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# Introducing my Burmerke

People don't often talk about their ancestry, and it occurs to me that not many people know that I'm 1/4 Norwegian. My Grandmother's father immigrated to the US from Norway, and I have other Norwegian blood from assorted parts of my family tree. (Incidentally, the rest of me is mostly European mutt, with ancestors from England, Germany, and Spain making up most of my background.)

In reading up on some Norwegian history, I ran across the concept of the burmerke. It was largely used in pre-literate Norway as a way to identify a man and his family. His children would often take his mark, making minor changes to distinguish it from their father's. This custom died out as literacy spread across Norway.

People who do genealogical research often run across burmerke used by their family. I have not been so fortunate, but both as a way to remember my heritage and as a way to build my personal brand (whatever that is) I have designed my own burmerke. I am using it as the site's favicon, which is probably the best way to see what I came up with. I've also put it on my MiniCards, which you'll probably have to track me down in person to see.

I based the design on the Swedish-Norwegian Futhork (rune) that corresponds to the letter "U" in the roman alphabet. Combining two gives me a "Double U" to match my surname. I've taken some artistic license in flipping and combining them, but I'm happy with what I've come up with.

posted at: 2008 Sep 19 13:08 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# New Job

Today is my first day at a new job. I'm pretty excited about this one. I'll be the lead admin at an online storage/collaboration company. They're still in startup mode but they just received a new round of funding and are currently in a growth phase. They're currently growing and have a few months before they hit capacity, so they want to take the time now to setup systems that will enable them to grow rapidly and in a manageable way.

They're in Palo Alto, which currently means a commute every day, but I think I'm gonna move over to the peninsula so that won't be an issue.

posted at: 2008 Jul 28 14:12 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# Beards

Growing a beard is a gradual change. A good beard takes time to grow, months for some men, years for others. Sure, you can have the basic outline there in only a few days, but it takes times for the slow peachfuzz to grow out and help fill it in. Your family, your friends, your coworkers, the people at the coffee shop, they all have a chance to get used to it. Sometimes they don't even notice, one week you don't have a beard, the next week you do.

Shaving a beard, on the other hand, is a drastic and immediate change. You have a beard. Five minutes later you don't. The very first person you run into who knows you, no matter how casual the acquantance, will notice something different about you.

I started growing my current beard about this time of year in 2004. I couldn't tell you exactly when, such is the way with beards.

Sometimes a drastic change is needed.

posted at: 2008 Jan 22 19:41 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# Today is Veterans Day

Go show your support for the troops. http://thisnovember11th.com/.

It's not often that politics compels me to action, but I donated $100 today. You should too.

posted at: 2007 Nov 11 21:32 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# Random Wit

If you're like me, you have a terrific sense of wit but only when it doesn't actually matter.

For example, today I read a 3rd-hand story about a pizza shop employee who was complaining about people on cell phones. Apparantly they'll talk on the phone while waiting in line and then have to decide what they want once they actually get to the cashier, often after taking 30-60 seconds to wrap up their phone call.

My first thought after reading this was, "She needs to send that customer to the Deciding Area, which is, of course, between the door and the other customers in line." It's a pity that I couldn't have been there to deliver a line based on that thought.

Luckily, I can still "blog" it so my readers can sorta chuckle about it (both of you.)

posted at: 2007 Nov 04 23:47 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# New Job

Well, I've put off this announcement a while, but I really should say something here. I've taken a new job, and it means moving back to the Bay Area.

I've officially gotten a place to live, a nice 2 bedroom house on Seminary Ave in Oakland. It's actually a duplex, and the other unit is downstairs and only one bedroom. My unit is upstairs and has this really cool spiral staircase leading from the garage to the unit.

I get to move in sometime next week, I'll have the exact date when my landlard emails me.

My new job is with a company that is doing streaming video to mobile devices. We have established relationships with a number of wireless companies in the US and Canada.

I'm doing sysadmin stuff, as usual, and mostly support developers and QA engineers.

In the spirit of keeping a basic (although easily traversed) disconnect between my professional and personal life I will not be publishing the name of the company I work for, but it's not very hard to figure out. Most people who read this know how to contact me anyway. I hang out on the usual network, you need only msg me. Failing that, you can construct my email address from the URL to this page. :)

posted at: 2007 Jul 24 01:41 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# Life Hacks: Dishes

They're one of life's constant companions. They may as well be the 3rd certainty in life. They're the enemy. The nemesis. The scoundrel.

Yes, I'm talking about... DISHES.

Silly dramatics aside, I'm one of those people who can't seem to actually do dishes. I keep things sanitary. I don't leave dishes with food on them for weeks. I do, however, leave dirty dishes for weeks. They've been rinsed and scraped clean (not necessarily in that order) they just haven't been done. Typically I've gone through every dish in the house before I buckle down and do the dishes.

I think I've finally figured out how to change that. The secret is filling a bottle with diluted dish soap. I bought a 1 liter spray bottle and I find that 300ml of soap is just about perfect. Now, instead of having to fill the sink full of suds, or using a huge amount of soap to clean a couple items, I can just rinse, spray, wipe and rinse. Voila! All done.

Easy dish cleaning, combined with a new household policy of "A dish doesn't come out of the cupboard so long as there's one like it dirty and not in use" means I may actually keep clean dishes in the cupboard.

posted at: 2007 Mar 18 23:07 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# Smoke Free Still

Well, if you were hoping to see constant updates here on my smoking situation, you were sorely mistaken. You should know by now that I don't update my blog often enough for that.

Anyway, I've made it through the worst part. I did slip during that trip to Seattle, but two packs of smokes later I quit again, and have managed to not start again. I think I'll be OK for a while.

posted at: 2007 Feb 26 18:25 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# Quitting Smoking is Easy, I've Done It Lots Of Times!

So I quit smoking again. 36 hours without a cigarette now, except for those butts I fished out of the ashtray at 12 and 24 hours. I barely count those, they were only 2 or 3 puffs each and kept me from going to the store.

I think I'll be ok if I make it through the drive to Seattle on Friday. That will be my toughest battle for the first week.

One benefit right away is that I'm not coughing up so much crap. I didn't have to force myself to keep my vitamins down because they were trapped in a web of phlegm.

posted at: 2007 Feb 01 18:33 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# Trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone - Part 3 - Yellowstone

Wow. Two entries in two days! It's a record! So, without further preamble, here's the penultimate entry on my trip.

When we last left our hero, I was driving north out of the Grand Teton National Park. In retrospect, this was a mistake.

My first stop was Grant Village. It was early morning so nothing was open yet. I did talk briefly to the Ranger that was getting everything ready to open. He was surprised when I asked him if he was reopening the restrooms. Apparently most people ignore the signs by the doors that say the restroom is closed. After answering nature's call, I continued on to Old Faithful.

Old Faithful erupting

I got to Old Faithful, and it turns out I got there just 10 minutes after an eruption. I killed the 45 minutes until the next eruption. Again, I was both delighted and mortified that I had internet access through my cell phone there.

Finally, I got to see Old Faithful erupt. What a disappointment. If I had to wait only 10-20 minutes it would have been worth seeing, but longer than that wasn't worth it. At least now I can say I've seen it.

I left Old Faithful and continued on my way. I gradually made my way up towards Madison Junction. Along the way, I discovered why the rest of the world hates America. It's the tourists. Most American tourists are not rude, but enough are that you start to see all Americans that way.

You see, Yellowstone has a speed limit of 35mph. It's all two lane road, but there are turnouts every 1/2 - 1 mile for slower traffic to let faster traffic by. There are all kinds of signs posted that say "slower traffic use turnouts." Still, there are rude, arrogant bastards that drive 25mph without using the turnouts.

I hate to generalize, but the states the cars were from were pretty consistent. I saw several states pop up in the dozens of times this happened to me. The ones that stick in my mind the most, even a month later, were New York, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Pennsylvania (Sorry nous) and California. The vehicles that consistently pulled over to let traffic by were largely from Idaho, Oregon, Washington and various mid-west states.

OK, rant over.

A waterfall on the Firehole River

I continued on my way, stopping at one of the paint pots on my way through (no pictures came out, though) and driving the Firehole Canyon Drive. It was on Firehole Canyon Drive that I found a really picturesque waterfall that is largely ignored. The Firehole Cascades are interesting, but not worth taking a picture of.

After driving Firehole Canyon Drive, I found a nice place to have lunch next to the river. From there I continued on towards Canyon Village.

One of the more picturesque pictures of Artist Paint Pots.

Along the way to Canyon Village I stopped at the Artist Paint Pots. This was the highlight of my day in Yellowstone. You park in the parking area and take a short 1km walk. Once there, you're greeted by a boardwalk that takes you around the bubbling pits. The loop is 2-3km all told.

I found the paint pots very interesting, even though they're not much to photograph. For those that don't know, paint pots are geothermal features. They're basically basins of boiling mud.

While I was there, I happened to be standing next to a girl that also had a K1000. She caught me looking, then noticed my camera, and remarked on it. We exchanged praises for the camera and each went on her own way. The guy she was with was dressed like an Indian, but it really didn't suit him. From his hair and beard, I guessed that he was a hipster and radically out of his element. He probably thought he was being ironic by wearing the silly outfit.

After the paint pots, I continued on my way. The rude drivers were starting to get to me, the overbuilt "wilderness" was getting to me, and I just wasn't having that good of a time. I stopped at Canyon Village to get batteries where the crowd wore me down more.

I didn't decide to leave until I got to Mt. Washburn. It was at that point that I decided that picturesque scenes were gone, and I decided to just leave. I continued north until I got to the north entrance and left, never to return again. From Gardiner I went north on US-89 at a nice rate of speed, thanks to a generous 80mph speed limit. Montana speed limits own.

Next time: Getting home.

posted at: 2006 Oct 29 22:28 UTC | category: life | (story link)

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