Where's Nate?

living large in the four-oh-eight. wicked large.


so long, apple. hello, ann arbor.

I wrote the following email to my Apple brethren today. Onward to greener pastures.


My last day as a full time Apple employee will be this Friday, July 1. After three years, three buildings, two departments, and one wacky cubicle, I've decided to head back to school to pursue my MBA. Beginning in September, I will be a full time student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

That should explain where I am if you try to contact me in July and August. In September, I will be back with Apple in a part time capacity, working on special projects for Apple Education Marketing while in school.

Starting next week, Dave and Karen will be taking over the Student Marketing gig. I, on the other hand, look forward to being back in the target market.

Please know that all of you have positively impacted my Apple experience. And, for that, I am very grateful.

Festina lente,


clean up on aisle five.

I like beer. But it bugs me when a bottle promises to be a twist off and fails to deliver. I'd rather plan ahead, grab a bottle opener, and pop the top than spend a minute tearing off the top layer of skin between my thumb and index finger. Are you reading this, Alaskan Brewing Company?

On to the topic of supermarkets. There's a time and a place for requiring a discount card to access special prices. And perusing the aisles at my local groceria is not one of them.

Nob Hill rules. Special offers are available to all customers at all times. If the price is reduced on salad dressing or toaster-friendly waffles, you don't need to remember to bring your Super Special Exclusive Rewards card to the checkout counter.

Safeway, Albertson's, Von's...learn a lesson from Nob Hill. If you want my dollar, just ask for it. Don't make me produce one of the dozens of pseudo-credit cards that I have stashed away in my utility drawer.



I'm old. I didn't think this was supposed to happen so soon. Let me explain.

Tonight, Paige and I met up with some of my best buds from high school at our favorite watering hole in Los Gatos. We rolled in about 9:30pm to grab some beers with Jason, Todd, and Jeff. These are guys that I have known since elementary school.

We chatted about the stuff we always chat about. Time-honored stories of high school pranks, old flings, and general wackiness. The guys thoroughly bored our spouses and girlfriends with ancient legends of a simpler time.

Every time we get together we create new memories. But we only talk about old ones.

Like the time one of us booted in the chip bowl at a New Year's Eve Party. Or when another one of us put the moves on a high school sweetheart by dancing to Fields of Gold in a parking lot.

We're not even thirty yet. So at what point do new experiences become old war stories?

By 11:00pm the conversation had run it's course. And we had to head home...to get up early for a flight, to feed our baby and put her to bed, to tend to domestic duties on our newly purchased homesteads.

We left the bar when the young people were only beginning to enter it. And yet, this night of nostalgia, ironically, will become another touch point in the lore of lifelong friendships.


x&y and zzzzzzzz...

Coldplay bores me. It's not that these guys are bad. It's that they aren't particularly good. And when each *new* single sounds like the previous one, it makes me wonder: What's all the hype about?

A quick listen to songs like "Clocks" and "Speed of Sound" (a.k.a. "Clocks, Part Deux") reveals guys who are quite talented at discovering solid pop hooks. But unlike revered icons like Radiohead and unheralded bands like Muse, there's no depth and no feeling. It's the kind of watered-down MTV-friendly dribble that sells records. Millions and millions of them.

For another snooty and condescending review (also likely drafted by former college radio dorks), check out Pitchfork Media.

Don't get me wrong. We could certainly do a lot worse than listen to Mister Gwyneth Paltrow and his friendly piano.

But we could certainly do a lot better, too.


ruth still sucks.

The Yanks are building a new stadium, which I will be happy to visit in 2009. Too bad they still suck. Big time.
I'm glad to see the Bronx Bombers are keeping the old facade. By 2009, I'd expect their payroll to be $300M. Go Sox.


get your wedding on.

Mom and Dad threw a killer party in their backyard last weekend, in celebration of the newlyweds. The extended Johnson family came out of the woodwork: East Bay, Des Moines, Omaha, Columbus. C-Bus, represent!

(click to see reception pix)

A great bender for Reed and Jess. Only six weeks until Mark and Emily. And eight weeks until Grant and Kelly. Right on.


free stuff.

I know it makes sense. But people respond to marketing offers that hold considerable value.

Take the $5 Albertson's coupons we get in the mail every few weeks. Albertson's sucks. But $5 is enough to get me into their store. Another good example is the 20% off coupons from Bed, Bath, & Beyond and their evil twin, Linens & Things. This is enough of an incentive to convince me to buy that quesadilla maker I really don't need.

Today, we got a "free 10-inch pizza" offer from a new joint in San Jose called zpizza. No strings attached. I'll probably only eat there once, but a free pizza offer is enough to get me to try. After all, there's always room for pie.

So, marketeers, keep those big dollar offers coming. This Joe Consumer is more than willing to take your money.


how (not) to fix an attic fan.

Home ownership rules. As an owner, you reap the profits from an insanely hot real estate market in exchange for upkeep and improvement. No problem.

A few weeks ago, we heard a squeaking noise coming from the direction of our neighbor's house. It sounded like chipmunks mating, and it only happened late in the day. The horny chipmunks persisted long enough for us to begin to question why our neighbors refused to fix the problem. This public scrutiny of our neighbor's inability to "fix that goddamn noise" lasted a few days.

Until we figured out the chipmunks were mating on our roof. Uh-oh.

We have an attic fan. In theory, this is a handy item. On warm days, the fan pulls the hot air out of our house. Call it "poor man's air conditioning". It's so effective that we had "rich man's air conditioning" installed last summer.

To fix the noise, I armed myself with WD-40 and headed for the attic. I was decked out, Haz Mat-style, so that no insulation could bother me. In this outfit, I could have responded to a milk-truck-meets-Humane-Society-van accident on I-280. Sweet.

Except the fan turns on when the attic temperature hits 95 degrees. And as I popped the hatch, I heard the fan kick into gear. 95 degrees, insulation, Haz Mat suit. Love it.

I absolutely drenched the puppy in WD-40, took the wrench to it, and lost 6 pounds in the process. It was better than a Bikram session. And the humping squirrels went away. I announced my domestic project dominance to Paige. She yawned. That was two weeks ago.

Last night, I heard them again. The chipmunks are back. Nice.


carson's pink jersey.

When the highlight of your personal This Week in Baseball is the "Queer Eye" Red Sox makeover episode, you know it's getting ugly. My Giants haven't put two wins together since the Pope was alive. And the Sox are getting smacked around by the Gang Formerly Known as Gashouse. Ouch.

Thankfully, today's release from Avenged Sevenfold is singing sweet nothings into my eardrums. Look for these guys on the Warped Tour this summer. They're the ones who play songs that last longer than ninety seconds.



One of the great features of Mac OS X is the ability to set your desktop background to scroll through selected images from iPhoto. So when I logged in today, I found this:

This was the fifth year in a row of our big Maine weekend. We went every fall from 1997-2001. This pic was snapped about a week after 9/11. And much has happened since.

Five of us are married, one of us has a kid, one of us doesn't live in New England anymore. But it's still a great group of guys. And I hope we'll restart our Maine sojourns sometime soon.


buy stock in hanes.

No article of clothing is more American than the T-shirt. And I can't seem to clear my personal inventory. Every time Paige and I have a "let's dump a bunch of junk at Goodwill" exercise, I'm forced to reconsider.

I'm not alone. My extensive T-shirt collection harkens back to the early 1990s and can be interpreted as a catalogue of my travels, life experiences, and affinities. Tonight, I'm wearing a Crane Performance Siding shirt that I got for free. My brother-in-law breaks out his "All Johnson T-shirt Weekend", consisting of a variety of UVM and Middlebury schwag every time we see him.

My top five T-shirts:

1) Dorm Damage, "You Girls Like Metal Don'cha?"
2) Corner Bar Hot Dog Hall of Fame
3) Soul Coughing, "El Oso"
4) Yankees Suck!
5) Urge Overkill, "Exit the Dragon" Tour

The good news is that retro is in. And considering my well-worn collection of shirts, I'm suddenly in style again.