Charles Pillsbury III

Geek. Dad. Writer?

Charles Pillsbury III header image 4

Archive for December, 2007

Hobbies and Interests and such

without comments

I follow about 50-75 RSS feeds and a couple dozen podcasts on a regular basis, and they cover many, but not all, of my interests. I’ll try and compose a list of the sites for these feeds in the coming weeks for those of you interested, but I thought I’d start off with a few words on the topics.

GTD:
Having moved from a job where I had what could only be described as “a copious amount of free time” available to work on other projects to one where “free time” is no longer in my vocabulary has presented me with a challenge to still Get the Things Done that I need to do make sure I’ve still GOT the job and can pay the bills, while also accomplishing the things I want to get done for side projects and such.  I’ve probably spent as much time figuring out how to be more productive as I’ve saved by being more productive, but it’s a work in progress.  I particularly enjoy 43 Folders (and the big Kahuna over there, Merlin Mann, is somebody who’s work I enjoy enough to hunt him out in other venues like MacBreak Weekly and his The Merlin Show), but I also follow a few other GTD/Productivity blogs (my second favorite is Zen Habits probably).  I can’t say I’m a rigid GTD practitioner, but I’m working on my own personalized system based on the concept.

Science:
I’ve always BEEN a bit of a science buff, but have lately really picked it back up with my own readings of Stephen Hawking and watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and such.  I won’t get into too much of this here, but I’m reading up on all those things that I missed out on by dropping out of college and not paying as close of attention in high-school as I should have (FYI: I finished high school in 3 years of active school, but took both Biology and Physics in one year and that happened to be the year I wasn’t the best student due to having my first girlfriend (and the only one who didn’t become my wife) and subsequently getting dumped by her).  I get a lot of my info on the latest science and such from BBC News, as well as the Scientific American 60 second Science podcast, and the podcast for RadioLab’s science show from NPR.

Philosophy/Politics/Humor:
I’m not sure these are naturally related topics, but somehow they end up being merged in my readings (I recommend the Dilbert Blog to everybody).  I’m a libertarian (John Stossel’s columns are among my favorites) on almost every subject, but I try and read a variety of political sources to get multiple sides to the story.  I’m also loving the NPR Intelligence Squared debates on various political subjects lately (in podcast form).

IT/Geek/Web:
I read a lot of web design theory, programming theory, web programming theory, etc. I read humor related to these, I read serious items related to these. Zeldman is one of my favorites, but I’ll read Gruber’s Daring Fireball as well (though this could easily be lumped into the Mac section).  I listen to MacBreak Weekly and TWiT

Mac:
I’m a geek, unix geek really, but have been converted to a Mac head in recent years thanks to the Unix underpinnings of OS X and what is really just a great OS. So I read mac punditry, and mac reviews, and use mac applications, and even though I’m a programmer in my day job, I haven’t YET delved into the realm of Mac programming… but I do read quite a few Mac blogs (The Unofficial Apple Weblog is probably my favorite).

Literature:
I of course frequent my own sites Wordtrip.com and WordtripJr.com, but I also keep track of Jamie Ford’s excellent author blog, and a few other random author blogs, plus the literary info I get from Boing Boing.  I listen to Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing religiously (and like most religion, I’m not very good at practicing what the preacher tells me, even if I show up every week for the sermon).

Baseball:
I love baseball. I’m not a sports fan (hate football, don’t care for basketball anymore, only vaguely find hockey or soccer interesting), but I love baseball. I’m some mix of historical purist, not-quite-but-almost stat-head, and obsessed local fan. I grew up in the south, and all of the formative years were in the Atlanta area, so I’m a big Braves fan.  My favorite is Rowland’s Office, but I also enjoy the Braves Blog as well.  I’m optimistic about 2008, I don’t think we’re going into anything as the favorite right now, but I think we’ve got a competitive team and aren’t major underdogs to anybody in our division just yet (being an NL team I guess we’re underdogs even if we make it to the World Series, but that’s another article I guess).

Misc:

I love the Unclutterer blog (which is vaguely related to 43 folders, Zen Habits, and Lifehacker, but a different set of “ideals” govern them) and I’ve been enjoying the “It’s All Too Much” book that seems to follow the same philosophy.

I’m a big fan of the Re-Imagineering blog, which is a group of Pixar and Disney employees talking about the theme parks in a very theoretical and yet practical way.  I find the subject fascinating, and as a lifelong Muppet fan I listen to the Henson.com podcast as well.  I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to the works of Walt Disney and Jim Henson, but I love what both men did in the realm of entertainment and think there’s probably something there for me to learn as a writer and creative entrepreneur.

There are 4 “internet personalities” that I will follow in whatever endeavor they try next.
A) Mur Lafferty.  Mur is a geeky lady with her fair share of writing talent. I enjoy her writing podcast “I Should Be Writing”, I’ve enjoyed her Geek Fu Action Grip essays and the spin-off Geek Fu Morning Show. I enjoyed her first serialized podiobooks Heaven and Hell, and I’m enjoying her podiobook novel Playing for Keeps.
B) Merlin Mann. Merlin is a few years older than I, and much cooler, but somebody with a few things in common (punk rock/indie music, IT nerdy, ADD, probably more) and somebody I find incredibly entertaining (he’s like what I’d like to imagine I’d be if I had my history and interests with my friend Georg’s talent… if only I had that Talent stuff I keep hearing about I’d be SET).  I enjoy the way he thinks about technology and “1st world problems”.  I almost gave up MacBreak Weekly while he was on hiatus having a kid because he really brought a (how’s this for a trite statement) “fresh perspective” to the group.
C) Leo Laporte: I watched WAY too much TechTV once I finally got the channel and then they took it away and I’ve been reduced to TWiT for all my Leo fixes. I should probably take him off this list just because I don’t have enough hours in my day to follow all of his projects, but since he gets 3-5 hours of my week thanks to Jumping Monkeys, TWiT, and MacBreak Weekly I figure he counts.
D) ZeFrank: WOW do I miss “The Show” and I’m reminded how incredibly good it was every time a “best of” selection pops up in iTunes (or any time he throws in a new tidbit during the writer’s strike).  I’m not even sure what he’s working on right now, but he’s another one of those guys who make it easy to think “that’s what I wish I was doing” and “i could do this… if I had any talent”.

Share/Save/Bookmark

Written by

December 28th, 2007 at 10:34 pm

Posted in Blog Entry

On Andruw and Tommy

without comments

Going into the 2008 season, the Atlanta Braves are going to be without Andruw Jones for the first time in Jake’s life.  They’ll also have Tom Glavine back for the first time in Sam’s life.  I’m glad to see Tommy back (I don’t expect an ace performance from him, but he’ll eat up some innings and be a good influence on some of our young lefties), and I’m sad to see Andruw move on.  I understand that the Braves can’t afford Andruw anymore, and that it’s best for him to move to somebody who can pay him (the Dodgers, as it turned out, shelled out $38+ Mil for him for two years), but I sure hope he’s able to come back and finish up his career here somehow too (I’d hold out for Greg Maddux too, but it looks like that’s not happening).

So, Welcome back Tommy! All the best Andruw!

Technorati Tags:

Share/Save/Bookmark

Written by

December 15th, 2007 at 9:25 am

Posted in Blog Entry

Jakeism’s 2007

without comments

(which sounds better than “My son, the smart###” which was my original title for this entry)
In an earlier iteration of this site I used to post “Jakeisms” when Jake would say something entertaining or amusing.  Tonight while he was practicing violin he got distracted by the Christmas tree and I said:

“Jake, I don’t think the christmas tree is part of your practice”

at which point he broke into a very nice rendition of “Oh Christmas Tree” completely by ear… with a big “I’m so clever” grin on his face… *sigh*

Edit:
As I was posting this Alicia chimed down from upstairs that Grandma had just told Sam to go potty.

Sam: “I don’t go potty without an assistant. I don’t know what that means but…”

*sigh*

Share/Save/Bookmark

Written by

December 14th, 2007 at 9:37 pm

Posted in Blog Entry, Sam Stories

An annoyance about the Mitchell Report (or the reporting of it anyway)

without comments

I normally don’t have a problem with Jeff Passan, but this article irked me.  In the first paragraph he says that “the best pitcher in the last 50 years” is named in the Mitchell report. And while Clemens certainly has made his case to be in the top 5 in the last 5 years, there was a guy who could be argued to be better than Clemens: Greg Maddux (and he did it without the juice, and against those who were juicing).  There’s an article over at baseball america that mentions Maddux and what the big three Braves pitchers did in the 90s. The salient point about Maddux is this:

In his initial three seasons with the Braves, the righthander posted a combined 55-18 record with a 1.89 ERA.

That’s three consecutive seasons with a cumulative ERA under 2. During the juiced era.  For my money, Maddux is the best pitcher in the last 50 years.

Share/Save/Bookmark

Written by

December 14th, 2007 at 9:00 pm

Posted in Blog Entry

Who needs freedom of the press?

without comments

I can’t believe the results of this poll by the BBC.  Large portions of the world give freedom of the press a lower importance than “stability and peace.”  Things really must look better through those rose colored glasses.  I do at least find some comfort in the US leading the pack in perceived importance of freedom of the press, but it doesn’t bode well for “world peace” if nobody else cares.

BBC NEWS | Special Reports | World views on free press mixed:

Share/Save/Bookmark

Written by

December 10th, 2007 at 7:34 am

Posted in Blog Entry, Misc

Nintendo game idea

without comments

Can’t recall where I came across this link (probably Digg.com), but I like the idea.
Rose-Tinted Nostalgia: The Top Five Franchises That Nintendo Forgot | ripten:

The one I find most interesting is #3 which is Alicia’s favorite NES game. I really like his idea of putting Wrecking Crew on the DS or Wii.

Share/Save/Bookmark

Written by

December 8th, 2007 at 10:46 pm

Posted in Misc

Baroque Star Wars

without comments

Written by

December 8th, 2007 at 10:43 pm

Posted in Misc

Of Politics, Religion, and Literature (or and movies)

without comments

I find this a sad bit of news.  I recently read (ok listened to on Audiobook from the library) “The Kite Runner”, and enjoyed it greatly (and “Thousand Splendid Suns” for that matter).  There is a pivotal moment in the book which could offend some muslim Afghani people, and the young stars of the film have been removed to a safe location. The moments in the book are certainly uncomfortable, but it’s sad that a young actor could be attacked for not actually doing, but just portraying something forbidden by certain factions of Islam.
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Kite Runner boys exit Afghanistan:

Share/Save/Bookmark

Written by

December 7th, 2007 at 6:46 pm

Posted in Blog Entry

In other parts of Georgia they have banjos

without comments

Dueling OCD

I ‘ve mentioned this to many people in other forums, but realized I’d forgotten to blog it here.  After Thanksgiving Day sales usually net us a ton of toys and gifts, and a few poinsettias .  Alicia likes to pick them up for $1.50 from Home Depot toward the end of her shopping day, and this year was no different.  She got two white ones, and two red ones.

The fun part came over the weekend, as Alicia and her OCD wanted to put them white/red/white/red up the side of the stairs inside the house.  Sam’s OCD tendencies however wanted them red/red and white/white on opposite sides of the stairs at the bottom.  Throughout the weekend you’d hear the random “Who keeps moving these flowers?” from Alicia, and “I just put these flowers where I wanted them!” from Sam, as they’d then proceed to re-arrange them in the way they wanted.  The final resolution was that because mom’s OCD has coping mechanisms she’s developed over the years, and Sam doesn’t have that yet, we left them red/red and white/white at the bottom of the stairs for a while (now they’re semi-moved out of the way to make room for Alicia’s crutches as she recovers from her surgery).

This whole scenario was amusing, and as Mudge pointed out, a bit tragic.  It’s hard to watch your kids display your problems and know how hard it is for them to get around them.  You want to pass on “just the good stuff” but that’s not the way genetics works is it?

Share/Save/Bookmark

Written by

December 7th, 2007 at 6:33 am

Posted in Blog Entry, Sam Stories

Family Update

without comments

A) Alicia had her knee surgery last week, and is recovering slowly. The first 4 days were really rough, but she’s back up on it with crutches now and getting around some, though she does have to stay ahead of the pain.

B) Friday night, after getting up at 3AM to make sure Alicia took her pain pill, I fell down the stairs. Well, my right foot came out from under me on the stairs and I fell down hard on my backside (which is now sporting a bruise the size of a paperback and about the color of an eggplant).

C) Grace is sick.  She’s been running a fever and generally appearing to feel miserable for a couple of days now.

D) Sam is having an allergic reaction to something, and has been welting up once a day for the last 4-5 days.  A few months back he had a severe allergic reaction to, we believe, a red dye (not Red 40), so this is a bit worrisome.

E) Jake’s gotten a new euromastyx (baby) named Garra, and some californian variety of ribbon snake.  It meets our criteria for “pet snakes Jake can have” which is that it doesn’t eat fuzzy things (only fish).

F) More later.

Share/Save/Bookmark

Written by

December 4th, 2007 at 12:53 pm

Posted in Blog Entry