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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
  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; and; 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.

How can I make today better than yesterday?

Adobe is reducing headcount of 600 people; about 8.5% of their workforce. Pratt and Whitney is laying off 350 people, most of them in Connecticut. Yesterday I came across a layoff scorecard on CNET News to talk about layoffs in the tech industry. I'm not sure if events like these were always happening or if I'm just become more aware of them due to the fact that mass media told us we're finally in a recession.

Unfortunately, I have no control over Adobe, CNet, or PRat and Whitney. So, I must turn my attention to things I can control. I ask myself, what can I do to make today better than yesterday? A few things come to mind!

  • I can restring my guitars: I have been lowly breaking strings on all my guitars. And shortly after my visit to Adobe Max, I broke the low E string on my last fully strung guitar. The only reason I haven't been restringing guitars is due in part to laziness; due in part to "one works, so it's not priority to get the other one restrung." Playing is a therapeutic way to get the emotions out.
  • Go for a walk: Ever since my wisdom teeth removal, I haven't been in the habit in the habit of walking on a routine basis. Walking is good for health and stress relief. It also gives me a chance to listen to podcasts about running businesses or programming topics. Constant education helps keep my mind focused.
  • Code: My favorite thing to do in the world is to code. It's a nice to sit and focus on something while the rest of the world slips away. I just finished creating some sample code for Flextras first component. I need to push my subcontractors a bit harder to keep things moving forward on the "non-code" portions of getting a business up and running. My product launch will be about four months late.
  • Redo my cash flow predictions: In a down economy, cash flow is king. I can sit down and reevaluate my cash flow position. I can even make my income levels more conservative. Are there places I can cut my budget? I keep things pretty conservative, however I still believe there are places I can tighten up. I need to do this w/ T too.
  • Return my new Hard Drive: I bought a 640GB hard drive from Staples on Black Friday. On Cyber Monday I found a 1TB drive for about $10 more. I jumped picked it up. But, I don't need two. The first one [still shrink wrapped] can still go back for a full refund.
  • Buy Stock: All companies are down in the stock market. I bet it is a good time to buy stock in many of them. I've never bought individual stock investing, but I always wanted to. How many of the DIJA companies will be around in 5 or 10 years? I bet most of them.

I woke up out of a troubled sleep to a big bang this morning. I wasn't sure if it was dreamed or real. I decided I better make sure and walked through the house cautiously with a flashlight. A kitchen timer fell off its magnet. I'm going to pretend that the universe was sending me a wake up call to help me reset my clock. Instead of sleeping through my "walking hour", I'm actually up. So, I'm going to dust off my winter walking pants [warm from 0-40] and go for a short walk.

How many people have your name?

Yet another stupid quiz. I feel unique today.
LogoThere is
person with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

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 [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 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?


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?


05) Favorite vegetable?


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?


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


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?


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


21) Would you be my crime partner or my 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?


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?


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?


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?


Personality Test MeMe

My Personality
Openness to Experience

You rarely get angry and it takes a lot to make you angry, however you experience panic, confusion, and helplessness when under pressure or stress. You tend not to talk much and prefer to let others control the activities of groups. You tend not to express your emotions openly and are sometimes not even aware of your own feelings. There are times when you believe that a certain amount of deception in social relationships is necessary, however you are mostly candid, frank and sincere. People find it moderately easy to relate to you, however you do not particularly like helping other people. Requests for help feel like an imposition on your time. You take your time when making decisions and will deliberate on all the possible consequences and alternatives.

Take a Personality Test now or view the full Personality Report.

The best Buying Pet Gifts.

How much of this is me? Answer before reading my thoughts.


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.

When do you notify the customer that they will be incurring costs?

I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau against my oil company, Edward S Mull. After multiple back and forth, the BBB just dismissed my complaint. I hate being wrong, but am not sure that I am.

I have a service plan at the highest level of protection on my heating system. Traditionally the water pumped into my steam heat system has been very low and the water gauge barely moved during my first few years in this house. However, it was starting to pump 10-20 gallons into the system every few days. I did not feel this was normal, so had them come out to take a look at the system.

They agreed it was not normal. First they did some type of chemical treatment. That did not help. Then they replaced a switch. That definitely helped, and now the system pumps in a couple gallons a week (instead of 10+ every few days). I assume the numbers will lower when it gets warmer and the heating system tuns off.

So, no problems I had a problem they came out multiple times and put in place a fix, right?

The problem occurs a few weeks later when I received an invoice in the mail for a used switch. I was unaware I was going to be incurring any costs. The oil folk have been out multiple times over the past 4-5 years to perform the service and I never got an invoice. I assumed that if I was going to be incurring costs I would be notified. This is the way I run my business. I figured this would be a "Customer Service 101" thing.

So, I called and spoke to someone. He explained that burner switches are covered, but end switches are not (because they never break). He said "she" did me good by getting a cheap used switch and not charging for labor. But, I'd have to talk to "she" about any billing issues.

I was not notified I'd be incurring any costs. I was not given the opportunity to do a cost or warranty analysis of "used" vs "new" parts. I should not be billed when I had no say or input in the process.

I put my thoughts down in a letter and snail mailed it to them. "She" called me, refused to remove the charge and we fought on the phone. Apparently it was my fault for not asking if I would be incurring a cost. It is my fault for not knowing that "End switches" are different than "Burner switches." Edward S Mull only notifies a customer if the cost is going to be over $100 (which the 'used part' was not).

As soon as I got off the phone with "She" I filed a complaint w/ the BBB. Company responded explaining the switch vs switch issue. I responded saying they did not address the root of my complaint and asked for documentation on their "customer notification" policies for uncovered work. The policy documentation they provided does not cover such an issue; it just says "Customer will pay for stuff not covered under this agreement" to paraphrase.

Company responded again and actually tried to address my complaint. They said they'd be more than happy to put the 'old broken part' back in at no cost; however if I have future problems they will charge me for new parts and labor to address the issue. If that truly was their policy, then why didn't they do that in the beginning?

I said that I didn't feel that putting an old broken part back in was a good move. BBB dismissed the complaint.

The question is, do I have them put back in the old part (and then have the issue fixed by a 3rd party) or do I just pay the 'unethical' charge to keep them 'happy' while I search for a new oil company? After all that has happened I'm cautious about letting them back into my house. Even if I were to watch them like a hawk, I have no way to judge the service done on a furnace.

So, am I wrong in wanting the charge removed from the bill? Is the company right for doing "uncovered" service without notifying me of the cost?

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