Thursday, September 30, 2010

Getting Connected to Break Free

Folks, before I begin...

My next blog post will be #500 for this blog. That's a lot of writing, and with it has come a lot of new friends, memories and other good stuff.

I'm trying to think of a way to celebrate, so if anyone has any suggestions...

I'm toying with the idea of doing a meetup for any readers who might live in Northern Utah, and blogging about it. What do you think? Perhaps we could even Skype people in for it or something.

I think perhaps a cake might be in order...

Mrs. Koda may not go for the meetup, but if I can get a banana nut cake from her favorite bakery, with the cream cheese frosting, perhaps she'll go for it...

Anyway, I have another request for suggestions as well, but first the story behind it.

My phone died last weekend. It was rather sad. It's been a good phone, lasted over 2 years, and has ridden with me on a number of training rides and runs, including a marathon and a half ironman. I think an super statically charged cart at Walmart did it in, and despite it's rugged exterior, the software just couldn't handle it.

I think in many ways, I may be like my phone... Rugged on the outside, but you get the right issue, and charge it up, and I can be broken pretty easily.

Anyway, so after a couple of attempts by me, and the Verizon folks to recover the phone, I ended up having to upgrade.

So, Sunday afternoon, me and the Mrs headed to the Verizon store, and picked out our new phones. I was going to wait till I had the new job, before I got a smart phone, but I thought I'd exercise faith and get it anyway... At this time, I suspect that I might not have the job... Uh oh! But at least the vinyl business is going well!

Anyway, so I have a new Galaxy S by Samsung, and it is... SWEEEEEEEEET!

I was worried that with another connection tying me to the world, I'd become more of an introverted tech geek, but quite the opposite has happened. I'm feeling less attached to my computer, and free to spend more time with the fam. And at the same time, I can get email quicker, and respond quicker to my clients.

The only downside has been a couple of the apps. I started playing Jewel, and then yesterday I downloaded a fishing game. Both have taken up far more of my time than they should, but the good news is that I'm slowly losing interest in them.

My boss has the same phone. I've mentioned him before. He's a great guy, but unfortunately his Mormoness has caused him to be raging homophobe, and somewhat of a blind Republican type person. That aside though, I like the guy.

Unfortunately he doesn't know about my departure from Mormonism...

I though about telling him, but read somewhere that especially at work, stuff like that should be kept quiet. So I just ignore his anti-Obama emails, the Church references and all of that.

We car pool together as well, which saves money, and the environment, but raises the odd uncomfortable situation. Well, for me at least.

So we're driving home this week, and he starts suggesting apps for my phone. They're all the scripture, sunday school and other lesson type stuff apps, and he apparently LOOOOVES them.

Perhaps it was telling that I didn't immediately start trying to download them.

Anyway, since I'm not going to get those, does anyone have any other great suggestions for apps?

I used Google's Star Map at 5:30 this morning, and identified Sirius for the first time in my life. I also saw Andromeda - not sure if it's a nebula or a galaxy or if those are the same or different things.

I also discovered that my star sign does not appear to be visible in the light polluted skies above Davis County.

Oh - and since I don't want to waste post #500 on an invite to a meetup, if I do one... Shoot me an email, leave a comment, hookup with me on facebook, or send a carrier pigeon if you want in on the celebration - assuming I do something.

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Beginnings

Crazy last couple of days...

It started on Wednesday night, when kid #4 got the pukes. I had a job interview on Thursday morning, which had me worried, so it wasn't like I was going to sleep much anyway.

The interview seemed to go well... Hopefully I'll find out just how well later this week. The interesting thing is that when I spoke to my current manager about it, he indicated that he might be able to leverage the possibility of my leaving to get me a pay increase.

I appreciated the gesture, but at the same time, it's sad that it takes a threat of me leaving to do something like that.

So, if an offer gets made (PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!), then I get to see if there is a counter offer at my current position, and then weigh the options.

The nice thing is that my boss seems to be a little extra friendly right now... Wondering if I should try and capitalize on it... I mean he's always been very accommodating, and there really isn't a reason to leave, other than the fact that we're just not making it right now. Well, that and I feel like my career is stagnating, but I think I can work with that - just need to take some initiative.

The remainder of my weekend went something like this.

Friday was relaxing. Nice to have all my vinyl projects done.

Friday night I grabbed my race packet and then took the family to Chick-Fil-A.

Kid #4 decided to puke in the restaurant though.

Kid #5 then got sick, and spent the night puking.

I raced a half marathon on Saturday morning, and completely slaughtered my previous best time for the distance.

I think with the solid training base I have, perhaps now training is more advantageous for recovery.

I got a touch of what the kids had on Saturday evening and the rest of my weekend was pretty miserable. And I still can't walk.

During the race - actually all the preceding week, my cell phone has been iffy. I got done, and tried to call Mrs. Koda, but it was acting up more than normal, and so I tried to reset it.

It's a virtually indestructible phone. Water-proof, shock-proof, dust-proof and all of that... I think the static from a shopping cart at Walmart destroyed it though.

I haven't been able to get it to turn on since.

So yesterday I went and got a new phone. It's a smart phone with internet access.

It cost a little more than my current phone, and we really don't have the money, but...

I'm hoping it will make me more productive, and hopefully from that increased productivity, I can generate more income.

It's the beginning of a new week, and I feel like it's the beginning of a new segment of my life as well... Not just the phone, but just a whole bunch of things.

I greet the new stuff with open arms and a whole bunch of confidence.

In other news, I saw these guys perform a year or so back. It has nothing to do with the above post, but I liked the song especially!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Crawling with Hands Held High

I thought I'd blogged this before, but I couldn't find it. Blogger search seems to have some limitations.

Anyway... You may or may not know that I'm a big fan of Linkin Park. This past weekend, Dish Network - my satellite provider - has been showing an hour long show, featuring Alice in Chains and Linkin Park from Sonisphere over in England.

I was particularly interested in the flags in the audience. There were a couple of Mexican flags, a Welsh flag, and even the Stars and Bars - the old Southern Confederate flag.

And then in one corner were two flags which caught my attention. It was a South African flag - the new one, and then right below it, was the old Rhodesian flag.

In many ways, the new South African flag represents a triumph over the older flag, and it's associated apartheid regime. The old Rhodesian flag may carry some of the same sentiments of the old South African flag though. Although I guess based on the problems with the ensuing regime, and it's destruction of the country, perhaps the older flag symbolizes something better.

I thought that was interesting.

One of the songs Linkin Park performed was Crawling, but right is it began, Mike Shinoda rapped out the lyrics to Hands Held High.

It was excellent.

I'll past the lyrics below, as well as a youtube clip of Hand Held High.

Two quick thoughts before I do though...

First... There is a better way to honor our countries finest young men and women, than sending them to die in the desert in the name of a corrupt government. George Bush, Dick Cheney, and all of those who benefited financially and politically from this conflict... You have blood on your hands.

Second... To all those like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck who seem to glory in the might of the US military and somehow tie patriotism in with their deaths... In the words of Bill Mahr. "We love our troops the way Michael Vick loves his dogs."

"Hands Held High"

Turn my mic up louder I got to say something
Light weights step to the side when we come in

Feel it in your chest the syllables get pumping
People on the street they panic and start running

Words on loose leaf sheet complete coming
I jump in my mind and summon the rhyme, I'm dumping

Healing the blind I promise to let the sun in
Sick of the dark ways we march to the drum and

Jump when they tell us that they wanna see jumping
Fuck that I wanna see some fists pumping

Risk something, take back what's yours
Say something that you know they might attack you for

Cause I'm sick of being treated like I have before
Like it's stupid standing for what I'm standing for

Like this war's really just a different brand of war
Like it doesn't cater the rich and abandon poor

Like they understand you in the back of the jet
When you can't put gas in your tank

These fuckers are laughing their way to the bank and cashing the cheque
Asking you to have compassion and have some respect

For a leader so nervous in an obvious way
Stuttering and mumbling for nightly news to replay

And the rest of the world watching at the end of the day
In their living room laughing like "what did he say?"


In my living room watching but I am not laughing
Cause when it gets tense I know what might happen

World is cold the bold men take action
Have to react or get blown into fractions

Ten years old it's something to see
Another kid my age drugged under a jeep

Taken and bound and found later under a tree
I wonder if he had thought the next one could be me

Do you see the soldiers they're out today
They brush the dust from bullet proof vests away

It's ironic at times like this you pray
But a bomb blew the mosque up yesterday

There's bombs in the buses, bikes, roads
Inside your market, your shops, your clothes

My dad he's got a lot of fear I know
But enough pride inside not to let that show

My brother had a book he would hold with pride
A little red cover with a broken spine

On the back, he hand-wrote a quote inside
When the rich wage war it's the poor who die

Meanwhile, the leader just talks away
Stuttering and mumbling for nightly news to replay

And the rest of the world watching at the end of the day
both scared and angry like "what did he say?"


With hands held high into the sky so blue,
As the ocean opens up to swallow you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Your Mother

Yes, that's right... I'm talking about your mother!

Got a problem with it?

Well, I guess we could be all childish and meet over by the flagpole like a bunch of school boys, or...

We could be grown up about it, and discuss this like adults.

For my side, I would like to submit the following:

Why an Octopus is more Awesome than your Mom

And yes, that is my assertion... Octopuses freakin' rock!

And if you're going to try and give me a hard time about my use of Octopuses as the plural form of Octopus...

And in all honesty here, I don't know many of my readers Mom's so lets just chalk this whole unfortunate incident between us, as simply a laaaame attempt on my part to be funny.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I'm not sure if it actually is insomnia, but I just couldn't sleep last night.

I think it may be related to excitement however.

It all began on Friday. A good friend sent me an email about a picnic for CALM - Community After Leaving Mormonism. I was so excited, I neglected to read most of the email.

Saturday came, and we got sandwiches made, potato chips and drinks purchased, and the entire tribe all loaded in the minivan for the journey down to the picnic.

It was then that I actually read the email, and realized it wasn't until Sunday, so the kids had a nice afternoon at a local park, and I'll be damned if I didn't thoroughly enjoy it. We need to do stuff like this more often, methinks!

So then came Sunday... Again we packed up and left, and found the park where the get together was happening.

There is no easy way to approach a group such as this... Especially when you're a little paranoid, and worried that the group may be a little paranoid too.

Actually, our intro went fairly well. I wondered over, mumbled something about hoping this was the right place, and before I knew it, we were surrounded by people with similar backgrounds.

Another couple arrived a little later, and it was funny to watch them try to figure out who we were and if they had the right place. They did, and they turned out to be an awesome couple, but it was still interesting to watch.

You're in Mormon Central, and I guess it just isn't natural to wonder over to a group and ask... "So are y'all the Ex-Mormons?"

An elderly lady showed up a little later as well. She had her scriptures and her Ensign (monthly Mormon publication), and did soooo not belong. I don't know if she knew the kind of group she was wondering around, but it provided those of us who did with a great amount of hilarity.

Anyway... The kids had a great time playing with the other kids there, and even our eldest son, who whined a little at the end, had to admit he enjoyed it.

For me, it was just great to spend time with people who have a similar background and outlook on life.

It wasn't negative in the least bit, just very, very positive and very affirming.

I've been needing to write an essay for submission to another group for a couple of weeks now... I kind of have the story in my head, but it just wasn't working.

I woke up around 4:30 this morning, and the story started to come together. I'm pretty excited about it, and will likely blog more about it on my other blog.

This is the second weekend in a row which has ended with a lack of sleep, but a feeling of exhilaration and accomplishment.

Last weekend it was a race with some great friends. It was all about accomplishment, inspiration and overcoming the impossible, and we finished third in our division!!!

This weekend it was similar but different. People who share a common history, and people who accept me for who I am.

I just like being myself.

No facades, no need to hide anything, just me, myself and I, interacting with real people who feel the same way.

Pure Awesomeness!!!

Next weekend may be a huge let down though... Unless I can arrange something... I've got a half marathon on Saturday morning. Perhaps we need to arrange a post-mo meet up on Sunday or something.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Finger Licking Good

So after about a week away from the office, I'm finally back.

Waking up was rough, and I was almost on time. The shower took a little longer than it should have, and by the time all was said and done... I ended up almost an hour late.

We had Chinese food last night as well, although, I suspect that despite the restaurant being owned and run by authentic looking and sounding Chinese people, it was likely an American version of Chinese cuisine.

I think if I could trade lives with anyone right now, it would be Anthony Bourdain.

Anyway, since I usually skip both breakfast and lunch on work days, I decided that leftover Chinese would be a good thing to bring in.

I filled a bowl with ham fried rice, and Mongolian Beef.

And I got a little bit of the sauce from the beef on my finger as I was putting on the lid.

Man! It was good!!

The flavor spread over my lips, and into my mouth, and the salivating began.

It was a long drive to work, and when I finally pulled in, my stomach was growling and I was drooling like nothing else.

I caved 30 minutes in...

Breakfast this morning was most of my mix of the fried rice and the beef. My lips are still tingling, and my mouth is loaded with flavors and spice.


I'm not sure if the rest of my lunch will survive much past the next hour.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Serious Balls

So I did a relay race in Southern Utah this past weekend. Much running was done, much driving took place, and there was minimal sleep. Needless to say, I am not walking with much grace today, and have spent my time thinking up creative excuses to avoid the usage of any stairs.

Down at the relay however, one team came dressed as figure skaters. Their costumes were excellent, and even better was the fact that they actually ran in them as well. In my mind that took some serious balls, and I tip my hat to the entire team.

You know what takes some serious balls as well...

A 50+ year old man comes to our door today... I waddle over with difficulty to see what he would like. He has kind of been the one teaching my 6 year old daughter for the past year or so, and I guess today at Church, they made it official. He seemed like a nice guy.

He stopped by to ask my permission for him to come and visit my daughter. On the weeks when she doesn't come to church, he wanted my permission (He mentioned wanting my permission like 5 times in the brief conversation), to stop by and give her a 10 to 15 minute lesson, one on one, with her.

In a Church where the history, albeit it hidden, contains 'prophets' marrying and screwing 14 year old girls... You want my permission, for you... A 50+ year old man, to come and visit my 6 year old daughter?!?

I'm constantly amazed - although I shouldn't be - in the way which apparently reasonable people, can completely dismiss any semblance of the idea of appropriate behavior, under the guise of 'Religious Duty'.

And yet at the same time, when I compare Mormons to the 9/11 hijackers, people get upset with me...

Sure, they don't exactly want to hijack planes and fly them into buildings, but an inappropriate relationship and interactions with my 6 year old?!? You've got to have some serious balls to even think about asking that. Do you know what you also have? Well, you sure as hell don't have my permission to interact with her, and she will not be attending your class ever again.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Down Under

Yesterday I mentioned that Mrs Koda and I talked about planning an extended vacation 'Down Under'.

Here's my thinking:

Perhaps the overarching motivation here, is history. Many of you know mine, but for those who don't... I'm African, born and raised. African blood runs in my veins and the place is and always will be my home. I would love to share part of that with my kids. Take them to places I used to go, smell the things I used to smell, tastes I tasted and things I heard.

Africa isn't the safest place right now though, and perhaps more importantly isn't great for employment either. Things are turning around, but it's still gonna take some time.

I moved to New Zealand when I was 17 and lived there until right before I turned 20 and left to go back to South Africa as a missionary.

I had a lot of really great experiences there, some of which required religious confession, which I detailed in my other blog last week... GOOD TIMES!!

Anyway, with Africa not being a viable option, I have an urge to share some of my childhood with my kids. This need seems to have increased even more as I've left Mormonism, and with it much of what I was raised with.

So with that in mind, I've been thinking a great deal about moving my family back to New Zealand.

There are other motivations as well...

I'm worried about what's going on in the US right now.

Perhaps it's just that I live and work amongst particularly violent and hateful people, but the drums of war are beating stronger each day, and the war they seem to be indicating is likely to be of the civil variety.

These are people who claim to be Christian, but possess deep hatred for opposing religions, the non-religious and people with a variety of differing opinions and lifestyles. Most are also convinced the end of the world is imminent, and I suspect will allow that thought to become increasingly self prophetic.

The US economy is also in the crapper as well, and I'm not too optimistic about it getting fixed, particularly after news on the radio recently about increasing popularity of Republicans in the upcoming elections... The very same Republicans who through a series of tax cuts, wars and financial fraud managed to cause the financial melt down in the first place. With all due respect to most of my readers, the average (and I should probably add... Conservative) American seems to lack the ability to remember events just 2 years in the past, or the ability to think past the end of their nose...

But perhaps it's just the area I live in.

I also want to give my kids the opportunity for an education in life, something far and above what they'll get in their formal schooling.

So, with all of this in mind, and likely other stuff too...

Here's what we're thinking:

We need to try and get out from under our house, although the idea to walk away and let the folks at the bank deal with it, is still veeeeery tempting. I don't think it's an entirely honest approach, but at the same time, it would appear that when we bought the house, there may have been some appraisal trickery which ultimately caused us to pay far more than we should have... No use crying over spilt milk as they say, but it seems that everyone profited off that deal, except us. Kinda pisses me off.

So, if we can overcome the house problem, then we need to build up some serious savings, which may be easier said than done, especially with 5 growing mouths to feed... Got a job interview of sorts on Thursday though!!

Next I need to seriously increase my skillset. I'm going to keep seeking out more challenging employment, and hopefully I can find some needs in New Zealand and work on teaching myself those skills to make me more marketable.

Then, I need to apply for a work permit... My current skillset has me on the short term needs list for both New Zealand and Australia. That means that I can probably get a short term permit, perhaps just for a couple of years, but that's all we're looking for right now.

And then we'll bite the bullet and do it.

In a perfect world, we'd shift over there with enough in savings to support us for a couple of years, just in case things don't go well.

After 2 years are done, we will likely come back... Unless of course we fall in love with the place and decided to try and find a way to stay.

Obviously, the chance to share some of my personal history with my kids is the primary reason, so we would be looking at moving near the Wellington area, but factoring in the other motivating factors... If that isn't possible, we may well look elsewhere in New Zealand, and perhaps over in Australia as well.

I'll post updates as and when there are developments in this 5 to 10 year plan!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

New Ideas

We just got done with a long weekend, which seemed even longer due to our activities over the weekend...

For about 5 years now, I've had a side business developing software as a freelancer. It was fun to begin with, since I was a tech support guy, but now I work as a web developer, and doing that all day, and then developing all night as well... Not so much fun anymore.

Plus, Mrs Koda and the remainder of our wee tribe can't exactly help with that.

So, back in April or so, we purchased a vinyl cutter. The business has had a slow start, mostly just making stuff for Mrs Koda to decorate with and doing freebies for friends, but recently I lucked out, and scored a sweet gig, which flowed into another gig, and resulted in us spending the entire past 4 days, up to our eyeballs in vinyl!

It was cool because the Mrs and I got to spend time together and on Sunday, even the kids got involved and did a little work to help out.

Anyway... Out of that came some different thoughts and ideas.

  • While the doing freebies for friends, may not make business sense, either karma, advertising or something else has really kicked in, and so we're going to keep doing it! So if any of y'all want vinyl decals, let me know!!! Within reason of course!

  • Coffee is awesome!! I usually consume a fair amount of caffeine in a day, but it's usually the cold and/or fizzy kind. I got a grande cup of Kona coffee from our local donut place on Friday. Mmmmmm. I went back on Saturday Morning and got a Grande of Highlander Grog - Even more MMMMMMMMMMMM! I skipped Sunday because... Well you don't go shopping on Sunday... Mwhahahahaha! Actually I don't know why I skipped it... But then Monday morning I woke up with a headache - which I think ended up being sinus related, but it was a good enough excuse to go and grab another. I think it may be time to purchase a coffee maker!

  • While discussing coffee with the Mrs... Who doesn't like the taste, like 80% of my kids... We listened to a whole bunch of Mormon Expression podcasts. We're thinking about doing something once a month for folks in Northern Davis county - unless anyone knows if there is one already... I've joked about starting my own Church, and this is kind of an extension of that idea... Get a group together in our home on a Sunday morning, have coffee, hot chocolate, tea and perhaps some snacks, and then do some mingling, and then perhaps discuss a topic related to religion, society, science or something else.

And while all of that was going on, I was running down into my basement to check on the computer, the cutter and our supply levels, and I got an email from a race I'm doing next weekend. It's a relay race in Southern Utah, and it's the second year they're doing it. I'm STOKED about doing it again this year, and am ready to sign up for next year already...

But in one of their update emails, they mentioned doing another relay race, this time out in Moab.

I kind of have a standard crew I do the Southern Utah one with, but I was wondering if anyone here would be interested in being part of a team for the Moab one. I know I have at least one runner amongst my readers - although she's out of state...

Anyway, if you're interested in being part of an Ex-mo, heretical type apostate running team, let me know - and we don't have to advertise the fact that we're ex-mo if that concerns you!

The reason I though about this, was that last year, I ended up on a team with people I didn't know. I had a great experience and gained some lifelong friends, but... Within a half hour of getting together, one of the guys comes over to one of the girls and says with great relief... "It's OK, we're all members in this van!" I think he determined my membership status when he found out I was a missionary.

I didn't have the heart to break the news to him, that I was likely a faithful Mormon's worst nightmare...

Anyway, so that was my weekend...

Oh, and... Mrs Koda and I talked about planning a two to three year extended vacation in New Zealand or Australia... I'll discuss that one more tomorrow though I think.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Thula Mama

I slept in this morning... The alarm went off, and I hit snooze, and snuggled back up to Mrs Koda, and then it went off again, and I hit snooze and snuggled back up...

The process repeated itself many times over.

When I finally got up, showered and dressed, I went to put my work shoes on, and remembered they were in my backpack downstairs, so I threw on an old pair of running shoes, and headed out, grabbing my backpack en-route.

I've been at work for almost 3 hours now, and I had every intention of changing my shoes... Or perhaps I didn't. I'm still wearing the running shoes and thoroughly enjoying the comfortable feeling they bring.

Not even sure why I share that story... Unless you happen to know me, and am wondering why I'm wondering around in running shoes, but I don't think anyone in my immediate vicinity at work has a clue.

In other news, I was watching a TED video this morning, and a video with the title, "Thula Mama" popped up. It's Zulu and is pronounced Tool-a Ma-Ma. Simply put it means Quiet Mother, or Peace Mother. Mother or Mama being a term used to refer to your biological mother, or any lady who is your senior. I knew a lot of good Mama's while I was a missionary.

Zulu Mama's are the bees knees in my opinion!

This isn't exactly my type of music, but I enjoyed the performance.