Dec 30, 2008

iPhone Case Fail

Amy's Agent 18 iPhone case totally failed yesterday. Broke in two and literally jettisoned the iPhone. Lame.

Imagine wearing a bike helmet and getting in to a minor accident like hitting a low hanging branch on a tree. But what if the helmet broke in to two pieces on impact and actually propelled your head in to the tree branch harder?

That is what happened to me. Amy's iPhone fell out of her pocket from about 1 1/2 feet (she was getting out of her car). The case broke in to two pieces and literally jettisoned the iPhone on to the pavement. The iPhone still works but it is chipped and scratched on the back.

Dec 24, 2008

What Being a Christian Means to Me this Christmas

I'm not what you would call an overt Christian. I don't believe in foisting ones religious views on others and I don't blame people for a lack of faith in Christianity. I especially don't try and push my beliefs on people of entirely different faiths. If you believe in God, that's good enough. If you don't, well I guess that is good enough too but I'll pray for you. ;-)

The Christian faith isn't without it's problems too. We Christians haven't always turned the other cheek. I guess it is a bit like being a Democrat or Republican... there are good and bad eggs in every bunch. But I digress. Bottom line, it isn't possible to change someone's mind about politics or religion in one conversation or a hundred for that matter. So this isn't about convincing someone to believe in God or Jesus. It's about sharing something I thought about. And I think it applies to anybody, no matter their faith.

When people talk about the Christianity they say a lot about sin and rules and heaven and hell and how Jesus forgives. Blah, blah, blah... right? Trust me, it gets old for me too. Besides, that isn't what being a Christian is about. Not at all. At least not for me anyway.

It is about many things. For me the most important are; living your life one day at a time, appreciating what you have right now, and loving those around you while they're here. We run around this world looking toward the future and lamenting the past. We obsess about what will come next and wallow in guilt over things that happened years ago.

All the while we never appreciate what we have right now, in the moment.

This year is the first year in my entire life that I have ever been able to do this. I don't know what clicked this year but I believe it has a lot to do with the people around me. The love that surrounds me makes me stop and look. My heart is open. My mind is focused on the moment.

But it's hard to stay focused and I drift in and out. I think that is where faith comes in. It isn't some scripture that says if I do this and don't do that I will be saved. It isn't some karma piggy bank that I can fill up and withdraw from when I need it. It is a pause. It is way for me to look at my life from a different perspective. Jesus is a mirror that reflects the good in this world.

It is my sincere hope, that no matter what your perspective, you find a way to glimpse the wonderful person you are and the amazing world you live in. It is a fleeting view and you may go for days and even years without seeing the light it brings but it is a beautiful one. It doesn't matter whether you believe in God, Buddha, Allah, Science, or just Luck... it's there. You just need to look.

Nov 13, 2008

Running with Data: How data can inspire

Today I took advantage of the sunny weather and went for a run around the water front. It was nothing short of amazing. Crisp Autumn air, leaves changing, and Portland for a backdrop. It all helps distract from the searing pain in your lungs and the acid in your veins.

Of course, I am not a runner. I've been taking better care of myself for the last few months mainly by going to the gym and playing soccer, but I am not a runner. In my opinion, I'd rather play a sport than run on a treadmill. However, I've gotten in to it lately.

My new perspective on running started when I started running with a friend. My good friend Ryan Russell and I started doing intervals at the local park every now and then. Torturing yourself... er, training with a partner really changes things up. You can't slack off, you push yourself harder, and you learn new challenges. The difference is amazing.

Another factor is my new Nike+ wristband (bought with a gift certificate from my awesome soccer team). It is a little wristband with an LED display that hooks up with a sensor in your shoe to tell you pace, distance, time etc. It plugs in to your computer to sync up with the Nike+ web site. The web site has all kinds of useful data about your runs, coaching programs, and ways to train with your friends and community.

But the tech is just the beginning. The real beauty is what happens when you run. It is like having a partner their to push you. Glancing down at your pace tells you that you need to pick it up. Stop lights and slow pedestrians become the enemy. Picking up the pace might help make that walk signal. Knowing you've only got a few more yards to go to get a 3 mile run in gives you the added motivation to keep running.

When you upload the data to your computer and comparing it shows you are making progress You start thinking about how to fit your schedule around the next run. You may notice the little smurf lookin' guy to the right. That's my "mini" and although he is yet another online avatar, he gets pretty amped when I upload a new run.

Right now running is a great way to release energy. I'm hoping I'll be this pumped in a couple months.

Nov 4, 2008

Obama Wins!

Tears in My Eyes

This country just took a step in the right direction. All the fear, lies, doubt, frustration, and lost hope of the last 8 years have fallen away and the promise of Barack Obama shines on us.

I look at my 3 children and can imagine a bright future for them. I can imagine a country where tolerance, education, and world peace are a reality. This is an historic day.

God has certainly blessed this country.

Oct 24, 2008

I am one of those a-holes who gets his shoes shined.

Today at lunch with Jeremy Conn I was approached by a man. At first, I thought he was going to ask for spare change. He surprised my by asking me if I wanted a free shoe shine. You see, his theory was that if someone got up in his chair it might inspire someone else to get their shoes shined. Although I kind of like my shoes a little on the dull and scuffed side, I reluctantly agreed.

Immediately I was struck by how conspicuous one is when sitting in a shoe shine chair. I've always walked by businessmen getting their shoes done and thought, "What an a-hole." Now I have become what I hate. Slowly, I began to relax and ignore the glares and questioning looks from passers by. I asked the shoe shiner, lets call him Shoe Shine Joe, how he got in to the biz. Joe proceeded to tell me the history of the last 15 years of business. Quite a tale of working at whatever he could find to do from taking pictures of G.I.s with strippers in Texas to shining in shoes in front of a western store where he got his start.

I'll never do it again, but I guess I can say that I have the experience now.

Oct 16, 2008

Don't Tell Me About Your iPhone

Hey iPhone owners! I love it when you come up to me and totally freak out when you find out I don't have an iPhone. Yes, I know about it. Yes, I am like, Steve Jobs' bitch and a total Mac Fanboy. Yes, most of you use Macs because I told you that you should buy one.

But I don't have an iPhone because I can't get out of my T-Mob contract until June with paying like $200 per line (we have 3 lines). Yes, I knew about the text messaging rate hike but I didn't try to do it until it was too late.

So I made you a gift! A little iPhone desktop picture you can look at when you are abou tto show me a cool iPhone app that does something I could really benefit from. Or when we walk by the Apple store and we talk about how I really need one and I should just eff my marriage and just do it. Or when you're complaining about some problem with your iPhone like it won't make phone calls or something stupid and useless like that.

I'll be fine in June. Only 8 months to go!


Oct 12, 2008

My One Percent

My friend Ryan Russell came up with a new idea for sustainability. It is a way for consumers (you an me) to help offset the environmental impact of our consuming. The waste created by the goods we consume is ruining our planet. Getting the new iPod or new style jacket every season has filled up our landfills and is beginning to spill over in to the environment. provides consumers with a way to give 1% of their income to environmental charities. It is a small contribution for each individual, but multiplied by millions it can make a profound difference.

Check it out at:

Sep 29, 2008

Office Hack Day

Here is an interesting idea from the folks at Meebo: Office Hack Day. I've done this before but they mix it up with non-tech related hacks too.

Devoting a day to a community based project has many benefits. It gives everyone a chance to break away from the monotony of everyday work and come together in a collaborative way. We spend a lot of time working individually so it is good to remember that a good part of our work is based on collaboration.

In the end, you get a refreshing new perspective on things, a little fun and relaxation, maybe learn something, plus you get to solve a problem or execute an idea that has been lingering around.

Here is the original bpost:

Sep 22, 2008

Portals Commentary

Last night, while Amy finished the last book in the Twilight series (a virus that has consumed my family), I decided to take a break from Rock Band and Half Life 2 and revisit Portal.

Portal is by far the best game ever. Even Yatzee agrees that this short game included in the Orange Box is the complete shiznit. I've already played it through and have unlocked all the bonus levels and other stuff. One of the bonuses is developer commentary. Having already tried doing some of the bonus levels (like timed versions of existing levels) and realizing I had retained absolutely no memory of any of the levels I decided I should just play through the game again. This time, I would play through the developer commentary version.

This is something all game developers should do. There are little word balloons scattered about the levels. When you target one and hit the "X" button a developer commentary starts. Every one from designers to developers to the voice of GLaDOS chime in on a variety of subjects. I was amazed at some of the insightful things they learned about games and players. Everything from technical video performance issues of viewing a portal through a portal to modifying the level design to teach players about different constructs.

Portal is essentially a training game. A training game with some pretty incredible concepts to get your head around. Kind of like trying to get people to understand on-access scanning or the meaning of their web traffic data. We can learn a lot from the developers at Valve. Some of the user experiences we design include very complex concepts that stand in the way of our user's enjoyment of our products. How can you see the value of something if you can't set it up? Moreover, how can train people to use your product correctly (and more efficiently) if they don't understand how it works.

Check out the YouTube video (there are a few) or better yet, go out and buy a copy of The Orange Box and play Portal to access the commentary. You can expense it for user research!

Sep 5, 2008

Sep 4, 2008

Yes We Can

Amy and I have spent the last few nights watching both the Democratic and Republican conventions. Conventions aren't really very useful for forming your opinion on a candidate, as they are filled with generalizations and vague "facts" and plans and not real policy, but they can be entertaining. I remember participating in the mock-Democratic Convention in high school and it seemed to have little to do with the speeches. It was more about building a solid platform from all of the different caucuses.

Watching the conventions on-demand versus live has highlighted this difference in perspective. Watching pundits comment on amplified rhetoric was comical. It points out the severe lack of journalism in this country. I find it ironic that bloggers are criticized as not being true journalists while pundits and newspaper writers drone on about what really amounts to the climactic end to a pep rally. But, it was entertaining and I am sincerely inspired right now.

In the end, I am very excited about Obama. He is what this country needs. He and the Dems are resonating with me again. REAL change. REAL. And when Obama talks about it, you can tell he isn't just talking about him. He is talking about the country changing. It goes beyond his presidency. He talks about his opponents with respect, with an eye toward working with them in the future.

Meanwhile, the RNC reads like a Comedy Central roast of the Democratic Party. The sneers and jokes aimed at the Dems got laughs and roars from the crowd. But I think they need to realize that they aren't just making fun of Obama. They are making fun of ME. I am a Democrat. I believe in a different way of doing things. Right or wrong, I disagree. And in this country my opinion counts no matter who wins an election. The GOP may have strengthened their ranks with a battle cry, but they certainly didn't win me over.

It actually makes me kind of sad. I love John McCain. I would have voted for him had he run against Kerry. Seriously. To hear him and his party speak so poorly of their fellow Americans shatters my respect for him and the GOP. I can only hope that the Dems don't respond with the same kind of tactics.

After speeches from both conventions I was once again puzzled by the Republican offering. From Bush's references to Iraq and 9/11 and the story of Petty Officer Monseniour I heard a message of fear. John McCain will keep us safe from the terrorists, it seemed to say. Really? I don't feel any safer or any more in danger than I did 8 years ago. Has fighting the war in Iraq made a difference?

When I listen to the Democratic platform, I can't see why anyone wouldn't want it (and NO, it isn't going to bankrupt families to pay for it). While the Republicans are hating on Obama, readying the drills for the arctic, and once again providing more for the rich the Dems are saying, "yeah we might need to drill a bit but we need to invest in alternatives, the rich need to start paying more taxes, and let's honor McCain's service."

Maybe the fact that I can't even fathom why anybody would be a Republican (and I am sure the feeling is mutual) is the reason we have so much to lose. I dont understand the logic of half the country. This is a serious concern. The GOP is positioning itself as the party of the rural poor (Jimmy Carter must be livid) with Palin and looking to pit itself against the money hungry elitist Democrats. I can't comprehend why anyone would buy this story.

I came in to these conventions apathetic. I leave inspired and hopeful. Just remember when you make snide jokes about Obama or the Democrats you are criticizing what I BELIEVE in. I believe it with my heart and soul. What would you do if I made light of your beliefs?

Aug 21, 2008

Olympics: I Weep for Nike Running Suit Designers

UPDATE: This is awesome! Bob Costas just commented about how the USA had their country letters written on their tags with magic marker. Bob Costas feels my pain.

I just got done watching the US relay team blow the final race by dropping the baton. Maybe they dropped it because because they were secretly lamenting the unfortunate disfigurement of their uniforms.

Beautifully designed, probably tailored, technically engineered uniforms. Probably worth a couple thousand dollars each. Then they are plastered with a simple paper number held on by safety pins (SAFETY PINS!!!). For some reason the USA's uniforms don't even say "USA." The letters are handwritten on. The women's half shirt uniforms have less room so the paper covers up the lettering on the front. The men aren't much better, instead of covering it up it says "USA" twice (maybe trying to start a half-hearted chant?).

So, to the designers and engineers at Nike, I am sorry. I mean, in the end we're all subjected to asinine decisions like this no matter what we design. I guess I just wish that it didn't have to be at the olympics.

Jan 15, 2008

New Pics and a Vid

Set up a .mac web page and will be updating this instead of the gallery. We're doing great! Little less sleep, but he is an angel.

Jan 13, 2008

(Carter says, HI!!!

Let me introduce the newest Team Stewart rookie, Carter Wesley Stewart. He signed a lucrative lifetime contract on January 12th, 2008. He weighs in at 9lbs. 10oz. (which should give a good advantage over most drivers... Robbie Gordan has complained already). He is 22 inches log and has dark brown hair. He is a Stewart through and through, from his chin to his oddly folded butt-crack.

Although the negotiation process was long and difficult, President of Recruiting, Amy Stewart, is doing great and thinks Carter will take Team Stewart to the next level in Motorsport.

Please click here to see a gallery of the celebration or copy the URL:

Jan 12, 2008

The Whole Fam...

The whole fam is here. We're missing Grandma Julie and Grandpa Dave and Grandpa Mike should be here soon, but so far we've got a pretty full house. Tony, Hillary, and Parker are here. Grandma Janice, Grandpa Wade, and Alicia are here. Jessie and Kelsey are here although Kelsey is hiding in the closet for some reason. Tony says I shouldn't blog about this but he is full of crap and should not be looking at what I am typing.

Anywhoo, they gave Amy some pitocin so she should start laboring in earnest anytime soon. It is hard to wait.


The epidural nurse came in for a pre-epi interview. Hi-Jung. What a character. She came in saying, "Aaaaaaammmyyyyyy!... like a ghost!" Hehehe. Then she got all cranky because we didn't have ID bracelets. She couldn't leave with Amy's blood until we got them.

We're not getting the epidural, but Amy wants to keep her options open. Doing the interview and blood sample now will make it faster to get it later.

Tony is here.


They broke Amy's water to get things going. Amy is trying to get some rest and I am bloggin'. The rest of the fam is hanging in the waiting room. Tried to get iChat video working with Tony but it must be firewalled.

I can't believe we're having a baby! I am filled with emotion. I fully expect my mind to be blow'd by the end of the day.

At the hospital


Go For Launch

It's 7AM and Betty is loaded and idling in the driveway. We're headed to St. V's.