Jamie Thingelstad's personal website

Month: January 2007 (page 1 of 2)

Minnesota Rollergirls

chameleon_logo.jpgLast night Tammy and I went to the Minnesota Rollergirls with some friends. It was my first time and it was pretty cool! I didn’t expect it to suck or anything, but it was much more fun than I expected.

Tammy’s favorite team is the Rockits, and her favorite player is Jawbreaker. Jawbreaker is a mighty force out there. I thought Rebel Stella with the Dagger Dolls was the most fun to watch. She was fast, really athletic and always exciting.

I’d recommend checking it out, and I’d definitely go back. My main recommendation if you do go is to brush up on the rules before you go. I spent the first half hour trying to figure out what was going on.

Searches Reaching My Site

I’ve had Google Analytics on my website since it became free. It’s amazing the amount of detail it gives you. I barely use 10% of the data that it provides.

Recently a friend of mine did some research on search terms that people used to get to his site. I was inspired to do some reflection on the search terms used to get to my site as well. Some observations.

  • While only one person visited with the search phrase “what is the distribution of coins in your change jar” that is a very special visit. No doubt hitting on the Change Game, but this curious person proceeded to click on 41 more pages of the site.
  • A surprising number of people put my URL “” into a search engine so they can then click on it and go to my site. It seems the search box and the location box are a bit confusing at times.
  • I’m pretty surprised by how many searches there are for people that work with me and then somehow end up at my site.
  • I’ve only ever written one post about the Earthroamer RV, but I’m stunned that it is the most popular search term of people reaching my site.
  • Similarly, I once entitled a post “Pokipsy” and now 59 people have visited using that search term. Not surprisingly they left right away since there isn’t a thing about Pokipsy in the post titled Pokipsy.
  • “Twitterific”, a term I used only a two weeks ago, has already resulted in 21 visits to the site. Amazing!

Update on Weight Loss Program

It’s been about five weeks now since I posted about Traineo. I really started in earnest on my weight loss program a couple of weeks before that. I am happy to report that I’m feeling strong and have made a lot of progress.

I reached a high of 315 lbs (note, that isn’t a lifetime record, that was set at 332 a long time ago) and I’ve since lost 21 pounds off of that high. Most importantly I’ve been feeling good about exercising and eating healthy. I’m using the Traineo service to help keep me in line and work with my motivators (him, him, her and my trainer at the gym). I’ve been able to do this without getting completely obsessive about it as well — which is a huge step for me. Over the last two years I’ve only done really good when logging every morsel of food that passes my lips. This just isn’t sustainable, and I think ultimately reinforces bad behaviors.

I’m finding myself in a bit of a lull right now. I’m feeling great that I’ve lost over 20 pounds thus far and even more importantly I’m able to run for reasonable periods again, can do a decent job on my spin bike and am feeling my strength returning. However, I’m also feeling the challenge of so much more to go just to get to my current goal of 250 lbs. It’s a long road back to the mountaintop that I was sitting easily on a few years ago.

However, such is the reality of it all and the job that needs to be done. I don’t put the myriad of updates on my training program here on this site. I think it would overwhelm the rest of the content. If you would like to keep up with how I’m doing, stop by my Traineo page and check out my progress.

Fanatical About Backpack

backpack_logo-small-742950.gifI think amongst my cadre of hyper-geeky, super web savvy friends I was probably a little late to get to Backpack. About a month ago however I was faced with a challenge. I had a bunch of information all over the place and I wanted to consolidate it. I’d always liked the idea of a “personal wiki” that I could have anywhere and had considered installing something on my machines for this. I had even installed OpenWiki at home but it’s a dead open source project with no future. What to do? I’d heard about Backpack so I decided to give it a serious look. I’ve been using it for a little over a month and I can’t imagine working without it now.

Backpack is a personal information management web tool from 37 Signals. It’s a great example of simplicity in design yielding great power. Backpack is one of those services that you discover new features and functions all the time, even after using it for a while. I’ve been able to get rid of at least five different “places” that I stored things and move them all onto Backpack.

Let me share a somewhat obscure example of how I’m using Backpack. I recently moved this site to a 3rd party hosting service. They don’t provide backups, so I have to do that myself. Backpack becomes a great part of this workflow. I have a script that backs up the database, compresses it, and then emails it to Backpack. Every page on Backpack has an email address so it just appears as an attached file. Awesome!

Backpack now joins the very elite ranks of web tools that I pay for — happily I may add. I can only hope that they continue to add features galore and make the experience even better.

Note: In full disclosure, the links to Backpack in this post, as well as the button in the sidebar of my website, are tagged with my affiliate code. If you sign up for a paying Backpack account via a link on this site I receive a one-time referral fee. And no, I didn’t just write this to try to get free service, I really just like it that much!

Upgraded to WordPress 2.0.7

Saw this on my WordPress Dashboard.

“WordPress 2.0.7 — 5 hours ago”

Upgraded! Now that’s what I call fresh bits! :-) Moves Out

I spent a couple of hours getting this website moved out of the server in my laundry room and to the faster server that I’m now renting in a remote data center at ValueWeb. This will finally give the site more bandwidth for you — the valued reader.

It wasn’t pain free, and in fact there is a bit of a mess to clean up still with some things not working. I’ll get that resolved shortly.

On the plus side of got big huge bandwidth pipes and the URL structure for the site is much more friendly than it was before (no more index.php). I also updated to the newest version of WordPress which may be some of my pain.

I’m very interested to hear if the site “feels” faster now. If you don’t mind, let me know by commenting here.

The Water Tastes Different

My wife thinks I’m loosing my mind.

We recently ordered new drinking glasses for home. The ones we had before were fine, but we had broken a handful of them leaving only a few left with the resulting problem of running out of glasses too quickly. The glasses we had were clear glass with a pattern and “bubbles” in the glass. They were fine glasses, nothing all that notable about them.

Here are the new glasses.


There is nothing all that notable about these either, except that they are red, and the water tastes funny.

It’s that last part that is the problem. I swear that water tastes funny out of these glasses. Tammy doesn’t notice any change, but I do.

I tested my theory tonight and put the same water in the old, clear glass and the new red glasses. It tastes fine out of the old ones, and odd out of the new glasses. I can only tell two differences: the color and the glass on the new glasses is smoother.

Is there some rare scientific research that can back me up on this? Does the color of a glass change the perceived taste of a liquid? Or have I truly just gone over the edge of insanity now?

My Birthday

A couple of days ago it was my birthday! Have I mentioned how amazing my wife is? Anyway, it was my birthday, or should I say the week of my birthday. The festivities have continued all the way to today.

We have decided in our household that birthdays are vacation days so I take my birthday, Tammy’s and Mazie’s off of work and we spend the day as a family. Tammy this year just made the most amazing birthday I could ask for.

It wasn’t just the gifts, which were great. It wasn’t just the plans and events, which were awesome. Not even the “Dad-oriented” schedule, which was very nice. To be sure, she spoils me greatly. Thanks Dear! You rock!

My mother and I in the park about 34 years ago.

I’ve learned to appreciate birthdays more since meeting my wife. I’ve always celebrated them, but we certainly do more now. I continue to prove out my theory of fractional life. The years just go by faster and faster.

This years birthday was really special because of all the great things Tammy put together, but also because Mazie was a lot of fun. She knows what presents are now, and she had a great time ripping into “daddy present!” and playing with stuff. Amongst other things I got a model train that I hope she likes to watch now, and play with as she gets older.

I’m another year older, and I’m gradually starting to feel like things could slow down now. I love where I’m at right now and it would be great to just pause here for a while. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Plus, I’m positive that this year is going to be great.


Have you played with Twitter? If not, try it. Be a friend. Tell me what you think. It’s pretty crazy. You can even link WordPress with Twitter.

New Baby Monitor

philipsscd589.jpgWe have been perpetually frustrated with the baby monitor that we got when Mazie was born. We got the Sony NTM-910 because it had good reviews, brand reputation and specifically since it was 900MHz and wouldn’t collide with our wireless network at 2.4GHz and our wireless phones at 5.8Ghz. However, they just don’t work very well at all. The range was horrible and we started to go slowly insane with the random injection of it’s “out of range” beeps at various times.

We decided to upgrade to the Rolls-Royce of monitors, the new Philips Digital SCD-589. This is the first baby monitor to use the new DECT technology that guarantees completely noise-free operation. We started it up today after giving it a thorough charge overnight and initial tests are great. Tammy was able to walk to the top of our cul-de-sac and back without losing any signal. The audio is crystal clear. On top of that you have nice features like knowing the temperature in the kids room, you can talk to them and even start music or lights in the room from the handset. The parent unit is also significantly smaller and lighter, but not as loud at maximum volume as the Sony was.

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