Home for my rants, raves and general sharing of 'insytes'. Some of you will enjoy this gathering of text - others will wonder how I tricked them into giving me a Blogger's license...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Geek Dinner: Washington D.C. on January 30, 2006

So we are having this little BrainJams event in D.C. next week and thought - hey, why not get a bunch of big kids geeking out with their toys over dinner, sharing what’s cool and dissing what’s not (thanks Chris for that description and saving my creative juices).

If you are in town, please join us for the geek dinner at the Daily Grill starting at 7pm. Place is moderately priced, so figure about $35 per head if you are going to throw back a cocktail or two. They also ask for 'business casual' attire, so I guess no flip flops or tube tops. Damn - now what am I going to wear?

Hope to see you there!

Technorati Tags: geekdinner dcevents brainjams

Monday, January 23, 2006

What good is a Blackbery without email?

So I stupidly dropped my Treo 650 into a glass of water last week and now the bugger won't boot up. Crap. It wasn't even a year old. And how it happened has given Chris way too much pleasure in retelling the story - so I won't bore you with the details here - I am sure you will here about it at a party or event sometime soon.

Part of me is happy as I have never been a fan of the Treo. It was a novel idea to start, but then the calls started dropping, the Treo turned off randomly and I could not get it to ever hot sync up with our Media PC which made updating my contact list a real pain in the butt. The other part of me wants to scream at the top of my lungs as these gadgets are not cheap to replace. Unfortunately, I need a 'tool' to help me stay organized and connected, so a replacement will be bought.

With this opportunity to start anew, I began the search for alternate PDAs. After reading 100 comparisons and what feels like 800 reviews - I settled on the Blackberry. Seemed to have all the options I wanted, those around me (with the exception of one) raved about it, and it was a tad bit less expensive than the Treo. Score! Of course, I had heard the rumblings of a patent lawsuit - but everyone I spoke to felt Research In Motion ('RIM' aka: maker of the Blackberry) would come out on top.

So, I call Cingular to make the swap and hurray! - my new Blackberry arrived today. As I am breaking open the box, I get an email alert about an article updating me on the lawsuit - and it doesn't look good for RIM or more importantly - Blackberry users. Unless of course, you work for the government or emergency services as you will most likely be able to retain the email feature.

My question is - if RIM loses this lawsuit and they pull the email feature from us everyday, run of the mill people - what good is the Blackberry? Why not just get a Razr or some other phone then? I am struggling with this now as they most likely won't make a decision until October 2006. So - do I keep it and take my chances? Do I return it and get another Treo? Do I return it and get a Razr? ARGH! I thought modern technology was supposed to make my life easier!

Technorati Tags: Treo650 Treo650sucks Blackberry PDAs

Sunday, January 22, 2006

BrainJams Berkeley Event: Change of Date

Due to scheduling conflicts (yes, Kristie forgot the simple step of checking Chris' calendar), we have moved the date for the Berkeley BrainJams event to Saturday, February 25th.

There are a couple of locations in mind, but most come without WiFi, so we are keeping the search open just a little while longer (if you have any suggestions, please let me know). Once the venue is secured, we will update the website with all pertinent details.

Stay tuned...

Technorati Tags: brainjamming, brainjams, brainjams25feb2006, brainjams:planning

BrainJamming on 'The Hill'

We are just about one week away from our first non-Bay Area BrainJams event happening on Monday, January 30th in Washington D.C. Truth be told, right now there is a mixture of excitement and a little fear running through my system. Excitement, as we are starting to generate buzz and several people have registered which is a good sign. Fear, as I am a 'Type A' planner and we are only starting to really promote the event now which makes me wonder - are the postings to Upcoming, EVDB or CraigsList working? Will the community be there to receive us as they have in the Bay Area? Is anyone blogging about it to help create awareness? Am I stressing for no reason because that is part of me wanting to control everything and I can't (and shouldn't)? :)

I guess it boils down to it doesn't matter how many people are there. We are pushing forward. We are taking a great idea and turning into an amazing organization. And DC won't be our last stop. We have plans for events in Berkeley (February 25th), San Francisco (April), and New York (June) and I would love to build out an event list for the rest of 2006. Maybe Boston? Sacramento?
Dallas? Suggestions for other cities?

All in all, I can't wait to see what people bring to the table this go around. I would also love to find someone in the community who would be interested in ensuring these events continue in D.C. once Chris and I are back in the Bay Area. Give them tools to launch their own events and watch it grow organically.

Jam on!

Technorati Tags: brainjamming, brainjams, brainjams30jan2006, brainjamsdc, brainjamsplanning

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Digging my roots

When I was in high school, I had started one of those books to track my family roots. Fortunately at that time, my greatgrandmothers were still alive and I was able to pull a bit of information from them both to at least get me started. Unfortuantely, I had the attention span of most teenage girls and the desire for boys overtook my desire to learn more about my genealogy.

This past Christmas, my grandma Caryl (mom's mom) wrote her life story down and gave each of her children and grandchildren a copy. It was an interesting read and I had not realized there was so much of her life I knew nothing about - in addition to the large chuck of family that I was hearing about for the first time. I had an Aunt Oley? Now who is this Viola related too?

Something stirred inside of me to learn more - not only about my mom's side of the family, but my dad's too. Then it hit me. The book I started from 1982. I went down to the garage, and after digging through eight boxes, my fingers touched the spine. Unbelievable this book has made it through six moves and a flood. I guess it was meant to be finished. Finished by me. (Note to self, add 'digging my roots' to the 43things.com list).

So where do I start? I had information up to my great grandparents as that is as far as my book allowed me to go (hey, I bought it with a teenagers allowance - cut me some slack). Enter Ancestry.com. What a great service. It is a tad bit expensive, but I figured I had to at least give it a try as it is my genealogy for Pete's sake. So I signed up for a month's service figuring I could find everything I needed in 30 days. Well, I was half right. The service is great as it allows you to pull census reports from the 1800's, birth and death records, and you can also see other people's trees that could possibly include the person you are looking for. This is so cool.

There are only two so-called negatives I found with this service - (1) You can only link parent to child (no links for aunts, cousins, etc.) and (2) someone could find my birth record and believe John Wells was my father and link me to him, building a tree from that information. John Wells is NOT my father (at least I don't think so...mom??) so their tree has wrong information which other people could pull as true and the chain of misinformation would continue. I guess it comes down to just being really careful to the information you use and triple checking the records.

I would also like a way for my tree to be private so no one could change the information I link to, but it seems that is not a feature they provide. So, I will gather the information from Ancestry.com and then build my tree offline somewhere else. A little extra work, but should at least guarantee the information I find is intact.

All in all, I would totally recommend Ancestry.com to anyone starting to dig into their roots. I have already renewed my monthly membership as there are a few more Wells I need to track down and I would like to pull a tree for Chris' family as well. You know, make sure there were no axe murders in his line before I say 'I do'. :)

P.S. A cool bit of info I have found about one of the people I am related to on my mom's side of the family - Robert Fulton (invented the steamboat).

Technorati Tags: roots familytree wellsfamilytree snyderfamilytree ancestry.com ancestry

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Oh crap. This hasn't started out well.

I was so proud of myself posting - oh I hate to call them but maybe they really are - 'New Years Resolutions' to my blog recently. Make myself accountable I said. Well. I figure it is only right that I give an update. It is ugly, but needed to ensure I get my butt in gear and get myself healthy.

We are now 15 days into the New Year and I am already failing items #1 and #2 on my list. I have only been to the gym twice. I have had beer or wine almost every night, and chocolate more than I care to admit (and I don't usually eat a lot of sweets which makes that really weird). I have yet to buy a bottle of multi-vitamins. I had an appointment with my sinus surgeon for the 27th, and now I will be in DC, so I need to reschedule that (note to self - make sure you call his office tomorrow).

My only saving grace is I have been reading and I have not been on any kind of shopping spree since 2006 rolled in, so items #3 and #5 are on target. #4 and #6 are still in the works, but I feel good I will be able to bring those into my everyday life.

Now, back to #1 and #2. I am officially re-starting 2006 on the 15th of January. There, I feel better already. So I lost two weeks. The point of this 'exercise' in Blogger is to make myself more aware of the commitments I make to myself. I am really good at staying true to commitments I make to others...it is those I put on myself I seem to struggle with. So, today is a new day. Tomorrow, I go buy that Centrium stuff.

Technorati Tags: diet exercise healthylifestyle newyearsresolutions changinghabits

Friday, January 13, 2006

BrainJams Coming to D.C.!

Many thanks to John Johnson for opening the doors to the DC Improv and allowing us to 'jam' in his space when BrainJams comes to Washington D.C. on January 30th.

The website will be updated within the next couple of days with all the pertinent information - for now, there is a bit more available on Chris' blog
- including venue information, times, and proposed agenda.

We are actively looking for patrons to help cover some of the expenses and if you are able to lend a monetary (or likewise) hand, we promise to shower you with lots of love and limelight. We would also love help in setting up and breaking down - so if you are interested in either sponsoring the event or volunteering, please contact me at kristiewells [at] gmail [dot] com.

So, spread the word and we will see you in D.C.!

P.S. And remember....there will be another local (to me) BrainJams event in Berkeley at the end of February. We are currently trying to secure a good venue, so if you know of something near BART (preferably with WiFi), please drop me a line.

Technorati Tags: brainjamming, brainjams, brainjams30jan2006, brainjamsdc, brainjamsplanning

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ready, Aim, Shoot

I have never been someone who craved taking photos...but since we bought the Canon Digital Rebel XT, I find myself tripping over Chris as we race for the camera to get 'the shot'.

I am still trying to hone my eye to set up frames 'artistically', but it is interesting how it makes me see everything differently. I obviously need to find better subject matter as the Scrabble board is getting a little old, but what fun I expect to have with our new toy (that is, as long as I can hide the camera from Chris). Sharing sucks.

Technorati Tags: rebelxt camera takingphotos newhobby

Hard to work this way.

One of the perks of my job is the ability to work from home two days a week. Nothing like a solid block of quiet time to ensure you can meet all your deadlines. I am not sure I would like working from home every day as I would probably miss the social interaction, but I could easily add a third day per week. Hint hint.

The only drawback is trying to keep your really affectionate cat off your lap. She seems to think her place is right in the middle of things which makes typing extremely difficult at times. But how can you turn this face down?

I guess this is good training for me in case we choose to bring kids into our household...

Technorati Tags: catlove workingconditions

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Thanks mom - I love my Xmas present...

This year, the Wells family decided to draw names and focus solely one one person for the purchasing of Xmas gift(s). There are so many adults, trying to buy gifts for each one was becoming really difficult - not to mention - extremely expensive.

We made it fairly easy as we set a maximum dollar amount and then provided a list of five (5) things we wanted within that limit. One of the items on my wish list was a new jewley box as my little dresser version was not doing the job anymore. Not only had the top broken off, but it was too small to fit anything other than earrings and rings - and I have a pretty good collection of costume jewelry (necklaces, bracelets, etc) which is strewn all over our bedroom eating up valuable handbag space. :)

Luckily for me, my mom got my name - and she scored a home run. I spent this evening organizing my new jewlery box and it all fits perfectly. I even have room left to add to my collection - so I am sure Chris will be thrilled to hear this news.

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