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December 2004
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Roomba Rhythm

What is a Roomba?

No, it is not a dance. It is the most amazing device ever. A roomba is a robot. It is a robot that no household can do without.

Kevin and I acquired 2 roombas as sort of Christmas presents for our house. I hate house work and we needed a solution that did not involve any one of us actually doing the house work. That is where the roomba comes in. The roomba is a robotic vacuum cleaner. Just set it before going to work and it vacuums your house.

The newest generation roomba can sense when its battery is low and it will drive itself back to its docking station where it will recharge itself. They also come with a remote control, and virtual walls. Virtual walls can be set up to stop the roomba from entering an area.

Do you have stairs? Don't worry the Roomba can sense stairs and steer clear of them.

While these robots are amazing innovations there are some limitations. Sometimes the roombas get stuck. They can get stuck on cords or string. So you do have to pick stuff up. Sometimes models will develop an annoying high pitched squeak. When that happens send em back!

Roomba's are manufactured by a company called IRobot. Bed Bath and Beyond stock Roomba's. They are quite easy to get. Check out their website here.

Now I need a robot which will do the dusting, clean the kitchen, wash the windows... I love living in the 21st Century!

The Art of Waiting

Who is Jeff Twetien?

He is a man of men. A man who has perfected the art of waiting. We are invited to join him as he waits outside the Seattle Cinerama Theatre for the opening of Star Wars Episode III The Revenge of the Sith. By the way the wait is 5 months. (I don't think there is a line yet!)

I found out about Jeff while doing some surfing (to numb certain horrors. See post about Oprah). Check it out here and here is Jeff's blog.

Oprah shocks me into doing housework

Tonight is Friday. I have been scared by Oprah into doing some housework. I TiVo Oprah in the hopes that I'll find an amusing episode. Most of the time Oprah is just too cheesy for me. Well this episode was about true Messies. A woman in California had written in for help. Her Condo was out of control. Oprah, true to form flew in 2 British women to assess the mess, swab it and count the e-coli and then get a team of experts to clean up this woman's mess.

The women were promoting their new show on Lifetime called... How Messy is our House? or words to that effect. (The shock of the woman's house has erased all other memories of this episode.)

Well the sight of this woman's house shocked me speechless. In fact I had to pause Oprah to go and clean my kitchen. Heaven forbid my pile of unwashed dishes should not make it to the dishwasher. I even made Kevin look at the woman's mess. He scuttled away to do some surfing.

The woman had decided after her 6th divorce and after a lifetime of being a perfectionist and a Neatnik not to pick up anything, or throw anything away for 2 years - food, newspaper, clothes and animal poo. Ugh! Instead of washing her clothes she would just buy new ones. The master bedroom bathroom was filled with old fermenting doggie doo doo. She hadn't even cleaned her toilet bowl for 2 years. Have you any idea what that looks like?

True to form Oprah immediately diagnoses the problem (despite the one British lady saying "I am sorry but you're a slob") "there must be something wrong with you on the inside if your house looks like that!" Good on you Oprah. Immediately the Lady Slob is talking about low self esteem, and finally admits to being depressed when asked directly.

The Brit team tackle the mess, after doing the E-coli count and the woman is handed a nice clean and tidy Condo. Oprah interviews a doctor who deals with people with hording disorders. Yes, there has to be a disorder! Eventually she asks no begs the woman to get help. We hear that the woman has no health insurance (she is extremely well groomed). I keep expecting to hear tarantarahh Oprah gives away free psycho therapy sessions!

What a traumatic episode. Not only was I galvanized into cleaning my kitchen I've set the Roomba loose in the TV room for the first time in, well ages.

Best of 2004

As part of a blog tradition I have created a photo album of the best of 2004. These are just a collection of photo's from a variety of places and travels during 2004. All photo's are mine. I will be posting a separate photo album of Kevin's photo's.

So enjoy.

Another Iraqi Blogger

Iraq the Model, one of my favorite Iraqi blogsites asks the question "Is Islam compatible with Democracy?" It links to an article here from Free Iraqi.

I think the essential question is any religion compatible with democracy? And how has Christianity or Judaism formulated itself to be compatible with democracy?  I don't think that religion per se lends itself to democracy. In fact USA democracy formulated a separation of church and state. Democracy should be a system that functions to protect individuals from the state, regardless of any religion. Religious tolerance is fundamental to western democracy.

"We don't need to democratize Islam, as it wasn't possible with any other religion. We simply need to separate the mosque from the state, and that could be done violently or peacefully depending on the place and the circumstances. So the right question in my mind is, can we separate the mosque from the state? I for one believe it's very possible, especially in Iraq."

Read the whole thing.

What I am reading...

Okay. This may be scraping the barrel of acceptable topics to blog about but I must just share a book (not new) that I am currently reading. Kevin bought it for me for my trip to SA - and I did some reading of it on the plane. Now I am reading it on my bus commute during the week.

It's called "Just for Fun- The story of an accidental revolutionary" Linus Torvalds the creator of LINUX and David Diamond.

For those (like me who don't know much about computers, programming and that whole world) Linus Torvalds is a chap who wrote a ground breaking operating system while a student. He distributed it for free and basically started the whole "open source" movement. Linux (the OS he created) is basically the largest collaborative project in the world.

Here is a great quote from the book about the beauty of programming:

"Think of a treehouse. You can build a treehouse that is functional and has a trapdoor and is stable. But everyone knows the difference between a treehouse that is simply solidly built and one that is beautiful, that takes creative advantage of the tree. It's a matter of combining art and engineering. This is one of the reasons programming can be so captivating and rewarding. The functionality often is second to being interesting, being pretty, or being shocking.

It is an exercise in creativity."

I think the same can be said for architecture. I have a thing for churches. One of the things I like to do when Kevin and I go on our roadtrips is to look at the architecture of churches. I love the one's that make a spiritual implact through their design. A church which looks like an airplane hangar does nothing for the soul. Architecture should be an "exercise in creativity".

Tsunami news from Denver Sister Cities


Thursday, December 30, 2004


Denver’s Sister City – Chennai, India – Devastated by South Asian Tsunami

As the death toll in South Asia continues to rise from last week’s deadly earthquake and tsunami, the City of Denver’s thoughts are with our Sister City of Chennai, India – where over 6,000 people have been killed.

Located near the tip of India on the Bay of Bengal, Chennai (formerly known as Madras) became Denver's seventh sister city in 1984.  Commemorating this relationship, Denver’s “City of Chennai Park” is located on the northeast side of South Quebec Street and Cherry Creek Drive.  In Chennai, the "Denver House" provides a place where people from Denver can visit and stay.

Denver Sister Cities International (DSCI) is collecting monetary donations to send to Chennai, a city with whom we have had a 20-year relationship.  Those interested in contributing can mail checks made out to the “DSCI Chennai Tsunami Relief Fund” to DSCI, 2480 West 26th Avenue #20B; Denver, CO 80211. 

For more information, please contact Denver Sister Cities International at 303-832-1336 or visit