This morning my car started flashing a service engine light as Karey and I began a long drive. We’re at the service center now, and should be back on the road around noon (a bit lighter in the bank account, but with a more reliable vehicle!). As I sit here, I think about the sense of dread I feel when I know I have a pending car repair. How long will it take? How much will it cost? How serious is it?   Will the mechanic be busy? All questions that nag at me while waiting for the repair to be completed.

And it makes me wonder – would I have wanted to know about this issue late last week, when it was likely I would have had to wait until this morning to even get the ball rolling, or is it better to find out on Monday morning? They say ignorance is bliss, and I know for sure that I would have felt uneasy (“a disturbance in the force”) all weekend when I should have been more present, enjoying life. Humans tend to want more information rather than less, and it’s interesting how that abundance of information can make us unhappier than we otherwise would. 

Karey & Jon Go To The (Caldwell) Zoo

Yesterday Karey & I went to the Zoo, specifically the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, TX. Friends told us to check it out, and since Karey is the quintessential animal lover, I try to take her to a zoo every once in a while. I’m a bit different – zoos tend to bore me (I’ve seen animals before). However Caldwell was a bit different – it was a smaller zoo than we’re used to, and actually had exhibits pretty well laid out so you could see animals without having to squint. The animals themselves seemed pretty content, and active, and you could feed fish, ducks, & birds. Here are some photos from our trip – we recommend Caldwell Zoo to anyone nearby!

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But It Looks Like a Heart

Earlier this month, Karey & I celebrated the 15th anniversary of the first time we met in person (We met online before it was cool – actually it was still heavily stigmatized!) In honor of that, I’ll post this anecdote.

A few months ago we were driving on an epic road trip and stopped at a Wendy’s. While there I bought a six-piece chicken nugget for us to share. I tried to give Karey this nugget, but she protested “It looks like a heart”.  I think we compromised by both eating it, a half-bite each.


How Long Should a Fitbit One Sleep Wristband Last?

I’ve been a fan of the Fitbit since the first tracker was introduced two years ago. I upgraded to the Ultra when it came out, and upgraded to the One when it was released last year (My fat wrist means I probably won’t be going to the Flex anytime soon though!). Recently the sleep wristband that I’ve used every night since I got the One started to look a little shabby, and after multiple repairs, I finally just broke down and ordered a new one. This got me thinking: How long should a Fitbit One Sleep Wristband last?

Here’s the comparison between the original One Wristband, that I got around November 15, 2012, and the brand new one that I received today (Replacement cost: 9.99 + s/h):

Wristband after 200 days compared to new, with repairs noted.
Wristband after 200 days compared to new, with repairs noted.

As I noted in the picture, the original wristband started to show wear and tear at about day 120. About 20 days later the end was so frayed that the material wasn’t staying together, instead I could see all layers of the wristband. While this was cool, it wasn’t very easy to work with when putting the wristband on at night, so I asked Karey to sew it. When she did it became impossible to re-align the material perfectly, since the thin material needed to also accommodate thread, so the wrinkle in the lower part of the picture (on the back of the wristband) formed.

About day 175 a new fray became pretty serious on the other side, which Karey sewed again. Today on Day 200 I also noted that the opening where the Fitbit is placed has become warped and the edging is starting to unravel. Finally over time you’ll notice that the wristband stretches, which is not a bad thing (I have large wrists), but it does mean that the opening becomes less secure. I’ve had my Fitbit fall out in bed 3-4 times in the 200 days.

According to Fitbit, the wristband is made of neoprene, and beyond that there isn’t much in the way of a ‘lifespan’ mentioned on their website. This makes sense, since everything but the wristband is made of more durable materials. Obviously they anticipated that the wristband might get worn, and allowed for the purchase of just a wristband for a small fee. So the question becomes: How long should the wristband last given the price paid for the Fitbit One? Is 200 days acceptable before requiring another $13.90 (band + s/h) after the initial investment of $100? I’m personally on the fence. I understand products like this won’t last forever, but would have been pleasantly surprised if Fitbit offered a “trade-in” service, or cut the price of the wristband to $5 or so (I should note that in the past, with the Ultra, I’ve lost a wristband and Fitbit support replaced it for free – so this isn’t a knock on their customer care or support in anyway – they’ve been top notch in my (and others, that I’ve read) experience). As of now I’m of the non-surprised “that’s what I was expecting” sentiment. What I’m curious about, though, is if others find this acceptable?

Random Sexting

About 9 months ago, when we switched carriers, Karey got a second phone number that was local to Shreveport. She hardly ever uses it, since her regular number was ported to Google Voice. However for MMS messages (does anyone even call them that anymore? Picture messages?), she has to use the Shreveport number, since GV doesn’t support MMS.

From the beginning she’s received ‘wrong number’ SMS messages from many places – the former owner of the number signed up for a number of text services, non-paid, and apparently the number wasn’t out of service long enough for some of those to lapse. Mostly harmless, occasionally funny, and occasionally annoying. From these we’ve reconstructed a bit about the former owner’s past, including his name, approximate age, etc…

By: Sarah Marriage

And apparently he was a hit with the ladies – Karey received a random sext a few months back. What amazed me was that it was just the picture – no “establishing” text message to make sure that this person, who hasn’t had the number in 6 months, was still at the other end. I guess it is more shocking to throw the picture first and hope it starts the conversation, and she was probably disappointed that Karey didn’t reply.

Today a Facebook friend posted that she received a random sext as well. It got me wondering – have we become so deluded by the seemingly one-sided interaction with a cell phone that we forget that when a photo is sent, it is presumably seen by another human? Perhaps not the intended one. I’m pretty sure that if Karey were to meet her sextmirer in real life, the other woman wouldn’t immediately offer to undress, yet she’s got no problem doing so via phone. It makes me wonder – are those who randomly sext even embarrassed when they find they’ve made a mistake? Or are those so comfortable with their bodies to send them out also immune to such emotions?

Anyone else have a Random Sext? Or has a friend who randomly sexted? Anyone else annoyed with the word ‘sext’ in general?

A Childless Adult Visits Toys R Us

Recently Karey & I went to Toys R Us to get a few baby shower gifts for our soon-to-be-born first cousin once removed. While Karey was looking, I decided to snap a few photos of some oddities I notice. Note: None of these were purchased for said soon-to-arrive cousin.

So first, if your child wants this:

Then do the sane thing and just take them camping. No kid will form fond memories of the fake fish fry or hatchet. Give them the real thing (note: supervise while they use the hatchet…)

Second, what kid in the world wouldn’t be scarred for life after having Elmo spit on them?

I mean, seriously, Elmo is going to spit on your child in the tub, and you’re cool with that?

And finally, Toys R Us has some interesting movies listed under Family Favorites…


Take a closer look…

So Easy A is one of those awesome family films about pseudo-selling of your virginity! And any movie named The Bounty Hunter can’t be bad for kids, right? And don’t listen to those critics that insinuate Jack and Jill is a form of torture – it’s just fine for kiddies.

There you have it folks. Anyone else notice some Toys R Us insanity? Let me know in the comments!


2010 in Review

OK, Since I don’t send out a Christmas letter, here’s my life update in case anyone is interested! If you aren’t, then have a Happy New Year, I hope 2011 is an awesome year for you!

Anyway, the year started a bit slow and cold. Karey and I ringed in the new year sitting in our apartment watching the ball drop, in Times Square, a place we’d gotten quite acquainted with in 2009 (The first thing most of our visitors wanted to see was Times Sq., and we had previously been there at the end of Dec. 09 to see the tree in nearby Rockefeller Plaza). 

In February, I went to my third Microsoft MVP Summit, and hung out with a lot of great people, including Darius Wey, who I met for the first time. I also spent quite a few hours with a few characters laughing ourselves silly in the Courtyard’s lobby while watching Curling. In case you ever wanted to know another name for your cell phone’s SIM card, you can thank this session of general giddiness for the term “essence” and a bunch of evil hand gestures.

March was fairly uneventful, save for the fact that I started supervising my first intern, who has since left Columbia and is now studying at NYU (I don’t think I had anything to do with that choice Winking smile).  In April, a good friend started work at Google, after having been stolen away from us at CDS. Late in that month Karey & her mom went to a Stamping convention in Akron (Who knew stampers had conventions?), and the weather finally started to get nicer.

In May I started writing my novel, Mandate, which I’d finish in mid-August. A fun experience that helped me understand the fiction writing process as I jumped into it.  Mid-month my parents came up to visit our humble Peekskill dwelling, which marked my father’s first trip on a commuter train and first trip on the m60 bus in Harlem. He was quite amused.

In June Karey, myself, Martine, and Ye drove down from NY to Pittsburgh for the BDRM conference (Karey didn’t go, she had serious mother-daughter  type things to do with her mom over the weekend). Martine stayed with us at Karey’s home, and got to see a part of America she hadn’t previously (e.g., rural life!)

In July the most memorable thing was how hot it was in NY. I also travelled up to Boston for a Boston Pocket PC Meeting, and Karey took me to the movies to see Eclipse (she likes the sparkly vampires).  Early in the month we spent some time in Ohio (Over the 4th), and later in the month I wrote a few reviews. In general a busy month.

In August I both finished Mandate and got to see Jimmy Buffett in concert for the second time! The summer slowly slipped away as we enjoyed a few final hot days, and moved into September.

And boy was September busy! I was in Austin for a few days visiting the company that does cell phone antenna testing. I was in Seattle for a few days in prep for the Windows Phone 7 launch, AND I was asked to write a book on Windows Phone 7! My second book took a few months to write, and was a great but busy experience! Sepetember also saw my intern, Cindy, start working with us at CDS.

October and November were filled with a lot of book writing, a visit from my parents, Thanksgiving, and SJDM in St. Louis. I also gave a guest lecture in Elke’s Decision making course, had a phone interview for a real job, and had breakfast with Tony as he passed through the area from Albany.  Finally that brings us to December, in which I had a flat tire on my birthday, and spent Christmas (plus a few days more) in Ohio having an awesome time with family and friends.

Along the way this year I also started teaching CCD again and began lectoring fairly often at my church. Had some really high points and some low ones, and was overall pretty content. I hope 2011 proves to be no worse, and that this time next year all of you can share with me some awesome 2011 stories as I write up my next year in review!

Happy New Year!

An Open Letter To My Wife: Things I Won’t Do

In the spirit of the book I just read on Abraham Lincoln, I’ve decided to write an open letter (to my wife). As I have no newspaper to publish it in, I suppose my blog will have to do. After all, blogs will most likely replace newspapers in the future anyway, much to the New York Times chagrin.

To my beloved wife Karey,

On many occasions I have allowed my love for you to dictate my behavior. Things I have had little predisposition over, such as the location of my shoes or the segregation of my laundry items, have been changed to your liking. And on many items we both agree harmoniously. However there are a few major things that I must protest your handling of, and assert myself at this time. None of these should take you off guard, as I have communicated them in the past. However at this point I feel I should dictate them in an open forum, perhaps to give others the courage to fight for preference.

My darling, no matter how much thou dost campaign against the following, I shall remain resolute:

  • The bar of soap in the shower shall be replaced when the previous bar’s width is less than 1/8’’. I shall not be compelled to wash with soap thinner than the top layer of my skin. Piggybacking the old soap onto the new soap (creating soap hybrids or supersoaps) shall be allowed as long as both soaps are of the same breed.
  • My hotdogs and hamburgers belong in their respective bun packaging. It is an affront to Jesus (in my view of Christianity) to place a hamburger between two pieces of sliced bread, or to wrap a hotdog up in a single piece. While I am not a rich man, I do budget carefully a portion of my monthly income toward appropriate meat bread packaging.
  • When the level of condiment reaches lower than 1/8’’ (I like that number), the remaining condiment shall be forfeited to the garbage can. Too long have I reached for a catsup bottle and found scarcely enough catsup for a single french fry.

Unless these demands are met, I shall have to levy sanctions against you. My shoes will no longer lie dormant at the front door. My laundry shall co-mingle freely. You have been warned!


Your loving husband