An Open Letter To My Wife: Things I Won’t Do

In the spirit of the book I just read on Abraham Lincoln, I’ve decided to write an open letter (to my wife). As I have no newspaper to publish it in, I suppose my blog will have to do. After all, blogs will most likely replace newspapers in the future anyway, much to the New York Times chagrin.

To my beloved wife Karey,

On many occasions I have allowed my love for you to dictate my behavior. Things I have had little predisposition over, such as the location of my shoes or the segregation of my laundry items, have been changed to your liking. And on many items we both agree harmoniously. However there are a few major things that I must protest your handling of, and assert myself at this time. None of these should take you off guard, as I have communicated them in the past. However at this point I feel I should dictate them in an open forum, perhaps to give others the courage to fight for preference.

My darling, no matter how much thou dost campaign against the following, I shall remain resolute:

  • The bar of soap in the shower shall be replaced when the previous bar’s width is less than 1/8’’. I shall not be compelled to wash with soap thinner than the top layer of my skin. Piggybacking the old soap onto the new soap (creating soap hybrids or supersoaps) shall be allowed as long as both soaps are of the same breed.
  • My hotdogs and hamburgers belong in their respective bun packaging. It is an affront to Jesus (in my view of Christianity) to place a hamburger between two pieces of sliced bread, or to wrap a hotdog up in a single piece. While I am not a rich man, I do budget carefully a portion of my monthly income toward appropriate meat bread packaging.
  • When the level of condiment reaches lower than 1/8’’ (I like that number), the remaining condiment shall be forfeited to the garbage can. Too long have I reached for a catsup bottle and found scarcely enough catsup for a single french fry.

Unless these demands are met, I shall have to levy sanctions against you. My shoes will no longer lie dormant at the front door. My laundry shall co-mingle freely. You have been warned!


Your loving husband

Review: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Title: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin
Started: 11/30/09
Finished:  1/15/10
More Information:
Jon’s Summary: If you ever decide to read a book on Abe Lincoln, you should probably read this one. Why? Well because about halfway through the book I realized that it read more like fiction than history. You really feel connected to historical figures that died over a hundred years ago due to Goodwin’s writing style. And even though you know that the book will come to an abrupt stop on April 15, 1865, you still hope things may turn out differently!

Read this book mostly over 3 weeks, as I didn’t get much reading in over the holiday. It goes surprisingly fast as you want to know what will happen next. For me, someone who did extremely well in US History, it was a great refresher course for material I hadn’t studied in 10 years. It also gives some interesting insight into 19th century relationships, including the lost relationship type known as “intimate platonic male friendship”. While I’m fairly close to a few of my male friends, I don’t think I would ever write to them about how I “longed to feel their love”!

More than anything else the book underscores the benefits of rational thought over emotional even under pressure. Many times Lincoln could have succumbed to petty emotional decision making regarding subordinates, however he always gave himself time to refocus — in many cases writing letters he never sent due to his rashness of tone within them.

Great read.

What I Sniped A Few Days Back!

A few days ago I posted that I out-sniped a sniper on eBay to win an auction. Today that auction’s contents came in the mail: 4 of the new-style AAA Safety Patrol badges. Who would want these? Well as a bit of a collector of odd pins and badges, I do!

From Collectibles

These four are interesting in that they’re a radical change from the previous AAA badges of the late 80’s and prior. Originally AAA Safety Patrol used badges that actually looked like a police badge. I’ve got a set of the ones used from the AAA logo change until around the late 90’s, including my original Safety Patrol Membership Card (I “bought” my way up to Captain rank!):

From Collectibles
From Collectibles

As I wrote in the comments on some of these, I’d feel really depressed to be a kid now who gets the Triangle badge as opposed to the Eagle style. After all, when your job is making sure first graders don’t get run over by senile old ladies in cross walks, you might as well have something respectable upon your belt. If you want to see some of the other odd things I collect, check out my Collections page for a taste. And if you happen to have an old safety patrol badge (the style with an eagle but with large AAA instead of the circular logo), I’d love to take it off your hands!

Coming soon: A badge for 1960s Television Fans…

Being a Geek Means Sometimes Having To Explain Yourself

Got an interesting phone call this morning from a company that sells Voice over IP (VOIP) hardware and accessories on a Business to Business basis. They had my name in their customer database and were quite confused as the company name I had listed was simply “Jonathan Westfall”. The conversation went something like this:

Sales Rep: Hi, this is X from Y, and I was wondering if your previous voice over IP hardware purchases were for yourself or a company

Me: Uh… OK

SR: Yes, I know it’s an odd question, but you’re in our database and your company is just listed as “Jonathan Westfall”, and we were wondering if you had purchased the equipment for a company.

Me (realizing the purchases they are referring to): Oh yea… I think you’re talking about some Voice over IP equipment I purchased last year… it was for personal use.


Now at this point I probably should explain myself. About 2 years ago I read an article talking about Asterisk, and thought “Hey, that sounds kinda cool”. I had been interested in phone/computer interactions for a long time (ever since trying to turn a computer into an answering machine, with software I never got working quite as well as I’d liked). So I did a bit of research on Asterisk and decided to teach myself how to set it up and, by extension, how Voice over IP worked. I took some of my geek “fun money” and spent about $200 on various hardware (that I still have in case I need to wire up an office worth of phones) and devoted an old machine to be my Asterisk box. I put phones in practically every room of a small ranch house (connected over wireless bridges as I didn’t have Ethernet hookups in the rooms), built custom equipment boxes that packed a wireless bridge, voice over IP box, and power strip into a compact package, and hooked up my Asterisk box to the outside world using a service called CallWithUs. After around 3 months I realized that the setup wasn’t exactly needed in a household of 2 people and a cat, and the bandwidth on my Sprint wireless card (which I was using for internet) wasn’t sufficient to run VoIP with any good quality. So I packed up my equipment and decommissioned the server. It was a great experience – I learned far more about VoIP than I knew before (and thus could wire up an office if I felt like it now…), and had a lot of fun for $200. Haven’t played around with it much lately so that’s why it wasn’t on the top of my mind when this sales rep called. So back to the conversation:

SR: Uh… so the purchases were…

Me: Yea, just for me. I’m a geek, and I got interested in VoIP a few years ago and decided to teach myself how it worked. So those are the purchases you’re seeing, they were just personal use.

SR: Well.. that’s actually pretty cool. You have no idea how valuable those skills you learned are going to be!

Me: Yes, I hope so. So I’ll keep your company in mind if I ever need anything, thanks for calling.


I didn’t have the heart to tell her that this geek was also a psychologist who was quite happily working in a profession quite far away from VoIP phones (Other than the fact I have a VoIP phone in my desk drawer at work right now… just for fun).

Send Spam or WE KILL YOU!!!


A few weeks ago I got this piece of Comment SPAM in my e-mail:

A new comment on the post #94 "Does Spam Work?" is waiting for your approval
Author : Make Money Online with Mr. X
E-mail :
HELP! I’m currently being held prisoner by the Russian mafia and being forced to post spam comments on blogs! If you don’t approve this they will kill me. They’re coming back now. Please send help!

Needless to say I didn’t approve it… which probably means I contributed to someone’s untimely demise…

Photo: sindesign