The Thinks I Think
That’s how long it took before I had to shave my face every day. Since I know guys that had to shave at 12, I refuse to believe this revelation marks me as a “grown up” — I sincerely hope that day never comes.
For the record, I hate shaving. I’ve never really liked it, and apart from a 12 year old boy wanting to be manly, I think I’ve always been perfectly happy with my baby face. But that’s all gone now.
If you aren’t a member of the Hairy Face Cleaving Society, there are basically 3 ways to go:
Truly, the third method is the best, and by far the cheapest. The only problem is that it takes a long time. It’s also difficult to get dressed and let out the dogs while shaving with a double-edged razor blade. Just sayin. Still, if you’ve ever wanted an amazing shave, follow the advice of my cooler-than-me friend Kyle, and try the old fashioned method. You won’t be sorry.
But you might be late for work.
Write a book of fiction, just to see if I can.
I’m making this resolution a year in advance so that perhaps I can get my life in order enough that devoting time to writing fiction might be practical.
I have plenty of ideas for books, but fleshing them into more than napkin-sized scribbles is something beyond my ken. Hopefully reading more books this year (my goal is 24) will help. Hopefully spending this year with the notion of getting my life stabilized a bit will help too. Heck, maybe the boxes in my office will even get unpacked.
Anyway, Dear Next Year Shawn: Write a book man. Quit fantasizing about it, and just do it. Oh, and This Year Shawn? Yeah, help a brother out. You have 12 months.
It’s a clogged pipe.
I’m a regular sufferer of writer’s block, and for years I had a deep seated fear it meant I had run out of ideas. Or creativity. Or grey matter. Perhaps that’s true, but since that is depressing and impossible to fix, I decided to declare it a total lie. And now it’s on the Internet, so you KNOW it’s true.
Creativity doesn’t run out, it just gets stopped up a bit. There’s probably an apt analogy about how Drain-O isn’t an ideal fix, and how we often treat mental clogs the same way with alcohol — but I don’t really feel like making such a profound and absurd comparison. Basically, I’m currently cleaning out my pipes. And this is my blog, so both of my readers are stuck with the slimy hair globs of my writer’s clog. You’re welcome.
I’ll leave you with that mental image, and just remind you — if you’re struggling with writing, or creating in general: Creativity doesn’t run out, it just gets clogged up. Write in a journal. Draw a blue duck. Record a podcast about the value of berber carpet. Heck, you can even spew wild claims of psychological understanding as it pertains to creativity on your blog. I know a guy that did that once.
I’m normally not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. You never hear anything thing about them after about January 2nd, and they’re often unrealistic and too general. As it happens, I’m actually at a point that I need to make some major changes, and I’m also at the point that I actually realize it. It’s the perfect storm of resolution-making. So 2013, while in you I resolve to:
1) Have a month of income in savings by the end of the year.
Some of you think it appalling that we don’t already have this in place, but keep in mind this is building on the, “stop bouncing checks” resolution from some time ago. We make plenty of money, but we suck, absolutely suck, at managing it. The current double house payment (wanna buy a house in Indian River?) exacerbates this problem — but we still make enough money. Just need to handle it better.
2) By the end of 2013, weigh 190 or less.
Thank you all for assuming this isn’t a very big goal, when in reality it’s about a 35 pound goal. Yes yes, I carry my weight well, but it’s to the point that even carrying my weight well isn’t helping much. I look fat unless I wear a muumuu, which not only isn’t an option at work, but also makes a person look fat.
3) Stop missing deadlines.
If you know me from my CBT Nuggets video series, you fully understand this one. It seems my life is always chaotic, and every other week I seem to have Ebola, but nonetheless, I need to get on track with meeting deadlines. For Linux Journal readers, you probably don’t realize this as much — but I suspect the Executive Editor (who is awesome, btw) has considered hiring a contract killer to help motivate me. Let’s just say I have a habit of turning in writing assignments for our monthly magazine over a month late. Do the math, that’s messed up.
So there you have it, the Shawn Powers List of Things He Hopes to Do but Will Probably Mess Up, or the SPLOTHHTDBWPME as I affectionately refer to it. I also hope to read more and stress less, but those are too general, and I already reached my self-enforced limit of 3 resolutions. Happy New Year everyone!
Perhaps it’s naïveté, perhaps it’s absentmindedness, or perhaps it’s just that people don’t know me as well as I think they do — but yesterday I tweeted something that confused about half the folks who read it:
The problem is that I assumed everyone would KNOW I was being completely sarcastic in regards to “thanking” Westboro. I thought my tweet made it clear that in my family discussion, I used the comparison that “Westboro is to Christians as Al Qaeda is to Muslims.”
I wanted my kids to realize that by assuming all Muslims are evil like Al Qaeda, they’re using the same logic that all Christians are as hateful and evil as Westboro Baptist Church. Unfortunately, not everyone understood what I meant. This includes one of the crazy whackjobs from that “church” as well, since I was retweeted by one of the Phelps guys. (And not the cool Phelps, who swims really fast)
So when I started getting nasty (concerned) emails and facebook messages, I clarified on twitter:
But still, the thought that I’d be associated with WBC in any way other than disgust and disapproval was so reprehensible, I felt a blog post was appropriate. And a shower. And a nice long vomit.
I’ll leave you with a little bit of encouragement in regards to WBC, which I originally read on John Scalzi’s website. It posits that the entire WBC “thing” is nothing more than a money-making scam. That at least makes sense, as I can accept people being scamming scumbags. Human beings actually believing the stuff they say? That’s harder to comprehend.
My kids are selling pies for a school fundraiser for their choir/vocal class. (My two oldest are in choir, and are amazing, thanks for asking!) The cool part is, after orders are taken, the kids MAKE the pies themselves! What a neat idea, hats off to Hopkins Schools for a cool fundraiser.
If you want to buy one, we’ll do our best to get it to you. If you’re nearby, we’ll just deliver it. The further away you are, the more challenging delivery gets. If it requires freezing and dry ice to ship, we might have to share the shipping expenses. (Note: I freely offer my pie eating services for those needing such services)
Anyway, the Apple Pie is $9, and the Blueberry Pie is $10. Here are paypal links to send the money:
NOTE: I’m a moron and can’t make the paypal links work. If you want to use paypal, just send the money to email@example.com with a link and a note as to which kind and what type you want.
Here is the official information:
My beloved 1994 Chevy S-10 unfortunately drives very much like a 1994 pickup truck with 200K miles on it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my truck. The thing is, now that we’re in the city, when I commute to work in the morning it feels very much like I’m going to die at any moment. My truck shimmies, it rocks, it skids, and its safety features are pretty much non-existent. I’ve almost rear ended several vehicles because old Betsy just doesn’t stop like she used to. So, it’s time to get a new vehicle. And I LOVE my new vehicle.
Pictured here is my new 2013 Dodge Dart SXT/Rallye Sedan. The cool blue color is nice, but honestly is just a bonus, as the stuff inside is really what I was worried about. Here’s a quick rundown of the specs:
The 1.4L engine with the multi-air turbocharger makes for interesting driving. I’ve never driven a car with a turbocharger (it actually still sounds like something fake to me), but it takes a little getting used to. The “turbo” kicks in when the car reaches a certain RPM, so with gentle driving it’s rarely engaged. Give it a little gas, however, and you REALLY notice the difference. It makes for a very VERY fun drive. 6 gears is a lot to shift through, but even that I’m getting used to.
Here is a photo of the inside. Doesn’t that look fun?
Along with the drive train, the technology was something I was very concerned about. I’m going to have this car for 10+ years, so it has to be worthy of such a long relationship. Along with the 8.4″ UConnect touchscreen entertainment panel (pictured above), I insisted on having Bluetooth connectivity. If I’m going to be driving
90MPH 70MPH on the way to work, I can’t be fiddling with my phone. So, the Dart has handsfree built in. It also has Bluetooth audio streaming, which is really cool — but in practice it’s a little underwhelming, because it lacks tools like fast forward and such. Still, in a pinch it’s pretty neat.
While it wasn’t a feature I was really concerned about one way or another, my car does have Sirius Radio with a year of service included. It turns out this is actually kinda nice, and while the stations aren’t really up my alley, a few are nice. For the most part, however, when I commute to and from work, I listen to audiobooks. At first I did this by connecting my phone to the car via USB (cool feature), but now I actually just loaded up an SD Card with a bunch of audiobooks, and leave it plugged into my car. It remembers where it left off, even if I remove the card and put it back in later. Oh, my car has an SD Slot, did I mention that?
At the end of the day, this $22,000 car is a big investment. I feel so much safer driving to work now, however, so I think it’s worth it. And at 39MPG on the highway, it will practically pay for itself. In about 300 years or so.
Many folks already know, but it only recently became official. I’ve accepted a position at Cornerstone University as “Assistant Director of Database Services”, which is just a wordy way of saying I’ll be working with a team of database folks much smarter than me, doing new and exciting things pertaining to databases. You want more details? Well, ask me in a couple months.
This means I’ll no longer be the Technology Director for Inland Lakes Schools, and will be leaving an amazing bunch of folks that have been like a family to me for the past 12 years. This is actually tougher than I thought it would be. Like any family, there have been some rough times at Inland Lakes, but at the end of the day it’s a place I care for a great deal. My only hope is that my leaving might be a catalyst for awesome change. Still, leaving sorta rips my heart out.
The switch also means relocating. While I certainly like a good commute, driving 4 hours one way doesn’t seem like a very good idea. My family found a rental place on the south side of Grand Rapids that is small and charming, but with a great big fenced in backyard for our furry friends. Here it is, right out of the 1950s:
Also, if anyone wants to buy a fairly new 4 bedroom home in Indian River with a partially finished basement and an awesome office, I know a guy selling. Just saying.
So Grand Rapids? Prepare for the Powers family. Soon, we will be in you. Cornerstone University? You’re about to get a little sillier, but I think that was clear in my interviews. You have no one to blame but yourself. And Indian River friends, family, church, school, community… We already miss you, and we’re still here for another month.
Just as I’m whining on Twitter about running with asthma, and having a pity party for my otherwise healthy self, my phone rings. It’s a police officer from my home town. (I’m currently in another town, about 35 miles away)
“Hi Shawn! This is Gordon. Are you missing something?”
Now, to be clear, Gordon is a friend. He goes to the same church, and he just coached my daughter’s softball team. Still, I panicked a bit, because he is a cop. Had I forgotten to put the dogs in the house when we left, and they ate the neighbor lady’s cat? Did someone steal my truck? (I haven’t had the keys out of the ignition for years) Did someone take one of my kids while I was wheezing on the jogging trail?
Nope. I apparently lost my wallet. I never thought I’d be so relieved over losing my wallet. I hadn’t noticed yet, but like an idiot, I groped myself to check.
“Someone found it on Lake street near the park. The police have it there at the Petoskey PD.”
I had to ask Gordon if he knew where the Petoskey PD was, and figured I’d have to come back during the day to pick it up. I was wrong.
“Nah, of you’re still in Petoskey, I can contact an officer. Go on over and you can pick it up.”
So I did. When I got to the Police Department, it was indeed closed, but an officer was waiting for me in his car. After a friendly over-scrutiny of my drivers license photo, he smiled and gave me the wallet. He said someone found it near the curb and turned it in. Even the $10 bill from the ATM was still inside.
When I think about how many layers of awesome I just experienced – it kinda puts my “bad day” into a whole new light. Thanks Gordon, for calling me personally. Thanks Petoskey PD for contacting Gordon, however you managed that. And thank you kind soul on Lake street, you’re the sort of person that gives me hope for humanity.
It’s simple, it’s delicious, it has the perfect amount of everything — and in some circles it’s sorta famous. Here is my iced tea recipe. You can substitute other teas, but I’ve tried MANY others, and PG Tips has just the right amount of tannin and a nice red color. Obviously you can tweak it if you want to (you know, if you like cruddy iced tea or something), but this is exactly how I do it:
Shawn’s Super Yummy Iced Tea
5 PG Tips teabags (On Amazon if you can’t find them elsewhere)
1 Quart mason jar (for steeping)
2 Quart glass pitcher
1/8 Cup sugar
* Fill quart size mason jar almost to the top with boiling water.
* Put all 5 teabags into water
* Steep for 10 minutes or so, tea should be very strong
* Remove teabags
* Mix 1/8 cup of sugar into hot tea until it’s dissolved
* Fill 2 quart pitcher 2/3 full of ice
* Pour tea over ice, stirring briskly so ice doesn’t clump
* Serve and enjoy!