Camry Again

Rear Quarter Panel
The result of a teenager while driving his family’s pickup truck not noticing that the stop light at the intersection had turned red.

I posted earlier that we had to accept the salvage value for the Camry after someone pulled in front of Becky as she drove east on Main Street towards downtown.  I had forgotten about our first incident with the car.  Barely a month after purchasing (lease) of the vehicle I was hit from behind by a teen driver at  Patterson and Stewart in Dayton.  I had taken some employees out for a Christmas luncheon.  While waiting for the light to change to green, the driver of a small pickup hit us from behind.  He did not realize until too late that the stoplight was not in fact green.  The medics took one passenger to the hospital as a precaution, but generally, we all did ok.  The police officer that took my statement speculated that the car was likely totaled.  He was wrong.  Cheney’s body shop did a great job restoring the trunk, back and rear quarter panel of the vehicle.   I believe it was significant surgery, but fortunately, the small pickup jumped over the frame and simply buckled the side panels.

Becky found our insurance photo recently and I thought it àpropos to bookend this event with my earlier (but later in time) post.

Matt Graduates from OSU

Matt Just Before Receiving Diploma

Becky and I are really proud of the fact that Matt successfully graduated from the Ohio State University. Even better, he graduated early, participating in the Winter Ceremony. So much has happened this spring that I’ve been unable to post the news until now – two short weeks before the Spring Graduation ceremony.

People tend to think that OSU, being one of the largest Universities in the world would have an impersonal graduation ceremony. Getting thousands of graduates across a stage and receiving a diploma is an incredible feat. I’m not certain what happens in the larger spring ceremony – but the winter ceremony was very nice. All of the speakers kept their comments brief and appropriate. Donna James, managing director of Lardon and Associates, nicely delivered the commencement address. The staff is organized and friendly. Most impressively, the University President, Doctor Gee, shakes every graduate’s hand as they leave the stage. It’s an impressive accomplishment and he seems to genuinely enjoy the effort.

In the weeks leading up to the event, it was clear that Matt felt the ceremony was going to be tedious. Getting a gown and cap was definitely a chore. But his Mother prevailed on him and let him know that most grads participated in the graduation ceremony for their family and friends and not for themselves. We do appreciate him sitting through the ceremony, and truth be told I think he did enjoy the event.

Link to Flickr Photo Set

iPad App Recommendations

Several friends and relatives have asked for my iPad application recommendations. I’ve provided one off e-mails on the subject but thought it would be simpler to put something here and direct people to this page. As you read through the list below, keep these things in mind:

  1. I purposefully rely on on cloud storage and services rather than local storage. I have the 3G version of the iPad and expect continuous connectivity. I understand the risks associated with this approach but feel the benefits outweigh them.
  2. I will pay for web services. In combination, I pay more than $200 a year for these services.  I’m ok with that.  You might not be.

So here, without further introduction are my iPad application recommendations (in no particular order):
Continue reading “iPad App Recommendations”

My Odd Musical Tastes

As I grow older, I’ve grown to appreciate the way that music can energize, soothe and change my mood.  It’s probably surprising to friends and family, but I have become a big fan of Electronica.  What I like about it is that it helps me to stay focused and energized while I’m sitting at my desk at work.

I grew up listening to traditional rock from bands like Led Zeppelin, Boston, Aerosmith, etc.  In the late 80’s I started listening to New Age music to help take the edge off a very stressful period (new wife, child, and job while pursuing an MBA).  I still enjoy both forms of music – but at this point in my life, my greatest challenge is maintaining a laser focus. What I need in workplace music is an absence of distraction while helping maintain an energy level.  Rock music is far too engaging for me – I want to understand the lyrics and engage emotionally.  Lyrics are not commonly a problem with New Age music, but it’s not consistently energetic.  Electronica is high energy and instrumental (in the broad sense of the word).  I can put my ear buds in and focus on desk work.

I have close relatives who probably don’t understand this choice.  It’s counter to the tastes of my generation.  I guess very few 40 somethings choose to listen to Electronica.  But if you review my Last.fm play list, there is no denying where I spend my time.

For your listening pleasure, I have included one of my current favorites.  Yea, I know.  It’s not what you would have expected.  (short link)

Marking My Brother’s Passing

Mark.jpg

One year ago my father called me up and told me that my brother would shortly be dead.  He and Carole were driving up to Cleveland to be with Mark before he passed.  I told him I would come up the following day.  The next morning Lisa called with the news that Mark was dead.  The week that followed was challenging for all of us.

The previous week I had been in Cleveland.  I had until that point been in denial about Mark’s health.  I had seen other people overcome cancer and fully expected that he would do the same.  Until a week before his death, Mark had appeared in good (not great) health.  He carried himself like many other cancer patients, and I expected that he eventually would overcome the affliction.

Unfortunately, that did not happen.  When the second treatment protocol failed, it failed in a significant and sudden fashion.  I remember in my last visit with Mark, my last words to him (and his to me) were “I wish I could do more for you” to which he replied, “You are doing what you can.”  True, but unfortunately that’s way too little and way too late.  I regret I wasn’t a better brother and there wasn’t more I could do.

Funerals draw people together.  I enjoyed seeing my family.  I am blessed to have the best family on the face of the earth.  I am not someone who indulges in hyperbole, but I don’t have a problem saying that at all.  The memorial service, the celebration at the church were all memories I will cherish.  Our family came together and celebrated Mark and his life, and I’m grateful to all of them.

Post Note:  It’s worth noting that my Grandmother also passed away this year.  I’ve purposely used this picture to also honor her passing.  I’ll write up something separately for the passing of a classy lady.  [Update 4/8/12 – Adalene’s Priorities]

Here is the formal Cleveland Plain Dealer obituary:

MARK J. PAPPAS, SR.,age 45, Beloved husband of Lisa (nee Moyer); loving father of Melanie, Joe and Mark Jr.; loving stepfather of James and Stephanie; dearest son of Marjorie Pappas and John E. and Carole E. Pappas; loving son-in-law of Gerald and Marilyn Moyer; dearest brother of David (Becky); loving stepbrother of Michael Oglesbee (Barbara) and Eric Oglesbee (Davida); dear brother-in-law of Debbie Granger (Duane), Robin Deyoung (Steve), Randy Moyer (Carrie) and Jerry Moyer (Debbie); dear uncle of Matt, Michelle, Alexandra, Ian, Cuilen and Mirai. All Funeral Services will be held Saturday, October 24, 10:00 AM at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 22909 Center Ridge Rd. Reverend Father James Dukas officiating. Family will receive friends at the CATAVOLOS FUNERAL HOME located inside CRACIUN BERRY FUNERAL HOME, 23040 CENTER RIDGE RD. FRIDAY 2-4 AND 7-9 PM. TRISAGION SERVICE 7:30 PM FRIDAY. Interment Elmhurst Park Cemetery, Avon, OH. ARRANGEMENTS BY CATAVOLOS FUNERAL HOME 216-226-2200 CLEVELAND • WESTLAKE • FAIRLAWN

Elmhurst Park Cemetery, Avon, Ohio

lat=’41.4517093′ lon=’-82.0354225′

Trust What You Can See

5131256237_18a43b899f.jpg

Becky struck another vehicle on her way to work yesterday morning.  The driver of the other car was trying to navigate across two lanes of traffic to get into the Tim Horton’s on West Main Street.  They were waved into the space by some good Samaritan who was making space for them in the eastbound inner lane. Well, the eastbound outer lane was a hazard for that person.

You see this all the time on the roads. One well-intentioned person creates absolute havoc for others. While the police cited the driver of the vehicle crossing the eastbound lanes, the cause here is the driver in the inner eastbound lane. They effectively spoke out of turn. They didn’t look or didn’t see Becky approaching from the west. Yes, the westbound driver should have not even tried to enter the Tim Horton’s parking lot here. Yes, they should not have trusted the eastbound driver. I just wish we could hold the eastbound driver accountable for their actions.

Please take a lesson from this. Don’t be the driver that says “it’s all clear – go ahead” when it is not.  Don’t be the driver requesting permission from another driver to cross two lanes of traffic.

E-Mail Firewalls

Sometime after 4:00 AM EST on August 25th, my Yahoo email account was compromised. Because of how that account was configured, the villain(s) were able to spam all of my friends and family – and basically anyone for whom I had an e-mail account.  This despite an intention on my part to ‘firewall’ the account.

I pay for the Yahoo Plus mail account.  Yea, I know given what many other mail providers are giving away that’s a waste of money but I have had the account forever and I hate to give it up.  I use the account to register with all of the web-based services that require an e-mail account to authenticate that I’m a real live person.  The account as no entries in its contact folder and has no mail in it.  The account was set up to forward the e-mail to another account.

Continue reading “E-Mail Firewalls”

Google Productivity Suite

Google has tipped it’s hand regarding it’s Office competitor.  This post on the Gmail Blog announces that:

Contacts now works more like the rest of Gmail, so if you know how to use Gmail, now you should automatically feel comfortable in Contacts too

It’s all good stuff, but improving the look and feel of Contacts (as well as Gmail itself) has brought even more light to the disparity that exists between mail, contacts and the Task functionality Google provides.  Keyboard shortcuts, configurable with tags on a full screen  – both GMail and Contacts look really good.  Tasks are still a little pop up with a beyond skinny interface and feature set.  It looks really bad in comparison.

In fact it looks so bad, I don’t believe for a moment that anyone at Google is happy with the red headed step child that pops up in the lower right corner.  When you consider the promise available with a tight integration with the other Google tools, the Task implementation is the biggest untapped opportunity they have.

I’ve said it before, I would love to have a tight GTD oriented task management tool built in to Google that would compare favorably with OmniFocus.  They have everything in hand to produce a killer application.  I’m guessing it already sits on a desktop somewhere waiting for the blessing to be rolled out to the public.