Showing posts from March, 2012

Escaping Tunnel Vision

I was feeling sorry for myself, for no good reason today. Just kind of down while walking the dog. Then I saw a blind girl about 8 years old that lives near me. She was playing with her sister, who was trying to master a pogo stick that was too big for her. I watched through sunglasses as the girl counted her steps and found her way to her side door, obviously bored by her sisters unsuccessful attempts to master the pogo. It was a bit of a head slap from God, I think. It was like He was screaming, "What is your problem? Do you see this girl? Well, she doesn't see you, so suck it up!" It was humbling to say the least. Earlier in the day I was feeling badly for having lost my brother about six months ago. Then I thought of a friend who'd lost both her parents by age 15 and her brother in his early forties. Head-slapped again. My mom's still around and I have most of my brothers and sisters still living. It's okay to be sad, but we need to keep it in perspect

Shot Full of Holes

Well, everything I said about the ease of writing fiction vs. writing non-fiction fell right into the dumpster this week. I took my story to group last week and the folks liked it, but found some fairly major holes and inconsistencies in it. I told them last night that I couldn't even look at it last week. I thought and thought and couldn't come up with a resolution for some of its shortcomings. I opened it several times and just sat there and stared at the pages. I stared hoping something would magically patch the holes, resolve the issue and tie it all up with a bow. Needless to say I'm still waiting. In the meantime, I went back to what I know, namely, non-fiction. I wrote about the house I grew up in; a couple of funny stories. What I've concluded is that NO writing is particularly easy. Some days it comes easy, most days not. Fiction, non fiction, poetry, technical writing, blogs, whatever. All hard work. Mind you, I'm not griping, just saying that anyone w

Friends Near and Far

The map above and the map to the right of this column shw the locations of many of the people who have read this blog in the past month. It is a cool little gadget called ClustrMaps that does an on-the-fly GeoCode of the IP addresses of people who click on my blog. I find this interesting because I'm a map geek by trade. While you can read the names of the places people have visited from using another gadget called StatCounter , it's another thing to actually see the locations on a map. That is what makes ClusterMaps so cool. For that matter, that is what makes GIS so cool. It is putting a map to the data. If you think about it, somewhere in the neighborhood of 75% of all data has a mapping component to it. Does the data have an address or location? It probably does. Where does crime happen? Where are the areas of poverty? Who voted for who? Where is a good place to eat? Where are the places to avoid eating? Where does my cell phone go dead? The list goes on and on. My bl

Canoecopia Lowdown 2012

I spent most of Saturday at Canoecopia in Madison. It is pitched as the world's largest paddle sports expo, and after attending it, I don't know that I would argue. It was an amazing conference. They had speakers presenting all day over the 3 day weekend. There were vendors, demos and giveaways too. I had originally planned on just going window shopping for Kayaks (if that makes sense). I've been thinking about getting one for about 3 years now, so thought that would be a good place to get some ideas. I managed to hook up with Bill Schultz of Wilderness Systems who was incredibly helpful to me, someone just getting started in the sport of Kayak fishing. He explained all the pros and cons of the SOT (Sit on Top) versus the sit-in, versus the Hybrid (like a one man canoe). He could speak to most of the models, in part because he had one of most every type. There were two I was interested in, namely the Tarpon  and the Commander 120 . Bill seemed to favor the Tarpon, but

This Was Not My Chat Tech Experience

I have been having occasional wireless "drop outs" on my laptop here and there. It got to be kind of annoying, so I thought I'd take control contact Dell Support and see if they could fix it. I used the Chat Support as I've had decent luck with it in the past. This experience had a bit less joy. It took 6 minutes for the tech to look up my information. I thought they'd be able to download it from my connection somehow, but hey, I was patient. Next I needed to confirm my problem 3 times. Yep, wireless connectivity issue. Yep. Wireless connectivity. Yes, my wireless. Then he took control of my computer using web sharing software. He worked his way around, starting with the Dell Diagnostic tool that I could have run. He had me plug the Ethernet cable from our router into the laptop so he could download the driver. Then he decided to uninstall my wireless adapter and downloaded a copy of the latest driver and "installed" it. It was at this point tha


I've been thinking a lot about my sisters lately, for some reason. I think part of it is that in my writings of the past couple years, my focus has been so much on my brothers and male relationships that I've maybe slighted the impact my sisters have had on my life. The other reason, I think, is because the death of my brother has changed our family dynamic, in good ways, and one of the most noticeable is my relationship with my sisters. Because we're far apart (300 miles from one, and 2000 from another) we've never had a "call ya every week" kind of relationship. I can tell you on one hand how many times I've talked to them on the phone in the last ten years, we're not that kind of siblings. We all have families of our own, all with kids, jobs, mortgages and all the stress that comes with all of those things. None of us are big phone people anyway (at least I'm not) and so it would be odd to talk to them more than once a year on the phone anywa

Goodnight Daydream Believer

Davy Jones passed away yesterday and as usual it threw me for a loop. I don't know why I get so shocked when a celebrity from my youth dies, especially rock stars (or faux rock stars as the case may be). I think part of it is that I want to remember them as they were at their peak. When I saw a recent picture of Davy Jones, he looked very much his age (66), but still had some of that youthful dash to him as well. Another part of it is the realization that if it's happening the them it can surely happen to me. They were the invincible, inspirational stars of my youth and to have them dropping off it unsettling to say the least. One of my favorite bands of the 80s, the Cars, had their bassist die a few years back from cancer. Not right. Michael Jackson, never a big fan, but not right. Michael Hutchence of INXS, not right. Whitney Houston and all the rest, not right. Too young, too soon. It's good to see my preoccupation with my mortality is alive and well. As unhealthy a