14 August 2009

My New 4-H

I was driving home from work today and decided to diverge from my normal route and see where a different road, would take me. "Different road" is not what I expected, nor what I thought was happening based on my Google Maps recon before I left work. Short story, Google Maps does not appear to deal well with certain types of roads in rural areas, especially when they are 50' sections of dirt road. Oh well.

Anyway, as I was enjoying my unexpected diversion, I noticed a sign for the 247th Hardwick Community Fair next weekend. We go each year to support the community, dig on the tractors and livestock competitions and the boys like the hay bale maze and frog hopping contest. I'm personally drawn to the blacksmith doing his thing and the timber frame folks, carving and cutting post and beams. Me and Mother Earth News - a man and his farm porn.

Before I ramble any further, the whole point of this is, not my affiliation nor participation but possible association and maybe only fascination, with 4-H and an idea I contrived a few months ago for my family. 4-H, if you don't know about it, was originally a grassroots effort to bring a hands-on approach to public education and rural life. Enough with the book smarts - you need to learn to milk a cow. At the same time, it seems that you couldn't teach an old farmer new tricks in the past but if you got to them at an early enough age, they'll be open to new ideas, technology, etc. I've always liked the 4-H concept but didn't grow-up in an ag community and never participated. Until now!

The traditional 4-H is based upon four simple, idealistic principles, as stated in the pledge:

"I Pledge my Head to clearer thinking,
my Heart to greater loyalty,
my Hands to larger service,
and my Health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world."

Earlier in the day I stumbled upon Maira Kalman's fun NY Times blog postings. The Benjamin Franklin bit two weeks ago was great as it synced with my backwoods, 4-H thinking. Franklin had a daily routines he followed as well as charts and goals in order to perform some amount of daily good through personal goals.

So, finally bringing this long-winded and convoluted post around to completion, the idea I had previously and now plan to formally adopt and document is my own, personal 4-H pledge.

Every day I will do and document at least one thing from each of my four H's:

  1. For my head, in the form of improving intelligence, pursuing insight, sharing knowledge or reducing stress
  2. For my health, so I may live as long as possible with and for the ones I love
  3. For my home, inside or out, my home is more than a house although both need to be maintained
  4. For my heart, loving and appreciating my family and ensuring I am actively participating as a family member instead of just running through the motions

There it is. I'm going to start tracking on paper as I don't have a good, clear Ben Franklin-ish way of charting these goals yet. Yet.

More to follow as I progress. Maybe a new blog as no one actually read this one ;)

01 April 2009

Gmail Autopilot

Yeah, they had me for a bit. Haven't seen the traditional 1 April RFC yet though.

24 March 2009

Beer And Self-Doubt

"There was a big city businessman who once went on holiday to a faraway beach. One day he walked past a local fisherman who was lazing around, with his fishing rod in the water, enjoying the sun and a beer.

The city man’s mind went to work immediately. The fishing spot was a gold mine, and a serious fishing business would thrive in the area. 'Why are you so stupid?' he asked the fisherman. 'Get some boats, hire some extra hands, and in a few years you will turn your little shop into a million-dollar business!'

The local man asked him. 'And what would you do once you have a million dollars?'

The city man stared back blankly. 'Why, I would have so much free time I could sit around in the sun all day and drink beer!'”

21 March 2009

There It Is...Plain English

C'mon...gimme fiddy cent....

"But banks holding those mortgages, not wanting to book huge losses on their holdings, have often refused to sell for less than 60 cents on the dollar.

The result has been a paralyzing impasse. Banks, unwilling to sell their loans at fire-sale prices, have had less capital available to make new loans. Mortgage investors, unable to leverage their investments with borrowed money, have been unwilling to pay more than fire-sale prices.

To break that impasse, the government’s crucial subsidy is meant to provide investors with the kind of low-cost financing that has been utterly unavailable in today’s credit markets."

No User Serviceable Parts Inside

This post is great. The circumstances are slightly different but it completely summarizes my youth getting thrown across the room by an ungrounded grocery store conveyor belt system I was using/playing with, my undergrad experiences wiring and rewiring (and failing at) liquid air generators and a low-MeV particle accelerator (yeah, the author - he knows it, you can smell the ozone created by a wicked electron discharge) and finally the disdain one faces when you either can't or don't care enough to fix a relative's obnoxious printer/CD-ROM drive/wireless keyboard/USB drive/etc.

13 March 2009

Patent Idea

Great quote on Groklaw:

"Could someone please patent what Wall Street just did to the economy, and then refuse to license the "invention", so as to prevent those dudes from ever doing it again? Or just patent flaming greed, will you, somebody? Do the rest of us a favor and get it off the table or at least constrained."

11 January 2009


...unless you're H2O and then the otherwise loose molecules bind more strongly into a hexagonal lattice and temperature drops actually cause expansion: