Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

another Thanksgiving list

Counting my many blessings on this Thanksgiving night...

1. food, family, friends, and the thought of fruitcake
2. conversation, conservation, and even occasional consternation
3. heat and heaters
4. flavors, fall and feet
5. fingers and toes, eyelashes and whiskers
6. ideas, ideals, insights
7. flowers, carpet, motion and music
8. water, ice, steam
9. pools, lakes, rivers and oceans
10. puddles, droplets, mist and moisture
11. laws, in-laws and santac laws
12. ice cream in hot chocholate
13. uphill, downhill, berms and mountainbiking
14. bugs, Beatles, brooms and bedrooms
15. homes, garages, studios
16. faith, fortune, fire
17. dogs, cats, fish
18. tuna, salmon and steak
20. textbooks and testimonies
21. time, clocks, ticks, tocks
22. locks, sox, rocks, crocks
23. reality, relationships, recordings
24. optometrists and ophthalmologists
25. spring, summer and raking leaves
26. light and shadow
27. photography, telephony, xeroxography
29. medicine, doctors and nurses
30. students and educators, writers and reporters
31. painters, poets, priests, privacy
32. gardens and sculpture, razors and clippers
33. lawns, mowers, shovels, gravel
34. bulbs, tulips, light bulbs, fireflies
35. glowing, growing, grazing, giving
36. algorithms, Al Gore, rhythms
37. Gershwin, Obama, Putin and Rachmaninoff
38. images, intensity, insurance
39. keys, keyboards, diving boards, school boards
40. committees and individuals
41. groups and grapes
42. dreams, drowsiness, delight
43. sight, senses, selections
44. clips, quotes, crops, notes
45. jokes, joy, gestures
46. day, night, dawn, dusk
47. twilight, tonight, tomorrow
49. blankets, belts, batches
50. bachelors, masters, doctorates
51. beauty, benevolence, belief
52. gifts, givers, greatest hits
53. numbers, nails, nutrition
54. miles, smiles, trials
55. pens, pencils, scissors, glue
56. brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles
57. parents, children, cousins and kin
58. cities, states, nations and continents
59. planets, worlds, stars, space
60. rockets and science, rocks and signs
61. plans, pears, prophets
62. serendipity and synchronicity
63. vocabulary, virtue, vitality
64. blinds, windows, walls, wood
65. trees, triumph, tales, totals
66. minds, hearts, souls, swimming
67. seniors, juniors, rookies, rainbows
68. snow, sunset, settlements
69. nieces, nephews, newspapers
70. colleges, colleauges, comrades
71. professors, professionals, protocols
72. order, organization, oratory
73. reading, writing, encoding, decoding
74. gadgets, inventions, innovation
75. games, champions, quests, questions
76. competitors, companions, comedians
77. references and refrigeration
78. natural gas and electricity
79. sunlight, saving, satisfaction
78. resolution, repentance, redemption
80. seconds, minutes, hours, days
81. vweeks, months, years, decades, centuries
82. breath, death, wealth, health
83. mobility, ability, responsibility
84. holidays, vacations, routine, rest
85. expectations and exceptions
86. bicycles, boots
87. rules, rails, railroads, rubrics
88. cards and yards
89. cars, trucks, roads, destinations
90. transportation and communication
91. minds, merit, machines
92. verbs, nouns, language, grammar
93. stories, scenes, sequences
94. consequences, harvests
95. correspondence, collaboration, coaching
96. dialogue, direction, decisions
97. beginnings, bounties, butterflies
98. moderators, narrators, neighborhoods
99. content, contentment, conditions, creativity
100. endings, conclusions, peace

Saturday, October 25, 2008


You've been gone from the office a few days. When you return you find almost everything in your cubie wrapped in foil. This isn't a photo stolen off the Internet, this actually happened, I know because I took the picture. No, it wasn't my cubicle, but it did happen fairly close to where I work.

Friday, September 26, 2008

four years ago

sunday concerts - then and now Originally uploaded by rfin.

She's a young 84. Still takes piano lessons. This morning she played excerpts from Rhapsody in Blue while I got a few shots. So glad her church solo 61 years ago caught dad's ear in Detroit. They bought the Steinway in 1954. Dad provided a matching grant to go along with her savings. There were actually two major additions to the family that year. The other almost 51-year-old that's a part of this photo is the proud son behind the camera.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

anxiety may be hard wired for some

Anxiety, Shyness May Be Long-Lasting Traits FRIDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) -- The brains of people who suffer from anxiety and severe shyness may respond more strongly to stress and show signs of being anxious even in situations considered safe by others, say researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. They studied brain activity, anxious behavior and stress hormones in adolescent rhesus monkeys. Those with the most anxious temperaments showed higher activity in a part of the brain called the amygdala, which regulates emotion and triggers reactions to anxiety. The anxious monkeys had more activity in the amygdala in both secure and threatening situations, the study found. When the monkeys were tested again 18 months later, the results were the same. "The brain machinery underlying the stress response seems to be always on in these individuals, even in situations that others perceive as safe and secure," Dr. Ned Kalin, chairman of the department of psychiatry and HealthEmotions Research Institute, said in a prepared statement. It has long been known that children with an anxious temperament are at increased risk for developing anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse. The findings indicate a brain mechanism that's present early in life predisposes people to anxious temperament, and that it's difficult for someone with this temperament to be calm because their brain is wired in a way that keeps them tense and anxious. The study was published July 2 in the online journal PLoS One. More information The Center for Mental Health Services has more about anxiety disorders.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Washington Takeaways - Day One

Just finished my first day of meetings. Here are some of the takeaways from the morning sessions:
  • 22% of our nation's minors are living in poverty. That's the highest rate for a developed nation.
  • Gas and food prices are now number 1 and 2 on national polls about priorities. Education used to hold the top spot. It is now ranked 3rd.
  • Excellent education depends on parent involvement and parent involvement is improved with effective strategic communication.
  • Quick notification of a problem resolved saved the day when middle school students inserted an X-rated video clip into the morning announcements. The school's fast response via email calmed parents before the rumor mill got to them. A few parents wanted to see the video. ;)
  • Big life lesson in a 10-word sentence, all 2 letter words: "If it is to be, it is up to me."
  • Lincoln asked if the nation could survive half slave and half free. Since education is the proven passport to first class citizenship, now we should ask can our nation survive half educated and half uneducated?
  • Civil rights progress didn't become actionable until MLK nationalized the issue. Blacks had been mistreated for decades, but with nationwide awareness, injustices became apparent to Americans throughout the nation, not just those in Selma or Birmingham.
  • Which generations do these statements match: Just Do It, Just Did It, Won't Do It?
  • Gen-X parents want reliability, trustworthiness, speed and convenience. Their trust is not unconditional. They take note of slights. They seek options, custom solutions, warm, group discussion and feedback. Baby Boomer admins should remember these three R's: relationship, relationship, relationship.
And the afternoon:
  • Five trends that will impact education over the next five years: technology, pathways, environment, safety, diversity.
  • Who spends only 3% of their time thinking about the future? Most executives.
  • Care more about doing what's right than fear of being wrong.
  • Bring unique value in seeing patterns, take the helicopter view, spot emergent trends
  • The important role of strategic counselor
  • Getting to the heart of the matter: passion, advocacy, communication prowess
  • Students who used high frequency ring tones to bypass adults with hearing loss
  • Check out myclass, tumblr, kickapps, makingmyway.ca
  • Affirmation for experience with facebook, myspace, blogger, twitter, flick
  • Multiple pathways: primary research, spotlight non-traditional stories
  • Showcase vocational success and non-academic awards
  • Conservation ethic: use, allocation, exploitation, protection of resources
  • Avoiding greenwash, green sheen and green noise: really do it, not just talk
  • Valuing the opinions of front lines: students, teachers, custodians
  • Share bad news before students tell their version
  • If the house is on fire, first tell the people inside
  • Immigrants or Newcomer Families?
  • Diversity as a honor, a privilege to be where the world comes to learn
  • Diversity a real-world, competitive advantage for students

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Planning Retreat

We're talking about Web 2.0 blogging, Twitter, YouTube, Google Maps, 2nd Life. B. just asked this question, "Why? Why go to an interactive virtual site rather than use an existing source of content." V. says a 2nd Life presentation ended up costing an organization thousands of dollars.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

three tours in four years

photo from Joe's blog

1. 2005 - bike tour
2. 2006 - bike tour
3. 2007 - 5 K
4. 2008 - bike tour

Three of the past four years, I've participated in the Bike Tour event of the Salt Lake City Marathon. Last year, I ran in the 5K, but it was great to be back on a bike again this year. Two years ago my son joined us. I just re-read his blog entry about it. He's a great writer and photographer, and of course, I'm a proud papa.

I'm also glad that I got to see the event from the perspective of a Bike Marshall. That's thanks to Labako who volunteered to officially help people out, although, as you can see from Joe's post above, Dave's also lent a helping hand before in an unofficial capacity.

random words

ride waves morning judge teachers snow education successfully realistic according home memorial salvation remembrance city bike crimson available presentations dear quotable alchemy annual changed other steps sum singing energy family city write Monday promises day myself anyway swimming September blizzard horizons father telephone weather storm wonder darken descend forgotten frenzy technical confer speak need falling around back first high keep day good feel schedule canyon remembering

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

another way to stick to it

Heard about this site on NPR's Morning Edition recently. I checked it out and invite you to as well.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

charlie's acting, writing, radio, etc. site

Found this guy Charlie Schroeder's intriguing site today in a search for Chinese New Year. Since I'm an occasional listener to public radio's Only a Game, I may have heard his work when I'm half asleep but awake early on a Saturday morning. But about the Chinese New Year, he did a little radio piece that's pretty funny. Wonder what Liang Jing Dong would say about this?

Now this has got me wondering about the name Charlie. I've only known a few in my life, but every single one of them is quite a character. Of course maybe it's just a self-fulfilling prophecy. You meet someone named Charlie and you expect them to be unsual and they proceed to meet your expectation.

Monday, January 28, 2008

gray skies

U of U golf course in winter
U of U golf course in winter,
originally uploaded by rfin.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

calm before the storm

calm before the storm
calm before the storm,
originally uploaded by rfin.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

up on the roof


With today's warm weather snow on the roof started melting and some of the runoff ended up where it shouldn't, so I climbed up on the front porch roof to take a look and discovered a different way to frame the Wasatch mountains.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 25, 2008

white hot


Looking at this now, the snow and the red sign look too intense. But no photoshopping's been done. This is just how the camera captured it.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 24, 2008

tell it again, rick

I met Utah writer Rick Walton at a library conference last year. He's quiet, talented, creative, funny, thoughtful, persistent, wise, and just a family guy with an extraordinary career. I bought his book Bertie was a Watchdog and highly recommend it. Rick's also got a great page that encourages the creative retelling of Goldilocks through The Goldilocks Project, 203 versions and counting.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Do I own a dreamcatcher? Yes and no. No, I don't own one of these. I think there might have been one in our house at one time. So no, not in the traditional sense. But I do like the idea of catching dreams and in the realm of literally trying to bring some substance to the thoughts and images of twilight sleep, I've found a few ideas helpful.
  1. Decide it's worth your while to try. Are you dreams nonsense or is there something compelling there? How are you going to know if you don't have a way to catch and examine them?
  2. Make it as easy as possible by putting something to write on and with near your bed.
  3. Third, if it's hard to write when you're half a sleep, try using a hand-held recorder.
  4. Don't rely on what you write as your final version. As soon as possible after you fully awake, expand the note or listen to what you've said and recall other details.
  5. Persist. Like a lot of things, it's going to feel awkward at first, but stick with it a few days and you'll probably find that it gets easier.
spiral bound and not my own dreamcatchers, originally uploaded by rfin.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

snow connections

A few years ago we endured a power outage that stretched into a couple of days. Since then, I've been more aware of how much we're connected to the grid that includes power, telephone, cable for TV and the Internet, water, sewer, natural gas, and for some areas a secondary water system. Especially when the weather's very cold, or there's heavy snow and ice, I think of how fragile my connections can become. An then, of course, there's the movement to get off the grid.

Monday, January 21, 2008

holiday storm

Another storm, more beauty, another chance to get in a little shoveling exercise, the wave to neighbors passing by, to talk to a few of them, to feel the satifaction of leaving a clean driveway and sidewalks, and to see those growing piles of snow. In some jobs it's hard to see your accomplishments, but not so when you shovel snow. You can see what you've done and know you've made the world just a little safer for youself and your neighbors.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

same time, same channel

We get used to things being a certain way. You work and play and workship at certain days and ways, at certain times and places. Change the time or the place or the people and you change the equation. Some changes are for the better. They're logical. They're in response to other changes. But almost always there are unintended consquences--pleasant surprises and not-so-pleasant ones.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

10,000 steps

You've heard of 12-Step Programs. How about a 1o,000 step program? Sure enough there are such things and I've been giving it a try for the last week or so.

Friday, January 18, 2008

a latent canopy?

If a canopy is a "high overarching covering of branches and leaves" is there a canopy in the photo above? Or is it a pre-canopy or latent canopy awaiting the return of summer? Also found in my search for definitions of canopy:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

to create or vegetate - the generational factor

Let's say you've got six basic types of Internet users (creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators, and inactives) and you've got seven basic generational groups (kids, teens, gen Y, gen X, young boomers, older boomers and seniors). What's your guess as to how age impacts the way people use the Internet?

Well you don't have to guess because Forrester Research has checked this out and it's summarized in a beautiful graph in this Business Week Article.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

the power of archives

This is good news for those of us who seek to communicate via the Web and foster a sense of community with our stakeholders. Community newspapers have done this for decades. They publish news and feature stories about their readers and the readers do take notice, tell their friends and families, and clip the articles for their scrap books. The online version of this is the forwarded url, the blog mention and the profile links at MySpace and FaceBook.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

from 110 to 6 degrees

Just a few short months ago, on July 16, I was on business in Phoenix and the high temperature was 110 degrees. I wrote, "It is warm, but not really that bad. In fact I think I'll miss it a bit -- certainly this winter. I'd rather be too hot than too cold and the dry heat here makes the pools feel refreshing."

Tonight in Salt Lake the low is predicted to be 6 degrees. Cold, but just for perspective, consider the temperatures this time of year in Siberia. The predicted high in Irkutsk is 3 with the low to be -9. In Ulan-Ude the high will be -10 and the low -23. Novosibirsk will be a bit warmer with the high -1 and the low -5. Yes, these are on the Fahrenheit scale.

Monday, January 14, 2008

an oversight

I see these trees everyday, or at least I have the opportunity to see them, but I've rarely taken their photograph. The other day they seemed to be a little weary with me. "Hey, we're here in all our winter splendor. We see you looking over this way, but then do you ignore us. What's the deal?"

"Ooops. Sorry. You are beautiful. You deserve a shot, more than one. I'll do better. Thanks for letting me know."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

tree tree tree

I still miss Fred, and I guess I always will. But sometimes I see something that reminds me of him and the tree above brought to mind his song, Tree Tree Tree.

    Tree, tree, tree,
    tree, tree, tree,
    tree, tree, tree,
    Tree, tree, tree.

    We love you,
    Yes, we do.
    Yes, we do,
    We love you.

    Tree, tree, tree,
    Tree, tree, tree,
    Tree, tree, tree,
    Tree, tree, tree.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

ways to think of noise

Neutral and sometimes needed
Offensive but may provide opportunities (such as sound proofing)
Indispensible to understanding quiet
Soft or not so
Entertaining? can be, often is, not very at times

Friday, January 11, 2008

favorite pic of 2007

Shot on the Wasatch Crest, July 24, 2007. Hey, if you can have Christmas in July, you can also have July in January.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

birthday quiz

Name two musicians and a fighter who share a January 10th birthday?

The fighter is boxer and inventor/entreprenuer George Forman. The two musicians are Frank Sinatra and Adine Sundberg. Happy 87th birthday, Mom!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

the buddy system

I started a fitness class this morning with a good buddy of mine. We've been friends for almost 17 years now. Oh yeah, and she's also my daughter. I've also signed up for another class with some of my co-workers. The buddy system really helps with motivation. On any given day you might not feel like going to lift weights or pedal on a stationary bike, but when someone you work with is standing in your cubicle saying it's time to head to class, it's a lot harder to say "No, I'm going to be lazy today."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

ain't a farm boy, ain't a song writer

full color shot, with mostly blacks, grays and whites

I ain't a farm boy (though my daddy was) ain't a song writer (but that hasn't stopped a lot of folks), but if I was a farm boy and song writer, I might write something like this one winter night when my muscles were sore:

Some days shovelin' is my life
Shovelin' feed and manure
the sweet and foul
And snow and coal
the pure white and powerful black
It's all in a day's work
and it helps keep me strong

Shovelin' pure white snow and heavy black coal

Snow brings promise of good crops
and makes the world white and soft
And it means the ol' furnace
will need more coal
I'm happy to shovel to keep my family warm

Shovelin' pure white snow and heavy black coal

The world's mostly gray not just black or white
But the cold snows of winter taught me some
things are only right when they're white
Don't even think about tastin'
snow that ain't white
And some dark truths are needed
to keep us safe and warm

and I learned it all
Shovelin' pure white snow and heavy black coal

Monday, January 07, 2008

merry russian christmas

January 7th is the big Christmas celebration in Russia, so if you didn't quite get enough of the holiday last month, here's a legitimate way to extend the festivities. Maybe I'll turn on the outside lights one last time tonight, although by then it will be January 8th in Russia.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

warm winter swimming

University of Utah natatorium

Why would you want to go swimming when it’s so cold outside? All the usual reasons:

  • stress relief
  • cardiovascular health
  • blood pressure regulation
  • increased efficiency in producing insulin
  • better sleep
  • increased metabolism
  • stronger immune system
  • improved digestion
  • improved sense of well-being
  • improved mood

Of course there’s the perception that you’ll get cold, but I’ve found that a swim actually warms me up. So instead of telling myself it’s too cold to go swimming, I’ll say a good swim would sure help me warm up today.

So one of the best reasons to go swimming on a cold winter’s day is to spend a few minutes in a warm, nearly weightless environment that will be good for you at the moment and make the rest of the day go better, too.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

vitameatavegimin vs. v8banana

Vitameatavegamin, the TV sitcom tonic of vitamins, meat, vegetables, minerals and alcohol, made a classic episode of I Love Lucy. If you haven't seen it, you're missing one of the funniest routines ever broadcast.

In contrast, V8banana, is a real health drink that sounds awful, but isn't--depending on your taste, of course. It's easy to make, you just blend:

1 ripe banana
1 can of V8 vegetable juice (5.5 ounce can)
3 or 4 ice cubes

What you get is a drink that's not too sweet but a little more exotic than either a banana smoothie or just a straight drink of V8.

Friday, January 04, 2008

see your new house live at 2:00

You can see your newly renovated house on local TV today at 2:00 p.m. "I don't have a new house and I haven't done any renovations," you say, "and even if I did, a TV station wouldn't be there."

True, it isn't your personal residence, but you did pay for it and it does belong to you.

The broadcast I'm talking about is The People’s House: Rededicating Utah’s State Capitol and if you can't catch it live at 2:00 p.m. on KUED, watch the repeat tonight at 8:00. Here's how KUED is promoting the event on its webpage today.

The show repeats tonight at 8:00 p.m. and is followed by a documentary from producer Mike Dunn, With Anxious Care: The Restoration of the Utah State Capitol.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

to douse or keep lighting

Posted by Picasa

We took down our indoor decorations on Saturday, but the outdoor lights will be up for a while, too dangerous to try to get them down when there's so much snow and ice on the house.

Usually I'm ready unplug the timer and douse the lights by early January, but this year I'm still enjoying the visual warmth they provide. True, it would save energy and save the life of the bulbs to turn them off, but I haven't pulled the plug on them yet.

But maybe I should take a lesson from Jackie Gleason. I learned last night that he only let the Honeymooners run one season because he didn't want to get old. Dousing the lights now may help insure that we'll enjoy them even more next year. You can't take a vacation if you have nothing to vacate.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

putting putin on my list

former USSR insignia on monument in Russia

I spent some of my holiday relaxing with Time magazine's Person of the Year issue on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Here's the online version and an editorial comment about it. I think I'll add a Putin search to my Google alerts and see what this net will net on the net.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

happy new year anagrams

Parley's Way on a Winter Morning

Here are a few anagrams for the greeting: Happy New Year!

    Anyway He Prep
    Reap Yawn Hype
    Yea Happy Wren
    Happy Ya Renew
    Nappy Way Here
    Pray Ya Nephew
    Near Pa Yep Why
    A Nap Per Ye Why

There are several anagram makers on the web. Here's the one I used today: http://wordsmith.org/anagram/ The intro to the site says, "Did you know that parliament is an anagram of partial men? Or, Clint Eastwood an anagram of Old West Action? Someone once said, "All the life's wisdom can be found in anagrams. Anagrams never lie."