Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Before the sun this morning I was pushing the snow off the driveway. Watching it build up in front of my show shovel as I went, very much like the snow that I experienced countless times growing up in Canada. It was nostalgic and strangely comforting.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
At that point I began to tell my family that somebody was watching them. I said that there was somebody in a different country that could watch what was happening right there in our TV room whenever they wanted to. And they could listen to our conversations if they chose to. When they eventually got rid of that black box, I said that there was a camera hidden somewhere in our television and all the same stuff was possible. And they all laughed at me and said I was nuts.
Well maybe not.
Several recent articles have revealed some pretty interesting things. Here are a few excerpts from the links below.
From Samsung: "Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition."
Or this. "...there shouldn't be too much cause for concern when it comes to voice recognition services right now."
Did you see that? So I shouldn't be concerned right now. Perhaps later, then? Well, how much later??
"Google fans can use Google Now's voice recognition to get information on nearby restaurants, movie times, flight arrivals and a ton more. But the company stores voice requests as a part of an effort to make the platform better."
And there is now even a thermostat that listens to you: It "..appears to take "listening" a step further by offering up details about your habits to brands that might want to later target you with ads."
While I have to assume that these companies are actually not eavesdropping or invading my privacy, it is just a little disconcerting that the capability is really there that would enable them to do so if they chose.
Here are the links I referred to above.
Monday, February 09, 2015
Sunday, February 08, 2015
Friday, February 06, 2015
Thursday, February 05, 2015
Wednesday, February 04, 2015
However there are some things that, without any doubt, are best left to knowledgeable professionals. One of those things is insurance. And I have to give kudos to Tom Davenport at Blue Marsh Insurance. He is brilliant. He is focused. He understands the many options out there and has the ability to explain things in a very non-intimidating way. Then he can help filter it all to create a solution.
I am also a firm believer that when a good experienced is had, it is something we ought to be letting others know about it. Which I just did.
Monday, February 02, 2015
Sunday, February 01, 2015
What if the corporations that spent that much money for a 30-second commercial in the big football game would invest an equal amount in initiatives that fostered a spread of goodwill, volunteerism, and giving? What if that much creativity was applied to helping those less fortunate than us or supporting the efforts to end the massive problem of human trafficking?
Has there ever existed an example of a person who gave selflessly, endlessly, who might set an example for us to follow? I believe there is. Jesus.
Saturday, January 31, 2015
In this kind of situation, I can be quite content with one or two solid conversations and today was good to me in that regard. It was encouraging to hear, in some detail, the story of a business start-up and share in both the challenging times as well as times of victory and growth.
I believe that at the core of every successful venture is a solid community of friends and a strong support structure. I experienced that again today and am grateful.
Friday, January 30, 2015
Thursday, January 29, 2015
As parents we are not so naive to assume that our kids will walk away from our care with no baggage of their own. And we also believe that a very important aspect of our parenting effort is conducting ourselves and our home life in such a way as to minimize that baggage.
While there are many areas in which I don't measure up or do what should be done, today, in a frank conversation, I became aware of a pretty significant shortfall.
With God's help there will be a change.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Think of a sculpted figure and all the chisel strokes or the detailed pencil sketch with thousands of shading nuances. Or any other dimensional piece of art that was created by careful attention to each stroke of the brush or knife. Or a magnificent piece of music that skewers the soul, inscribed note by note and harmony by harmony.
I hope some day to have the patience and focus to do something like that.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
"The timing belt. Do you know what that is? Would you like to know? Because it will take the entire trip to where you are babysitting tonight."
What followed the affirmative answer was a discussion of cylinders and pistons, spark plugs, intake and exhaust valves, air-gas mixture, compression, combustion, connecting rod, power stroke, and finally an intro into how the timing belt fits that scene. I described the power of the piston being connected to bike pedals and exerting the power to propel the bike. Always trying for word pictures that will convey the concept in a way I hope it can be understood.
The timing belt discussion happened as we were pulling into the driveway and she said, "Daddy, I know what you just said was the most important part, but I didn't get it and I gotta go now." With that she opened the door and escaped.
If one is to gain a good understanding of something, they will benefit from being aware of the context and back story, and then a detailed explanation. Well, that's my theory, at least, when answering questions posed by my family. Questions about pretty much anything are handled the same way if the questioner is willing.
They have caught on and sometimes I can see the rolling eyes. Or the question might be followed up with, "Just answer yes or no please."
Is that ok with me too?
Monday, January 26, 2015
I already have a DC motor that might work, so I think a wind generator will be the first avenue to pursue. I have seen a great web site with a pretty detailed discussion about the process as well as instructions.
When I was growing up in Canada, wind generated power was our everyday source. A tall tree, cleared of branches, with the generator mounted at the top charged a bank of 1.5VDC glass batteries. That 12VDC was then converted with a power inverter to create 110VAC to power our home. No wind. No power.
This won't be happening next week -- it's long-term planning. But I really do want to do it!
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Saturday, January 24, 2015
As a culture we have conditioned ourselves to believe that there should always be something new and exciting happening in our lives. I believe that, way down deep, we tend to think it is somehow a lesser or inferior response to admit that things are pretty much status quo.
However I am psyched when I can respond that things are as they have been.
Friday, January 23, 2015
In recent years more gold has been discovered and the area again was the scene of a gold rush. Only now the deposits are even more numerous and richer. And the price of gold today is about $1600/ounce (CAD). The 2011 video linked below shows an image of several gold bricks valued at over a million dollars each!
CBC Video 2008 / CBC Video 2011
Contrast that with a scene of unspeakable tragedy. Only a mere 55 miles north of Red Lake is a community called Pikangikum. According to an article by Maclean's Magazine, it has the terrible distinction of being the suicide capital of the world! It is where I spent the first decade plus a few years of my life, with parents who were missionaries in that community. Some years I was the only white kid in the entire school. It was a beautiful community with amazing people who were industrious, creative, and lived off the land. It is a land of enormous sky, open blue lakes or snow many feet deep, amazing sunsets, world class hunting and fishing, and millions of mosquitoes.
However, these days there is such a spirit of hopelessness. Just today we received news of yet two more suicides. One was a young man and the other pregnant young woman, only 22 years old. These are days of extreme sadness and desperation.
Please pray for change. Please pray for peace. Please pray for light to penetrate the darkness.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I am now convinced that generally I am not getting enough sleep.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Once in a while a new thing happens that is a great deal of fun. That happened last week. It traces back to a few years ago when we started brewing our own blend of cold brewed coffee. As it turns out, we ended up a pretty awesome product that has been well received by our friends. Then I began to see photos of some of the larger coffee roasters serving their cold brew "on nitro" and it looked very cool and I wanted to do it as well.
It finally came together last week and we are thrilled with the result. It is a system of infusing nitrogen into the cold brew and serving it with a faucet that causes it to have a soft and creamy feel and a very delicious taste! So far the samples we have given out have produced some very convincing responses and an excited group of "cold brew on nitro" fans.
It will soon be officially available in our coffee gazebo.
Twin Valley Coffee
Monday, January 19, 2015
"Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness--lazy thinking and indiscriminate action."
-- Tim Ferriss
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Apparently there are health benefits to eating fermented foods. Probiotics and the like. I will be sure to provide an update at some point in the process.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Thursday, January 15, 2015
One of the benefits of all the different interests is that we get to experience a wide variety of things, and the next event is tomorrow evening. We will be enjoying an evening of great music performed by Christopher, who, along with Brendan Burke and eight additional musicians, will be performing mostly originals.
At some point in the past I have heard most of these musician play or sing and they are all very talented. I have also overheard snippets of arranging sessions and, laying aside all biases, it will be an evening of really good and fun music.
You should be there.
More Info / Purchase Tickets
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
An entrepreneur necessarily exercises a great deal of creativity in making plans and finding solutions to accomplish the task at hand or achieve a desired result.
However it does not automatically follow that a creative person is going to be entrepreneurial as well. In fact many times creative types are quite inept at things the entrepreneur finds to be second nature.
A natural part of the problem solving or creative process is that we seek the path of least resistance to accomplish tasks leading us toward the goal. That is part of what problem solving is all about, finding a better, easier way to get stuff done.
So how can we learn to recognize that we don't have a particular skill set (and the wisdom to admit it and find ways to fill the gap) that might be required to bring any particular pursuit to its best result?
Monday, January 12, 2015
Sunday, January 11, 2015
This is really happening. To 30 million people. It is a huge issue and deserves our increased awareness and prayers at the very least. It is a global problem and a local problem and it touches us in ways we aren't even aware of.
There are many groups and organizations working hard to combat the problem, such as Not For Sale (www.notforsalecampaign.org) with efforts around the world. At the very local level you can find many groups, such as FREE (www.freefromht.org). Other folks are opening restoration homes for rescued victims (www.northstarinitiative.org). These are just some of the people involved at the front lines of this battle.
What is Human Trafficking? Here is an excellent overview: http://notforsalecampaign.org/human-trafficking
This is really happening!
Saturday, January 10, 2015
The warmth of their love and the support of friends definitely transcended any chill. Words of wisdom were spoken, handwritten vows were shared, and rings exchanged. And then Mr. & Mrs. Eric Weaver were introduced to the world!
Friday, January 09, 2015
Great writing will take you places you may never go. And help you experience things that otherwise would probably never be reality in your life. I have had some fantastic adventures.
However, too much time has passed since I have read a great novel. Any suggestions?
Thursday, January 08, 2015
I love everything about coffee. Twin Valley Coffee specifically. Roasting. Brewing. The aroma. Caffeine. Tweaking the roast. Espresso. Latte art (I'm getting better at that). Cold brew. Designing new drinks. New blends. Fundraisers. Seeing people enjoying Twin Valley Coffee for the first time, and never looking back.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
My natural inclination is to think the thoughts but not commit them to writing. Hopefully this discipline will significantly change that.