Monday, December 31, 2007

Another use for snow

Another use for snow, originally uploaded by shersteve.

How handy is this arrangement?
Very handy!

We're getting ready for the New Year's Eve party. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable party.

Happy New Year!

End of year findings

New year's eve, walking around the net before going out for a real walk in the snow covered world, I find:

The final thing to remember is that, Social Objects by themselves don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Sure, it’s nice hanging out with Lee talking about Star Wars. But if Star Wars had never existed, you’d probably still enjoy each other’s company for other reasons, if they happened to present themselves. Human beings matter. Being with other human beings matter. And since the dawn of time until the end of time, we use whatever tools we have at hand to make it happen.
Read the remainder of Hugh's posting on social objects here.

And speaking of time:
She gathered bunches of leaves in her arms, threw them high in the air and ran through them squealing, storing up days worth of wish-fulfillment in no time at all, then I suggested that since it was growing dark we should get busy on another big want of hers and use a bunch of these leaves to roast some potatoes, so we got lots of leaves together in a pile and Kaya lit them like a little priestess at an altar; then we got some oak twigs and threw them on, then more leaves and in very short order the heat was ready for potatoes, which in 20 minutes of additional leaf-cavorting were perfect for eating with some salt while sitting on warm rocks by the embers in the falling dark.
Find out more of Kaya's adventures here at PureLand Mountain.

And speaking of priorities I find:
... my starting point is always less, less, less. Simplicity is the core of my approach to financial liberation. Learn to need less, and you automatically become freer. Learn to need a smaller and cheaper living space. Learn to need a smaller and cheaper car... or better yet, a motorcycle,... or still better, no vehicle at all. Learn to need fewer gadgets. Learn to need fewer and less expensive clothes.

Simplify, simplify, simplify. This is the core of my "method". Before you worry about building a micro-business, before you worry about debt elimination, before you worry about working fewer hours or making more money-- Simplify every aspect of your life--- persistently, continuously, relentlessly. Pare away all that is unnecessary, distracting, and fashionable. Go to work on your cravings.
Read more at HoboPoet here.

and speaking of insights I find:
While history or years of experience certainly serve a purpose in the future of marketing, the most powerful results often occur when history and experience are combined with a little humility and acknowledgment of limitations - whether individually or within a marketing team. With such an understanding, you can then get out of your own way to gather the great insights that come from consumers and outside-industry thought leaders.
Read more of this from Learned on Women here.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

End of year donations

As 2007 comes to a close, it is a good time to check your taxable donations and if you still have an opportunity to make one, there is time.

There are so many good and worthy causes to contribute to. Most charitable organizations make it real easy to donate these days. They have a web site that accepts credit cards. It really takes very little time at all to make a contribution.

Some suggestions:

American Red Cross

The Sharing Foundation

Reading is Fundamental

American Cancer Society

Neat and Simple start

One of my Joyful, Jubilant Learning partners, Ariane Benefit, is announcing her new ebook is available:
JUST RELEASED! I'm so excited to announce that my new book "Neat & Simple Guide to Organizing Your Office" is finally here! Just in time to help you get a Neat Start to the New Year. Two years in the making, it now has 129 pages chock full of my best organizing advice. It will be published as a print book by the end of 2008. For now, it is an e-guide, which helps keeps the price reasonable.
What a great way to start the new year! Getting organized!

Check out Ariane's blog post announcing her ebook here.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas 2007 - fans

Christmas 2007 - fans, originally uploaded by shersteve.

One of several gifts that were created via or SnapFish, or one of the now many options for using your own photos.

This teddy (he is cute!) wears a simple sweat shirt adorned with the photo of Allison and Carolyn at the Beckham game back in August. Upload photo, pick object, pay with credit card, await delivery.

How simple is that!

Tree ornaments, coffee mugs, stationary, calendars.... the list of items is seemingly endless.

The calendar, in particular, is a gift that the family has created for my father since either 1992 or 1993. Some of us are kicking ourselves that we only made one of those each year. Dad keeps them all. He diligently uses the calendar for his scheduling. The photo archive now is quite extensive.

And so many stories! (background, there are six children each with kids so Jerry has thirteen grandchildren. Each sibling gets two photos in the calendar to fill out the year.) We call these "Papa photos" and there will be times during the year when it would be good to take a "Papa photo". So Dad's calendar has not only photos of his grandchildren but of them in different places, doing different things.... so many stories. Actually I should develop this further for a post on Jerry's Story sometime.

What gift did you receive or what gift did you give that was similarly "hand crafted"?

Do your pants fit?

Dear Clothing Designers,

I am disappointed in your lack of understanding of the diversity of women's bodies. I traipsed down Broadway, into Soho, and out to the malls in search of a pair of pants that fit. I was willing to spend a decent amount of money on said pants so I visited everything from high end designers to department and chain stores. I tried on over 150 pairs and came up empty handed. I tried on pants ranging from sizes 6-12, petites, regulars, and "short." I was even willing to get the bottoms hemmed if only I could find a pair that fit up top. I even tried on the ugly pants.

The relationship between my waist, hips, ass, and thighs appears to be completely alien to you, for none of you seem to make a pair of pants that fit all of these dimensions (let alone length). Why? Am I _that_ different? Or would you simply prefer that I conform to your body aesthetics? Like many other women, I do not belong on a hanger. I am not shaped like a model nor do I have any interest in resorting to anorexia to try to fit into your skinny clothes. I am curvy and I like my curves.

This is a great simple post on the problem of getting things to fit by Danah Boyd. As the only male in a household of wife and two daughters, I can vouch for this problem. Actually wrote something close to this once upon a time: We call it fashion math

Read the full posting by Danah here.

Lessons About Life, Enterprise, from Baking Christmas Cookies

Lessons About Life, Enterprise, from Baking Christmas Cookies

Peters on Excellence

A couple of hours in a hot kitchen can teach you as much about business and management as the latest books on re-engineering or total quality management. That’s my take, anyway, after a bout of Christmas-cookie baking. Here are 11 lessons for life (and enterprise), fresh from the oven:

1. Engagement. Watching others helps, but you’ve gotta get your hands dirty. I hadn’t made cookies for years, so I observed a friend do a few batches. I thought I was learning something, and I suppose I was—but nothing really clicked until my hands were covered with flour.

Lesson (for trainers especially): Cut the lectures. Get folks involved in “real stuff” very quickly!

2. A plan. I’m not keen on planning in general, but a time-tested recipe is a godsend. First, it’s roughly “right.” More important, it gives you the confidence to get started.

Lesson: Any plan is a help; it gives folks the sense they aren’t aimlessly flailing.

3. Art. The plan is an outline—not Holy Writ. Plans, including recipes, are made to be tinkered with—and eventually torn up. Cookie making, software design, and real-estate lending are art. And it’s the artists, not the slavish followers of others’ recipes, who land in the world’s halls of fame.

Lesson: Blind devotion to any plan is downright dumb!

4. Trial and errors. Yes, I’d watched a master at work (or at least a pretty good cook), but in my first hour of hands-on work, with instructions close at hand, I made dozens of mistakes, large and small. And in business life, real life, and cookie-making life, error is the fuel that drives you.

Lesson: Don’t “tolerate” mistakes. Embrace them!

5. The same mistakes. “Mistakes are OK,” some concede, “but don’t make the same mistake twice.”

Rubbish! I made virtually the same errors, in something as relatively simple as cookie making, over and over ... and over.

Lesson: Nobody ever did anything (interesting) right the first, or 51st, time.

6. A sense of humor. I was awkward at the start. (And at the finish.) I turned the kitchen into a disaster area. Kids and adults made their day laughing at me (or so it seemed). Experimentation—the nub of life and business—depends on learning to laugh at yourself.

Lesson: Learning is precisely about making a fool of yourself—often in public.

7. Perseverance. An ability to laugh at yourself and suppress your ego is key—but so is steely-eyed determination. Sure it was “just” cookie making. But I did want to do it right.

Lesson: Winners want to do everything well, no matter how trivial; and that takes focus and unrelenting drive.

8. Perfectionism. Certainly, the kitchen was a mess. Yes, I was the object of ridicule. But to master one’s craft requires nothing less than pain-in-the-butt perfectionism. Most see artists, and creative types in general, as scatterbrained. I’m sure there are scatterbrained artists (and bakers), but their work doesn’t end up in museums (or cookbooks).

Lesson: Creativity and perfectionism are essential handmaidens.

9. Ownership. It was made clear to me: I was responsible for the Christmas Eve dinner cookies. There were no backups available—and a long ginger-cookie tradition hung on my frail (i.e., incompetent) shoulders. The monkey was ensconced squarely on my back. So I did the job.

Lesson A: No ownership, no passion.
Lesson B: No passion, no perseverance.
Lesson C: There is no half ownership.

10. Accountability. When I’d helped with some previous cookie making (the day before), I’d screwed up the baking time twice. Now I was on my own. That should have made things more difficult. But, to the contrary, I was so attuned to the task that I didn’t come close to blowing it.

Lesson: Until you’re engaged in all aspects of a job, you don’t fully engage.

11. Taste. OK, I’ll brag: I made good cookies. Greatness takes practice—and exquisite taste. I may or may not practice more, but I doubt I’ll ever become to baking what Tom Clancy is to techno-thrillers.

Lesson: If we want great products, we need to find, attract, and retain great creators. Period.

Many thanks to Tom Peters for allowing this to be shared!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sherlock Christmas 2007

Sherlock Christmas 2007, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Eight of Jerry's thirteen grandchildren posed near the end of the day as we celebrated our Sherlock Christmas.

A good time was had by all.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rapid Fire Learning - December 2007

December: my birthday month, the end of the year month, holiday and party month... very much a busy time of the year. Benjamin Bach mentions something similar as he kicks off Rapid Fire Learning this month over on the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog. He found a good Dr Seuss quote.

1 - Sharing at an elementary level will start a conversation or enhance one. How? Use the FORM mnemonic (family, occupation, recreation, and motivation) to kick start a conversation. Once you get started, who knows how much in common you will find? And once underway, when you find something else in common (like a birthday) it just adds some icing on the relationship cake.

2 - I took the time to record and edit the recording from recent Town Council and School Council meetings to share the individual sections on Franklin Matters. The realization that while I had attended the meeting, and took notes during the meeting, but still missed important points during the meeting came when I was going through the editing process. No wonder folks can go to a meeting and walk away from it saying something completely different! Even when trying to capture what was occurring I was missing pieces.

3 - Patience is rewarded. I have been making my running recovery very gradual and taking great care to avoid a re-injury. This patience is paying off as I am able to achieve good mileage like on my birthday run and again on Sunday.

4 - The Sherlock trip to Washington, DC and the National Museum of the Marine Corp was a very special weekend. We had been planning this trip for a while. It was actually Dad's gift for Christmas 2006 and originally scheduled for February 2007. Dad's health took a turn for the worse and set us back a couple of times this year. Fortunately, he has made good progress and was in good health to travel earlier this month. My brothers (Bob and Mike) and Mike's son Mark, joined us so there were three generations of Sherlocks on the trip. I have a better understanding of what my father went through when he was a just a teenager entering the Marine Corp and then serving on Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima. I have more to record to capture the remainder of Jerry's Story.

5 - When I wrote earlier today about Stephanie Fernandes, I thought she was the inspiration. She certainly has the fortitude to meet her own significant challenges. When I was sharing the story as the day progressed, I realized that it was a couple of others in the story that were the real inspiration. Her high school friend who did not play an instrument but having always wanted to be part of the band, joined the band to guide her around. Her current partner in the band who guides her with her shoulder. These are the real inspirations. They are giving of their time and effort to help Stephanie!

These are my rapid fire learning five for December 2007. I look forward to living, learning, loving, leaping, and laughing in 2008!

What are your most recent learnings for this month?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas - USB Turntable

Christmas - USB Turntable, originally uploaded by shersteve.

My new toy. Now the vinyl archives can be converted to MP3's and eventually the vinyl can go away somewhere.

Christmas 2007 - awaiting the word

They waited patiently for the 'all clear' to advance for the stocking gifts. Brad is also waiting at the top of the stairs.

Clever Commute - Rules of the Road

The Rules of the Road as outlined by the folks from Clever Commute (and learned from experience in the NY/NJ arena).

Rules of the road (please keep these in mind):

  • The e-mails we send to each other are meant to be Alerts regarding the commute
  • Fit your entire message in the Subject line
  • Provide context on the stations involved (e.g., 6:16 from Penn to Montclair…)
  • You should assume “no news = good news” (don’t send a mail to the group asking “how are things on the so-and-so line?”). It’s OK if there are no mails for days and days
  • We encourage our riders to sign-up of any alerts from their providers…and don’t feel a need to re-send them to Clever Commuters (since We encourage our riders…)
  • Relax, enjoy, participate…set a filter
    While there will certainly be the mail sent that you think is a waste, there will definitely be plenty of info shared that proves to be truly irreplaceable.
  • There is a pattern to these new lists: At first there are experiments and mistakes,…but it settles into a normalcy. Please be patient and remember we are helping each other.
I include the link to their site so as any changes occur, the "master copy" can be found here.

Proulx Christmas 2007

Proulx Christmas 2007, originally uploaded by shersteve.

a mosaic from photos taken during Christmas Day with the Proulx daughters and families

the photo set (and descriptions) can be viewed on Flickr

Stephanie Fernandes - an inspration

The Boston Globe today has a profile of one of the Boston College marching band members, Stephanie Fernandes.

Stephanie Fernandes starts 40 seconds of marching band hell by squeezing between a tuba and trumpet. Marching backward, she becomes the center axis in a pinwheel of saxophones and tubas, spinning 360 degrees into a field-length company front as she slides between another trumpet and mellophone.

Forward . . . left . . . backward . . . between yet another pair of tubas.

And, finally, a breather.

Sixteen direction changes in 40 seconds, 10 more than the average, tests the patience and coordination of every piccolo player in the Boston College marching band during its Western-themed halftime show. But Fernandes isn't fazed. Forming the bottom-left corner of the on-field "B" in "Boston College," even the roar of 44,500 fans packed into Alumni Stadium can't shake her. The freshman from Steubenville, Ohio, was nervous stepping onto the field for her first college marching band performance, sure, but entering Alumni wasn't any different than the four years she spent marching in Steubenville High School's Harding Stadium.

Fernandes simply readies to hit the first note of "For Boston," sending the Eagles onto the field and the stadium into a frenzy - the same note the marching band will hit a final time this year at Friday's Champs Sports Bowl in Or lando, Fla. (a performance Fernandes will miss because of her commitments as a soprano in BC's University Chorale).

Her focus is on where she needs to sprint next, on what note she needs to hit in perfect pitch. She had known marching band was for her well before she arrived at BC. Standing on this field had been her goal well before she sent the e-mail to the marching band's director this summer, the e-mail that read:

"For the past four years, band has been a major part of my life, and I believe I would like to continue performing.

However, I am totally blind."

Her story is inspirational. Read the remainder here.

Nalgene - Good or bad?

Worries about a hormone-mimicking chemical used in the trendy sports accessory led a major Canadian retailer to remove Nalgene and other polycarbonate plastic containers from store shelves in early December.

"It's definitely a concern but I'd like to learn more before I make any decisions about my water bottles," McHugh, 26, a business manager for a reggae band, said with an easy laugh. "For now, I'll probably keep using my Nalgene until it breaks. It's indestructible, I've heard!"

Vancouver-based Mountain Equipment Co-op is waiting for Canadian health regulators to finish a preliminary review in May before it reconsiders restocking its 11 stores with the reusable, transparent bottles made with bisphenol A, or BPA, a compound created by a Russian chemist in 1891.

There is little dispute that the chemical can disrupt the hormonal system, but scientists differ markedly on whether very low doses found in food and beverage containers can be harmful. The US Food and Drug Administration sides with the plastics industry that BPA-based products do not pose a health risk.

I'd like to follow the money on this story. Who is funding the research to take down the Nalgene bottles? One avenue would be to look at who stands to gain? That is look at the major water suppliers - Coca Cola, Pepsi, etc. After the FastCompany article earlier this year debunking the water bottle industry as a waste, why not retaliate against the competition.

Read the full story in today's Boston Globe here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

1 - This Christmas enjoy the holiday trains from South Station:

2 - follow this link to a great Christmas story (be patient for the first commercial, the story is worth waiting for)

3 - and to recognize our countrymen and women serving in the military:

Merry Christmas to one and all!

PS - thanks to Joan at Songs of Experience for the link to ABC News

Monday, December 24, 2007

Attention Franklin Commuters

The MBTA/MBCR introduced the T-alert service recently. You can have an alert sent to your email so you can find out when your line is experiencing a delay for your normal commute period. This sounds good and should work. In the first couple of weeks since I enabled it, it has been fairly accurate. "Fairly" meaning the timing of some of the alerts could be better. Recall this is the same organization that manages the electronic sign boards at each station. Those are incorrect and or late most of the time, how are they going to be more accurate with another method?

It would be better if someone would set up a Twitter account so those on the line could provide updates. We, the commuters, would be able to share what we see happening. It makes sense to know that the train is running late. It doesn't always help to know why. The "why" almost doesn't matter, unless it has something to do with when it will arrive. And even then, in many cases, it takes too long to find out the why.

The Boston Globe writes today of a commuter service started in the NY/NJ area that is now expanding to Boston (amongst other areas). It is a moderated service that depends upon the commuters for updates. Moderated being the operative word here. Moderated means that spammers and nonsense messages will be filtered from the stream.

I just signed up. I can't wait to see how this will work out. The goodness of the more real time updates from fellow commuters will be a great benefit. The peer pressure of fellow commuters to silence the spammers and nonsensical messages will be helped with the moderation.

The Globe article is here.

MBTA T-Alert service can be found here.

Clever Commute can be found here.

Note: This was also posted on Franklin Matters

Train Crossing

Out running last weekend, I got stopped by the train. Camera handy I managed to capture the train crossing with video.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

A creative approach to intellectual property

Over the past 15 years, the rise of digital technology and the global economy has made it ever easier to copy, distribute, and profit from the fruits of other people's creativity - from the new Fergie album spreading across peer-to-peer networks to pirated "Spider-Man" DVDs showing up on the streets of Shanghai. In response, American lawmakers have instituted increasingly sweeping laws, seeking to stymie intellectual-property theft with lengthier copyright terms and more stringent consequences for violators. Without these measures, they reason, innovators will lose money, and innovation will suffer.

In something as simple as the public outcry of a Hollywood jokester, Sprigman, an associate professor of law at the University of Virginia, sees an approach that he hopes could put the lie to this thinking, and turn the heads of lawmakers. He sees a comedian enforcing respect for originality without resorting to legislation, lawyers, or the courts. He sees intellectual property being protected - not by the strong arm of the government, but by way of the very technologies that have incited stronger laws in the first place.

"People usually talk about how the Internet destroys intellectual property," says Sprigman. "But here the Internet enforces intellectual property. It helps to protect creativity by shaming pirates."

The Boston Globe Sunday issue has the full article here.

Nice approach to a tough issue. I think this approach has some merit, especially since the restrictive legal approach isn't working.

What do you think?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Snowy morning by the street lamp

Snowy morning by the streetlamp, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Franklin Station - early AM

Franklin Station - early AM, originally uploaded by shersteve.

The scene awaiting the 6:22 AM train at Franklin Station on Friday morning.

Fellow commuters will recognize that this is the next train that comes out of the yard and then backs in (changing tracks for some reason). The train to Boston actually comes from the other direction.

South Station - Clock runs on time!

While this clock runs on time, I found out as Friday night progressed that I had indeed made it out of Boston while the getting was good.

Apparently there was a switch failure at South Station after my 4:30 train left for Franklin. The 4:50 train to Norwood Central was canceled. No word on T-Alerts as to what happened to the 5:10 but the 5:40 ran 40 minutes late, the 6:15 was running 20-25 minutes late, then about 7:30 the announcement was that all trains were running 15 minutes late.

ThisisBroken: Subway - Now Hiring Hot Soup

The Subway sign at the entrance to WalMart in Bellingham.

I did not realize hot soup was something you could hire?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Weird T-Alert this morning

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of T-Alerts Notification
Sent: Friday, December 21, 2007 5:50 AM
To: T-Alert Message
Subject: T-Alerts Notification

Commuter Rail Franklin/Forge Park - inbound train#702 (5:45am)
experiencing 30 min delay out of Forge Park, but will run on time out of
Franklin 12/21/2007 5:46 AM

Do not reply to this email, this is an outgoing message only. To unsubscribe,
go to:


Okay, here's what's weird:

The 702 is scheduled to leave at 5:45 AM. It takes 7 minutes to go from Forge Park, to Franklin/Dean Station.

How can the train be experiencing a 30 minute delay out of Forge Park, yet run on time from Franklin?

Am I missing something?

Five for Friday

Friday provides the 5th day of the week and here are five things found during the week that was:

1 - Life Expectancy Calculator

2 - Dwayne has a good note on Mozy which is running a coupon special for December. I am using Mozy (the free version) and it has been doing very well performing the backups regularly and in a non-intrusive manner.

3 - Tim Milburn has updated his free ebook on student leadership. You can download the new version here.

4 - The Very Short List, an ultra-version of my own Hitchhikers Guide. The quality of what they share in the first week I have subscribed is incredible. I think you'll enjoy this.

5 - And for the lady runner that you know and want to treat, here is a new selection of clothing that seems quite good, Oiselle.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

guest reader, plus

I was a guest reader at Dolores' kindergarten class this afternoon. What a delight to read a good book aloud with so many eager faces watching your every move! Intoxicating.

This has been a nice day. A leisurely vacation day. Grab it now or lose it as there is so little time left this year. Dolores' alarm went off. I hid mine. I woke lazily as she stirred and got up to get ready for her day at school.

Before too much time passed, I got up and dressed to run. It was snowing out. I figured I'd shovel first but it was not enough to shovel. Just a very light dusting in the still dark of the early morning.

The girls were up to. While both have come home for the holiday, they are off again. This time to New York. They gave themselves each a ticket to Wicked. How cool is that! And they even managed to get seats next to each other. It was just meant to happen like this.

One booked the hotel and the train. The other scouted out things to do and made those arrangements. They called me this afternoon while they were waiting in line at the NBC Studio tour to let me know (so I could also let their mother know) that they had arrived safe and sound.

Wicked tonight, more touristy things tomorrow, then the train home tomorrow night. Ah, to be young again!

No, actually. Been there done that. I'll take things leisurely now. After running three miles this morning, including a stop at the bank ATM to make a deposit (and why not save a trip in the car (and gas) since I was going right by the bank on the return trip?), I did do some work. I had a conference call cancel out on me but another one I needed to keep as I was leading it. All went well.

Then a delayed breakfast. I made a batch of our homemade syrup and hearty pancake mix then had some French toasted raisin bread. Delicious. Some blogging followed. I got ahead of myself for some Hitchhiker posts. I have been so neglectful of the trail lately. I am still finding places but not finding (or really making the time) to share them. But now is the time. One more workday (Friday) and then vacation until 2008.

I'll concede that I'll keep in touch with my work email while off next week. It will be better to spend a little time along the way rather than try and play catch up all at once. That is not how to return from a vacation!

Oh, the book was The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy. A good Christmas story for kindergarteners!

Snowing (again)

Snowing, originally uploaded by shersteve.

This is actually from Sunday's storm but it looked very much like this again this morning as we got another dusting of snow.

It is Winter for sure although the solstice is only a couple of days away.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kirk's T4D

Two reasons to visit Kirk Weisler's T4D (Thought for the Day) today.

One, you might recognize the contributor (yes, me).

Two, you might also recognize the author of Freaked out Fathers as our Hitchhiker buddy, Pete Aldin.

There are quite a few other reasons to visit Kirk on a daily basis but you can figure those out on your own.

There are at least a dozen reason to visit Pete at Freaked out Fathers as he is in the middle of 12 days of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

new game at Milford Daily News

There is a new game at the Milford Daily News online.

If you know where Julia Spitz shot this video, e-mail or call her at 508-626-3968. The first three people with the correct answer will have their names listed here and in the newspaper. All those who submit correct answers before 4 p.m. Thursday will be eligible for a monthly prize drawing.

Have fun playing "Where'd She Go?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Deja Brew for the holidays

Catching up to posting what we brewed this time around.

Gnarly Barley Wine: Perfect for a night cap. Drink with caution!

Lobster Claw: A highly aromatic barley wine. Very Potent

Killer Honey Ale: A smooth red ale, light hop palate and good malty character

Hearty Christmas Ale: A hearty Ale, spicy, flavorful and inviting!

Drunken Monk Ale: Belgian style ale with full bodied flavor.

Jeff Beck Lager: This recipe is of the Beck’s style.

Plenty of brew for the holidays.

Links to previous posts on Deja Brew can be found here.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Instructions for an igloo

Appropriately with enough snow here in New England, although not exactly the proper kind for an igloo, the Boston Globe presents 8 steps to create an igloo.

Have fun! The instructions can be found here.

Commenting with OpenID

After just two short weeks of testing on Blogger in draft, OpenID commenting is now available for all Blogger blogs. This means that your friends and readers can leave authenticated comments on your blog using their blog URLs from OpenID-enabled services such as, LiveJournal, and AOL Journals, or with their AOL/AIM accounts.

We've chosen a few popular OpenID providers to highlight on the comments form, but OpenID is, well, "open"! You can use any OpenID service to post a comment by choosing "Any OpenID" and filling in your OpenID URL.

For those who comment here, you may have noticed a change this week as this was implemented.

For those who wanted to comment here, but did not want to get a Google account, now you can use one of your other accounts to provide an id with your comment.

Of course, 'anonymous' is still accepted but then I don't get to email you with my reply and continue the conversation.

For additional details on the change, you can find them here.

Where is leadership when you need it?

"The beauty of the military is every commander has to make decisions about what to prosecute and how," Markley said. "Every commander out there is deciding, 'Is this the highest priority for my attention?' "

Even now, he said, he has not been asked by his superiors to take action to safeguard the tests.

"Nobody has come to me and said, 'Solve this problem,' " he said.

The quote above are from Colonel James C. Markley, the senior officer in charge of the testing center.

If the Army knew of cheating going on, if the cheating contributes to personnel being improperly trained and readied for operations, why should this continue?

Markley, by his own statement, does not see this in his scope of responsibility. That might be part of the problem.

What do you think?

Read the full Boston Globe report, the result of five months of investigation here.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

How much snow did we get?

How much snow did we get?, originally uploaded by shersteve.

You may have heard by now that the Northeast received a bunch of snow on Thursday. Underneath this pile is my car (now started and warming up) while I remove the snow from around it so I can get it out of the train station parking lot.

Oh, for the record, we did get about 10 inches of snow.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Weekend in DC

My brothers and I took my father to the new Marine Corp Museum in Quantico, VA. The connections were all successful. Dad and I traveled from RI. Bob flew in from Chicago. Mike and his son, Mark, took the train to meet Dad and I at BWI where we rented a van, and rendezvoused with Bob.

Additional stories on the museum and pictures from the weekend can be found at Jerry's Story.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Golden Compass Wins!

Got to see The Golden Compass Friday night. The characterization is awesome. The scenery close to the imagined world Pullman painted in my mind's eye. The story is close to the book. There were some changes but the major one is leaving out the last three chapters. Arrgh!

I need to see it again. Soon!

Friday, December 07, 2007

South Station - Model trains

South Station - Model trains, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Got a chance to take some photos of the finished work at South Station.

Top left, the power cable that started it all.
The remainder show scenes in the winter setting with the train making its rounds.

While waiting for the commuter rail to be announced, this is worth spending some time watching. One women brought a chair over so her son could stand up and peek over the barrier. The gleam in his eye watching the trains and scenery was priceless.

Northeastern Univ Concert - Carolyn

My daughter Carolyn, in the "orange" Santa hat (due to the lighting, it really is red) on stage during the concert provided by the Northeastern University Orchestra at the new Fenway Center on St Stephen's St.

The Fenway Center is formerly St Ann's Church.

The concert was lightly attended but well worth it. If you want to hear some real good musicians, check out when they will play next semester.

Northeastern Univ Concert - before

Rehearsal complete, the instruments rest before the performance begins.

5 for Friday

As a way of catching up, here are some links I will be following up on that might interest you.

1 - An online application to compete with Quicken called Mint

2 - For editing audio files in Windows and small enough to fit on a thumb drive, Wavosaur

3 - Also from Lifehacker, color coded cursors... this looks cool!

4 - As one who wants to create WOW, Brandon Schauer's article on creating the Long Wow is a must read.

5 - And finally from fellow Joyful Jubilant Learner, Terry Starbucker, comes his post on putting the written word in an oral context. How Facebook and other social communities harken back to tribal instincts. Based upon an article he found in the NY Times.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Politically correct weather

Not wanting to offend those who like snow but don't like rain. Not wanting to offend those who like rain but can't stand snow. Not want to... well, you get the point.

Today we get the mixed precipitation. A little snow, sleet, rain, slush and it is a mess.

To add to the mess, the Franklin line commuter train I took this morning was all single cars. We usually have 3 double and 3 single cars. With the reduction in capacity, it was packed so much so there wasn't room to bring out the laptop and be productive on the way to Boston. Oh well, the magazine took me part way and then it was time to day dream the "to do" listing.

One consolation, the train arrived on time. One of the rare occurrences recently.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

This MBTA Station is so inviting at night!

Carolyn took the train home to Franklin yesterday morning. We all had a good Proulx Daughter's party down in RI and then took her back to South Attleboro to catch the train to Boston as that schedule was more convenient than Franklin's.

To get to the north bound (or inbound) tracks, you need to go up and over the pedestrian bridge. This is so inviting at night. If someone was taken there (without knowing where they were) they might think they're in a prison. The glaring lights, chain link, rusted steps...

and overall emptiness in the cold dark night.

PS - The train was on time (warm and inviting) to take Carolyn successfully to Boston.

Birthday Greetings for Phil

In case you were not aware, today is a special day. Phil Gerbyshak and I share this day as our birthday. How cool is it that two folks, meeting and connecting through the wonderful world of the web, share the same birthday!

He is off making it great as usual. Add to his day with a birthday greeting!

I am off to get in a good run, then cover some family activities, and then I should be back online later today to provide some updates.

Make it a great day!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

South Station - Making Progess 2

A little tinfoil hides the milk cartons.

A little cotton creates the snow look.

Soon these trains will be running on time in South Station.

Which is more than can be said of the MBTA trains that also arrive there.

South Station - Making Progress 1

Who has netted milk cartons?

Just building the foundation for the model train display!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Facebook is no paragon of virtue

Cory Doctorow writes:
Facebook has all the social graces of a nose-picking, hyperactive six-year-old, standing at the threshold of your attention and chanting, "I know something, I know something, I know something, won't tell you what it is!"

If there was any doubt about Facebook's lack of qualification to displace the Internet with a benevolent dictatorship/walled garden, it was removed when Facebook unveiled its new advertising campaign. Now, Facebook will allow its advertisers use the profile pictures of Facebook users to advertise their products, without permission or compensation. Even if you're the kind of person who likes the sound of a benevolent dictatorship this clearly isn't one.

Read Cory's full article here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

South Station - getting ready for the trains

A cable dangling from the ceiling, coiled into a bucket, blocked off with movable barriers appeared in South Station yesterday. Some folks did not know what to make of this odd combination. For those who have been around for some time, they realized that this means the trains are coming.

No, those always are coming. The model train set that appears for the holidays will soon be set up. This delivers the power for the model trains to run.

Rapid Fire Learning

It is that time of month again when one can stop, and reflect on what has happened, and realize how much we have learned amidst all that has transpired.

1 - Franklin Matters - I split off my writing about Franklin, MA to a new blog. No, it does not go counter to my move for simplicity, I think it actually helps it. I love that the focus on Franklin Matters will be all things Franklin. Steve's 2 Cents will revert to being the combination of the rest of me not already covered elsewhere.

2 - If we but look around us, how much can we find? I found "All things Sherlock" and my namesake is archaeologist with a major Anglo-Saxon find. There is another Franklin Matters, about Franklin, TN.

3 - Podcast feed problems can be tricky. Especially when the root cause was a single desktop system somewhere that was attempting to down load two of my podcasts multiple times but only partly each time. Since the number of times exceeded 18,000 in each case, it must have been some rogue program and not someone who listened to the sound of my voice. :-)

4 - Collaboration creates new words. Troy Worman started his On! Blog Meme. I added a few and posted it on Thanksgiving as a link love post, Connie Reece called it "Thankslinking". How cool is that!

5 - 19 syllables is sometimes all that is necessary to condense a book. I found several good quotes from Madeleine L'Engles' book A Circle of Quiet which I sprinkled around here, here, here and here. Then after finishing the book one night, I laid down to go to sleep and found my mind racing. I leaped up to write those thoughts down before they disappeared into the ether or where ever they go and ended up with this.

What did you learn this month?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Good bye Andy! Wish you all the best!

The news out of MLS is that Andy Dorman has turned down a contract to continue playing for the New England Revolution and will seek his future back home in England.

Andy was a good midfielder and will still be. I feel he was playing out of position in the advanced role (after Clint Dempsey left). He had his best games when he was playing back along side Shalrie Joseph. He would have been productive wide right but with Wells Thompson (and his great speed) making so much progress that was not an option.

Jeff Larentowicz needs to emulate Andy's runs to offense. He has the defensive role down cold.

Who will come in during the off-season to compete with those remaining for the starting eleven? Only time will tell.

Read the MLS news article about Andy leaving here.

Watch/Read The Golden Compass

While it took the Vatican 2 years to make a statement about The DaVinci Code, other Christian groups are already gearing up to generate a boycott and dissuade folks from seeing The Golden Compass when it makes its appearance in theaters on December 7th.
... even before it opens, "The Golden Compass" finds itself at the center of a controversy. The Catholic League, a conservative religious organization, launched a campaign on Oct. 9 calling on all Catholics to boycott the film. The group also published a lengthy pamphlet attacking the story and distributed the pamphlet to Catholic schools across the country. Other groups have joined the fray, including the evangelical nonprofit Focus on the Family, whose magazine Plugged In urged parents to keep kids out of theaters showing the film. And the Christian blogosphere is alive with warnings not only about the movie trilogy, but also about the series of books it is based on.
I'll wager that the majority of those complaining have yet to read one of the three books. I have read and re-read them and I am working on completing a re-read of the trilogy prior to Dec 7th. I appreciate and agree with the sentiments in the Boston Globe article by Donna Freitas, who writes:

These books are deeply theological, and deeply Christian in their theology. The universe of "His Dark Materials" is permeated by a God in love with creation, who watches out for the meekest of all beings - the poor, the marginalized, and the lost. It is a God who yearns to be loved through our respect for the body, the earth, and through our lives in the here and now. This is a rejection of the more classical notion of a detached, transcendent God, but I am a Catholic theologian, and reading this fantasy trilogy enhanced my sense of the divine, of virtue, of the soul, of my faith in God.

The book's concept of God, in fact, is what makes Pullman's work so threatening. His trilogy is not filled with attacks on Christianity, but with attacks on authorities who claim access to one true interpretation of a religion. Pullman's work is filled with the feminist and liberation strands of Catholic theology that have sustained my own faith, and which threaten the power structure of the church. Pullman's work is not anti-Christian, but anti-orthodox.

For all the years riding the commuter rail into Boston and back, there have only been two times where I was so engrossed into my book that I nearly missed getting off at the Franklin stop. Both times, I was reading the Golden Compass. And if you have read much of what I have written here and elsewhere, you know I read a lot.

I heartily endorse reading and going to see The Golden Compass.

created to be

With my naked intellect I cannot believe in God, particularly a loving God. My intellect is convinced that any idea of the person's continuing and growing after death is absurd; logic goes no further than dust to dust. Images, in the literary sense of the word, take me much further. Without my glasses I can see nothing but a vague blur. When I put them on, I become functional. But who is doing the seeing? The lenses of the spectacles are not. I am. There is an essential, ontological me --- that part of me which is not consumed in the burning --- which is (to use imagery again) that which I was created to be, the imaginative Adam and Eve as they were in the pre-history days of the Garden. Some of our children talk of going back to the garden; we can't do that; but we can travel in the direction which will lead us to that place where we may find out who we really are.

From A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Patriots Place Traffic

I do hope the Patriots have a plan for the traffic. Going to the New England Revolution soccer games has been more challenging than usual with the construction underway in areas that used to be stadium parking. With so many more folks going to the Patriots' games, I can just image what a mess it could be.
Team officials plan to enforce parking restrictions in the lots around the Patriot Place stores. Shoppers will get tickets that allow vehicles to be parked for free in lots next to the stores, but there will be time restrictions to keep out tailgaters and people attending the game.
So I guess that also means that you shouldn't plan on stopping at one of the stores to do any shopping before the game.

Read what the Boston Globe says about it here.

why do we need pain

Why is it that we learn from the things that hurt us? Why do we need pain before we can grow? There aren't any easy answers to this one, but all artists know the truth of it, and not only artists: it was Jung who said that there is no coming to life without pain.

From A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle

Book Meme (belatedly responding)

I got tagged by Troy Worman to participate but time has almost run away...

The Protocol: Answer 5 questions. Tag 5 booklovers.

The Questions:

  1. How many books do you own?
  2. What was the last book you read?
  3. What was the last book you purchased?
  4. What five books are most meaningful to you?
  5. What is your most obscure favorite book? Or, favorite most obscure book…

My answers:

1 - How many books do you own?
Too many to count. The photo above is from one of two small book cases. The one that is the most clean and therefore the most photogenic. I also have a 12 foot long by 7.5 foot tall bookcase that is full. I need to organize some of the non-book items and will ultimately share this picture. It is my favorite bookcase.

2 - What was the last book you read?

I am almost finished reading A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle

3 - What was the last book you purchased?

I just placed an order to Amazon for "Again to Carthage" by John L Parker Jr.

4 - What five books are most meaningful to you?
(in the business of life category)
Covey's The 8th Habit
Rosa Say's Managing with Aloha
This is Your Brain on Music - Daniel Levitin
Tim Sanders; Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends
Marcus Buckingham; The One Thing You Need to Know

5 - What is your most obscure favorite book? Or, favorite most obscure book…

Neuromancer - William Gibson


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Franklin: Town Common

Franklin: Town Common, originally uploaded by shersteve.

The new welcoming committee is ready at the Town Common. The tree lighting ceremony and associated holiday festivities will take place Sunday, November 25th from 4:00 - 6:00 PM.

Additional photos on the holiday decorations around Franklin can be found at Franklin Matters.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanskgiving Day - 2007

Thanskgiving Day - 2007, originally uploaded by shersteve.

The Sherlock's are gathering at our place later today to continue our Thanksgiving celebration. Here is a sample of what it looked like when the Proulx daughters gathered. Clockwise from the top left corner:
  • The table was set for all to sit together. No kids table this year
  • The serving plates were all marked for what was meant to go in them. This made it easy for many hands to make light work
  • The ladies conversed before dinner
  • The turkey just before being carved
A good time was had by all.

How was your Thanksgiving?

joy is always a promise

Sunday evening was clear and luminous so we went to the star-watching rock and welcomed the arrival of each star with a blast of a trumpet. We lay there, in an odd assortment of coats; I had on an embroidered coat a friend had bought in Dubrovnik; the two girls had on ancient fur coats; and we were covered with blankets. We needed them, even though the rock itself still held the warmth of the sun, our own star, and radiated a gentle heat to us as we lay there and watched the sky, blowing the trumpets and sharing a can of insect repellent and listening to the crickets and the katydids and trying to identify the other night singers, and then outsinging them with all the nursery rhymes and songs and hymns we could think of which had stars and alleluias in them.

And I was totally back in joy. I didn't realize I had been out of it, caught in small problems and disappointments and frustrations, until it came surging back. It was as radiant as the rock, and I lay there listening to the girls trumpeting, and occasionally being handed one of the trumpets so that I could make a loud blast myself, and I half expecting to hear a herd of elephants come thundering across the far pastures in answer to our call.

And joy is always a promise.

From A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle

Holiday tradition

On the way to Dolores' mother's house for the family gathering and dinner on Thanksgiving, we played Arlo Guthries' Alice's Restaurant which we used to be able to catch on one or more radio stations but since we managed to get our CD of Arlo's greatest hits, we are no longer dependent upon the radio waves to continue this tradition.

In case, you would like to review the lyrics, you can find them here.

Is listening to Alice's Restaurant one of your Thanksgiving traditions?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Joyful Jubilant Thanksgiving

The Joyful Jubilant Learning group has collaborated on their Thanksgiving greeting. Click on over to see some reasons to be thankful for on this day!

Yes, I did contribute!

Link Love on Thanksgiving!

How to best give thanks on Thanksgiving?
I think link love works well!

  1. 100 Bloggers
  2. 37 Days
  3. 43 Folders
  4. A Clear Eye
  5. All This Chittah Chattah
  6. Angela Maiers
  7. Antonella Pavese
  8. Bailey WorkPlay
  9. Bizhack
  10. Blog Business World
  11. Blogging for Business
  12. Blogher
  13. Bob Sutton
  14. Brand Autopsy
  15. Branding and Marketing
  16. Branding Strategy
  17. BrandSizzle
  18. Brandsoul
  19. Business Evolutionist
  20. Business Pundit
  21. Busy Mom
  22. Carpe Factum
  23. Change Your Thoughts
  24. Cheezhead
  25. Chief Happiness Officer
  26. Chris Brogan
  27. Church of the Customer
  28. Circaspecting
  29. CK’s Blog
  30. Come Gather Round
  31. Confident Writing
  32. Conversation Agent
  33. Converstations
  34. Core77
  35. Corporate Presenter
  36. Creative Think
  37. Culture Kitchen
  38. Craig Harper
  39. Dawud Miracle
  40. Dave Olson
  41. David Airey
  42. David Maister
  43. Design Your Writing Life
  44. Director Tom
  45. Every Dot Connects
  46. Extreme Leadership
  47. Feld Thoughts
  48. Fouroboros
  49. Franklin Matters
  50. Freaked out Fathers
  51. Genuine Curiosity
  52. Glass Half Full
  53. The Good Life
  54. Great Circle
  55. Hello, My Name is BLOG
  56. Holly’s Corner
  57. Homeless Family
  58. Innovating to Win
  59. Inspiring & Empowering Lives
  60. Instigator Blog
  61. Jerry's Story
  62. Jibber Jobber
  63. Joyful Jubilant Learning
  64. Joy of Six
  65. Kent Blumberg
  66. Kevin Eikenberry
  67. Lip-sticking
  68. Listics
  69. Logical Emotions
  70. Logic + Emotion
  71. Make It Great!
  72. Management Craft
  73. Managing with Aloha
  74. The Marketing Minute
  75. Micropersuasion
  76. Middle Zone Musings
  77. Motivation on the Run
  78. Naked Conversations
  79. Neat & Simple Living
  80. New Charm School
  81. Next Up
  82. The [Non] Billable Hour
  83. Office Politics
  84. Optimist Lab
  85. Own Your Brand
  86. Passion Meets Purpose
  87. Passionate Runner
  88. Pause
  89. Perfectly Petersen
  90. The Power of Choice
  91. Practical Leadership
  92. Presentation Zen
  93. Priscilla Palmer
  94. Prosperity for You
  95. Purple Wren
  96. Qlog
  97. quiet poet
  98. Rex Blog
  99. Ririan Project
  100. Rohdesign
  101. Rothacker Reviews
  102. Scott H Young
  103. Shards of Consciousness
  104. Simplicity
  105. Slacker Manager
  106. Slow Leadership
  107. Spirit in Gear
  108. Spooky Action
  109. Steve’s 2 Cents
  110. Strength-based Leadership
  111. Studentlinc
  112. Success Begins Today
  113. Success Creeations
  114. Success From the Nest
  115. Successful Blog
  116. Success Jolt
  117. Tammy Lenski
  118. Think Positive!
  119. Tom Peters
  120. Verve Coaching
  121. Viral Garden
  122. Wealth Building Guy
  123. You Already Know this Stuff
  124. Zen Chill
  125. Ze Frank
After enjoying the meal, sit back, relax, and explore a site or two to feed your mind.