Rest in Peace Scooby Doo Seery Gude

He was ‘our’ dog – the ‘dual dog’ Shannon and I called him because he always wanted to be with us, not just me or just Shannon. He was connected to everything like a good dog is, very aware and smart, always at our side. He was a one-dog wrecking crew his entire life. And I will miss him for the remainder of mine.

Be well Scoob.

We love you.

Experiments in data/life tracking/visualization

Daytum lets you track key inputs/outputs
Daytum lets you track key inputs/outputs

I’ve been investigating tools and methods for tracking, measuring and displaying key inputs and outputs for daily life.

Why am I doing this? Because I’m sick of important things falling off the table.

Long term effect is a product of the cumulative effect of short terms actions. While it’s hard to keep a long term goal in sight, it’s usually not too difficult to keep your daily habits and actions in line with daily goals. Provided the long term and daily goals and actions are aligned that is. Ahem. Yes, it’s a simple concept we can all grasp at a young age but one that seems to require habitual reminders for throughout life. But maybe that’s just me.

This all leads to using tools to track, measure, report and manage with.

Example – Scenario ‘a’

Inputs

Sleep = 8 hours
Engergy = Good
Eating well = YES
Excercise = YES

Outputs

  • feeling of satisfaction
  • calm, assured
  • money in the bank

Example scenario ‘b’

inputs

  • stay up late
  • get drunk
  • chuck beer bottles on the front lawn while singing ABBA songs in my falsetto voice

Outputs

  • jail house
  • poor house

More

This includes work and home life. For example I want to raise the visibility of certain tasks for my young kids like doing their homework, studying, eating the right food and exercising.

I went looking for web based solutions that would also work well on paper and on my iPhone. This research netted me squat. That drove me back into the waiting arms of spreadsheets and online solutions like Google Docs and using Google Gadgets to add visual indicators to my data (like the nice dial graphic below). Spreadsheets are great for flexibility but lacking somewhat in their setup time and maintenance.

Back to more research. I finally started finding some good links. One tool I’m trying is called daytum and the user interface is by far the best out of those I’ve found. However, I came across a problem when I tried to print out pages for my kids for our refrigerator. They have no css print style sheet! Grrrrr. Printouts looks like Mosaic outputs from 1997! So if printing things out is important to you then by all means try something else.

For now I’ve moved on to evaluating me-trics.com. Like daytum, it has a social aspect, allows for multiple inputs (web/mobile, etc.) and also integrates online tools and activities like twitter, Flickr, and others which is a nice add! I’ll let you know how that goes. Er, and if they have a print style sheet.

update: I failed to report that I’ve been using RescueTime for a while. RescueTime logs your actual time spent on your computer tracking application use, web behavior and so on. Most of my frustration with it so far is that it occasionally eats huge amounts of memory (not all the time) and it’s automated categorization of activities is understandably woeful. Not finding it particularly useful but I’ll keep at it a while longer.

I’ve also spent a bit more time with me-trics and it looks like you can’t add custom questions on your own. Instead you pick survey questions that other people (or me-trics) have added. For many things this is great but I immediately found that to be a non-starter. They do offer to add items to track via e-mail which is a nice customer service but not one that really addresses my needs.

Charlie and Andrew Jackson

My son Charlie got together with a couple of his mates and made this video for his history class on U.S. President Andrew Jackson.

What can I say other than watch the video. 🙂

Top 10 Music Pics

Before the time and tunes are forgotten I wanted to journal some Top 10 and other music lists I made in the family.

I’m happy to note that Max and Charlie are both playing guitar and continue to explore a real cross section of music. John is playing Violin at his Kindergarten and had his first recital in December (watch the video here). Yours truly is continuing on with his own guitar work and I’m hoping to get my first keyboard this year, or more specifically a digital music workstation that will allow me learn piano and make my own band.

At Christmas in the Bay Area I asked Max and Charlie what bands would make their top 10 (chronicled below along with @seerysm’s and my list) and just this week both of them volunteered their favorite bands of today.

Right now Max (almost 18) is listening to a lot of Pulp and his top three songs from Pulp are

  1. This is hardcore
  2. Common people (video)
  3. Sorted out for E’s and Wizz

Charlie’s favorite band of the moment is Muse. His top 3 Muse songs are

  1. Bliss (video)
  2. Starlight
  3. Plug in Baby

Good job guys, now go do your home work Charlie. 🙂

Max’s top 10 songs from Crissy are

  1. Beatles
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Sublime
  4. Rolling Stones
  5. Red Hot Chili Peppers
  6. Led Zeppelin
  7. The Doors
  8. Pink Floyd
  9. Oasis
  10. Bob Marley & The Whalers

What can I say, the young man has good taste. Although I will note that if you were to pile up all the drugs these guys did collectively in their lifetime it would sink a freighter…

Charlie’s Top 10 from Crissy

  1. Foo Fighters
  2. Green Day
  3. Cold Play
  4. The Strokes
  5. The Ramones
  6. Sum 41
  7. Jack Johnson
  8. ?
  9. ?
  10. ?

Charlie clearly having some math problems (hence the home work comment earlier) but otherwise the list is good. At 13 I can forgive him for Sum 41. Damn Charlie. 😉

Shan’s Top 10

  1. Dave Matthews Band
  2. Counting Crows
  3. Foo Fighters
  4. Sarah McLachlan
  5. Prince
  6. Marc Cohn
  7. Pearl Jam
  8. Bare Naked Ladies
  9. Matchbox 20
  10. Sting

My Top 10

  1. Dave Matthews Band
  2. Counting Crows
  3. Foo Fighters
  4. INXS
  5. Pearl Jam
  6. Prince
  7. Marc Cohn
  8. The Eagles (my #1 band for about 30 of my 40 years)
  9. U2
  10. The Who
  11. Audioslave (I wrote this so I’m allowed to cheat!)
  12. Red Hot Chili Peppers (yup, still cheating)

John and Julia are a bit young for a Top 10 list but I’d say Julia would favor Colbie Caillat (video for Realize) as her fave and John would say he’s paralyzed by Finger Eleven (video of Paralyzer).

Artists that we’ve discovered in 2008

All but Blind Pilot have been making great music for a long time but were new to me.

Blind Pilot – Blind Pilot’s album 3 Rounds and a Sound of 2008 is simply brilliant (buy it now). I’d go so far as to say these guys are the best new band of 2007 and 2008 and I don’t say that out of ignorance. Huge props to Kristen for this tip!

Beirut – strangely wonderful and difficult to categorize. Vocals remind me of Rufus Wainwright Check out their album The Flying Club Cup.

Sia – thanks Shan! Also check out the band she made her mark in – Zero 7. She’s been making good music for years but she was new to us in 2008

Regina Spektor -thanks Shan and Diary of a Call Girl on Showtime – heard one of Regina’s songs here. She’s a brilliant pianist and vocalist.

Glen Hansard (The Frames) and Marketa Irglova– Check out their album The Swell Season – they make an amazing duo. Thanks again Kristen (See the movie Once it’s fantastic)

Heartland (several musicians) Listening to NPR last year while driving along Dixie Higway here in West Palm Beach I was introduced to some classical virtuoso’s that play a whole range of music including Americana. The specific song I heard on NPR was Emily’s Reel, written for Yo Yo Ma’s daughter by Edgar Meyer and roots music legend and mandolinist Mike Marshall. Pick up the album Heartland, An Appalachian Anthology. Also of particular note are a range of songs on this album by violinist Mark O’Connor and double bass master Edgar Meyer.

I could talk, play, listen to, and write about music all day. I must get back to work!

RIP Catherine M. (Kroskey) Seery

Known affectionately as ‘Gunny’ by her family, Shannon’s Grandma passed January 5th at the age of 82. I am glad I had the opportunity to meet her. She was like a Tiger!

“Catherine M. (Kroskey) Seery
CENTER TOWNSHIP
Published: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 8:53 AM EST
Catherine M. Seery, 82, of Center Township, formerly of New Brighton, passed away Monday, Jan. 5, 2009, in the Allegheny General Hospital.

She will be sadly missed by her family and friends.

Born Nov. 3, 1926, in New Brighton, a daughter of the late Frank and Veronica Kroskey, she was a retired nurse for The Medical Center, Beaver, and was a member of the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, New Brighton.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, John Seery; two children, Kevin and Mary; a granddaughter, Crystal Rayl, and seven siblings.

Surviving are three sons and two daughters-in-law, Sam and Karen Seery, Salem, Oregon; Patrick Seery, New Brighton, and Daniel and Tina Seery, Patterson Township, and two daughters and a son-in-law, Veronica Seery, Center Township, and Christine and Daniel Patsch, Rochester. She also leaves behind her beloved grandchildren, Shannon and her husband Julian, Ryan, Kurt, Shaun, Erin, Bree, Caitlin, Daniel, Michael and Molly; two great-grandchildren, John and Julia; a brother and sister-in-law, Ed and Marie Kroskey, New Brighton; a sister-in-law, Agnes Gray, and brother-in-law, John O’Keefe, both of Monaca, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Friends will be received today from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. in the J&J SPRATT FUNERAL HOME, 1612 Third Ave., New Brighton, www.jjsprattfh.com, where prayer will be held Thursday at 9:30 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 10 a.m. in St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Rochester, with the Rev. Father Greg Brown, O.F.M. Cap., officiating.

Memorials may be made, if desired, to the Beaver County Bookmobile, St. Joseph Cemetery or a charity of your choice.”

John and Julia’s First Photos

Don’t you wish you had the first photos you ever took?

Not long back, John got hold of our Family Digicam and went to town snapping pictures of just about everything. I didn’t put him up to it at all. As you’d imagine there were a lot of unusable photos. There were also a lot of photos that got some of the basics right and some that even captured something special. Best of all, they all represent a unique perspective – that of a child and a first-ever photographer. My Favorite of John’s photos are the portraits of Charlie playing his guitar this summer. How cool! I tried to only delete photos that were blank or completely out of focus.

Just in the last month Julia picked the camera up and did the very same thing and with very similar results. My favorite of Julia’s is her self portrait close-up of her face.

First, here are John’s Photos

John’s First Photos

Now, let’s take a look at Julia’s photos.

Julia’s First Photos

Happy 13th Birthday Charlie!

Charlie, I’m so blessed to know you, to be your father, to have this privilege.

You are a sunny day, even when dark storms roll in. May this spirit lift you through your whole life.

Love Dad

a sunset rare

My Mum just sent this to me (OMG a form email letter that I actually enjoyed!) and it is struck me as so spectacular that I had to share it.

Enjoy

northpolesunset.jpg

Text from email form letter below…

“This is the sunset at the North Pole with the moon at its closest point. And, you also see the sun below the moon. An amazing photo and not one easily duplicated. You may want to pass it on to others. The Chinese have a saying that goes something like this: “When someone shares with you something of value, You have an obligation to share it with others!’ “”

Ah yes, that’s how we know it’s a chain letter. Oh the guilt! 🙂