Friday, July 29, 2011

The amazing sassafras!

There is a sassafras tree on our property line so I get to see it regularly. I am always taken by its appearance.

Sassafras leaves

Yes, by looking closely, it does have three different leaves. One left handed mitten, one right handed mitten and one tri-leaf.

How cool is that!

For the more technical description of leaves, visit the wikipedia page 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lowell Folk Festival - great music this weekend!

The Saturday afternoon schedule for the Lowell Folk Festival. The festival runs on multiple sites within Lowell. I tend to stay at Boarding House Park and get six hours of good music without moving around.


The full schedule can be found on the website here:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Road warrior

What does your road look like?

Weikert: running route

How do you handle the peaks and valleys?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Looking for help to invite educators to #140edu

View this email in your web browser

Looking for your help - please help invite educators to #140edu

Today I am reaching out to the greater #140conf community and I am asking for a favor...I need your help to invite educators to join us at #140edu ( taking place next week, August 2-3 in New York City.
I would greatly appreciated it if you could take a moment and forward this email to your friends involved in education. Please also include any friends who are parents who live in the metro NYC / NJ area.
Back in March I reached out to Chris Lehmann, Principal, Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia and together we decided to put on an event to take on an issue of our generation...Education. Personally I am very excited about the people who are speaking at our inaugural #140edu which includes a variety of: students, teachers, administrators and parents. You can review the speakers over at:

Thanks to the #140conf community, I was able to curate what I believe will be a great two day conference. You can review the schedule over at:
This the first event of it's kind to explore how the real-time web is effecting education and a chance to catch up with some of the educators who are leading the charge and bringing change to education.My remaining challenge is to do everything I can to make sure as many people as possible who have a vested interest in the future of education become aware of this conference.
This is where you come in. With your help, I believe anything becomes possible.
The event pricing is optimized to bring together educators and students and the education industry. The cost to attend this two-day conference for educators is only $1.40; students $15 and for everyone else, just $140.  To register, please visit:
My hope is to bring together the most diverse community of people who are passionate about the state of education.
If you have a vested interest in the future of education, please make it a point to join us in NYC next week.

Best regards, Jeff

p.s. As of July 24th, the following educational institutions will be represented:
Avenues The World School - Baruch College-CUNY - Bloomfield BOE - Brooklyn Urban Gardens Charter School - Burlington High School - CA BOCES - Castle Hill Middle School MS127 - Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES - College Counseling for the Rest of Us - Columbus School - Commercial College of Iceland - DRS HALB Yeshiva High School for Boys - EdLab at Columbia University Teachers College - Elmhurst College - Grace Church School - Grandview Preparatory School - Great Neck South Middle School - Hackensack Public Schools - Harrison Central School District - Hartford Art School - Harvard University - High Tech High - Hudson High School - Kean University - Lambertville Public - Long Beach Middle School - Los Angeles Universal Preschool - Montclair High School - Montclair Kimberley Academy - Morris County School of Technology - Morris School District - Morristown High School - MS587 Middle School of the Arts - New Milford High School - Newark Public Schools - Parsons The New School for Design - Pascack Hills High School - Pascack Valley Regional High School District - Perth Amboy Board of Education - Pratt Institute - Rutgers Preparatory School - Rye City School District - Rye Middle School - Sachem High School East - Saint David's School - Saint Michael School - Science Leadership Academy - Seymour High School - Solomon Schechter School of Westchester - Spence School - Springside Chestnut Hill Academy - St Francis College - Sts. Philip and James School - Suffern HS - Syracuse University-School of Education - The Dwight School - The Ramaz School - The School at Columbia University - Verona Public Schools - Wharton School - Yavneh Academy
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Three C's in Beantown

The second annual WordCamp Boston was held this weekend on the campus of Boston University. What is WordCamp? A real diverse gathering of folks with a single unifying interest, WordPress. An unconference focused on the tool as the gathering point, the subject matter, the content.

Once you gather folks around content, you get conversation! It just happens. It is a human thing. People talk. What do you do? How did you do that? You don't say, I know so and so too!

The conversations can go in many directions and many do. The conversations can be short. A passing "hello, how are you?" in a corridor or just get started over a question. To be continued by exchanging contact information with whatever is handy when business cards are not available.

The conversations occur in forums like this. In scheduled meet ups. Online in any number of places utilizing any number of tools. Over time the conversations build a community. It grows organically. People step forward to lead, others having done what they wanted to do can step aside. Some folks participate more than others. All of this is known and understood as a human thing.

There are many opportunities for these kinds of gatherings, folks coming together to learn and share. PodCamp Boston will occur on Sep 24, 25. Spread out your radar to look for key words in your subject area. Follow up with the folks you met, ask them "where else will they go?"

The first step is yours.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

every other day

Every other day. Gee, that sounds familiar!
This time around, Ms. Nyad, an accomplished marathon swimmer and sportscaster, is taking no chances. She has trained harder — for a year and a half — and changed her regimen. Rather than swim every day, she swims every other day. Last year, she completed a 24-hour swim in Mexico.
The bold is for my emphasis. Swimming is great exercise, in some ways better on the body than running, in other ways, running is better. In either case, that is not really the point here.

The point here is the "every other day" concept. A form of the 'hard/easy' principle. A staple of most good programs and a key contributor for the FIRST Program. I have written much about it elsewhere but want to share it here for two reasons.

One, the principle is one to really consider and follow. Based upon my own experience, it works. Diana has found this to be also!

Two, what an inspiration Diana is! I applaud her effort and drive. I wish her all the best!

Read more about Diana Nyad's attempt to swim from Cube to Key West here

Read more about my writing on the FIRST Program here

The official FIRST Plan web site

More about Diana Nyad on her web site here

Friday, July 22, 2011

Plug or no, we are in this together

I am continuing the experiment with Google+.

Thanks to a big plug from Chris Brogan yesterday, my circles have expanded greatly.

You can look for my updates there or be content with this image and good message for today:

Relay for Life: Franklin, MA 6/10/11

Enjoy! Stay cool!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

experiment today

yes, I am trying something different today. I have posted my #the5 to Google+ and not used Twitter to share them.

An experiment. A try. We'll see how it works. If you don't have Google+ yet, let me know. I should be able to send an invite to you.

I really would like Google's tools to be better integrated together. Why isn't reader already enabled for +?

So this is just a test. I'll let you know when the test is over.

Gregor Mendel's 189th Birthday - (Global)

If you like the Google doodles, instead of doing your own screen capture, you can subscribe to this RSS Feed and get a copy of the original as they are published by Google. The feed shows all of them as many of them are country or region specific and some (like this one for Gregor) are displayed globally.


Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

Things you can do from here:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

combine learning and sharing

Cruising among the RSS Feeds today, I have time to share #the5

"I tried Bittman's grain recipe this afternoon with barley, with perfect results"   

"If you're strapped for topic ideas, consider turning to your organization's events for some inspiration"  

"I vaguely remember reviewing such a piece and approving its submission"  

"My first project – building a non-permanent wine bottle path in my back yard"  what if a bottle breaks? 

"Forty-four percent of communications staff members said they spend up to 10 percent of their time"  

And a bonus alert for Franklin to this scam confirmed by two neighbors on Monday.

Using more whole grains is something we have been trying in our household for some time now. I'll add these recipes to our "to be tried" listing. One way to keep ideas handy is to write them down, or post them online in a place where you can find them again. Hence, a bunch of the things I do share (via Twitter) can be found again. Links to whole websites can be found via Diigo or Delicious. Pictures via Flickr or Picasa. Keeping notes helps to avoid vague remembrances. The wine bottle recycling project looks interesting. I wonder how easy it would be to replace a broken one? Time is one valuable and precious resource. How do you prioritize your time? How much time do you spend sharing? How much time do you spend learning? Is there a way you can combine the learning and sharing? This will help be more efficient and helpful at the same time!

What do you think?

Monday, July 18, 2011

5 for Monday - goal

Time for #the5 before I head out to work:
"My children will not be a conduit through which our resources become trash!"

"All the tweets about Twitter, and the best ways to use tweets, can get overwhelming"  

"It all begins with a goal: what do you want to accomplish using social media?"  

"issues they’ve encountered in trying to comply with the Rule when they helped consumers with short sales"

Yes, there will be another Job Search Jam Session - hold the date for Sep 2!
Michelle explores packing lunches for her family in Bento boxes. She keeps the basic problem, getting folks to eat good food in mind when packing the lunch. All the tips in the world on how to use some shinny object still need to keep this in mind. What is the goal? What is the problem we are trying to solve? If you focus on that and keep coming back to it, absorbing feedback along the way, you'll make good progress.

And the final note, is to hold the date for Sep 2. The Friday before the Labor Day weekend. What is so special about that? Another Job Search Jam Session will be held in Hopkinton. Labor Day weekend is meant to celebrate those who labor although more recently, it has come to mean more the end of summer. With so many folks still looking for work and the economy still sluggish, let's spend some time to share what we have learned on the job search with those who are still searching. For me, it will be a vacation day well spent.

If you are in the greater Franklin/Hopkinton area and want to help out, please let me know!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lesson learned: bike shops don't open early

Saturday was a great day for a bike ride.

We got a later start than we wanted. We knew the tires needed to be filled before riding and I do have a bike pump, so it should have have been quick and easy to fill and go. What surprised me was D's new bike has some funky new tube connections. These connections would not fit my pump nor work with the gas station air pump. We would need to get to the bike shop before riding. As it was 8:30 AM when we discovered this, I anticipated that one of the shops would open at 9:00. No such luck, one opens at 10:00 and the other at 11:00.

We were at Crossing Cycle when the doors opened at 10:00. Bought the adapter for the connection, a new pump with the capability to do both connections (standard and new one), filled the tire and were off, finally!

We biked about a dozen miles along the Blackstone River Bike Path. And we'll be ready to get an early start even if the tires need some air next time!

Note: this was originally posted to Franklin Matters.

Friday, July 15, 2011

5 for Friday - etiquette

Five for Friday:

  1. What better way to start the day with a piece from Robert Fulgham! 
  2. Ronni Bennett chimes in with some good news on the legal front for elders in CA. Now let's see if other courts can do something similar. 
  3. Terry Starbucker identifies a potential catastrophy with a great acronym! 
  4. The FTC provides a quick primer on how to comply with the CAN-SPAM act (a seven point checklist). 
  5. And net etiquette is collected on this site, simple and easy to share.

Sit comfortably for a few minutes to enjoy these links today:

Weikert: Walnut grove and shadow play

"I hold out a $20 bill and drop it into the violin case, saying, 'Here’s another bet on courage.' ”  

"The Elder Court. This is such a brilliant and important idea that you should know about it"  

"potentially catastrophic to our otherwise orderly lives. It’s our potential for Mutually Assured Distraction"  

"the Rule also applies to a wide variety of communications with customers or potential customers"  

"Although the title says there are 101 guidelines there are actually more than 101 guidelines on the site"  

What can you share today?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

5 for Thursday - transition

Time for #the5 for today

Twitter for Android – Now with Push Notifications and Multiple Accounts  

Was the CIA's top Bin Laden hunter outed on Flickr?  

Weikert: clear sky

Waiting For Your Balls To Land (It’s Not What You Think)  

The first three videos from Gel 2011: how the conference started  a good way to see what happened!  

"That's step one of the strategy: Feed consumers' hungers" It's all about feeding hungers.  

Transition is a challenge. What is the tipping point for one to move from doing something, using something to changing? Is the incentive big enough? Is the move easy enough? Is there enough of a benefit to do so?

Some folks will move to the next shiny thing just because. Some will sit back and wait.

What you do should align with your goals and your focused effort. Does it fit? then maybe at the right time (even now) you should move. If it doesn't fit, then stand pat.

Aren't sure about your goals and focus? Then spend sometime on that! It will be time well spent later on.

How does this all play together with #the5? I have had my Droid ERIS for over a year now. The lack of sustained battery life has been growing increasingly frustrating. Occasionally I also run into space issues. A couple of weeks ago, both of these came up at the same time. I removed a bunch of apps, freeing up some space and all of a sudden the battery life is now something I can live with.

One of the apps removed was a rogue battery drain. Trouble is I don't yet know which one. Do I start adding them back one at a time? Or just go on? I am going on.

I have started playing with Google +. Gradually building my network of circles. One pleasant discovery is that the auto load of pictures to my private folder actually serves as an automatic backup of those pictures from my phone. I like that!

I have long been a Flickr user will I now change to use Picassa more? Time and circumstances will tell.

What have you learned that you can share today?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Deja Brew: Six kettles to brew

The 'Band of Brewers' got together Monday night for six kettles at Deja Brew.

We did

  • Blueberry Ale
  • Downtown Brown Ale
  • Chestnut Brown Ale
  • Hi Ho Silver
  • Lawnmower Lager (2)

The Hi Ho Silver is a knockoff of Coors Light. Looking at the recipe confirms that there is not much other than colored water in this beer.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weikert Specials

Having made the fire (see yesterday's post), it is time for toasting some english muffins and in this case warming up some slices of Spam that were cooked the day before.

Weikert: cooking breakfast

A Weikert Special is one of the basics of a Baslock breakfast. Toasted english muffin, spread with peanut butter and then topped with a slice of Spam. Heart artery alert! Yes. But it does power one for some good hikes later in the day, and it is not a breakfast we have year round so it works for us.

Weikert breakfast

Some blueberry coffeecake topped off breakfast this morning. Ah such is life!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fire starter

Last weekend we were out visiting friends at their cabin in the wilds of Central PA. The fire circle is used for most meals. Breakfast of course is an important meal. Getting the fire ready using the embers from the night before is a challenge. One we can usually meet successfully.

Weikert: fire starter

Starting the fire from embers requires the right amount of good kindling and patience. The first layer of dried leaves and then small twigs was built upon with progressively larger twigs in the form of a teepee.

Weikert: almost reaching ignition

A few minutes after the first layer went down, whiffs of smoke began rising and I knew it was only a matter of time before we had a good fire.

Weikert: good blaze

Now that is roaring! We'll let it settle a bit, spread it out and put some heavier logs on to cook with.

Friday, July 08, 2011

5 for Friday - going with the flow

Time for #the5 before I run today. Hearing some thunder off in the distance so it may be a wet one too!

Self-Employment in the Global Economy  interesting paper from the Boston Fed Res Bank 

"their lives, and the associated tangle of learning opportunities that come with them"  

Hot Coffee: why tort "reform" might be tort DEFORM  via  

"of all the things I’ve ever done to be helpful to others, the most powerful is to have been a friend"   

10 Signs You Are Being Lazy On LinkedIn  goodness from  

and a bonus for today:

"I will never read Fyodor Dostoevsky on a Pook or Mark Twain on a Zook, are you kidding me?"  goodness from Robert Brady

Thursday, July 07, 2011


Back in town from a few days 'off the grid'. Nature and the wonders of the wilds are as impressive as usual.

Do you get time to get away? Really away?

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Slideshow - Laura & Jeremy Wedding

The best of the photos from Laura and Jeremy's wedding can now be viewed in this slide show:


Friday, July 01, 2011

5 for Friday - body mind

Time for #the5

"Because what doesn’t matter drops away, creating more space to explore what does matter"  
Jonathan Fields has good advice int his posting. Yes, it is a prioritization. But a special kind. Creating space for what does matter should be part of our regular life. Why wait?

"Great Marketing is about telling great stories and making those stories easy to share"  goodness from  
In this one, Mitch Joel summarizes Seth Godin. If you don't spend time keeping up with either of these two, you should reconsider and learn a whole bunch regularly. I know I do.

Relay for Life: Franklin, MA 6/10/11

"movement gets blood flood to brain and people wake up if they’re in an information overload coma"   
As a life long runner, the body mind connection I have been well aware of and very interested in continuing to learn more. Beth is spot on with this insight. You might also check on the OnBeing podcast, Krista Tippett talks about healthy minds in this episode with Richard Davidson. Good stuff.

"But for now, if you’re on the hunt for a new assignment, make sure you check LinkedIn’s Jobs page"  
This was one of my tips along the job search. I must have missed Matt Youngquist note on not bothering to use the function as the jobs were found elsewhere. I am glad I did catch this update that jobs on LinkedIn are NOT found elsewhere.

"When not done right, this little speech can kill your chances for further discussion"  good tips on the pitch! 
Along the lines of the job search, the elevator pitch is handy to have, period. Even if you are working, when someone comes up at a party, what do you say when they ask you what do you do? How do you answer? This post is just one of many with some tips on what to say when.

To summarize our cruise amongst the five for today, I would say that there is a body mind connection. Keeping the body fit with movement will keep the mind alert to what is happening around you. You can be at your best when marketing yourself, knowing when to provide your pitch and when not. You'll be better prepared to tell your story in a way that they will remember you for it. May even remember you for when they have a great opportunity right up your alley!

I think it is worth a try.

What have you learned that you can share today?