Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why blogs have been empty?

I have been working on a few blogs to link to this one. I have been working on a blog for SharePoint and on on Silverlight/WPF. My next one on here will probably be a review of the Verizon Blackberry Storm. I got the phone right after it launched. I have mixed reviews and I will share them with everyone this week......stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Election is over......FINALLY!!!!!!

Well the election is finally over. No more fliers on my door, all the ads on TV or people coming to my door asking me to vote for them. I am glad it is all over with. I am always glad when the vote I cast is the one that wins. The same held true for this election. I did vote for Barack Obama but as I am happy for what I believe we will get with him as president, I am also concerned about the votes that were cast for and against him.

I have heard and even had conversations with African Americans who voted for him only because he was black. Some didn't even know who his running mate was or any of the issues he was for or against. To me that is just stupid and those people should not even be able to vote unless they are completely educated about the views. A person should not see a name on a ballot, just the views they are for and you select that way. On the other side we have white people who wouldn't vote for him just because he was black knowing he is a better fit for our country but still wouldn't just because of the color of his skin. The same rule applies above.

I am so tired of watching the TV and people crying about the first African American president and this and that. He is just a man. The second you put someone on a different pedestal that is when it is different. The second you say we will have the Black Music Awards or black Miss America contest is the second you saying you are/want to be unlike everyone else and you are NOT equal. I still ponder on how that is ok to have because if someone came up with the White Music Awards they would have Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton on the steps in protest. This is a double standard. That is not equality. Who cares if he is black? The color of his skin had zero influence on my vote and it should have had zero influence on any one Americans vote. For the first time in my presidential voting history (this was my 4th) I actually voted for someone I liked and believed in. In the past, I have never been crazy for anyone I have voted for, I just voted for who sucked less. That's horrible that, once a candidate gets that far they still cannot be the best choice. This is actually a vote I walked out of the booth feeling I actually made the right choice. For the first time in my voting history I actually felt proud of my vote and felt good to be an American and the person who was elected is actually going to make a difference.

For all the hate mail I will get for this I will say these few things about my vote to stop some of the mail. For those of you who say Barack does not have enough experience let me say two words for you "Sarah Palin". Being the governor of Alaska is about as much experience as a little coach. Let's not kid ourselves, John McCain is no spring chicken and the fact that she would be running the country scares me about as much as Bush running another 4 years. Second...experience......look where all that experience got us. Bush coming from a family of experience drove this country into the ground with his war and his gas prices. So don't say experience is a necessarily a good thing. You know what I like about Obama not having experience? It's the fact that he owes nobody anything. Most "veterans" of politics owe so many people because of all the back door deals and had shakes that got them to the presidency. This guy has none of that. He is just going to move forward for what is right, not for because he owes someone something.

They say race has been Americans sin. Well I think that is not the case anymore. This election showed if you're black or white, male or female, you have a shot to represent the United States in highest regard. So I hope we can put to rest he was black or he was white or male or female. How about the best person is representing the country and leave it at that. This election has given me and many people around the world hope for our country again.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Been busy!!!!

I have been very busy lately and that is why I have not posted. What will be coming in the next few weeks in my blog? Info on the new Visual Studio 2010, my latest training on Silverlight & WPF & SharePoint, Ann Arbor Day of .NET, my new obsession with the new Blackberry Storm and more.

By the time I write my new blog we will have elected a new president. Will it be John McCain & Sarah Palin or will it be Barack Obama & Joe Biden? Who knows but the reporters say that this will be one of the best turn outs for voting with young people since Kennedy.

I promise I will post a few this week. I have gotten the hate mail already, wondering if I am alive or not. Like the title says, been so busy.

Stay tuned.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Love My Country, Hate My Government!!!

The country has been on a steady economic decline for many years. Were at war (or whatever political thing to say is going on since we never want to use the word War) in the Middle East, Merrill Lynch goes down. The Dow plummets to its all time record drop of 778 points today. Come to find out it is because Democrats and Republicans can't play nice with each other. An MSN article says that "Republicans blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for a partisan speech before the vote. The Democrats blamed the Republicans for putting ideology before country." I think people in Washington need to grow a little bit thicker skin and loose some of the egos because it is not yourself who gets hurt when you want to have a political pissing match, it is millions of Americans. Just remember, you were not put in place to have an ego and show everyone you are important, you were put in place to be a voice for the American people and look out for our best interests.

I hear stories of how people with perfect credit can't get loans because the banks won't take the risk of giving them because of stupid stunts by our government like today. Now I know I am no financial wizard but I am positive that money does not grow on trees. So if it does not grow on trees then people have to spend it. How can people spend it, if the banks won't give it thus leading to the country never getting back up financially? Now I am not saying that passing this bill was going to fix the economy, but even single cell organism could have figured out that in this very touchy time that this would have resulted in disaster on Wall Street.

Next time you don't want to pass a bill that effects millions of lives because you want to show someone that you're more important to them, do the country a favor and go punch yourself in the face. If you have a problem going through with it, I am sure many volunteers would line up around the block to help you with that task.

I keep hearing we are over in Iraq to keep gas prices down…………ummm again the non-financial wizard I am could tell you that they have steadily been going up since we stepped foot on the soil and long before that. Or what kills me is how they sway the information on where we get oil from. When we are at War in Iraq, we get "80% of U.S oil comes from Iraq", but when a hurricane hits the Gulf of Mexico, gas prices shoot up because we get "80% of U.S. oil comes from the Gulf". What's next, a monsoon hits Thailand and now prices go up because we "get 80% of U.S oil comes from Thailand".

This works perfect for the government, I wonder how it would work for me at work. I never missed a day of work, brought in tons of business, got tons of certifications I should get a raise. Or, I missed at least 1 day each week over the past year, I pissed of tons of customers, am because I missed so much work, my skill set actually went backwards, I should get a raise. Funny how ridiculous that sounds but when you put it in perspective, it is the truth.

I am tired of watching someone question President Bush about the economy and he says something like, I didn't know the economy was bad. I am thinking how many advisors do you have? I don't have any advisors and I could have told you that the economy was crap. Oh wait; he is an oil man…so $4 a gallon….his pockets sees no affect of rising gas prices and the slow drain on the economy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The good ones always die young.

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. Had 8 hours of sleep, which is very unusual for me as I suffer from insomnia. So, I felt today was going to be a great one until I got a phone call at 7:20 in the morning. The phone call was to give me the bad news that an old friend had tragically died in a freak accident. The friend was Gilbert Danz. He died when a support scaffolding broke and crushed him, killing him instantly. He was on the I-75/Ambassador Bridge project.

Gilbert was the kind of guy that would do anything for you. His heart was bigger than most. I worked with him at Mushin Karate dojo for years. We both taught martial arts. He also worked at the Home Depot with me. He helped me and my dad build the deck on my parent’s house one summer. I remember when we had Karate camp in the summer we used to all get cases of beer and get completely wasted then have to teach in the hot sun all the next day. It was worth it, getting drunk having fun with your friends. That was the best times, just hanging out.

Gilbert always was looking for something that would ground him; you know something that would make him happy. He had this ugly green car, I think it was a Fury or something. He sunk every dollar he had into that thing. It wasn’t worth the money he put into it, but to him it was. He talked about going into the military then the Coast Guard and this that and the other. He was always searching for something.

Then I saw him one day hand he said he had a job in construction and he seemed really happy. I think it was the brotherhood he was looking for that made him happy. Then about a year later I bumped into him when he and his wife were shopping with their first child. The look of joy on his face was a look I had never seen before. He was for the first time, genuinely happy. It was his wife and 3 kids that made him proud and smile the most, he was a family man and he loved it.
So the world has lost a friend, a teacher, a husband, a brother and a father. He was only 29 and left a wife, 3 kids, siblings and a whole lot of friends and people who loved him. Gil, you will be greatly missed.

Miss you already bro. :-(

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Training starts again!!!!!

For those of you who don’t know, I train to fight in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). I took my first fight on just 6 days notice and won in 34 seconds. Whenever the XCC gets the site up and running you can watch the video. They do have some pics (2 I think) on the site if you look under previous fights and under XCC 2 in Pontiacs Clutch Cargos.

A little background first. I get asked daily why I do it. The answer is very simple. To me, fighting is our generation’s version of playing chess. I love the strategy that goes into a fight. He is good on the ground, so I will fight him this way. He is good standing up, so I will fight him this way. He is good with his hands, so I will fight him this way. He is taller than me, so I will fight him this way. He is shorter; I will fight him this way. It’s all a game of chess. Some idiots are out there that say “I fight so I can punch someone in the face”. One they are bad for the sport. Two they will never get to the top if that is the only goal they set forth. Going into my last fight I had one plan in my head. 30 minutes before I stepped into the cage I had to change everything. My idea was that in my division (155 lb lightweight) that I would be on the bigger size. I was wrong; the guy I found out I was going to be fighting was 6 foot 4 inches and walked around at about 172 lbs. The fight always changes and that is what is so exciting. One person can be totally dominating the other and it just takes one mistake or punch or kick missed or just a few inches off target and it could be just enough to make the fight go the other way.

Some of you who read this say Mike Lu 155lbs??? I know I have walked around most of my life around 185-190 lbs and for those of you who knew me in my heavy weight lifting days I was 225 lbs with only 6% body fat. I changed a few things in my diet and changed everything in how I work out and now I am much smaller. My diet secret is basically eat every 2 hours, 100 calories or less each time (obviously low fat) then for dinner I usually have grilled chicken a vegetable and a baked potato. I lost over 100 lbs doing this. I had gotten up to 257 lbs about 2 years ago. I broke another limb and had surgery and was laid up. My parents were really sick and work was stressful as hell. I had a 40 inch waist. Now I sport a 29 inch waist. I feel great.

So what does training me for me? Means I am going to be tired and hurting everyday…….but it’s worth it to me. One of my favorites (and biggest butt kicker) is to run the stairs at Bloomer state park. I can’t remember how many stairs are on the path but someone once told me like 200 or something like that. So what do I do? At the top of the stairs I put a resistance band and some hand weights at the top. I run down with a backpack full of 45 lbs worth of weights (if I am feeling really stupid I put on the 2 lb wrist weights and 10 lb ankle weights too) on my back. I run down, and then up. Once I hit the top I drop the back pack and do various things such as 100 punches with the resistance band or 100 sit ups or 100 curls (always 100), then once the 100 is done I put the back pack back on and back down and then up and change to another exercise. I basically do that until I can hardly walk back up the stairs then I know I am done. I will do this 2 to 3 times a week. This does not include weight lifting, and going to class (Muay Thai & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu).

So maybe you will see me at Bloomer running up the stairs or puking over the railing. I will post when my next fight date is set in stone.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Results of the Lights in the Sky Tour.

OK so the follow up to the Nine Inch Nails concert (Lights In The Sky Tour). At first it was basic lighting, nothing special. I was like “man this seems a little weak for NIN” then slowly the stage setup got more elaborate. With the 3 screen/light curtains that kept coming down. Allowing you sometimes to see the band through it and sometimes images. They put on one hell of a show. So good in fact that they are coming back to the Detroit area in November up to Grand Rapids and I am very tempted to make the drive. The concert was that good.

As far as playlist, they played obviously all of The Slip (which I might add is free off of the site). Played the usually stuff from Pretty Hate Machine and Downward Spiral. They touched on Year Zero and With Teeth. The one I was shocked to hear was they did quite a few songs from Ghosts which I think is a great set of instrumental albums. They did Echoplex with a touch screen monome, which was sweet.

The moral of the story is: if you are a NIN fan or even sort of like them, you will love the concert. So go out and get tickets.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lights In the Sky Countdown.

Oh yes, the countdown is near. Four more days and I will be at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan. For what you ask? Well to see one of my favorite groups, Nine Inch Nails. I have been waiting to see them for many years.

Trent Reznor has probably been one of the biggest influences and inspiration to get me off my ass and back to making music again. I have played guitar since I was 12. Taught myself how to play the piano at the age of 6. Played the saxophone when I was 10. Music consumes my life everyday. I am listening before work, during work on the way home from work when I am home, when I am studying. Music is my escape. My escape from a bad day, a sad day, my feeling good day, mad day. Music can put into or keep me into what ever mood I choose. That is the power of music. I never have let anyone hear my music because I felt, well, it's my music....my feelings. Then I think well the music I have grown to love from Nine Inch Nails, to Johnny Cash, to Pink Floyd, to Benny Goodman, to Nirvana, to Beethoven, to Eminem, all of the music they make and I enjoy is the feelings they had, or the porblems they faced. Then I thought how some of the songs they made, made me happy or feel good when I was down. Then I thought, what if something I made, makes someone else smile or have a bad day turn good, or maybe feel like they are not the only ones that feels/felt that way or have been through that. So then the journy begins.

My motivation came from a site Nine Inch Nails has called Remix. Basically it gives you the multi-tracks that make up the songs and you can see how they were made and switch them around to make your own. Before I felt very one dimentional in my music. Since I have seen the way Trent puts things together it makes me feel that the music I make now is very threee dimentional. Like i have said in a previous post, I use Ableton Live 7 and I love it. I have used many computer software to creat and manage music but this is by far the best because it works the way I think. I encourage anyone who is interested in music, even if you are a begininer to go to Ableton's site and download the trial. If you like NIN then head on over to the Remix site and download the multi-tracks.

I plan on linking something soon to here or the site I have been working on, showcasing my music. It will be free to download. It will all sound different depending on what mood I was in while making it or what part of life I was in when I wrote it. I make music because it makes me feel good. I can play my guitar for hours and it feels like just a few minutes went by. Growing up, that was my escape from the world around me. My goal is to make one person smile, one person to realize they are not the only one that feels that way or has felt that way or been through the same thing they have and they arn't alone. If I do that, then my goal has been made and I will keep making more to maybe make that 2 or 3 and so on.

So I will be posting after the concert to tell you all how great it was! ;-) I will also post when the music is ready for a listen. Been so busy with work trying to get this WPF, XAML & Silverlight down.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Visual Studio 2008 & .NET 3.5 SP1

Yesterday an Microsoft released a (in my mind) much needed update to Visual Studio 2008. If you are learning WPF, XAML & Silverlight, this is an update I think you should be interested in. I have been using VS (along with Expression Blend) for my development needs in learning WPF, XAML & Silverlight but found the intelliSense was sometimes a little buggy when it came to these tehcnologys. Now with the SP1 installed all the intelliSense is perfect for doing development for these technologies. Information on the what is new in the SP1 can be found here:


Saturday, August 2, 2008

This past week.

This past week has been full of a few things that I have been working on a lot of lately. First I am learning WPF, XAML & Silverlight. Let me tell you I am not finding too much information (same went for SharePoint and now so much information is out). Not may books are out and of the ones that are, they are a little outdated. I have decided to jump into these technology's because it is similar to what i used to do years ago which was Flash & CSS. I had a job a few years back that was a Flash only .com. It was fun and always different. So I have decided to work on these while still doing SharePoint. My goal is to mesh these technology's together to make a very unique user experience.

Second, I have been working with my favorite program Ableton. For those who know me the best know that music is my life. I have played many instruments since I was a kid. My music collection consists of over 200 cassette tapes, 400 Cd's, over 10,000 MP3's and approximately 20,000 records. When I say listen to everything, i mean everything. I have Jimi Hendrix to Frank Sinatra to Nine Inch Nails to Detroit Symphony Orchestra to 50 Cent. I don't call what I do any particular thing but "My Music Projects". I say this because one set of songs might be a grunge guitar rock to a violin solo, to a hard hitting industrial beat. So the each are my "projects" When ever I get my site finished, I will post them up for download.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ann Arbor Give Camp

Ok as promised my Give Camp post.

I first heard of it when i went to a Dev Cares clinic. It was taught by Jennifer Marsman from Microsoft. She gave great information and was very knowledgeable. She spoke of the Give Camp and I immediately went to the site and signed up.

A few weeks later my boss and very good friend Mike Hacker emailed me and asked if i was interested in donating my time. I was like "already signed up brother". He said ok, can you email some of the guys at Sogeti and get them involved. I was like hell yes. Emails went out, threatening bodily harm by triangle choke if they did not sign up. So they did.

The first day of the camp came and arival time in Ann Arbor was between 5-5:45. I had to go in an hour early to work that day for a meeting, so it felt like the longest day. Then 5 came and I was out of that place. Having a 45 minute drive ahead of me during rush hour, i had to speed things up. For most who know me and my laundry list of tickets for speeding, getting to Ann Arbor in less than 30 minutes was a reality.....and it was 0:-)

So I get to the registration and get signed in. Been up since 6 am, i was on my 5th wind by this time I think. We met in the auditorium for a little info like no drinking in the class rooms, no coding naked (which are 2 of my favorite things to do). Each charity stood up and told who they were, what they did and what they needed done. At the end we met our charity members for the first time and broke out into the classrooms to get the details we needed to get started. We get the info and it looks like SharePoint all the way. I am a SharePoint guy, so looking at the specs I was like, man we will have this done by 3 pm on Saturday. So we break for pizza.

My team mebers and myself get aquanted over a few slices, being we have never met eachother before. After the pizza and Mt. Dew we are ready to get rolling, but first we need to get WSS installed on the hosting server. One problem....the hosting servers that was offered for free to the charity, did not support SharePoint. Suddenly, a finish by 3 pm on Saturday was slowing becomeing a dream.

My team and myself then desided to just make some .NET pages to at least give them a web presents in which they did not have. As we figure how to give them a rich user interface with admin pages allowing the charity to go into the admin parts and type what they want in to update the web site as need by storing the post information a database. This was the direction we were going. it is now midnight, i have been up for 18 hours straight and i am really feeling it. Dreading the hour drive home, i leave a little after midnight and arive home around 1:20 am. Went to bed around 2 am.

Saturday morning I wake up @ 7 am to get my day started again. I am out the door and back in Ann Arbor a little after 9 am. One of my team members was talking about another software that mimics SharePoint that was dontated. He secured a copy and uploaded it to the server Friday night. Hearing other developers that were using it for the charity they were working ran into many installation problems. I went upstairs to the charity that had just got it up and running and asked for some help. They were both great, came right to our room and sat down and got us up and running. Everyone acted as one team. Everyone helped everyone all weekend, it was great. Now learn this new software. We ran into several road blocks and bumps in the road trying to get it to do what we wanted but it was not as flexable as we would have liked it to be. Pages are made, pages are blow up, database errors, files accedently deleted, ftp problems, style sheets not doing what i want them to do, ahhhhhhhhhhh. As my mother always told me, nothing good ever comes easy. We get a pretty funtional site up and running by 1 am, yes i said 1 am. Another 18 hours i've been up and another hour drive home.

Sunday up at 7 am and out the door and back at the college by 10 am (dragged a little ass this day) We spend the day just tweaking and polishing the site up. Then I get the great idea that the site needs some custom graphics. Guess what, no designers available. So i download Photoshop and do the best i can. The site has to be done by 3 pm, it is now 2:10 and I am still making gaphics...........2:15......still making gaphics............2:20 still messing up graphics...........done by 2:40. We race to the auditorium to present our site. It is done, the charity loved it, it is now 5 pm.

Between only getting a total of around 9-10 hours total sleep the weekend, driving 2 hours a day, tired, not getting paid............I would do it all over again. I can't wait until the next one. Everyone came together when someone else needed them, it was great. i met a bunch of great people like Josh Holmes, Michael Eaton and John Hopkins. Many more people were involved and made it a success. I am sorry I dont remember all of the names but they did a great job. I would do it all over again in a heart beat.

Monday, July 14, 2008

First Blog!!!

Well here it is. Josh Holmes bugged me this weekend that I needed to get a blog up and rolling. I spent this weekend up in Ann Arbor developing a site at the Give Camp. I will post another blog about that later.