Category Archive


Lifetime Goals (aka Bucket List)
  • June 6, 2010

I was on retreat a few weeks back. As part of the retreat, I had to set some lifetime goals, also known as a bucket list. The best way to keep me honest and to the list is too publish them.  Sorry for those marked confidential – need to keep some mystery.

  2. Run an ultra marathon. (Completed May 18, 2013)
  3. Run Leadville Trail 100. (Completed August 19, 2018)
  4. Walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding.
  5. Take a Mediterranean cruise with Courtney.
  6. Earn a Masters’ degree.
  7. Drive across the country with the family in RV for the summer.
  8. Own a house with a pool.
  10. Do yoga 3-4 times per week consistently.
  11. Visit India for a yoga enlightenment journey.
  12. Run for public office.
  13. Learn to dance in a manner that doesn’t cause embarrassment.
  14. See Jimmy Buffett in concert in Key West.
  15. Go to Burning Man.
  16. Go to Mardi Gras.
  17. Live in Sydney for the winter.
  18. Start an incubator in Saint Louis.
  19. Get my pilot’s license.
  20. Put my children through college.
  21. Become a yoga teacher.
  22. Fly on a private jet across an ocean to another country.
  23. Buy a new house. (Completed January 6, 2012)
  24. Own a house/villa in Italy.
  25. Fix my relationship with my grandmother. (Completed before she left us in January 2014)
  26. Stay in an Ice Hotel.
  27. Learn to play an instrument, any instrument.
  28. Ice skating on Christmas Eve in Times Square.
  29. Take a pub trip through Ireland with buddies. (Completed August 2012)
  30. Learn to surf. (Completed March 2016)
  31. Own a Ferrari/Maserati sports car.
  32. Do a stand up routine at amateur night.
  33. Have dinner with Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak. (Good bye, Steve Jobs. Completed dinner with Steve Wozniak January 28, 2014.)
  34. Fly in a fighter jet.
  35. Attend the Oscars and walk the red carpet.
  36. Do the polar bear plunge.
  37. Have dinner with Dave Chappell.
  38. Attend TED.
  39. Write an autobiography for my children and grandchildren.
  40. Write a book with every lesson I have learned to pass along to my children. (IN PROGRESS)
  41. Create a charitable family foundation.
  42. Scuba dive in Australia.
  43. Ride a gondola in Venice.
  44. Go on an African safari.
  45. Celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary.
  46. Spend 2+ weeks in Fiji with Courtney.
  47. Oktoberfest in Munich. (Completed October 2013)
  48. See the Northern Lights in Scandanavia.
  49. Spend a summer in France touring the hillsides visiting wineries with Courtney and the children.
  50. Be a good father.
  51. Learn to speak Italian.
  52. Take my children and grandchildren on a cruise.
  53. See Bill Clinton speak. (Completed December 12, 2012)

UPDATED : August 27, 2019.
UPDATED : January 29, 2014.
UPDATED : December 18, 2012.

Cloud Templates – What Do You Want To See?
  • November 2, 2009

When we began building Contegix, we realized it was always about the applications. No one buys a server (physical or virtual) to run a ping and get some ICMP packets. The Internet has, and always will be, about the applications. Therefore, we made the application infrastructure the core of our management and focus of our hosting services.

As we build out cloud templates, we want to extend this belief into the templates themselves. It can not be about just the operating system. Each template has been built “The Contegix Way”. These are built using the components and deployment methodologies that have served our customers for years and continue to do so today. Some of these target developers, some for system administrator implementors, and some target application users. Below is our list, but we want your feedback.

For developers:

For system administrators / application implementors:

For application users:

Yet, we want to hear – what do you want to see in a cloud template and ready to deploy in less than 5 minutes? Please leave comments.

Time To Get Back To Blogging
  • October 28, 2009

After humping it for quite a few years with family and Contegix, it is now time to get back to blogging. It has been too long. I already have a few posts in draft format that will be ready to go over the next few days and weeks.

There will be a few changes. First, the blog at will be mostly focused on the personal side of the topics – family, tech, Contegix, and entrepreneurship. These will be more related to me and my personal experiences. Contegix Thoughts From Insider The Ether Blog will contain Contegix business, our infrastructure, etc. Keep checking it out!

For entrepreneurship, I will be launching in the near future. Keep watching there!

And keep following my tweets…

Upgraded to WordPress MU 1.5.1
  • August 23, 2008
  • 1 Comment

Just upgraded this WordPress blog to 1.5.1 which is based upon the 2.5.1 WordPress codebase. While WordPress MU 2.6 has been released, the upgrade process appeared to succeed; however, it would not allow me to login as any user except ‘admin’ to access the per-user blogs.

C’est la vie. WordPress 1.5.1 will have to do for now.

Dear Apple Fanatic Lemmings…
  • May 22, 2008
  • 1 Comment

So, apparently people are lining up at the New York Apple Store. This is the same store that has been out of iPhones for about 2 weeks. This is also the store that is open 24 hours a day.

Here is the more interesting part – Some people have absolutely no clue why they are in line. See MacNN and Engadget articles for more details.

Saint Louis Entrepreneurs, Where Are You?
  • April 29, 2008
  • 1 Comment

The past few weeks, I have searching for Saint Louis enterpreneurs to attend a happy hour this Thursday. The event is being hosted by EO Accelerator to introduce the program. Accelerator is a great program sponsored by EO and Mercedes-Benz Financial. It is geared for businesses with revenue between $250k and $1m where the entrepreneur is under 35.

If anyone is interested, ping me at your convenience. The event is Thursday at ARAKA in Clayton.

UFC Match: iPhone vs. Kitchen Floor
  • April 29, 2008

Tonight, my iPhone encountered a stronger opponent – the kitchen floor. While bringing in the milk from Oberweis, I dropped my iphone on the floor. The floor won.


EO Accelerator & Company Values
  • April 4, 2008

Last year, I was invited to become a member of Entrepreneus’ Organization (EO), a global community of business owners. While the key focus of EO is the monthly forum, one of the programs I became involved with there was Accelerator. This program is designed for entrepreneurs who have a business that does not yet qualify for EO membership. Most of these businesses would be classified as first stage ventures that have already demonstrated success, in terms of revenue and growth. More importantly, these are businesses that are being built for growth.

Over the past year, I have grown truly passionate about this program. It provides quarterly full-day learning events that are networking and solicitation free. The participants get access to high quality material and business presentations on how to grow their businesses. All of this is done at a very reasonable cost to the participants thanks to the partnership with Mercedes-Benz Financial. More importantly, it occurs in a confidential environment. The single goal of Accelerator is empowering entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills to help grow their businesses in a smart manner. Period.

Yesterday was one of the quarterly days. The topic of discussion was strategy. A core component of that is defining corporate values.

Somewhere along the lines, I have become one of the people who believe corporate values are more than just statements on a cubicle wall. I went from the person who mocked them as jibberish corporate bullshit to wanting to have a company with values and identity that people believed in and stood behind. For us, one of our core values is the realization that all of these switches, servers, firewalls, cables, etc. are not just equipment. They are the tangible representation of people’s livelihoods. Our engineers call this the “mortgage talk” since I give an example that this cabinet is so-and-so being able to make his mortgage payment every month. It is his livelihood.

During yesterday’s session, Paul Scheiter from Hedgehog Leatherworks discussed his corporate values. His conviction to these values has led him to post them to his website. One of which is the value “No Dry Humping!”. The meaning behind the value is that his company will never hard sell a customer. They will not overload the customer with sales calls, brochures, emails, etc. You become a customer because you love the product and want to be a customer. He treats customers they way he wants to be treated.

While this has to be the funniest value I have ever heard, it also reflects his passion and commitment to the customer and perfectly reflects his target audience – outdoor survivalists. I can not imagine a survivalist who would take offense to the message. Instead, the value speaks from the heart, entices a chuckle, and contains a story about a dog and the dog’s natural reaction. What survivalist does not love dogs?

Paul might be marketing genius for his target audience or, at least, his company’s values.

Dear TiVo, We Had Some Good Times But I Need to Move On
  • March 21, 2008

In November 2006, we purchased a high definition Panasonic 42″ plasma television for our family room. Our crappy 22 inch TV was developing dark spots and fading. Courtney wanted a panel television due to the odd layout of our family room. I am far from a videophile or audiophile – hell, I can not even tell you if the system is 720 progressive, 720 interlace, 1020, whatever. For me, I just want a decent picture and TiVo.

We were on of the early adopters of TiVo, having purchased our Series 1 Standalone unit in March 1999. (For reference on the time, I also picked up our first DVD player and the recently released copy of an Oscar-forgotten story detailing a young man overcoming his mental capacity obstacles.) I remember the day I brought the TiVo home. Courtney asked me point blank “Are you insane? This is the dumbest contraption I have ever heard of.” These are words she would live to regret years later watching the promiscuous life details of doctors (here, here, here). We later upgraded to a DirecTiVo and chose DirecTV solely on the TiVo feature. To put it simply, we love our TiVo.

Yet, it was the plasma television purchase led us into the slow slide of ending our 9+ year love affair with TiVo. When the television was first hooked up, the standard definition channels look pixelated but livable. It was better than the black spots and the TV just looked damn sexy. Last week is when everything changed.

On Friday, we began to hear the dreaded hard drive clicking sound. Every geek in the world knows this is not a healthy sign. Furthermore, the click was accompanied with random pauses of 2 to 40 seconds. The pauses were occurring every few seconds. It would take 2 hours to watch a 1 hour show. When I called DirecTV to replace the unit under my protection plan, I was nicely informed that they would be happy to send out a DirecTV-brand DVR. I told them I did not want this. I wanted a TiVo, my old buddy and companion for the past 9 years. The agent’s unauthorized recommendation – eBay. I was pissed as why I have a protection plan where the replacement is inferior. A bald-headed, wack job would call these stages “Shock, denial, and anger”.

Finally, I succumbed to the reality (resolution stage). If I had to get a DirecTV-brand DVR, it was time to upgrade to HD. The technician was out yesterday to perform the installation which was pretty painless despite the obtrusive satellite receiver. The damn thing looks like it could radiate a bald eagle from a hundred yards. I do have to admit that the picture is beautiful. The TV is now displaying image quality for which it was designed. The DVR is clanky and leaves a stark testament to the TiVo UI designers who built a better interface over a decade ago.

The only downside is that some people are not meant to be seen in high def.

The Joy of Travel… Or How American Airlines and Marriott Want To Kill Me
  • February 16, 2008
  • 1 Comment

Ah, travel. It’s one of those ideas that seems really sexy when you are younger. See new places, meet new people, all without hassles thanks to the modern day conveniences. In a past life, I even took advantage of those fringe benefits such as frequent flyer miles. This allowed me to earn premium status on American Airlines at one time and pay $25.00 to take my family to Florida last summer. Never once had those horrible trips described in magazines and folklore… until recently.

I needed to head to Portland, Oregon for business. My goal was to leave Saint Louis on Wednesday, February 6, 2008 and return the next day. I had arranged for 2 meetings in the late afternoon before heading to dinner with another customer. Patrick Lightbody and I had plans for breakfast the next morning just to catch up. Plus, I still needed to deliver off his wedding gift. Then, I would take leisurely metro ride to the airport before heading back to Saint Louis.

I had the airplane (with a stop through Seattle) and hotel booked. Everything was prepared and ready. I am an old pro at this having racked up over 300k frequent flyer miles. Hell, last summer, my wife and I took our 3 children all under the age of 3 to Florida. Yet, that’s when American Airlines and Marriott decided to tag team me into trip hell submission.

First, my flight departed from the gate as scheduled. This departure consisted of backing off from the gate by about 15 feet and, then, rolling back to the terminal. The pilot stated that a problem was found in the center fuel tank pump. It was failing to start and maintain consistent pressure. He hoped it was just a sensor reading. Since the all fuel tanks are needed to complete the trek to Seattle, this needed to be corrected.

After waiting 45 minutes, concern hit about whether I would make my connecting flight to Portland. I was advised by the flight attendants to depart the plane and talk with the gate agent which I promptly did. The gate agent assured me hat we should be taking off shortly and there would be plenty of other flights should I miss my original connection. While chatting with the agent, the pilot stepped off the plane. I am not an expert in the workings of an airline by any stretch of the imagination; however, I am pretty damn sure this is never a good sign.

Over three hours later, we finally depart Saint Louis. Curious what happened with the fuel pump? Well, that problem could not be corrected according to the pilot who was always polite, professional, and kept the passengers informed. The center tank was drained of the fuel. Therefore, we would be making a stop in Denver, Colorado for more fuel in the working tanks. This means that we needed to alter the flight path which would result in a longer flight.

At this point, we are late taking off, need to make a stop half-way, and my original connecting flight will be gone. American decided that these inconveniences were not yet enough. The flight was stocked with a complete lack of snacks for every passenger. By the time I was offered something, my choices was a candy bar or to suck down more recycled, pressurized air. At what point when we sat at the terminal for 3+ hours did American decide that people want to site on one of their fucking spacious airplanes for 9 hours without a drop of food with real substance? Maybe this is part of their grand plan to fatten the passengers so that we can buy two seats and have the extendo-belt.

I finally arrive in Seattle after 3:00 pm local time, but American is far from done kicking me. The gate agent informs me that he has little information on my connecting flight other than which concourse. I phone the AA reservations desk where I discover that I have been booked on a United Express “puddle jumper” flight from Seattle to Portland. If everything goes right, I should arrive in Portland around 6:00 pm local time. I may have missed my 2 meetings but will be able to have dinner with the customer.

Unfortunately, American Airlines has locked my electronic ticket. It takes the United Express gate agent five phone calls over 30 minutes to find someone at American to pick up the phone. The AA supervisor contacted then has no clue how to unlock it. Another 10 minutes go by. Finally, someone at American corrects the problem. I now have a plane ticket and head to grab a quick snack.

Thanks to delays imposed by Seattle Airport, the flight is restricted from departing for approximately 1 hour. It is just after 7:00 pm local time when I arrive in Portland. Thanks to American, my bag containing my phone charger and Patrick’s gift are lost. The United lost luggage agent informs me that there exists a possibility my bag was sent to New York by American. Once again, let me reiterate – I am not an expert in airline logistics; however, I do not believe the direct route from Seattle, WA to Portland, OR is through the east coast.

After an enjoyable dinner (thanks Eric, Michael, and Justin from!), I head to the Marriott with visions of my bag awaiting me. This dream even seems a reality when I check in at the front desk. The desk clerk informs me that I was already checked in which is probably because my bag arrived and was delivered to my room. Instead, American Airlines tagged the Marriott to continue the match in a move that would make The Road Warriors proud.

When I open the door to the hotel room, it is obvious that the room is not empty. How do I know? The naked male who attempted to engage me in a vulgar conversation on why I entered his room provided me a hint.

In all fairness to the Marriott, I was placed in another room and given a complimentary breakfast. Someone checked in under my reservation for the pre-paid room. Since I worked at the Saint Louis Airport Marriott in college, I can understand how this mistakenly happens on rare occasions. Sincere kudos to the staff working that night with their apologies and attempts to make it better.

I finally got my bag the next morning right before heading to the airport. This was after a good nights sleep and an enjoyable breakfast with Patrick at a local pancake place (beautiful blue corn pancakes!).