Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Blog Critique

A colleague brought this to my attention.

Blog: The word "blog" is literally shorthand for "boring;" a vulgar,
overused word that strikes your ear with the dull thud of a cudgel to the soft
spot of a child. It's an abbreviation used by journalism drop outs to give
legitimacy to their shallow opinions and amateur photography that seems to be
permanently stuck in first draft hell. Looking in the archives of the blogs, one
would expect someone who has been at it for years to slowly hone their craft and
improve their writing and photographs, since it's usually safe to assume that if
someone does something long enough, he or she will eventually not suck at it.
Even with lowered expectations, you'll get a shotgun blast of disappointment in
your face.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Run Hobbled, Run Long

It may have all started with Run Gently, Run Long, by Joe Henderson, I checked it out of the junior high school library (excuse me, Media Center). Or perhaps it started with an informational meeting for kids interested in Junior High cross-country. Social studies teacher and Coach Duane Wold showed a movie – it was about a cross-country meet. In the movie (not video – were talking 1976 here) the runners traveled to the meet via subway, and ran a race in the city – probably NYC. Something about the movie struck a chord. It seemed so romantic; no equipment, hardly any rules, just running. Besides my good friend Paul C was going out – so I wouldn’t be alone. (Interesting aside, Paul has become something of a green roof expert.)

It was my first sport - - ever – no little baseball or anything up to that time. Run Gently, Run Long – I still remember the cover – I read the book over and over – throughout the years. In later years, I used it to try to get back my inspiration.

I was thinking of all the old running romance yesterday, when I stumbled upon Joe Henderson’s latest commentary. Lot’s of Joe’s commentaries these days are about injuries. He has some good advice to offer to say about running and injuries, but he knows his audience might not want to hear the advice he offers:

“I did what runners least like to do: rest more often. Took an extra day or two
off each week in order to run more and better on the other days. In fact, quit
thinking of running in weekly increments altogether and break it into smaller

“At this age I don't have many new ideas. My searches
take me back to old ones that worked better than the recent plan.”

Looking on this from an objective (and arguably more realistic position) you have to ask yourself, Why do they continue to do this? Why subject yourself to such physical injury and pain. That pain is your body talking to you. Without any scientific studies to back me up, I’m going out on a limb, but I have to think THIS CAN’T BE GOOD FOR YOU – STOP NOW!

That’s probably why I stopped running – more days in recovery than days actually engaging in the exercise itself. It’s like an eating disorder – eating stuff you like, then purging yourself – then starting over again.

Perhaps I should write my own little book, Run Hobbled, Run Long.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Waiting for the Storm

The Dude and his pal Joey are having a wild Friday night together - 6 year old style. The "girls" - good old Troop 1253 - are at The Young Martin Luther King at Stepping Stone Theater, so the Hobbled Runner is home with the Dude and his Pal. They are busy watching a cheap Superman DVD - it has lots of shorts from the WWII era - including Japoteurs about some Japanese saboteurs. (Try explaining that to a 6 year old. Actually, it's not really that hard. It's ancient history to them - they'll believe anything.)

All of Minnesota anxiously awaits The Storm. It's been predicted by weather people all week. If nothing happens, I'm going to ignore weather reports forever and rely instead on my old trick knee. By the way, my right knee (old running injury - hence "Hobbled Runner") has been aching for about 24 hours now. Perhaps we will get socked in.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

To Wiki or Not to Wiki

I know some people who were thinking of starting Wikis for various work-related functions. Here's an interesting post from BusinessPundit about possible Wiki pitfalls.

Wikis aren't about sharing. Wikis are about simplicity of editing and
centrality of information. In a case where random collaboration wouldn't work
without a wiki, it's unlikely to work with a wiki. What the LA Times should have
realized is that they were giving people an online soapbox. Then they should
have asked themselves this question - if we put a bunch of random people in
front of a large audience, let them remain anonymous, and let them say whatever
they want, would we get a positive result? No? Then don't do the same damn thing

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Monday/Tuesday Update

Update on others: I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the warm-up Monday (43F), as I spent most of the day inside with the Dude who was on the mend from Strep throat. We watched Akeelah and the Bee, , a feel-good family movie about an 11 year old girl from South LA who makes it to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The Dude was impressed, and asked that I quiz him on spelling words most of the evening.

Update on me - I'm OK: I did venture out around dinner time – to Urgi-Care – as I had cut my finger open and I wasn’t sure if I needed stitches – I didn’t.

Want to read more? This could help . My blogging cousin is trying this, though my reading list is not nearly as heavy. I've subscribed to one, Joseph Conrad's, The Secret Agent.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Whew! - I'm Alive

Wow - feeling better this morning, thank you very much. Didn't think I was going to make it. Let me explain.

I received a flu shot Friday morning before work. After that I enjoyed a productive day at the office. Sometime between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m., I was hit by a "truck". Went to bed around 10:00 and my teeth were chattering, my body ached all over, I was exhausted - but I couldn't fall asleep.

By 1:00 a.m. my temperature was 99.5. Then the panic set in.

As I lay there I thought, "Oh my god, I'm going to be the next Minnesotan to die from the flu." Or worse, "I'm going to be the first Minnesotan to die from an adverse reaction to the flu shot."

A million thoughts were spinning around my head:

  • What hospital would I go to? Should I call my health plan 800 number to get that information?
  • I should just drive to the ER now because in a few hours I won't be able to, and those ambulances are so disruptive to sleeping neighbors when they arrive in the middle of the night.
  • I should call my sister-in-law (she's a nurse practitioner) she would know what to do - - but it was 2:00 a.m. when this one came to me, and I didn't think she would appreciate the call.
  • Maybe I should go downstairs and dig around in the recycling for that information sheet about the flu shot that I received at the doctor's office? - - Aha - one side effect is fever and aches - hmm - could be.
After taking two Ibuprofen, I finally fell asleep - - and enjoyed some very wild dreams. I awoke at 8:00 a.m., and I felt fine.

Whew! - that was close.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Night Follies

Relatively quiet night at the Hobbled Household. Actually got both kids in and out of the bathtub in less than one hour. They never want to take a bath, but once they are in the water they never want to get out.

M is now locked in the bathroom, attending to some sort of pre-teen beauty regime - though she was kind enough to open the door for this picture. The Dude is on the couch with Mom's laptop playing Coast-to-Coast, a geography game for kids.

My Father's Enlistment Record

I was digging around a federal government site for work purposes, when I saw some links to WWII material. It didn't take me long to find my father's enlistment record, from the Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 - 1946 (Enlistment Records).

I was confused when I saw Rice listed as the "Residence County", but then I recalled he was in St. Olaf at the time (1943) - no college deferments at that time.

Term of Enlistment: "Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law. "

Thursday, February 15, 2007

In Praise of B.S.

This looks like an interesting book. Love the title – and the simple cover design is appealing as well. Business Pundit has a short review of the book and the concept of BS in the workplace.
We can't know everything, so we often use bullshit instead of saying "I
don't know." A customer asks if a certain feature is planned for a future
software release. If you really don't know, is it better to say so, or to give
them some bullshit? I've seen some software features that are "on the roadmap"
forever. Salespeople use that line because it keeps a potential customer in the
loop. That can be a good thing because the customer will stay in touch and
provide you with information about what they would like to see in your product.
That is helpful to you, and no harm is done to them if they aren't making a
buying decision based on your bullshit.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Al Franken to Run for Senate

My nephew's reponse to the latest political news.

Without a Parachute

Wow - this is amazing.

Shown here - and ONLY here - for the first time online is the amazing video from
the helmet camera of British skydiver Michael Holmes.
It shows him
plummeting 12,000ft to earth after both his parachutes failed, saying goodbye to
the world... and hitting the ground with a sickening thud at 80mph.
Michael's friend, who jumped from the same plane, also filmed the whole
event. He found his pal bleeding and unconscious - but alive.

I was scared to watch it - but don't worry it's not "gross" - just amazing that he survived and was talking to his buddy after the fall.

Via, Kottke, the source of lots of cool stuff


The Dude has been busy since Sunday night working on a PowerPoint presentation about Egypt. This is kind of spooky. It's not required school work. He learned about PowerPoint on Sunday while touring MPA with the Hobbled Runner. [Yes - school issues continue to torment.] MPA teaches PowerPoint in the computer class beginning in the 4th grade. While that might impress some propective parents and students, it scares the hell out of me.

Anyway, Sunday night he asks, "What is PowerPoint?" I had my work laptop at home so I showed him a PowerPoint I recently completed. "Cool," was his honest reply. I think it was the colors and slide transition that impressed him the most - the content would have put anyone to sleep.

So we got into PowerPoint on Sunday, I showed him how to start a show, and he's been working on it by himself (with only a little help) each night this week.

I've created a monster!

Monday, February 12, 2007

"New" Blogger/San Diego

Well, I finally took the plunge, and signed for the "New Blogger". I admit I was becoming tired of Google's greeting me as an "Old Blogger" simply because I hadn't taken the plunge and come over tothe "new" side.

[Hey - it has that built in spell-check feature. It underlines words that I misspell. I'm sure I'll never get tired of that feature.]

Back from San Diego where I learned it's possible to get from the heart of down-town to the airport in about 7 and 1/2 minutes!! - - but only if your cabbie drives like a maniac, and you hit every green light (he was quite amazing!).

[Wait - Google/Blogger does not recognize my use of the term "cabbie" - it's underlining it in red - though I suspect you can't see it. Perhaps "cabbie" is out of vogue. Is there a more politically correct term? Have we reverted to "hack" or "hackie"?]

Funny (?) San Diego stories: Did you know that most hotels are not set up to accommodate a convention of people who use wheelchairs? Sure, they accommodate them in the legal (Americans with Disabilities ACT) sense, but when several hundred people in wheelchairs descend on a hotel, and the elevators only hold about 3 wheelchairs at most, it's a long wait. Upon checking in, I ended up walking up 9 floors carrying two bags - great exercise - the "people's stairmaster" I like to call it.

Upon the suggestion of my father-in-law, I had dinner at Croce's - an eatery in the gas-lamp district owned by the widow of Jim Croce. I was skeptical at first, but ended up having a good time - despite dining alone. Did you realize that you can have Jim Croce music piped in non-stop, but after the place gets really crowded you can't hear it anyway. Fun note, when I first arrived, the place was about half-full and several more rowdy customers were singing along with "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown." Almost walked out, but glad I didn't. Great swordfish, and I loved their "Winter Crisp" dessert - a sort of rhubarb and pear cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream - very nice! (menu)

Oh, and the business part of the trip went very well.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sad Times

Evan Dunkle’s dad died over the weekend – 38 years old – meningitis. This hit me harder than I thought it would. While I didn’t really know him – I know his wife pretty well, and of course S is very close to them.

This is the second father of the Dude's preschool friends to die suddenly – both before age 40, and both leaving behind a young son, and younger daughter.

To say that "this puts things in perspective" doesn't even begin to describe it.

Escape from Winter

Even though I've not quite recovered from my trip to Phoenix, I'm off to San Diego tomorrow for business. Alas it's only for 24 hours - and I'm on my own, without the sis-in-law to visit.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Valentine's Day Suggestion

Why just last night, the Hobbled Wife and I were discussing Valentines Day. This might be too good to pass up.

Make your Valentine’s day STEAMY! Take your Valentine to White Castle on Wednesday, February 14 between 5 and 8 p.m. and enjoy hostess seating, candlelit dining and your own server. Reservations are required, so check the list below for participating Castles near you!

Via Kottke.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Arizona Birds

Little did I know that my business trip to Phoenix would turn into such a great birding opportunity. Next time, I invest in a field guide. As it is, I think I've done a good job piecing together what I saw by Googling around. Here's the brief report.

Gambrels Quail:

[Photo - Wikipedia]

Catcus Wren - the state bird no less - much easier to spot that the darn Loon in MN.

[Photo - Wikipedia]

Also observed: Coopers Hawk, Hummingbird (Anna's ??), and some sort of LBJ (little brown job) that hovered while eating. Perhaps a Warbler (??). Slightly yellow in the breast area and it hovered near berries on a tree right outside my hotel room balcony.