Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Things have been kind of bumpy...



You know it's serious if I'm willing to post such a flattering picture of myself in order to solve this problem. I'm officially fed up with shaving. Look at that bloody neck! Just wait until tomorrow, when the blood is gone but it's replaced with what look like giant zits. My face was just not built for shaving.

But shave I must. I have tried lots of solutions. I used to use an electric razor. In college, it actually worked. I don't think my facial hair was as coarse back then, and I also don't think I was ever actually all that cleanly shaven. I've tried an electric razor again recently and it just doesn't cut it. But I have constant razor bumps on my neck, and every time I shave with a regular razor, those bumps become spots of blood which become even bigger, uglier bumps. And I'm serious - I've tried everything! I shaved in the shower for a while. A little better, but not much. For the last couple of years, I actually shave in the bathtub, which is a little better but wastes so much time and water and is just silly. I've tried lots of different shaving creams. I've tried bump-be-gone after shaves. I have avoided shaving against the grain. I've tried shaving slowly and methodically, and I've tried shaving fast and furious. But no matter what ... this is the result.



It's times like this that I wish I had a larger blog readership. I think I'm going to need lots and lots of advice before I solve this problem, and I just don't think I have enough blog readers to offer that advice. But let's try it anyway. Guys, how do you shave? What works for you? Surely some of you have dealt with this! I have resorted to shaving every three or four days recently in order to give my face a few days to recuperate, but I don't really think I should have to spend the rest of my life looking sloppy 75% of the time and looking like a vampire victim the other 25%. This must end! What can I do?!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Greenbuild 2008

Well, we did it. Greenbuild 2008 is over, and it was a success! The Greenbuild International Conference & Expo is our annual green building industry trade show, and this year it was in Boston. It was my first visit to Boston. We got there Sunday afternoon and were there until Friday afternoon, and every day I was in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center from as early as 4:30 a.m. to 7 or 8 p.m., but there was still a little time out on the town - mostly just for dinner and then early to bed. So I can't really say I've seen a lot of Boston, but what I did see was fantastic.

The U.S. Green Building Council (my employer) has hosted Greenbuild since 2002, when there were about 4,000 attendees. This year, we had more than 28,000. More than 850 companies and organizations exhibited on the HUGE expo floor, showing some of the coolest, latest and greatest in green building technologies and products. We had more than 100 educational sessions, an opening plenary session keynoted by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, our first-ever Green Homebuilder's Day with Kevin O'Connor from This Old House and tons of excitement. Working a show is a lot different from attending one – I didn't actually get to see any of the education sessions or plenaries, though I will watch the plenaries online later – but I did get to hang out with Steve Thomas from Planet Green's Renovation Nation and help him find cool stuff to film for an upcoming episode. I saw the kids from Greensburg, the show about a small town in Kansas that was destroyed by a tornado and is now rebuilding the whole town green. I talked on the phone with Kevin O'Connor. :) I hung out in the press room and had some awesome dinners and had a blast with coworkers. Greenbuild is exhausting but really exciting.

I was too busy to even get any photos, so I had to steal a few from a coworker's Facebook. First, this gives you a tiny idea of what the exhibit floor looked like. Seriously, HUGE:



And here's the Leadership Awards party at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, a big party the last night of Greenbuild where we celebrate the winners of our annual Leadership Awards. It's a really great way to unwind after a long week:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Très adorable

I've been wanting to post something as a palate cleanser from my non-stop blog explosion on Election Night, so that the entire front page of my blog wouldn't be all politics. (By the way, I know there are lots of people who visit this blog for when I post pictures of Hank and Roxy and the whole family. My Election Night rampage pushed my most recent round of picture posting onto the second page of the blog, so if you missed that post, be sure to click "Older Posts" at the bottom of this page.)

Anyway, I haven't seen the kids for a few weeks, but I found this really cute video of some kid I don't know. It's nice to see how imagination translates into any language! :)


Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

On another note, I am off to Boston Sunday morning for Greenbuild, our big international conference/expo that we host every year. I'm going to be running around like a madman for the whole week, so don't expect any action on this blog for a while. But I plan to take pictures if anything exciting happens, and I'll fill you all in when I get back!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America rejoices



I wish you could be here with me on D.C.'s 18th Street tonight. This video does it little justice. Strangers hugging, strangers of different races and ages. There were people hanging out of windows, playing trombones. Taxis and buses and carsful of whites and blacks and Hispanics and Asians, honking, screaming, crying. Grown men, black and white, crying on the street. Hope is back in the nation's capital. Hope is back in the nation. My batteries died in my camera, as they always do. But trust me: The ultimate American story was told tonight, and I was here to watch it. So were you, wherever you live. I know that your candidate may not have won. I hope I'm not rubbing it in your face. I truly believe tonight was a win for American conservatism, which has suffered so much under the recent partisanship and nationalistic extremism. Tonight was a win for moderation. Tonight was a win for a humble international policy, a reasoned domestic policy, fiscal responsibility, cultural unity and the death of that ridiculous Bradley Effect. We will heal our environment. We will regain our position in the world. We will be that city on the hill again.

Know hope!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"It feels different to be an American tonight"

This is four years, four months in the making for me.

In July 2004, I saw Barack Obama give his speech at the Democratic National Convention. I wasn't excited about John Kerry. I was excited about Barack Obama.

For me, this is not a partisan issue. Yes, I tend to vote Democratic. Yes, I guess I'm politically liberal. But what does that mean anymore? I have cringed at the wasteful spending and the nation-building of President Bush, which really makes me politically conservative. Temperamentally, anyone who knows me will tell you I am pretty traditional and conservative.

I think more importantly, I am patriotic. I love America, and that love is based on hope and a belief that it always has something better to give than what it is giving. I saw Obama's 2004 speech, and I said, "This is a man who can bring us together. This is a man who can remind us that we are all Americans, we all have a common cause, we all are united behind the idea of a bill of freedoms that may currently be on shaky ground but will always be worth fighting for."

I knew Obama was the man who could remind us that we're all in this together. He will do that. I have been a little bummed to see the divisiveness that has come about in the last months of this campaign, and I know that there will be Americans who are not ready to accept this outcome. I am watching McCain supporters boo President-Elect Obama's name now. That is disappointing and leaves my constant optimism suffering a little. But the healing has to start somewhere, and I think it's starting now.

I have some very red-state people in my life whom I love dearly. I am so done with thinking in terms of red state and blue state. I think that what we are seeing tonight is proof that we will overcome that distinction. I am now hearing McCain supporters applauding the historic nature of America's first black president. The healing has to start somewhere.

Let's start it now. God bless America.

When Obama won Utah

Oh, New York Times, when 0% of precincts have reported and you just have a few Salt Lake City numbers in, it's no good to color Utah blue. Still. This is something you won't see often in your life.

It's over

Obama has 200 electoral votes. That doesn't include California's 55, Oregon's 7 or Washington's 11. The total there is 273, above the 270 needed to win. Plus Hawaii - his home state. Plus the possibilities of Iowa, Montana, Indiana, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida. This could be a landslide. Our country could be more united behind this president than any president since Reagan. More later...

Election night fun

There's an important message in this image, and I endorse that message wholeheartedly, but more importantly, there's just a lot of funny in this image. :) Enjoy!

Need your numbers

I never thought I'd see the day when I would be one of those people who has to post a MySpace bulletin/blog post/Facebook message asking for phone numbers. I've never broken or lost a phone before. But last night, in my rush to do laundry, I threw my pants in the washing machine with my phone still in them, and there was no rescuing it. So my new phone doesn't know your number. Please text, e-mail or call me so I can put you back in my phone - or in it for the first time, if I didn't have your number before. Or, if you don't want me to be able to contact you, enjoy this opportunity to be rid of me!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Better late than never

I've had these photos and videos sitting around for more than a month, since my mom's visit in mid-September, and I just keep forgetting to post them. Better late than never!

We spent much of the visit - including my birthday! - at Virginia Beach. It wasn't the best beach weather, but that just gave Hank a great opportunity to show off his slick slicker - and to do a little dancing in the rain! (Remember, you can click any photo and see it lots bigger.)


An indoor pool meant that the weather wouldn't stop Hank from getting a little swim time in.


Looks like if you ask Julie, this evening in the big rocking chairs was cold cold cold. If you ask Hank and my mom, it was pretty comfortable.

Roxy enjoyed relaxing on her first beach trip.


And we all had a blast riding this "bicycle" built for four to hear the Knack play live on the beach. (And don't believe any of the front-seaters if they tell you they mastered the art of backing up. It was all me!)





Heading back to Richmond...


...where we got to see Grandma and Grandpa again - and even play a little Rock Band with them!


Mom and Julie, we already know you look alike! You don't have to dress the same to prove it!


We learned that Hank is secretly a Twister whiz!



And pretty darn good at Guesstures, too!


Not to mention a really great big brother! (OK, this photo was actually from a visit I made a few weeks later back down to Richmond, but it fits in here nicely.)


Back home in D.C., my mom and I stumbled unexpectedly on this drum circle going on in Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park.



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More good guys than bad guys

It's about time I step back and remember that there are more people like this than like this. Sorry for the weird way the movie doesn't fit the frame. This is why YouTube is best. This particular player isn't resizing very well... Anyway, you'll get the idea. Meet the good guys:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Self-censorship

When it comes to politics, I can be pretty awkward. I have a really hard time finding a comfortable place to draw the line when ranting about any of the many things I feel strongly about. Sometimes, I err much too far on the side of caution, missing opportunities to stand up for something I fiercely believe in because I don't like the possibility of confrontation or hurt feelings it might bring. Other times, I take and make politics too personal, blustering about why I'm right and you're wrong and risking damage to very important family and friendship relationships. This week, I was guilty of the former: I deleted a recent blog post after it had been up a day or two because I started second-guessing myself, worrying that I might upset someone who reads it and deciding that I'd rather be safe than sorry. But since then, I've had several people say they were sorry to see the post had been deleted, and since I honestly meant no disrespect to anyone with an opinion different from mine, I have decided to repost it. Of course, before I do, I have to do some clarifying.

Since I first heard Barack Obama speak at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, I had grand visions of a President Obama bringing a badly divided country to new heights of unity, all of us standing together behind a sense of common purpose and a shared pride in America and Americanism. I still see that potential. But recently, I have watched too many YouTubes of narrow-minded people expressing irrational fears about Obama being a terrorist, anti-white, a radical leftist, dangerous, un-American. These people, I am certain, represent a tiny fringe; most McCain supporters, I am certain, are good people who believe in their candidate as passionately as I believe in mine. But it only takes one unstable person to do something dangerous, dramatic and history-changing. Something I prefer not to mention because it is unspeakable, but something that I think could lead to unrest, violence, economic upheaval, international instability and racial and cultural polarization like we haven't seen in a long time. That's why I've been deeply uneasy with Sen. McCain's apparent unwillingness to condemn outright the worst statements of the lunatic fringe that have been showing up on all the YouTubes and Keith Olbermann's "Worst Persons" lists.

There is too much at risk here, too much potential for ruinous effects on the country Sen. McCain bravely fought for and was tortured for, for him to stay silent for fear of alienating a constituency he would do better without. I am suspicious that the McCain campaign - led not by McCain, whom I've always seen as honorable, but by cynical strategists who don't have the good of the country in mind - wants to stoke this anti-Obama fear, wants to let people believe the black guy with a funny name is too cozy with terrorists without the candidate himself having to come out and say it. And I know that the McCain who has long had the respect of this country's moderates and independents (and many Republicans and Democrats) would never have been able to stomach the kind of campaign that is now being run by the new McCain, an old man who knows this is probably his last chance and will desperately do what it takes to win.

That said, let me restate one more time: The scary McCain supporters I talk about are by no means indicative of all McCain supporters. By posting the second of the two YouTubes below, I definitely do not mean to characterize all McCain supporters - or even most, or even many, or even a substantial minority - as being like these people. I just mean it to illustrate how an absence of leadership from McCain when it comes to quelling this nest of hate and extremism really disappoints and disgusts me.

If you're still reading... Here it is, the post I wrote, then deleted, and now am posting again:

---







I don't believe John McCain believes Barack Obama is a terrorist. I'm sure he doesn't. They have worked together in the Senate as colleagues. McCain speaks respectfully of Obama, stands on the stage with him at debates, shakes his hand. He took the microphone away from a woman at a campaign event who claimed Obama was an Arab. McCain knows Obama isn't a terrorist, or a terrorist sympathizer, or "paling around with terrorists" like Sarah Palin claimed. If he had reason to believe that Obama was somehow in league with terrorists, that's a serious thing, and it would be McCain's duty to address it head-on. If McCain thinks Obama is a terrorist, he should ask him bluntly about it at every debate, call him on it in every speech he gives. He should call for an FBI investigation into Obama's history and his associations. It would be his obligation. Clearly, McCain doesn't believe Obama poses a terrorist risk to America - or, if he does, he is guilty of letting it slide.

So if McCain knows that Obama is not a terrorist, it is likewise his duty to squash any and all implications that he is. The next president will take office when we are in the middle of two wars, an economic crisis, a culture war that has split our country in half. The next president will need the support of an American population united behind a common cause, behind the shared purpose of making America safe and economically secure. He will not need to have approximately half the country suspicious that the new president is a secret terrorist set on taking over the government for radical Islamists.

But McCain does neither of these things. He doesn't openly accuse Obama of being a terrorist sympathizer and call on him to answer those charges. But he also doesn't take a proactive approach to killing those rumors. He treads the middle ground, which is the most cowardly and dishonorable place to be in an issue of this importance. He lets his surrogates (including his own running mate) imply - not too subtly - that Obama is a terrorist lover. He approves of ads like the one above, claiming that Obama is "too risky for America." With this ad, he isn't altruistically trying to warn the American people about a threat facing them. He sees the opportunity for a desperate last grasp at scaring Americans into voting for him. He feels he can take the high road with lines like this one from the ad: "Obama's friendship with terrorist Ayers isn't the issue. The issue is Barack Obama's judgment and candor." But who would honestly believe that anyone watching that ad is going to walk away thinking about judgment and candor? Who, after seeing the mug shot-style photos and the pictures of the Pentagon and hearing the serious scary music in the background would focus on "judgment" rather than "that guy with the funny name is friends with terrorists?!" This approach isn't going to win the election for McCain. What it is going to do is cripple President Obama's ability to take on the important issues we are facing, and McCain is letting it happen without any regard for how he is harming the country.

There are three weeks left until Election Day. At this point, I don't expect to change anyone's mind about which candidate they will vote for. What I am most concerned about is having a bitterly divided post-election country where nothing can get done. I'm scared of what people who buy into this innuendo are capable of doing. People like this:





Sunday, October 12, 2008

Spicy, sweet and delicious



My good friends Joe and Marie over at the DoughEatery introduced me to these really easy, really yummy honey lime chicken enchiladas. They make great leftovers, so they made for a few good lunches at work - and lots of coworkers fell in love with them the way I did. I feel like it wouldn't be fair to keep them to myself, so I've gotta share the recipe with you. I didn't have a baking dish large enough to cook all eight of them at once, but I froze half of the chicken in the marinade and was able to thaw it out and make the other four a few days later - and it worked great!

THE RECIPE:

6 Tbsp. honey
6 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. chicken, cooked and shredded (I boil it and highly recommend doing the same)
8-10 whole-wheat tortillas
1 lb. monterey jack cheese, shredded (I used colby jack)
16 oz. green enchilada sauce (salsa verde)
1 c. cream (Land O'Lakes has a delicious fat-free version)

Mix the first four ingredients and toss with chicken in a large reusable Ziploc container. Marinate for a half-hour or more - I recommend more because the more intense the honey/lime/chili flavors are, the better these enchiladas will be. Fill tortillas with chicken mixture and cheese, reserving about 1 cup cheese to sprinkle on top. Mix green sauce with cream and any leftover marinade. Pour over enchiladas, ensuring that it seeps underneath. Sprinkle with cheese and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What are the chances?

So probably everyone knows I'm kind of a geek about lyrics. Sometimes I hear a new lyric and I just have to tell everyone about it. This one today is from the new album by the Streets, "Everything is Borrowed." In this song, a guy is sitting on the edge of a cliff, ready to jump, and an older guy walks by and, seeing what's about to happen, gives him some words of wisdom. I don't think you have to be suicidal to benefit from a little reminder that we're all really lucky just to be alive. Here's what the older guy said:
For billions of years since the outset of time
Every single one of your ancestors survived
Every single person on your mum and dad's side
Successfully looked after and passed onto you life.
What are the chances of that like?
It comes to me once in a while.
And everywhere I tell folk
It gets the best smile.
Maybe it's cheesy. Maybe it's just because it's that time of year when the days are perfectly cool and the nights are sort of blue from the moon shining through a hazy sky, and it's making me kind of sentimental, but I love that thought. I also love this lyric, from the same CD: "I came to this world with nothing / And I leave with nothing but love. / Everything else is just borrowed."

So now that you're inspired and enlightened... you're welcome!

Really nice video

There is something indescribably moving about this video to me. I wanted to just embed it here, but for some reason you can't view embedded YouTubes in high quality - and this one needs to be viewed in high quality. On that note: Be sure to click "watch in high quality" at the bottom of the video screen. But seriously, go watch this video.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

ChaChaCha

Have you heard of ChaCha? It's a free question-and-answer service: You text a question to ChaCha (that's 242242), and someone texts you an answer in return. That's any question you want. Who are the two senators from Nebraska? Why doesn't Rebecca love me? Who won the presidential debate? What is the definition of "omnidirectional"? What is the tallest dog on record?

And now, I am one of those people sending you those answers.

Anyone can be a ChaCha guide, if they just pass a few tests. I can log on whenever I want, 10 hours a day or an hour a week. I just answer questions as they come to me, and I get 10-20 cents per answer. It's fun, and addictive, and educational. Did you know Tokyo used to be called Edo? And the tallest living dog is a 42.2-inch-tall harlequin great Dane named Gibson?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A new room for a big boy. Also: Who is THAT?!

Hank's old room got a big-boy makeover, and we got to check it out when Jimmie and Steph were visiting. But here's what's really great: I get to have a sleepover in that big-boy room in just a few days!



And it wasn't just the bedroom that got a makeover. In addition to becoming a big brother, Hank has been trying on a few new looks. Whatta ya think?

For Tiff

In a comment on my last post, Tiff said she wants me to post some pictures of myself on this blog. Tiff failed to notice that, in fact, there was a picture of me in that last post. Here it is again, cropped for maximum Doug effect.

You can click on it and view it bigger. That's true, in fact, of most pictures on this blog.

Sorry for the diversion from my Jimmie-and-Steph-visit series. Look for some photos of Hank's new big-boy bedroom tonight.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hanging out in D.C.

Round 2 of my pics from Jimmie and Steph's visit in August. It's now been nearly a month since they got here, but I'm still basking in the memories.

Memories like...

Recovering from an awesome red-eye:


Wowing at the National Cathedral:




Checking out the National Geographic Museum:


And some fun dining experiences...
Like this yummy little cafe on 17th:


A Jimmie-Steph-and-Doug tradition, Lauriol Plaza (mediocre Mexican food - aka, the best in D.C.):


They have La Fro in D.C.?!


And, finally, man, how I love the falling waters at Meridian Hill Park:


Our next installment: Hank's new big-boy bedroom!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Barack Ovama

I realized that I just have too many pictures from Jimmie and Steph's visit to post them all at once. So I will spread them out, by topic, as much as I can. Today, it's all about (oh please please please please) our next POTUS!






That's right. Every time we saw Hank during that trip - now almost a month ago! - he had his three heroes with him: Spidey, Mr. Dinosaur, and "Barack Ovama." This is a good blog post: It includes photos of three of my all-time favorite guys!!

(I'm talking, of course, about Hank, Jimmie, and Mr. Ovama.)

(Dad and Phil, please come visit so I can get some pictures and round out my top five!)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hanna barbarian

We have a tropical storm/hurricane coming. Hanna. She's fixin' to dump 10 inches of rain here. And I'm having a party here tomorrow night. With 35 people having RSVP'd. I don't want 35 dripping-wet people in my apartment.

I can't believe a year went by so fast

I meant to post this yesterday, but yesterday was so busy that I was really only in front of a computer for a total of about one hour during the course of the whole day.

One year ago yesterday, I got into my car, pulled out of the old South Jordan driveway, and headed east for a new life on the other side of the country. I can't believe it's been a year - then again, I can't believe it's only been a year.

I don't have much more to say about it than that. I don't really want to reminisce about that day a year ago when I had to say goodbye to my home and my family. The last year has been really fun and exciting, but of course it's also been hard to be so far away from the people and places I love. And I'm in a good mood today, so I don't want to dwell too much on the bittersweet and get moody. :) I really just wanted to point out that I made it a full year as a non-Utahn, or at least as someone who doesn't currently live in Utah. I guess I'm still a Utahn, right?

Hmm. Pointless blog post. I promise, those photos from Jimmie and Steph's visit are still coming, eventually. My Internet at home has been down for a few days, so I haven't really had a chance...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tax and spend?

I just have to point you all to this pretty cool tool, which takes the specific details of Obama's tax policy and calculates whether you would see a tax cut or a tax increase under Obama's tax plan. It's from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, not some pro-Obama group. Some people will probably see a tax increase. (Most won't.) But rather than rely on rhetoric that assumes Democratic president=higher taxes, you should check out the reality of it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My brand-new cousin!

What a fantastic week it has been! I just spent seven full days with Jimmie and Steph, and we had such a great time! We spent half the week hanging around D.C. and the other half in Richmond/Montpelier/Louisa, Va. It's never long enough, but it was awesome to have them here for a full week this time. (Last fall, they came for just a few days.) Anyway, in the coming days you can expect a post full of photos and videos from the visit, but first, this post, which covers just one day of that trip. And what a day it was! That day – Aug. 20, 2008 – we welcomed the newest member of the Jackson clan to the world – Roxy Viola Gisselman, born at 10:58 a.m. (I love this quote that Proud Papa Sam posted on the Gisselman family blog: "1058am: Roxy is cut away and 1 person becomes 2. For a quick moment, she is the youngest of 7 billion people on this planet.") And what an honor – we were among the first people in the world to see her!

We arrived at the hospital, got to the maternity floor, but we weren't sure exactly where to go. We spent some time peeking into the nursery at the other babies, but no Roxy... So we started to wander down the hall to see if we could figure out where we needed to go, and we were passed by a nurse wheeling the most perfect little baby girl down the hall. "Maybe that's her!" said Aunt Julie. "Who are you looking for?" asked the nurse. We told her; "Here she is!" said the nurse. And sure enough! There was Big Brother Hank's chin. There was that famous Gisselman Family Charm, the smile, the personality!

Here we all are stealing every peek we could get during that first hour or two of Roxy's life:






Already, full of energy:


And yet, perfectly capable of sweet serenity:


I may have gotten a little carried away with the photos of the new big brother holding his pride and joy, but what's better than one little Gisselman? One little Gisselman, and one very big boy!









No question that Roxy is already a huge admirer of her big brother. You should have seen the way she stared at this sign that hung on the inside of her cradle:


And now, some other people introducing themselves to Roxy.

"Hi! I'm your mama!":


"It's me! Dad!":


"We flew all the way from Utah to meet you!":






"Get ready for all the hugs and kisses you could ever need! I'm your loving – and fun-loving – Aunt Julie!":



"Just ask Hank about me – he'll tell you that your cousin Matty-Mo is the coolest cousin you could ever ask for!":


"How old is old enough to learn to play Rock Band? When can I bring her on my motorcycle?" asks Uncle Robbie:


Get a load of the new and improved Gisselman crew:




With funny teeth, lots of giggles and a little whoopie cushion, hanging out in a hospital room is a blast:




Nice to meet you, Roxy! Thanks for joining our family – we're better than ever now that you're here! And thanks, Terri, Sam and Hank, for letting us be a part of your family's special day! We love you all!!