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25 Random Things [About my relationship]

This is a Valentines Day variation on the facebook meme; and my good friend Tim inspired me, so here goes.

This is kind of like the "25 random things about me" - except there are pre-decided questions and it's about you and your spouse, not just you. Come on, play along - inquiring minds want to know! ;-)

Just copy this post into your own notes & change the answers!

? What are your middle names? Something w/ an A Something w/ a B

? How long have you been together? Since late 2001. It could be August. Or September. Or December 25th because that is a date I'm unlikely to forget.

? How long did you know each other before you started dating? How do you define dating? You could say immediate. Or you could say one month.

? Who asked who out? I probably said "okay, we can go out on an official date."

? How old are each of you? umm... no idea

? Whose siblings do/ did you see the most? Probably hers.

? Do you have any children together? Do Cabbage Patch Kids Count?

? What about pets? Do Webkins Count?

? Did you go to the same school? No

? Are you from the same home town? No

? Who is the smartest? Me

? Who is the most sensitive? Her

? Where do you eat out most as a couple? Does pizza delivery count as eating out? If so, Uptown Pizza. Beyond that, it used to be Chilis except the food went to crap last year. Now it is more often Ruby Tuesday's. I love chains (much to the chagrin of the rest of my family )

? Where is the farthest you two have traveled together as a couple? WA or CA; I'm not sure which is farther.

? Who has the worst temper? Not sure. It is hard to get me mad, but when it happens hide. She is more easily onerous.

? Who does the cooking? Both.

? Who is more social? Her.

?Who is the neat freak? Neither, but if I had to choose... comparatively, that would be me

? Who is the more stubborn? Me

? Who wakes up earlier? We both do, but she wakes up earlier.

? Where was your first date? Chilis [I think] then off to Equator Club for a show

? Who has the bigger family? She does

? Do you get flowers often? Nope

? How do you spend the holidays? Depends which holiday. We usually see both families at some point

? Who is more jealous? Jealous of what?

? How long did it take to get serious? I think we'll start getting serious i about 15 years.

? Who eats more? Not sure

? Who does/ did the laundry? We both do our own.

? Who's better with the computer? Me

? Who drives when you are together? I think she probably drives more; but it depends on what we're doing. If it's her family, she drives. If it's my family I drive.

25 Things You Didn't Know about Jeffry Houser

I got tagged on Facebook by Tim; but writing such an important post over there seemed like a waste when I could put it here.

  1. I own a business currently in it's 10th year, give or take depending on the start date. First client was summer 1999. I left my day job in Fall of 1999. I incorporated in 2nd quarter of 2000.
  2. I've been in 3 serious bands; two of them focused on original music. Far Cry Fly was the most prominent of the bands; we were a duo consisting of guitar + hand drums.
  3. I've been working with a business coach for about a year in an attempt to change the business from straight services consulting to a product based business. I just launched the first product in a line of interface Components for Flex Developers
  4. I have a constant ache in my jaw on the right side. I've been devoting a lot of time to figuring out how to get rid of it. Last year I Got my wisdom teeth out. It helped, but the issue is not gone. This year I'm focusing on making my work-space more ergonomic. I just bought a new keyboard drawer. Unfortunately, w/ the drawer it appears that my keyboard is a lot higher than my mouse; which makes it hard to adjust the chair so I can reach both of them w/o straining. I expect a hydraulic desk from IKea may be in my future so that I can adjust the height of the desk easier; and spend some parts of the day standing.
  5. Occasionally I wrote posts for a group blog on company startups at OurStartupStory.com
  6. I'm pretty particular in contract negotiations, mainly because I had a lot of problems in my early years as a business owner.
  7. The Nintendo Wii is the first gaming console I've ever owned. I'm trying to fill in my cultural gap by using the virtual console to play games I never had. I bought two domains; bloggingmario.com and bloggingzelda.com; but never got around to releasing the sites. And I'm not sure I have time to blog them anyway. I still haven't plugged my way through the first Super Mario Brothers.
  8. If for some reason, I was inclined to spend $150 on a pair of fancy drinking glasses; I would consider them way to expensive to drink from. Especially when I have a perfectly serviceable green plastic cup that was free because a roommate left it when he moved out.
  9. I've written three books for Osborne McGrawHill on ColdFusion. I turned down three offers to write Flex books from different publishers. I'm now smart enough to ask "how big is the market; how many books do you expect to sell" I'm amazed at how many publishers told me "O'Rielly had books that sold well, so we can too." With such a copycat approach to market research, this industry deserves to go under.
  10. I produce a podcast on Adobe Flex. We've done 80 episodes in total and average ~2800 downloads per episode. I used to refer to each episode as my own personal hour of training.
  11. After eight years of dating; I'm engaged. T and I are fighting--in that way that engaged couples do--about how traditional our wedding should be. I think her best friend actual agrees with me more than her; which is odd. So far, we're gonna hike out to a waterfall for the ceremony and do a reception in the backyard.
  12. If I were in a band today, I'd do a lot of things completely different on the promotional front. It's not worth my time to do "new" stuff to promote the old band memorabilia, though. I miss songwriting w/ other people
  13. I love pizza. And Pepsi. Especially together. Pepsi is my Achilles heel. I drink too much. I do not drink coffee, though.
  14. I have a pay as you go cell phone, but rarely use it. The idea of a smart phone (and/or netbook) intrigues me for the sake of having a "always with me" ToDo list, but can't justify the related costs for "Everywhere Internet".
  15. I used to walk an hour a day, but got out of practice when my wisdom teeth were removed. The weather has prevented me from getting back into the swing of things.
  16. I had five wisdom teeth in there, don't ya know. Now they are in a pill bottle in my office. The same pills I took when healing from wisdom teeth removal surgery.
  17. I think American Idol trivializes the amount of work it takes to be successful in the music industry.
  18. I hate reality TV, but love slasher movies. The Friday the 13th remake has plenty of problems right off the bat. First, Jason wasn't in the original Friday the 13th; except for one tack on scene at the end. Second, Jason didn't wear the iconic mask until part 3. Third, they didn't get Kane Hodder to place Jason.
  19. I watch Smallville, Supernatural, Lost, Heroes, and The Simpsons. They are the only shows I catch "new". Anything else is just random surfing, often while eating. If a new Muppet Show is made, it is likely to get into my "playlist"
  20. I'm a huge fan of the band Nirvana. I collected a lot of bootlegs in the years following Kurt Cobain's suicide. I had ~110 tapes; which I gave away when I got out the trading game. I discovered later, that the person I donated my collection to gave them away when he got out of the trading game. I still have all my CDs (~50), which includes all the official releases and ~30 bootlegs. IT takes up a whole shelf on my CD case. I ripped the good stuff; about 7.5 hours of Nirvana music. Four of the CDs in my collection were lent to me back in the early days of CD-R. I did dupe them, but never got around to returning them. Sometimes I feel bad about it.
  21. I do not have cable or satellite or pay for any form of TV Service. I use bunny ears. I get a handful of digital channels, but have been meaning to get an antenna on the roof to improve signal.
  22. I worry about going broke, which is kind of foolish at the moment. I've come a lot closer to broke than I am now.
  23. I think people who didn't like the Star Wars prequels or Indy 4 don't realize that it is because they have changed; not because George Lucas' filmmaking got worse.
  24. I do a real bad job of keeping in touch w/ friends; as such I'm not close to a lot of people. Many people I was close to in the past I'm no longer close to now. There is no bad blood [that I'm aware of], life just gets in the way. Specially when focusing on business. This is why I don't want a wedding party.
  25. I'm a rather analytical person; and think through every decision I make; sometimes to an extreme.

Jeffry Houser's Holiday Letter

This went out to a bunch of people and maybe you've already seen it; but for posterity purposes; here is our 2008 Holiday Letter. We never got around to mailing out 2007's Holiday letter; so some of this stuff is 2007 related. I cut out a handful of the stuff that was T-only because it's my blog not hers.

Here is the letter:

We hope you have (or have had) a Happy Holiday season. Believe it or not we actually wrote a Holiday letter last year, but never got around to sending it. That is either the epitome of busyness or laziness. You decide!

Once again, we had another (two) year(s) of fun, games, and chocolate. Here's an update for those of you who read these letters!

First off, we're getting hitched. We've been dating for a couple years (T says: seven years) and Jeffry figured it was about time. We're still figuring out the best way to pull this off.

It was a pleasure to see many of you at our various events such as the Week Before Labor Day Party, the bowling bash, and the Thanksgiving weekend brunch. We'll do more next year, so if you want to be on our Evite list, please let us know.

When we say it was two year(s) of games, we weren't joking. Start with a collection of children's blocks (like the block box from Jeffry's parent's basement), a box of heavy rubber bands, and a smattering of Action Figures. Set up the blocks on a table, position the figures on them, and fire away with the rubber bands! It's like a video game from 30 years ago. This game was named Slingshot, by Tammi's adopted nieces.

We weren't content with tiny plastic people, so we searched for more intelligent prey. That led us to laser tag, a game that Jeffry had never played before. In laser tag you get to run around in a dark maze and get shot many times by a bunch of 12 year olds. To top that off, we collected some high tech toys in the form of a Nintendo Wii (& new large screen TV & some surround sound speakers). The Wii has a motion sensitive controller, which makes for a truly unique gaming experience. We have all the cool party games like Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, and Mario Kart.

Even though we love the seasons in Connecticut, we still had a chance to step away from the house quite a bit. December 06 we flew into Spokane WA the middle of nowhere to visit Jeffry's sister. The weather kept us indoors with no cable, Internet, or phone. The trip home was ~24 hours; and Jeffry swore he'd never travel again: A claim he eventually rescinded.

We had a sinfully delicious steak dinner in Omaha on Good Friday, a sandwich while floating kayaking rafting down the docile mighty Delaware River, and a meal in the round at Seattle's Space Needle. We flew to San Jose and visited Oakland and San Francisco in 2008. Jeff tried lamb at a Thai place in California and finally got to have an animal-style burger at In N Out. T helped her best friend move to Virginia.

For Valentine's Day, Jeffry was able to "acquire" a 96-serving sized box of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Therapy ice cream. Somehow, we got less than 25 servings from it, but they were all good till the last drop. We even got to see a pre-Broadway showing of Young Frankenstein the musical.

Jeffry has finally put some focus into DotComIt. He hired a business coach; and is paying that person a lot of money to ask, "What do you want to do with your life?" over and over again. The result of this is that Jeff is building a line of interface components for Flex Developers. Jeff also started an Internet radio show (AKA podcast) on Adobe technologies named The Flex Show. If you don't know what that means, you probably won't care to listen beyond the novelty value of "Hey, " know that guy".

T got formally accepted into grad school, and we expect this to end most of her social life for the next two years as she tries to complete her Masters in History. At the day job, T's school moved into a new building (again), but this time they moved into state of the art facility with working AC and heat. Along the way, Tammi switched from 6th grade to a multiage 4th/5th grade level. In May, Tammi got big thanks from co-workers for organizing Multicultural Day. The schedule was set up 2 ½ weeks before the event and most of the day ran smoothly.

Here is wishing you all the best in 2009.

Life since High School

I just joined facebook at the bequest of my fiance. It is weird to reconnect w/ people from many years ago. I'm not searching people out; they are finding me.

This is a [slightly modified] e-mail I just sent to my High School Physics lab partner. I haven't heard her name since graduation, ~15 years ago.

I went to Central Connecticut and got a computer science degree. I learned how to play guitar [and various other stuff] and dropped in and out of various bands; most prominently Far Cry Fly an acoustic duo. I started a bunch of companies, but my bread and butter is an IT consulting firm named DotComIt. We are in our 10th year. Even though I say "we" the only full time employee is me. I'm a programmer, so if you go to a site like amazon.com [or facebook], someone like me made it work. I've written 3 tech books, tons of articles, and have spoken at conferences / user groups all over the US. I produce a podcast for programmers at www.theflexshow.com and have quite a collection of impressive sounding monikers after my name.

For the most part, I don't think about high school. I wore my high school ring for a long time to remind me to make my life better. One day I took it off and that was the end of that. I tend to look forward if I can, not back.

I've been dating T for about 8 years or so. I got my wisdom teeth out and popped the question, so now I'm engaged.

"36 Questions About Me" MeMe

This comes from a LiveJournal friend; and I'm answering for everyone to see.

If you're on my friends list, I want to know 36 things about you. I don't care if we never talk, or if we already know everything about each other. Short and sweet is fine ... you're on my list, so I want to know you better!

01) Are you currently in a serious relationship?

Yes

02) What was your dream growing up?

I always wanted to do stuff w/ computers. Originally it was hardware, but somewhere along the line I got bit by the software big. I accomplished more than I ever wanted before turning 21.

03) What talent do you wish you had?

I wish I could fly. I wish I could connect with an audience through song.

04) If I bought you a drink what would it be?

Pepsi

05) Favorite vegetable?

Radishes

06) What was the last book you read?

I just finished a book on new rules of marketing and PR. I forget the exact title.

07) What zodiac sign are you?

Libra

08) Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? Explain where.

Nope

09) Worst Habit?

Not sure. I guess I'd have to say drinking to much Pepsi.

10) If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?

Walking is good, so it probably wouldn't cross my mind unless there was some reason to do so.

11) What is your favorite sport?

I liked playing soccer when I was younger.

12) Do you have a Pessimistic or Optimistic attitude?

Yes! I personally think I lean to the pessimistic side, however I've been called an optimist before too.

13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?

Probably hum to myself and tap out a beat on my chest as if it were a drum.

14) Worst thing to ever happen to you?

My first relationship ended rather suckily. I've failed more times at business than I care to count.

15) Tell me one weird fact about you.

The Wii is the first video game console I ever owned. I have seen and recorded hundreds of live concerts, many of them in "stealth" mode. I used to have one of the largest collections of live Nirvana music in the tape trading scene in back in the mid 90s; I gave away all my tapes when I got out of the trading game.

Is any of that weird?

16) Do you have any pets?

No, but lots of Webkinz, cabbage patch kids, and other assorted stuffed animals live in my house.

17) What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?

Probably ask why you were there.

18) What was your first impression of me?

Can't really answer this one generically. :-)

19) Do you think clowns are cute or scary?

Scary

20) If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?

Nothing.

21) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?

Conscience

22) What color eyes do you have?

My drivers license says Hazel. I'm pretty sure my eyes change color, though.

23) Ever been arrested?

Nope

24) Bottle or can soda?

I'll do either. A can is better because it has less quantity.

25) If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it?

10K isn't nearly enough to get me out of bed.

27) What's your favorite place to hang out?

I don't have one. I quite like playing Wii in my living room, coding in my office, or playing guitar in either of those two places.

28) Do you believe in ghosts?

Undecided.

29) Favorite thing to do in your spare time?

Play guitar.

30) Do you swear a lot?

Not if I can help it.

31) Biggest pet peeve?

I used to get bothered by people who say people you meet on-line don't constitute real relationships; but that hasn't happened in years. I get bothered by people who say "I can't do that...". Cleaning the kitchen before bed, then waking up to find a crumby counter and dirty dishes.

32) In one word, how would you describe yourself?

Quirky

33) Do you believe/appreciate romance?

I can appreciate it.

34) Favorite and least favorite food?

Favorite: Pepsi Least Favorite: Fish

35) Do you believe in God?

Can't prove it either way.

36) Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same for you?

Sure

An Experiment in self branding

I'm performing an experiment in self branding. I'm asking a bunch of people to pick 3 adjectives to describe me. Want to participate?

Just let me know the 3 adjectives that you'd choose.

Even if you don't think you know me well, you're welcome to participate.

I've already have 12 responses or so; but more is better.

I turned off comments on this, as to not taint your response w/ other people's responses. Please contact me through other means, such as the contact form on my web site or AIM (Reboog711), Gtalk (Reboog711) or Direct on Twitter.

How do you find me on the Internet?

Note: Update 1/15/2010

If you want to stay on top of what I'm currently doing or if you ever need to contact me, here are a few ways that you can do it:

  • My Personal Blog: If you're reading this, then you probably know about my blog. Various categories of the blog are syndicated to LiveJournal (Just my personal Feed), MXNA (Flex and ColdFusion feeds), FullAsAGoog (Flex and ColdFusion Feeds), ColdFusion Bloggers (ColdFusion Feed), Feed Squirrel (Flex and ColdFusion Feeds), and All Your Flex Are Belong to US (Flex Feed). My feed on Adobe AIR could be syndicated at some of these places, but my memory is hazy on such issues.

  • The Flex Show I produce a podcast focused on Adobe Flex called The Flex Show. My co-host is John Wilker of 360Flex fame. We interview people in the Flex Developer community and sometimes run down a list of interesting news items.
    Update: The Flex Show has a twitter account here

  • Twitter: Mini Blogging for the Web 2.0 age. You can find my twitter account here. I use the IM client which has been real flakey these days, so most of my twittering is to complain about it..
    Update: I use twitter all the time

  • ColdFusion Community: A Social networking site for ColdFusion Developers, created using the Ning network. Find my page here
    Update: I rarely use this site.

  • Flexcursion FlexCursion is another ning network designed for Flex Developers. Here is my account
    Update: I rarely use this site.

  • DotComIt: I own a Premium Adobe Solutions parter named DotComIt. We specialize in RIA Development with Flex and ColdFusion and have been in business for 10 years and counting.

  • Update:
    Flextras: DotComIt launched a line of user interface Flex Components under the name of Flextras. It is our main focus moving into 2010. Check them out or follow us on twitter or on meetup.com

  • Update:
    Facebook: I finally joined Facebook, and am consistently 30-50 friends behind my wife; so feel free to connect with me.

  • IM Accounts: It's not uncommon for people to contact me for questions via Instant Messaging. I'm Reboog711 on AIM, Gtalk, and Yahoo. I don't use Yahoo any more because of so much IM Spam, though. I don't mind the questions, but please respect my time.
    Update: I don't use Yahoo Messenger at all.

  • Adobe Community Expert: My Bio is finally up on the Adobe Community Expert Site. Reading it in retrospect, I think I need to make some minor modifications for consistency. Sometimes I listed links with 'http' other times I don't.
    Update: Lots of weird styles and html in that bio; I wonder if that is my fault or due to Adobe Groups.

  • Pownce: You can find me on pownce over here. I rarely use the account, though.
    Update: Pownce was shut down.

  • LinkedIn: I have a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is a professional networking site. I'm very protective of my LinkedIn network, so do not try to add me unless we have a previous relationship of some sort.

  • E-mail: I'm not foolish enough to post my e-mail address directly to a web page, but you can contact me through the contact forms on my various web sites here, or here, or here. I love to blog about questions that you have, so I encourage you to contact me and ask.

And there you have it. I wasn't sure where to categorize this post, but decided to select the syndication categories.

How do you plan to make yourself uncomfortable in 2008?

I once read somewhere that you should do things that make you uncomfortable. I took this to mean that if you grow by doing new things. Doing new (and learning) things makes you grow. If you stick with the familiar, you often stagnate. By all accounts, 2007 was a great for me and DotComIt. This is my obligatory "look forward / look back" post.

Here are some of the things that gave me the willies this year:

  • I started The Flex Show with famous RIA Blogger Ryan Stewart. If you want to talk about unfamiliar territory, this was it. I don't talk if I don't have to, so filling up 30 minutes of space with [who knows what] scared me. It still does today, and I feel a little bit of nervousness before every interview! Next year, will be equally uncomfortable as I find and train a new co-host, start soliciting sponsorships, and add video to the mix.
  • I learned Adobe Flex. I'd been focused on ColdFusion for so long, this was a big step outside my comfort zone. Especially when I started contributing to posts on the Flex Coders list. I think there is a contingent of people whose purpose in the world is to make me eat my words. 2007 was a good year for them and they spent a lot of time on the list, correcting my posts and recommendations. It was quite humbling to go from a "Big fish" in the ColdFusion world to a "little fish" in the Flex world. Thankfully a lot of programming knowledge is easily transferrable. I learned Flex a lot easier than I learned ColdFusion, which I learned a lot quicker than iCat, which I learned a lot quicker than Lotus Notes, etc... I also threw some .NET and AIR development into the equation last year, which makes for an interesting mix. 2008 will be a year of a lot more Flex for me.
  • I equate the "butterflies in my stomach" feeling with the diving board at the YMCA where I took swimming lessons growing up. This year I took quite a different sort of dive, and hired a business coach. I haven't decided whether I like the process or not, but I'm sticking with it for now. Greg and I speak routinely and he has pushed me to give focus to DotComIt. For the past 8 years, I've used DotComIt as a "jumping board" or other ideas and ventures. This is the first time I'm investing back into it. It's hard to think that 1 year ago today, was investigating a biz opportunity unrelated to programming or computers.
  • Speaking of DotComIt, I expect to release a line of commercial Flex Components next year. The purpose is to extend the Flex SDK to help developers create more effective interfaces. I wanted to chat with people about my ideas, and ended up sponsoring Flex Camp Boston. Flex Camp was a 1 day event that gave me the ability to get feedback on the things jumping around in my head. I'm still in the planning phases, but expect to start the ball rolling in 08. I'll blog more specifics when I know them.
  • I decided that, since I've run my own business for 8 years (and change), it's completely okay for me to be quirky. Instead of denying my quirkiness, I'm going to embrace it!

So, what have you done outside your comfort zone?

What I'm Thankful For ( A bit late)

I took last week off for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Did you miss me?

Thinking in retrospect, this is what I'm thankful for.

  • I'm thankful that I got to do The Flex Show with RIA Blogger and Adobe Evanglist Ryan Stewart for almost a full year. Ryan stepped down due to time constraints. You can still hear him on the RIA Weekly podcast by Redmonk, which he just started. I wish him the best of luck.
  • I'm thankful of every client that has hired DotComIt over the past year. It's been a great year and we've had a fantastic focus on Flex development. I'm looking forward to branching out into other avenues over the next year.
  • I'm thankful to my business coach, Greg Balanko Dickson for putting up with six months of waffling and indecision before I actually decided on a focus and direction for DotComIt.
  • I'm thankful that my GF convinced me to get a Wii; and I'm thankful that Dave gave me a great deal on his used one. We are truly having a lot of fun with it.
  • I'm thankful that Brian gave DotComIt the opportunity to give away a Wii at at Flex Camp Boston. You really should register. And put "The Flex Show" in the referral box.
  • I'm also thankful my house didn't have any major maintenance issues this year.

Getting Ready to Go Home

T and I are getting ready to check out of the 360Flex hotel. The conference ended a few days ago, but we extended it into a mini vacation.

I saw a bunch of stuff, but in brief. The plane doesn't leave until 12:55 am on Sunday morning. Were going to catch the Young Frankenstein musical in its pre broadway run. Other than that, we're going to eat and walk around aimlessly before heading to the airport around 8.

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