Stealth Mode

I am attempting to get back to my normal routine today, following about two weeks of semi-vaction. I’ve never done such a thing before (that I can recall) so I am still trying to figure out if it was good or bad. 🙂

It was good in that for two weeks I got to be with my family a lot more than I usually do. We played lots of games, read books, watched movies (especially the movie Up, which we bought from iTunes for a family Christmas present!) and just enjoyed each other’s company.

It was not as good in that I don’t quite feel like I had a vacation.

There were only a few days where I worked blocks of hours. Mostly I would just fit in answering emails or phone calls, and perhaps work a few hours after all were in bed. And, there were also a couple days completely free of any work (like Christmas and New Year’s Day … it’s a fun time of year!)

So instead of vacation, I dubbed the past two weeks “stealth mode.” Was I on vacation, or wasn’t I? Was I available to my clients, or wasn’t I?

Overall, it worked. I do feel more ready for to tackle the large workload ahead. Of course, that will also be much easier once I have all my files back on a working computer.

Ahhh, the joys of life with computers. 🙂

On a totally unrelated note, I wrote this post using a fun application called OMMWriter (Mac only). It’s pretty neat. Creates a full-screen writing environment, completel with ambient sounds (of your choosing) and tools that only appear when needed. Pretty neat.

Alright. Time to decloak. No more stealth mode. Game on.

Regarding The Buffalo Bills

Perhaps you have heard that the professional football team nearest to the Campbell family hearts both geographically and emotionally has recently been making some changes. Starting a couple months ago when they fired their head coach, Dick Jauron. (Well, they really started just before the season began when they fired the offensive coordinator, Turk Schonert, and released the converted-to-starter LT Langston Walker. Yes, just days before the season began. Neat.)

The shake-up continued when they announced that they had hired “football man” Buddy Nix (technically, he was promoted from within the organization) as the new General Manager. For a few years, Russ Brandon (former Marketing Guru for the Bills) has been handling those duties… sorta. Now he has been promoted to CEO. (I believe his official title is President and CEO. Impressive.)

Following that job responsibility shifting (and press conferences with Hall of Fame Bills, Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas) the Bills then announced that every single member of the coaching staff had been fired. But they said it nicer, something like, “The coaching staff has been told that they have completed their obligations to the Buffalo Bills.” (That probably makes it easier to swallow?)

Rumors are flying everywhere about whom the Bills are interviewing and who might be the next Bills coach. Bill Cowher, Mike Shannahan, Charlie Weis… (Yes, he was actually mentioned as an option!) We now know that Shannahan and Weis are with their 2010 teams. Cowher won’t decide till after the season (and post-season) are over. And the Bills continue to interview lesser-known candidates. (Though, intriguingly qualified… more than the recent list of head coaches.)

If last year’s signing of Terrell Owens is any indication of what the Bills organization is intent on doing, there is a good chance the Bills might actually have a recognizable name listed as their head coach in 2010.

Many Bills fans long for someone like Cowher who not only has the highest winning percentage of any current coach (not sure how he’s a current coach, but, I just report what I read/hear/see) he also brings discipline and toughness that has not been part of Buffalo Bills football for quite a while. At least, it has not been very evident to the fans.

Personally, I like the idea of Marty Schottenheimer. I’ve said that before (when I was doing the Buffalo Bills Review in years gone by) and I maintain that he would at least bring wins back to Buffalo. He’s always done that. In fact, I believe he has the second best career win percentage of any current coach. (Maybe it’s “available” coach?) The knock on Marty is that he can’t win playoff games. And, his record does show that.

At this point, Bills fans just want to GET to the playoffs!!!

Schottenheimer is also a former Bills linebacker, from the AFL championship teams in the 60s. (I believe he was on those teams.)

The Bills have also reportedly interviewed (or are seeking an interview with) his son, Brian, who is the offensive coordinator for the NY Jets, and has been sought by other teams for their head coaching position.

So… the intrigue continues. Bills fans are hoping that the Buffalo Bills of 2010 and beyond will look different than the Buffalo Bills of the aughts. (They ought!)

Perhaps they just need new uniforms…

This Message Is Christ

For some reason, I keep wanting to read the book of 1 Corinthians lately. I haven’t figured out why just yet, but it keeps popping into my mind. So, I’ve begun a few times, but I also have felt like I want to read the whole thing through in one setting, to perhaps get a better “big picture” context of the letter the apostle Paul penned.

But as I began one day recently, I noticed this long paragraph (which I broke into two, for easier on-screen reading).

“For God, in his wisdom, made it impossible for men to know him by means of their own wisdom. Instead God decided to save those who believe, by means of the “foolish” message we preach. Jews want miracles for proof, and Greeks look for wisdom.

As for us, we proclaim Christ on the cross, a message that is offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles; but for those whom God has called, both Jews and Gentiles, this message is Christ, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God. For what seems to be foolishness is wiser than men’s wisdom, and stronger than men’s strength.”

I’ve read these words before, and heard them expounded upon. But for some reason they just presented the simplicity of the good news so clearly to me.

I love that the focus of our relationship with God is not on us. It’s on him. Not in a narcissistic way, as some imagine. God isn’t looking for people to “Become a Fan” on heaven’s Facebook. He wants to know us, and us to live life with and in him, and he makes that possible, not us.

“God made it impossible for men to know him by means of their own wisdom.” We can’t figure out God. We won’t get all the answers. It’s not even about the answers. Read on.

Paul explains that the Jews (his people) wanted God to reveal himself through powerful miracles. They expected God’s Messiah to come, and they expected him to be the King that would rule. They like that God would do big and powerful things for them.

The Greeks (Gentiles) wanted God to be the ultimately wise being. They wanted him to prove he was God by having all the answers.

This is like us. We still want these things from God today. We want him to fix stuff (we want to see his power), or we want to have all the answers. About him, and/or about our life and the world around us. We want to know “truth”—meaning, have black and white facts that we can know as “truth.”

But we—those who united with Jesus—”proclaim Christ on the Cross.”

This is not a doctrine. He’s not saying we need to know what the words propitiatory, salvific, atonement, and other such scholarly sounding verbiage mean. The point is almost the opposite. It’s not something to be figured out. It’s not something to overwhelm by force. It’s weakness, and nonsense.

But it’s Jesus.

this message is Christ, who is the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”

In the end, what we are looking for, God’s power and wisdom (and everything else) is in Jesus. Jesus on the cross. The ultimate (meaning greatest) act of love, and the ultimate (meaning final) act of reconciliation of our relationship with our Father God.

“…by him [Jesus] we are put right with God, we are God’s holy people, and are set free.”

I truly believe that the good news (the “Gospel”) the message that Jesus lived and taught and asked his friends to share with everyone they know is this: Jesus. He is the Life, the Way, the Truth … you can’t miss that in pretty much every book of Scripture. Jesus is life.

I happened upon an old blog post today. It’s included in my book Life In The Rearview Mirror. It is titled Knowledge. It’s fun to look back a few years and see that God was just beginning to open my eyes a bit to the reality that I might not know everything. 🙂

And it continues today. Yet somehow, as he helps me realize that truth, the simpler truth that all of the stuff we try to know about him (men’s wisdom) is really not that important… life becomes clearer. Not that I have all the answers in life. But perhaps I know the most important one?

The message is Christ. By him we are put right with God, we are his holy people, and we are set free.

Bits vs Bites … Scam

I have already learned that there is a difference between a bit and a byte. That’s why when you buy a hard drive that says it’s 1 TB … you’re actually only getting 976.56 GB. Or something like that. Because one kilobyte is 1024 bits, and one megabyte is 1024 kilobits, etc.

For some reason I forgot to apply that to bandwidth estimates.

I’ve always been seriously annoyed by my ISP’s claims regarding my available bandwidth. I use their speedtests and I see that the results are close to (have even exceeded) their numbers, but I also check it against the various bandwidth measuring tools I have on my computer. I am supposed to have at least 1 MBps upload speed and up to 20 MBps download speed… but the best I get is about 133KBps upload and 2-3MBps download. What gives??

Well, “what gives” is that the difference is a factor of 8.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, what my computer is telling me is the BYTES version and what our ISPs tell us is the BITS version. Ugh. I know it’s not really a “scam”, but it feels like it! They inflate their numbers 8-fold!

For example, a 256Kbps (kilobits per second) upload speed is only a 32KBps (kilobytes per second) upload speed. Those numbers are very different. Let’s apply that to the 1MBps speed (would be 1024KBps) I thought I was getting (which is actually only advertised as 1Mbps, capitalization being very important…) and I end up with 128KBps. (Which is about what I get!)

So there is truth in advertising!

Problem is, who actually knew that capitalization could be so important? I now understand. It now makes sense.

It still irks me a bit. (Or would that be a byte?)

For further study, see:

Seriously, Bills?

Chan Gailey Buffalo BillsAfter all of the talk of Bill Cower, and Marty Schottenheimer, and Mike Shannahan. Even Jon Gruden and several more lesser known, but highly-qualified candidates. After all of the “due process”.

The Bills announced today that Chan Gailey will be their next head coach.

Chan Gailey. Former Dallas head coach (for only two seasons). Former Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator. Former Kansas City offensive coordinator (who was let go before the season began last year, in much the same fashion as our own Turk Schonert.

Lots of “formers”.

Maybe this time will be different? Maybe he’ll become a legendary coach who “turned the Buffalo Bills around” much like Marv Levy, and Chuck Knox, and Lou Saban? Those guys took Bills teams who had been struggling near the bottom—much like the current Bills—and turned them around quickly. Within a year or two.

Could that be Chan Gailey?

That is apparently his history. In an article from the Buffalo News, Mark Gaughan listed some of Gailey’s accomplishments, and they were at least intriguing.

Gailey took the Miami Dolphins (as their offensive coordinator) to two straight 11 win seasons, after Dan Marino retired. They were the 8th ranked offense with Jay Fiedler at QB!

Also, in his only head coaching stint, Gailey took over the Dallas Cowboys after a 6-10 season, and in his first season with them they won their division with a 10-6 record. He made the playoffs his second season, too, even though they only managed an 8-8 record. Dallas owner Jerry Jones said this about Gailey this week:

“The most unfair that I’ve ever been in anything in sports and maybe in other parts was dismissing Chan after two years,” Jones said. “That wasn’t right. . . . That is one thing I look at today in my mirror and say you just weren’t as fair as you needed to be there to the team, the fans and certainly to Chan to make that change after two years.”

Huh. I’m still not convinced. But… huh.

Yes, Chan Gailey is the offensive-minded, experienced head coach that we need, but … what happened to the “big name” angle? Are they going to pay Gailey the same money they were reportedly offering to Bill Cowher? Hope not…

So, we’ll see what the new head coach can do. Who will he assemble as his coaching staff? Which players will make the cut, which will they get to perform much better than the Jauron regime could draw out of them? Will the Bills have the 8th ranked offense, even with their current players?

Will they be better?

I guess, in all honesty, you never know. You can’t know. You can’t predict 19 players in the injured reserve, either. So, the Bills are re-tooling, and perhaps they will get it right this time.

The pieces are being put into place: Buddy Nix at General Manager, Chan Gailey at Head Coach. Now the other coaches will be brought in … then maybe a QB?

For now, I’m not holding my breath. I think the Bills may have to go 10-0 in 2010 before I believe they’ve made the right choice…

A decade of losing will do that to any fan.

Bills’ Choice Continues to Baffle

Marty Schottenheimer wanted Buffalo Bills gigAccording to this blog post, former NFL head coach Brian Billick was very interested in the Bills vacant head coaching spot—filled yesterday by Chan Gailey—but the Bills showed no interest in him. Marty Schottenheimer has said the same thing.

In Marty’s case it’s interesting in that he and Bills’ GM Buddy Nix are good friends, who have spoken since Nix took over and the search for a head coach was on (just not in regards to his being a candidate for the head coaching job.)

What’s most baffling is that the Bills did not even grant these fellas an interview. Seriously, Bills??? They say they have the guy they wanted all along. Again, we will only know if they start adding up some ‘W’s.

Related Posts Plug-In

You may have noticed the new look around here. is now a WordPress blog, and is sporting a new customized template, and a couple neat, new plug-ins.

Jen and I spent probably most of an hour tonight making use of the related posts plug-in. It was so fun! We were looking up an old story about Alex (titled, “Our Son, Jake”) and then at the bottom of that post, we decided to click on one of the related posts titles.

Well, about 20 related posts later we decided it was probably time to stop. (But we already plan to do that again!!) 🙂

There are some pretty fun stories from our kiddos through the years. You can also try just browsing the Family category.

Also, another fun part of the new design is the new featured product that loads each time you load a page. Four of our CDs and all three of my books can be purchased from this website now, thanks to another plug-in.

So have some fun poking through the past six years of posts, and some of the new features of the 2010 version of And, lemme know what you think (and any suggestions you may have for more cool plug-ins!)

Another One Bites The Dust

Black Moor GoldfishAfter only about five weeks of being fish caretakers, we’ve managed to hold two funerals. I don’t think those are very good numbers. (And the fish would probably agree.)

Tonight we “buried” (Ahem… flushed) our second fishy in a “touching” ceremony that involved Alex and Kirstie eagerly watching every move as Dad “fished” the motionless little guy out of the tank, carried him over to the toilet and plopped him in. Comments like, “It looks like he’s swimming!” and much giggling ensued as Black Eye went for a final, swirly swim.

Are goldfish supposed to last a little longer than this? We managed to go a couple of weeks without another death in our fishy family… but… two in five weeks?

(The CountryMax folk would have you believe it’s very relevant that the two expired fishies were both purchased at Walmart…)

Well, we’ll keep trying our best. They are still fun to watch. (When they’re moving…) and the kids love them.

Hopefully there will be no more fishy funerals any time soon!

Is The Apple Tablet Rumor About To Become Reality?

The Apple Tablet?
If you’ve followed this blog for very long, you know that I am a huge fan of all things Apple. In previous years (with fewer kids? fewer jobs?) I would follow the Apple rumor sites (like this one) and report diligently on the speculation of others, and even my own. (That was a pretty good one, actually… that I still think they will do… you just wait!)

Well, over all those years… a few rumors have persisted even though the rumored product or service never actually appeared. For example, the Apple phone was a long-rumored device before we were introduced to the iPhone in 2007. There are still a few unanswered rumors out there… the Beatles on iTunes… iTunes subscription service… my Apple TV… (OK, maybe that’s just my rumor.) 🙂

One that will apparently come true tomorrow is the verrrry long-awaited “Apple tablet” computer. It seems to be a perfect blend of laptop and iPhone, with the touch-screen interface and a super-portable design. Seems like it could be pretty amazing. (See leaked photo above…)

Tomorrow at 1PM ET (10AM PT, local time) Steve Jobs will be announcing the next great thing from Apple. I believe the Apple invite says, “Come see our latest creation.” Neat. I believe I will!

Follow along tomorrow at: (probably… though can’t find direct link)

For a good “roundup” of the rumors, check out this article.

iPad: Apple’s Most “Magical” Device?

the iPad - Apple's most magical device?
Well it is finally here. The long-awaited, oft-rumored Apple tablet. It’s called the iPad. (iPad? Is that really the best name for it?)

Though Apple calls this new gizmo “magical,” I must admit, I’m still not impressed.

I’ve never been one calling for the tablet. I just don’t get it. I don’t need such a device. Granted, it looks amazing, and seems like it’s a lot of fun… but I don’t need it. Why was/is there such a demand for this?

Some basics:

  1. 9.7″ display, Multi-touch interface
  2. 10-hour battery life
  3. Mac OS and iPhone OS combined, runs iWork suite, iPhoto, Mail, iCal, iTunes, etc
  4. Runs all applications from the App Store (for iPhone/iPod Touch)
  5. iBook app (and store) for reading ebooks (akin to Amazon Kindle)
  6. Wi-Fi and 3G models, from $499 to $829.
  7. Unlimited data from AT&T for $29.99/mo. (Or other plans, incl. free Wi-Fi access at AT&T hotspots.)
  8. DOES NOT have phone, camera, multi-tasking (using multiple apps at once)

So, one thing I will give them is the price. I think that’s lower than most people expected, and a tad lower than I did. A ton of functionality (including some accessories) and the great multi-touch interface, only better.

But I still don’t get it.

Check out the video demo at Apple’s site. (Maybe that will help me understand?)

The device will be available in 60 days (and 90 days for the 3G models).

I will at least be planning to test drive one at our local Apple store… 🙂