Goodbye, America. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

Jena and I are leaving the country tonight and won’t return until the middle of November*. By that time, a new President will have been chosen by the people of this country and we can finally move on from this nightmarish campaign that started years ago.**

I have faith in the people of this country despite some of the recent ugliness we have seen at rallies or in the streets, that they will not follow the historic election of the first black President, with a man who treats women, minorities, the disabled, veterans, the families of veterans, and everyday people, the way Donald Trump does.

People say Trump, speaks his mind, tells it like it is, and isn’t politically correct. Not accounting for the childish way he acts and speaks, he also lies more than any politician.  Look at the fact checking of a “typical politician” and you can see that they tell half-truths and outright lies about half the time. Compare that with Trump who can only manage to tell the truth or mostly the truth 15% of the time. How can anyone believe anything from him? He is not trustworthy.

This is not an election between two similar candidates despite how the press may treat it. This is an election between a man who would be extremely dangerous for all of us and a highly qualified person who has spent the majority of her life in the service of others***. Don’t fall for the false equivalence in the way these two candidates are presented. The media is failing us all.

Let me say repeat how dangerous Trump is. Electing Donald Trump would endanger us all fiscally, emotionally, and physically.

So what we need from everyone is simple. Don’t fuck this up. Send a message by voting—whether in a “blue state” or a “red state” or a “battleground state” or even overseas—and clearly declare that the types of attitudes and behaviors exhibited by Trump and his most fervent  supporters are not acceptable in the USA and that we, as a nation, are better than that.

Trump won’t win the election, but he shouldn’t even get 10% of the vote. Don’t be one of the people who cast a vote for this small, angry man. History will not judge you kindly.****

Kia ora.

*We’re headed to New Zealand and Australia. Our gracious friends Luke and Jenny are watching our cats and our house while we are gone. We’ll post more on this as we go.
**We’re voting by mail
***You won’t see any such list like that about Trump as he is only interested in making money and putting his name on things.
****Neither will I. In fact, if you are a friend or family member that cares so little for yourself and for your country that you would cast a vote for this man, then I do not want to know about it. Seriously. Do not tell me. I won’t respect you and I sorta need that for our relationship to continue.

An epic road trip in the rearview

Jena and I have just returned from a pretty epic road trip across the western and central parts of the U.S. We were afforded such an opportunity as we just so happen to have ended our employment engagements and are dead set on taking advantage of that reality. Never in our careers have we felt able to take more than two weeks off at a time. We are super excited to see what we can do.

For this trip we had a few goals: get back to Minnesota to see family and attend the Minnesota State Fair, Spend a good amount of time camping—especially in Glacier National Park, Get our Global Entry interview out-of-the-way to pave the way for easier international travel, and basically just relaxing a bit and not thinking about work for the first time in 20 years.

Here are a few stats from this past month:

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Take it easy

Route 66 at night I am writing this from a city made famous by the Eagles, Winslow, Arizona (“I’m standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine site to see. It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowing down to take a look at me.”). Jena and I (and the dogs) are traveling across the country to Phoenix, AZ. My mother and sister live down there and my other sister and nieces are coming down as well. It will be the first time we have all spent a holiday with each other in many years. Jena and I are driving and decided to, more or less, follow the old Route 66 highway through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. In some places the road no longer exists or is in severe disrepair. Interstate 40 runs most of the way along its trail as well and we often jump over to that road. For the most part, the trip down Route 66 is trip down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, as so many business that relied on the traffic of Route 66 can no longer continue operations now that 40 has diverted so many travelers. I have posted some photos of the trip so far. Enjoy

The year in cities

Following Jason’s and Hanna’s examples, here is the list of cities I visited in 2005:
Minneapolis, MN*
Saint Paul, MN*
Duluth, MN
Austin, TX
Custer, SD
Mitchell, SD
San Diego, CA
Madison, WI
Chicago, IL*
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
Cabo Pulmo, Mexico
Boulder, Colorado

Those cities marked with an * were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days.

Throw in more than a few weeks spent in campgrounds and it was a pretty eventful year (really half year as all but 2 of those cities were visited in the second half of the year), though certainly not as crazy as some globetrotter’s lists.

Up North

Having just come back from “up north” as we like to say in Minnesota I have a few instructions for all those people that aren’t quite sure how to drive on interstate highways (primarily for 4-lane divided highways) throughout this great land. Here we go with step-by-step driving instructions for the driving etiquette-challenged:

  1. Make your way to a freeway/highway entrance ramp and proceed down it, steadily increasing your speed, until you can merge with traffic at their pace.
  2. Proceed to your destination while maintaining a constant speed. (hint: Cruise control works well here)
  3. If your speed of travel brings you upon a slower moving vehicle switch lanes into the passing lane (left lane) and pass the vehicle in question.
  4. Return to the right lane (all the while maintaining constant speed

If everyone follows these simple rules, everyone will have a stress free trip – it is a well functioning system. If everyone drove this way there would be no breakdown in the system (by definition) and much more efficiency would result. (even fuel efficiency as constant speeds would always be maintained)

Some people claim, however, that other systems would work equally well – particularly the “I just drive in the “fast” lane until someone wants to pass then I get over” method. There are two reasons this technique doesn’t work: 1) the majority of people are trying to follow the rules listed above and 2) this system requires people be more active – always watching for people coming up behind you. It should be the responsibility of the faster car coming up from behind to pass.

Off to SXSW

I don’t really know what to expect of SXSW. I have gone to other web conferences before but they were huge and the focus was much more on design principles and specific technologies. They were faceless, monolithic productions. I get the sense that SXSW is much more focused on the web design and development communities. I am excited, but also fearful of this idea. I am really looking forward to meeting many of the people whose site’s I have been reading, enjoying, learning from, and copying for, in some cases, years. I am talking about sites like: whole lotta nothing, bluishorange, jish, cam world, praystation, zeldman, 37signals, anil dash, little yellow different, bradlands, harrumph, dollar short, six different ways, movable type, ben brown, cockybastard.com, jjg, and so many more

There will be some folks there whom I know including: Jason who I consider a friend as well as ex-coworker and I have at least met Meg, Derek (at Web 2000 or was it Builder?), Peter (Web 2000 also), and Jeff (Web 2000).

Then I get to wondering how many of these people have been to my site? How many of them have never heard of it? Worse, how many have come and clicked away out of boredom. These feelings of “fitting in” bring me back to my junior high days. Those were not good. Were they for anybody? The awkwardness associated with those days was overwhelming at times. These anxieties aren’t enough to dull my excitement however. Not even the fact that I may not be able to speak (as I have by this time nearly lost all ability to speak due to some mysterious throat issues) and thus miss out on a bunch of great opportunities for interesting conversation, has me down.

So if you are reading this and you happen to be attending SXSW and a person comes up to you, tries to audiblize a greeting but only a few hoarse croaks come out, rest assured that it is just me expressing my compliments on you and your beautiful site.