Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Resolutions for 2009

January 2, 2009

It’s time to announce my goals for the coming year. Apparently, I missed last year (even though I did a recap on New Year’s Eve). I love making resolutions because they crystallize the big picture plan for the whole year, but I do believe that goal setting is an ongoing process that’s part of the general self-improvement that should be a part of everyone’s life. So here they are:

  1. Read 12 books: I’d like to be more aggressive about this, but twelve seems like a realistic number. I don’t think I read that many last year cover to cover so it would still be an improvement.
  2. Settle down: I tend to start new things entirely too often. It’s time to stop and focus on a few things. I want to get into some routines and get much of my life on autopilot so I can concentrate my attention on the things that really matter.
  3. Limit television: I haven’t attached a number to this yet, but that’ll be the first order of business. I’ve re-added my halved feed subscriptions since I’m blogging heavily at The New Clarion, so I’ve got to cut out some other time sinks. Television fits the bill. I’m going to watch Lost—that’s a given—but I’m going to try to pick a handful of other shows and be ruthless in not caring about anything else.
  4. Adore Sandi: with the adoption and ensuing chaos last year, I’ve really let my relationship coast too much. After 15 years of marriage, that’s not unusual but I don’t want it to be like that. I still feel a thrill being around her and I can’t imagine life without her, but I know I don’t convey that adequately. I want her to feel like she’s the most special person in the world to me, when all too often I’m the only one that knows that.
  5. Improve my writing: I think I can write better. By and large, the best way to improve writing skills is by writing more. I’m going to do that, but I think I can gain by being more deliberate also. Start from an outline, ask the metaquestions, and revise—things I don’t normally do as I dash off a blog entry.

I think that covers what I’d like in resolutions: general statements about this year’s direction.

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Grateful

November 27, 2008

I have much to be thankful for this year. Honestly, every year of my adult life has been great even with the ups and downs. My wife and I work very hard at living consciously and deliberately, so I feel like I’ve really earned whatever success and pleasantness I’ve experienced. Here’s a smattering:

  • My wife: I wouldn’t be the man I am today if I had never met her. I feel so fortunate that we have such a strong relationship after 15 years of marriage, but it doesn’t surprise me since I have so much admiration for her.
  • My girls: my three daughters (5, 5, 3) are the biggest joy in my life. They’re rambunctious, contentious, and mischievous but mostly they’re just marvelous. I think I’m a better man for having them.
  • My son: we’re three days away from the journey to pick him up from Ethiopia. That will be the culmination of over a year of effort, paying through the nose, and complying with maddening bureaucracies. He will complete our family and I just can’t wait to meet him.
  • My job: Go Daddy is a great employer. The benefits and pay are outstanding. I’ve been fortunate to have challenging and interesting work. My team is reliable, competent, and nimble. I’m taking a month off to be with my new son and had to move my plans up a week with only two days notice, but my boss was fine with it (much more than I was) and expressed excitement at my upcoming adventure. I plan to stay there as long as they’ll have me.
  • My friend Larry: he lives in San Diego and I don’t talk to him nearly enough, but whenever we do it feels exciting and refreshing. He’s also the smartest guy I know—besides myself, ahem. We see him several times a year and the kids adore him.

I was going to list my iPod, my MacBook, and my MINI Cooper but their importance in my life is different in kind from the items listed above. They’re great and all but their absence wouldn’t leave a void in my life.

The Out-of-Touch-O-Meter is Off the Charts

November 5, 2008

Let’s compare how I voted to how the rest of my Arizonans voted. Outside of my district and county, I pretty much am out of step. I’m glad they voted down the “homeowner’s bill of rights” and took a tax on home sales off the table permanently, but they also stopped same-sex marriage with a constitutional amendment, snuffed payday loans out of existence, and enabled a Masschusetts-style denial of private insurance.

My wife thinks that the proposition voting mirrored the spending trends on commercials. I cannot believe that, but it’s a compelling argument. Some of the proposition wording was very precise and commercials about those measures were very deceptive—did people not look into the matter further?

It’s done finally, so now’s the time to move on and start accepting the outcome. I have got a couple of months to lay low, relax, and study before I join the Kulturkampf. An Obama presidency is a grand opportunity to publicize Ayn Rand and Objectivism since he represents such a stark contrast to us.

Issue Me Them
President McCain McCain
U.S. Representative, District 3 Shadegg Shadegg
State Senator, District 6 Gorman Gorman
State Representative, District 6 Crump Crump, Seel
Corporation Commissioner Wong, McClure, Stump Kennedy, Newman, George
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, District 3 Kunasek Kunsaek
Maricopa County Assessor Russell Russell
Maricopa County Attorney Thomas Thomas
Maricopa County Recorder Purcell Purcell
Maricopa County School Superintendent Covey Covey
Maricopa County Sheriff Saban Arpaio
Maricopa County Treasurer Hoskins Hoskins
Justice of the Peace, Desert Ridge Henderson (write-in) Jayne
Constable, Desert Ridge Hazlett Hazlett
Maricopa County Special Health Care District, District 3 Gerard Gerard
Maricopa County Community College, District 3 Petty Pearson
PVUSD School Board Kenyon, Case, Greenberg Case, Greenberg, Skidmore
PVUSD Question 1 No No
PVUSD Question 2 No Yes
Proposition 100 Yes Yes
Proposition 101 Yes No
Proposition 102 No Yes
Proposition 105 Yes No
Proposition 200 Yes No
Proposition 201 No No
Proposition 202 Yes No
Proposition 300 No No

Them, Robots

November 5, 2008

I’ve been searching for the perfect word to describe Barack Obama fanatics. Portmanteaus seemed to be the perfect neologistical type but all the ones I have found were unsatisfying to pronounce. “Obamaniac” was the closest but it just doesn’t work as a word and I’ve seen too many of them co-opt it for themselves. I don’t disparage people who like it.

While driving home from dinner tonight, I came up with a doozy. With a sigh of relief at the conclusion of a long, tiring expedition, I offer up Obamaton. Looking over the results at Google and Twitter, I cannot lay claim to originality but at least I’m well clear of cliché.

Why I Voted for John Shadegg

October 14, 2008

I am a longtime fan of John Shadegg. I have voted for him in every election he’s been on my ballot. I was heartened to see his name in opposition to the bailout bill when it failed in the House of Representatives. And I was disgusted when I saw his name in support when it came back around, this time with pork.

My initial idea was to punish him by voting for Bob Lord, his Democratic opponent. But that was just the initial feeling of betrayal talking. If I let politicians stabbing me in the back determine who to vote for, my voting would be governed solely by revenge. In today’s political climate of unprincipled pragmatism, flipping politicians are in fashion.

After reading his reason for the reversal, I’m certain that he is definitely not his father. If Barack Obama gets elected, we’ll need all the Republicans we can get in Congress so I just couldn’t let my disappointment affect the long-range view. And he is more oriented towards small government than most of his GOP brethren.

How I Voted Today

October 7, 2008

Here’s how I voted, starting at the top of my ballot and working my way down:

  • President: John McCain
  • U.S. Representative, District 3: John Shadegg
  • State Senator, District 6: Pamela Gorman
  • State Representative, District 6:

    • Sam Crump
  • Corporation Commissioner:

    • Barry Wong
    • Marian McClure
    • Bob Stump
  • Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, District 3: Andy Kunasek
  • Maricopa County Assessor: Keith Russell
  • Maricopa County Attorney: Andrew Thomas
  • Maricopa County Recorder: Helen Purcell
  • Maricopa County School Superintendent: Don Covey
  • Maricopa County Sheriff: Dan Saban
  • Maricopa County Treasurer: Charles “Hos” Hoskins
  • Justice of the Peace, Desert Ridge: Paul Henderson (write-in)
  • Constable, Desert Ridge: Cory Hazlett
  • Maricopa County Special Health Care District, District 3: Susan Gerard
  • Maricopa County Community College, District 3: Pam Petty
  • PVUSD Board Member:

    • West Kenyon
    • Nancy Case
    • Anne Greenberg
  • Question 1: NO
  • Question 2: NO

Here’s how I voted on the propositions:

If you are interested in why I voted for a particular candidate or proposition, leave a comment.

Wayback Bill

October 1, 2008

Google’s made their 2001 index available for a month to see what the Web was like back when Google was first starting out. It was like a trip down memory lane: there I am at #7 in a search for my name.

Oh yes, I was on the Web since maybe 1996 back before there were blogs. We used to call them home pages, kiddos, and I called mine The Bill Brown Information Center. It used hover effects on the links and everything. It also reveals that I have loved yellow and blue for at least a decade now.

It’s worth a look see: I used to have all of my essays available, exhaustive lists of my values, and a funny bio that is just so me. It’s also interesting to note that back then Google and Northern Light were tied as my favorite search engines.

Man, I was so cool!

[UPDATE: Ooo, there’s also this Bill Brown-designed club Web site that brings back a wave of nostalgia. I loved that font!]

Watch. Enjoy. Repeat.

September 22, 2008

The A.V. Club had a feature asking a bunch of people I’ve never heard of the question “what’s your most-rewatched movie?” Their responses were interesting—and would be more so if I were familiar with the individuals—so I thought I’d share my answer.

I’ve thought about the subject a lot because my favorite movies aren’t necessarily the ones I watch regularly. It’s a crucial distinction because there are several movies that I don’t think are good or great by any stretch but I enjoy watching a lot. My favorite movies aren’t necessarily those that I can (or do) watch regularly but they really resonate with me whenever I do.

My all-time most re-watched movie has to be Happy Gilmore, which I think most people who know me would be surprised to find out. I watch this at least once a month and sometimes more, I can quote from it liberally and extensively. My favorite scenes are definitely the ones with Ben Stiller as a nursing home orderly. It makes me laugh every time.

Aside from that, I like The Italian Job, Dumb and Dumber, and Back to the Future. I must say that getting rid of satellite and the three-at-a-time plan from Netflix have cut into the time I have to re-watch movies: I could have made a much more extensive list two years ago, for example.

The Fatigue of Ambition

August 15, 2008

Go Daddy‘s bringing Merlin Mann out to give a new talk tomorrow and I’m pretty jazzed. You may recall that he came out for an earlier event just this May for his Inbox Zero talk.

I’m excited for this presentation because its subject matter has been on my mind lately. I’ve been experiencing a debilitating sense of ennui and a lack of motivation. After much introspection and deliberation, I think I’ve located the source: too many great ideas and a fundamental uncertainty about which is the best course of action.

When I say too many great ideas, I mean it. At this moment, I’ve got some compelling ideas to contribute to an open-source project I’ve taken over—I still need to write up a blog entry about that fine mess I got myself into; a book idea that is unique, unprecedented, and possibly the start of an entire franchise—two actually, but the second one is going to require the first to be very successful; an iPhone application that could make me some decent side income; a historical project that could bring me enormous satisfaction; and a raft of business ideas that are all feasible to varying degrees.

In the face of all these nearly-equally viable choices, how do you pick one and set yourself to it? Normally, I’d consider a matrix of factors like which one has the most potential, which one lends itself well to maximizing time with my family, which one fits in with the life I envision for myself, and which one is best suited to my strengths. But there’s no clear winner in this regard.

So I stew and dawdle and get distracted easily. That lack of focus makes me upset because that’s not me! Any time I start to make some progress on one of these big-ticket ideas, some inner voice nags that another one is a better use of my time. Meanwhile, I’m caught up on my feed reading and on top of Twitter, which makes me even more unsettled because I know that these things are not the best uses of my time right now.

Merlin is not going to tell me anything I don’t already know. Heck, I am even familiar with all of the techniques he’s listed in his slide deck. But maybe his talk will be rousing enough to jar me from this rut, to just pick one from the many and get things done.

Then again, maybe writing this blog entry itself has provided sufficient impetus.

[The views expressed on this website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Go Daddy Software, Inc.]

Off to F8

July 23, 2008

I’m getting ready to fly out to San Francisco for the F8 Conference put on by Facebook. We’re leaving Phoenix at 7:20 AM and returning to Sky Harbor by 10:30 PM, so it’s going to be a long day but very much worth it—I hope. I plan to blog my raw notes for each session throughout the conference for my colleagues that couldn’t attend as well as posterity.