January 3, 2006

Welcome to Siskiwit

Siskiwit Lake, as seen from the Greenstone Ridge near Mount Siskiwit, Isle Royale

It looks like the DNS mayhem is finally settling down, so perhaps it is time to discuss some of the details of this fine young website. As some may no doubt recall, the last design was known affectionately as Wounded Knee, after the amazing Primus song of the same name. This here design is known as Siskiwit, named after the fine Siskiwit Lake on Isle Royale in Lake Superior.

Yessiree Bob, you read that right. That’s a lake on an island in a lake. What’s more, Siskiwit Lake has an island known as Ryan Island, which is the largest island in the largest lake on the largest island in the largest lake… IN THE WORLD! The recursion alone is enough to make a mind explode, but our fearless group hiked the entire island for eleven days this past summer and suffered no cerebral hemorrhaging!

With Siskiwit we finally jettisoned pixel-based font sizes, in favor of relative sizes that scale with ease. Go ahead and increase or decrease the default font size in your browser, and watch as the design magically scales to accommodate the new sizes! (note: aside from a smattering of elf guts, actual magic use is limited). Props go to Dan Cederholm of SimpleBits for Bulletproof Web Design, a book that is both sexy and informative. Needless to say, all the code for Siskiwit is standards-based XHTML/CSS, with a dash of PHP thrown in to automate task drudgery.

As always, the Weblog, Sundries and Photolog portions of this website purr along with Movable Type, riding atop a MySQL database. With moving to a new webhost and all we had to do a fresh install of MT, but the import/export function seamlessly plopped all our existing content down into the new system.

Oh, and that’s another thing. Brainside Out is now hosted by Dreamhost, a relationship which so far has been delightful and cost-effective to boot. Even their least expensive hosting option is packed with 4.8GB of disk space, 120GB of bandwidth, unlimited MySQL databases, and support for more programming languages than you can shake a stick at. And seriously, any webhost whose home page features a fat kid passed out on a sofa is alright by me. Their blog is quite the riot, too. I swear the people who work there are nuts, which is probably why we get along so well.

A number of months ago we finally installed Shaun Inman’s Shortstat to see what all the fuss was about, and were blown away by the stark (and beautiful!) simplicity of this tiny statistics app. Well, Shortstat spun itself a chrysalis for a long time and recently reemerged as Mint. We installed it here yesterday, and it honestly knocks the socks off Shortstat. Mint is the most elegant analytics package you will find, and one that is immune to referrer spam and other tricks that horribly skew many site statistics. If you want to see it in action, you can dive right into the real-life Mint installation for Designologue.

So anyway, this is what we’ve been doing for the last couple months. We’ve covered a lot of ground and learned a lot of new things, but in all honesty we’re just getting started. We hope that 2006 will see the true emergence of our life philosophy of constantly kicking ass without bothering to take names.

*UPDATE: Dreamhost just quadrupled the amount of disk storage and octupled the amount of bandwidth you get. That means you can have 20GB of disk space and 1000GB of bandwidth for $8 a month. Plus, disk storage for your plan automatically increases 120MB a week, and bandwidth increases by 8GB.


January 2, 2006


Hello. Welcome to 2006, and welcome to the new face of Brainside Out Industries. A couple months of tireless labor and sleepless nights have resulted in this new slice of hotness. The site has been completely rebuilt from the ground up and migrated to a new server, so it’s possible there are still a couple glitches sitting in the wings. Feel free to have a look around, kick the tires, and shout real loud at the top of your lungs. I’m really excited for this year, as my gut tells me some rather tremendous things are afoot.

Aside from toying with the very fabric of spacetime, there’s little we can do but sit back and wait for it all to happen. However, I do not discount the endless possibilities that could be allowed by the subtle twisting of physical law. Bending reality to my will is just the way of things.

Anyway, we are back from our Caribbean cruise, which I must say was The Weirdest Thing I Have Ever Done Ever. Our ship had thirteen bars and a three-story waterslide. Every night we ate luxurious meals of roast duckling and lobster and veal. I heard the Jackson Five version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town no less than one hundred times. My brother-in-law won a solid gold plastic ship-on-a-stick for his synchronized swimming act. One night I threw down my James Brown karaoke bit and the entire bar erupted in a standing ovation. A three-year-old gave me the most precious gift ever. I bore witness to the Hairiest Chest Contest.

I’ll let you in on all the details before too long.

December 22, 2005

Nought Five in Review

Tomorrow we blast off to the Caribbean for a week aboard a ship at sea. Preliminary reports indicate that we will spend all our waking time eating, and we will probably stay up late and wake up early in an effort to increase the amount of eating we are able to do. Apparently, free midnight buffets are standard operating procedure on cruise ships. What’s also interesting is that our ship has multiple night clubs. I like this. I like the idea that I can be sitting in a club in the middle of the ocean, and turn to a friend and say, “You know what? This club sucks. Let’s go to that other club.”

This is to be a week of unrepentant gorging of the body and soul. In that, this trip will be exactly like all holidays of years past, only this time it will be eighty degrees warmer.

And so, in the continuing human tradition of talking about things that have come to pass, I present to ya’ll the year in review. 2005 has been monumental and surreal. Words are insufficient to do it justice, but they are all I have to work with and will have to do, at least until we invent a way to broadcast interpretive dance over the internet.

In January 2005 I left my job at Alpine, to much tears and thrown punches, to go forth into the world and find my glory. I had lived in Bend for over a year, which set a record for me staying in one spot since leaving my hometown five years ago. It was a difficult place to leave, certainly, but fortunately I was moving in on some familiar territory. Later that month I moved back to Hood River to work as a web developer for my windsurfing shop, semantically upgrading from my previous position as webmaster.

In February I took a two-week kiteboarding trip to the town of Los Barilles in Baja California. Here was where I stood in the surf, got attacked by my kiteboard, and received a three-inch gash to the back of my head. A ride into town on the four-wheeler revealed that the American clinic was closed and the Mexican clinic was on siesta. Fortunately, the doctor for the Mexican clinic was driving by at that very moment in his red Pontiac, saw our predicament, and cut his break short to stitch my head back together. His name was Roman Soria and he is my favorite person in the whole world.

It may be worth noting that in March 2004, not even a year prior, I broke my leg while snowboarding at Mount Bachelor. That being said, I insist that the correct way to describe my condition is active and not accident-prone. There is a difference.

In March I went snowshoeing for the first time in my life, learned from a doctor that I had a broken funny bone that would cause computers to ruin me for the rest of my life, and cared for my landlady’s chickens for a week while she was on vacation. Also, Joe and I planned on climbing Mount Hood. Instead I got really sick and we did nothing. This is the most uninteresting story ever.

I visited Bend in April, went snowboarding with my old roommate Shane, and threw back tallboys with the guys from Alpine. I also spent a good deal of April trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life, and eventually gave up. I moved back to Minnesota in early May to much fanfare and rejoicing, and began catching up with friends who I hadn’t seen in years. By the end of May I was driving to the northern reaches of the state to start my month-long gauntlet of training, so I could guide wilderness trips for the summer.

By June I was deep in the wilderness, and I guided my first canoe trip. We almost lost all our gear to a freak 50 mph windstorm, which bend our tent poles at 90 degree angles. Afterwards we were treated to the most beautiful sunset ever. Meanwhile, my nephew Soren Dean Zenner was born in late June. It would be September before I would have a chance to see him for the first time.

I spent July guiding more trips, and driving to Lake Winnipeg to pick up some groups who had spent 20-some-odd days canoeing in the Canadian wilderness. In late July I fulfilled a lifelong goal, and spent 11 days and 100 miles guiding a group and backpacking across Isle Royale. We had an incident involving chocolate and a pocketknife, but I stopped the bleeding with a maxi pad.

I guided more trips throughout August, reveling in the fresh air and freedom of the wilds. Summer session came to a close at the end of August, and I took a week-long break from camp and returned to civilization. It was an awkward time of obsessing over ice, feeling uncomfortable around mirrors, and getting choked up over toothpaste. I was trying to come to grips with culture shock, and meanwhile hurricanes were slamming into the Gulf Coast and wiping cities off the map.

Convinced that reality had come completely unhinged, I was more than happy to return to camp and work into the fall. By the end of September I was ready to interact with the world again, and returned to Minneapolis to visit with friends, see tons of live music, and start a web design business. I also switched whole-hog over to the Mac platform, a move that I still find absolutely delightful. What’s more, I discovered an ergonomic solution that allowed me to use computers without being pitched into a universe of pain. This was key.

October came and went, and I never really got around to moving to Duluth. Maybe in the future, maybe not. As one insightful person put it, “Why would you move back to Duluth? All your friends are moving down here and buying cats.” In November I traveled down to Madison to hang out with my nephew (oh, and his parents too, I suppose) and catch some more music. I finally saw matt pond PA live, which is something I’ve wanted to do since 2002 but had never been in the cards until now.

By December the whole Brainside Out Industries thing was pretty well established, and as the month progressed our business grew like crazy. Well, it didn’t grow as far as gobbling up smaller companies and opening up offices across the globe and stuff like that, but it grew substantially as far as clients go. You know, the kind of growth that actually matters. That being said, we took a well-deserved break from the daily grind and spent a long weekend snowboarding all over this great state, and got to kick around our old Duluth stomping grounds.

And now we go to the Caribbean. We’ve covered a lot of ground this year, and 2006 is shaping up to suggest no slackening of pace. What’s more, we’re proud to report that for the last couple months we’ve been keeping a tasty secret from ya’ll, which we shall reveal in the first week of nought six.

Until then, Brainside Out wishes you a safe and wonderful Christmas and New Year’s and Festivus and all that. Eat heartily, drink merrily, and keep your hands off your cousins.

December 18, 2005

Chuck Norris! Chuck Chuck Norris!

I have been snowboarding for the last three days straight, and though my flesh and bones ache like crazy I’m still sportin’ a perma-grin. If one was able to elope with a seasonal activity, I would drive to Vegas right now and marry snowboarding. By an ordained Elvis impersonator. With a shotgun in one hand and a microphone in the other. I would settle for no less.

We jammed to Duluth this weekend to ride at Spirit Mountain and caught up with a couple of friends from Ihduhapi. The whole Chuck Norris thing has absolutely consumed us, to the point where we all eat, sleep and dream in Chuck Norris. Right before we got to the mountain, Montana invented best and most delicious thing ever to help us shrug off the harsh cold of the north country. We went to a gas station and filled our jacket pockets with pound after pound of beef jerky, and totally mowed whenever we were riding the chair lift. We called it the Chuck Norris Pocket. Nothing shouts man quite like a jacket full of meat.

Duluth seems to be doing well for itself, even though there’s so much snow that the city has given up on plowing the streets. Most roads have been reduced to one lane, which makes oncoming traffic a rather awkward experience. You can’t get out of the way as there are snowbanks piled high on both sides of the road. You can’t drive into the snowbanks because they are filled with cars. This is where you park in Duluth, in snowbanks. You rev up the engine something fierce and shove your car into it, and pray that you can get it out in the morning. If not, you can always catch the Greyhound and come back to Duluth in the spring to reclaim your vehicle.

Then again, Chuck Norris could pick up your car in one hand and tear your heart out with the other, all while secretly shagging your girlfriend.

December 11, 2005

Red Bull is Not Your Friend

The week began in illness. This put me in quite the foul mood, as I just got over a cold that had me floored for the weeks surrounding Thanksgiving. I had pulled a 3AM design session, and it was right around the time I slammed my second Red Bull that I noticed my throat was feeling scratchy. I disregarded it at the time and gave all credit to the Red Bull, which had me so amped that I felt like I was going to simultaneously shake and rot the teeth right out of my skull.

“Nah,” I figured. “It’s just the Red Bull. It always burns the throat as it goes down. Everyone knows it’s 30 percent antifreeze, anyway.” I’m more of a Rockstar guy myself, but it was 12:30 in the morning and I couldn’t find a cold one anywhere at the luxe grocery store down the street.

In the coming days I got kicked, and I got kicked hard. Long after the Red Bull wore off I still couldn’t stop shaking. I took a shower, and it sapped just about all the energy I had. I was so cold. I was so hot. My skin was confused and tingly, and I felt like I had spent the day rolling around in fiberglass insulation. My glands were swollen to the size of grapefruits and my throat was crammed with all that stuff you get in your throat, like snot and frogs and stuff. The emptied contents of my sinuses resembled brilliant sunsets.

I daresay it is getting better, as I seem to be on the far side of this miserable thing. I spent the weekend hanging out with people who I haven’t seen in years, great friends from Ihduhapi and the Nerd Herd who live in Queens or sing charts from Sweeney Todd or paddle the Woodland Caribou or own cats or admit they find Fall Out Boy to be a guilty pleasure. It’s great to be back in this neighborhood amongst such great company. I don’t know how long I’ll be kickin’ around this part of town, as usual, but I do know that I’ll be living in this state at least until next September.

And then? We’ll just have to wait and see. I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants for more than two months, now, and as of yet there is no indication that I’m royally screwing anything up as a result. Nah, I’ll just let things keep unfolding at their own pace. Their own pace, accompanied by 3AM web design marathons, adverse reactions to Red Bull, fever dreams and violent chills, and fruit cocktails infused with vodka and nuclear fusion.

December 7, 2005

Sixteen Lashings

Life is good. Business is good. Well, business is really good, as I’m already having difficulty keeping my head screwed on tight. I wasn’t expecting things to ramp up as quickly as they have, and I’m amazed by the breakneck pacing of this thing. It’s been busy here at Brainside Out for the last couple weeks, a good kinda busy with the hustle and bustle of creaking oars and kettle drums and the occasional whip cracking across a scarred back. My boss is kind of a jerk, and I say that only because I know he’s a tough old lot who can take whatever I can dish out.

Things have been exciting. After a couple months of work we relaunched a client’s website the other day, to much fanfare and rejoicing. Response has been positive, as evidenced by improved network statistics and the general absence of letters stamped with anthrax. We’ve also been practicing some database judo for another client, which has been opening the doors to all sorts of dreamy possibilities.

Speaking of dreams, we finally secured ourselves a couple gigabytes at the oft-recommended web hosting company Dreamhost. Brainside Out is still hosted by Pair, so at this point I’m just playing the field. That being said, lest mine eyes deceive me, $7.95 a month gets you a killer setup at Dreamhost, one that trounces the pants off the $17.95 deal at Pair. I can’t see that it’s missing anything, and if I’m still happy after tinkering with it a little bit, there’s a good chance I’ll move the site over to Dreamhost. I mean, I’ve been happy with Pair since the beginning (even though they have no plans of upgrading Ruby on their servers, barring me from ever implementing a Rails framework), but there’s a good chance that pure economics will overcome inertia in this regard.

I turned in my registration for SXSW Interactive and I grabbed a hotel room while I was at it. This last bit was no small feat, as hotel rooms during that week in Austin are sellin’ like hot cakes. My hotel isn’t all that close to the Convention Center, unfortunately, and I’ve got a bit of a walk to the event site. Oh well. I’ll just refer to it as my one kilometer “fun run” and be done with it. Plus, I’ll probably find myself commuting in a wheelbarrow more than once, so it really won’t seem all that bad in the end.

Geez, we leave for our Caribbean cruise in just over two weeks. It looks like Nassau can offer some pretty good kiteboarding conditions, and I’m still debating over how much of my gear to bring. The breeze seems to hang in the mid-teens this time of year, which is darn light for my biggest kite. If I could add a 16 meter to my quiver I think I’d be golden.

It may be about time to send out another invoice.

December 1, 2005

What’s with all this talk about drinking?

Hoo-boy, we’re doin’ it. SXSW, the legendary drunken web nerd geek-fest, is bein’ thrown down next March and we’re gonna close the doors and book it for Texas.

Ahh, Texas. I’m gonna rope me a tumbleweed and ride it through downtown Austin. I hope there’s as much sand as my imagination says there is. I have a vivid picture of what Texas should look like, fueled by cartoons and DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS bumper stickers, and this trip may do irreversible damage to that mental image. Preliminary reports indicate this trip will do irreversible damage to my liver as well, but we’re not so concerned about that.

I remember one San Francisco night last November, we gathered at Lefty O’Doul’s after Doug Bowman’s Redesigning Blogger workshop. We had free drink tokens and surprisingly few people showed up, so those of us in attendance reveled in a healthy abundance of free drink tokens. At some point a bunch of us poured out into the street in search of food. I followed Matt and a couple others to a confusing eating establishment that looked like a shady casino on the outside and a Greco-Roman Chinese restaurant on the inside. It sold ham and cheese sandwiches. Grilled.


The last couple nights I’ve been up late with a fussy database that must be teething or something. I’ve found that you get a heck of a lot of stuff done when your workday is the bigger slice of a 9 – 2 schedule.

I’ve noticed that Gothic fonts are extremely popular in chic urban settings. Patina has a logo set in Copperplate Gothic, while Chipotle sets a lot of their supporting texts in Bank Gothic. I must have crossed some terrible and irreversible threshold into font nerdhood, as lately I find myself able to pick fonts out of thin air.

I love saunas. I’ve taken three in the last week.

I want a pair of cowboy boots and I want to learn how to spit out the side of my mouth. I also want to polish off a bottle of whiskey and drive down to Chicago, cuz there are some people down there who I swear to god need their heads put straight. It’s easier to make a point when you can gesture with an empty bottle of Wild Turkey. At least it feels that way.

What exactly are men’s low-ride jeans supposed to ride on?

November 19, 2005

Please check the red box.

I moved to Oregon 2 1/2 years ago in a whirlwind of activity. As I recall, a mere four days elapsed as I finished college, dragged all my belongings down to the Twin Cities, jammed to Madison for my sister’s graduation ceremony, drove back to the Cities, packed up the Green Dragon and hit the road.

The entire month of May I was totally jonesin’ to get on the road, and I knew that I had to devise some sort of system to make the move happen as soon as humanly possible. Any loss of momentum, any lingering second, and I was sure my body would cast down its miserable roots wherever it stood. I knew this as I was packing my things in Duluth, and even then I knew I needed to pack those boxes so that the absolute minimum of effort would be required to sort stuff out when I reached the Cities.

I color-coded the boxes. I’m not kidding. If a box was marked with blue tape, everything it contained needed to be dragged out to the left coast. These boxes could have been welded shut for all I cared, as there was absolutely no reason for me to dig through them until I reached Hood River. If a box was marked with yellow tape, however, it contained some stuff I wanted to bring, and other stuff I could leave behind. Sometimes this was stuff that I wasn’t sure I would want/need out there, and other times it was stuff that I knew I wanted to bring along, but for the freakin’ life of me couldn’t fit in another box. And man, after living with the Ford Tempo and moving back and forth from college umpteen times, I’m dang efficient at packing.

Finally, there were the red boxes, full of junk that had no business going to Oregon. These would remain in Minnesota until I returned, if indeed I did return. My timeline was ambiguous, and no one (not even myself) knew whether I would be gone for three months, three years or a lifetime.

Ever since then I’ve been living out of boxes. Wine boxes, liquor boxes, apple boxes, you name it, I’ve jammed my stuff into it. In the past couple years I’ve lived at no less than seven different addresses, accumulating and losing junk at every turn, and yet always coming out heavier in the end. I don’t even know what sort of things I have anymore, as none of it has been packed so that it could be conveniently labeled as clothes or kitchen stuff or thermal underwear. Nay, the pragmatist won this round, as everything had to be packed in a manner that absolutely maximized the use of space, which tends to minimize one’s ability to sort items based on what they actually are. Frustrating? I’m surprised I still have all my blood left.

I’m in the process of unpacking all these boxes and repacking them as logically as possible, making a hefty mess in the process. I’m resorting everything I own based on type, grouping like kinds, as it were. It’s the freakin’ database rearchitecture of my personal belongings. What’s more, I’m cracking open those red boxes, and they’re all little time capsules in their own right. It’s a weird experience because in many ways I remember wearing these clothes, listening to this music, backing up my files on these Zip disks… and in other ways it feels like even these thoughts aren’t my own, that I’m rooting around in the junk memories of some other person.

That being said, this guy had some cool stuff! I’ve found hair wax, neat old pieces of drift wood, chopper gloves, a couple of CPUs, and a framed foil picture of a lighthouse that was obviously picked up at a dollar store somewhere in the world. The king of all finds, however, is an old pair of snowboard bindings sans snowboard. All I need now is a bit of snow, a steep hill and two huge blocks of ice. If you mount the snowboard bindings on the ice blocks you’ve just invented, well, I don’t know what you’ve invented, but I’m sure that it would be hella-fun and probably dangerous!

All I need now is a little bottle of patience, tucked away somewhere in an old case of Leinenkugel’s. As predicted, our Mega Kill-Blast Snowstorm of Nought Five, which was so horrible it triggered the pre-emptive digging of mass graves, dropped a suffocating 1/2″ of snow.

Which has since melted.

November 13, 2005

Blizzard Predicted

It was definitely a pleasant weekend, notwithstanding the fussy weather patterns. Friday night we were up until the wee hours of the morning (er, Saturday morning) locked in an intense multiplayer skirmish of Karaoke Revolution. I performed rather poorly, what with a menu that completely lacked in James Brown, and a judging system that rewarded rhythm and pitch instead of stage presence.

Nevertheless, I’m completely addicted. Video games involving karaoke (or dancing, or playing guitar) are totally awesome. I now dream in karaoke. Sure, the games are no match for nights of drunken revelry at Jack’s or Tio Pablo’s or The Windigo, but they’re totally fun in their own right.

Saturday afternoon I drove to the cabin so we could go out for pizza at Tony’s, an excellent place to visit whenever you need your Northwestern Wisconsin smoky bar fix. Somewhere along the line we picked up a case of Pumpkin Ale, which along with pumpkin was supposed to deliver a delightful bouquet of spices.

Unfortunately, it seems the spices smothered the pumpkin in its sleep and took the place over, so all you can taste in the beer is cloves, cloves, cloves. Sweet, delicious cloves. Instead of Pumpkin Ale I’d call it Broken Head Delight Spice Brew, or Brutally Shocking Autumn Special Reserve, or Uncle Lefty’s Oaken Clove Slugger, or something else that describes its “subtle nuances” a little more accurately.

After returning from the cabin Sunday night the Soob was long-overdue for an oil change, so I jacked it up to the sky and climbed underneath. I haven’t had the nerve to play with car jacks ever since we used them to level the floor in the boathouse while working at fall camp. In the two days it took us to finish the job we only had one jack fail on us. Even so, having a jack suddenly POP and come flying out at you, throwing around thick metal spacers in the process, kinda makes you gun shy. Especially when you know that in the afternoon, you’re gonna need to climb under the boathouse and do more of the same.

So yeah, that oil was lookin’ plenty dark as poured out of the oil pan, and it was plenty hot seeing as how the car had just finished driving a hundred miles, and it felt no shame as it coated my hand, ran down my arm, and flowed off my elbow. Here I am making a terrible mess, covered in oil and cursing an awful lot, and here comes our neighbor pulling into our driveway, wishing to chat about the gigantic elm tree that broke in half and fell in our yard during last Tuesday’s windstorm. My mind wasn’t totally with it and I tried to get him to write his phone number on the side of a can of lighter fluid. He chose a spare 2×4 instead, and after a thought I found that to be a splendid alternative.

They’re predicting huge snowstorms tomorrow night and Tuesday. That is, “huge” if you consider “huge” to mean 4-8 inches. Which I don’t. I consider 4-8 feet to be a huge snowstorm. Once, just once, I’d like to see a blizzard shape up to be at least as significant as the meteorologists think it should be. Think about it. These people are in the business of predicting the weather… don’t you think they would catch on, eventually, that their predictions are almost always grossly exaggerated? At some point, wouldn’t they find it prudent to move the goal posts just a little bit closer?

Just once I’d like to see a weatherperson get up there, shrug his or her shoulders, and say, “You what? It might snow tomorrow. It might not. We might get four inches, we might get eight. We might get nuttin’. Anyway, it’s probably not gonna be nearly as big a deal as you’d like to think it is.”

Instead, we continually get these tiresome predictions of Armageddon, until we are led to believe that hot cinders will rain from the sky and engulf the countryside in firestorms of unimaginable terror and destruction. We could write this off as harmless hyperbole, as sensationalizing in a world that loves real-life drama, but I fear that this pre-packaged hysteria is far more damaging than that.

The problem is that when something truly, truly terrible happens, like the horrid torrent of tsunamis and hurricanes and earthquakes we’ve experienced this year, we have no way of describing them. In sensationalizing the tiny and insignificant we have played our hand. These dire predictions don’t go up to 11.

We have used up all the words on nothing.

November 9, 2005

It is an business.

When you start your own business and there’s an IKEA nearby, you become extremely proficient at assembling furniture. You also learn other important things along the way, little bits of knowledge that eventually will help you gloss over the mundane details of business lordship.

A 31″ x 63″ GALANT table top fits perfectly in the back of a Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagon.

IKEA cardboard smells kinda funny. I cannot recommend letting it steep in your car for a couple days before taking it out.

If you choose to operate your business under any name other than your own (say, Brainside Out Industries in one case), the State requires that you file an assumed name for your business. They say that this is in the best interest of the consumer, so that consumers know your business is a legitimate entity tied to an actual person (or an actual corporation, depending on your business model), located at an actual physical address.

If junk mail is any indication, however, putting your business on public record is actually in the best interest of banks, credit card companies, loan officers, insurance agents and attorneys.

You wish there was a way for you to meet other self-proclaimed anarcho-capitalists.

For you, there are no bouldering gyms within twenty miles. This makes your heart ache.

When you are self-employed, you do not get paid for brewing tea, going to the bathroom, picking your nose or firing up those weblogs. Even when you are incredibly productive, you are lucky if you spend half your time on billable work.

That being said, the road to financial solvency often manifests itself in distractions. Stay focused, but keep your ear to the ground.

Newsreaders are a blessing and a curse. A blessing because they turn what used to be a half-hour traipse across the internet into a five-second refresh hit. A curse for the same reason. Ease-of-access cuts in both directions.

You use NetNewsWire. It is the only newsreader you have found that works well enough, works consistently enough, that you feel you can trust it.

Having been away from it for so long, you are addicted to content. New content. Fresh content. Constant content. Nothing has the capacity to grab your attention for longer than ten seconds. Except shiny objects. Man, how do they make those things so damn shiny? Amazing!

People want to know where your business cards are, but they also find it to be a legitimate excuse that you’ve been so busy with client work that you haven’t had a chance to print them up, yet.

Vans are the best shoes on the planet.

Working while standing up is great. Really, it is. So long as you use a trackball and always wear your elbow pad, your battered hands hardly bother you at all. This is astounding, absolutely astounding, considering that barely six months ago your hands hurt so bad they had you in tears.

After lunch, however, everything but your hands starts to ache. Fortunately, the solution to this has recently been unpacked from cardboard.

All things considered, you wish that you were as familiar with the phases of the moon as you had been last season. Widgets are handy, but it’s not the same.