Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holiday Bowl: A game, a family rivalry and the posts

Dear Mark

The Holiday Bowl was tonight. You may not have known that the UW was playing Nebraska, but it still occurred. One person who knew (well all of Nebraska knew, but that was a given) was our cousin Katie. She started the trash talking a little early on Facebook. Since you are technology challenged, despite being an Engineer, I wanted to share the posts and trash talking with you.

Katie Posted first
"The day has finally come, Jeff Moran. Nebraska vs. Washington: The Battle of 2 Cousins Part Deux! Will Nebraska dominate once again, or will Jake Locker actually complete some passes in this game? Go Big Red!!!!
  • Jeff responded/commented: "Jack and I are ready to root on the dawgs!"
  • Lavi got in on it by commenting: "Bow Down to Washington!!! Love you Cuz!"
Katie then posted:
"Although Cousin Jeff is a UW alum, I know that deep down he will be cheering for Nebraska tonight. :)"
Here is the picture she posted. It is awesome in all of its horror

For those reading that may not know, that is me standing next to my cousin Chris. We are in Nebraska and I'm wearing the Big Red shirt. I have no idea where she got this photo. Hats off to her. There were 3 comments on this, one being my horror of it and blaming it on the Nebraska heat. Awesome picture.

But I was not to be out done. I quickly pulled on one of my best presents this year from my friend Bridie and posted it fro Katie.

Jeff posted this picture

A series of friends liked this photo. Mostly all being from the NW.

Jeff then posted:
"Is talking trash with his Cornhusker Cousin Katie. The UW - UN sequel starts soon.
comments:"
  • Katie Moran commented: "I hope the Huskies enjoy a magic show because our quarterback, T Magic , is going to blow their minds."
  • Jeff Moran commented: "check the score :)" (we were up 7-0 at this point)
  • Katie Moran commented: "I'm going to be sick. The way we are playing is making me nauseous."
Katie Posted
"Does Shaun Watson know any other play besides going up the middle. I think they're on to us."

Katie Posted
"Dad must be nervous about the game. He just got out the Scotch. Let's turn it around, Huskers!"
  • I liked this post a lot. :)
After Lockler ran the ball in for a score right after halftime I posted "DAWGS!!!"

UW was winning 17-7 at this point. Later the UW scored a safety making it 19-7. Katie seemed to go dark until a later post

Katie posted:
"I love Nebraska, but this game breaks my heart a little bit. Ready for the 2011 season and a new offense, please!
"
  • Jeff commented: "Be better if your guys could catch a ball.
    Here's an idea though... do you think you could get me tickets to the game in Lincoln in Sept? We should do teh 3rd part of this trilogy together!"
The game ended 19-7. This ties us 1-1 for the series this year. We have one more game next year. It will be two different teams, but we'll see how the trash talking goes then.

Big thanks to our cousin Katie who made watching this game a ton of fun. Love you Cous!


Cheers
Jeff

2010 resolution report card part 2

Dear Mark

A second resolution I had in 2010 was to read more. Lavi has been reading a lot and set a good example for me. I wanted to in turn set an example for Jack. Early in the year I made sure my library membership was up to date. I loaded the app for Seattle Library on my iphone. I was able to find books and have them held for me at the library 2 blocks from work for easy pick up.

Having the iphone app was nice. I am able to search and find books, notified when books are being held for me, and check on my due dates.

Early in the year I took your advice and read a lot of graphic novels like Dark Tower and a ton of Green Lanterns. This was neat because I could read stories that I was not going to collect. Later on I started reserving more sci-fi books from lists of best books. One book that was a great read was "Hyperion." If you like sci-fi you should pick it up. Another good one was "Eyre Affair" and "City & the City." The later one won this year's sci-fi Pulitzer.

I've also been using the Kindle software on my iphone. I know that seems weird, but I admit that I really enjoy it. There are only certain books I would read that way. I drool over the Kindle that I gave Lavi for her birthday. She uses it a ton and I think she's read more than me this year. I finally got my own Kindle so the world is okay.

Using the kindle I read the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" series and I've read every book of the Dresden Files. Dresden Files by Jim Butcher is the book series I've really enjoyed this year. It's like Magnum P.I. meets Buffy. He's a wizard and a P.I. It's good reading. I recommend them.

The last thing that I finished was a book called "Anathem" by Neal Stephenson. Using the word finished is such an understatement. It took me all year to read this book. In the end I liked it, a lot actually. At the beginning it was another 1,200 page book from Stevenson that took a long time to set up. I had the hard back and reading that in bed was about as close to exercise that I got some weeks. I mean that is a heavy book. I made up my mind to finish it, and in doing so I actually broke down and purchased it on my Kindle in order to comfortably finish it.

With my Kindle I've read a few free books this year. There are many that are free for download. I'm almost done with the Count of Monte Cristo, love that story. I finished Christmas Carol this Christmas season as well.

What have you been reading?

Cheers
Jeff

2010 resolution report card part 1

Dear Mark

This year I had a few resolutions at the beginning of the year. Maybe it's because I have an MBA or work in technology but I like to measure and report on progress so that I can most effectively reset and plan for the coming year. It's probably more that I needed a good topic to write about, but either way here is a little report on how I did with one resolution this year.

One resolution was to get back on the bike. I did okay with that one. I did get back on the bike a lot with Jack. We rode to daycare quite often and had a great time. Although I didn't pack in the miles like a training neo-pro, nor justify a reason to shave my legs, I did get lots of strength training. Pulling Jack is work. While fun fun fun, he's a heavy kid.

I started out by pulling him in a Burley Solo Trailer. The trailers track awesome behind the bike and they are comfy for him. Yet, I wanted to talk more with him as we rode and get him up a bit higher so he could see more. I have a beautiful mountain bike, a Kona Hei Hei, that I use to race and ride. I have not been dirty for many years. I probably need to see a MTB Priest to confess my sin, but I regress. The bike is awesome and it is geared for speed. I did the unthinkable and converted it to a bike I could haul Jack with by adding an Xtracycle kit to the bike. It was a necessary for the riding we do, but I still feel guilty throwing my leg over the saddle. That said, it is an awesome ride and Jack loves it. Here are two pictures of the bike. Jack gives it a thumbs up!

The bike

Jack on bike thumbs up

Coming into the New Year I hope to continue riding with Jack. I also want to get out for more rides on my own. Here's hoping I can justify another bike purchase. I think 2011 will see another cycling resolution (as opposed to a revolution).

Cheers
Jeff

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Acrobat X and work

Dear Mark,

I've been working pretty hard this year at Adobe Systems. Being a manager and working at a tech company means that I can't often discuss work. There is one time though that I can scream about what I do to the hills, and there are quite a few in the northwest, and that is when my team releases a product. This year I've been working on the release of Adobe Acrobat X and Reader X. These are pretty big efforts when you consider how many platforms (operating systems and versions) and languages we support. The release is all over the www.adobe.com web site.

I'm a Quality Engineering Manager. My team tests the feature called Portfolios, which is a really big feature and has a lot of massive potential. I'm lucky that my team is awesome. I couldn't have made it through this year without them. It's one of the reasons I really like working at Adobe, because my co-workers are really good.

So that's what I've been working on this year. In the usual fashion as soon as we finish there are new projects and things to work on, so never a dull moment.

One thing about work that I can talk about as well, and you know a bit about this, and that is that I work in Seattle and the majority of my team is in San Jose, CA. Another group of close co-workers are in India. I've been lucky enough to work with the same group in India for several releases. This is challenging for sure, but something I've worked with for many years.

Adobe Seattle has its own culture and it is pretty cool. We have a a good facility. Recently we've stepped up the events at work in Seattle. One thing that I do, not surprisingly, is administer the cycling efforts. That means running the cycling email list, organizing events (like Bike To Work Day which Adobe sponsors in Seattle), stocking the work shop in our secure bike cage (Yes, we have a functioning work shop, neat huh) and other such things.

Just last week we had a holiday party. We had an ugly sweater contest and a best Santa photo contest. I'm happy to report that I won first place for my Santa photo submission. Although you won't recall this one first hand, you no doubt remember the photo.


I mean it was a sure win, right! What was kind of cool was that another co-worker had a photo and it was also a Frederick & Nelson's Santa photo. We swear that it was the same Santa, even though the photos were probably about 8 years apart. Plus, it was the first time that I really saw how much Jack looks like me when I was his age. I swear I've seen this same face from him.

We can't wait to see you both next week. We are really looking forward to seeing you!

Later,
Jeff

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Feeling Seattle

Dear Mark

We had a play day with one of Jack's buddies from daycare. We went to the zoo indoor playground and then went for lunch. The post is really just to show you this picture.




How cool is that. Fleece jacket and eating a Dick's hamburger on the back of the car. Awesome.

-Posted via mobile

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Refresh Time

Dear Mark

It's Blog Refresh Time. Its a time when I play with the new settings, try out new gadgets and generally organize our Blog. It's a way that we keep this fresh even when we only post items that we feel are worth reading. Remember out goal is "audience of each other" and every other reader is just a bonus.

I added a new Twitter feed on the right hand side. I recently set up a new account called TdF_Dadna. The account is a way for me to post about training the 2035 Tour de France Champion, who is also my son. I admit that it is mostly fictional, but it allows me another funny (to me) outlet. I hope you enoy the posts. This gives some people who don't use Twitter (yes Mom that is you) a chance to read the posts. Granted many of these cycling specific posts will not be understood by all. But as always, I can provide the same show even if there is no audience. I must in all honestly admit that the twitter account was inspired by another account called "god_damn_batman" which is hysterical. I encourage you to find it.

The posts have been flowing. Lets keep the momentum going. I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Kent Peterson's Bike Blog, and he reminds me that if you have said some thing once then you don't need to say it again. I think for us that just is hooey. Keep up the sarcasm and witty reports.

Cheers
Jeff

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Screaming Trees & Musical Habits

Yo,

Just sitting here at work with all my music on shuffle (seems that 90% of my blog posts start this way – is it the music that makes me want to blog or is indicative that I’m sitting in front of computer and my mind is wandering? Hmmmmm…..)

Most of the time I have the music on shuffle and I can span a great variety of music with a few CTRL+F taps. However, I have an internal rule that whenever a Screaming Trees song comes up in the mix that I have to stop and listen. Do I like the Trees? Yes. But do I love the Trees? Well, I mean love is a strong word…. I’m not sure why I came up with this rule, but I’m almost superstitious about it now. To the point where I get nervous if I do skip it, have to go back and play it. Just one of those weird things that I, now subconsciously, do. Wonder if it’s the onset of mid-life grunge related OCD.

You got any weird musical requirements when listening? Hope so. Make me feel normal, please….

-Mark

Dear Mark

I do have some weird musical pairings and things now that you ask. Nothing so superstitious that I can't skip a song. I'm more of mood player. I guess one superstition I have is that when I come into work and hook my iTouch up I never continue playing the album, artist, playlist, etc that I was playing when I left the office. I like a clean break.

Another thing I do is that Fridays are Artist Shuffle days. Inspired by simply getting the Led out on Friday. I bounce around from shuffling all songs from Alice In Chains, Led Zepplin, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Queen, Rush to name a few. In fact, tomorrow I'm going for an artist I've not shuffled all day long come to think of it, AC/DC. That's a winner.

I have some music that I admittedly close the door to the office before any hears. I'm a grown man and I am okay with everyone knowing that I like to sing a little Lionel Richie every now and then (okay daily) or that I still listen to Seattle band music from the early 90's that no one has heard of before. I can only imagine what you do in your cubicle when Goodness comes on the shuffle... shudder.

I have some funny mixes too. For some reason my smart lists will bounce from a Pearl Jam song to a Shakira song in Spanish to Led Zepplin to Flock of Seagulls to dance techno Lady Gaga to a Buffy Musical song. I'm literally all over the board.

Right now Temple of the Dog is playing ("Wooden Jesus") and I've got to get back to work. Talk to you soon.

Cheers
Jeff

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

Dear Mark

Halloween is upon us. Lavi and I have been introducing Jack to it more and more. Two weekends ago Jack "helped" me put up decorations outside the house. By help I mean he walked around wearing work gloves and carrying tools while I did the work, with Lavi's help too of course. The decorations are pretty random, but they show that we support the holiday. If you come a knocking at our door you'll get some yummy treats. Actually you will get a double fist full of candy from Lavi because she goes absolutely giddy over the event. It is adorable beyond belief.

My favorite decoration is a skeleton that I have mounted on bicycle. I leave it stored under my front porch all year. It is right next to my dryer exhaust. So over the year it builds up dryer lint and it looks scarier. Every year we add one or more items. This year we added some orange lights along the ground. Not the Griswald's of Halloween yet though.

We've been reading books about Halloween to Jack. We have ghost books and counting Halloween books. We go through them each night. Jack has a new favorite. We've read extensive "The Story of the Jack O'Lantern" for a few weeks. It's actually not a "nice" story but it reads in a way that doesn't scare. It's interesting what things I pick up now and then that I determine he's not old enough to understand just yet.


Lavi took Jack on an adventure to go pick out pumpkins at the store a few weeks back. The weather has been really mild and nice the last few weeks. The good weather prompted a trip last weekend to the Pumpkin Patch to pick out more pumpkins. We took a tractor ride, saw some animals and stomped all over a pumpkin patch. We found 5 more pumpkins. Here is a neat slide show of our trip. You can see how nice it was. Jack had a good time and so did Lavi and I.

This weekend we plan to carve up the pumpkins. Jack wants them to have happy faces, not scary faces. I hope to manage sneaking in one surprise face. It will be a good activity on a rainy weekend.

Jack has said that he plans to be a firefighter for Halloween. A great idea seeing how he loves playing with his fire trucks so much. We also got him matching Run DMC outfits to wear with Calvin, just in case.

Halloween is a fun time around here. I hope to really enjoy it with Jack. I wonder if he's too young for Charlie Brown Halloween special. Lavi and I are trying to start small traditions around the holidays to do with Jack. Just to make things fun.

I'm not sure if I'm dressing up or not. We'll see. Do you all get many trick or treaters? We don't get a lot. We end up with 25-40. I do think Lavi's reputation for the double fisted candy give out is spreading though.

Happy Halloween!
Jeff

PS - Follow up. The Jack O'Lanterns turned out great!

East Coast Hum & Whistle

Jeff,

I think the Lowenbrau commercial is before my time. I was watching that for the first time I think.

Now me, yeah, I hum and whistle too. Mostly I stick to two main songs

Sanford and Son theme. I’ve never watched the show, but a guy in my technical drawing class back at Blanchet was humming it one day and it stuck.



The other is the Old Spice theme. Not sure what that says about me. I know I smell good … most of the time. Couldn’t find a good clip on youtube, I didn’t spend more than 5 seconds looking though

Other musical things I do well…

Often if I’m just short bursting something, perhaps as an alert that I’m coming around the corner or into a room, I’ll go with the Strange Brew call. If you don’t know it – WATCH THE MOVIE!!



Now I have an internal music song that ‘s going on most of the time I’m mosey-ing through my life



This is why I’m bobbing my head most of the time.

-Mark

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Alice In Chains and Memories

Dear Mark

This past Friday it was a trip down memory lane as my friend Jamie and I went to the Alice In Chains concert. It was the Black Diamond Sky tour. Deftones and Mastodon. I had not seen Alice In Chains since the Lolapalooza III tour in 1993. I began thinking that I had seen Alice In Chains four times and it all occurred between January 1992 and that tour in 1993. As you know I really love Alice In Chains. I was very tired from a long work week and not much sleep. I thought of bailing but Lavi was wise when she said I'd regret that. She would have been right. I'm very glad I went.

My friend Jamie and I had some dinner before and then headed to Key Arena. Hard not to think of the Supersonics when you go there. High School football was playing at Memorial Stadium. I wished we had time to watch the bands play. I never appreciated them as much when in school, but sure get a kick out of them now.

Crowds were not bad. Being Males and with no bags we walked right in. If you brought a female date you had about a 20 minute wait in line to get through their security check. Opening acts were good. We missed Mastodon to my friend Jamie's dismay. Deftones I had not heard before. Good show, lots of energy, tremendously loud, but not too bad. During the break we noticed all the cameras and learned they were filming the concert in 3D.

Then the lights went out and AIC started...

I remember the first time I saw Alice In Chains. I had their first album by then. But they were not the band we had bought tickets for. They were opening for Van Halen. At the time no other band was more my favorite than Van Halen. I had not seen them in concert ever, missing previous 5150 and OU812 tours. I was stoked for the show. My friends and I (Jason, Tim) stayed up over night at Tower Records to get tickets first thing. The show was in the Tacoma Dome (terrible). We got our tickets and had to wait. When the show came around Sammy's voice had gone out and he had to cancel. Rescheduled for 3 months later. (I even have the cut out from the paper still)By the time we got to the show Alice In Chains was getting a lot of play on the radio with "man in the box." I was actually really stoked to see them open. For an arena show they sounded okay. I think this was one of the first shows where Layne (lead singer) had cut his dreadlocks off. He was pretty sedate and I remember thinking they lacked energy. I do remember the sound was good and I liked all the songs. It got me to listen to them more when I got home. Van Halen rocked it silly for me and I was all a tither.

The concert was awesome from the start. The new lead singer does a good job. He sounds good and the sound remains Alice In Chains. I prefer Layne of course, but I am glad that they found a front man who could carry on the sound of the band. Some will dismiss the band without Layne. That's fine, I get that. Nirvana would never survive without Kurt, but Alice in Chains is different. Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney are also driving the music. It wasn't all Layne. In fact, I think their last album before he died was mostly Cantrell, which I admit is why it is my least favorite one. I think Layne was in a bad way for that album.

I can't remember all the songs in order that they played. I know they kicked it off with Creep and I heard We Die Young, and No Excuses early on. They played from every album except SAP.

SAP was really the album that I got into them with. It is just a 4 song EP but I love everyone one (yes there is a silly 5th one on there, but it's not a song). During the summer of 92 I listened to that over and over. In fact, we heard Alice In Chains was coming out with a new album and doing a small warm up tour. They would be playing in the Yakima Civic Center that summer. Rod, Tim, Jason and I got tickets and headed out on a road trip. It was one of the best weekends I ever had with those 3. The concert was raw and amazing. They were on a stage that was literally 3 feet high and just pulsing with sound. I can't remember if Dirt was out by then. I don't think it was. So we heard a bunch of songs first live before the album, which we now couldn't wait for.

This picture is one of my absolute favorites. I get emotional just looking at it. Writing about it almost chokes me up. I love these guys and I miss Tim every day. I love this picture because it just captures how close we are/were and what a great weekend that was. I still have the shirt from the concert.



The sound was really good. They lyrics were clear and they kept playing songs that the crowd loved. Will does a good job of sounding a lot like Layne, which is good and bad. The songs of the new album were great live. Songs that I remember were Bleed the Freak, Them Bones, Rain When I Die, Down in a Hole and Angry Chair. Rooster was a huge hit with everyone.

Rooster reminded me of the 2 times we saw Alice In Chains in 1993. They had become a big band. We saw them at Mercer Arena and Lolapalooza. Both events were memorable. Screaming Trees opened for the first one and I'm a big fan still to this day. The Lolapalooza tour Primus headlined and all of us could care less, we came for AIC. They had changed for sure though. Still a silly band but just bigger. I think it was the first time I saw the hard life affects on Layne. He kept getting thinner and would just stand in one spot. Cantrell's guitar was just nuts but it all sounded tight. Tim, Jason, Rod and others with us for all of this. All 4 times I saw AIC they were there. I regret not getting Lavinia to come with us that year (it was the year we started dating). She never got to see Layne. I need to apologize for that.

The concert ticked along and every song was great. I really enjoyed seeing Will and Jerry mix it up on vocals. The encore was "Black Gives Way To Blue," "Love, Hate, Love," "Man in a Box" and finally ending with "Would." The crowd almost out sang them on the last two.

"Black Gives Way To Blue" is a great song. The lyrics are haunting ("no plans to take the path that takes them lower," and "tomorrow is haunted by your ghost"). The tribute to Layne is memorable and Elton John is playing piano. I was very glad that they played this personal song for the Seattle home crowd.

After the concert I found an interview with Jerry Cantrell. It's good and admittedly a tough read if you care deeply about the band. Reading about Layne and how he contributed and how Jerry and him relied on each other for their song writing was pretty amazing.

I'm always going to love this band and I'm glad they are continuing. They remind me of great times, provide lyrical examples of what a hard life can do to one, serve as a reminder that the addiction of dark things can have only one outcome if not checked and continue to make me rock out as if I was 21 again. For me they will probably be my Zepplin. If I could meet Jerry Cantrell I simply say "thanks" for all the great music and effort to keep it going.

Cheers
Jeff

Monday, October 4, 2010

Whistle & Hum

Dear Mark

As you know, I'm not that musically inclined despite our Mother's best efforts to culture and instruct us. I like the music I like. I tried to play piano, my chariots of fire is purely definitive and I failed at trumpet because having my lips vibrate all day as a result was off putting. I never had the desire to learn guitar, drums seemed interesting until I saw that all the greats seemed to OD and die. I have a musical voice for newspaper print and thus only uncork a power ballad after many beers at the Karaoke bar.

Yet, despite this apparent (and obvious to everyone) lack of talent I find that I do enjoy singing and even whistling and humming. My singing is usually confined to my office or car and mostly definitely by myself. I have from time to time had my co-worker Paul come over to ask politely to "keep it down" as I belt out some Alice In Chains. I'm sure that our Mother's over promotion of show tunes and musicals has something to do with this, I'm just sure of it.

There are quite a few things that I seem to be stuck on and I wonder if you have similar tunes that never leave your head.

Here's a short list.
1. Lowenbrau commercial jingle
Yes, here are to good times and tonight is kinda special. The beer you pour should mean something more some how… tonight, let it be Lowenbrau.
I whistle this all the time. I can't think for the life of me why. I've never consumed the beer. Perhaps that commercial played too much when we were watching Sunday afternoon Seahawk football in the 80's. Still I do hum and whistle it as I walk. Lavinia asked me just the other day what it was. I told her and her response was "that is what you've been whistling for 18 years?" I think I died a bit realizing that.


2. Guns n' Roses - Patience
Very similar to the one above. Often I'll start with one and go to the other. It's catchy and had a lot of radio play time in high school. I can't seem to shake it.


3. Mary Poppins - Spoonful of sugar
Seriously, this one comes up in the most embarrassing situations. Mostly embarrassing because others will recognize the tune, publicly judge me and laugh. It hurts, but darn it I like the tune. It was playing at Jack's daycare the other day when I dropped him off. As a result I hummed it all day.


4. All Night Long - Lionel Richie
Yes, this is my Karaoke favorite. I love singing this song. It makes me think of Tim, who is still to this day the only individual who in an Irish bar would cry out for the band to "PLAY LIONEL!!!" Awesome.


5. Man in a Box - Alice In Chains
I think it is mostly the intro bass/drum line that mimic. Just has the sort of you're walking to home base as a baseball player ready for bat and the crowd is going nuts because bases are loaded, two outs and you might just have a walk off grand slam kinda moment. I guess I dream as I hum.


Well, this has me thinking of some other songs that I need to go shuffle. I doubt many will be as good as the ones above.

Cheers
Jeff

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A day with Dadna

Dear Mark

Yesterday Jack and I had a day together. It was a lot of fun. We had the day to ourselves as Lavi was hosting a baby shower for Jackie. Jack and I started by taking the bus to Fremont in the morning. It was not his first bus ride and he was very good. I think he secretly wanted to ride it all day long. Once we got to Fremont I took him up to see the troll under the Aurora Bridge. He was leery of the Troll. On the walk down from there he said "that Troll scared me Dad-na" almost matter of fact and then we kept walking.

After visiting the Troll we walked through a small park on the way to my work. I had left our bicycle there at work on Friday. We took some elevator rides and got our bike out of the bike cage at work and started out. So already in the morning we had taken a bus ride, walked around, visited some parks and were now on our bike.

From Fremont we headed to Woodland Park Zoo. We had not visited their playground yet and it seemed like a good idea. I rode us up Fremont Ave to the zoo. The new bike handled pretty well up the hill, even better than the bike with the trailer. We played at the playground for a while and then saddled up and headed to another playground that has a few really long slides at Phinney Ridge Center.

We took another ride to the Gorditos and had some lunch. Then we cruised home for a nap. Both of us got a little nap in.

That sounds like a good long day but it wasn't over. After nap time we saddled up again and headed to Salmon Bay Park for Jack's friend Marin's birthday party. We rode over the park, had a great time and rode home.

It was a long day, but a lot of fun. Jack is 3 and with that comes new challenges. He is more and more physically capable of handling himself these days. He does real well on the sidewalk, wants to walk more and more on his and less with holding hands. He's getting so big. He can climb up and down the play structures very well. He even handled himself on the zip line at Salmon Bay park.

Do you remember Salmon Bay park? It was where we'd go with the Boys & Girls Club in the summers. How many hours did we spend in that park? Too many to count that I guess. It is pretty neat to see Jack running around the hills of the park with his friends. It reminds me of times we had there as kids.

Jack and I rode home before dark, got him a bath and then off to bed. It was a very full day, but lots of fun. I have slide show here for you to check out. Enjoy!





Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We are loved in Belgium & Italy!

Dear Mark,

Since you only send me your posts via email to upload I know that you have not taken any time to go through the Blogger dashboard. Blogger is the host site for our blog. They recently (as of July 2010) started provided an analytics area for blogging authors to use. These analytics track number of unique vistors, location of visitor, web browser use and other stats. It is really quite fascinating.

Here is a quick snap shot of some of the stats. If we assume that most of our visitors are family then we can make some determinations about our target audience that will help us build a site that creates a need in their lives from which we can drive ad revenue via ad sense. Well, at least that is one point of the analytics. Luckily we are not in for the money and just like thinking we are funny.

I'm pretty sure that my visits account for all the mobile stats. Mostlly our audience is United States, with I think a very dark dark dark green Washington state for sure. But it is nice to see that we are loved in China and Canada! Which reminds me of Cliff from Singles of course.

The stats are fun. The best one is that I think our most referring web site is Katie's blog.

I need to email Blogger for a few feature requests though. Here's one I can think of; "Mom Tracking." A feature to determine how many times ones mother visits the web site and suggestions on the best ads to serve her.

Log on and check it out when you can.

Cheers

Jeff


Monday, September 27, 2010

Bad Eggs

I’m having very strange egg issues lately. A few months ago we cracked one open and it was some weird afterbirth thing going on and it was red. Really off putting. I settled for just toast that morning and I think we may have pitched the whole carton. We asked a lady we met that is in culinary school and she said “that’s why they teach us to crack them into something separate first.”

Just the other day Siobhan had a hankering for eggs for dinner. Being that she’s rarely a breakfast person in the morning, this struck me as funny. However as a man who would eat breakfast for every meal I jumped at the rare opportunity. Now the nice thing about a breakfast meal at Chateau Shark is that I can actually be helpful in the food prep. I make a mean scramble. So as we prepare the eggs Siobhan cracks the first one. It’s a double yoker!!!
Never before have I seen this. Do we eat it? Is it safe? Is there more protein? Were they fraternal or identical twins? Mulling this over the second egg gets cracked. Another double yoker!!! Wow, two in a row. That’s a bit strange. Are these mutant eggs. Was the farm next to a toxic waste dump? Are there super chickens out there and if so why are they being kept secret? Are they part of some plot by Colonel Sanders to take over the humans? We scrap these and decide to start over. The third egg goes in ….yet another double yoker!!! The forth.. yup… another double yoker. The fifth and sixth.. yup .. double yokers. Deciding not to waste anymore we bravely eat these eggs. They taste normal. So far so good. I‘ve not noticed any feathers growing although I have had the inclination to stare straight up when it rains and I seem to run in circles more often.

Later.
-Mark

Friday, September 24, 2010

Guest Blogger: Mom Shames the Brothers

It’s been quite a while since anyone posted,
I decided it’s time that somebody ghosted.
You’re both really busy, I know that is true
So maybe I can be of help to you two.

I have a few things you might like to use,
Some various posts, if you’ll just excuse
The posts that I offer – they’re really mundane
You’ll probably think that your mom’s just insane.

Emily Post was very refined
Post it Notes® can be plain, or they can be lined.
Post Toasties are sweet
Post haste is real fast
At Army posts soldiers meet
Post partum blues never last.

U.S. Post Offices deliver in rain, snow or sleet
And hitching posts are found in the street.

Post-war is better than pre-war, no doubt
The New York Post just sends newspapers out.

Fence posts keep fences from falling right down
Post is verb. Post is a noun.

The word post can be used in so many ways
All by itself or in a phrase.


I’ve got to get going, but please keep on posting!

And put up some photos of Jack while you’re at it!

Love, Mom

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cruel Summer, Seattle Weather Comments

Dear Mark

Seattle Summer weather is treating me like a high school girl. Some days it loves us and shines a simple radiance that makes us smile, but just as quickly the mood changes and the gray skies loom overhead and threaten to hurt us. The summer has been tough. I think it is a well established fact that summer does not start until July 5th each year. Our July 4th fireworks show is often viewed in a cloud of looming rain clouds that magically disappear that night and deliver sun to our summer season the next day. By the way, I've lobbied each year now for 10 years to hold our Annual Fireworks show(s) in early June. My reasoning is that this activity commencing seems to be trigger for good weather. Moving it earlier in the calendar year seemed smart, but my efforts have not been heard by the City Council yet.

The family reunion was a good week of weather. It was hot for us locally, but I was constantly reminded by our family from the mid-west that it was not hot at all. It seemed though that as soon as the family left they took the weather with them. Perhaps Seattle needs a confluence of Mid-west visitors and Fireworks in order to truly have summer.

Since then we have had a fair number of simple gray days, with some rain. I have worn a jacket several times and even deployed the arm warmers while riding my bicycle. We have these trends where it will become sunny enough to get our hopes up and planning activities only to turn gray again and dash them like the denial of ice cream to a child. Seafair weekend was just a cruel joke. All of those spectators sitting in flannel watching the hydros. Individuals left wondering if the Blue Angles would be able to take off, let alone perform, in our gray cloud blanketed city. As I write to you though I wonder if I've ever seen a hydro in true sunlight, interesting.

The lack of summer days has begun to bother me I must admit. Being from Seattle you know what I'm talking about. We are not bothered by gray and rain, in fact we almost crave it like a vampire needs a victim's blood. We are quite strange that way. But we have this power to sustain the long Fall season that lasts from October to July 4th because we get our token one month of summer in August. We need this. One month of summer charges our batteries, or our internal fuel cells if you will permit me the pun.

I have put mother nature on notice that she needs to get cracking and deliver some summer. If not I fear for the gray Fall season. Our transplanted Californian folks will go into a depression and easily cause a weather system disturbance that could only rival mom & dad worrying about you.

I hope the weather for you has been better and that you are enjoying the seasons.

Please send sun.

Thanks
Jeff

Monday, July 26, 2010

If Team Shark was a band

Hey Bro,

We got this great photo the other day at the Northampton Pride Parade. Siobhan and I joked that this would be the CD liner photo if Team Shark was a band.

Team Shark with their Debut Album – What’s this Noise?
Vocals and bassoon - Siobhan Moran
Lead Guitar and triangle – Mark Moran
Drums – Hanna Cahillane

Includes “Why is the rain solid and cold?”, “North of Hampton”, “LUGS Make the Rocking World Go Around” and the heavy metal version of Norah’s Jones' “Feeling the Same Way” with a 20 minute drum solo.

Coming soon to a stadium near you.

Hope you’re having a good one.

Talk more soon.
-Mark

Blogging Speedbump

Hey Mark
Seems like at this time every year I hit a blogging speed bump. It is most likely due to July 22nd being the anniversary of when Tim passed away. I keep thinking I'm past it, that the day will not make me sad, but in the end I find myself in a down mood. I think I fail to blog because he's on my mind and I've posted about it before.

He's on my mind a lot this year because we just had our 20 year high school reunion. An event like that makes me miss him a lot. He was literally 90% of my high school experience. I think I leaned and did everything with Tim when it comes to being a friend.

I could post a lot, but I won't. I think I'm okay today. I have a lot of fun things to tell you about from the past few weeks, including the 20 year reunion. Hope all is well with you.

Jeff

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Missing Home

Hey Jeff,

We had a great visit with you and the rest of the family last week. Wish we could do it more often. As you know I’m never more homesick then I am immediately after visiting. Something about being reminded of what I’m missing out on really puts me down in the dumps. The incredibly nice weather in Seattle didn’t help either. Especially when it’s been in the 90’s and sicken-ly humid here lately. Seeing Jack and realizing that I’m missing so much as he changes leaps and bounds in between visits.

*sigh* Even my music selection is against me. Have the shuffle on and Gaelic Storm’s “I Miss My Home” comes on.
“I miss my home, chimney stacks and the cobble streets I know, wherever I go, when I find myself alone, I close my eyes and the memories take me home” Now obviously they’re talking about Ireland, but I get their drift.

Hope you guys are well. Miss you all, especially now.

-Mark “why does music always make me want to blog?” Moran

Friday, July 16, 2010

Reunion Video, kinda

Dear Mark

I had a great time seeing you and Siobhan this past week at the reunion. It was awesome. I will have to post a longer letter on all we did. For now though I've created a short animation of our conversation. I think I got this word-for-word. Enjoy it!

Jeff

Friday, July 9, 2010

Moran Family Reunion Begins

Brothers Moran are excited to kick off the Moran Family reunion this weekend. Updates soon. You know it is in Seattle when you have this view from your hotel room.


- Posted via mobile

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Laufenberg Pride

Dear Mark

Watching Worl Cup this morning and it was a tough one. Argentina vs Germany. I love my Hispanic teams and South America has been showing very well. But we got the German blood. What to do what to do?

Even getting dressed was a dilema.




Finally I was able to make a choice.





Go Germany!

Jeff

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Butterfly

Dear Mark

Jack's daycare class took a recent trip to the Butterfly exhibit at that Pacific Science Center. Brought me back to the days we use to go there. Lavi volunteered and she said the kids had a great time. She took some pictures that you can view below.




Can't wait to see you two soon!

Cheers
Jeff

Monday, June 14, 2010

Moran Reunion Logo

Dear Mark

Lavinia's brother Ben worked up a Moran Family Reunion T-Shirt design for us. Based on an idea that Lavinia had, Ben took the idea and added some great elements. We have a really nifty design. Check it out below. Cant wait to see you two in July along with the rest of the family.

The image is pretty cool. It takes the Pike Place Market sign and famous neon clock, combines in the Space Needle for an "A" and a dash of Boeing Airplane the sky. Of course the Emerald Green works for the NW and for our Irish heritage too. All in all a great design!

Jeff

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fixing up Jack's bike

Dear Mark
I spent some time getting Jack's scoot bike ready today. He already had a light on it. So we put on his WA license plate! Lucky I have a bike workshop.



-



Posted via mobile

A day at Discovery

Dear Mark

The sun finally came out in Seattle. I brought it back from California with me. I got out yesterday with Jack on the bike. We visited some playgrounds and ran into his friends Elaine and Marin.

Here's Jack in the sandbox.



Then Gram and Grandpa came over for a BBQ. They had fun kicking the soccer ball in the backyard.

Been watching world cup? I have. Lots of fun with that.

Today Jack and I went for a hike at discovery park with my friend Carole. Here's a vid of Jack enjoying the low tide.

YouTube Video


I got to carry him back up the bluff, up the 100+ stairs on my shoulders. That is one way to get in shape (grin).

Hope you had a good weekend.

Jeff

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jack on his bike

Dear Mark

Here us a fun short vid of Jack at Daycare. He's riding his bike and having a good time.

YouTube Video

- Posted via mobile

Saturday, June 5, 2010

World Cup

Dear Mark

Here in Seattle I'm getting ready for some World Cup Soccer. I've been talking to Jack about it and he's eager to see some games too. Although he makes me smile more when he says "but maybe we watch bike race instead Dadna?!" Yes, I've been raising him well. I'm always excited to watch the World Cup. It amazes me what good players can do. Plus, playing for your country is just about the coolest thing I can think of shy of Sarah Michelle Gellar showing up at my doorstep (don't worry she brings Pierce Brosnan in that fairy tale and that makes Lavi happy).

The last World Cup was playing during our trip to Rome and Paris in 2006, that trip we took after I graduated from my MBA program (now there is a therapy letter to write about some day). It was a blast to be in both cities as their teams reached the finals. It was very surreal to me. When the national team one the entire city knew it and celebrated together. People took to their cars and waved flags, drove around honking, people danced in the streets and yelled at the top of their lungs.

We watched the games in bar often. I made sure to wear my Italy jersey a lot while in Rome and thus we were seated with the locals and not in the back like the poor Australian crowd around a small TV.

There is only one time I can recall that ever happening to me in Seattle. It was 1995 and Lavi and I were living in the little red house in north Seattle. The Mariners were playing the Yankees in the American League Division series. It was I think our real first playoff appearance. 12 innings the game went. Finally my baseball hero Edgar Martinez (who to me is now Mr. Seattle since Nate MacMillan was treated so poorly and moved to Portland and Steve Largent is more aligned with Oklahoma) drove in Ken Griffey Jr for the winning run. Lavi and I screamed with excitement and we heard shouts from our neighbors as well. It was as if everyone was watching that game. Now we didn't take to the streets or anything, but it was one of those moments that sports captivated a city.

I suppose Seattle groaned at the same time during the Seahawks super bowl game too, but I don't watch football any longer so I wouldn't know.

I found a web site that has the TV schedule in time zones for us that I wanted to share. You know how I find time zone math, calendar math and anything taught in my graduate level statistics class very difficult. You should check this out. Many of them will be going on during the day. I suggest proactive scheduling of meetings at work either around these events or at local pubs to watch. You have an international product and many customers overseas. I believe this is something your company should do.

I have some reading to do to catch up on the US Roster of talent. I'm not familiar with all of them. I really only hope to see the team give each game their best. I want a great effort. Usually that means a win, but if not it's about pride and playing for your country. I think the event should be awesome.

I heard the announcement that Nelson Mandela will be at the first game. I tell you I almost tear up even as I type this when I think about this iconic individual. The lessons learned from history in South Africa and his role in that is overwhelming at times. I hope my son never has to grow up in a world that witnesses such hard times. I know though that he will in some way. If he does the story of Nelson Mandela will inspire others. To have him be there will be truly amazing to watch.

I hope you have plans to watch the games. I look forward to many texts during and after to celebrate. If I could find my red Ballard Steelers coat I'd wear it just to be lucky. I'll be wearing an assortment of US, Panama (not in the cup of course) and Italy & Brazil jerseys. I have to pull for the US. I'll be rooting for the underdogs of course too.

Get in the game!
Jeff

Monday, May 31, 2010

I was on my left

Dear Mark

I hope that all is well these days. I know that Siobhan had a birthday and I trust you two celebrated the day well. I've already sent her notes on how to stretch the birthday into a week-long celebration. I've been doing this for years. I found that it helps to take that much tequila over several days rather than one night, so all the best.

Recently it was Bike To Work Day in Seattle. I prepared several events for the group at work. My work site can boast that we have nearly 8% of the on-site population riding to work in the good months and we only drop to 5% during the icky months (for those of you outside the NW that reads like this; Good Months = July-Sept, Icky Months = rest of year). This day is like a religious day for those that pray at the altar of a piece of leather stretched over a metal pole that we find comfortable.

It was fun to ride in that day. I love seeing everyone turn out and nod to each other with an acknowledged grin that it is indeed our day. I have not been riding much because we will drive Jack to daycare in the morning. I've pulled him to daycare in the trailer, and plan to do so soon again as the mornings warm up. While it would be super character building of me to do this all-year round, the kid is up to his neck in character and there is no need to get him all cold and discouraged in the morning like that.

On the bike ride home and interesting thing occurred. I was riding along on my good bike (I do love my titanium Davidson bike) and was going a good pace. Not breathing hard, just pushing the pedals and rolling along. I could tell you about the laptop in my bag weighing me down. I could tell you my weight which would make an eyebrow raise (mostly from me) or I could refer back to my lack of fitness. Keep all those framed in your mind as my tale continues.

I was riding along our Burke Gilman Trail and a rider passed me. No problem. It's not the Tour. I didn't throw down my water bottle and blaze after him to assert my trail dominance. I was riding a bike with a light and rack for crying out loud. I was cool.

I caught the rider at the light and started chatting him up as we rode along (I know, shock that Jeff talks). He was a nice guy and like efforts at his work to get more people riding (bravo!). I got to take a closer look at this individual and his bike that passed me.

He was riding a mountain bike, with fenders, and slick tires. His helmet was a cheaper model, not the aero race style I've been riding for years. His glasses were meant for another sport. He was not dressed fully in spandex, shorts yes, but the top was not a team kit. He just looked thrown together. This is not a judgement description from me, just an observation. It caught my eye.

Anyway, he said his good-bye and pulled away from me up the hill. Now, stop. He pulled away from me. It was not like I let him or was standing still. He just picked up the speed and sped a way. Here I was the older, better put together rider with years of experience. I bleed cycling lubricants and I preach cycling goodness. But he pulled away from me.

It struck me why it seemed so silly. I had been passed by myself, circa 1996.

That person pulling away was me from back when I first started commuting. I used to laugh at guys like myself when I passed them wearing a t-shirt, hiking boots, and on my mountain bike. Lordy how I laughed.

Well, I got mine and it felt good. I was grinning the rest of the ride up the hill as I watched that guy pull away. We often say the only person ahead of me is my damn ego. He just took a time machine and got some physical form this day.

Your brother is not only getting older, but he is proving that he's human too.

On your left,
Jeff

Friday, May 28, 2010

Woodworking

Dear Mark

Recently I fancied myself the idea that I could build a table in my office. I wanted to build a nice long and tall table that would be a good work surface for Lavinia and myself. I wanted shelves underneath to hold my many comic book boxes as well as they needed a new home. I got to work on a design in my head and eventually put it to paper to calculate it out. I had the basic idea by now.

The table was going to be 8 feet wide, 36" deep and 36" tall. It would have 2 shelves under it. I would have 6 4x4 legs and braces (I've learned you call them styles would be 2x4. I would use 5/8 plywood for the top surface and 1/2 plywood for my shelves below. I would then top it with a smoother surface, maybe a piece of glass or something. I would use lumber and stain the wood. I had it all figured out.

I bought my wood and started in on it while on vacation 2 weeks ago. Below are some early pictures.


These two are pictures of the legs and you can see were the top will go. This in one half of the table.

I ran into one problem where I did not calculate the extra 3 inches I needed so my top was a bit short. After a quick call to you I had it all figured out. I needed to take the styles off and and shorten them by 3 inches.

I set out to do that at the end of the day. As I was re-drilling a screw back into the style the power drill slipped and I struck my thumbnail quite dramatically. Now, let me tell you something. That hurts. A lot. I quickly got it wrapped up, seeing my busted thumbnail and wondering just how bad it was. I got inside from the garage, found Lavi and apologized for making such a blunder. At this point the pain was literally washing over me. I said, "I think I'd better lay down because I may faint." I never did faint, but Lavinia said I turned whiter than you on a snowy day. I got the ER later and they wrapped me up. No busted thumb, but I did a number on the nail. I'll carry that scar for a long time, but it won't emerge until the nail falls off. Joy to me. Here's a picture the day after.



Now after all this I still have a table to finish. So a week later our father came over to help me. I was ready to not make a mistake and finish this thing. I stared down that power drill and dared it to try that again, ala "'enemy mine" from the 80's. At the end of the day my table was done. Final pictures to be posted soon. The thumb is healing and I should be able to tie my shoelaces without wincing soon.

What is the status of your futon couch table?

Cheers
Jeff

Thursday, May 20, 2010

State of cycling

Dear Mark

Today Floyd Landis dropped a confession to doping during his entire racing career. Even worse, he implicated many other cyclists including Lance Armstrong. Lance responded that it was untrue. The implications even land on Jonathon Vaughters who is the leader of the Garmin-Transitions team and the annoitted poster child for clean cycling.

This news saddens me for a lot of reasons. First, as a cyclist everyone freaking asks me about it. It's like punching a bruise. I'm happy to do it but it hurts and the fact that it hurts make me do it more and more. Second, I drank the "Lance Armstrong is clean" kool-aid a long time ago. I hold to the great taste of that drink. Third, it is hard to think that a sport I enjoy so much could be so dirty.

A funny email thread ensued between myself and two friends. I'll protect them poorly by calling them "Joey-JoJo" and "Bill Wiggins" below. I wanted to share that thread. We got to the heart of the matter. Talked about our feelings of betrayal and discussed the state of cycling that we can hope for. I hope you find this enlightening and funny.

Email#1
FM: Joey-JoJo
To: Jeff, Bill Wiggins
Subject: what an a-hole

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703691804575255410855321120.html?mod=djemalertNEWS

Email#2
FM: Jeff
To: Joey-JoJo, Bill Wiggins
Subject: what an a-hol
I mean... DUDE! What the hell.

I’m torn. I want dopers rooted out. I want them kicked out and turned into cycling male servants with not fun parts. But I can’t handle allegations that the entire US Postal team did this. That everyone he knew did it.

I’m reading reactions on velonews now.
I should start searching twitter results.

I really don’t believe him, but I am also unsure how any one could ever lie to this degree. I think lying is very hard. But others can do it easily. I just don’t see what he gains by doing it.

Email#3
FM: Joey-JoJo
To: Jeff, Bill Wiggins
Subject: what an a-hole

The part that makes me think this is unbelievable is this:
""In the email sent on April 30 to Mr. Johnson, Mr. Landis said that in 2006, after leaving the U.S. Postal Service team for a team sponsored by Swiss hearing aide manufacturer Phonak, he said he told Andy Rihs, the team's owner, that he had been involved in a blood doping program in the past with his old team and wanted to continue doing so with Phonak. He said Mr. Rihs, who is the chairman of Sonova Holding AG, the Switzerland-based parent company for Phonak, agreed to pay for the same doping operations at Phonak.""

I have a very hard time believing that he just approached his new boss and said "um, can i keep cheating?" and then his new boss says "oh, sure. let me just put our entire org at risk by purchasing a new refrigerator for your closet."

anyway... more on this tonight at the Dray.
looking forward to it.

oh, and Bill, you are welcome to come to the Dray too.
same Dray time. same Dray channel.


Email#4
FM: Bill Wiggins
To: Jeff, Joey-JoJo
Subject: what an a-hole

Yeah - even if he's 100% right, he's being a fucking baby about it and comes off as a sore has-been. His credibility is shot after the 3 year campaign to convince everyone he didn't cheat. I hate the Amish, never can trust them.

I'm just going to watch the Giro and see if Vino dopes his way back pink or if grandpa Sastre can keep his advantage. I love Carlos, but man he's sucking.

I actually wonder the most about Contador, Sanchez, and Valverde - they have the protection of crappy Spanish anti-doping regulations and IMO are the best 3 GC cyclists right now.... though FABIO could probably make each of them lick his balls if he wanted too.

I've turned the corner on Evans - that guy is a stud - I used to resent his "surprise" attacks off the front of a break and his unfortunate butt-chin, but he's attacking like a pro and I hope he gets a grand tour win.

I need the Dray tonight, but might not show up until 9:30 or 10:00.


Email#5
FM: Jeff
To: Joey-JoJo, Bill Wiggins
Subject: what an a-hole

Bill,
Said wisely my friend. The Amish are not to be trusted. (He’s a Mennonite though just to be technical about it). Funny that a guy that came from a community that doesn’t use technology embraced science to cheat. There is a Mennonite pastor working on a really good sermon right now.

Perfect scenario for me in the coming months:
  • Vino wins Giro, but gets caught doping in the bedroom celebrating with Viagra and ecstasy. While confessing to this he admits he won the giro by snorting cocaine off of the podium girls.
  • Cadel Evans wins the Tour de France in a boring way. He is clean but still manages to be grumpy about it. Making Sastre’s win and interviews seem jovial.
  • George Hincapie wins World’s with a lead out from Levi and Tyler. The two said George deserves it. George tattoos them on his back with a phrase that says “Only Lance can Judge me”
  • WADA extends governance to hair styles. Vladmir Karpets and Pozzato (the mullet and perm) are immediately banned for life. Steven Cozza is put on notice to shave. Dave Z is also warned to leave the foo-Manchu on American soil.
  • Cyclocross is recognized as an official Winter Olympic Sport so that Belgians can finally win some medals.
  • Tom Boonen pulls a David Lee Roth, ditches his team, goes it alone and fades to obscurity.
  • Fabian Cancellara finally lays off the Swedish pastries, learns to climb a hill and goes on to win every grand tour he enters.
  • Alberto Contador slips and “finger bangs” himself when he wins the Vuelta by 2 hours. Such a large margin prompts an investigation that links him to a Kentucky derby horse doping scandal.
  • Carlos Sastre writes a book called “Clean in a dirty tub” and talks about his strategy to winning was to know when other riders took masking agents thus lowering their performance in that stage, and how he really only wanted to be a fiddle maker.
  • Lance Armstrong retires again, but only after beating Alberto Contador and forcing him to acknowledge the king. Miguel Indurain is on hand to finger bang Contador himself with a wet noodle.
See you tonight
Jeff

Monday, May 17, 2010

Jale

Hey Bro,

So I’m working out calculations for cell voltages and I have the music on shuffle. With my library collection this means I’m shifting from Goodness to Bob Dylan, from Rob Zombie to Enya, from Gaelic Storm to Barry White, basically it’s musical whiplash, but I’ve developed a strong tolerance. So I’m listening and trying to remember Ohm’s law and Jale’s – River comes on. For those of you not around Jale was this small female lead band from somewhere in Canada that Jeff and his buddies saw, bought the album (Rod might have got the T-shirt
J). Since everything Jeff listened to, I had to too and got my own copy (never saw them live though). Now, umpteen years later, I’m still listening. Not actively, but when it shuffles on I’m listening. The members of Jale have probably gone off to other bands or some liberal arts careers. I wonder if they, or any of the random small bands we picked up back in the day (Flake, Sister Psychic, Blackhappy, etc), still imagine there’s someone out there digging their old stuff.

Now I wonder this and also wonder if my friends consistent teasing that I don’t listen to any thing after 1993 might be true. Perhaps it is just me…….?

-Mark

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cycling on Oahu

This guy was my favorite cycling pic from Hawaii this week. Mid morning commute. Surf board and a cup of coffee in hand. The only issue was no helmet, but I give him a pass on that.



Aloha,
Jeff


- Posted via mobile

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Jumpin Jupiter it's the Dragon Men (an ode to my Mom)

Hey All,

Mark here, (insert your shocked face here) hoping to lay out some words for the best mom ever. It was a few weeks ago that I was working 2nd shift and this means driving my 50 min commute without anything good on NPR. For Xmas my Mom gave us some CDs that were recordings of old records we used to listen to as kids. Spider-man and Batman adventures, along with Return of the Jedi. We used to listen to these over and over and over, which explains why Jeff and I can quote Star Wars verbatim to this day. As I listened I could remember the old records and when Spider-man belted out "Jumpin' Jupiter it's the Dragon Men!!" I was totally taken back to when I was 5. It also made me think about my Mom and all of the things she has done and still does.

Now most of you know my Mom. Sure to you she's the internet savvy, grammar maestro, super organized, diligent lady, but she's much much more. Of course if fretting were a super power she'd be Superman on steroids. If worrying was a state, she'd be Texas. Of course, I think one of the reasons we were such good kids is that we knew Mom would worry herself to the point of sickness if we stayed out too late.

I love her for her intentional sense of humor and unintentional sense of humor. Mom is famous for her out of nowhere zingers.
To a ~26 year old Jeff when he had long hair and joked about cutting it and selling it "who would want to buy a bunch of long gray hair?"
Although she is slightly more famous for her oblivious comments.
To Casey "have you ever done it before?"
To the whole family at the dinner table "I just love my stool!"

I credit my mother with my analytical skills. Dad has always said that Mom would have been a great engineer if raised in different times, or more likely a different state during those times. Using her prognostic skills Mom forced us to take typing and made us work on the giant Lanier word processor. She knew those Com-put-tors were going to be a big deal.

Mom tried many things with us, not all took. Neither of us can play the piano. We don't sing any Gilbert and Sullivan. We can't speak fluent french. Despite all of those things I know that she's still proud of us and I will always work to make sure that's true.

I have many vivid memories and one that sticks out is my folks standing on the front porch as I drove away in Pepe on my way to Cali. My Mom had joked "but he's not finished yet." Being away from family sucks, it just sucks (sorry Ma, I know you hate that word). I feel like I miss so much. Fortunately my folks and I are able to stay close via the phone, but still it just sucks! One of the things I'm missing today is Mother's Day. In the ideal world we could just zip over and spend the day with my Mom, have a nice dinner, relax and share stories. Alas, Mom and I have to spend another Mother's Day apart. I hope the day in Seattle is wonderful. We'll see each other soon.

I miss you Mom. Happy Mother's Day!

Love,
-Mark

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sleepy Jack

A full day got him down for his nap late. Still conked out even with
some music playing in the other room.

Oh yes, he's got some cornhusker in him

Watching Jack attack a bowl of corn makes me sure the Nebraska genes are good an alive in him. The only thing missing is a Go Big Red T-Shirt!




- Posted via mobile

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My latest love

I have been having an immense affair with my coffee lately. It should come as absolutely no surprise that this love also comes from Panama. Lavinia recently brought me about 10 pounds of it and I was so giddy.

The cofffee is called Kotowa and is from the famed MacIntyre farm that won all the awards in 2006 SCAA World Competition.





The coffe has great taste and brews well. I'd offer you some but I just find it to precious to share. Panama seems to produce some of my biggest loves. I mean just get me started on coconut water and you'll fund out.


- Posted via mobile

Monday, April 12, 2010

An Old Friend Gets Married

This last weekend I saw one of my oldest and bestest friends get married. I was really excited to be included at this small event. Tim and Jocelyn made some great choices, both the venue and the meal was excellent.

I met Tim when I was in second grade and we've been friends ever since. He is a year older than me, but we spent a lot of time together. I collected comics with Tim, learned how play sports, ride a bike and all sorts of stuff. Tim and I went to daycamp at the Ballard Boys & Girls Club and even both started working there eventually in High School.

It has been a long time since those days. Tim has two great sons from another marriage. He's worked hard to get to where he is. He's done right by his sons. He's just started up a new business as well. I am so very happy for him because he truly deserves the happiness that I feel his marriage to Jocelyn will bring.

The event for me was even more fun because I was to catch up with his family, mainly his Mom & Dad and his younger brother Scott. Scott will be joining the married group later this year himself.

Spending a night with Tim and his friends and family makes me realize how much we need to cherish the relationships we've invested in all these years. If you have an old friend you haven't talked to in a while give him/her a ring. I'll bet you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunny Seattle

Lavi has been enjoying the beach in Panama this week and we are jealous. Well today Jack and I headed for passes as a beach in Seattle. A fun day. We saw lots of boats. Threw rocks in the water. Said hello to doggies out for a walk. Watched people play some serious beach volleyball and Syed on the playground.

In the pictures below you can see that although at the beach we were still dressed like it was winter.






- Posted via mobile

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Birthday to me

A very special Don Julio 1942 Margarita to celebrate. Thanks Luisa's
and thanks Family, especially Lavinia.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The LIMERICKER Strikes Yet Again!

It just wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day if we didn't wear some thing green, talk about what percentage of our heritage is Irish, all of a sudden profess to drink Guiness beer every day if we could, and convince our selves that actually cooking cabbage was what God intended. However, for me it would also include a strike from the LIMERICKER.

I've blogged about this creature's before and her weird way with words. Well the LIMERICKER has struck again this year. Read below if you dare.

When toasting, the Irish say "Sláinte!"
A phrase that will certainly haunt ya
You raise Guinness to lips,
It goes straight to your hips,
And makes you develop a paunch -Yah!


And the LIMERICKER managed to write one about my son as well.

Gosh Jack, you are already two,
An age that some parents rue
But you're being so good
(As we knew that you would)
That we just cannot help but adore you.


Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Jeff