real estate

Blogs vs. Websites and 5 Things Meme

Awhile back Mark Oehlert tagged me the 5 things meme. No, Mark, I didn’t forget about you. It just took me a little longer than most, and I decided to take a different approach. Well, really, I went a little overboard and updated my entire bio, resume, and a few topical favorites that can be found in the upper right of this page. I think most of you will find more than 5 things you didn’t know about me in there.

It was interesting as I started thinking about how to respond. My website was pretty outdated, and it seems that blogs have actually completely replaced individual and family websites anyway. For sure, blogs are much easier to put content up and they have a lot of capabilities. However, they don’t have as much power as I had when had full control of the website. Granted, HTML and other scripts can be inserted all over the place, but that part’s not as easy as it was on the old website. I guess power is sacrificed with ease of use. So, I decided to avoid the whole problem and merge the two. My blog is now my home page and all of the web content pages are now integrated into the blog navigation. That way all of the same content still exists, but I can control the look and feel of the web pages a bit more than the blog allows.

Now that I updated all of that content, doing the 5 things meme was much easier. So, here are the 5 things I’d point out about from my bio that you probably didn’t know about me:

  1. Food: I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen. I love to try new mom and pop restaurants, and I’m addicted to the Food Channel (Duff, Bobby, Mario, etc). Especially shows like Alton Brown‘s Good Eats. I learn so much on that show. Its the only one where I’ll watch the repeats.
  2. Travel: I’ve been to all 50 states and quite a few countries. This fall I was able to spend quite a bit of time again in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. What a great time to rediscover those states. Shortly, I’m back to Oregon & Nevada which both should be great trips.
  3. Music: I play piano, write music, and have performed in live bands. I really enjoy going to hear live music, especially unplugged or at least not processed. It’s so much fun to see talented musicians who really enjoy what they do.
  4. Michigan: I’ve lived in 11 different cities, all in southeast Michigan. Most of that was due to my undergraduate co-op program and various career moves, but if you want to know something about the area, I would hope I’m a good resource.
  5. Job Change: In the last month or so, I’ve decided to go out on my own for a bit while I explore the next step in the career. For now, I’m doing contract work with some interesting companies with assignments in Information Technology, Learning and Business Strategy. If you or someone you know is looking for a contract or full-time employee, please let me know. My full bio and resume are live on the blog, and my e-mail address just under the “about me” section in the upper right corner of this page.

So, Mark, does this qualify for fulfilling the 5 things meme?


Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

Besides the usual family and food fare, my girlfriend and I went to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC for the first time over the Thanksgiving Holiday. We spent nearly a full day at the Estate and then almost as much in the town itself. Apparently the largest home in America, built by George Vanderbuilt in 1895, was also home to almost every American within a 10 state region that day…the busiest of their year. We tried to get on the candlelight tour but it was sold out. Suprisingly, while it was certainly crowded, you wouldn’t know all of those people were there. They were better organized and frankly more friendly than Disney’s reputation. The staff seemed genuine and sincere in their welcoming.

We got a package deal (hotel, house, grounds, audio tour, +++) which turned out to be a great money saving idea by the Biltmore people. If you’re spending the night, this is definitely the way to go. If you’re just going for the day or staying with friends, get the audio tour. Why they would ever sell the audio package separately, I don’t know. The tour wouldn’t have been the same without it.

The house was amazing and the winery was a lot of fun too. We took the free Chocolate & Wine tour which was brief, but informative and fun. More importantly, it let us skip to the head of the huge tour and tasting line for the rest of the winery. I was suprised by the quality of wines. Having been to a few wineries outside of the typical California/France/Italy growing regions, I’m always pretty skeptical about local wines (like Missouri or Michigan). If they’re even remotely good, they probably got their grapes from elsewhere. However, nearly half of the grapes for the Biltmore are grown onsite or nearby which makes it all the more suprising how many moderate to really interesting wines they had.

Asheville was a quirky little town with lots of local restaurants and shops featuring local artists. It’s well worth a day or two visit to try out the fare.

Overall it was a great trip…good food, fun with the family, great weather, and good customer service at an amazing place. The Biltmore and Asheville get rave reviews.

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