Archive for June, 2013

My new obsession

I have a bit of an obsessive personality. I fully and completely admit that.

Not something I’m particularly proud of, but it’s the way I’m wired up.

However, when I find something I truly love, that is fun, and most of all relaxing….watch out.

I’m hooked.

Yeah, there’s a pun there.

I’ve rediscovered fishing.

Growing up I loved to fish. There were a few “ponds” around our area, but they were few and far between. So I didn’t get to go very often.

It just wasn’t convenient. I think the closest one was 20 minutes away.

However, up here in Wisconsin, there are lakes everywhere.

And they have fish in them!!!!

This all started a couple weeks ago.

The local Optimist Club had a “Kids Fishing” day at one of the little ponds close to us. First 100 kids got a free fishing pole and reel.

So Mrs. Technocrat and I took the boys and off we went.

It was a blast. Sure enough we got their in time and both boys got a free pole. Nice ones too. Noting fancy but solid poles and spincast reels.


Then they got to fish a bit on the pond. At then end of the day the youngest caught one fish (with Dad’s help).

But Dad got the itch again. I’d forgotten how much fun it is. Life got in the way and I hadn’t been fishing in years.

Best of all, it’s RELAXING!!! Something I need in my life.

I still had a cheap pole in the garage, but no reel. So when I remembered the Dick’s Sporting goods gift card sitting on my dresser…off I went.

I picked up a solid little Shimano spinning reel and some supplies.

Yeah. I’m hooked again. (Yup, pun intended again)

I’ve been multiple times in the past couple weeks and love it. I’m remembering all the great things about just being outside and fishing.

Living here is the perfect enabler for this sort of thing.

I can get home from work and in 10 minutes be on water fishing. Perfect. I can fish for a half an hour to an hour and still head home and cook dinner.

This is where my obsessive personality comes into play. It’s too damn easy.

The proximity to water is calling me.

The boys love it and it’s something we can do together.

Mrs. Technocrat even likes to fish a bit.

So, I think I may have found there perfect obsession.

Random Thoughts

Love the weather lately.

Yeah. Truly. I do.

I love getting rain that you measure in feet instead of inches.

Nothing like storm after storm after storm after storm.

Oh, and then there is the constant water in our basement because the outside it too muddy for our repair people to actually fix the leak.

Yeah. I love it.

If I ever look out my window and see pairs of animals walking down the street, I’m leaving.


I think my wife is about to go through yet another iPhone.

This time it’s not her fault. That I an prove.

She’s been complaining that her phone is getting hot when it charges.

This is how the last one started to “go”.

WTF Apple!?!?!

I mean really?


You used to make products I could and would defend to other people. Now…I’m questing if I want to continue with your phone platform.

Love my Apple computers.

But the phones?

/Spock_eyebrow = up


It’s firefly season again in Wisconsin.

No I don’t mean the sci-fi TV show.

I mean the luminescent little bugs.

Mrs. Technocrat and I have a place we walk in the evening. Its a nature preserve/trail with lots of trees, bushes, vegetation in general and a stream.

This time of year, if you go at the right time at night, it looks like a billion little starts have fallen to earth and are twinkling away.

Pure summer beauty.

It’s strange, but with the lights, the vegetation, the near darkness (for the perfect time) and sound/smell/feeling of the stream and the humidity, it’s like being inside a Disney ride. You know, one of those “water” rides like Pirates of the Caribbean.

Love. It.

Summer storms

I love summer. Always have.

In Wisconsin, after the winters here, Summer is something like mental salvation. At least for me.

This year, summer has been a bit late in coming. Winter seemed to hold on and NEVER let go. Hell, it’s mid June and the temp got down into the high 40’s the other night.


But it seems that the temps are climbing and the days are getting more and more enjoyable.

I love summer. Did I mention that?

But I miss something about them now. The storms.

I grew up in Kansas (I might have mentioned that). The summer storms there are Epic! Wait, let me change that. They are EPIC!

Massive, thunderheads rolling in from the west. Anvil clouds rising 1,000s off feet into the air, boiling cloud banks and wind lines that can literally take your breath away.

Then there is the green sky.

If you’ve never seen it, the sky in Kansas (and other states in Tornado Alley) turn a remarkable shade of green when “really bad shit” is about to happen.

It’s sort of like a bruise. It’s amazing.

The thunder rolls like nature’s drum section and you can stand on your porch and watch the rain/squall line move across the wheat fields.

There’s something majestic about it.

I was in a home improvement store a week or so ago when they had just issued a tornado watch for the area. Everyone was freaking out and the checker that helped me even commented on it. “Looks like we are going to get some bad weather”, she said trying to sound less worried. People were nervous. I’m serous. Over a tornado watch. Not a warning, a watch.

“Nope I said, the sky isn’t right and it wasn’t hot enough today,” I replied lightly.

It’s true. Growing up in Kansas, you, by default, become a bit of a meteorologist. You understand that for the really cool (nasty) storms, you need a hot day. A really hot and humid day. This feeds the storms energy. And energy is the right word on so many levels.

You see, when there’s a bad/big storm coming, there is an energy in the air. It’s sort of like the atmosphere is nervous. You spend enough time around it, you can tell. Sort of like you can tell when your spouse or kids are nervous.

The atmosphere knows something is going to happen. And it’s worried, and people can sense it if they pay attention.

That day in the home improvement store wasn’t right. No energy in the air…and nothing materialized.

In a twisted way, I miss those storms.

The colors, the smells, the physical feelings, the energy in the air. I miss it all.

The storms here in Wisconsin are nice, but they just aren’t the same. They are over too quickly and a little too calm.

Not that I want an F3+ tornado to come tearing through the Isthmus…but a good, long, thunder and lightening storm would be great.

One of those that shakes the filings in your teeth. We had one strike today like that. Just one.

Now, I just need about 39 or so more for a real storm.

Summer just isn’t the same without them.

Will power

I’ve been struggling lately with a variety of questions of will power.

Not necessarily mine, (one or two maybe) but those that other people make.

Will power seems to be one of those eternal and internal struggles that humans deal with. Something we’ve been facing for a long time.

Honestly, I don’t get it. At least not entirely.

I’m not saying I’m perfect…far from it. But the whole question of doing what’s good for us, or what we know is right as compared to what’s “easy” and what “feels good” is something I see a lot of in the world today.

A saw a perfect example this morning.

I was on the shuttle bus coming in to work and we pulled up to a stop light.

In the left-hand turn lane was a very large woman in her car. I noticed something on her face. Tubes running to an oxygen tank in the back seat.

OK…no big deal there. Tons of people today need a little extra O2 for a variety of reasons.

The kicker here was this.

She had the windows rolled up tight….and a cigarette in her mouth.



This is bad on SOOO many levels.

First off…hello…BOOM!!! Explosion risk!


Don’t they teach people that smoking and open flames around 02 tanks are a little on the dangerous side? Then to put all that mix into a vehicle with gasoline in close proximity?

Holy rolling fireworks batman!!

On a more simple level…if you need oxygen so bad that you need to wear it when you are driving…do you REALLY think you should be smoking? At all?

/spock_eyebrow = up

Seriously…if you are in that poor health…shouldn’t you be quitting? I know quitting smoking is hard. I saw my dad try for years when I was young and only a bad case of walking pneumonia actually let him kick the habit.

But this is your HEALTH we are talking about. When you can’t breath and need to wear O2 tubes…put down the cancer sticks.

Or, at least roll down the windows and get some fresh air.

Where I’m going with this is that we, as a society seem to have very little collective will power these days.

And I often wonder if technology isn’t partly to blame.

Need a new book? Forget waiting, buy it on Kindle and have it in 30 seconds?

Doctor tells us something we don’t like…Google it and get 50,000 different opinions in 1 minute and sort through them until we find one we “like”.

I see it in my own family also. One of my kids recently asked if he could buy his own copy of World of Warcraft.

THAT’s a dangerous question.

See, I have a problem with that game. Not an “I don’t like it or think it’s evil” sort of problem.

No, the exact opposite. I LOVE that game. Love it too much. The word addiction comes into play with me and that game. I’d play it constantly if I could.

I gave it up years ago. Haven’t gone near it since, and just the simple act of looking at the website yesterday (to figure out the cost to answer the boy’s questions) tugged at me. Hard!

This is my oldest wanting the game, and he has something of an addictive personality. He can easily find himself sucked into things, especially games and technology and he won’t come up for air.

So his request concerned me a bit.

In the end, Mrs. Technocrat and I said “no” to the game. We don’t feel he’s mature enough to handle the game. And by mature enough we mean he doesn’t have the will power to control his interaction with the game.

The boy is a microcosm for our society today.

No waiting, instant gratification, get it now, if you don’t like it just keep searching and it’s always someone else’s fault.

Maybe technology isn’t the problem. Maybe it just the flashlight that is shining a light on the problem.

Just maybe the words of Pogo (we’ll see who get’s that reference) are apropos here:

“We have met the enemy…and he is us”.

Random thoughts

So…the new IOS 7 is “public” now. By this I mean Apple showed it off at WWDC the other day.

/pondering_mode = on

Trying to figure out what I think about it.

I think I have to break it into two parts.

Part 1, the guts and functionality of the whole thing.

Here I think I’m pleased. Seems like they are finally giving Apple users some love with new features, better functionality and well thought out tools.

Will need to get my hands on it to really tell.

Part 2, the revamp of the interface.

Not really sure how I feel about this one.

There’s been so much talk about it, I think people were really expecting the heavens to open and choirs to start singing.

Instead it looks like….well…Android.

/sad_face = on

Seriously. The whole big “redo” of IOS that supposedly delayed the release is noting more than a shift to Android-style icons.

A friend described it as looking “cheap”.

Yeah…I’ll echo that. Cheap.

Speaking of Apple, the new Mac Pro looks sweet.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out:

It looks great! The specs are great and the graphics are amazing.

This is a great improvement.

Nice work here.

Anyone besides me ever hear the term “Derecho” before today?

I seriously doubt it. If you have, you have just putted yourself as a weather geek.

/raising hand

Yup. I’m one. And proud of it.

If you don’t know what it is, it’s a large (hundreds of miles long) and powerful wind/weather system (and rare) that can produce dangerous, sustained straight-line winds. It moves really fast and can be more dangerous than tornado systems in certain circumstances.

The midwest is set to experience one today.

Stay safe to everyone in the path. It could get bumpy.

Night noises

I love night time.

Let me say that again.

I love night time.

There are a lot of reasons, but one of my favorite is the noises.

You see, there are just different noises at night than during the day and they are so much more peaceful and relaxing.

Take tonight for example.

As I write this I’m sitting out on my back deck, relaxing. It’s getting dark and the noises are starting.

Now, I’m not talking about the occasional motorcycle roaring past on a street. Or the random car.

I’m talking about Mother Nature and her nocturnal symphony.

We’ve got a pretty good sized backyard and in the summertime, the trees, bushes and shrubs provide a fantastic amount of privacy. It’s a little oasis.

But it also provides a lot of cover for critters.

The birds are the first things that you notice out here. There are a lot of birds, and they aren’t particularly quiet.

Somewhere there is a Cardinal chirping away as if his life depended on the whole neighborhood hearing him. I suspect he’s just horny and looking for a woman.

There are others. I’m no ornithologist, but I can pick out Robins, Blue Jays and some sort of finch.

Every so often, you hear an owl. I love those.

We live close to a nature preserve and this year there were lots of owls this year. They had babies and you can still hear them occasionally.

Crickets are another prominent noise. Lots of them and they sort of provide the constant soundtrack for the night.

If the birds are the soloists, the crickets are the rhythm section.

The bass comes from the occasional frog that speaks up. Not often, but you know it when he does.

A new noise this year is the fountain we installed on our deck. The sound of running water is really soothing to me, and Mrs. Technocrat. So the kids and I bought her a big fountain for Mothers Day.

That is something akin to the percussion section. Constant, regular and rhythmic.

Nights like this are why I love Wisconsin…in the summer time.

It’s been a long time coming this year. Snow, snow, snow, snow and oh…did I mention more snow delayed spring…a lot. Of late, it’s been rain.

But tonight is gorgeous.

So, I’m going to sit here, listening to the night noises, enjoying the weather and just be.

Here’s to peace and quiet.

We all need some.


I keep waiting for the next iPhone announcement from Apple. I’m dying to see what it’s going to look at.

If I’m being honest, I’m a little worried. I scared that it’s going to disappoint the hell out of me.

One of my biggest concerns (no pun intended) is that it’s going to get too big.

The trends these days seems to be larger and larger phones. I mean really! Have you see the new Samsung Galaxy phone? I think they celled it “galaxy” because that’s what you need to be able to store the thing.

The freaking thing is huge!!!

I saw someone on the parking shuttle with one and I though it was a small Android tablet. Then they held it up to their ear and proceeded to have a conversation with someone.

It looked stupid!

So I’m really worried that Apple is going to go the same way.

How big do we need phones to get.

I’ll admit, my iPhone 4s is a bit small. I’d like it a little larger.

The iPhone 5 is just about perfect in my book.

It fits in your hand, you can easily type on it, and, most importantly (for I think a lot of people) it fits in your pocket.

I can’t tell you how convenient it is to just toss my phone in my back pocket and go. Not sure I could do that with anything much larger than the iPhone 5.

Trends come and go and the trend really seems to be seining toward “larger” is better.

Personally, I don’t like it. I think it’s a mistake.

Honestly, I’m not as concerned about the size as I am the features and what is going to happen with the next version of IOS.

Android has had it’s growing pains, Google is getting it’s collective shit together. Fragmentation is being addressed, and the stability of the platform in general is getting a lot better.

Apple has a bit of a road to hoe. And it’s seemingly uphill.

I hope that they keep this in mind.

If I want a larger device….that’s why I have an iPad mini.

Do something that scares you…

Every now and then, each of us should do something that scares us. Something that takes us outside of our comfort zones. Something that pushes us to be a “little bit more” that we normally are.

I’m talking about something that deep down, scares the living hell out of us.

I did something like that this past week.

You know what? I’m glad I did.

It’s different for each person. Completely.

For some it might be skydiving (something I really want to do just once).

For others it might be talking to someone you’ve been attracted to for years and never said anything.

For me, it’s putting myself in a position where I don’t have all the answers.

I’ve always prided myself on being a person that, at least professionally, had a deep understanding of a situation and the answers to most questions before I jump in. It’s just a part of who I am, and it works well in my chosen profession.

I’ve cultivated that habit for years. I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

But control, and answers are an illusion.

So what did I do?

For the first time in my life, I pitched a business idea to investors, entrepreneurs and business people.

Yup. And I did it in a contest in front of about 400 people.

And it scared the hell out of me.

I’m not going to tell you about the business, or the idea, or the process. That’s another post….maybe.

This is about fear.

You see, I think you grow when you do something that frightens you. You become a better person.

I think that facing fear, and the emotional and physical impacts of fear can force you to find reserves of courage, ingenuity and tenacity that you might not know you have.

I heard a great description of this at the conference from one of the presenters.

Fear forces us to “lean into” what ever problem or issue we are facing.

I like that.

Lean into it. It’s a good description.

I don’t think that we, as parents, can do a good job encouraging our kids to take risks and face our fears if we don’t do it ourselves.

The same goes for us as a nation. If we constantly run from our fears or take the easy path, we don’t grow.

When we don’t grow, we stagnate and die.

So this past week, I leaned into a fear and came out the other side. I’m stronger and more confident for it.

I’m glad I did.

Now…where’s the whiskey?