Christmas Letter 2010

This year we are going to attempt to start a new Christmas tradition: the Christmas blog post. As I write this, the snow is streaming down outside and the lovely Jakki is busy gluing things to other things for our entries in an Unfortunate Holiday Sweater contest. Without further ado, here's what we did in 2010: After much review of Facebook and Twitter, it appears that 2010 started off with head colds for everyone, and braces for Jakki's teeth. The early part of the year contained much internet browsing and watching of TV. Such is life in the Inland Northwest in the first quarter.
After thawing out, March came along and brought a fabulous gig for the band I'm with: [Fairmount Chase](!/pages/Fairmount-Chase/198724234772). St. Patrick's Day tends to bring out our most loyal and hardcore fans. Fortunately, the more they drink, the better we sound.
As temperatures began to rise, camping became possible and we scooted up to [Farragut State Park]( along Lake Pend Oreille to celebrate Jakki's birthday. In attendance were our friends Chuck and Leann and some of her family. After raining on the way up, the weather cooperated until we left.
In July, Lake Sullivan in the extreme northeast corner of Washington became our camping destination. Bocephus (our Dodge truck) got a new canopy and was able to keep our gear dry despite rainy weather.
To celebrate our anniversary in August, we returned to Packwood, Mt. Rainier and [Mount St. Helens](; the site of our wedding five years prior. We found the tree we were married in front of in the [Ohanapecosh]( camp ground (not surprising, since that tree is probably 700 years old).
The last part of the summer was punctuated with two quick gigs for the band, one outdoors at a neighborhood block party in North Spokane, and one at O'Doherty's; a staple in Fairmount Chase's venue menu.
In early fall, we took a trip over to Seattle to visit Grandma Flo, Bob & Linda, Jim & Phyllis and Kelsey, and take in a Seahawks game at Quest Field with our friends Chuck & Leann. The family visit was wonderful, but the performance of the Seahawks left a lot to be desired (they lost 41-7 to the NY Giants). We also managed to see some old friends: Charlotte, and His Holiness Gary (the padre who presided over our wedding), and Georgie & Roger and their son Brian.
During fall, after much excitement with broken garage door springs, Jakki and I managed to get two new garage doors installed on the house. This was fortunate, as the first snowfall of the season set an all-time record for the area in November. Which, of course, brought out the Snow Robots.
This year has been heavily dosed with visits with family and friends, completely lacking in stays in the hospital, and fueled with music and good cheer-- and we couldn't be happier. May the holiday season bring you and yours peace and happiness in the coming year! -Much Love, Kelly & Jakki (and Tigger & Cleo)
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This Blog Is Not Dead!

Okay, it's been a long time since I've blogged anything. My recent foray into Facebook and Twitter have stolen focus from a lot of things I would have put in the blog. Additionally, I've been neglecting the photo albums. I need to retire some old ones, and put some new ones up.

Recently I finished Rework by the guys who started 37signals. I read it on my iPhone and Kindle for PC, which was an interesting but overall pleasant experience. Putting my phone down at night, and then opening up the PC app at work during lunch the next day and having it go right to the page I was on is amazingly awesome.

Anyway, reading it inspired me to build some sort of software thing in my spare time. So I have been putting some hours into an idea from a friend and coworker, Allen Monroe. He is a bottomless "idea-guy" resource, which is great and inspiring in it's own way. We also had some of our internet offerings go viral in the same week. He created a parody of Google's super bowl ad, and I submitted a story and some code to The DailyWTF.

It's been fun, but it hasn't moved me toward my personal 2010 goal of contributing something to a Open Source Software project. I've been reading a fair amount of code lately, trying to find something to contribute to. If anyone has any ideas, please post in the comments.

Recently at home we've been trying to focus on getting more exercise. We bought a nice NordicTrack elliptical and set it up in the basement. I'm finding that changing one's lifelong habits is a difficult thing. Especially with so much TV to watch :)

With the weather oscillating tantalizingly between Spring and Winter, Jakki and I are very excited to do some camping this year, especially since we now have a big truck and can pack ridiculous amounts of Glamper paraphernalia. The next stop is Trailerville!

The band I'm in (I hesitate to say 'my band' since I did not form it), has been having a lot of fun, and with Spring coming on, we are looking forward to many opportunities to play. I'm also working on getting them set up with some kind of blog thing so we can communicate with our fans better.

So to wrap up this quarterly update (and to try to motivate myself to do a better job of posting regularly): please stay tuned and keep in touch; I will endeavor to do the same.

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10 Gallons of Awesome In A 5 Gallon Pail

I just found out today (via [Felicia Day on Twitter](, strangely enough) that they are making a movie of [Where the Wild Things Are]( by Maurice Sendak. It's got Catherine Keener, Max Records, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, and James Gandolfini in it, and it's directed by Spike Jonze (director of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation). Check out the [trailer here]( When I was a kid, this was one of my favorite books my mom read to me. Now they just need to adapt [A Great Big Ugly Man Came Up and Tied His Horse To Me](
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Snow Day

We've had quite the dumping here in the Inland Northwest. 22 inches last time I measured, and it's still coming down. Jakki had a hair-raising commute home this morning, and she got stuck just a few blocks from the house. Emelie and I walked down to dig her out, and got stuck again just two doors down. Finally we got to our cleared driveway and got the car in the garage. Later on, the news they mentioned that all bus service was suspended because of the storm and the fact that the snow removal teams can't get a handle on it. I posted [some pics]( in our [photo gallery]( Note the abandoned U-Haul in the intersection. That's never a good sign. Since we are effectively snowed in, I'm working from home, although the internet keeps going up and down. We have plenty of food, and since we had the trees pruned this fall, I'm not worried about the power going out. The new furnace is keeping us nice and warm as well.
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The Death of Customer Service

Yesterday Jakki and I became proud owners of EA's [Rock Band]( (Special Edition) for Wii. We bought it at Wal-Mart. There was only one package left and the box had a bit of damage; but I thought, "Hey, it's Wal-Mart, they'll take it back if anything is wrong." Right? Wrong! The trend I've noticed is that manufacturers are now putting documentation inside the package that forbids you from dealing with the store you purchased the item from, and forcing you to deal directly with the manufacturer. Such was the case we discovered upon opening Rock Band. Upon further inspection, it appears some hapless fork-lift driver tried to drive _through_ a stack of Rock Bands and impaled the one destined for us. The drumset component was totally destroyed. After some choice phrases, I quickly logged onto EA's support website (as provided in the "Thou Shalt Not Deal With Thy Store" insert). After a miserable experience with some poorly crafted PHP pages and a 3-5 day "Express" service, I'm out a $125 deposit (insurance that I will indeed send the broken unit back). Wow. This is not the first time I've noticed such a trend. We purchased a Hoover FloorMate from BestBuy a few weeks ago, and in it's package was a similar "Do Not Go To Store, Do Not Pass Go" insert. Fortunately for us, the FloorMate was intact. The part of this I find disturbing (in addition to the 3-5 day wait for replacement and the $125 deposit), is that the manufacturers have lost faith in the level of customer service that the stores that carry their merchandise provide. Is it that the Wal-Marts and BestBuys of the world have gotten so big, and their profit margins so "wafer thin", that they can no longer provide the level of service that customers have come to expect from the manufacturers? I see this as a failing of the free market economy because of two reasons: 1- If the manufacturer is going to force the customer to deal directly with them for "customer service", then what stake does the store have in treating their merchandise like it was their own? 2- How can the manufacturer *ever* hope to provide a level of customer service better than a place I can drive to conveniently? Despite these market forces aligning against us, and Big Corp. trying to keep us down-- Jakki and I played late into the night. She on vocals and me on guitar/bass, our band, "The Analogues", made it into Act IV.
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Jakki Adams, RN

Jakki passed the NCLEX! It was a huge relief for her, and for me by proxy. It's official on the Washington State Dept. of Health site [here]( Jakki has her first shift as an RN tonight in the ER at [Holy Family Hospital]( in north Spokane. Thanks to everyone who supported her, here at the conclusion of her journey.
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New Breakfast Joint

This morning, Jakki and I discovered a newly opened restaurant place not far from the house. It's called the [Cottage Cafe]( found at [6902 E. Appleway](,-95.677068&sspn=44.793449,59.414063&ie=UTF8&ll=47.6603,-117.311025&spn=0.009351,0.022831&z=16&layer=c&cbll=47.656018,-117.311997&panoid=qlagrz7b6v5FwrMBRpu2GA). It used to be a rough old re-upholstery shop, but they did a complete remodel and turned it into a charming English-style cafe. The food was very good, and the service was quick and attentive.They serve breakfast and lunch only, and I would say the average plate runs about $9.00 a person. It's supposed to be viciously hot this weekend for [Hoopfest](, so we are trying our best to stay out of the downtown area. We might catch a movie or something later to cool off. We did a little yard work this morning while it was cool (including repairing more sprinklers), but it's started to heat up already.
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Congratulations Graduates!

Last night was the Spokane Community College graduation ceremony. Following that was the Nursing Graduate Pinning Ceremony. Here is a [link to the slideshow]( that was shown. **NOTE:** You can now watch the video in [full HD resolution here]( You can also download it, but bear in mind that at this resolution, the file size is around 266 MB.
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Spring Update

> And Spring arose on the garden fair, > Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere; > And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast > rose from the dreams of its wintry rest. > ~**Percy Bysshe Shelley**, _"The Sensitive Plant"_ Spring is definitely upon us here in the Inland Northwest. A 90+ heat wave has caused some serious snow melt and the Spokane River crested several feet above flood stage last weekend. We went down to Riverfront Park with the Melbys' and took photos ([see the album here]( Also there is a [small album]( of macro photos I took of various spring flowers in our yard. Film is expensive, but digital is free, right? In other news, Jakki is terribly excited about how close she is to graduation. I've been brewing beer for her graduation party, and we are working on a slide show to show at the pinning ceremony. She's on the graduation committee, assuring that things will be done right :)
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