Sep 30, 2000

Mama in Japan!
I got an email earlier this month from an old friend Andrew "Mama" Heywood. As you might know, he is teaching English in Japan for a year. He writes...
"... my life is pretty normal over here, well I guess you can't really say that because everyday something new is happening. I am having a pretty awesome experience, the teaching has a lot of pressure though. When I got here I thought I was going to be with another Japanese English teacher but I am the main mama so I don't have any training so I have to wing it."
I am sure you will do just fine Mama. I have added a few photos taken by Andrew to the gallery. From the looks of things on Mt. Fuji, Mama is making all kinds of friends. If you would like to write him, everyone's favorite triathlete is: Good luck and write again soon.

Sep 29, 2000

Selling like hotcakes...
Get them while they last, or just get them anyway. Visit the store here. Get your very own Emil Shellen and family mousepad, mug or t-shirt. The t-shirt sports the logo you see in the upper left corner of the screen. I expect sales to outsell the Rubik's cube.

Sep 27, 2000

More Shellens or hide the children
Turns out that my plea on the About page for other Shellens to contact me has not gone unnoticed. It turns out that sisters Teri (Theresa) and Chris (Christina) Shellen are 3rd cousins living in the LA area and are also connected to the web design industry. Howdy girls. Hopefully we will hear from you soon on this site. Also a big shout out to Wes Shellen, their father who got the whole ball rolling by contacting me in the first place. How's Montana?

In honor of finding out about additional Shellens, I know this must be frightening to non-relatives, I have posted a few family pics. The first one is a picture taken about 1910? and was scanned in by Dad. This pic is of my great-grandfather Emil Shellen and family. The second pic is one of my personal favorites. This is my grandfather, Pendil Shellen looking pretty darn young. I will do my best to dig up more vintage photos for a larger gallery soon.

Sep 25, 2000

At least it didn't turn out Amish or I would have to ditch the PC
I just took the Belief System Selector over at Here are my results:
  1. Liberal Quaker (100)
  2. Mainline to Liberal Protestant (98)
  3. Baháí (94)
  4. Orthodox Quaker (83)
  5. Unitarian Universalist (82)
  6. Orthodox Judaism (72)
  7. Reform Judaism (72)
  8. Seventh Day Adventist (70)
  9. Eastern Orthodox (61)
  10. Roman Catholic (61)
  11. Islam (58)
  12. Mainline to Conservative Protestant (57)
  13. Neo-Pagan (55)
  14. Mahayana Buddhist (51)
  15. Theravada Buddhist (51)
  16. New Age (50)
  17. Humanist (43)
  18. Jainism (43)
  19. Sikhism (43)
  20. Atheist/Agnostic (32)
  21. Hindu (32)
  22. Jehovahs Witness (32)
  23. Christian Science (21)
  24. Latter Day Saints (21)
  25. New Thought (21)
  26. Scientology (10)
I think they weigh pretty heavily questions like... "Is non-violence fundamental to your faith?". I like the fact that Catholic and Islam are just 3 points apart for me. Wow, what should I think when my actual religion shows up at number 10. I wish I were a 21 so I could just worry about it the next time around.

Sep 24, 2000

Behind the Curtain
I just posted my part of a photo project called Behind the Curtain: A day in the life of Webloggers on the site in the gallery section. To see other entries and find out more about the project visit the completed project site.

Sep 22, 2000

Nori The Original Nasal Passage Cleaner
I have just stopped rolling around on the floor after seeing this picture. Taken from the Nori Website. Sign me up.

I keep meaning to read this book

Sep 21, 2000

Nuts to Tivo

Tivo is giving away 10 Tivo's a day until Oct 31st in a 250-word essay contest. I entered and was sadly, already denied. Below is my Tivo essay. Don't you think I should have won?
Tivo Essay
When I was a wee boy, by wee I mean 7, I watched the Wonderful World of Disney every Sunday. One Sunday, they played a movie about a guy that chose the stuff they played on TV. It was a young guy that I could relate to at the age of 7, not like those 52-year-old stiff TV exec types. 7 year-olds have a tough time relating to them for some reason. Anyway, I can't remember the name of the movie but I am pretty sure there was a chimp or an orangutan in this movie. Every show had some kind of ape in the 70's. I am sure they had a good reason for this but I always thought it odd and am glad now to see that the "monkeys equal good TV" era is over, but I digress.

Ever since that movie aired I dreamt of owning my own TV station, controlling what goes on the air and which comedians get the coveted Thursday night 8pm slot. I would run reruns of The Simpson's at 10pm instead of hearing how tomorrow is going to be another scorcher. I would put music videos on first thing in the morning to help folks wake up and action movies during the middle of the day to spice up the lives of mom's at home with their young ones.

Of course it might be better to spare everyone else my programming sense and leave me alone with a Tivo and my dreams.

Maybe you will have better luck?
It's the J to the (pause) A to the (pause) S to the O to tha N
Normally, I am firmly on the side of the argument that movies and music don't affect what people do in their lives but... when I listen to a lot of hip-hop my mind gets clouded. I begin to bust phat rhymes and get the urge to don an oversized jersey of some kind. This time the Black Eyed Peas and Handsome Boy Modeling School are to blame. Of course this is much better than the walking into oncoming traffic feeling I get by listening to The Deftones.

Sep 20, 2000

Multiple Choice
The Macerena:

Sorry, I went to a wedding recently and I couldn't believe they still use it. View the results of this quiz here

Sep 19, 2000

If computers could sweat...
Whew!!! Aside from drawing out the snakes the heat has made me question my "keep the computer on 24 hours a day" policy. Not just for the energy savings but because I could probably have used my keyboard for a wok today. I always rationalize that I don't need air conditioning at home except for maybe 10 days in the summer. I am pretty sure we are on the 10+ days of gnarly heat (cumulative). I hear the end is in sight and rather than high 90's and 100's that is should drop to 86 tomorrow. Maybe I will wear a shirt. Woo Hoo!

A few random thoughts:

  • Are they just having gymnastics and swimming at the Olympics this year?
  • Is it normal to long for your first car, a 1983 Volvo wagon, even though you have a nice car that runs all the time?
  • I am pretty sure the above Volvo problem is Grant's fault due to his recent acquisition of a 1989 Volvo wagon.
  • It is my theory that every web designer, UI guru, or just plain web professional graduated college about the same time I did and is now turning 27. Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C. I rest my case.
  • You are now logged in as: A big joke about shopping carts
  • My Cue Cat that came in the mail courtesy of Wired and RadioShack didn't recognize the barcode for the Palm IIIx. This is a problem. Also I received an email from the company that makes the Cue Cat stating that my security "may have been compromised" and offered me a $10 gift certificate at RadioShack. Oh boy. I think they have a few issues to work out. If you invested in this company run like the wind.
  • dack is the best pundit the web design industry could hope for. Check out his recent potshot on Amazon tabs. True True.

Sep 18, 2000

Ok, I might know it if it bit me.
I know my friends and family have joked about my house being in the sticks but tonight I might finally have to concede. Deer, raccoons, lizards, fox, hawks and possum didn't have me quite convinced somehow but I do believe I am in the wilderness.

Being relatively citified I turned the TV on mute when I heard what I thought were maracas. On second notice of aforementioned maracas, I realized that this was in fact a real live honest to goodness RATTLESNAKE. Now, I don't like spiders but like Indy, "I hate snakes!". How does one handle rattlesnakes near the garbage cans? linked to a site that suggested getting pigs "Because pigs eat snakes and apparently they can't bite through pigskin". If anyone has a loaner pig let me know.

I for one have an idea... moving. Anyone interested in a 4 bedroom / 3 bath in the Bay Area drop me a line.

Sep 15, 2000

Get $200 in FREE gas or University Diplomas from off-shore schools, ACT NOW!!!
Remember when you looked forward to receiving email. Not the delightful drivel we get now about REGISTERING TO WIN!! or how it is time to upgrade your software or that Gap's fall line is out and you can get a free pen with purchase.

The only email I look forward to is from friends and family. Maybe correspondence about this site or every once in a while a very well written newsletter like Lockergnome that I have asked to receive. So I decided to do something about it.

I unsubscribed from every email list that I am on. At last count, I had received 31 messages back telling me how much they will miss me. I feel liberated. My mailbox has been weeded out and I may now again respond to friends who have emailed me admist the clutter. Try it yourself and you may again welcome the gentle Inbox tone.

Sep 14, 2000

Better than keeping a Suzuki Swift in the glove box
"New Ford Exorbitant Comes with Spare Explorer"
Comfy? Good now here is your wake-up call (or I hear Amazon carrys radar detectors)
I got my first speeding ticket since I turned 19 last night. Handed down by Moraga PD of all people. In my years at Saint Mary's College of California in Moraga, I never had any run-in's with the law. Unless you count a late night beer run where they ID'ed me AFTER the sale in the parking lot, I was 22 so everything was cool. But as we used to lament back then when our friends would get pulled over or hassled (see above) Moraga PD really don't have anything better to do.

Of course I had to take the scenic route home after visiting my sister in law out at SMC with Allison. No traffic in either direction, except for one car going the opposite direction. I thought to myself "I see a light bar. Oh it's a cop. Not to worry you are going the other direction." Just my luck, there have been some innovations in radar since my college days. They can tag you from front or rear (I wonder if they are going to get side to side). I watched in the rear view mirror as the police officer, slammed on the brakes after he had passed, make a quick U-turn and flash the lights to pull me over going the speed limit.

Yikes. So the ticket is for 53 in a 35. I wonder if I could claim dyslexia. I am pretty sure Taylor still has me beat for shock value with his recent run-in on the way to traffic school. So I guess I could slow down but then again this bad boy is only $99.

Sep 12, 2000

Bush and Gore make me want to Ralph
I know my friends will slag me for bringing up politics yet again but I think I have officially changed my mind from the time of this post. After reading some great articles and interviews with Ralph "Corvair Killer" Nader, I have to vote for the guy.

In one interview, on ZDTV Nader is asked about computers in schools and the digital divide. His answer was so dead on. He says that computers are just tools and that we have blindly accepted the mantra that computers are good for schools without really much thought. A recent article in Wired states that Ralph is not alone in this thinking.

Besides he is a straight talker and a very intelligent man. He has the backing of Michael Moore, Rage Against the Machine, and Pearl Jam. If you want to see the latest on the 2 headed beast that our political race has become check out the new Rage video for "Testify" .

If you still want to weigh in on your political views or see what others have to say check out the the poll and discussion room.

Sep 11, 2000

I'll take my mid-life crisis now
I fell in love this weekend with a toy that a friends 7-year old son has, called the Know Ped by GoPed. If you have seen them then you know that these are stronger versions of the Razor. After a quick ride and only one fall after attempting an ollie with the thing I knew I was in trouble. I am still buying a surfboard before the Know Ped but I feel younger already. Excuse me while I find a tetherball game and start my Pokemon collection.

Sep 10, 2000

Oh wait, I guess I was totally off base about the tobacco companies. (or Customers are such a nuisance)
Geez, I can't believe what a fool I have been. I just watched a commercial from Phillip Morris about their sponsorship of a Meals on Wheels program. I guess years of making addictive chemicals has put them on the offensive and they are now trying to put a positive spin on that whole "lung cancer" debacle. You know you could probably paint a daisy on the handle of your 9mm and show babies cavorting with them but it isn't going to make people feel safe around guns.

Phillip Morris (who own Kraft and Miller Brewing) still equals bad irresponsible corporation turned conspiratorial do-gooders. has more info on your favorite tobacco/condiment/beer company.

I guess my main beef with companies like Phillip Morris is the lack of responsiblility. In some cases companies like PM show a lack of business accumen as well. I mean honestly. I saw a bumper sticker today proclaiming the always popular sentiment EAT BEEF (of course this was while passing the local rodeo, I am not kidding and I will have to explain that one in another entry). Aside from sounding a bit like what you would tell an enemy of yours to do, this is an odd thing to post on your 4x4. But wait you say, "This is preservationist in nature. Maybe the guy with the 4x4 is a rancher. Maybe if you didn't eat beef this guy would lose money." And this is where my lack of business sense theory comes in.

Any time that a business needs to go on the offensive to get people to swing back to their way of thinking are very bad at listening to their customers. In the rancher example, the aforementioned cow puncher could have taken a look around the grocery store or invested in a little market research to discover that chicken sales and vegetable patties are on the rise while beef declines. When customers send markets a message the producers should listen. This rancher could then decide whether or not to continue raising cattle, raising less cattle and supplementing his ranch with a couple of chicken coops, or hang up his Wranglers and invest in a course down at the local junior college to get his MCSE certification. An aside, EAT BEEF? EAT BEEF? What kind of crap slogan is that? That should work as well as Nancy Regan's JUST SAY NO. Please be more creative in the future, this is your last warning.

Point being, listen to your customers or at least do the socially responsible thing and not make products that kill people. A free piece of advice for Phillip Morris: Stop lobbying Washington about relaxing regulations. For the 50 years that you knew you had an addictive, bad product you could have changed the tide in America. You could have become the largest paper company in the world. How? Lobby Washington to legalize hemp. Use your industrial knowledge of tobacco crop with hemp and viola! Hemp = paper = happy trees. By the way, this is not the kind you smoke at the Aerosmith concert this is legit.

Ok, I need to go to bed but when I wake up I hope everyone will begin forming socially responsible, customer centric businesses. Get cracking!

Sep 7, 2000

Cranking on the new sections...
Not much to report but Dad has been asking for a section on the site and since it was really his last name first, he is getting it. Look for that soon.

You might notice that I have added an about section and a gallery section to the site and am hoping to have my backlog of photos up in the gallery soon. Right now I have a bunch of photos from my recent sailing trip last weekend in Santa Cruz. Let me know what you think, especially about download times for you dial-up folks. The formating still needs a little work but it is good enough for now.

Expect to see photos from Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Nashville, LA and many more from Santa Cruz soon. Ta Ta.

Sep 5, 2000

From the "You couldn't leave well enough alone" department
There is now a web cam available on the navigation, where you can see me whenever you feel like. At the very least you could scare mice with it or catch me digging for gold.

Sep 4, 2000

Everybody into the pool

Now everyone this side of grandma can get into the web log act. Pyra Labs the makers of Blogger have announced BlogSpot, free hosting for Blogger blogs. Rather than regurgitate marketing copy, visit and get the straight poop on setting up yours today.
Joke Reunion Correction
In reference to the Joke Reunion post below, Grant writes:
Jason, The polar bear-related punchline is something to the effect of, "Don't make me kick you in the ash-hole," or possibly, "ice-hole." Please correct this atrocity on your site. Thank you.
So there you are. Now we have 2 stumpers. Please write soon.

Sep 3, 2000

Coming about

click here for a larger image
View from the Chardonnay II

Today, Allison and I had our first sailing experience. We took a two hour ride on the Chardonnay II and I am still bobbing about. I can feel the list of the boat in the ocean and wonder how I will ever drift off to sleep. It was unbelievable. Aside from a wonderful view of Santa Cruz from Capitola to Lighthouse point, we saw 3 whales!

From off in the distance we could see the spray from their blowholes and tails waving in the air. Then the boat fell silent as they surfaced about 30 meters away. You could actually hear the sound of the whales exhaling. Wow! Too good to describe so you will have to take a look at the shots from today to get a clearer idea. I know the one of the whale tail didn't exactly turn out great but how often will I take a shot of a whale tail from this close? Just click on the images for a closer view:

On the tail of the Moonshadow  Encounter with a whale! Allison enjoying her first sailing adventure

Sep 2, 2000

Joke Reunion

Taylor and I have decided that there is a need for a joke reunion service. Wherein, jokes and their appropriate punchlines are reunited. Currently I have a stumper for all of you. This one happens to be a punchline. And it goes:

Wrecked 'em (or rectum) we damn near killed 'em.
Grant seems to remember that this is somehow Eskimo or polar bear related. I know this is probably a dirty joke and I am sorry but it is driving me crazy. If you have the answer please email at jokereunion. If you have a punchline or joke beginning that you need help with just email it to the above address and we will work day and night until they are reunited.


Sep 1, 2000

Idle hands...
Ok, so turning 27 has put me in a reflective mood. To celebrate I decided that needed a little overhaul. Watch for more changes over the next couple of days. Let me know what you think of the design. I will be adding a photo gallery, an about us section, links and a design graveyard. Once again I have stayed up way too late.

By the way, pb turned 27 on august 30th as well.