The Realm of the Verbal Processor

Jarvis's Ramblings

6th Annual MMS Bible Study

Every year at MMS for the last five years a group of us have met each morning before breakfast for a short time of Bible discussion, prayer, etc. The last couple of years, Rod Trent has helped us get a meeting room at the event…am expecting he will be able to do so again this year. I will post more details about the location and specific times closer to the event. In the past we have met for about a half hour while allowing time to grab breakfast and get to the first meeting. Probably will end up being something like 7:15-7:45 or 7:30-8:00 Monday-Friday. Might need to adjust a bit this year since both of my speaking sessions are currently scheduled for 8:30am!

Look forward to seeing you there. If you are planning on coming, please leave a comment below or email me via my contact form.

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February 14, 2013 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, MMS, Personal | 7 Comments

Sam Disaster #2

A few months ago I wrote about the great peanut butter disaster in our house…Sam’s mad dash through the house flinging peanut butter. Today was what I will now refer to as “Sam Disaster #2”.

While working from home in my office I hear my wife shriek. I quickly run upstairs where I find her in the bathroom with water running everywhere. She had sent Sam to go wash his hands while she fixed his lunch…ironically, a peanut butter sandwich. :-) Sam had washed his hands, plugged the sink, left the water running wide open, closed the bathroom door, and climbed up to the table for lunch. I honestly don’t think he was trying to be bad…he was just completely oblivious to what he had just done.

While not quite as bad as the “Wet Bandit” scene from Home Alone, it was in the same ballpark. Water all over the counter and floor. Heck…one of the drawers in the vanity had even filled up…had to siphon the water out of it to keep from making an even bigger mess. That drawer was the one that used to hold my electric razor…it was submerged. I hadn’t been planning to replace that anytime soon.

Stay tuned for Sam Disaster #3…I’m sure it will come soon enough.

November 19, 2012 Posted by | kids, Personal | 2 Comments

Latest Health Update

A bit more than a year ago I posted about my wife and I both reaching our weight loss goals. I also stated that the goal was to be within five pounds of our target weight a year later. I never got around to posting the update when a year rolled around, so this is the year + three months update. Julie and I are both hovering right at our target weight…within a pound or two on a given day. Weight lost and maintained for more than a year! I recently had to renew my driver’s license…very cool to see the difference there…the pic below shows a twenty pound difference…but doesn’t show the extra fifteen that I had gained between those two pictures!

Got more really good news this morning. My employer had a health screening at the office. Last year I got a good cholesterol report…down from the 220 range to 179. This morning I was at 132 for my total…with my good cholesterol at 65…VERY good news!

PhotoScan519

October 29, 2012 Posted by | Health, Personal | Leave a comment

Running With My Daughter

AutumnWoodsClassic2012I am off the charts proud of my 13 year old daughter Laurel! The two of us have been running together for the last six months or so. One of our goals was to run the Autumn Woods Classic 5K this October. The AWC route is a pretty tough course with a lot of hills…not a fast/flat course. Not a course that you would ordinarily choose if you are gunning for a personal record (PR). The race was this morning.

Laurel’s goal was to run in the 28 minute range. Her previous official PR was around 29:30, but she had run this route on a training run with me in about 28:30, so she knew it was possible. She crushed her previous PR. Her time was 26:10…which was fourth place in her age category (93rd finisher out of 547 total)! As her Dad and her “coach” I simply could not be more proud of her. I can’t stop smiling. I was expecting in the 28 minute range…and was completely shocked when she came across so much faster. I watched her “kick” at the end of the race…she dug deep to sprint out the end…it was very impressive.

My goal heading into the race was to finish in under an 8:00/mile pace (24:49). I met my goal by finishing in 24:25 (55th overall). As far as I can remember, that is a PR for me as well. VERY cool that we both hit personal records on the same day! This time next year, I’ll probably be fighting to keep up with her!

BTW…a big thanks to Tim Benjamin for coming out this morning and taking pictures of us before, during and after the race! Tim actually ran out on the course to take shots of us with about 3/4 mile left in the race. Then he kept running ahead of Laurel and taking shots of her over the last leg of the race. We got some awesome shots out of that.

October 13, 2012 Posted by | Personal, Running | 1 Comment

Online Backup on SkyDrive

For a long time I have been a proponent of backing up your personal data to an online location. I know many people will backup data to external hard drives…but that has always caused me concern because of the possibility of losing both the original and the backup in a fire/theft/natural disaster. Over the years I have gone through a number of different backup options and have switched for various reasons. I am in the process of switching again (the initial upload is currently taking place). For a while I was using Mozy.com because it was simple and reasonably cheap ($6/month). About a year or so ago I switched to CrashPlan from Code42.com…mainly because they were significantly cheaper. Both of these products are very easy to use and easily configurable.

My problem with them…and especially with CrashPlan is that it is a memory hog. Mozy is arguably not terrible…but it was still using approximately 70MB or RAM on my wife’s computer..while it was sitting idle. CrashPlan was a LOT worse…it was using between 250-300MB of RAM while doing absolutely nothing. That is simply unacceptable…which got me re-evaluating options again.

Earlier this year, Microsoft did an update to SkyDrive that allows a couple of new features that make it a viable personal backup solution. The key features are:

  • A decent amount of free space (existing SkyDrive users could have 25GB for free…new users get 7GB free)
  • The ability to purchase up to 100GB of additional space for a very reasonable price
    • 20GB added to your free space is $10/year
    • 50GB added to your free space is $25/year
    • 100GB added to your free space is $50/year
  • A desktop app to make copying to/from SkyDrive very very easy

Here is how I implemented it on my computer and my wife’s computer. (Note…do this at your own risk…if you do something wrong…or if I don’t explain it clearly…or whatever else…you take the risk on yourself. If you lose data, don’t blame me…I warned you!)

First…sign up for a Microsoft account at Outlook.com. This will get you both an email address (that you can choose to either use or not) as well as access to your free space. From there you can “Manage Storage” to add additional space. From the SkyDrive site, look in the bottom left corner and click “Get SkyDrive apps” which will take you to a page to install the Windows Desktop app. (Note that they also have apps for Windows Phone, iPhone/iPad and Android.) When installing the app, it will ask for the location to save SkyDrive files into (the default is c:\users\username\SkyDrive). Instead of accepting the default option, I chose to have it use D:\SkyDrive. I then changed all of my “special folders” (My Docs, My Pics, My Music, Favorites) to point to D:\SkyDrive\Documents, D:\SkyDrive\Favorites, etc. Now…I just save as normal to Docs/Pics/Favorites…and they are automatically uploaded to SkyDrive. Nothing to think about…nothing to configure.

To change the location of the special folders, open up the c:\users\username folder, then right click one of the special folders (like “My Music”). Flip to the “Location” tab and select “Move…”. Choose the “d:\SkyDrive\Music” folder (change to reflect where you put the SkyDrive folder). Allow Windows to move the data to the new folder. This could take a while, so be patient and let it continue.

Another way of doing this would be to use the Junction Point feature of Windows. This is basically a pointer to another folder…so you would still create the d:\SkyDrive (or wherever you wanted to put it), then create Junction Points that map “d:\SkyDrive\Music” to “C:\users\username\music”. Then anything you put in to “My Music” (which is really in the C:\users\username\music) would also appear to be in D:\SkyDrive\Music…which means it would get backed up by SkyDrive

There are advantages and disadvantages to this backup method. Some of them are:

  • Limited storage if you have more than 100GB of data to back up. I would expect them to expand this later, but right now…you have a max of 107GB (125 if you signed up in time).
  • You have to choose one “root” folder to backup…you can’t pick various folders around the drive…although you CAN create “Junction” points to back up other folders…so this isn’t
  • Very low footprint…even in the height of backup up 50+GB of data, the RAM used by SkyDrive on my wife’s computer was at most 34MB…it was commonly below 30MB.
  • You have full access to the data from you computer as well as your mobile device (Windows Phone, iPhone/iPad, Android).
  • You can also configure the SkyDrive app to allow you access to the rest of your computer.

BTW…I did take a screenshot of the RAM usage while both CrashPlan and SkyDrive were running. Any wonder why I didn’t want to continue using CrashPlan?

TaskList

September 2, 2012 Posted by | computers, Personal, tech | 2 Comments

The Mind of a Three Year Old

Would love to know what goes through my son’s mind sometimes…

Yesterday I went upstairs to grab lunch and found my wife and oldest daughter on their hands and knees in the living room with baby wipes in their hands. My younger daughter was making sure that my son stayed IN the bathtub. Turns out that he had gone into the pantry, grabbed the jar of peanut butter, carried it to the living room, stuck his whole hand inside, then ran through the house shaking the peanut butter covered hand.

To say that there was peanut butter on every square foot of the path he ran is not an exaggeration. It took three of us almost an hour to just clean up the worst of the mess. Then Julie went to pick up a carpet cleaner. Many many hours of work caused by a less than thirty second mad dash of a peanut butter spraying three year old.

And I wish I had some hope that he wouldn’t do it again…but unfortunately I don’t.

August 15, 2012 Posted by | kids, Personal | Leave a comment

MMS 2012 Bible Study Time Change

Just a quick note for those interested in the morning Bible Study we are having at MMS 2012. We decided to meet at a slightly different time for the rest of the week to allow for time to get to breakfast each morning. We will be meeting from 7:15-7:45am each morning of MMS in Marco Polo 702 which is basement level of the Venetian convention center.

See you in the morning!

April 16, 2012 Posted by | MMS 2012, Personal | Leave a comment

Joined the Twitosphere

I finally broke down and joined Twitter. A good friend (Dennis Brockman) tried to get me to do it a few years ago and I thought the whole concept was absurd. I still don’t know how much I will use it, but I do have an active account. Funny thing is that the account has been active since mid-February and I have a grand total of one follower. Dennis…it may have taken a while, but I finally did open a Twitter account…but don’t get your hopes up…you aren’t going to win the Mac argument with me anytime soon! Winking smile

If anyone cares, I am @VerbalProcessor.

April 16, 2012 Posted by | Personal | Leave a comment

5th Annual MMS Bible Study

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since the inaugural MMS Bible Study. Every year at MMS for the last four years a group of us have met before breakfast each morning for a brief time of Bible study, prayer, discussion, etc. The first three years we met in someone’s room…most of the time in Rod Trent’s room. Last year Rod helped us actually get a meeting room at the event to meet in which worked out really well. Rod came through again this year!

I’m still nailing down what the time will look like this year (content that is), but we will be meeting Monday-Friday from 7:30am-8:00am in Marco Polo 707 at The Venetian. We will be wrapping up no later than 8:00 each day to allow time to grab breakfast and get to the first meeting.

Look forward to seeing you there. If you are planning on coming, please leave a comment below or email me via my contact form.

Here’s a pic of the fifteen of us that were there on Wednesday of MMS 2011.

MMSBibleStudyDay2

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Jesus, MMS, MMS 2012, Personal | 9 Comments

Weight Loss: Goal Achieved

Back in May Julie and I made dramatic changes to our diet and exercise. For me that meant that french fries were no longer an entire food group. I’ve probably eaten more produce in the last three months than I had in the previous three years…and that might not be much of an exaggeration. It meant that exercise actually happened instead of just being thought about. I set two goals at the time. The initial goal was to lose 15 pounds by my 40th birthday…which I did. The overall goal was to get back to the weight I was when my eight year old was born. Julie’s goal was to lose the baby weight from Sam that simply would not go away.

I achieved the second goal yesterday! My net loss is 34 pounds. I’ve dropped over 6 inches off my waist, and my heart rate has dropped from 91 beats per minute to 65. A couple of weeks ago my son called me “Skinny Daddy” when I picked him up from childcare are church. I actually might need to get my wedding ring resized because it is dangerously loose. Julie hit her target weight a week ago…I’m really proud of her! We are both within four pounds of our high school weight!

Our new goal is to maintain this weight…to be within five pounds of where we currently are on August 11, 2012.

August 12, 2011 Posted by | Health, Personal | 3 Comments

A Healthier Me

Back in the middle of May, Julie and I were talking about both of us wanting to lose some weight. I had put on 35 pounds since our daughter Marybeth was born eight years ago. Julie had significantly less weight than that to lose. :-) I came in from work the day after that conversation, and Julie was walking out the door to go for a run as I was walking in. That motivated me to also go for a walk/run that day. And quite honestly, before I started that run I prayed a very sincere prayer for God to not let me have a heart attack while running…I was honestly nervous. That night I stepped on the scales to see what my starting weight was. The initial goal I set for myself that night was “15 by 40”…fifteen pounds by my fortieth birthday…which was 6 1/2 weeks away. That goal seemed within the realm of possibility, but it was one that I was going to have to work very hard to achieve. It was clearly going to take a lot of work.

I started eating healthier and exercising daily that week. One week later I started an official diet and exercise program that a coworker (thanks Eric!) had told me about. It sounded like the hokiest fad diet I had ever heard of…the book is even bright pink. But I knew that he had lost a ton of weight fast…which was exactly my goal.

Today is my fortieth birthday. Final result of the last 6 1/2 weeks…I have lost a total of 21.2 pounds! None of my pants fit anymore. My belt is tightened up to the last notch. I’m wearing clothes very comfortably that I haven’t been able to fit into in over two years. Overall I’m feeling fantastic…no back pain…I’m sleeping better…I have more energy. Instead of walking over half of a one mile walk/run, I recently averaged under 9.5 minutes/mile for a three mile run. Not blazing fast by any means…but exciting considering where I was just six weeks ago!

I’m still continuing the diet and exercise. Continuing to burn fat. My eventual goal is to get back to the condition I was in when Marybeth was born…so approximately 14 more pounds to go! One of the very nice things about this particular diet is that it gets you eating healthier. I’ve never eaten so much produce in my life! It also changes how you think about eating so that you don’t gain it all back after you reach your target weight. It’s actually very clear…you will be on a “diet” the rest of your life. If you go back to how you were eating before, you are obviously going to get right back into the same (bad) shape you were in before! It still sounds like a hokey fad diet…but the results don’t lie!

Another cool thing is that my wife and brother both joined me on the same diet and are also seeing awesome results. I’ve thanked her personally…and I’m going to thank her publically now. Julie…thank you for going for that run back on May 16. Don’t know why, but nothing has ever motivated me to exercise like seeing you walk out to go run that day.

June 30, 2011 Posted by | Personal | , , | 3 Comments