20 Mar 2009

The Grape Lady

This is too funny for a description. It gets good about half way through. Kudos to Chad for pointing this out to me.

10 Mar 2009

Are You a Breaker?

A recent post by my friend Rainer prompted me to realize that while I have been fairly active throughout my life, I’ve also been a bit clumsy at times. I pride myself in the amount of physical activity I subscribe to each day*, but it hasn’t come without a price. Off the top of my head I’ve broken 6 bones in my trials and tribulations. I’m pretty sure there’s a few more, but that’s what I got for you at this point. So without further ado, I will give you a short rundown on each of these breaker stories, ordered from least impressive to most impressive.

Minding My Own Business.

I used to love to go skating at an indoor park called the Proving Grounds in Pleasant Grove. They had some majorly fun ramps and rails to skate, and while I’ve never been an incredible skater, I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed rolling around, popping some ollies, and sliding rails. One evening I was skating at the PG in PG (hehe), I was practicing some flat-ground kickflips. While concentrating on my feet setup on my own board I suddenly collided with another skater who was coming the opposite direction. We both were thrown off our boards and onto our backs. In the foray, my right arm did a massive windmill and slammed into the concrete, breaking the fifth metacarpal joint on my right hand (the joint joining my palm with my pinky finger). I didn’t think it was broken right away, but it hurt enough that I immediately went home. By the time I got there, we decided to go in to the ER and get it checked, and voila! The pathetic thing is that the break was like this miniscule piece of bone that was chipped off the outside of the joint, but it felt like the whole joint was fractured. Yes I know, I am a wuss.

Obviously not ready for the Majors.

Most who know me know that I LOVE playing soccer. I’ve played on various indoor teams over the past few years down at the Indoor Soccer field in Lindon. A few years ago I was playing goalie for our team since we were short handed (I don’t regularly play goalie because, well, I’m not very good at it at all). We were getting pounded by the opposite team, mainly because they had a bunch of super good players with cannon’s for legs. Nearing the end of the game a shot was blasted my way that I successfully parried away with both hands, but the brunt of the shot was taken by my left pinky which subsequently decided to alter it’s angle by about 10 degrees. OUCH. While I didn’t go to the ER for this one, but it hurt like crazy for weeks and has eventually settled in to a nice skewed angle on my hand. Oh, and for the record, I stopped playing goalie after that. :)

Not as strong as I once was (or bright).

In 2003, while Tyler and I were working on marketing our infant business eveRide, we decided to put on a rail competition. The problem was, we didn’t own a comp-worthy rail, so we decided to build one. A trip to Metal Mart and a few hundred bucks later, we had an impressive bulk of Steel tubing at our disposal. The rail we built was an A-Frame, that started at ground level and angled up to about 5 feet high, then 20 feet of flat rail, then angling back down to ground level. We built the rail in 4 sections (up, flat, flat, down) which would allow us to transport the 40 foot behemoth to the comp site. While grinding a weld on one of the flat sections (a 10 foot long bar, with two legs and no feet (yet)), the rail lost support and started to fall. I was closest and knew the fall would be deafeningly loud, so I rushed forward to catch the enormous section, realized at the last moment that it was a completely futile attempt and tried to jump away. The rail came slamming down on my grandpa-style-slipper-clad left foot, breaking the tip of my second toe. I’m pretty sure I lost an enormous amount of religion that night, but I’m not sure you would’ve done otherwise, so stop judging me. :) To this day, the tip of that toe is much more plump and skewed than all the others. Again, no ER visit on this one.

Dude, we JUST got here!

December 26th, 2001. Kevin and I decided to use our Canyon’s Season Passes to go ride on a frigid wednesday following Christmas. We took one trip up the short lift to go ride the rails and boxes. The first rail was a low mailbox style rail that we both tried a few times, taking our boards off and hiking the rail after each attempt. I think I did it Twice. As I recall, we hadn’t even ridden the rest of the park at all yet. Kevin slid the rail a 3rd time, then took of his board to hike again. It was my turn to go, so I rode into a boardslide. At the end of the rail I had a brain fart and forgot to turn back, landed facing down the hill, and caught my front edge on the icy snow, catapulting me directly onto my left collar bone (on the ice no less). I knew immediately it was broken, but kevin had already hiked the rail again and was out of earshot, so I had to wait for him to get into his bindings, wait his turn (it was very busy), slide the rail, then stop next to me lying on the ground seething with pain. I didn’t know what to do but ride the rest of the run, so that we did, I booked the entire thing, each bump throbbing into my collar bone, sending pain EVERYWHERE. The med station was at the bottom of the run and I remember collapsing outside of it, still strapped in. They took the X-Ray there, confirming a break, and then released me with a sling to go home a mere 40 minutes after we had gotten to the resort.

Don’t you just love Cats?

Late one evening last June I was having a leisurely ride down by Utah Lake with Tyler after dusk. We had ridden down to the Lindon Boat Harbor and were on our way back on a backroad. I had recently been riding my brother’s road bike to work (with the fancy clip pedals), so I was again riding it that night. I was slightly parched, so I grabbed my water bottle and started drinking out of it. To my surprise, just ahead of me on the road is a dead cat, lying directly in my path. With hampered maneuvering skills (one-handed due to drinking the bottle), I decided in a split second the best option is to run over the cat and see what happens. After the minor “speedbump” (which was quite a bit harder than I expected), I started to lose my balance to the left, veering towards the unsuspecting Tyler (who was slightly ahead of me). My front wheel collided into the side of his back wheel, which brought me down immediately onto the pavement of the road and my left elbow. In the crash, My right foot came loose of the pedal, but the left was still locked in, and I could not get it out. This was slightly alarming because I had crashed in the middle of the deserted road, but a car was coming in the oncoming lane, meaning I had to Frankenstein-drag myself and attached bike off to the left shoulder of the road. By this time, Tyler had stopped and was trying to figure out just what had happened. After losing a bit more Religion, I was able to get out of the bike and walk it off a bit. With two miles to go till home, and no cell phones on either of us, the only option we had was to finish the ride, which was surprisingly calm, albeit one-handed. By the time I got home, there was no question in my mind that it was broken. ER, here we come. I still have a small limitation in how my left arm rotates around the Radius bone.

The Pièce de résistance: Hardheaded.

February 12th, 2001. Another Snowboarding trip gone awry, this time while en route to the resort. I drove with my brother Scott up to pick up some friends who lived in Provo Canyon, then started driving to Park City through the canyon. The morning was sleeting pretty bad, and the roads were very sketchy. I was afraid of driving in my ‘89 Jeep Wrangler, so I pulled over and asked Scott to drive. He had no qualms about the bad roads, so away we went. Not more than two minutes later, while turning a large bend in the road at Vivian Park, the Jeep lost all traction and slid out of the turn and off the road towards a small group of homes near the park. Both wheels on the right side of the jeep (where I was sitting) tilted off of a 10 foot retaining wall separating the road level from the backyard of one of the homes. We rode that wall for nearly 30 feet before rolling over the rest of the wall, landing on the rollbar on my side of the Jeep, then completing the barrell roll by landing back on our wheels.

The last thing I remembered was the car sliding off the road, grabbing the door with my right hand, and the Jeep tilting to the right (the wheels going off the side). Everything else was black until I woke up in the Ambulance, answering questions about who the President of the US was. Apparently, Scott was unhurt (luckily we were both wearing our seat belts), and I apparently was not unconscious by the time we were back on our wheels. I was told I attempted to unbuckle my seat belt, then collapsed into seizures. Scott had already exited the Jeep and was running to the house to get help. A nice couple behind us stopped to help out, and the woman supposedly held me in my seizures until the Ambulance arrived. Apparently, in the rollover, the rollbar above my head broke completely free and knocked me on the upper left side of my skull, knocking in a piece of bone about the size of a dime.

Scott was sobbing in the Ambulance, and I remember being really annoyed at the guy asking me all the questions (assessing my brain functionality and comprehension), as I had enormous pain in my body, as well as the uncontrollable urge to vomit. I remember arriving at the hospital, being taken out of the ambulance on the stretcher, and immediately seeing my parents there, both crying. Remembering that single image is enough to still bring tears back, I just remember how scared my mom looked. Amazingly, I was in the hospital only 12 hours, from 8 am to 8 pm. They didn’t perform any surgery, just closed my head wound with stitches since it was small enough to heal on its own. I do remember seeing my then-girlfriend, Alice, visiting me, as well as Tyler and Kevin trying their best not to laugh, but doing a terrible job at it. I recall playing Tony Hawk on the Playstation that night, though sleeping was absolutely miserable for the next several days.

Thanks for sticking with me through this monster of a post, hope it brought some good laughs. If you’re still reading this, throw a comment and tell me:

What Bones have you broken, and how?

Though I work at a desk job and have absolutely been a slug for the past 4 months… ugh.

06 Mar 2009

Keeping in Touch With the Blogosphere

Wordle: life as a nerd

I think it’s safe to assume that Blogs are here to stay. There, I said it. Was that so hard? No, not really. With this (semi-)new-fangled trend going on, you can think of pretty much anything and everything you’ve ever dreamed about, and there is somebody out there blogging about it. Probably passionately (and often times using Blogger no less, shudder). With all of this available information out there, I submit the question:

How do you keep track of it all?

For myself, I definitely don’t follow every blog I hear about or find. I’m semi-choosy. I’m definitely a big fan of RSS feeds, I’ve been using them probably since 2003. (For those who are lost at this point, the quick definition of RSS Feeds: An auto-updated subscription file available on blogs, news sites, etc, that allows you to get the recently posted topics from those sites. Certain programs can read these feeds and display them in a human-friendly format. It’s kinda like personalized email, but without the use of emails. :)).

Not until recently did I finally come up with a system that I feel works well for me. Up until a few weeks ago I have been using Apple’s Mail.app to manage/read my RSS feeds from all my blogs. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly new feature in Mail.app (came with Leopard) and in my opinion is lacking in a lot of areas, especially when you have a lot of feeds. Needless to say, it got burdensome in the end trying to manage it all through Mail.

Enter Google Reader.

As you can see, I’m quite a read-a-holic. I have 96 RSS subscriptions (blogs or otherwise) that I follow on a regular basis. I’ve “read” 1,732 iteams in the last 30 days of using Google Reader (which I believe is about as long as I ‘ve been using it). While that seems like an incredible amount of articles to read, I honestly browse probably 70% of the posts, skim 25%, and read probably 5% of the posts in their entirety (thanks Ben for showing me my bad math on this). Though this seems like a waste of time, it’s very useful to me to get the information I’m looking for in a quick way. I can check the posts at any time of day in ONE PLACE (rather than visiting a huge list of blogs or other sites and having to scroll down the post lists). It’s much more convenient. Also, if I’ve subscribed to a site and tend to skip most of their posts over a period of a few days, I’ll usually unsubscribe to keep my feed-bloat to a minimum.

So what exactly am I following? I would say the majority of my subscriptions are programming related, especially relating to Ruby/Rails or Objective-C/iPhone programming. I also have all my friend’s & family’s blogs on there, as well as a few soccer news feeds (ESPN and Fox soccernet). A few of my favorite feeds you ask? Here is a short list, in no particular order (I’m sure I’ll forget a few):

  • xkcd.com - (COMEDY) - absolutely hilarious comic strip for the nerd in all of us.
  • MacRumors.com - (TECH) - A pretty good Apple rumor site, one reason why most of you think I know a lot about Apple (which I do, btw…….:)).
  • CocoaWithLove.com - (PROGRAMMING) - A really great site for learning some of the more complex pieces of Objective-C and Cocoa development.
  • RyanByrd.net - (ANYTHING & EVERYTHING) - Prominent blogger Ryan Byrd and his daily ramblings. You’ll find everything from chemistry experiments to stories about shooting old T.V.’s at night in the desert ( with an ENORMOUS gun).
  • 37Signals.com - (TECH/DESIGN) - Everything from Programming, Design, Usability, and just plain ninja-awesomeness.
  • Real Salt Lake Blog - (SOCCER) - The RSL team blog, written by employees of the RSL organization.
  • KSL.com - (NEWS) - KSL top stories.
  • Ron Paul - (POLITICAL) - Campaign4Libery.com, Ron Paul’s online political community.

So, to end this post, I ask you to comment on a few questions:

  • How do you keep track of blogs/sites you are interested in?
  • How do you get to my blog in particular? Links from other blogs? Email updates? RSS?

The comment box is below….. you know what do to.

P.S. You can subscribe to this blog’s RSS Feed by clicking on this:

04 Mar 2009

Simplicity Is Bliss

I just came across an article by Scott Stevenson (an Apple developer) where he talks about the strategy behind developing the Cocoa framework, the current Objective-C framework that Apple is pushing as the standard for all Mac and iPhone programming. While it is specific to programming, I believe the concepts are applicable in every day life and decision-making.

The most important thing you will ever learn as a developer is this: start with the simplest thing that works correctly, and see where it takes you. This always leads you in the right direction because you’re not trying to solve problems that you don’t understand yet.

Instead of trying to guess at what you’ll need ahead of time, just leave yourself room to make changes as necessary. Cocoa’s dynamic design is ideal for this model. Not only is it less stress and more fun, but it leaves you with a much better final product.

As a novice, it’s tempting to try to take on a larger challenge by designing something more sophisticated. I think there’s some concern about embarrassment from showing off code that’s too simple. Tune that out. Good code is simple code that works correctly.

It’s so refreshing to know that in all we do, the simple answer is always the best one. This is true in so many facets of life, not just in programming or graphic design. Don’t worry or fuss with the complex unknowns; focus on what matters right now. The future will always take care of itself. With regards to your experiences (programming or not), does this philosophy hold up? What are your thoughts?