Thursday, January 24, 2008

Where's McGruff when you need him?

We always joke about living in the 'Hood' in Sellwood. Now granted, being south of Tacoma Street does make us ever-so-slightly on the wrong side of the tracks, but for those who don't know Sellwood is quaintsville: antique shops and boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants and nice old houses on streets lined with stately old trees. South Central it's not. But yesterday we got a reminder that sometimes, it doesn't matter.

In an effort to enjoy my last bit of freedom before rejoining the working world, we elected to get out into our neighborhood (the 'nice' part even) and grab some lunch out at Cha! Cha! Cha!. It was a late lunch; say 1:30 or so. As we were getting out of the car, Becca just froze, then calmly told me "Get that man's license plate. I think he just stole that truck"

Admittingly I was a bit confused; we were staring at the Post Office parking lot across the street. A guy was pulling away in a green pickup. So I went running towards the street he was on and saw he didn't have a license plate in the front. Assuming I'd get it in the back, I took a quick look, saw a very intense "don't mess with me" look, let the truck pass and then realized there was no license plate on the back either. He blew through the intersection and was gone.

What happened? A good ol' fashioned Smash and Grab. The guy (from the sound of the PO employees it wasn't the first time) pulled up to someone's car, opened his door, smashed their window, took her purse (she was in the post office at the time) and took off. My guess? Given the increasing prevalence of meth heads here in Portland, it wouldn't surprise me if that was the reasoning for the crime. Or it could just be an good old run of the mill crook. Either way it stunned us and reminded us that no matter how nice we think our neighborhood is, stuff like this happens all the time. We were just more impressed with the brazen nature of doing it in the middle of broad daylight with little regard to the environment around him. If we'd been there a little sooner or been a little quicker, we might have even made the local news :-)


From Becca's perspective:

As we got out of the car I heard glass smash in the parking lot. I looked over and saw someone jumping into a pickup truck parked on the other side of a nice SUV and peeled out. I ran toward him and yelled 'hey'. For some reason my brain jumped to the conclusion that someone must have left their keys in the car and this person broke in and drove off, hence my instructions to Brian. He wasn't kidding about the "don't mess with me look". As he glowered at us as Brian ran into the street I thought "dear god, don't get run over (or shot!)" and "what was I thinking heading toward him yelling 'hey'". What was I going to do?? "Say 'stop', or I'll hey again??"

Still convinced that it was the truck that was stolen, I ignored a well dressed lady leaving the post office on her cell phone and heading back towards the SUV. I had just finished querying everyone in the PO to see if they had a truck, when she came running back in saying someone had smashed her window and grabbed her purse. Right. That actually makes much more sense than smashing the window of an old pickup and either finding keys or hot wiring it in like 5 seconds. So much for those jumped-to conclusions.

There followed the classic eye witness issues. (We actually were eyewitnesses for a hit-and-run a few months ago and remembered enough to get the perpetrator tracked down - of course...he had a license plate! - but he looked like we had described). In this case it happened so fast:

"it was a dark blue pick up" says I, while Brian says "it was dark green". He was in his 30's I say as Brian assuredly says "his forties". We did agree on hair color though...

Guess we do need McGruff after all...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Back to Work!

After a job search that has been an adventure, I am proud to say that I'm formally back in the ranks of the fully employed. As of February 4th, I will be an account executive with Anvil Media, Inc. Anvil Media is a search engine marketing company that specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) management, social media marketing (SMM) and online reputation management (ORM) services. They are a small firm but one that packs a big punch in town.

In short, I'm excited; the opportunity is an excellent chance for me to put my analytical skills to work in a fast moving, constantly changing space. I've got a 90 day qualifying period but I am confident that my work ethic and ability to take on new things will wow them and win the day :-)

That's it. Just wanted to let everyone know I've found a home to land. Now if you'll excuse me I've got to go catch up with the cool kids and get myself on Facebook, MySpace and YouTube.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Note to Self: People avoid cacti for a reason

Heard on a trail in the Arizona desert:



"I have thorns in my thumb"

"??!!? You picked up a cactus!"

"Yeah...but I thought I was holding it between the thorns....."

[Shaking head sadly at spouse's logic]
More adventures from the red rocks coming shortly.


extra points if you can figure out who is who in dialogue above

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Compound Interest is a Beautiful Thing....

Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, the "Rule of 72":

"As you toy with whether to spend or save, keep in mind the rule of 72. If you divide 72 by the rate of return you expect to earn, that will tell you how long it takes to double your money.

Think you can earn 7% a year? Divide that into 72, and you will learn that doubling your money takes 10.2 years. The implication: If you saved $1,000, rather than spending it, you would have roughly $2,000 after 10 years, $4,000 after 20 years -- and an impressive $8,000 after 30 years."

I know that for most of our friends, the idea of saving money and compound interest is pretty easy to understand. I Just figured I'd help spread helpful information such as this to a country whose national savings rate is...negative. Sigh.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The frustration of inactivity...

After spending the last year and a half running on average 4x a week, I feel that I'd gotten myself into pretty good shape. A sub 1:30 half-marathon showed me I was in a lot better shape than I thought. My newfound speediness notwithstanding, I've always found exercising as a means of meditation. Not so much in your classic zen/yoga mat style but instead my running has always given me the opportunity to put on my shoes, hit the road and empty my brain of all the excess thoughts that come living in today's internet age. People are always amazed when I mention I don't wear the requisite iPod (though it's a necessity when I bike) when I run. Even running for 2 hours I don't find the need for any more external stimuli that what Mother Nature brings to the table.

When life conspires to keep me from running, I find myself getting progressively grumpier until I'm finally able to go out, run and get it all out. Unfortunately life has been unkind the past five weeks physically. I first picked up what can only be described as some industrial strength crud right at the end of last semester. This laid me out for about two weeks and the coughing got so bad that I even threw out some muscles in my back. If this wasn't enough, I then was running up in Forest Park and was running down a flat trail and had my knee just give out. Unfortunately I had about a half hour of sunlight and 4 miles back to the car. As a result, I had to keep running on the knee and by the end I was struggling quite a bit. After a week or two of having it give out at random times and struggling with some basic functions, I elected to go to the doctor. Despite a number of injuries over the years, this was the first time I'd actually had my knees x-rayed and MRI'd. The good news was they were "pristine" structurally. The bad news is that I picked up a cartlidge tear in a spot in the near where it's very difficult to fix. The initial diagnosis is physical therapy though the first available appointment is over a month from now (and how is this any different than the socialized health care some Americans like to savage?). The best surgical option is microfracture surgery and with images of Greg Oden dancing in my head, I elected to pass. It's a weird injury though; supposedly I can try to run on it but it's not supposed to heal on its own. I'll have to test it out and hope that I get my meditation back.

In the meantime, I've been doing my best to find other ways to find my zen. Going for walks is ok from the physical perspective but I get bored quickly and find myself wishing I did have my iPod. I haven't quite gone to meditation yet though I do find the bus ride to class strangly soothing. Hopefully my body elects to let me back on the road soon. 33 is way too young of an age to have to think up a second act.


Monday, January 14, 2008

New Years Resolutions

As Becca and I took a week or so to take stock of our lives and try to make some goals for 2008 and beyond, one of them for me involved the blog. I know I've been negligent (at best) of updating it with my thoughts. A lot of this has to do with the fact that my writing has picked up a trait from my wife: trying for too much and not getting anything on (virtual) paper. We had a saying at FanBuzz (my previous job): sometimes it's better to get a B+ product up than to be constantly striving for the A. So while I'm not promising you a steady stream of B+ writing, I am promising that the site will be updated more often. Sometimes it may only consist of a brief thought, sometimes it'll be a book and sometimes we may just put up some pictures. But for those 3 of you who still read this, we promise new material!

I hope 2008 is off to a good start for everyone. For us we are simply hoping for your health and good luck in 2008.

See you on the interwebs soon!