Showing posts from July, 2012

Olympic Flashback

Taking a night off from being glued to the Olympics, or at least long enough to post about them. (They're on in the other room and I can feel the pull of them. Help me!) The problem has been that since they started, I tend to watch the events from end to end. One great showing leads into another. Add to that that DVR makes it possible to skip commercials, and I could cram 4 hours of programming into 3. Nice, but still a time suck. Watching them has jogged my memory to some of the more memorable Summer Olympic moments. I actually prefer the Winter Olympics, but I do recall some very memorable summer athletes, events and milestones. These include: 1. The terrorist guerrillas in 1972 taking hostage and eventually killing 11 Israeli athletes in Munich. I remember watching some of the highlights when I was home during those long summer days. It was incredibly frightening, sad and difficult to understand at that age. 2. Frank Shorter's marathon performance in 1972. Not sure w

ESRI UC 2012 Post Mortem

I just returned from the ESRI 2012 Users Conference . As always it was jam-packed with good content about the upcoming 10.1 release of ArcGIS . The plenary, keynote and sessions were all very good. Some weak moments in the afternoon of Monday's plenary, I thought, but not too bad. One of my goals for the conference was to not walk myself to death as I've done in years past. Usually I'll walk down to Seaport Village a couple of times to have lunch, a ten minute walk each way. This year I came across a food truck right outside the center, that was serving really good Mexican food, so I had an authentic burrito there instead. Supporting the local economy, saving myself a few bucks and a little walking. Nice. One of the maps in the map gallery was the map above showing the evacuations routes in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse in Portland, OR. It was an application of GIS I'd never actually considered before. It's good to know that someone has it covered. I'd b

4th Grade Tales - The Adventures of Joe and Mac

Below is the second of my, let's call them my "early writings." Again, these are the first stories I can remember formulating as a kid. All of them were 3 half page stories. Evidently, I had a word limit at age ten too. This is another runaway fantasy of mine. It seems I was preoccupied with leaving home and all of the adventures that might come of it. Ten noteworthy things about this story : It seems I favored 3 letter names. Evidently I liked to do my own illustrating. I was never good at drawing and here's proof positive. I cover this subject in more detail in my Draw Like an Egyptian  post. Some kids got the talent, some don't. I'm a don't. I see lots of erasures and would like to know what I had written before it was erased. It could be a hidden gem like painters that reused their canvases. There might be a  Michael Crichton  thriller hidden in there. I don't know what's more disturbing, two young boys building a raft on a river nea

Fourth Grade Tales - Camping on the Trail

Everyone gets their start somewhere. Everyone has a dream, a passion, a love. I'd like to think that my love of writing began in earnest when I was in fourth grade at St. Luke's Grade School. It was then that I started creating short, short stories and somehow over time I've managed to hold on to them. My mom actually had them in her possession for years and gave them to me a few years ago. I've scanned them and will use them in this and future posts.  I can remember vividly writing these and even had my homeroom teacher, Sister Patricia ask if she could put them in her classroom "drawer of special things," or something of that nature. Evidently I feared copyright infringements even back then because I told her I'd rather not. (It was either that or an unhealthy dose of  humility.) As you'll see over time when I post these stories, most of them have a clear moral, or lesson to them. It seems I was a judgmental, or self-righteous child and was


I took Ben out for his first golf outing this afternoon at Moor Downs Golf Course in Waukesha. The course is a short, fairly wide open course that I thought would be a good way to introduce him to the sport. We had a good time together, despite the high temps and uncomfortable dew point. I could tell he was getting tired near the end, as was I. I haven't golfed in a couple years, and it showed. I shot in the neighborhood of a 55 (par for the course was 34.) Now, I am the world's most honest golfer, and my score is indicative of that. I don't  see the point in lying about my score because what will that get me? I know my abilities. I also know that over the years I've played I haven't improved significantly, either. Is lying going to make me feel better about my game? No. If I got a 7, I score a 7. More often than not, I forget how many shots I'm at anyway. In those cases, I usually just score 2 over. I have a hard time taking the game seriously. I enjoy i

Top Ten (Plus One) Vacation Spots

Since it is that time of year when people are either on, returning or planning a vacation, I thought it would be interesting to think back on some of the best vacations I have had over the years, and why. There are too many to count, but I'll try and run down some of the top ones. In no particular order: Top 10 + 1 Best Vacations: Colorado (2010). The Rocky Mountains were the most inspiring natural wonders I've ever seen. Breathtaking vistas around every bend. The pictures we took from the top of Trail Ridge Road are singed into my memory forever. South Dakota, 2007 . I love that area. The Black Hills, Needles Highway, Custer State Park, Wind Cave and the beautiful house we stayed at on the top of a mountain. It will always stand out as one of the best vacations I took with my brothers Tom and Rob and their kids. I'll never forget seeing the Buffalo after losing hope that we'd ever see them in anything but a pen. There were hundreds. Sarah almost cried w

Take A Kid Camping

We spent the Fourth of July with good friends again last night. It's our tradition, strange as it is, to meet them in the parking lot at Center Court Sports Complex  near the airport to watch fireworks. They tow their camper out there and set it up, while we bring food, beverages and lawn chairs. We call it our "white trash Fourth," and we usually have a blast. This year was no different, though the fireworks were shortened because they kept igniting grass fires, causing the fire department to race out and douse the flames. It's been as dry of a summer as I've seen in a long time. Our friends are bringing this trailer to Kohler Andrae State Park next week when we join them for camping, as I mentioned in my previous post. The trailer and the upcoming trip brought to mind all the "State Park" camping trips we took as kids, many with our stepbrothers and sisters. These trips, unlike any of the "roughing it" trips of the Boundary Waters we

The Next Thing

As usual I am looking toward the next vacation break. With July 4th falling in the middle of the week, there's not much happening around that date. We'll probably just go to the local fireworks at the Waukesha Expo and help stomp out  all the ground fires the fireworks start. We are in the early stages of drought around here and could use a couple of feet of rain. (Not all at once, please.) No, the next big vacation is the next week when we will spend 3 days and 2 nights with good friends at Koehler Andrae State Park  near Sheboygan, WI. I've never been to the park, but it looks like it has some great beach area to it, which will be nice, given the scorching weather we've had the past 3 weeks or so. Hopefully the water won't be too rancid, like it gets down in Milwaukee when the algae comes floating in.  We will be tenting it at the park, while our friends stay near us in their RV/Trailer. It will be good to get some fishing in, as they have a small fis