Thoughts of Our Dream House…

May 30, 2015 1:59pm
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I won’t go into the actual dream because it was admittedly kind of boring, but last night I had one about our dream house … which is admittedly both a dream and a conversation that comes up around here quite a bit.

Even though we’ve only been in the house we own now for about three years, truth be told we’ve always kind of thought of it as a starter house. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a nice house and we happened across it at a pretty good price at a time when we desperately needed to get out of renting, but even only having one kid we’re starting to feel some limitations and it gets rapidly worse when we think about having more! 😯

Worst at this particular moment in time is probably the lack of a backyard, both because it leaves Cleo almost nowhere to run around, but also as Christopher starts to get bigger, it doesn’t give us any room if we wanted to put in a play set or a sandbox or even just chase each other around the yard! And yeah, the pool is nice … though its position behind the house keeps it too cold to swim more often than I like … and I don’t think from here on out I’d have a house in Florida without a pool, but it’s hard to deny the HUGE chunk of backyard real estate that the thing takes up…

I think that’s probably our biggest draw at this point, in simply finding a place that has a decent amount of property attached to it, which is also a bit of a challenge in an area that’s predominantly subdivisions with predetermined lots. At this point I’m not entirely opposed to living out in the country, but it’s going to have to be the right chunk of land to really sell it … and it doesn’t help that every time we go to the beach, I still come home and look at real estate prices to see if there’s some magical beachfront gem out there that has gone undiscovered! 😉

We actually thought we found one of these a month ago, but it turned out the reason why the land was undeveloped was because it was mostly conservation area and COULDN’T BE BUILT ON, so … oops.

As for the house itself, we’ve pretty much settled on knowing that we’re going to have to build to get what we really want because with it being the dream house that we want to spend the rest of our lives in, at this stage we can’t really bring it on ourselves to settle! Granted, we’re probably still several years out from being able to really take action on anything, but it’s still fun to think about all of the options and having something built to our exact specifications, every nook and cranny … and game room!

So if anybody has a couple of acres of prime waterfront real estate in the Tampa Bay area that they want to unload cheap, do drop me a line so that we can get this dog and baby a proper backyard, and more importantly get started on my own personal arcade… 😛

Living in the Future, 2015 Edition

January 5, 2015 8:20pm
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I’m a nostalgic guy, and especially when it comes to tech, sometimes I honestly just find myself in awe when I stop and think of how far things have come just here in my own modest lifetime.

Case in point – above is a screenshot of This Week in Tech, Leo Laporte’s sequel to TechTV after it merged with Comcast’s gaming channel and subsequently went belly up about a decade-ish ago? The show started as a simple podcast in a bar with some friends and has since grown into an entire network of technology-based programming, arguably better than TechTV was at its best (and probably more profitable!).

But that’s not the amazing part, believe it or not … well, it’s one of them! What really amazes me though is simply that what you’re looking at there is streaming HD video that I’m pulling through Plex onto my new 4k TV, and it looks beautiful.

This is a big deal to me because I first started watching Leo & his friends on TechTV when digital cable first rolled out to my neighborhood up in Northern Michigan, and at the time we were excited to get a whopping 1 Mbps down and I’m sure some fraction of that up! The package was about $100 for digital cable and broadband – I remember because I paid for it out of my own money when I still lived in my Mom’s basement.

Timeframe was probably around 2000-2001.

So now here we are 15 years later, and in comparison to how things were at the time we really are living in the future!

  • In 2001, we had just shrugged off the chains of dial-up in favor of high-speed broadband Internet.
  • In 2015, I have a 75 Mbps fiber line connected to my home that facilitates HD streaming and can download the equivalent of one optical CD-ROM from 2001 in less than a minute and a half!
  • In 2001, cell phones were just starting to become a thing – I think my voice-only Nokia candy bar phone had 100-minutes a month of air time.
  • In 2015, nobody uses their cell phones for calling anymore, but 4G speeds connect to that same Internet to give me access almost anywhere at speeds rivaling my home connection!
  • In 2001, HD was the new, new thing and for the first couple of years, Discovery HD Theater was how many of us justified buying our brand new, gigantic HD TVs.
  • In 2015, I just upgraded to a new 4k TV that has four times the resolution of HD, and even though there’s only one movie available for it in true 4k today, even just watching the trailer makes me drool for a copy of the full-res film to really see what this thing is capable of!

Technology has always been an exciting part of my life and today I find myself surrounded by more gadgets than ever, from advanced video game systems to tablets and smart phones to a new streaming media server right here in my own home. In a way, it’s just kind of crazy to be able to pull up TWiT on this ginormous 4k screen in my living room because 15 years ago I used to watch the same guy teaching me about tech stuff on an old TV setup next to my computer while I was building the very first version of Just Laugh.

…and ethernet cables spanned the floor because I hadn’t quite gotten wifi figured out on my laptop just yet!

It makes me wonder what the whole landscape is going to be like when Christopher gets to be in his teens, but then again, just like how *I* grew up on 8-bit consoles and an Apple II clone, my son is going to grow up in a world where you’re never really not connected to all of those people and all of that information.

In fact, by the time he’s old enough to notice that kind of stuff…

  • 75 Mbps Internet is going to feel slow to him.
  • The Nintendo Wii will be considered a retro video game console.
  • And it’s really going to drive him nuts that the cable company still doesn’t take those stupid lower resolution channels out of their line-up when better options are available!

As a wise man once said, it’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, and I for one am kind of curious to see where the next 15-20 years actually takes us! 😉

I want a boat.

August 20, 2013 11:04pm
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Well, to be honest … I think I want a yacht.

I have no idea what got me off on this tangent as I was out walking the dog this evening, but for some reason I started thinking about how cool it would be to own a really big boat to just bum around to wherever, whenever…

Granted, it’s probably an idea better left for retirement when one doesn’t necessarily have anything to do on a given day … not to mention that still gives me another 20-30 years to save up the couple of million dollars that I’m finding a nice, simple, 65-foot luxury ship will run you these days! Not to mention yacht fuel and dock fees and I’m sure that there are about a billion other expenses involved with owning one of these things … but still, yacht!

I wonder what the right terminology is here. I mean, “boat” is probably understating yourself just a bit, but yacht sounds super big and fancy and ultra-rich. Mine doesn’t have to be ultra-rich – just kind of rich … I’d be happy with the kind that turns a few heads and doesn’t sink when you try to take it out in the ocean. And not out in the ocean, but you know, sailing up and down the eastern coastline and around the Keys and the Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas would be kinda neat.

Maybe you call it a ship … from some of the pictures that I’ve looked at tonight, the moniker certainly seems appropriate – especially when I learned that one boat in particular didn’t have engines on the back, per se, as much as it had an engine room like a miniaturized version of the one you’d find on a cruise ship!

I’m not a very good mechanic, so I hope that’s not going to be a problem.  😕

I’ve been feeding my random curiosity this evening gawking over some of the blog posts and pictures and specs on Ken’s Blog … you might remember Ken Williams and his wife Roberta as the founders of Sierra Online, pretty much the makers of most of my favorite computer games growing up. Well, now they own a 68′ boat that looks absolutely gorgeous from all of the pictures, and they spend their summers floating around wherever the water takes them. Apparently this summer they’re touring Europe again, and I guess it all just seems like a really fun way to spend your time when you don’t really have a particular schedule that you’re required to keep anymore.

I got a big kick out of watching this video that Ken posted a couple of weeks ago where he gives a tour of the controls of his boat, Sans Souci. So many buttons and controls – see what I meant about it looking more like a cruise ship than some smaller power boat that you might take out on the lake for an afternoon?! I was absolutely fascinated when we took that behind the scenes tour of the Carnival cruise that we went on a couple of years ago, and even though I’m sure there’s a ton to learn, click around to some of those other videos and check out the views and tell me that it wouldn’t all be worth it!

Seriously – he even has a hot tub on his boat! Add in a chance to get back into SCUBA diving in a big way, no lack of Internet access, the occasional dolphin in the wild, plenty of wine and plenty of time to enjoy it with Sara, and I think I could get used to being away from land pretty quick. 😉

I’ve always liked the idea of traveling, even though we haven’t done a ton of it just yet … but the gigantic, month-long road trip that Sara and I took a few years ago was absolutely a blast, and even though it was kind of expensive, it really wasn’t too bad when you consider how long we were gone and how many different places that we visited. There are places all over the world that I know the both of us would like to see – Europe, the Bahamas, Australia, even more of the western US – and it seems like owning a boat like that would be a pretty swell way to travel if you could afford it! Plus, living here in Tampa gives us prime access to the water anyways, so I’d like to think that it would give more opportunities even just for shorter adventures out around the local area, popping down to Miami and the Keys for a few days here or there, or whatever.

I guess I probably need to look at a map or something, but it even makes me wonder if it’s possible to get from Florida to Michigan via boat … there’s got to be larger rivers or something that connect the Great Lakes to the ocean, aren’t there??? That would be fun – pack up down here for the summer and then head down around the coast of Florida, up the east coast, dock in New York City for a while to take in the sights and visit Sara’s family, and then work our way west until we end up around Mackinaw / Petoskey there at the tip of Northern Michigan where my own hometown is!

Not for nothing, but I’d much rather stay on a yacht than in a tent, and I’m pretty sure that opinion won’t be one to change in the next couple of decades… 😛

Sure, I know – the price is ridiculous and maybe it’s way out of league of where I’ll ever end up financially, but what’s the fun of dreaming if you can’t DREAM BIG?! That just means I’ve got to sell lots and lots … and lots of books in the next 20-30 years to help pay for it all, and I’ve always been one for a challenge!

The open water beckons me. This is going to happen, and when it does, it’s going to be sweet.

Prospective name for my new boat: The Best Seller

lazy video Sunday…

October 30, 2011 2:01pm
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Starting off, a cool prospective video from Microsoft about what the future could be like with fully-integrated technology surrounding our daily lives…

Next – I just thought that this was pretty amazing … the idea that this technology exists to stop a 5,000 rpm saw blade within 1/1000th of a second to prevent somebody from losing a finger…

And finally, well, maybe just don’t go in the pool…

Where will we be two years from now?

May 31, 2009 10:09pm
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So an indirect topic of discussion came up earlier this weekend that I thought might be worth musing about here – long story short, Sara’s younger sister is wondering if she can come live with us for a while after she gets back from her deployment overseas next year. Sara and I talked about it and we’re happy to help because she wants to go to school when she gets back, but the interesting part about the entire thing for me was that in making such a decision, we really had to take a step back and look at just where we think we might be in life in 2011…

I mean, here we are now, almost halfway through 2009, and I’ve pretty much accepted that this year is kind of a “maintenance year” for us – prep work to get us ready for the next stage of our lives together, if you will. So it’s a lot of dirty work – she’s focusing on school and I’m focusing on resurrecting my writing career, and we’re not really seeing a whole lot of each other. We’re trying our best to pay off credit card debts so that we can eventually start saving for a house. I’m trying to taking losing weight and getting healthy a little more seriously, and she’ll be jumping onboard as soon as the nursing crazy train ends, too. Two years ago we had gotten engaged and Sara changed careers, last year we got married and I started taking writing seriously again, and this year we’re just trying to straighten things out in preparation for our next big changes in life.

So what exactly will those be???

It seems so far off at this point that it’s hard for me to even think about at this point, but I can throw out what I’d like to see happen by then. I’d like to have a house of our own, if we can make the right financial decisions and find enough luck to get our dream house without breaking the bank. I’d love to be writing full-time for a living, even if it means not making quite as much as I’m bringing home today … as long as between our two salaries, we can still live comfortably. I’d like to have a dog, and more likely than not also our first child … which albeit is still a bit tough for me to admit, it is two years away! And with any luck, we’ll also have a stronger marriage, closer friends, and all of that other stuff that time gives us over the years.

In 2011, Sara and I will have been married for a couple of years by then, and I’ll be 30 years old. Hmmmm…

Ten predictions for the new year…

December 28, 2005 11:01pm
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Found this on Blake Ross’s blog – a rather entertaining, and probably accurate, depiction of what we’ve got to look forward to in technology next year. For those who don’t know the name, Blake is one of the guys responsible for creating Firefox

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