Saturday, December 27, 2008

GTDAgenda - Goals, Projects, Next Actions and More

Since I have recently been looking around for a replacement for my original web implementation of David Allen's Getting Things Done, or GTD, I took up the invite to review and try another online web based 'cloud' solution. An online solution is still the best method of implementing GTD for me, since a web solution allows access to my GTD system from anywhere I have a net connection. With web enabled phones, Windows mobile and iPhones and near ubiquitous connectivity, there are no drawbacks like having to be at a particular computer to "Get Things Done".

One online solution that has gained attention from many over the past several months is Recently I was provided an opportunity to review the site.

GTDAgenda offers all the standard GTD amenities including Projects, Next Actions, and Contexts which are required to utilize GTD to any extent. However, GTDAgenda takes this one more step and adds some additional features that can be quite useful. Of special interest to me is the Goal Tracking option. Goal setting and tracking is one area of GTD that I have been very lacking in. Obviously not good since setting, tracking and achieving your goals is vital to being productive and enjoying life. Enjoying life and "stress free living" is what GTD is really about underneath all the processes and concepts, so goals are very important.

GTDAgenda Overview
GTDAgenda uses top tabs or links for Goals, Projects, Tasks and Next Actions. By default the Next Actions tab is displayed as your start page, but you can select which tab to start with in the settings area. These areas provide the core GTD concepts that work with each other for emptying your head of all the "stuff" floating around up there, assigning them to projects of multiple tasks if required, and setting the "Next Action". Basically the Capture, Process, Organize, Review, Do GTD commandments.

The 'other' features are pushed off to the top right of the screen which keeps them in reach but doesn't get in the way of Getting Things Done on a daily basis.

As you move up from the 'runway' level, as GTD calls your daily "doing" process, and begin to look towards the future, you need to capture and document your goals in life. GTDAgenda provides a very handy way to do that, and an easy way to tag your projects to those goals so you are working towards them. This is missing in some of the other GTD solutions I have looked at. Goal setting in GTDAgenda is basic, but that is all that should be needed. You trap the name, time line, category, and priority of the goal. You can then tag a project to the appropriate goal but you are not forced to do so for those projects that are not applicable to a particular goal.

Projects are managed on the projects tab by capturing the basic information allowing you to tag that project to a goal during input. Nothing fancy here, just add/edit your projects as needed. On the downside I have found that when I am doing a weekly review or emptying my head, I quickly come up with a task or next action and then realize it is really a project of multiple tasks. Unfortunately this is backwards from how most GTD systems provide for input. Unless I missed something, GTDAgenda does not allow you to add a project on the fly during task entry which would be a useful feature. You can capture the task, go back and add a project and then go back and tag the task to the project, but on the fly project adding would be more efficient.

Task management is simple and straight forward as well, allowing basic entry and tying the task to a Project and Context. Here is where it would be handy to be able to add a project on the fly as you realize this task is really a project. One area where GTDAgenda breaks out of the pure GTD mold, is by providing a 'priority' option. It is a simple 1-5 setting but can be useful when working through your weekly review. Yes, the priority may change but at least you have a capture of your thoughts at the time. For those of you who thought Tasks WHERE Next Actions, read on.

Next Actions
Task vs Next Actions - I have struggled a bit with that since reading and re-reading GTD. In GTDAgenda you can input as many tasks as needed for a project but then have the option to tag one, preferably, but more if needed, as a "Next Action". These then are displayed on the Next Actions tab filtering out all the other tasks. You still have access to the whole task lists on the tasks tab but can easily turn tasks into, and out of, next actions as desired. You also have an option to flag any projects that have not had a Next Action tagged for it which could help weed out any 'lost projects'.

Of course usually you will be living on the Next Actions tab while working your lists so this is an important working area. Tools are provided to filter down the task by context by selecting a context from the right side of the screen. Unlike some other solutions, you can only have one context active at a time. This make sense based on pure GTD level, but I personally have found myself filtering down to more than one context often. Items such as @DESK, @COMPUTER, and @PHONE can usually be grouped together for me to work through. Not a big hurdle, maybe I should just work one at a time anyhow, but I find it easier to see them on a larger list many times.

That is the core of GTDAgenda in a few short... okay, maybe not so short, paragraphs. Fully functional even at the free level, powerful enough to Get Things Done from any connected device, but easy to learn.

What I like...

Next Actions AND Tasks

I like the way you can list numerous tasks for a project and then tag one or more as "Next Actions". This is how I usually work in that I like to dump all the thoughts or tasks for a project while they are in my head and then filter down the full list to just the next action for that project. This may step outside of pure GTD to some degree where just the next action is captured but I like the clear my head when I can and can never just think of the next action on major projects.

Mobile Access - a GTDAgenda Strength

Mobile access via a Windows Mobile phone or iPhone is critical to me for an online GTD solution and GTDAgenda provides a clean, clear and concise mobile display. You can filter down tasks or next actions by context such as @Errands and check them off as they are completed via your mobile device. You have access to all the areas in GTDAgenda and can add task items as needed. You can't edit a task beyond Mark as Done or Delete from what I could find, but that would not be overly common besides cleaning up your list or tagging a task as a Next Action. The most lacking item in this area appears to be the inability to view the Notes attached to the task and/or next action. This is an issue to me since that is where I usually store information such shopping or errand lists instead of making each item an action itself. I was pleasantly surprised, however, that the site worked well even on my old Moto Razr phone's web browser as well as my Tilt.

What I'd like to be Different...

One pet peeve I have with websites in general are those that use fixed width formats and GTDAgenda does indeed use a fixed width layout. I know there are arguments on both sides in regard to fixed vs fluid layouts but I always hate using a site that is fixed at 1024 or smaller and I am viewing on a 1920+ pixel monitor with all this wasted space around the app. Not a deal breaker by any means, just annoying to me.

Adding projects on the fly and the ability to view notes from the .mobi site would really help the usability of GTDAgenda but are not deal breakers.

Also it is difficult for me to justify a pay per use site with all the free or ad supported options available on the web. Although the free version of GTDAgenda does allow you to use it, you have to limit your goal, project, and contexts decisions. It is nice, however, to be able to review the options and look and feel of the solution. Of course even the unlimited version only comes out at $5.82 per MONTH if you pay annually and I blow more than that in change each month so why wouldn't one pay that to improve your productivity?

The Other Stuff
Beyond Pure GTD
GTDAgenda offers some features beyond the Getting Things Done methodology that could be quite useful and have been covered in other reviews.
GTDAgenda offers Checklists, Schedules and a Calendar option. The Checklists is included in the free version while I believe the Schedules and Calendar are only available in the paid versions. The Checklists are available in weekly, monthly and yearly views and allows you to setup ticks for things that need to be done repeatedly but that you do not want to include in your tasks or next actions. Pretty handy for items like exercising, paying bills, or those annual items that are easy to forget.

Email Notices and Additions
Just recently added to GTDAgenda is the ability to turn on or off a daily email of your Next Actions. Looks like it's an all or none option without the ability to select which actions but that is not necessarily a bad idea, you should likely be reminded of anything you have deemed a true Next Action anyhow.

You can also send email to GTDAgenda to create a task, project or a context using the unique email address that is created for each of these items. The email address is displayed on the bottom of the screen for that project, task or context. Possibly handy but a little messy keeping up with the email addresses. I didn't test this option out but I can see where it could be useful if you use GTDAgenda as an incident tracking system allowing inbound emails to be stuffed into a 'pending' project or context.

GTDAgenda is a feature rich Online GTD solution, but straight forward and easy to use. There is quite a bit of power available if you take time to learn the options, but one can easily sit down and be setting up projects, task and goals within a few minutes of logging in.

GTDAgenda also has a forum for customer support and interaction and appear to be constantly reviewing and adding features or enhancing existing ones if they are warranted. I believe Dan Baluta from GTDAgenda is dedicated to building a quality GTD solution for online users and adding some nice options to help boost productivity of his customers as well.

If you have not tried out GTDAgenda and are looking for an online solution that is simple, yet powerful withou a big learning curve, GTDAgenda serves up GTDers quite well. Even with the limits of the free version, those starting down GTD path will benefit from the integrated solution and structure while power GTDers will enjoy the add ons such as checklists and schedules from the pay version.

In any manner, you should take a look at GTDAgenda and make your own decision. for either $3.28 or $5.82 per month you will benefit from goal tracking and easily tagging your projects to those goals which will help you achieve them and just using the free version will get a GTD "system" working for you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"Productivity is Dead. Long Live Productivity"

"Productivity is Dead. Long Live Productivity." That quote is from one of Dustin Wax's latest post over at Stepcase Lifehack. In his post Dustin discusses the various backlash movements against "productivity" and Getting Things Done (GTD) in particular. He talks about 43 Folders Merlin Mann's movement away from what he calls "Productivity Pr0n" earlier this year, Glen Stansberry of LifeDev's redefining of the site and Leo Babauta's Zen To Done (ZTD) ideas from a year earlier. The post is titled "Toward a New Vision of Productivity, Part 1: Transformation" and is a good read. There are to be twelve different installments of this series so it will be very interesting to follow along for the next few weeks and should be a must read for all the GTD productivity hacks around the world.

What seems odd to me, however, is that many are seemingly pronouncing the end of productivity and all the blogs, news, hacks, and more that have become the staple of "productivity" over the past few years. It's as if the big dogs have burned out and thus the rest of us must follow. That the end of productivity is near and we all must find something else to obsess over.

Actually, it appears the main issue is the focus seemingly has been on productivity for productivity's sake, and not for the main purpose of the by-line of Getting Things Done - "The Art of Stress Free Productivity". Like the humans we are, everyone seems to have focused on the easy part: the process, the system, the structure, and not the rest of the book. From my read of the book, a big point of getting all the stuff and 'things to do' organized in a 'system', was not to prove how productive we are or get a more done, it was to get all that stuff organized and out of your head so you concentrate on those things that ARE important such as the things that have meaning. That 50,000 foot concept that Allen talks about in Getting Things Done - the looking at your purpose of being on the planet type of thought.

In reality that is the HARD part of life - the thinking part that makes us stop the busy work and look at where we've been, where we are going, and what we are looking for out of life. Getting Things Done was never meant to be the panacea of life to me, it was meant to be one means of getting past the "busyness" of the day to day life and on towards the end meaning of life which I feel is enjoy living and living what you enjoy.

Zen To Done, which I personally favor, expands the core GTD process steps of Collect, Process, Organize, Review, Do, adds some to cover other items outlined in Getting Things Done and put them into basic 'habits' which are easier to understand than how it is outlined in the book. Honestly that concept was very helpful for a simple someone like me. If you look at GTD in general you see the first three habits of Covey to Be Proactive, Begin With the End in Mind, and Put First Things First right there inside GTD - it's just a process for doing so.

So is Productivity Dead? Hopefully not but maybe Productivity for Productivity's Sake is dead. No loss there for sure. Mann says “If you’ve crossed the river, you should quit carrying the boat.” but there will be many different "rivers" in life that you'll need that productivity boat so I for one will not be selling my productivity boat just yet.

Check out Dustin's series and post your own comments here and there - it should be an interesting start for 2009.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What we have...

It's that time of the year to over spend, over eat, and under appreciate what most of us really have in our life. It seems the gifts get bigger and more expensive every year - or maybe that is just having a kid growing up to be a teenager? I know I am over eating again this year since the scale tells me so. I also know I am under appreciating my life since I have not stopped to think about my blessings in a while.

It gets so confusing when you mix in the fantasy world of TV where stars compare TV sizes and how many "whips" they have on Cribs or where a 16 year old gets a $350,000 "Sweet 16" birthday party to the realities in the world where kids do not have Christmas presents or a new bicycle because the parents do not have a job or other reasons.

In the offset of the TV world last week, I had the honor of helping a local church, Faith Christian Outreach, hand out 414 bicycles to kids around our area for Christmas. We donated money for a bike and my wife was asked to bring cookies for the snacks they provide for the kids and parents receiving a bike, so we thought we would go out and help the process. With at least 100 church members already there I really didn't know what I could do to help.

By chance I thought I would stay at the exit door and help the kids and parents get the bikes out of the building and in their vehicles if needed. That ended up being one of the best seats in the house in my opinion. By then the busy part of the initial presentation and the 'cheer leaders' that were hailing each recipient as they moved through the line was over but the emotions were still there.

I must have said have a Merry Christmas and have a nice holiday 400 times that day but seeing those kids from 3 to 13 with wide eyes of amazement and joy and parents with teary eyes of appreciation and thanks was something I really needed to wipe away some of the blindness I have to appreciate what we have in our lives. Many told me thanks and that without this their kids would not have a bike at all. An amazing number of the kids were saying thanks on their own without that nudging that is usually needed by a parent. Kneeling down there and watching those happy little faces as they were still in awe of pushing their new bike around brought up the teary feeling and itchy eyes many times that day.

I suppose it is the normal 'American' concept anymore - more is good - bigger is better - cooler is required and spend, buy, and feast our way through the holidays but at least for a short period of time I have stopped, looked around, helped just a little and tried to appreciate what we have.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Discussions with Mr. Will Power

I had a good talk with Mr. Will Power the other day... no, not the actor/educator but the real Mr. Will Power. He's a tough old man in my world, sometimes being the most tenacious guy around and others the laziest. Sometimes he shows up when he's least expected and other times cannot be found when you need him most.

Will, we're on a first name basic anymore, is great to have around and is full of good intentions but sometimes hard to motivate. Maybe it's a communication issue. Will needs to know what the goals are in order to do his best job but sometimes *I* don't even know what the goals are myself so how do you communicate that?

My biggest concern with Will Power though, is the reliability factor. Even when we both know what we're trying to accomplish, it seems Will likes to disappear when things get tough or there are important decisions to be made and leaves me all alone to take care of things. I really can't do some of those things on my own and need Will Power to help me out.

I've tried many of the old ways to improve Will Power. I've tried pep talks, setting those small goals and making sure he makes it to them, and other ways as well. I'm sure I can change Will Power if I really want to right? I just need to find that right angle or that special seminar that I can use to say "See, I told you so".

Will and I are trying harder to get along with each other though. I try to give him a pep talk daily and he has promised to be more reliable. Time will tell as new challenges arise if Will Power sticks to his word or not. In the mean time I guess I need to check in with Mr. Hard Work and Ms. Persistence and see how they are doing since it does take a team effort to get things done.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Twittering Away Local Government

How should a local government use Twitter, the micro blogging service that has gained so much popularity? Should it be 1.0 broadcast only? Should it be totally 2.0 interactive or should it be somewhere in the middle? Or should Twitter even be in the mix for local governments?

Some time ago I setup a simple Twitter account for the local government I work for to use as a test for keeping people up to date without them having to check our RSS feed, sign up for a notification system, or visit our site. Right now it is a test, no publicity, no front page story, just testing the waters. The @CityofShawneeOK account picked up a few followers just based on our location but we haven't done much with the account yet. The long(er) term plan is to use the account for notifications when formal meeting Agendas and Minutes are posted, when local news is updated on the main website or when general information needs to be sent out to concerned citizens.

More recently I added some code to an internal notification program I wrote that is used to update key people inside our local government via email, when certain types of Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) or 9-1-1 calls come in, to allow posting to a Twitter account. The accounts @ShawneePD and @ShawneeFD push out certain Police and Fire related calls and updates. This is basically the same process used at the Charlette NC South police department. My solutions builds on the CADCOM (Computer Aided Dispatch COMmunicator) program I build a few years ago but never fully implemented.

Then I read THIS ARTICLE and now I question the initial concept, or at least the total concept. Obviously push only is not what Twitter is necessarily about, although it is often used that way. I like to see the activity come up in my Twitter window better than email and I can easily determine if mobile notifications are desired through my Twitter profile setup for those accounts.

However, my current concept seems to break all the rules of Top 5 Ways to Screw up your Corp Twitter account so is the solution useful at all?

Comments anyone - Should we Twitter away Local Government or not?

What else in a local government could Twitter be used for?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

GTD for You? -

I was recently contacted by folks at TaskWriter to take a look at their online GTD (Getting Things Done) based solution at and participate in their Beta project. I already have my own custom web based "system" so I was weary of even looking at something else but decided one evening to check it out.

I was amazed at the easy sign up process, at least for now. Pick a user name, type in and confirm your password and wham! – you are in. I was fully expecting twenty questions plus some capshia I couldn't read followed by having to validate an email address before I could even see the main screen - but no such hassles here. Hopefully they can keep the 'bots away long enough to keep this in place.

I initially just poked around the main screen and was impressed with the simple yet effective layout. The main pane in the center of the screen holds your "list of doom" so to speak. A handy input area at the upper corner allows you to input your "tasks" quickly and a nice filter tool bar on the left is available. You have Task, Calendar, Archive and Define tabs in the main screen which makes it simple to view and very intuitive.

I did look around for the use of term Next Action since Getting Things Done is very oriented around that term but since this is TaskWriter and not NextActionWriter (hey, the domain name is still available) I guess the word Tasks makes more sense - Actually that is what I've always called my 'next actions' anyhow.

The Tasks

Each task/next action can be assigned to 1) a LIST to appear on, 2) a PROJECT to be included in, 3) a CONTEXT to be done by and optionally 4) a due date. I have historically kept all my next actions in one list and simply filtered by context but I see the benefits to keeping the next actions defined in different lists as recommended by David Allen's Getting Things Done book. By default there are a few lists, projects, and contexts to use which do make sense but you can easily add others as needed. I do wish it was easier to add a project on the fly since many times what you think is a single next action quickly turns into a project with multiple actions while clearing your head. I added a #Add Project project name that I use while capturing if there is not a current project and then add the project later and move the tasks but it does take more time.

The simply yet useful layout is refreshing but the filter options are where the benefits begin to really appear. You have instant filtering abilities by list name, by context, by project or by due date. And I mean instant - no page reloading or waiting. That may sound minimal but can be a hassle such as in my current solution since you can easily loose focus. This is done all in the local browser since Taskwriter is written in the Google Web Toolkit framework. You can apply filters by multiple selections within any of the types which is very handy. For example you can see your @computer, @home, and @desk lists @ the same time. This works quite well for me since when I classify a context I sometimes do not apply the sharp edges as needed making it easy to miss a next action when looking at contexts. When I'm @Home, sitting @Desk and @Computer I can instantly see what I could be doing. Which is depressing sometimes but there would be excuses that I didn't see it in the list with TaskWriter. If you are using due dates you can also select by several selections that are handy allowing you to filter out task that are not due until later on or have no real due date.

Tasks or "next actions" are easily entered in the quick "add new task" area allowing you to name the task, select which list you want to put it in, select a project, apply a context and optionally set a due date. It's pretty easy to get a next action into the system. The only current issue to me is that most of my items are really projects with multiple next actions. It is not a big issue to add a project in TaskWriter - click the 'define projects' link in the by project filter box, click Add Project and input your project info. What is really nice is that the default project selection in the task input instantly changes to your new project without losing any input you've already done. If you prefer a larger area to input or you want to capture notes for a task during input you can use the Add Task button above your lists and a larger input window is available.

Another simple but excellent feature are the keyboard shortcuts during input. Another feature often missing from online applications forcing you to over use your mouse. When adding a task in the quick input, CTRL + ENTER saves the input and while entering a task in the large input you have an additional option of ALT + ENTER that saves the one you are on and sets you up for another task / next action. Makes things much faster when clearing your head or inputting from a capture list. You can also easily change up a task / next action by clicking on the context on the right side of the screen allowing your to re-assign the list, project, and context which all show up in one window.

The Calendar
The calendar option is used to get a monthly view of those tasks that you have assigned due dates to. It is not going to replace your main calendar and you do not have any direct input abilities - it is a simple but effective tool to get a visual on upcoming due dates for tasks/next actions you have in your system. I recently added a calendar view to my custom system as well since it is very difficult to visualize dates by only looking at a list with due dates.

The Archive
The archive section is where completed task go to bed - but not completely forgotten. When you check off a task as done,it shows up in your list with a line through it and grayed out, giving you that satisfaction of marking someone off a paper list. You then have the option to click the icon on the far right and move the task to the archive where you can view task as desired.

The Define tab is where you customize TaskWriter to match your lists, contexts, and projects. Lists, contexts and projects can be edited here, notes added, and deleted if need be.

Overall I was personally impressed with the easy to use interface, very flexible filtering, and ease of input that TaskWriter offers. There are a few items that I use in my custom system that are handy and would be missed.

One is there doesn't seem to be a mobile version yet - even something simple that allowed you to view basic lists and input would be essential if you planned on using TaskWriter. I do understand a full blown mobile solution is apparently in the works so that will be nice in the future.

Another is the ability to complete a task/project but fire off a copy of the completed task with a future due date. I use this for re-occurring task such as "pay bills", "check smoke detectors", "check vehicle fluids", etc. These are not appointments so I do not use my calendar for these since I do want to track them until I complete them. This just keeps me from having to re-enter those. I suppose one could just re-set the due date in TaskWriter instead but then you wouldn't have that warm fuzzy feeling of marking that line through that completed task - even if it is just a 'virtual line' when doing it online.

If you are into GTD and are looking for an effective online solution with easy inputs buy very flexible filtering, might be the solution you've been looking for.

Personally I am going to give it a try for a while since the filtering and easy access make it quite appealing. Just have to figure out how to handle mobile access to my GTD needs now.


Photo Credits:
Pen and Paper photo by cpsutcliffe
Calendar by joelanman

Sunday, October 19, 2008

25 To Life

25 to Life - that is the sentence at this point..

Ok, ok it's not a 'sentence', it's a commitment. My wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this past summer. a quarter century, 9,125 days. Not counting leap years - those are nature's way of giving us a little extra time here on earth that is harder to count.

Where did the first twenty five go?

That is always a hard question to answer as you get older. I remember standing there in my white tux with my Dad outside the church going through the motions for pictures but definitely not knowing the adventure I was embarking on. I remember the 'I do', the people, the cake, and Karen almost setting her hair on fire.

I remember our first house, an almost new Turbo Coupe Thunder bird, and moving on to our next house. I remember bits and pieces of the good and the bad. The time spent together doing the simple things and the time away on vacations and date nights. I also remember the fights, disagreements, and arguments but can't remember the reason for hardly any of them.

I remember her desire for another house, to get out of the city and me not understanding the big deal. I'd likely still be in our 800 square foot first house based on my motivation. I also remember and enjoy daily how it feels to be out of the city in a bigger house and a couple acres to call our own.

I remember the long weekend before our son was born and the beautiful sunny Sunday morning when he came into this world. That son who is now taller than his Mom and fast approaching me.

The first 25 are gone, blurry memories of the past. Images to remember, emotions to relive in our minds. Lessons to not forget, but to use to do the right things in the future. Memories to let go of but still embrace.

We made the first 25 so I guess all that is left is 'Life'... hopefully longer than than the first 25 years. I'll take that 'sentencing' any day!

Photo by Stephen W Nolen

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Teenager Eve

Well, tonight is the last night of NOT having a teenager. Tomorrow at 8:35am it's all over... and it's all beginning as well.

The first twelve years have been a big blur but quite wonderful and I hope the next thirty or more (hopefully I'll live that long) will be even better.

Gone are the days of helping him learn to ride a bike, draw a picture, read a book, and take a nap. Now it's on to how to drive a car, use your agenda, wash your clothes, and organize your life. How to plan for tomorrow but enjoy every minute we have hear on earth. How to insure the future but still not worry too much about how we'll be getting there but enjoy the journey instead.

I am looking forward to watching the new directions his personality takes, his new interest that are found, new passions that develop, and new worlds he follows. I understand I will almost hate him, and he will hate me, at some point during the path to adulthood but hopefully that will be short lived and leave no hard feelings for either of us. I only hope I can be as good as a father to him as mine was to me and instill something that will follow him forever.

It's really all about the journey but it's hard to remember that as we live in the moment.

Goodnight child - and good morning teen. It's going to be fun.

Image by Stephen Nolen

Monday, October 6, 2008

Man Hug

You know, that awkward kind of "pat on the back / shake your hand / but not real close hug like thing" that men do when they have to. To me, a Man Hug is something you do when you have to, and you've known the person for a long time. Like an uncle or brother, a special friend or something.

So what the heck happened when suddenly that is how you feel when hugging your own son? When did THAT happen? I remember picking him up, rocking him in the middle of the night, carrying him around and protecting him and now I'm confused how to greet him - a hug or a handshake? Where did the little kid that I used to pickup and hug without question go to?

Time is brutal when it comes to watching your child grow up - you pray everyday that they WILL make it, that they WILL succeed, and they WON'T get hurt or lose their way but it also HURTS to watch those special moments disappear when you least expect it. Things like reading 'Hank the Cowdog' books at bedtime, playing Legos on the living room floor, or watching him take his first ride on his scooter, bike, and motorcycle realizing that the car is next. Heck, he's already driving the car around the lot...

It's proud moments of seeing learning, success and growth interrupted by suddenly obvious transition points when he starts kicking your butt in video games (long time ago) and playing guitar - both real and the "Hero" versions better than old "Dad" ever will. It's moments of fear when you think about the 'big bad world' that he will have to face followed by calm when he holds the door open for the little old lady, says thanks and remembers to put the toilet lid down every time without any prompting.

Those are the moments when you think - he'll make it - he's a great kid... or teenager... or young adult... Wow - whatever he will be the next time you turn around.

I have to say live life by planning for the future but enjoying every minute you can. I think I'll go give my son a HUG. Happy 13th Birthday Austin!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Break - Fix - Break

It's always amazing to me how things seem to break around the same time. The old 'when it rains it pours' adage. It seems at least in my life, that I cruise along for quite some time and everything works just fine. Then when one thing fails, the others follow... like they are talking to one another or something.

Lately I've had my share of Break-Fix-Break issues at home and at work. At home it's been 1) A blown up riding mower engine (see the pretty picture - I can't believe it doesn't work anymore?), 2) a dead weed eater, 3) a tuneup on the Turbocoupe TBird that made things worse, 4) the old F150 pickup runs, doesn't run, runs and doesn't again, and at work it's been a battle with the Computer Aided Dispatch server and some simply upgrades to the backup applications across the 13+ servers we run. Not to mention someone ran over our mailbox and the light went out in the refrigerator - I know, pity me.

Now apparently the dishwasher felt left out and and stopped doing it's job - maybe it just decided it wasn't getting enough attention or something?

The riding mower is fixed - nothing a $500 new engine can't resolve. Actually that was about $400 cheaper than other engines I found and this one was new to boot. It was actually kind of interesting pulling it apart and putting it back together. I replaced the V Twin with a single cylinder of the same horsepower so it sounds quite different with one big bore - better to me at least. The original engine smoked on and off out of the right cylinder from day one and it looks like that is the rod that let go first. I should have taken it back in the beginning - oh well. First time I've blown a mower engine at least - was interesting - losing power - right cylinder smoke and then bang, crunch, crunch, crunch - ouch!

The weed eater is fixed for the most part as well - interesting what the 10% ethanol will do to plastic fuel lines and how the dissolved plastic line mucks up a carb. Some new line, a cleaned up carb and a couple hundred pulls on the starter and it's eating weeds again at least.

The old '87 F150 is actually running now - after bypassing the dual gas tank selector and dropping some plug wires off my old Mustang engine and some cleaned up used plugs. Almost good enough to sell the darn old thing now so I can concentrate on the '69 Stang again. If it wasn't for the one cylinder that is down it might be worth keeping.

The Tbird Turbocoupe runs MUCH better in 3rd, 4th and 5th now at 18psi boost but bucks like a wild horse when pulling in 1st and 2nd. I'm assuming it is a knock sensor/timing issue but haven't done the FIX on that one yet.

Work problems are just normal - I wait too long to replace a machine due to the 200+ other things on the list and it finally gets to the have to get it done asap mode. We'll make it work though.

And now the dishwasher - I know more about how a dishwasher works now that I care to admit but that doesn't look like it will make this one 'fixable'. The impeller that drives the whole 'washing' cycle has let go from the main motor shaft so I may be just buying a whole new washer instead. Not happy about it since this one is only a few years old.

Oh well BREAK - FIX - BREAK - that IS the cycle.

Just holding my breath to see what fails next...

At least I learned enough from my Dad to do almost all of the 'fixin' myself.

Thanks Dad - I do miss you!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Man

I sit in my car at the Sonic drive in enjoying the air conditioning, listening to the latest 'terrible' news of the world and nation and enjoying the comforts of my car while waiting for my food.

Not ten feet away sits a older man at the outdoor table. He looks to be late forties or so, close ot my age. His ragged clothes show his rough life, his scrubby beard has some gray tint to it and his skin is multicolored from unhealed scars of the past. He rocks back and forth in the summer heat.

Across from him in the chair sits a large light brown teddy bear, a red bow ribbon decorates it's neck with permanent smile sewn into it's face. It's brown eyes stare at the man and seem to have more compassion than those passing by as people zip in and out to get their food and car hops zoom past in a frenzy. It is an odd site for a summer day.

Before long he lifts himself out of his seat, pickups up the few coins on the table left from the drink he purchased and clutches his prescription medicine bottle as he prepares to leave. He then reaches over to the teddy bear that is still smiling and gently lifts the bear into his grasp as if it is a small child that needs special handling. The bear makes it's to his shoulder and seems quite content peering out. The man then wanders past my car with obviously no particular place to go. He makes his way past the other cars pulling in and out, changes direction, and then changes direction again before heading off down the street obviously looking for a place to sleep tonight.

A chill runs down my spine as the reality sinks in.

How did this man get into this situation? Someone brought him into this world... he was someone's baby... someone's toddler... and young adult, someone had to take care of him long ago.

What were their dreams for his life? What happened in those years that have past?

How did he get here today, with his teddy bear, his medication, and the few coins he had with him? What was his dreams? ... and where did they go?

Then it really hits me - this could have been me - or still could be me someday.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Got Things Done

Well at least the weekend was semi-productive. I managed to get a few things done that were hanging out there in my GTD list as well as a few that were not. I did managed to tune up the old TurboCoupe T-Bird with new plugs, wires, cap and rotor but ended up having to cough up extra money for a re-manufactured distributor after a mounting tab broke off while I was taking it apart. Oh well, it can't hurt anything in the long run. I also installed the new to me headlight switch and re-dyed the interior - helped make the car much more presentable. And now it smells like PAINT inside instead of smoke... for now at least.

Otherwise I finally finished out the little 'Tree Patio' that we use early in the morning for coffee and relaxing. Something that had been hanging around for a while. Nothing fancy, just a nice place to sit and enjoy the morning.

I also finally purchased and put up an extra fence panel to hide the 'Storage area' - that is code for the junk pile location for those that do not know. This blocks the view when you pull up and from the street so my other half should be a little happier.

As you can tell I used my @OUTSIDE and @TBIRD contexts over the weekend.. :-)

Monday, September 1, 2008

To Hang or Not To Hang...

That was the question – Folders that is.

Getting Things Done strongly suggests that you NOT use the green hanging folders in your reference and project folders and I tried that. For about a year I’ve tried to just use plain folders in order. Sorry – That just doesn’t work for me. I found it difficult to find the right location to put the item, and problematic to even get things in the file drawer effectively. Even looking for something was slower as I had to work through the alphabet to get to the basic location.

So I finally gave up and went back to green hanging folders for all filing. Reference, Projects and everything else. It is just easier for me; easier to file something away - just label the folder, find the letter, and stick it in the folder. If the green folder is too full for that letter I pull an empty one from the front and stick behind the full one. It's easier to find things as well since I have labeled the hanging folders A-Z and I can jump to the most likely letter and scan until the next one. I know this isn't some magical solution but it just works better for me.

With this in mind the long weekend at least felt productive. I refiled everything, created a permanent reference filing cabinet, and used one for pure projects and re-re-reorganized things to clear off the desk, inbox, and my mind somewhat.

Otherwise it was a nice weekend following my Sister's trip to NYC via Twitter and TwitPic, enjoying the outdoors while not re-filing, and cooking out for the immediately family this evening.

Back to the real world tomorrow with a long Tuesday including management team meeting, crown replacement for my tooth, and a long evening meeting to boot. But Weds and Thurs are off to an OML conference for a small presentation and helping with a round table discussion on municipal websites... should be an interesting week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Four Priority Tips?

The 4 Ideas That Will Revolutionize Your Productivity - Practical advice on personal development, productivity and GTD is a pretty good read on some primary things to concentrate on while trying to get things done. I'm still very rough on the prioritizing part and the "Prioritizing by Needs" is rather interesting in that area. Can it make a difference? Not sure. I am still battling the 200 Next Action syndrome and what do I do next or what is most "important". First I have to UNSchedule the 15 hour work days that I've set my self up to fail on.

This is very similar to Time Management For Systems Administrators by Thomas Limocelli that sets priorities as things that must be done TODAY, Soon, or later.

So I guess THAT is my current priority... figure out how to prioritize?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Although others have blogged about it before, and quite humorously I might add, I have felt more like I am in GND mode instead of GTD mode that I want to be. That is Getting Nothing Done...

I guess I need to admit that a LOT of time lately has been spent changing offices and moving servers around at work, but I still feel like I am not making progress on the 200+ "Next Action" items I have in my work list.

I am actually re-reading the Getting Things Done book which is helping further understand the missing pieces from the first times I've read it.

I bought the guys I work with copies of the Getting Things Done book as well hoping they will read it so maybe things will make more sense at work when I'm talking about it - time will tell.

Heck, maybe I am just in a down time just before things really start to come together... yeah, that's the ticket... downtime before massive productivity... sure... that's it... yeah. Wow I need to take a break after thinking that hard.

Actually THIS is a much better solution

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Awesome Mother

Well, yeah my biological mother is pretty awesome as well but the other night I watched Mother Nature put on an awesome lightning show before the rain began. First time I had just stood and watched old Mom do her stuff in a while and it was quite refreshing. First time I think I have ever tried taking some pics and video of a storm as well. Of course the pics just can't do any justice of being there, listening to the distant thunder, the patter and smell of the rain.

I used to never really think about rain or really appreciate it - well sure after 103+ degrees for a week or so you do 'appreciate' it but not like I should. A friend I know kind of changed that somewhat after talking about how she loves the rain. To me it's usually an inconvenience, to her it's a joy. To me I like to stay out of it, to her she likes to get out in it... I don't know, after watching that lightning I think I'll stay under the patio when it's raining around here but she is probably luckier than I am as well.

I have to say that so far this year August has been much different than I thought it would be. August is usually the hottest month in this area but I guess July decided to take that over this year.

I think I'll add 'Watch the Thunderstorm' to my GTD list and make sure I make time when the opportunity comes up again!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

For the birds...

Having worked on Saturday to catch up from my 'Office Move' last week and spending most of the day Sunday outside, the weekend has flown by. I did get to do some 'for the birds' work done on Sunday though. The old bird feeder I had built several years ago was worse for wear and needed replaced so I built a new one with the same basic design. So far only the hummingbird, finches and sparrows are the only ones that have checked it out. It even has plastic guttering - although I may pull that back off. This is an 'improved' version with an aluminum floor that will not rot out and a cap to keep the moisture out.

Otherwise I spent the whole day working on @OUTSIDE context items including cleaning the patio fans and reversing the blades so they won't sag too much, helping Austin mow and enjoying the mid 80's temps. Much better than the 103+ that we were having there for a while. The battery died on the riding mower after Austin parked it... just wouldn't turn over even after re-charging and jumping. Put a smaller garden battery I had sitting around and it worked fine. New battery time already :-(. Now I have two expensive batteries to purchase since I want a new one for the TurboCoupe so I can move that weak one over to the old '87 F150 to get it started again and try to figure out what is wrong with it.

Well - On to another work week. Hopefully we will get Ryan setup in his own office now that I'm out and we can start fire walling time for each of us to be more productive daily.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Wonderful Connected Phone... Or Not?

So I've had a mobile connected phone now for a while.. Three years maybe? I know it's always there for me whenever I need to send an email, read one or jump on the net. That great feeling of knowing that GoogleMaps is just a click away on the phone if I am not sure where I'm...

Sorry, had to check an email...anyhow, where was I now.. Uh oh yeah, I'm prety much never lost with GPS and GoogleMaps and that is comforting. I know I can always jot down my idea in my task list or fire of that inspirational email anytime. Or even.. Just a sec.

Ok, back again. A reminder that I need to remove from calendar popped up again. BTW These things are great for that too, NEVER missing that important meeting or appointment. I think the one that just popped up was about exercising or something. I always just dismiss it and go on but it sure is handy.

This phone is pretty darn...

Dang, another IMPORTANT email there.. Sorry. Anyhow, it is really handy having this thing with me all the time. Heck i'm even typing this up on it right now. Sure i will have correct a few thumb typing or stylus pickle... ack, stylus PECKING errors, pickle errors, but it sure is handy being able...

Whoa, an actual voice call interuption there. Why do people have to CALL ME, can't they just EMAIL me! Don't they know I.T. people hate to talk on the phone. I'd even rather JOTT someone than call them. So, anyhow, I'm not sure what i would do without this thing anymore.

It's so nice having this tethered to me all the time. Nice always having my work email and my calendar with me. All my work notes and a link to the big 'todo list of doom' at work always available just a click away through the net. Able to browse through hundreds of Next Action items on this... well, this very small screen actually.

Anyhow, it almost makes me feel like i'm ALWAYS working! And that is a... Well, I guess that isn't a "good" feeling... But it is a... Well it is a... Hmm.. man, it's like a ball and chain! I can't get away! The dinging, the ringing, the reminders, it COULD be an important email, I better check it. Oh, that is the text message sound - must be something wrong at work. Another reminder - take the trash out?... I thought I did that LAST week! My GTD inbox of projects and ideas sitting in my task list that I have to process is there just begging to get ...

Ack. Another important email!

I have to go...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Why is it that I either feel like I can put forth 100% effort at home OR 100% effort at work but not both every day?

Last week I was 100% on home projects... worked on them, got several done, and felt good but was coasting at work trying to decide what to work on next.

This week I'm 100% on at work getting some things done that needed to be addressed long ago - specifically clearing out the current upstairs server room in order to make it MY office and let our Software Support specialist finally have his own office. (I told him in December 2005 that we would soon move the servers and let him have the office we shared - it is still like that as of August 2008).

This week at home has been a nothing... a good nothing but a nothing. I've rescheduled all my GTD tasks, barely had the desire to do much of anything and spent the last couple of evenings watching the birds and the rain or laying around in the hammock. Not that those are BAD things and down time is a very real need I suppose but this happens quite often.

Where is that 200% (naturally, without drugs, hyper caffeine or other forced results)?

Maybe I need to start thinking 50/50 more often.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Another Day, Another Shower

Yeah, that's a good thing - I know. We all take a shower or bath everyday... well, MOST of us do and we KNOW who you are out there that do not!! Anyhow, that 15 or 20 minutes each day is rather interesting to me. It seems to be the time I spend the most time 'thinking' actually. The motions are pretty robotic by now; wash hair, rinse, wash face, rinse, wash body, rinse, rinse off shower wall, squeegee wall, etc. BUT during that one percent of my day I am either planning my day out or pondering the results of the day depending when I actually take the shower.

During the week I have already done a quick review of my calendar and have all these thoughts of the day floating through my head. That 15 minutes is where I'm on physical robot action while my head is planning the rest of the day and what I hope to accomplish, what goals do I really have for TODAY - not this week, month or year but just today. I'm trying to find those 'big rocks' as Covey would say to fit into today's actions. I do think I need a water proof PDA/Phone though since I have to capture those thoughts as soon as I'm out of the shower or they can disappear.

In the evenings after working around the house all day it's a different type of thinking. A thinking of what I DID get done; the lawn, the house, the new vertical blinds, the latest accomplishments on the 69 Mustang or Turbocoupe or whatever else I feel good about getting done that day. I also seem to say 'thanks' to the higher powers in life for what I have, what I am able to do, and that I am still here to do those things during that time.

It's off to another work week and I will be 'thinking in the shower' again in the morning I guess. I still need to make sure those 'big rocks' get in the schedule first since right now I think I'm drowning in sand.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The $2,000 Lunch

I had lunch with my wife...

It cost me $2,000...

Ok, it wasn't just the food but still.

With a donation from Karen's mother we were supposed to look at a couch. We did... and we looked recliners... and we spent $2000 - twice as much as the donation.

Oh well, change never ends right. We had owned the chairs for longer than Austin has been around and the couch we had was nice but used to be my mothers. Hopefully this 'new' stuff will last as long as the old stuff did.

About work...
On the work front another week gone by. Although I do not really feel over productive I do feel better about what I DID get done at least. I have promised myself to do a 'weekly review' Saturday morning before starting the weekend. I have the complete incident list from work and hope to review it and pull out the important things - hopefully not the urgent... unless it's important AND urgent. Why is this so difficult?

On the Personal front...
My personal GTD list is still way too big but I've resolved to just keep chipping away at what I can get done. Hey - I'm NEVER bored that's for sure.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Week gone by..

Well almost another week gone - been pretty good though. I have my task management back under control at work, not that I am getting lots done but everything has been re-negotiated/re-scheduled and I only have 10-12 hours per day in the list for the next couple weeks now. No I am not getting 10-12 hours of things done at work - just scheduling them.

Anyhow one big project is winding down - the development of an online Crime Alert system for the police department. End user sign is done, managing those members is done, adding the alerts to the database is done and I just cleaned up most of the email them all code today. One down, 159 more projects/task to do.. at work. Yeah, I'm never bored.

I am back into my personal GTD task management website as well with things rescheduled - only 88 projects/items in there at least. I'm not feeling too guilty about re-negotiating/re-scheduling them since at least the are not forgotten.

We are very close to having all the servers moved to the new server room at work as well which will allow opening up the existing room for my office. I promise my software support person we would not be sharing an office too long... that was December 2005.

Slowly but surely...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Quick day...

Wow.. first day back at work in a while went really fast. This was a
Commission meeting but with a very short agenda it was only 45 minutes
long... much better than the FOUR HOUR meetings of the past. But then
again very little business was done. I am trying once again to really
get into time management and project management and actually see some

Unfortunately my scheduled task end up totaling 12-14 hrs per day so I
have to renegotiate many but I think that will clear up as more gets
done... time will tell.

The challenge will be sticking with the system better than in the past
and making sure I do a weekly review of goals, projects, and the
current situation.

My Domain:
My World:
My Humor:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

End of Vacation II

Well this is the end of Vacation Part II. I took off another week to finish out this summer. Spent most of it at the lake with family and ended it with a birthday party for my mother. The party's over so to speak. It's not that bad since I hope to be moving into a new office which will be the former server room so it will be a new beginning as well.

I spent most of this day getting ready for the birthday party (cleaning, prepping the cook out food, etc) after having coffee on the tree patio area and reading up on some GTD tips. Weekly Review - the thing I have NOT been doing that is a big part of GTD and other time management concepts. Gonna start that this week.. ha.

Here are some pics of the party;

The Cake - Yeah, it's weird

Mom enjoying the weirdness;

Here is a little video of the weirdness;

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Busy day

Well I said I was going to use this to keep track of what I DO get
done so here is today:

Watched Austin mow the yard and mowed my little piece that I keep
green and finished up the details for him - it was over 100 again so
that was fun.

Cleaned up the living room finally picking up the paperwork I had
scattered everywhere

Cleaned up the Lego corner moving everything into the 'Play Room'
which is also the studio for stop motion

Setup the play room so all the Lego is easily available, a little
better organized and ready to animate - now we'll see if I actually
animate anything.

Vacuumed the house and dusted it most of it - fun fun.

Listened to Austin learn a new solo from a Skillet song - amazing how
easily he can pick up something like that

Watered the plants and my little piece of green.

I guess I do get some things done. If I get too much done I'll crash on the Futon in the 'animation studio' - ha!


Friday, August 1, 2008

August Already?

Wow? It's August already - where did the summer go. I think I'll start using this as a 'What I Accomplished Blog' since I have no idea what I have accomplished over the past several months.

On the fun side we just got back from a short family trip to the lake - LittleGlasses at Texhoma. Thought it would be long since we were staying three nights but it ended quite fast. We even made it RAIN... something we do well when we go to the lake. At least we stayed in a nice three bedroom trailer instead of a tent.

The last few months have seen a few accomplishments I guess;
  • The 88 Turbocoupe is up and running with working A/C and 21+ mpg even when I hammer on it all the time.
  • I released another lego animation for the old Poodles song Toy Town People - Odd but fun little song.
  • I have most of the outdoor plants on auto-pilot watering wise now so they actually may survive.
  • I even have a small green patch of grass in front of the patio - I can handle mowing that little bit more often especially since Austin is mowing the rest ;-)
  • We changed up the patio a bit moving the old A Frame swing to the 'forest' and buying a cafe table, chairs and a small fire pit. Haven't used the fire pit yet but maybe when it gets below 100 degrees for a change.
  • We used our 25th Anniversary gift money to buy new vertical blinds and drapes for the house. Something Karen has wanted for some time now.
Sizzling summer fun - with 100+ for several days now it IS sizzling for sure.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wow - Work - Plus a new-old car

Wow.. spent the whole weekend cleaning up cars. That's a lot of work. Washed both the old van and the F150, vacuumed them both out, waxed the truck, armor all'd both of them and more. That's the bi-annual cleaning I guess.

On the other side we picked up yet another vehicle to add to the mess. A beat up 1988 Turbo Coupe Thunderbird. I had a 1986 TC back in 1986 and loved that car. The 87/88 version came out and it was even cooler. I never could afford an 87/88 but drove the 86 for over 10 years until it was crunched in two accidents within three months, neither of which was my fault. Recently I noticed 87/88 TC's showing up on ebay and other places and one appeared in the local Craigslist so I thought I would check it out. It is much rougher than I wanted BUT it does have a pretty much unmolested engine/tranny which are the hardest parts to find. My son and I spent most of the day Saturday doing a complete clean up of the interior since it was quite dirty.

I had hoped for a driver that I could detail and eventually rebuild but this one is going to require much more work than that. First up is a freeze plug replacement BUT it's the plug between the block and the flywheel so I guess the whole engine/trans is coming out and being rebuilt which is way more up front than I planned.

In the mean time we did take it down the block and back slipping clutch and no boost included. At least the brakes worked well!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fabulous Poodles - Mirror Star

This was one of my favorite music videos to animate a few years ago. Tony Demur came across it and commented:


Really enjoyed your animation for my song "Mirror Star" and so glad there's still people out there who remember us!

All the best, Tony De Meur

I am actually working on a simple animation of Toy Town People.

Mirror Star - The Fabulous Poodles

The rest of my brickfilms can be found on YouTube

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Time Management for a System Administrator

Since that actually is my title, I couldn't pass up a read for this book, Time Management for Systems Administrators by Thomas Limoncelli. So far it is really interesting in that it mixes Getting Things Done (GTD) concepts with the real world of constant demands and interruptions of being a Sys Admin.

Interestingly enough it appears I already have all the pieces; one calendar, help request system, log every request, and more, already in place. I just haven't connected the dots and run "The Cycle" that is used in the book. I've ready many time management books and see the common theme rise up again... the trick still is just DOING THEM.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Stupid Stuff Continues

Been burning some coding time at my old site lately. They site has been falling off visitor wise over the past year due to lack of attention. Tried CafePress for some calendars and the content was deemed 'inappropriate' soooo I made my own, popped a donate option up and linked to my own PDF versions. People can still get them for free but we'll see how many Stupid $Buck$ fly my way.... likely zero but we'll see. Was good to do some coding on my own sites for a change.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Where's there's Progress there's Pain

I guess that stands true with me. Although I DID get the floor pans installed in the 69 Mustang including fitted, welded and seam sealed, I have paid for that it with a literal pain the back.

Last week I wasn't sure if that was the problem after getting most of the driver side done and having to get straightened up last week. But after spending a couple days finishing up the drivers, installing the passengers side and fitting and installing the seat pans I was unable to hardly stand or walk on Tuesday morning. Ended up losing a day of work over it (not good - just more to do when I get back) and stuck in a chair and in bed with loads of pain meds to make it through. The Chiro once again fixed me up but it's still not very comfortable.

Maybe that is why I have been putting that off for so long??

Oh well.. hopefully time will heal. I did get to sit in the car with an old seat in it.. first time that has occurred in a very long time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Something done...

Well after griping in the last post about where did the time go, I actually got something done the next day. I ended up getting the driver's side floor pan fitted in my 69 Mustang and started welding it up (ran out of CO2 gas) and did some fitting on the passenger side. The project has loomed over me for several months as I thought it was going to be very hard. It hasn't been easy but not that bad.

I also got the GoMo going with adjustments to the governor and throttle linkage and popped some mufflers on it for my (and the neighbors) ear's sake. Still not fast at about 18mph but working. The guys over at ATLMA thinks it has a coil problem which might explain why it doesn't run like it calculates out on paper.

Here's a link to the short video of it running.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

2008?? - Where did '07 Go?

Wow.. new year.. same old stuff. Lots of finance type of work at work instead of working on critical IT problems. Not much motivation at home to get the Stang moving along. Same junky house and no motivation to clean it up right at least. So will 2008 be any different? Not unless I get things together. I do have some goals that I hope (need?) to get done this year so all it not hopeless.. there's just so many of them it seems overwhelming sometimes. For example just on a personal level:

2008 Goals...
  • Mustang floor pan installed, sealed and interior installed
  • Mustang trunk and rear valance fixed
  • Mustang engine balanced, built, engine bay painted and engine and trans installed
  • Rear disc brakes completed, springs replaced, and brakes working
  • Wheels and tires on the car and get it back on the ground
  • ... and the 192,432 other detail items that have to occur to get the car running again.
Other home front items?
  • Tile the kitchen, bathroom, and utility area... never tiled before, should be interesting.
  • Replace the roof.. think I'll pay someone to do this one.
  • Completely clean and organize the house including the computer room, garage, and all closets (that should take all year)
  • Paint the house.. well at least it is only trim
  • Replace the garage doors (more painting... ugh)
  • New vertical window blinds... mostly money
  • Replace faucets and drains (hard water is a killer)
  • Fix the various little things messed up around the house (porch light, patio lights, etc)
  • .... there are plenty more

Yeah.. I know, these should be in my Getting Things Done (GTD) system right. Many are, seems that has made it seem even more overwhelming sometimes. I'm still searching for the best system(s) that work for me.

Oh yeah.. 2008 goal:

  • Take down the Christmas decorations - I better get that one done before the next Christmas but no telling... :-)

- Stephen