Moving On Over

February 16, 2009

I’m no longer blogging at this site.  I’ve moved to http://erikullestad.blogspot.com/

(For those who do the rss thing, here’s the new feed — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/blogspot/erikullestad)

Why move?

I’m tired of explaining the “godsnowhere” gimmick to people.  I need a break from WordPress, which is an awesome blog site (probably the best), but the features are limited if I don’t self-host my website (which costs money)…and requires a certain level of tech-savvy that I don’t have.

I’ll be doing the same kinds of things at the new site.  I would be much obliged if you’d join me over at KOINONIA.  Thanks…


PowerMeter

February 10, 2009

I can’t wait for this to fully launch:

Over the last several months, our engineers have developed a software tool called Google PowerMeter, which will show consumers their home energy information almost in real time, right on their computer. Google PowerMeter is not yet available to the public since we’re testing it out with Googlers first. But we’re building partnerships with utilities and independent device manufacturers to gradually roll this out in pilot programs.


Teaching vs. Learning

February 3, 2009

Bethany Stolle (citing Andy Sahl‘s Extravaganza presentation) pointed me to a sweet video (created in an open-source, Google docs environment) by the Digital Ethnography group at Kansas State University:


Google Going Green(ish)

January 16, 2009

I’m always intrigued to know how big companies go about their business.  It seems like Google is taking carbon emissions seriously.  

…in the time it takes to do a Google search, your own personal computer will use more energy than Google uses to answer your query.


No New Ideas

January 13, 2009

I’ve learned many interesting things in my foray into blogging these past 9 months.  One of the things I’m still trying to figure out is Copycat Syndrome — the tendency of bloggers to write about the same topic within a short period of time.  I don’t really know what to make of this.  Do these people come up with their ideas independent of one another?  Or did one person read a blog, recreate the gist of the article in their own words, and then pass it off as their own?

The former doesn’t bother me much.  The latter kinda does.

Audre Lorde the 20th century author and feminist, once wrote, “there are no new ideas.  There are only new ways of making them felt.”  To that end, I concede the reality that like-minded bloggers are going to have a lot of the same ideas and make those ideas publicly known.  

Yesterday I found myself on the unflattering end of what appeared to be a Copycat Syndrome situation.  My friend and fellow-blogger Emily recently offered a post on how much she loves playing Tetris on-line.  (Here’s the article.)  She even included a screen-grab which demonstrated her ridiculous high score.  Well, wouldn’tcha know it, a few hours later, I wrote a similar post that professed MY love for the same game, and even included a screen-grab which demonstrated my modest high score.  The thing is, I had no idea she had written about such an odd topic.  I promise.  So imagine my horror when, literally minutes after “publishing” my post on Tetris, I read Emily’s not-too-dissimilar article.

What can we learn from this?  

 

  1. The appearance of impropriety does not always designate it so
  2. There are no new ideas; only new ways of making them felt
  3. Emily is a crazy-good Tetris player

The Year of Living Simply

December 27, 2008

I’ve always been a big New Year’s Resolutions guy.  I think this goes back to my early understanding of baptism.  New Year’s Resolutions, like baptism, give us a fresh perspective on the way we go about our life.  I’m also really good at breaking these Resolutions…in part because I lack discipline, and also because I usually come up with them as I’m watching football in my PJ’s on New Year’s Day.  This year I’m going to try putting a little more thought into the process, in the hopes of keeping my resolutions afloat past Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

A few years ago, Allison painted a little sign that says

LIVE SIMPLY THAT OTHERS MAY SIMPLY LIVE

With that in mind, I’ve decided to call 2009 “The Year of Living Simply”.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

 

Utilize the Internet – 2008 has been my own personal period of enlightenment of how Web 2.0 can simplify various aspects of life.  I hope that in the coming year I can make a practical application of these new amenities.  Some of my favorites thus far include Google Reader, Twitter, Kraft Food & Family, Freecycle, and Rethinking Youth Ministry.  I’m sure there are others that will emerge in the future.

Daily Trips to the Grocery Store – I’m the appointed grocery shopper for the family.  I kinda like going to the supermarket, so this isn’t a problem for me.  My current routine is to go once every 7-10 days and fill the cart with the same kinds of foods every week.  Sometimes I make a list…usually I just get what I normally get.  Eggs…bread…mac-n-cheese…lots of produce…frozen pizza…4 gallons of milk…etc.  However, this way of doing things causes certain items to pile up in the pantry / fridge at home.  I think I need to be more intentional with buying MEALS instead of just going with the usual items.  I work 3 blocks away from a Hy-Vee, a Sam’s Club, and a Wal-Mart.  I live less than 1 mile away from another Hy-Vee.  It’s convenient, and it might cause me to be smarter about what I buy and what we actually eat.

Use Coupons When Eating Out – My grandparents just gave me their “Entertainment” coupon book for 2009.  I get a stack of coupons mailed to me at least once a week.  Almost every restaurant has coupons you can print from their website.  Most places I go to will have special discounts on certain foods and / or drinks.  I’m going to play a little game with myself and not pay full menu price for any pre-prepared food in 2009.  This will obviously save me a little coin, and would also cause me to be more intentional about where & what I eat when I’m out-and-about.

On-Line Bill Pay – I do this for a few regular expenses, but I think it’s time to do it with all of them.  It keeps me from worrying if I forgot to pay this bill or that bill…it will save me about $6 / month in stamps…and I won’t have to buy checks anymore.

Embrace Rituals – this is a big one for me.  I’ve entered a phase in my life where routines are imposed on me like never before.  Kids have to be at school by 8:50 every morning…writing projects have deadlines…meetings and events at church are locked into a predictable schedule.  Instead of seeing these reoccurring events as hindrances, perhaps I could see them as bringing balance and order into my life.  It causes me to think of other rituals I could take on.

  • Wake up early and read the paper (on-line, of course)
  • Drink coffee at home instead of on-the-go
  • Pack a lunch
  • Read scripture / pray at 11:00 daily
  • Hit the gym before coming home
  • Eat family meals around 6:00
  • Read stories to the kids before going to bed
  • Do any writing between 9 – 11:30 pm…no earlier; no later

This is all stuff I do, but not with any regularity or consistency.  I could use a little more structure in my daily routines.

 

That’s what I’ve come up with…for now.  It’s still a work in progress.  Hopefully this new perspective on life will not only simplify my day-to-day, but might make a small difference somewhere else in the world.  Do any of you have other ways that you are striving to “live simply”?


Blech

December 1, 2008

I have so many topics I want to blog about…but I have little time and even less energy to do them.  I miss the virtual connections that I’ve made the last several months through the world of blogging.  Nobody wants to read somebody’s complaints that they’re “too busy”, so I won’t go there.  I’m just surprised at how much I miss the conversations and feedback that has come out of some of my blog posts.  There have been some big things happening lately…and I look forward to the catharsis that comes from writing and sharing.  Eventually.