear no surgery required immediately or perhaps at all. The Dr. we saw was awesome and told AK that if he did do surgery, AK had done half his work for him already as with a break in that area they usually remove the tip of the bone and reattach muscles/ligaments to the part that's left. And get this... the Dr. has a brother at Hendersonville Hospital in TN who practices same type of medicine. So AK is to follow up with him in a month or so, and then with Dr. here when he is back in CO.

JeskimoWe were sweating Jes' arrival a little as we were expecting a significant amount of new snow by the time she came in on the evening of the 27th. She got here, but as is her flying luck she was about two hours later. However, the great news is all of her luggage came in with her on this trip. I was a little nervous about her arrival as she openly professes to hate snow and cold. I guess parking at the top level of the airport garage was not the greatest idea, but there was not much open at that point. She got to step out of the airport into the cold and wet. Thankfully she seems to have done great though since. In fact she seems to have stayed warm (similar temperatures feel so much warmer here than in humid areas) when dressed correctly for the weather and she's not complained about the snow or cold... YAY!

Christmas was a nice quiet evening (instead of morning) as we exchanged gifts and emptied stockings (a Kendall family tradition we've enjoyed for years). By far the highlight was watching our two kiddos reaction when they opened the Rock Band game (we put the box with instruments away and just wrapped the actual game/case. AK was amazed we got it and we have all enjoyed playing on the big screen we've put up temporarily in the basement. Great fun! small
Got our first entry edited and up on the website. It was Julie's first run at the rover camera instead of the fixed tripod. It's a little jumpy but still works. Here's a link to the site I threw up to house the first event info/video. We've shot two other events since and I can't believe the improvement she's already shown. Have two more in the can to edit.

And, like we've not had enough to do over the holidays, I've been working on a major update to one of our client's web sites over the holidays. A couple of snags have delayed it's re-launch so I'm STILL working on that (why AM I posting to my blog right now?)

Today our kiddos begin trekking back across the skies to work/school. It looks like both will beginning their last semesters at MTSU in TN. Jes is set to graduate in May and AK, well it looks like he'll be making preparations for a transfer to Colorado State University in Fort Collins beginning in the Fall 2008. He and I spent yesterday looking around up there and meeting with some faculty to see what they had to offer. It was a very impressive program and offers TONS better program and opportunities directly out of school. He's very excited... we are too.

As is the case with most college graduates, Jes is planning to apply her Spanish/linguistics degree toward a future in baking. Yep, you read right. She is seriously pursuing the idea of opening her own bake shop. How exciting is that. We figured she'll have a great opportunity to use her Spanish with customers.

And we begin the new year absolutely, 100% self-employed for the first time in our lives. We're already being quite blessed as we had two new client opportunities last week and may already have all the work we need and can handle. Now we just have to buckle down and get 'er done. Speaking of which, I have work to do... more later.