Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Originally uploaded by athos@9.
There's something about this image posted by athos@9 on Flickr that I find appealing.

The composition with the craggy tree, bright stars and startling colors make an interesting shot. It's hard to tell if this is a retouched fantasy or if it's close to what the eye would see in the real world. I think that's what I like about it...

It could be what you'd see waking up in the high desert somewhere in the world.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Air Bowl Lanes - Columbus Montana

Originally uploaded by richpix .
Cool sign.

I got an email from a fellow Flikr member asking me if I might know what those small tepee-like symbols were on the fins of the rocket. I think I do, so I wrote back to him in the comment section of the photo.

It's a small world on the internet. I don't know how he thought to ask me.

I worked at the Air Bowl at various jobs when I was a kid, and as a young adult - as a shoe rental person, score-keeper, pin machine un-sticker, lane sweeper, janitor, cook and bartender.

It was called the Air Bowl because it was at the airport.

I was a bit sorry to read that this sign was taken down. I have quite a few memories of the good old Air Bowl.

Mostly pretty good - some pretty wild - I'll never forget the look on that elderly waitresses face when me and another person who shall remain anonymous (who was driving) were spinning donuts in the snowy parking lot late one night. The cafe was closed but the lights were on and she was wiping up. A little too much gas and the pickup hopped over the logs that were used for parking rails and crashed through the window. Luckily no one was hurt.

Small town Saturday night - wooo hooo!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Project Management - 101 Ways to Organize Your Life

Lessons from Project Management: 101 ways to organize your life has some good tips for anyone (not just project managers).

Many of the ideas sound like common sense, (which isn't always that common), like taking breaks, eating wholesome healthy foods, celebrating achievements, giving praise and having fun at work.

Some of them are not so obvious, such as -

"Meeting in Person to Develop Relationships Saves Time and Money in the Long Run. - In some cultures tasks are completed based on established relationships and, ultimately, trust, rather than simply being driven by schedules. Attempting to forge ahead with tasks before spending social time with clients can well lead to incomplete requirements. While it may not be standard practice all over the world, when PMs are working in some other cultures taking the time to meet face-to-face can save time and money for your project and organization."

Without trust we can't build good relationships and without good relationships we can't build much of anything - no matter how good we may be at "project management".

Saturday, February 24, 2007

77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better

77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better from the Online Education Database (

A nice list of practical ideas for improving our learning techniques.

This is a compendium of ideas from various sources, with lots of links for more reading. Everything from eating a good breakfast to learning by playing video games.

Someone so inclined could design a class around these ideas quite easily. If you tend to be an autodidact - make up your own learning program.

Just remember tip number 39 -

"Every skill is learned. With the exception of bodily functions, every skill in life is learned. Generally speaking, if one person can learn something, so can you. It may take you more effort, but if you've set a believable goal, it's likely an achievable goal."


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Friday, February 23, 2007

Guerilla Gardening

Guerilla gardening
Originally uploaded by thinkoncomesee.
The Citizens Handbook has some interesting things to read and think about. It would be a good resource for anyone wanting to be involved in citizen-based community development.

The introduction says we need more active citizens to build communities, tackle large public issues - child protection, education, aging, health care, urban landscapes, public safety and the environment.

I thought Guerrilla Gardening sounded interesting. It describes peoples efforts to plant flowers or maybe some edible plants in otherwise ugly, or unproductive, spaces. The article says, " Guerrilla gardening is wholesome mischief. It breaks the law but improves public property."

There are ideas or references to among others - Gandhi, Robert Putman author of "Bowling Alone", and Saul Alinsky a famous community organizer who wrote "Rules for Radicals".

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Snapshots of Heaven

Michael Wells is a Canadian business person who has written a book called "Snapshots of Heaven - 40 Funny, Profound, Real-Life Stories About Children" sharing his wisdom on parenting.

His main point is that we have a limited amount of time to spend with our children or grandchildren and we need to make the most of that time by appreciating all the wonderful things young people bring to our lives.

This is a link to his website The interviews on Canadian television, available on his website, give you a pretty good idea of what he is saying.

The stories in his book are from his own children but he is soliciting stories from other people for a new book he is writing.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Gracious Acres

Gracious Acres is a blog written by a young mother living in rural Iowa. It has nice pictures, stories and recipes. Makes Iowa look pretty darn nice. I like the family-oriented style, and the variety.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

In The End

And in the end there will be


and the chair

and the magazine

and the ashtray

and the remote control

and the matches

and the paddle ball

and after you have it all

you'll trade it for a red and white thermos


Monday, February 19, 2007

Henna Body Art

Rachel had some very cool henna designs on her hands when she got back from her trip to Chennai.

You can click on these pictures to see the larger size.

Painting a New Sign

We need to slow down every so often if we are going to have a chance to have some new thoughts. We need inspiration. A chance to stretch the imagination - to come up with new ideas. Generally they are ideas, that may lead us to do some thing, that keep us entertained for some period of time, and then when we become bored with that thing we move on to something new.

We need certain threads to hold things together, so we don't get washed away by something too far out.

Right now I'm thinking the best idea is to go with the flow. Float. Things will happen in the right time. Rather than forcing things it's often best to wait - no matter how much we may wish things will change (or that they will not change) - things will change in their own time. In some sense everything is just perfect. It couldn't be any other way - as long as we are thinking of the past or the future.

The best we can hope to do is to be here now. In this moment, this place, this time, taking this breath, listening, waiting, thinking, painting, petting a dog...sewing.

Sometimes you just have to take time to do things not generally defined by society as useful. Maybe paint a sign or sew something. I sewed this shirt last Saturday. It was a nice break from thinking about some things and a chance to puzzle through how a shirt is constructed. It cost me $6 for the fabric and took...maybe 8 hours (I sort of lost track of time). It was fun - but my eyes were pretty tired near the end. Next time I think I will try using a pattern...or maybe something simpler.


We fill our calendars with events, try to find ways to get more done in each day, work more hours, plan elaborate vacations, or make weekend plans...and spend our days in busy desperation doing more and more just to stay even - waiting for the weekend, the vacation, as life passes us by.

Here's a tip - don't worry about the weekend, your job, your retirement, next week, or tomorrow. The best thing you can do for yourself is to be yourself. To stay interested and interesting - you need to take a break, lots of breaks, to find out what resonates with you. Who you are and what you can be.

The world, tomorrow, will take care of itself - your job is to take care, and make the most of, your self.

digg spy

digg spy gives you a feel for the popularity of topics on the information super-highway real time. It's pretty weird to watch the repetition, and the occasional off the wall topic, as people around the globe "digg" various items they find interesting on the internet.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Dream Trips

The Freighter Cruise and Travel Club has some really interesting sounding travel opportunities.

For example - a sixteen day cruise departing from Papeete, Tahiti to remote islands in the South Pacific. The cargo liner has an outdoor swimming pool, a gym and facilities for ocean swimming, fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving. The pictures and reviews look excellent.

A person who traveled on one of these cruises writes,

"The French serve endless bottles of wine at both lunch and dinner, all included in the fare which starts at $2,079 for a dorm to $5,445 for the best deluxe suites which even includes bathtub and a balcony. The prices are per person, double occupancy and include 3 meals with wine, guided excursions, picnic and meals on shore."

Voy. 1

2007 Schedule

February 5 - February 17
February 24 - March 10
March 17 - March 31
April 7 - April 21
April 28 - May 12
May 19 - June 2
June 9 - June 23
June 30 - July 14
July 21 - August 4
August 11 - August 25
September 1 - September 15
September 22 - October 6
October 13 - October 27
November 3 - November 17
November 24 - December 8
December 14 - December 29

A PROMOTIONAL SPECIAL 15% discount is offered on all bookings, except those in class C accommodations, on voyage # 7, and a SENIOR CITIZENS SPECIAL 15% discount is offered to senior citizens aged 60 and over on voyage #11.


If you have more time you could take a 104 day around-the-world cruise. The website describes one around-the-world cruise -

From misty Northern European ports
to sunny South Pacific islands

"Monthly sailings from Dunkirk or Le Havre, France. Passengers arriving from the UK or overseas via London meet with the owner’s representative and get a free transfer, either via Le Shuttle/Eurostar or ferry across the Channel. The vessel sails across the Atlantic and through the Panama Canal (here as well passengers can join the ship) to Papeete, Tahiti; Auckland, New Zealand; Noumea, New Caledonia; Suva and Lautoka, Fiji; Santo, Vanuatu; Honiara, Solomon Islands; Lae, Rabaul, Kimbe and Madang, Papua New Guinea, possibly another port or two in the area, and onwards to Singapore and through the Suez Canal, Mediterranean and Straits of Gibraltar to Hamburg in approx. 104 days. Port times vary between one and three days."

Roundtrip fares are $12,500 per person April through August, $14,000 September through March.



This doesn't qualify as a "dream trip" but if you don't have a few, or fourteen, grand to spend on a trip, here's a travel opportunity for 5 bucks with Hot Food! Hot Music! Hot Water!

You will have to get to Norris Montana, and the 5 bucks get's you into the hot springs - food and drink are extra. Still a pretty amazing deal.


For a little more low key hot springs experience, you can spend 40 to 80 dollars a day at Elkhorn Hot Springs which is located in a beautiful and secluded area in the Beaverhead National Forest 43 miles Northwest of Dillon, Montana. They offer cabins, or rooms in the main lodge. Breakfast is included.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


BlogThis is a really handy add-on for Firefox written by Phil Ringnalda.

It allows you to right-click on any page you are viewing and open up a window to post it to your Blogger blog. You can save it as a draft, add text or post it...quick and simple.

I sometimes use it as a way to bookmark web pages I'm interested in or just as a quick way to generate the basic html for a link I'm going to paste elsewhere.

The only problem is that it doesn't work for Firefox 2.0 - without a little tweaking as described by Adam Brannon on Jan 11, 2007 in the BlogThis comments -

"1. Download (save link as) the Blog This add-on to your computer. Do not open or install it.
2. The XPI file is a ZIP file. Open it in WinZip.
3. Find the 'install.rdf' file and extract it.
4. Open 'install.rdf' with notepad.
5. Find this code:
Change maxversion to a value larger than 1.x. I changed mine to 3.0
6. Save the file.
7. Add it back to the XPI file with WinZip. Make sure it is saved over the original in the ZIP.

The BlogThis add-on will now install and work in FF2.0. If you have converted your Blogger site to the new Google base site, just use your Google login in the BlogThis popup window to log on to the site and it will take you to the familiar BlogThis screen to add the blog content, just like it use to."

I use Movable Type as my blogging platform on my home domain, but I have to say that Blogger and apps like "Blog This" are much easier to use for the casual blogger, or anyone who likes to spend as little time as possible figuring out tools and as much time as possible actually using them.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Seven Wonders of the World

A teacher asked her class to list the seven wonders of the world.

One of the students hesitated, then read,

"I think the 'Seven Wonders of the World' are:

1. To See
2. To Hear
3. To Touch
4. To Taste
5. To Feel
6. To Laugh
7. And to Love."


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Friday, February 09, 2007

On Work

"One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."

~ Bertrand Russell


"Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing."

~ Thomas A. Edison


"To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth."

~ Pearl S. Buck

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Stress Relievers from the Mayo Clinic

  • Simplify your life. Rather than looking for ways to squeeze more activities or chores into the day, find a way to leave some things out. Ask yourself what really needs to be done, what can wait — and what can be dropped entirely. It's OK to say no.
  • Manage your time wisely. Update your to-do list every day — both at work and at home. Delegate what you can, and break large projects into manageable chunks. Tackle the rest one task at a time.
  • Be prepared. Anticipate challenges. Whether it's preparing for a project at work, planning a family gathering or handling a sick child, being prepared can help you face stressful situations with confidence. Find a way to approach each task with humor. If necessary, set aside extra time to calm your frayed nerves.
  • Exercise regularly. Consider exercise a break from the tension of daily life. Exercise can help keep depression and anxiety at bay, too.
  • Eat smart. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can give you more energy — plus the fuel you need to keep stress under control. If you tend to nibble when you're stressed, don't let your emotions take over. Consider whether you're truly hungry before you have a snack. And don't be fooled by the jolt you may get from caffeine or sugar. It'll wear off quickly.
  • Adjust your attitude. If you find yourself thinking, "This can't be done," snap back to attention. Think instead, "This will be tough. But we can make it work." Putting a positive spin on negative thoughts can help you work through stressful situations.
  • Take a break. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, take some time to clear your mind. A few slow stretches or a quick stroll may renew your energy for the task at hand. Or take a mental vacation. Imagine yourself in a calm, relaxing place. Let your mind wander. Picture yourself accomplishing your task.
  • Relax. Set aside time for yourself every day, even if it's only a few minutes. When you feel your muscles begin to tense, breathe deeply. Inhale to the count of six, pause for a second and then slowly exhale.
  • Laugh. Humor is a great way to relieve stress. Laughter releases endorphins — natural substances that help you feel better and maintain a positive attitude. Studies suggest laughter may lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and increase circulation as well.
  • Let go. Take responsibility for your tasks, but don't worry about things you can't control.

Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living -

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Letting Go

"The very nature of the mind is such that if you only leave it in its unaltered and natural state, it will find its true nature, which is bliss and clarity."

Sogyal Rinpoche

Continue reading at Interlude: Meditation of the Week


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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Dave Matthews, Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Arlo Guthrie

I've been lucky to get to see Dave Matthews at a couple of his concerts at the The Gorge Amphitheatre in Eastern Washington. Sometimes I sort of like this song -


I'm looking forward to seeing Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Guy Clark, and Joe Ely at the The Paramount Theatre this March in Seattle.

B and I are going to make a night of it and stay at the new Pan Pacific Hotel in Seattle. They were (maybe still are) offering 50% off their regular rack rates as part of their grand opening.

Looking at the website I see the Pan Pacific has nice views, large rooms, free wireless and Hypnos® beds claimed to be "the most comfortable beds in the world." Should be fun - I'll have to get to bed nice and early so I can test out those beds.


In April we are going to go North to Bellingham, Washington to see Arlo Guthrie and his son and daughter perform at the Mount Baker Theatre which looks like a cool old venue.

Arlo was popular with the younger crowd in the 60's and 70's. I had quite a few of his albums, and maybe an 8 track tape or two. He starred in the 1969 movie Alice's Restaurant. His song "Alice's Restaurant" and "Coming Into Los Angeles" were popular among crowds at the 1969 Woodstock music festival.

An odd bit of trivia is that he attended Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana which happens to be the Alma Mata of my mother Ginger.

His bio on ArloNet says -

"Arlo Guthrie was born with a guitar in one hand and a harmonica in the other, in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York in 1947. He is the eldest son of America's most beloved singer/writer/philosopher Woody Guthrie and Marjorie Mazia Guthrie, a professional dancer with the Martha Graham Company and founder of The Committee to Combat Huntington's Disease.

He grew up surrounded by dancers and musicians: Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Fred Hellerman and Lee Hays (The Weavers), Leadbelly, Cisco Houston, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, all of whom were significant influences on Arlo's musical career. Guthrie gave his first public performance at age 13 and quickly became involved in the music that was shaping the world during the 1960s.

Arlo practically lived in the most famous venues of the "Folk Boom" era. In New York City he hung out at Gerdes Folk City, The Gaslight and The Bitter End. In Boston's Club 47, and in Philadelphia he made places like The 2nd Fret and The Main Point his home. He witnessed the transition from an earlier generation of ballad singers like Richard Dyer-Bennet and blues-men like Mississippi John Hurt, to a new era of singer-song writers such as Bob Dylan, Jim Croce, Joan Baez, and Phil Ochs. He grooved with the beat poets like Allen Ginsburg and Lord Buckley, and picked with players like Bill Monroe and Doc Watson. He learned something from everyone and developed his own style, becoming a distinctive, expressive voice in a crowded community of singer-songwriters and political-social commentators."

NPR : Arlo Guthrie in Concert

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Climate Change - "Many, Many Smoking Guns"

Climate modeling experts have made significant progress in the accuracy of their predictions for future climate change, debunked alternative hypotheses advanced by skeptics and identified the footprint of man-made climate change in every corner of the earth, not only in temperature but also increases in tropical cyclones and forest fires. Other scientific studies have identified human influence in everything from declining mountain glaciers and snow cover, to increases in ocean salinity, to the growing frequency and range of severe droughts. There are no credible alternative hypotheses being proposed by the ever-shrinking group of skeptics, some of whom work for groups funded by industries with vested interest in the continued use of fossil fuels.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presents it's projections for global warming tomorrow, and it is likely they will end up expressing with 99 percent certainty that greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from burning fossil fuels, are warming the Earth.

Their models predict a 3 °C (5.4 °F) increase in global temperate - if carbon dioxide levels stabilize at 550 ppm and a 28 to 43 centimeter (11 to 17 inch) rise in ocean levels by 2100.

Read the article by Peter Fairley at MIT Technology Review