Howdy

Jason wrote:
Sean,
I have a dilemma. There is a girl at work that I really like, but she has one HUGE flaw, which is she’s “country”. I am talking tight wranglers, hat, saying “howdy” type of country. She’d be perfect, but I am totally not into the country type. She isn’t even from the country either-she grew up in Denver. Anyway, how do I tell her I would be totally into her if she dressed normally?

Jason

Jason,
You don’t. What if you had a huge ass? What if you were absolutely perfect but had an ass like a rhino? Would you like if if some woman came up to you and told you she would like you better if your ass was smaller? I know I wouldn’t. If you like someone (and I mean truly like them), you like them for who they are and what they have to offer..you don’t like them for what you’d like them to be. If you can’t appreciate this woman for who she is, it would better if you just stay over “yonder” and keep your opinions to yourself. Yee haw.

Sean

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Work …out

Stephen wrote:

Hi Sean. I was wondering how your fitness quest is coming along? Have any tips for those of us that are just getting started?

Stephen


Stephen,
I can give some general guidance, but without knowing your goals, I can’t be very precise. I have 5 basic tips and I will be posting more on Twitter today so check the Twitter feed on the side of the blog.

1. Protein up. You will need extra protein to reach your goals.

2. Watch your snacking. When your metabolism rises, you may feel an urge to snack more. Avoid it by drinking a glass of ice water when you feel like snacking.

3. Take advantage of any “free” training. If your gym gives you one or two free sessions, sign up and learn from them. If anything, its info you can use to push yourself.

4. Stay disciplined. You have a goal..its your job to hit it.

5. Don’t let minor soreness set you back. If you’ve just started working out, you may be sore the day after a workout (even if you stretch). Don’t let it keep you from heading back to the gym.

You can reach your goals! Good luck Stephen!

Sean

Windows to heaven

I promised a phone review, so here it goes:

I am not a I-fan of the I-phone.  It’s not that it’s a bad phone by any means, but I don’t like the fact that the technology is lagging and it has little originality.  Tons of people have it and, aside from different cases or screensavers, they have the exact same phone. I simply don’t subscribe to the idea that if everyone has something, I need to have it.

I am also not a fan of many Android phones.  Now, between the TWO, I’d likely take an Android over an I-phone, but the constant “skinning” of Android phones (where a manufacturer like LG or Sony takes the Android operating software and mods it out to make it “more catchy”) drives me crazy because it makes some Android phones have cool features that other ones with the SAME operating software, but different “skin”, not have.  It also really frustrates me to hear Google is releasing a new (4.0, 5.0) version of their software and I find out that my phone manufacturer won’t let me have access to it because they don’t want to put in the work of updating things for my phone.  I practically sold my armpit glands to have the money to buy the damn phone and they’re telling me I can’t upgrade it.  Lame.

Enter the Microsoft Windows Phone.  This year, Windows came from relative obscurity in the phone world years ago, and is overtaking Blackberry for the third most popular phone operating system out there.  I’ve seen a few people using them around the office and it spurred my interest, so I got in touch with Microsoft to find out more about their phone.  After a few emails I had arranged to try out the Samsung Focus S phone (a Windows Phone running Windows 7.5) from AT&T.  It was the most like my Android OS’ed Motorola Atrix 2 in features, so I was eager to compare.  Needless to say, I absolutely loved this phone!

Let me explain, I am not a gamer.  I don’t own a gaming computer, any gaming systems, or even a series of games on my phone.  This phone has Xbox live built in, which would be nice for the gamers out there, but that’s not my thing.  I also don’t use the phone for music.  I listen to music in the gym and don’t want to sweat all over my phone..I’d rather sweat on an Apple ipod in that case, simply because they are cheap and disposable.  This phone has an awesome built in music player that is much more customizable than the Droid and Apple music players, but again, it’s not my thing.  What I use my phone for is what most people use their smartphone for: picture/video taking, blogging, emails, texting/talking, and for social applications.  I like the ability to move easily between apps and multitask, I like fast internet, and I like ease of use.  I don’t want to spend five minutes trying to “speak text” the phrase “What would you like on your pizza” and having the phone type, “What glue Nikes your pleaser”.  Little glitches like that make me want to throw the phone out of the window into a volcano (yes, in that scenario, I am in Hawaii and driving on the rim of a volcano).  Therefore, I am reviewing this phone with those criteria in mind, but also looking at some differences in basic operating systems.  Many reviewers review the phone itself, and I’ll talk a little about it, but the main focus will be the operating system (OS).

The first thing I noticed is that the Samsung Focus S is light.  Not potato chip light, but not brick heavy either.  I compared using the finger/thumb test where I held the phones with my thumb on the bottom and middle finger on the top (like a pliers..I wasn’t giving my phones the finger).  It took 9 minutes for the Windows phone to reach that stage.  Now, Samsung has typically had light phones (I’ve owned a few different models in the past), but it was nice to see they stuck with something they’ve mastered.  It’s also a nice size unit and fit easily in the palm of my hand.

This is what my hand looks like holding the Samsung Focus S

As far as setup goes, it’s a snap.  You enter your email and password to setup email, you can easily integrate your Facebook profile into your phone and you can even use the Facebook app, which is easily downloadable from the Windows Marketplace.  Twitter, WordPress (yay!), Accuweather, IMDB, and a few other apps took the place of AT&T’s apps when I first got my hands on it, and within minutes, I was ready to go.  The Windows Mobile software even made downloading my contacts from my AT&T SIM card a snap.  Most phones I’ve owned cannot seem to grasp the easy task of pulling names and numbers from my SIM, which often leaves me editing names and numbers for weeks after I get a new phone.  Windows Mobile’s OS took care of everything and downloaded every single phone number on my SIM correctly and quickly.  Simple details make a phone worth having and this was bonus number one.

I snapped a picture of Olivia to check the picture quality and it was fantastic.  The picture was clear and crisp with minimized shadowing with the lower light we were in.  For IPhone users, the Samsung Focus S has onboard storage like your phones do, so there is no little mini-storage cards to lose.  At 16gb, that’s a bunch of pictures.

I also made a few calls and tried the voice texting to my parents and fiancee to see if things worked smoothly.  The call clarity was another bonus.  On both phone and speakerphone, the call was clear and easy to understand.  Speech texting only had one word come up wrong, but it just was plural rather than singular, so it was easy to correct.  The Samsung Focus S also has a front facing and rear facing camera, so using Skype is also an option.

Facebook and Twitter apps had my full attention.  Both apps were simple to use, easy to navigate, and very user-friendly in their design.  Anyone that’s used an Android based Facebook app knows how frustrated users can be with mobile versions of Facebook.  Just one look at the Facebook reviews on the Android marketplace and you’ll see the issues facing the Android FB.  In fact, I used it twice (years ago), and had such a bad experience that I swore I’d never use it again.  The Windows Mobile version of Facebook was amazing.  Photos were easily uploaded and statuses went through in a snap.  Absolutely no issues here.  I couldn’t find an Instagram app, which is a huge bummer, but I imagine it’s on the way.  It’d be a shame to see this OS not have an Instagram app.  Internet explorer is also the installed browser and is lightning fast.  In a comparative speed test, my droid browser took 3.5 seconds to navigate from google.com to Bing.com and the Samsung Focus S took about 1.5.  The Motorola supposedly isn’t TRUE 4g, and the Samsung is, so that may account for faster loading as well.

The other bonus was the battery life.  Online, the rating for this phone seems to be similar to an IPhone with 6-8 hours of performance, but my Samsung Focus S lasted an entire 12 hours with moderate use and around 7 hours average on heavier use which is far longer than any I-phone I’ve owned has ever lasted.  My Motorola phone was close in battery life (18 and 7), but Androids can vary based upon which manufacturer’s skin is over the Android OS.  I hate charging my phone more than once a day, so it was a relief to see that the phone’s processor and the Windows Mobile OS aren’t sucking battery life.

The last bonus is that it has built-in Microsoft functionality like SkyDrive, Office 365 (Word, Excel, OneNote, etc.) and wow, is it easy to use.  Documents from my email pulled up quickly with no version-change issues or errors, and using each Office feature was almost as easy as the real thing.

The only downside is the limited choices of apps in the Marketplace.  Google has a ton, Apple has quite a few, and Winows is playing catch-up, but is still lacking a few great apps that are popular on phones these days (I mentioned Instagram, but there are others).  I would imagine as Windows phones become more and more popular that the market place will grow, but I’m an impatient guy and want them now (imagine me stomping my feet like a 2 year old while saying that).  Other than that negative side, this phone far exceeded my expectations.

I was searching for an alternative to the Apple OS with it’s conformity-based approach and the Android “magician’s slip” manufacturer-based skins (“this one has it, this one doesn’t!”), and I certainly found exactly what I was looking for..and more!  I would recommend the Samsung Focus S or any Windows Mobile phone to anyone looking to make an OS change in their mobile phone lifestyle.  Down below are a few more screenshots I took during my experience using the Samsung Focus S.

Instead of app icons, Windows Mobile uses tiles which are “alive” the People app constantly flips pictures, the text and email numbers change with each email, and the missed call tile changes as well. Touching that little arrow at the top takes you to a side screen with more app choices and the settings.
The Marketplace screen. Hope to see Instagram here soon.
Take your Office with you.
The Facebook news feed. Not much happening at that moment.
Aww…I texted my mom.
My aunt Mary commented on my Facebook and Silhouette Bakery is just plain awesome.

That’s it for now everyone.  I’m off to keep tinkering with this phone.  More posts to come!  For more about Windows Mobile Phones, click here.

Sean

Wedding one.

I went to a wedding this weekend (my fiancée’s side) and had a blast observing all of the couples. 

I notice things that most people don’t.  I see movements people make, hear words people choose, and watch interactions very closely because people have always fascinated me.  Weddings are a particularly great place to see things and really watch people out of their normal routine.  I even danced at this wedding (yes, fast AND slow..shocker, huh?) so even I was out of my normal routine.

How we show love is different for everyone.  Whether it’s a father showing he cares for his daughter in the words he uses while talking to her, if it’s a couple sharing a slow dance while juggling their daughter or son, or even if its a two people sharing a kiss while dancing to a song they danced to while dating 40 years ago, love is just as easy to spot as it is to miss.  We sometimes get lost on our journey of love because  miss the signs.  My first bit of advice:  If you realize you’re off course, it’s never too late to stop and ask for direction.

The married couple had an elaborate story about how they met, dated, and got engaged, but what was even more impressive is how they tackled the wedding night chaos…as a team.  I saw them interacting with each other and thought to myself, “These two have been married less than a day and they just get it.  They just know how it works.”

It was also nice to meet more of my fiancée’s family and have more time to chat.  I am beginning to understand where she gets her fiery spirit, her sense of reason…and her need to dance wherever the music moves her.  My second bit of advice: Listen to the words a father uses when he talks about his daughter.  Those words explain exactly how you should treat her.

She and I walked just over a mile back to our room from the wedding (we had some drinks, so it felt like 5 miles) and we laughed and joked around the whole time. Moments like that make me realize how lucky I am to have found her.  Details are blurry on our post-wedding walk, but I do remember crossing the Hennepin bridge ..and stopping for a kiss.  It made my entire night.

My third bit of advice to everyone: Always stop for a kiss from the one you love.  Always.

Little engine that could

Tami Lynn wrote:

Sean,
I just started seeing a guy that has a weird habit and I’d like to know if you think its normal or not.  His habit?  Talking himself into peeing in the bathroom.  Yes, like a pep talk.  He will stand there and mumble things like, “You can do it” and “There you go buddy”.  He doesn’t realize that its loud enough to hear though and I just happened to catch his pregame speech while walking by the bathroom one night.  Since then, I have been curious and have been basically spying when he heads to the bathroom.  He does it every time.  We haven’t had sex yet, and its mainly because of this weird flaw.

Is it normal for guys to talk to their penis?

Tami Lynn

Tami Lynn,
I wouldn’t say its normal.  Now, this guy may have prostate issues, a strange kind of stage fright if he’s peeing outside of his home, or some other thing to consider, but I can’t understand why he just wouldn’t keep that stuff to himself rather than talking out loud. Maybe he has a tiny elf living in his pants..like the Travelocity guy.  You will get hot and heavy one day when all of a sudden this little guy in a red cap will pop out and say, “Hello chap!”  Eesh..

I’d let him know you overheard it and ask him more about it when he feels comfortable discussing it.  We all have our unique traits and this may be one.  After you chat (with him..not his penis), you need to decide if this is something you find endearing or if its something you’re just enduring.

Good luck!

Sean

Teamwork

Beth wrote:

Congrats on the engagement!  Since you and your FIANCÉE have adopted a gluten free lifestyle, I had a question (2 actually) maybe you or both of you can answer:  Is it frustratingly hard to be gluten free?  Is there a set standard or certification for gluten free foods?

The reason I ask is because I have recently started dating a guy that is a Celiac and I don’t want to look like an insensitive idiot when we eat together.  The more info I have, the better. 

Beth

Beth,

I talked things over with my fiancée and here is what she said:

Being gluten free is different from having Celiac Disease because living gluten free is a choice where celiacs don’t have a choice. For Celiacs, it isn’t always easy (mainly because of restrictions on places to eat out and the expense of groceries, coupled with health issues that can be unique to each person), but with the right amount of effort and a little patience & planning, there are some great meals ahead.

As far as a “standard” safety level for Celiacs, there isn’t a universally recognized one, which sucks (I feel the pain on this one too, especially when shopping). Believe me, I wish there was one, but for now, in addition to the normal celiac and gf guidlines, we also stay away from any food (including gluten free foods) that where processed in a facility that processes wheat or oats and we avoid modified food starch. There is just too much at risk otherwise.

Weird things have gluten too, so be careful. Soy sauce, nacho cheese tortilla chips and BBQ sauces, some protein shakes, and even some medicines have gluten in them, so you’ll just need to talk with this guy before prepping or buying food. My last tip is to educate yourself. Read the info on Celiac websites, visit a Vitamin Shoppe and check their free to use computer with health issue information, or just buy some books. The more you know, the better.

I hope that answers your question Beth. Good luck!

Take your child to work day.

I got a chance to take Olivia to work today for Take Your Child to Work day and it was great.  After she pepped up (I let her change into shorts rather than wearing jeans), we did some activities like learning how to write our names in Chinese, we listened to a seminar on electronics recycling, she got pictures taken in a photobooth, and we had lunch.  After lunch, we did one more seminar, watched The Lorax in our company’s theater, and I took her to one of our company stores for a quick walk around.

Later tonight, as Olivia, my fiancée and I ate dinner, Olivia even recited some facts back that she’d learned during the day, which made me proud.

I thought back on the times my dad used to ask me to tag along on work trips.  He worked for John Deere and it was usually visiting a dealership or something, but it was fun.  As we got into our teenage years though, my brother and I were either disinterested in the trips or we had things going on (work/sports/band) that prevented us from going.  The last time I remember going to my dad’s work was in the Waterloo plant..I got a full tour and ate lunch with him.  I must have been 22 at the time. 

It wasn’t the tour that I remembered today and it wasn’t lunch or the road trips either.  What I remembered is my dad introducing me to everyone he worked with.  It seemed pointless at the time (I had no interest in chatting with strangers), but today I understood what it was like to be at a place I am proud to work for and have a coworker meet my daughter, someone I am proud of.  My dad would always throw in compliments as he talked us up.  We were in football, we were doing well in some school thing,  or even just what was going on in our lives.  He wasn’t always good at giving face to face compliments (many men in our family aren’t), but he made sure to give them when he introduced us to others and that was always a good feeling to see that side of my dad. I know there will be a point where Olivia may become disinterested in what I do,  but I hope not.  Luckily, I work for a company that sells things that kids both young AND old enjoy seeing.

Sean