Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Make Excellent Mistakes!

I really like Dan Pink's latest book, Johnny Bunko. I follow his Bunko Blog pretty regularly, but a recent posting really kinda ticked me off. Not because of what Mr. Pink said, but what some readers had to say about ways to "improve" his book.

A group from Canada's Ministry of Small Business got together to discuss the book, and ended up creating a list of suggested rewrites. I think they completely missed the point, and ended up with a painfully ineffective, watered-down, wimpy collection of suggestions

For example, they took issue with Lesson #5: Make Excellent Mistakes. They wrote:

Make excellent mistakes is the one we had lots of trouble with. It is rarely ok to make any kind of mistakes and many get brow beaten for mistakes. No one ever got fired for picking IBM. This applies in government. A rewrite could be "Know how to manage risk." How do you make excellent mistakes and come out smelling like a rose? How do you evaluate how 'excellent' your mistake can be. Is getting a divorce an excellent mistake? For some it is.

"It is rarely ok to make any kind of mistakes?" Um, says who? And guess what - that's a mistake! Mistakes are unavoidable & inevitable. Further, real mistakes come with consequences, so a mistake where you "come out smelling like a rose" isn't exactly a learning experience. And why bring up divorce? I don' t think that's what Lesson #5 is really about.

Bad thing happen. People make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes hurt. Trying to avoid mistakes is a fear-based recipe for mediocrity, ignorance and inaction. Johnny Bunko got it right. Maybe some people should get fired for buying IBM... and if you get browbeaten for making mistakes, I'd suggest either a) toughen up or b) find a new job / new boss.

Monday, September 29, 2008


OK, here’s a quick thought experiment for you to try. Imagine two Highly Trained Professionals (HTP) are asked to make a prediction about whether Event A will occur.

HTP #1 says there is a 30% chance the event will occur.

HTP #2 says there is a 70% chance the event will occur.

The event occurs.

Question – which one was correct? 

As far as I can tell, they both were correct, insofar as they both recognized the event was possible. And since they were both correct, was there any real difference between the quality of their predictions? Is HTP #2 40% more correct? If there’s no difference, what’s the point? 

I think this is why weather forecasters don't advertise their "success rate" at predicting rain. It would probably be 100% success for every single weather guy - either that, or their success rate would be basically unmeasurable.

I wonder - do we work extra hard to avoid a negative event that has a 70% chance of occurring, and slack off if there's only a 30% chance? Do those numbers really mean anything at all about the future?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Charordic Age

Dee Hock, the founder of VISA International, wrote a fascinating book titled The Birth of the Chaordic Age. A particular scene from his book sticks in my mind as I see giants from the US financial sector crash and burn:

He observes"... organizations increasingly unable to achieve the purpose for which they were created, yet continuing to expand as they devour scarce recources, demean the human spirit and destroy the environment... Schools that can't teach... corporations that can neither cooperate nor compete, only consolidate, unhealthy health-care systems... economies that can't economize..."

Interesting stuff... and a book I highly recommend!

Politics & Personality

I think a politician’s personality has a huge impact on their ability to get stuff done. 

Let me go even further and say I'm pretty sure personality is how politicians get things done. Not on the basis of their knowledge, certainly not on the basis of their processes and procedures. I suspect it all comes down to personality.

I also think having a sense of humor is critical in order to be effective at almost anything (and a sense of humor is also an indication of intelligence). So, which candidate has a personality conducive to getting stuff done (recognizing there are many types of personalities that can "get stuff done")? Which has demonstrated the best sense of humor?

I write a lot of these posts a few days in advance, then set them to publish one day at a time, at 7am. So I didn't know about the whole "suspend my campaign" decision when I wrote this... nor did I know that this many days into the financial meltdown we still would not have heard from Sen McCain about his ideas on what to do... nor did I know he would threaten to not participate in tonight's debate... 

I think I've figured out who I'm going to vote for.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Movie Recommendations?

Kim is heading out to Texas next week, for the annual MOPS convention. That means it’s time for me to watch some movies, and you get to help nominate titles for the list. 

I’m looking for Guy Movies - you know, action/adventure films and silly/cheesy comedies... the kinds of stuff Kim wouldn’t be interested in. Stuff like Mr. Bean and Transformers. No chick-flicks allowed!

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Humor Part 3: Practice What You Sell?

OK, this shot requires some explanation. See, I was out with my lovely wife, and we were at one of those kiosks in the mall, when I noticed the mini office setup on the shelf. That's what's in the picture. There's only one thing funny about it, but unless I tell you which company's kiosk it is, you'll never get the joke.

The company? Verizon Wireless. We were getting Kim a new cellphone.

The funny part? Yup, that's a land-line phone sitting on that shelf. Just in case they want to make a call from the mall, I suppose, without using up all their minutes?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Emotional Running

After I finished the half-marathon, I experienced an unusual (for me) emotion, one I don’t have a name for. What do you call the feeling that makes you want to cry at a sappy Hallmark commercial? Is there even a word for that? Or is it just “feeling emotional?” Whatever it is, that’s how I felt for a good 45 minutes or so after finishing the race…

And speaking of emotions, the day before the half-marathon, I was driving along the race route and was suddenly hit with a much easier emotion to identify – fear. Unexpected, unambiguous, plain-old fear, triggered by the sight of the road I’d be running on. The feeling went away quickly as I talked myself down, remembering my successful completion of a 10 mile run just a few days earlier. But wow, I wasn’t expecting that. 

Looking back at it, I think it was just a response to the anticipated pain involved with running 13.1 miles. It turns out, my body thinks pain is scary. And it’s right, ‘cause pain hurts.

But until this weekend, I had no idea distance running was such an emotional experience.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Politics Part Next: Economics

I don't pretend to understand the whole Fanny / Freddie / AIG / Whatever's Next fiasco. If you want a cogent, thorough analysis (which I completely agree with) check out John Medaille's blog, The Distributist Review. He points out that when it comes to Big Finance, "profits are privatized; losses are socialized." Nicely said (and sadly true)!

Clearly, economics is an important topic these days. As I've mentioned several times before, I'm not a Capitalist (dang, there goes my political career!). I'm not a Socialist either -I'm a Distributist. For new readers, distributism is a third-way economic philosophy that advocates for wide-spread, small-scale ownership of productive property. Power to the people, baby! Distributists dislike Big, whether it's Big Government or Big Business... and as recent events have shown, there's not much difference between the two.

I think one of the main questions an economic philosophy (or political candidate) needs to answer is this: Who Should Pay? If a person wants or needs something, whether it's health care, an iPod or a meal, who should pay for that something? I suspect you can build an entire economic philosophy by simply answering that question. There are other questions as well, but let's start here.

Personally, I think the individual should pay for the thing. In the case where the individual cannot pay, that person's immediate family (parents/adult children) should pay. Thus, the mom and dad should buy diapers for the infant, or the adult children should care for the elderly parent. If the immediate family cannot pay, the individual should look to (in order): extended family, friends, the church, local businesses, local government, and finally non-local government. Clearly, I'm an economic nutcase. 

If you're wondering why business comes before government on my list, it's partly because being a good neighbor is good business and I like to encourage good business... and partly because I hold to the principle of subsidiarity, which basically says a larger unit should not perform a function which can be performed by a smaller unit. So my list is basically in order of increasing size. 

This doesn't mean I'm against cooperation - far from it! I'm just pointing out that when a group gets too big, participation ceases to be cooperative and becomes coercive (did anyone ask if you wanted to buy AIG?).

Similarly, I'm convinced it is good for the distance between consumption and payment to be as small and transparent as possible. I think we should be aware of the costs involved with the things we consume, whether we are paying them directly or not (check out this post on "freeways" for more on that topic).

Any thoughts on which party might get anywhere close to this position?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I Did It!

The 12th Annual US Air Force Marathon was today, and I ran the Half-Marathon (that really should be capitalized, don't you think?) 45 seconds below my goal time! Yay me! I was hoping to get below 2 hours. I did it in 1:59:15. I might never reset my stopwatch.

It was a great race, and I'm so happy to have run it, even if I did have to put up with watching an F-22 flyby (they had an F-16 fly over too, which made up for the presence of the F-22). 

Ok, back to the race. I started out with "Pacer Jim" and a group of other aspiring 2-hour'ers. Pacer Jim promised to get us to the finish line by the 2 hour mark if we stayed with him. When we hit the 3 mile mark (after the easiest run up The Hill ever!) I struck out on my own at a slightly faster pace. When I came to the 5 mile mark, I thought "Really? Already?" and I hit the 10 mile mark at exactly 90 minutes, well ahead of the 9:10 per mile pace I needed. 

Apparently I slowed down over the next few miles, because I Pacer Jim and his remaining 2 hour crew caught up with me a little beyond the 12 mile point. I finished a little ahead of them.

Crossing the finish line was amazing and slightly disorienting. I think I had a mild, temporary case of PTSD. My head was in a fog and I couldn't think clearly, as I shuffled through a post-race food line, collecting food with no idea if I wanted to eat it or not. It was nearly half an hour before I felt coherent enough to call home and tell my family I'd finished. Now it's 7:30pm and I'm pretty much all better. Well, I'm still a bit sore, tired and dehydrated (amazing considering how much water I've consumed since finishing the race), but all in all, I'm feeling alright.

Interesting side note: The local Air Force "Band of Flight" played as part of the after-race festivities. I remember seeing similar bands when I was a kid in the 80's. Back then, AF bands would play boring oldies - stuff from the 60's. Today they played totally cool music from the 80's. What a difference 20 years makes, eh?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Politics Part 4: Power To The People

I'm a big fan of term limits, because I think the idea of "government by the people" is an important principle for democracy. Career politicians have their place, I'm sure, but there's nothing like bringing in an actual human being, an ordinary citizen, into the halls of power. Anyone, no matter how idealistic or maverick-ish, can get twisted and warped if they spend too much time in a place like DC, so I think we need to bring in fresh eyes, new perspectives, on a regular basis

Hollywood loves to tell stories like Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (great movie!), and I think those stories resonate with audiences for a reason - there is truth in them. 

So, I don't mind a candidate who doesn't have much experience. And I'm skeptical of any candidate with too much experience. I like the idea of a small-town mayor or local community organizer going to the White House. I'm less excited about seeing a Senator or Congressman make the same journey. I like candidates who can demonstrate they are well educated on issues, and are thoughtful and reflective. I like candidates who can speak clearly and insightfully, and not get all wrapped around the axle of nuance. I distrust candidates who won't talk to the press or only speak with carefully selected, friendly audiences.

I would like to see a top-of-the-ticket candidate who has actually been in charge of things, who has made executive decisions, met a payroll, and things like that. Neither side is really offering that. Yes, Gov. Palin has executive experience, so that's a plus, and John McCain led a Navy training squadron, which is certainly something. So, on this particular type of executive experience, McCain/Palin seems to be in the lead. But then again, he's been in the Senate for an awfully long time... and Obama has that whole new-guy vibe.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vote For Andy!

Hey everyone, my blog friend Andy Nulman has a manifesto proposal over at ChangeThis, and he needs your vote. It looks like a pretty cool manifesto idea (it's based on his upcoming book), so surf on over there and give him a click so he gets the invitation to write the thing.

You might recall I did an early version of The Simplicity Cycle for ChangeThis in April 2006. I wasn't thinking about doing it as a book at that time, so I sort of missed the opportunity to use the manifesto to plug my book. Andy is doing it the right way.

So, please give him a vote, if you're so inclined.

Truth In Advertising?

I seem to be surrounded by humor these days. First the wet Out of Order sign, now this. There I was, parked at a stoplight, when this big van pulls up alongside me, bearing the company logo you see above. 

Dare to dream, fella's...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Got The Power!

Thanks to the tail end of Hurricane Ike, we just wrapped up 48 hours with no electricity - whew, what a relief to have lights on again!

And as exhausting, frustrating and uncomfortable as it was, I have to say it was actually a positive experience overall. Sure, once the power went out, a large number of household chores went from easy to virtually impossible (laundry, anyone?). But, we got to spend some time with our neighbor He has a generator and let us plug in our fridge, and we have a grill so we cooked burgers and had dinner together. That was really fun. And I think we all developed a whole new appreciation for things like warm showers and overhead lights (not to mention email). For about an hour after my first shower in 2 days, I kept thinking "Wow, I feel clean. How nice that is."

We lost several large limbs from a couple trees and spent a good chunk of a day sawing & hauling (thus the "exhausting" part), but we actually got off pretty easy. No damage to the house, minimal food loss (thanks to the neighbor), and no water shortages. Plus, the weather was a friendly 60-65 for most of the time. And a couple kids with a pickup truck and a trailer came by and offered to haul away the tree limbs the same day. Not bad!

(and if you're wondering how I managed to do the previous days' blog posts... I cheated and had them all set up to post at 7am each day...)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Politics Part 3: Energy

This one is actually pretty easy for me - I think I agree with the Dem's on energy.

I am pretty sure that if we put our minds to it, we could figure out a sustainable way to produce enough energy for all our needs, without unduly harming the environment (either through drilling, spilling, digging, mining or pollution). And the issue for me isn't simply Global Warming - whether or not our air pollution makes the planet warmer, it's still can't be good to throw tons and tons of sulphur, CO2 and other chemicals into the air we breath. So yeah, without getting into the Global Warming debate, let me just say I'd like to see us pollute less than we do. 

And surely there's a way to produce energy that is less destructive than stripmining for coal.

Which brings me to nuclear energy. I've mentioned before that I think nuclear power is a bad idea, because it's an incomplete idea. We honestly don't have a good plan for effectively dealing with nuclear waste.

So I cringe when I hear "Drill Baby Drill" or proposals for more nuclear power plants. Really, let's just stop doing that stuff, and put some serious resources into solar, wind, geothermal, tidal and the like. My initial, limited forays into researching those topics seems to indicate there's a lot of potential still untapped, a lot of efficiencies to be had.

The question now is how important this issue is, compared to the others...

Monday, September 15, 2008


I was walking down a hallway and came across this water fountain. The sign clearly says "OUT OF ORDER," but the paper is soaked. How does that make sense? 

Anyway, the incongruity made me laugh, so naturally I whipped out my ever-present marvel of modern photography, my beloved fuzzy camera phone, to take this shot.

And no, I did not explain myself to the guy who walked past and laughed, because frankly I'm not sure if he was laughing at me or at the wet sign. Plus, I out ranked him.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Countdown To Race Day

This morning's 10 mile run went pretty well - my pace was good, despite the fact that it was 70 degrees and foggy (i.e. humid). I got tired right around the 7 mile mark... that's about the half-way point of a half-marathon, so it'll be interesting to see how much of a boost I get from the crowds on race day.

But I only have two training runs left before the big race. Hard to believe it's almost here!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Political Issues 2: Life and Death

I almost don't want to write this post, the whole "life" issue has become so insane, but it is an important issue and I trust my readers, so here I go...

I think life is sacred. I don't use the phrase "pro-life" to describe myself, because that means something completely different than what I'm talking about (and completely different than what the words "pro" and "life" themselves mean). But I will say that I am firmly in favor of living and allowing the people around me to also live. Maybe that makes me a Libertarian?

I think life is sacred, so yes, I think abortion should not be a legal option except to save the life of the mother. I'd love to see Roe -v- Wade overturned. But I also think the death penalty should not be a legal option, and I'd love to see 100% of the death penalty sentences commuted. And it may be a failure of imagination on my part, but I don't understand how anyone can oppose abortion and support the death penalty (or vice versa). There seems to be a consistency issue there.

Now, I understand the argument that if abortion were outlawed, women would risk their lives in illegal, "back-alley" procedures, so we're actually supporting their lives by keeping abortion legal. I also understand the argument that the death penalty deters crime, so we support life by killing prisoners. I just don't buy either of those arguments (tho I hardly have the space or time or inclination to attempt to refute either in this blog post)... and in both cases, I'd say society has a moral obligation to provide alternatives, care, support, education and assistance. Even for convicted murderers - not because they deserve it, but because it's better for society to behave that way. Let me go further - I think society has a moral obligation to disallow this kind of killing.

On the topic of life, I also think gun control laws should be rather stricter than they are, because guns really do kill people, despite what the NRA says, which lines up with the Democratic position. I'm not a pacifist - it is indeed sometimes necessary to fight. But I think war is, generally speaking, a really bad idea, however terribly necessary it is at times, which lines up with John McCain's expressed views. 

So, does that make me a Republican or a Democrat? Does either party offer a platform consistent with this view?

There's only so much I can cover in a single blog post - and obviously this is a huge issue. But hopefully I've expressed at least something meaningful about my opinions, at least at the macro level. And still, I'm not much closer to deciding how to vote...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Political Issues Part 1: National Defense

As advertised, here's the first in a (short) series of explorations on political issues. I'm hoping this will help me figure out who to vote for... but I realize it might end up just confusing things even more.

I think Teddy Roosevelt got it right when he appropriated the old saying "Speak softly and carry a big stick." I believe a strong military is a good deterrent against aggressors. I also think the best weapon is one that never has to be used (and I think Sun Tzu would agree). Roosevelt was criticized in his day for being overly bellicose - but it turns out, not only were there no American military guns fired in anger during his presidency, but he went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize. I miss Teddy. I'd totally vote for him.

Having said all that, I also think the DoD spends way too much money on technology development. In fact, that's one of the central points behind my current Master's Degree thesis. So I don't equate big budgets with military capabilities. We can be very strong - overwhelmingly strong - without spending so much money. Which party will be more open to the idea of spending less money on building weapons? 

I also think a strong military is only a deterrent against a certain type of aggressor. The past 7 years have shown our main opponents these days aren't particularly impressed or deterred by our tanks, bombers and battleships. So, there's that. Which candidate best understands the immediate & near-term threats? Who has a good guess on the mid-term threats? I contend nobody knows anything at all about long-term threats (and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise).

Ultimately, I suspect there are two ways to prevent hostilities (and that is the point, right?). One is to be so doggone strong that nobody dare attack. The other is to be so well loved and respected that nobody wants to. Of course, both situations are impossible, but we should probably get as close to both as possible. Which candidate will make America both strong and loved?

I wonder what the world will think if we elect a guy with a military background to be our president. What message does that send? Would that demonstrate a deterrent strength? Or a provocative aggression? Both? Similarly, if we elect Obama, will the world love us more? Or will they perceive a softening of our armor and resolve? And would that be good or bad?

Hmmm... this isn't really helping me yet, is it?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Politics & Issues

Hi, my name is Dan and I'm an undecided voter.

It's not because I'm apathetic or uninformed. I actually watched most of the coverage of both conventions. I think the only major speech I skipped was Biden's, 'cause I was just too doggone tired that night. I'm undecided because, rather than being a loyal party member, I tend to vote based on issues, and thus I agree (and disagree) with both parties on some points.

Right now, I haven't decided which side I agree with more, or which one I think will be best for the country as a whole. So, I figured I'd write about where I stand on various issues, and see if I can figure out which party is closest to my point of view.

So, in the coming days, I'll post some thoughts about things like defense, the economy, energy, education, etc (and other things that start with e). I'm sure Mark and Rhet will help point out things I overlook or misunderstand, and many of you will help clarify the candidates' various positions. Hopefully, by the time the dust settles I'll have an idea of which candidate should get my support.

It'll be an interesting experiment.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Finish Lines

Yesterday, I finished the first draft of my fourth kid's novel, The Boomer Sisters And The Pirates. Whoo-hoo!

As with all my books, I really enjoyed writing it, but I must say, it feels SO GOOD to be done. Now all I have to do is type it up, edit it, polish it, pass it along to my wonderful illustrator Mandy, incorporate the illustrations (once they're done - no rush, Mandy), and  hopefully have it all put together in time to get a nice-looking, professional copy ready to put under the tree for Christmas. Even the super-fast self-publishing route takes some time, as  you can see.

The other finish line up ahead is the Air Force half marathon. The race is on Sept 20th, and as with the writing, I've really (mostly) enjoyed the training, I'm super glad I'm doing it, and it will feel SO GOOD  to be done.

I've been a runner pretty consistently since I was 15, but I think I'm going to take a break after the half marathon is over. My legs and knees are surprisingly fine, but my brain is a little bit burned out on running. Well, maybe not all running, but certainly the uncivilized distances I've been doing lately. Perhaps I'll pick up racquetball again. That would be nice.

Yes, it's the journey that matters, but finish lines are beautiful things, aren't they?

Monday, September 8, 2008

My I*N*T*E*N*S*E Mornings

I noticed a curious pattern the other day. Most of the products I interact with each morning seem to be some combination of Ultra, Max, Mega, Super or Xtreme (there's even one labeled "Mega X-treme" - yikes!)

It made me wonder... do I perhaps naturally gravitate towards this kind of intensity, or did I buy these products because I had a coupon? Do coupons tend to go along with Maxed-out MegaUltraGoodness? Clearly, more research is called for.

Naturally, I immediately whipped out my handy-dandy, oh-so-fuzzy camera phone and snapped up the evidence to share with all my faithful readers (Hi mom!). 

I wonder - does your day start out with this much intensity? And how much Power does that PowerStripe(tm) really contain?

Well, at least something around here is "regular."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Google Chrome

So I just downloaded the new web browser from Google. It's called Chrome, and I think I dig it. I'm still feeling my way around, but so far, so good. It's one of the most elegant (and least intrusive) applications I've ever used... as I would expect from Google. I love that I could easily import my bookmarks and passwords from Firefox.

But the coolest thing is this 38 page comic introducing Chrome, by none other than Scott McCloud, the genius behind Understanding Comics (LOVE that book!). It's probably longer than it needs to be, but it's engaging, informative, and a brilliant way to not only introduce the new browser, but also to introduce the team and the design philosophy behind it. It's a master class in software design principles, in a mere 38 pages. I highly recommend it.

I'm not ready to abandon Firefox and endorse Chrome just yet - gotta kick the tires and see what this puppy can do. But I can tell you the very first thing I did after downloading and installing Chrome was write this blog post.

New Oil

Sen Obama pointed the other day that drilling for oil in new places is neither a short-term solution nor a long-term solution. I think that's a pretty good point and I wonder how I hadn't thought of it in those terms before.

I'm not saying which candidate I prefer. I'm just saying that drilling for oil in new places takes a while. New sites take time to develop - sometimes, a lot of time. And the long-term answer to our energy needs clearly has nothing to do with petroleum. So, can anyone tell me why we should drill for new oil anywhere? Maybe it's a mid-term solution, that will benefit us for a little while 5+ years from now?

Personally, I'd rather see that money, time and intellectual capital invested in a more permanent, more eco-friendly solution.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Muffin Films

It's been a while since I've watched these little muffin movies, but I checked them out again and they're just as funny as ever. If you've never seen them, click on over. They're a real treat!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Today's Score

Heat, Humidity & Hills: Zero
Dan: 2

After last week's crushing defeat on the Hills of Hell, I bounced back this morning and kicked some hot, hilly, humid hiney!

That's right, sports fans, despite today's heat & humidity, I made it through my hilly 2.5 mile loop twice this morning, without stopping to walk and without crying at all, not even a little bit. And my pace was right on track too - now that's more like it.

So, I think I'm going to be ready for the big 13 miler on Sept 20th. Not much longer now!

Latest Article Online Now!


I love it when the new issue of Defense AT&L is posted online, 'cause that means I've got a new article available to plug... and this one's a doozie! Wake the kids! Call the neighbors! Send this link to everyone in your email address book! (Ok, don't actually do that last one).

Anyway, after my foray into postmodernism and my experiment with oddball Socratic fiction, this one is a return to form. It's titled "The Truth About Process Loss Costs," and I suspect it's going to toast some knickers.

See, the whole concept of becoming a "process enterprise" is popular in the DoD these days ('cause industry largely walked away from the practice in the late 90's, so it's about time we pick it up). In this article, I have a few uncomfortable questions to ask of the Hammerheads and other Process Advocates... answers they studiously refuse to answer.

I can't wait to see what sort of "fan mail" this one generates. I hope it will get people to really evaluate this whole "process enterprise" thing.

And as a Special Bonus, check out the latest 13 Theta cartoon. Guaranteed to make you laugh, or your money back!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dan's Garden: RIP

Bad news - my garden died.

Yeah, pretty much the whole thing kicked the bucket. It never really recovered from my absence during a trip or two to NY. Plus, we had 3 weeks without rain, which certainly didn't help. And, it turns out I'm not a very attentive gardener, which is probably the main problem. I'd water it periodically - say, every other day or so - but probably not long enough or often enough. Sigh.

There are a few sad looking little cucumbers trying to hang in there, and a couple beans. But the zucchini and squash plants just seem to have given up.

The carrots are sorta hanging in there, as far as you can tell with carrots. I'll have to go out and see what I can harvest of them. And we did have several good meals with the beans, carrots, cucumbers and a couple zucchinis earlier in the season. But it looks like overall, we'll have to chalk this little experiment up as a learning experience. Better luck next time, eh?

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Flip Flop Lock: Only $19.95!

I was walking down the stairwell at school the other day and saw that someone had locked up a pair of flip-flops with a bike lock. I just about burst out laughing and had to take a photo (using my handy-dandy, ever-present and oh-so-fuzzy & dark camera phone).