When It’s Cold I’d Like to Die

No, not really. That’s just the name of a song by Moby that I never heard until I watched the first season of Stranger Things. That scene… right in the feels. It’s just the tune that came to mind when I saw this old self portrait I did years ago for my digital painting class.

Rather, I like to think I enjoy the cold. And I feel as though I’ve squandered another winter by not getting out to enjoy it more. Then I think that… my wish to enjoy winter is at basic odds with the rest of my biology. I used to hate winter for the seasonal depression it would bring, especially in January and February. Later I decided I liked cold… winter has its own magnificence. Though unfortunately I cannot escape that the sun is furthest from me during winter and thus resulting in lowered vitamin D and the resulting blues… which aren’t conducive to getting out and enjoying the cold.

I wonder if we don’t look forward to spring, summer and fall because of the activities we associate with them, or at least the memories. I can’t say I have a lot of fond memories of January or February…

Anyhow, I see there’s snow a few more times in the forecast for the next week or so. Enjoy! 😀

I used to love summer. Maybe I have enough distance from public schooling that the freedom from the drudgery of school no longer informs my feelings about summer. Rather, summer leaves me looking for escape more than winter does, I find the heat so oppressive. While there are many pleasant ways to be warm in the midst of winter cold, there are fewer and less effective ways to cool down in the heat of summer. There’s a reason why hell is described as a hot place more often than as a cold place. Though we are thankful for AC in summer, you generally don’t curl up in front of it in summer like you might curl up in front of a fire in winter.

Throwback: The Desk Photo


The other day I was rigging up a subwoofer to my old bookshelf system (speakers are a bit lacking in the bass department) and remembered posting a picture of it on one of my early blog posts — actually 14 years ago this month. I found the link to the image broken– I’d stored it somewhere else that’s now history– so I went digging through my local files to see if I had the original photo.

In my digging I found some other photos taken at the same time, and found the above. It took me a moment to figure out why I’d taken it… an online forum (Minidisc forum, of course… you’d never guess that from this photo, haha) had a thread that was probably not uncommon then– a “show us your workstation” or “show us your desk” or setup thread. Reveals a bit about what kind of gear you have and so on. Perhaps this weekend I’ll get a shot of my current desk to see how times have changed in 15 years and how they’ve stayed the same, hah. I do love that I’m still rocking the same bookshelf system with Minidisc player, though I’ve got less space now so it’s hidden away. Sadly, Darth is no longer with me.

I’ve got some more treasure from that July 2003 set of photos I need to post– to be continued 😛

The Journey


Kaylee: How come you don’t care where you’re going?
Book: ‘Cause how you get there is the worthier part.

This morning I viewed a post on instagram where the author, who posts a lot of landscape photos from hikes, explained that they really disliked hiking– which seemed odd for someone who does so much of it voluntarily. It had to do with being out of shape and the peskiness of mosquitos mostly, but the point was that the destination always made them forget the unpleasantness of the actual hiking.

I responded with the cliche “they say it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey” and laughed, because I’m the same– it’s the destinations that have me interested in hiking, not so much the physical work involved to get there. (Let’s be honest. I really just want a cool place to hang a hammock and sleep.)

But then I wondered, “why can’t it be about both?” Maybe in the short term hiking will be less pleasant until I reach a certain level of fitness. So can many journeys be, I suppose. A bit uncomfortable when we’re just getting going because we haven’t been on the journey before– and so we haven’t built strength and skills to feel confident. (Heck. I still feel like an imposter at my day job, hah.) Or maybe we’ve been sitting too long or had some other occurrence set us back.

Best part of comparing a hike to a journey, at least in my case, is that actual journey and its destination are part of a larger metaphorical journey where you grow and become a little better, a little more capable, each time. And the same principles that apply to that journey apply to all– spiritual, emotional, financial, social, etc.

The key word is “become”. The journey has no need to exist for its own sake. Maybe there’s a shiny destination motivating us, but really the value lies in becoming. Maybe that’s why so many prefer the journey. What happens if you stop becoming? If you had no room left to grow, had done it all and attained it all? What’s left? Not that I even think that’s possible in this life.

I guess the danger is not in becoming too great, but in sitting out the journey. To let fear and doubt — or just plain apathy and cynicism– hold you back. To keep you from peace. Happiness. Contentment. Love.

I can take this metaphor a bit further even, hah: the importance of fellow travelers on the journey. Everyone needs help– sometimes more than others. For example, sometimes we run out of gas on a journey– and we need help from a third party to make it to our destination. Like a couple years ago when I– besides being incredibly slow to begin with– ran out of juice a fraction of a mile away from the destination on a backpacking trip (not long after the above photo was taken… you can see I was reaching the end of the day’s light). Steve took about 4 pounds off my pack and lightened my burden, and that was all I needed to be able to carry on at a reasonable enough pace to make it to camp before dark. Had I been alone, I’m not sure if or when I’d have made it to the destination. So… ask for help if you need it, and look for where you can help others when you’re able and they are in need.

Gotta get moving. And keep moving. I’ve been eyeballing some journeys– physical and otherwise– I just need to set foot on the path and keep moving forward, regardless of how slow I am at first. Some seem more daunting than others… but I think each can be exciting once you get moving.

As for destination-less Shepherd Book there in the quote above… perhaps he’s a step ahead of my philosophy. His destination and journey were the same– he wasn’t seeking anything for himself, he simply sought to serve others. That is the ultimate goal, isn’t it– to learn to love unconditionally.

For now… keep going. Take a breather if you need to. But maintain your resolve to keep going.

Bear Lake

I remember Jeff and I were spread out in the back of his family’s minivan, pouring over my first issue of Nintendo Power, the Zelda II issue. We would see how long we could suck on Starburst candies before we’d either start chewing or swallow them.

Oh man, check out the awesomeness that is the cover of that issue. Pure 80s gold, that hair on Link, haha. I totally forgot how most covers early on featured live actors or claymation.


That issue came out in January 1989… which meant this was one of our winter jaunts to Bear Lake to stay at Jeff’s family’s condo. Which meant video games and losing our boots in the snow trying to get to the hot tub and the sauna. Loooooved the sauna! We’d sometimes scamper across the frozen pool (sometimes breaking the ice and tearing holes in the pool cover… such trouble makers, hah) and then jump back into the hot tub. Seems like we might have contributed to some of the soggy toilet paper wads sticking to the ceiling in the pool bathroom, too, hah.

My sister shared a couple pictures of her kids at a cave near Bear Lake, which I figured was the Minnetonka cave… trying to figure out when it was I had been there did take me quite a ways back. Fun little trip that also led me to some new chip tunes. Good times!

Anyone out there?

Just a quick post to see if anyone is seeing this. Anyone else still blogging or feel like journeying back into blog-dom with me?

As I scanned back through entry after entry of my own blog the other day, it was kind of depressing to realize just how little output I’ve had in the last few years. And I mean creative output both in terms of posting and taking photos as well as just being thoughtful in general and having a mind towards learning and growing. I think I’ve probably made the “I miss me” comment on here one too many times. Question will be how long I can keep this moving now 🙂

So yeah– maybe I’ll do some digging to find if friends are still blogging and make a “blog roll” to navigate through. I think with Google Reader died I felt like a connection I had to the blog world was severed– that was how I kept up with who was posting. Sadly I don’t have one now– not that solutions don’t exist, I just don’t use one, and perhaps others are the same.

If no one is reading this, that’s cool too… still a place for me to ramble and share what’s going on in my head at the moment.

Doing as geeks do

Pali Lookout - May 2006

I remember when I bought my first laptop in 2003. I think it was a Dell Latitude– a nice big boat of a 15″ laptop, huge by today’s standards. But it had a sweet 1920 x 1200 display (all my icons were tiny and I had so much real estate to work with).

What was I really excited about? Well, a couple years earlier I’d caught this bug for a thing called “photo blogging”. Do kids today even know what blogs are? Holy cow. Anyhow, this meant toting a digital camera around and documenting anything of even minor visual interest– or even just documenting the day to day, with the intent to share on a blog later. I just loved the idea. There were no iPhones or Android phones or any kind of ultra portable device for accessing the web in such a way that would allow blogging. No social networks to allow people to share thoughts and photos instantly… The Laptop was as portable as it got.

So again, why was I excited? I’ve never been a prolific traveler. But I’ve always been a pretty big geek. I was headed to Las Vegas shortly with work for our annual convention. I was going to be able to update my blog DAILY while ON THE ROAD. Heck yes.

And I did, and it was glorious. Happy in my own little corner of the internet with only other geeks and some family ever seeing my content. Comments were appreciated but not obsessed over, there was no such thing as likes, etc. Back before selfies were so cliché (even if still nerdy), hah.

So what’s the point of this little trip down memory lane?

Well first, I kinda want to get back into blogging. It’s been a few years since I posted– a massive gap. All those things that didn’t exist then that exist now have kind of sucked the life out of the internet for me just a tad. There was a time when I lost interest in taking photos because “lots of people have already shot that and their photos are great, why do I need to?”. It was a cop-out, sure. But yeah. I want to get back to creating just for me. Writing long nerdy posts like this that I can’t imagine anyone else taking the time to read in today’s information overloaded world. Posting photos that aren’t necessarily works of art or “like-worthy”– just the mundane. I used to love that. Didn’t matter how good the photos were– maybe I didn’t even know how bad they were, hah.

Secondly, I’m writing this post as a proof of concept… in order to test the waters and see just how far technology has come. I’m writing / posting this on an iPad Pro. It’s bonkers. iPads have now become powerful enough to do legit photo editing / processing (even if there are some weak points such as photo library management). I’m just in a browser, and WordPress is auto-saving drafts of this post as I type it out (yes, with a keyboard accessory– not typing directly on the screen), and uploading a photo was a snap– clearly these non-PC devices have come a long way and have a lot of support.

But why? Relatively powerful, ultra-portable laptops are abundant these days. Well, partly, because I can. And partly because I’m hoping that a new workflow will help me begin again to actually do something with the photos I take. I take far fewer lately, and rarely on a real camera (i.e. one that isn’t my phone), but I’d like to change that too.

I’ll have an SD card reader for the iPad in the next few days and I’ll be able to quickly move through what I’ve shot and choose some shots to work on and post from the iPad. I suppose there’s no reason I couldn’t do that on a PC… maybe I’m hoping the novelty will help get the ball rolling again? Maybe its because I find myself reaching for the iPad a lot more often than the laptop when I’m just at home? Perhaps because all my iPhone photos will also be easily accessible here?

Sometimes the only reason I need is because it’s different and new and geeky. So I’m trying it out– let’s see how it is. I’ve always meant to test the image editing waters on the iPad, given the quality of the screens and the addition of the Apple Pencil for more precise and natural editing (better than a Wacom, mouse or trackpad).

I’ve got some energy and momentum now, let’s try it. (I did part of the post processing on that photo above on the iPad, though admitted I did use photoshop for one thing– I just haven’t dug into the big iPad photo apps yet to see if I could accomplish the same on the iPad.)

Cheers to the “old” school– blogging– with the new school toys. #grandpa #kidsthesedays

Ghost Town

Elementary school. Fourth grade. I was 9-10 years old. One of the only really memorable activities from that year in school was the Ghost Town. I think we earned and saved up funny money for use at this event throughout the year.

On the day of the event, the gym was filled with all sorts of storefronts themed after old wild west towns. The entire fourth grade got to play “ghost town” for a day. Root beer floats at the saloon, other shops where you could do things or buy snacks or knickknacks (I don’t recall if I got to buy anything or not, but I remember wanting a Chinese yoyo). I’m sure there were other activities as well.

And there was a jail. For those who misbehaved or broke the rules. I spent the latter half the day there, hah. Was I such a trouble maker? How’d I get tossed in there?

I should mention, when younger siblings had their ghost town day in subsequent years at the same school, it seems to me like their jail was yet another facade in the gym area. Old west themed, so even being in jail was kinda funny.

During mine, however, the jail wasn’t made up like another themed element of the ghost town… it was a separate, fairly large room with no old west theming at all– it was pretty much a type of school detention. More like being banished from the ghost town.

Well, as a part of this event, girls were required to make and bring a lunch for two. These lunches were to be auctioned off to the boys, who would then sit and eat the lunch with the girl who made it. I don’t remember if they told the boys who the lunch belonged to or not prior to auctioning it… maybe they did. (In retrospect, this seems like kind of a terrible idea to me, but I guess it seemed innocent enough at the time to those who designed this event… they were just 9-10 year olds, after all, right? As long as everyone plays by the rules…)

You probably have an idea where this is going. It hadn’t really occurred to me until now, but that’s the first time I can recall any organization trying to train kids to pair up with the opposite sex. Is this some type of social engineering? Like dances that were held in middle and high school? Never really thought about it before. I digress.

Fourth grade. 10 years old. Girls still had cooties as far as I was concerned. So being the genius that I was, I told my mother nothing of this activity, so she made my “cold lunch” as usual. So when lunch rolled around, I bid on no lunch at the auction.

(Seriously– was there an exactly equal number of girls and boys in 4th grade? How did that even work? No doubt the teachers had figured the numbers out, and I left some girl with her lunch unpurchased and eating alone and maybe feeling bad that no one wanted to buy their lunch… see why I say this seems like a terrible idea? If for no other reason than because of jerks like me… but certainly some lunches drew much higher bids than others.)

Instead, after the auction as people went out to eat beside the school, I wandered back to the classroom and retrieved my usual lunch.

It wasn’t long before I was busted by other students wondering how I’d gotten out of buying a lunch, hah. So instead being able to use all that dough I saved by not bidding on a lunch, I spent the rest of the day in the clink. Somehow I doubt they threatened us with the penalty of jail for not buying a lunch beforehand… probably didn’t occur to them that it could be a problem until I pulled my little stunt.

No regrets. Mom wasn’t too happy that I’d “deceived” her in such a way, however, haha. 25 years later and this memory amuses me more than ever.

Mmm Kale Juice

So I was telling Marianne that I wanted to try drinking pure kale juice, because what I’m really after is the nutrients in Kale. I could save money and calories (sugar, mostly) by not making a juice blend but just downing a shot of kale juice. So she dared me to do it. Said she’d give me $5 if I did, or that I wouldn’t owe her for the Cafe Rio taco she’d bought me.

So I documented it.

I juiced an entire bunch of organic kale, as bought from the store. Not sure what the weight was pre-juicing.

It yielded nearly 8oz of raw kale juice.

Mmm… doesn’t it look chlorophylicious?

(It amuses me to see how distracted I was by my own image on the screen of my phone, haha.)

Definitely potent stuff. But no, I didn’t vomit. Might have experienced some detox-like effects later in the day (sorta headachy / slightly dizzy), but otherwise… not too bad 🙂 I think sometimes putting acidic / sour fruits in with it just amps up the bitterness.

Google Reader: I’ve been dating an old lady.

I’m just posting this because I’ve seen a lot of the “what will I do without Google Reader” sentiment going around. And obviously I need an RSS reader to keep up with YOUR blog, so here we are. It seems like the most common / popular alternative to Google Reader is feedly (just my observation, I could be wrong).

While it’s a smartphone app, it looks like they also have browser extensions you can install– that’s all I’ve done so far. You give feedly permission to access your google reader stuff, and voila. All your subscriptions are there.

First impression? Reminds me of when Buster first meets Marta and says “I’ve been dating an old lady.” haha. It really is a ton easier on the eyes and easier to navigate than Google Reader was.

And it sounds like all you have to do is start using feedly before Google Reader shuts down (July 1) and all your reader info / subscriptions will transfer over seamlessly. Take a look:


Also, if you’re a bit more adventurous and want to try something else, or maybe just want to be extra certain you don’t lose any of your subscription info, you can export it from Google Reader:


St. George 2013

Spent the weekend here last weekend with the Aldrich crew and most of the Sloan crew. Such a good weekend. Sunshine, red mesas, temps in the 80s, day trip to Vegas to indulge Kato’s Dunkin Donuts obsession (Irish Creme donut was amazing), swimming, bumper boat shenanigans at Fiesta Fun, great food, and some quality time with my favorite people.

It could only be better if it lasted longer– that trip was good for the soul.

Love these captures from my sister and cousins in law, they capture the weekend pretty well 🙂

Enjoying some St. George sun with my entourage...and roughly half the population of Utah. #thisplaceiscrazy

Beautiful weekend in St. George with lots of playing outside. But still did a lot of this. #kidsaretechjunkies

(yes… I stole the last 2 photos since their instagram accounts are private 😛 Sorry Em and Kim!)

Why is there a “Flu Season”?

A couple months back, amidst news reports of record high incidence of the flu, I found myself wondering… why is there a “season” for the flu?

What I’ve learned since then:

• Your white blood cells need calcium to work efficiently. (White blood cells are cells of the immune system involved in defending the body against both infectious disease and foreign materials.)
• You need Vitamin D to absorb calcium for use by the body.
• You need Vitamin F (essential fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6) to get calcium to the tissues.

In places like Utah, where it’s cold (and often overcast or at least smoggy enough to avoid being outside for the sake of air quality) and the days are shorter in the Winter, people get a lot less Vitamin D, because the body needs exposure to sunlight to produce Vitamin D. (I noticed that places like California don’t really seem to have that spike in flu occurrence during the winter months.)

So, winter time vitamin D deficiency leads to calcium deficiency which leads to increased susceptibility to infection.


1. The form of calcium the body needs, through diet, is calcium lactate and/or calcium citrate. These are soluble forms of calcium. The type found in milk and other dairy products is the insoluble calcium phosphate.

Calcium citrate and calcium lactate are quickly converted by the body into calcium bicarbonate, which the heart needs when it’s been weakened. You need this soluble form of calcium to prevent viral diseases, especially those that include a fever. Fever is an indicator of a calcium deficiency. (Of course, there are other nutrients the body needs to recover from injury and disease, but calcium is a big one).

Calcium lactate is the calcium present mostly in vegetables– good sources are kale, bok-choy, collard greens, turnip greens, broccoli, etc. Spinach has a lot of calcium, but also has a high amount of oxalates, which prevent absorption of most of that calcium.

2. The role Vitamin D plays in calcium absorption explains why they add synthetic Vitamin D to milk… perhaps it aids in the absorption of calcium phosphate as well. In any case, I’d suggest avoiding synthetic Vitamin D and get it naturally instead. Get sunshine daily if you can (in moderation, of course), or get it from whole food sources. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, beef/chicken liver, eggs, and cod liver oil are good sources. I doubt many people intake enough synthetic vitamin D for it to be toxic, but I’d rather not find out what the effect of prolonged synthetic vitamin D intake is myself.


I was just gliding along a rolling paved road who knows where. The golden light of the morning and the lush green grass on either side of the road told me it was summer time, if not late spring. I was lost in thought– lyrics that don’t make much sense upon recalling– as I traveled up a mild incline.

At first I seemed alone, but eventually saw a woman traveling the opposite direction. She had a beauty that seemed to be from another time, perhaps a century past. I complemented her as she passed, and she gave an odd smile and continued briskly on.

Curious, I turned around and followed her as she descended into a thick canopy of trees. I hadn’t recalled traveling through this forrest, and wondered if I’d been moving along with my eyes closed for part of my journey.

Upon entering this forest, the mysterious woman was nowhere to be seen, and darkness rapidly descended. I moved along more cautiously, and soon became aware of what seemed to be the silhouettes of three hooded figures huddled closely together at the side of the road.

Curiosity again drew me near, despite the foreboding I sensed about these figures. Peering from their dark cloaks were small, wrinkled otherworldly faces with beady black eyes. As I came closer, their mouths dropped open, making a hissing sucking sound. They did not appear to do anything other than stare with a piercing, unearthly gaze.

These figures were altogether unsettling.


I awoke from the chilling visage of these figures to realize the sucking sound was my own breathing as my nose was congested, forcing me to try to breath through my mouth.

Sleep had fled, so I briefly rehearsed this dream to write it later, before seeking distraction to shake off the nightmare.

Dusting off the blog

You know… I don’t know that I care for my current layout / design. Not mine, of course, just a template I installed. But it does lend itself well to how neglected this blog has been, no? 😉 I should actually design my own… haven’t done that in years. (Just another reason why I have no business calling myself a designer, heh.)

Anyways, I’ve had the itch to write a bit lately, but mainly about things I’m learning (health / nutrition-related). I thought about doing a separate blog (I’ve done two different fitness blogs in the fast, but that was primarily a journal and secondarily a notebook for things I was learning and wanted to remember / reference), but I don’t know that I’m *that* committed. So, I’ll probably post the occasional tidbit now and then on this blog when something is particularly interesting to me.

And perhaps I’ll start posting other miscellaneous things here, since I’m increasingly less inclined to post things on more public forums like Facebook and Twitter. In any case… I’m surprised you’re reading this. 😉

Is this thing on?

Who cares if flowers are one of the most cliche photo subjects?

Missing me again.

Thinking is man’s only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one’s consciousness, the refusal to think—not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment—on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict “It is.” Non-thinking is an act of annihilation, a wish to negate existence, an attempt to wipe out reality. But existence exists; reality is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper. By refusing to say “It is,” you are refusing to say “I am.” By suspending your judgment, you are negating your person. When a man declares: “Who am I to know?” he is declaring: “Who am I to live?” –Ayn Rand (from Galt’s Speech, The New Intellectual)

Guilty. I know I think. I know I use my brain *sometimes*. But am I turning it on just long enough for basic necessities and then shutting it back off?

“My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant, total amazement.” Patricia, Joe Versus the Volcano

I spent some time looking at what my blog was like 8 years ago to the month. I loved blogging back then. I wrote about the most trivial things– whatever was on my mind. Posted a random photo if there wasn’t one to go with the subject of the post. Posted pics of food gratuitously. And I suppose what helped keep it going was the small but devoted community of people– family and friends– who read and commented and conversed. Most of them blogged, too. You spoke your mind and there were people who actually gave a damn, no matter how trivial.

Tangent to the original subject, but I don’t think I’ve ever placed enough value on friendship, come to think of it. Friends who helped keep me awake, helped keep my brain on, and perhaps even my heart beating.

I look at today and why don’t I write the mundane amusing experiences and details of life anymore? What has changed? Has everything been documented? Is life that repetitive that there’s nothing left to write? Nah… as mundane as life can be, as repetitive as it can be, the beauty is in the details. The brief moments. The conversations. The laughter. The heartache. And everything in between.

Could be that my “falling asleep” coincides with becoming more and more withdrawn from life in general. Or maybe they’re the same thing.

For life cannot always be made of grand experiences and massive break-throughs. But then, in a way, those aren’t terribly interesting anyways, are they?

And so I task myself with turning my brain back on. With waking up. With seeing beauty in the details. With striving to live in that state of constant, total amazement. With putting off intellectual laziness of all kinds. Not 100% sure how this is done… but life will be better if I do. Taking time is going to mean blogging. For me, anyways. Takes more work than a quick post to instagram or a status update on Facebook. Let’s make this something I can enjoy reflecting on in 8 years.

Speaking of change… I need to actually spend some time and make my own wordpress theme. I’m not feeling this particular theme right now other than the built in picture frames.