Wedding / Move creeping up

Lauren and I spent pretty much all day Sunday working on wedding related stuff. For starters we registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond. You can find a link to our registery online by clicking on the “Wedding” button to your right. It’s kind of funny because all of the stuff, except for a few, will mainly be used by me. I’m excited at the thought of getting some real cookware. Lame, I know.

We are also gearing up for “the big move” out west. As one might guess Lauren and I can’t make up our mind about where to move, which can be a problem when you get to choose out of so many great cities (San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle top the list).

Right now we are taking a closer look at Seattle. From what I’ve heard from people who have actually lived there or spent time there is that it doesn’t rain all year round (just a few months in the winter) and that it’s an amazing city. What I like about Seattle is that I can get a two bedroom out there for about the same price as I can here in Ann Arbor. It also means Lauren and I could buy a lot sooner than we expected. Before any decision is made, though, I will be taking a trip out to Seattle and San Diego to check out the scene and visit a few friends. I’ll update with more when I can.

Operation Kitty Poo Poo – Followup

Kitty had his first accident the other day. I heard of another approache that made sense to me, but ended up not working out very well. I think it was because I had pushed him too quickly into this step after he was used to the bowl. The new method is to put plastic wrap over the toilet with some kitty litter on it. I guess the idea is that it forces the cat’s feet onto the toilet lid.

Also, I’ve had a few questions about training the cat to flush the toilet and whether or not this is transferrable (ie. the cat will use any toilet after being toilet trained). First, it isn’t recommended that you teach the cat to flush the toilet. Cats LOVE fresh cold water and this is what they get when they flush the toilet. I’ve heard horror stories about large water bills, etc.

Second, from what I have read and heard the training is transferrable and cats know from that point on to use the toilet. You basically have to do what you do with litter boxes: show them where the new toilet is and let them sniff around. I have even heard of people traveling with their cat and the cat would use the toilet in the hotel room without incident.

Operation Kitty Poo Poo – Toilet Training Your Cat

We are officially in Stage 4 of Operation Kitty Poo Poo, whose objective is to train Crash to go to the bathroom using the toilet. The entire process is going to take about two months, but in the end will be completely worth it. For those wishing to undertake this process I have outlined how to be litter free below.

  1. Move your cat’s litter box into the bathroom. Some cats may be extremely fussy about the location of their litter box. If this is the case start by moving it half way to the bathroom or moving it into the bathroom a little ways at a time. You will want to leave the litter box in the bathroom as usual for about a week. I’d also close off access to the cat’s normal spot so that it doesn’t get any ideas and start going to the bathroom on the carpet where their litter box used to be.
  2. Start raising the litter box a little bit at a time. This gets the cat used to jumping up into the litter box. Some cats will not require this step, but the fussier ones will.
  3. Move the litter box on top of the toilet. I used strips of velcro to secure the litter box to the toilet lid so that when the cat jumps up and down from the litter box he doesn’t knock off the litter box. Once the cat is used to this operation you can move onto the next stage. I recommend a week or more at this stage.
  4. Get out your tape measure and meaure your toilet. Lift up the seat and meaure the inside of the rim. Drive down to the local pet supply store and buy a metal bowl with a decent lip on it that measures a little bigger than the inside rim of your toilet. Take it home and make sure it fits with the seat down (very important). Fill the bowl about half way with kitty litter, place it in the toilet and put the toilet seat down.
  5. This stage is really an extension of stage four. The cat will continue going in the bowl. As they do scoop out used litter at least once a day and do NOT refill the litter. The idea is to get the cat used to not having any litter at all. During this stage you will also want to keep a close eye on when the cat uses the bathroom. Follow them in and begin by placing their front two paws on the toilet seat. Once you have trained them to do that you do the back to legs.
  6. Eventually, the cats are going to the bathroom in the bowl without litter in perfect four point stances. It’s time to remove the bowl entirely.

This may sound like a lot of work. Well, it is. But, it also results in you not having to clean a litter box ever again. One last thing before you start training your own cat. You may be tempted to teach the cat how to flush the toilet as well – don’t. The problem is that cats love fresh water and the sound it makes so they tend to flush over and over for the fun of it leaving you with a huge water bill.

I've fallen for my blender

My parents bought me a new blender for my upcoming birthday. It’s amazing. 450 watts of pure blending power provided by the good people of Oster. The gift is a result of months of complaining about Lauren’s crappy plastic blender that couldn’t blend baby food if it wanted to. I’m not debating whether or not to make the blender an honored guest at our upcoming wedding. I suppose the bartenders will have their own.

Lauren and I have slated Wednesday night as daiquiri night. We’ve got a lot of vodka, a ton of ice that is just begging for some daiquiri mix. Combine that with my amazing new blend-o-matic and Fox’s The O.C. and you’ve got the making of a great night.

In other news Lauren and I visited my parents over the weekend. I’m a little miffed that my car somehow gets about 34 mpg on the highway and only about 23 city. Considering it’s a 4 cylinder stick you would think it would do better in the city. Of course this may be caused by me dropping it into second while going 40 to zip around some old hag in the left lane. The good news is the trip netted me 3 joyous hours at Boyne Mountain. I’m happy to report that I didn’t fall once. I did have a close call on the Medows run. Whoever let their jackass 8 year old kid in a black diamond should be shot. Sadly, after 3 hours of prime weather and even better snow (40 degrees, not a cloud in the sky and 10 foot base!) the main runs were overrun with idiots who think they can ski/snowboard. News flash, if you still snowplow down the mountain at 5mph you are NOT ready to go on black diamonds or even intermediate hills.

Finally, I’d like to announce that I’ve bought, redesigned and relaunched a BMW enthusiast site called BMWZ8.net, which aims to be a hotspot for BMW drivers around the world. So far I have photo albums, discussion boards and BMW related news. I’ve got about 5 other solid sites in the works that are small niche community websites that I will be launching in the coming months. I’ll keep you all posted.

Gone to the Movies

As I filed into my seat ahead of Lauren I noticed a couple of teenagers playing on their Game Boy Advances. As I sat down I noticed a couple playing a bowling video game on a phone. Behind us a rather large couple settled down with a couple of extra large pops, some nachos and a big bowl of popcorn. I can only assume the pop was not diet. Yup, it was a good day to watch the violent death of Christ.

Earlier today I talked with a friend whose wife did not want to go see the movie in the theaters, rather preferring to wait for the video so she could walk away if she became too upset. My friend, an avid geek, wondered if there was a torrent link available. I pointed out the irony in illegally downloading Mel Gibson’s The Passion, which is a controversial depiction of the last 12 hours of Christ’s life on earth. He laughed. I sighed.

I’m surely not an avid Christian, but I find the thought of thousands of Christians herding into their local megaplex with their hands filled with treats to watch a violent portrayal of crucifixion more than a little disturbing. As a friend of mine said on AIM today, “I find it ironic that instead of congregating at churchs, we now congregate at the movie theater.” Me too.

So what was the movie like? It was horrifically violent. I would not recommend letting children in to see this movie. I turned my head more than once. Gibson created an absolute masterpiece of cinematics. The picture is beautiful in detail, depiction and realism. The plight of Christ, those who damn him and his followers is powefully portrayed. I highly recommend seeing it, but do not go expecting an uplifting story.

I hate driving

I hate driving. Actually, I hate driving behind you. I hate driving behind the person going 35 in a 45 and I hate driving behind the people with their blinkers on. I hate driving down the road while you roll through a stop sign and almost broadside me. What I hate most is when we are at a red light and you wait until it is green before turning right.

Lauren will tell you I’m a horrible driver. This is probably the case, but it does not mean I enjoy the experience any more than she does. I tend to road rage a couple of times if I have to spend more than 10 minutes in a car. Why? Because you suck at driving. Who are you? You are everyone one who drives an SUV that barely fits in the lanes. You are the person who drives in the middle of two lanes with your blinker on for a mile before making up your mind (and forgetting to turn off your blinker). You suck.

Court is in Session

Last night I did something I haven’t done in a long, long time: I played basketball competitively. For those of you who don’t know I used to play hoops while growing up. Actually, you could say I ate, drank and slept hoops growing up. There was a point I was playing between 60 and 80 organized games of basketball a year (regular season, summer league, camps, etc.). All of that came to a screeching halt when, at a summer basketball camp, I blew out my knee. Not wanting to do things half ass I not only completely tore my ACL, but I also put a half inch tear in my lateral maniscus (the cartilidge in your knee that acts as padding between your upper and lower leg bones). For the most part this was the end of basketball for me.

That is until yesterday. My friend Josh plays in a few leagues around here and he managed to talk me into playing on his team from work. I played about 2/3 of the entire game and didn’t score a single point, but, then again, I was never known for my prolific scoring ability. A few things I did accomplish was a block or two, more than a few rebounds, my fair share of fouls (a whole other blog entry) and burning a few hundred calories. Most importantly, despite us losing, I had fun. It was nice to get out on the court and run plays, throw elbows and generally run around with the little orange ball I had spent so much of my younger years attempting to master.

As a side note, it looks like I will have to look into purchasing some goggles. My glasses just don’t hold up and, while my vision is good enough to be somewhat effective, I can’t seem to hit the outside “J” (jumper for you non-bball people) without them on. I guess it’s off to D.O.C. sometime this week. Oh, and I need to get a patella brace (I get bad jumpers knee since the surgery – an after effect of having half of it grafted for my new ACL).

A very merry Christmas

Christmas has come and gone. My holiday brought about some great presents and about 15 hours in the car, which was spent mostly talking about the wedding. Lauren has always wanted a winter wedding, which means we’ll probably end up moving to California in August and coming back for the wedding in December. We plan on having a very small wedding with only family and a few close friends.

Lauren and I have also made another major decision; we have decided to move to San Francisco instead of San Diego (sorry Dana!). The main reason is that if my consulting business tanks I can easily find work in the Bay Area’s tech industry. We’ve been looking at apartments in the area and they appear to be only marginally more expensive than San Diego. It also didn’t help that Lauren fell in love with the area when we went there in October.

While up north visiting my parents Lo and I rented Mario Golf for the Game Cube and got totally addicted to it. We came home and promptly made a trip to the local GameStop to purchase a copy. Up until now it’s been me kicking her butt mostly.

She said yes!

The mood was set. I picked up the ring and took it over to have it appraised at a second place, which checked out fine to my relief. After that I was off to the grocery store were I bought some nice flowers, some chicken breast, some fresh green beens and a few redskin potatoes. The next few hours a blur. Spent mostly searching www.wine.com to see how to best serve the red wine I had purchased and fretting over which cloth napkins to get. I also took about an hour looking up recipes online and excitedly chatting with a few friends on AIM for moral support.

She would be home at 9:00pm so I had to start prepping the food around 7:00pm. I started with the potatoes. A little olive oil, some basil, thyme, salt/pepper and an hour in the oven did the trick. After that I prepped the basil chicken and set prepped the fresh green beens to be steamed. Twenty minutes before 9:00pm I put the wine in the fridge to chill accordingly. Wine.com recommends red wine be served at 65 degrees (cell temp.), which can be accomplished by a quick 20 minutes in the fridge. The food was all set – just a little cooking had to be done.

It was then that I noticed I didn’t have a corkscrew for the wine. After a frantic run to the local Kmart I was all set with a corkscrew and some nice white cloth napkins. Now the waiting, otherwise known as the “freaking out” stage. She arrived a little after nine and was quite pleased that a quiet candlelit dinner was waiting for her.

Towards the end of the dinner I told her that I had ended up getting her a Christmas gift. Because we had decided that we would buy a foster child gifts for Christmas instead of buying each other gifts this year, she was pretty upset. It was at this point that I pulled out the ring, got on one knee, and said it was ok she hadn’t gotten me a Christmas present because I was hoping she would make me the happiest man alive by saying yes.

I got my Christmas present – she said yes!

About Me

IMG_3471Why anyone would be interested in a short bio describing my rather dull life is beyond me, but it seems like you can’t have a cool website without one and I want to be cool.

I was born in Adrian, MI to Mike and Sue Stump. Being that my mom’s maiden name was Bair, pronounced “Bear”, I was screwed in the last name department from the start. Of course I could have had it worse, such as a classmate named “Harry Johnson”. At any rate, back to me. I spent most of my childhood in Brooklyn, MI. Many of you NASCAR fans out there may recall this is the home of Michigan International Speedway. This time of my life was spent swimming in the local lakes and running around the back woods of our property.

When I was 16 I realized my parents were never going to purchase a new computer to replace the outdated Tandy 3000 collecting dust in the home office. Feeling that I was missing out I bought one at a local computer shop with my own money. She was a beauty! A Cyrix 133MHz with a whopping 16MB of RAM and a spacious 3.2GB hard drive. This was soon upgraded to a Cyrix 200MHz and 48MB of RAM. Not long after I created a webpage and started learning HTML. Thus began my computer geekdom (I say computer because I was already a typical geek).

After a short stint in Northern Michigan, that I’d rather not talk about, I enrolled at Eastern Michigan University. It was here I joined a fraternity and met Moonkhan. I also started programming PHP here as well.

At the end of my sophomore year I joined the team at Care2.com. I moved to California with literally a duffle bag and a back pack. It was here that I was able to learn a great deal about systems administration as well as programming large websites. Since then I’ve worked for a few other companies doing consulting and generally being a typical UNIX geek.

After graduating from EMU I headed west to Seattle, WA were I worked as the Director of IT for eNotes.com and lived with my cat, Crash. I spent about three productive years with eNotes before an offer I couldn’t resist came along from Digg. I spent 2.5 great years at Digg, two of which I spent as their Lead Architect. While at Digg I spent time promoting open standards, working on scaling the website, breaking many things, and growing the engineering team.

I’m currently co-founder and CTO of SimpleGeo, which I founded with Matt Galligan in Boulder, CO. We provide location services for other developers.