Monday, October 31, 2011

Unexpected = distinct

Insightful short video from Tom Asacker.

His concept of 'unexpected' is very much like being 'distinct' that Scott McKain has talked about.

It also looks like Tom has a new book paperback version of his book: Opportunity Screams. I'll need to add this one to my list of things to read. Put it on your listing too. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Franklin Food Pantry gets covered

It is not about me, never has been. The good work being done by the Franklin Food Pantry is highlighted in the November issue of the Franklin Town News which you can view online here

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Taste of the Region - Tonight

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Taste of the Region 2011 

The United Regional Chamber of Commerce | 42 Union Street | Attleboro | MA | 02703

Revolution parts ways with head coach Steve Nicol

It is sad to see Steve go but I think it is indeed time for a change. There was a good run with Paul Mariner by his side but since then, it was a different story. The team just hasn't done well. Yes, there were multiple issues but for what he could control, performance on the field, I don't think he did enough. I wish him well in his next venture.

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via News on 10/24/11

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution Investor/Operators Robert and Jonathan Kraft and head coach Steve Nicol met today and have mutually decided to part ways. The club will begin the search for a new head coach immediately.
Nicol leaves the Revolution after 10 seasons, a league record for tenure with a single club. He posted a career record of 112-108-81, ranking second in Major League Soccer in overall career games coached (301) and fourth in wins.
Read More

Things you can do from here:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lessons from a stone wall in the making

There is an art to building a stone wall. Stone upon stone, lying together. Supporting each other. Stronger together than alone. Something for us to learn from!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I upgraded my HTC Droid ERIS to a Motorola Droid Bionic and I am quite pleased with the results. The advancement in the last two years is tremendous. What the ERIS promised and couldn't completely deliver, the Bionic can actually deliver.

Butterfly on blossom

One of the first photos taken with the Bionic as D and I walked on Saturday morning.

She gets credit for spotting the butterfly!

WhereCamp is next week

I Spatial Boston

It's only a week away

Hi everyone,
I am very excited to remind everyone that next week is the first WhereCamp Boston. So far we have around 50 people signed up for each day and some great keynote speakers to help give us perspective on spatial technology. We are currently limiting the registration to 150 people and need you to register ASAP to make sure that we have enough refreshments and to add you to the security list.
Looking forward to seeing you there,
Guido Stein
Lead Organizer

Register For WhereCamp Boston Now

Please register ASAP before tickets run out. If we don't get your registration before Wednesday, you run the risk of going hungry on Saturday or Sunday, and nobody wants that!

What is WhereCamp Boston

WhereCamp Boston is a volunteer-created unconference for anyone interested in geography and technology. This year's event will be happening October 29th-30th, with a two full days of unconference sessions and keynotes at the Microsoft NERD Center in Kendall Square.
An unconference is a conference planned by the participants through an online wiki and at the event. The event is open to anyone, but you don't just attend WhereCamp Boston — you can host or participate in discussions, demo your projects, or join another cooperative event.
WhereCamp Boston topics include: GIS, web mapping, technology, marketing, startups, development, social media, gadgets, communities, design, hardware hacking, entrepreneurship, open source software, mobilecomputing, social software, and much, much more!
For more about this event please visit


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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Goodbye van!

The Dodge Grand Caravan that has been the primary family vehicle has been sold. Yes, many memories of many trips. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Words carry a price

Yes, words do carry a price. They create a picture of intentions and sometimes carry unintended consequences. Your choice of words is so important. The words you choose can make your case or create an argument. In a current example of such let's look at the following:
It's time for Franklin to become more transparent with its taxpayers about the annual financial windfall inappropriately known as "free cash." 
Free cash is the extra money left over after the city balances its budget every June 30. It's revenue that Franklin collected from taxpayers but didn't spend. The free cash amount for the fiscal year that just ended is rumored to be nearly $3 million, although whether the official figure will be disclosed and discussed before the Nov. 8 municipal election remains to be seen.
"It's time" meaning this has never been done before?

"more transparent" meaning something has been hidden previously?

"annual financial windfall" meaning it occurs regularly or just happens?

"inappropriately" implying a judgment has been placed upon this practice by the writer?

"whether the official number will be disclosed and discussed before the Nov 8 municipal election remains to be seen." implies that 'Franklin' is hiding something. In fact, the certification of the final number is dependent upon the Commonwealth and not Franklin.

The writer does explain that "free cash" is the extra money "left over" after the June 30 close of the fiscal year but inaccurately implies that the budget is only balanced "every June 30". In fact, a balanced budget is what is approved by the Town Council for each and every fiscal year. By law, they have no choice but to do so.

Clear reflections

The choice of words the writer has chosen unfortunately continues to foster the misunderstanding that some folks have of the budget process. It could have promoted a better understanding of the accounting concept. It could have advanced the discussion in a thoughtful and intelligent manner.

Instead by choosing to color the topic as he did, the writer has drawn an "us versus them" scenario. Considering the writer is already embroiled in the discussion around the recent School Committee decision on the Franklin teachers contract, we get no closer to a real discussion of a valid topic.

If the writer really wanted to get into a serious discussion on the accounting term defined and certified by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, then his choice of words should have been reconsidered.

Related posts with additional info on this Franklin matter:
A "free cash" battle?

What will happen Oct 26th remains unknown?

Election 2011 - Summary

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hi there!

On the early sections of the Mt Monadnock white dot trail, we were under tree cover with the sun behind us. As I was walking (hiking) along, my shadow kept me company.

One way to avoid falling or tripping on a rocky trail is to key an eye on where you are going. Paying attention to what the footing looks like.

Hence looking down frequently, I saw my shadow a lot. And decided to wave!

Hi there!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Off the beaten path

Do you take time to step off the beaten path and look around?

Put things into perspective?

Figure out your 'to do' list?

What do you need 'to do' next?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mt Monadnock

On Columbus Day, we took in the White Dot trail on Mt Monadnock in Jaffrey, NH.

Brad, Dan, Carolyn and Dolores pose just below the summit.

It was a good hike, about 5 hours round trip on a glorious day for hiking.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shadow racing

Running Sunday morning, I found myself racing my shadow.

running shadow 3

What do you do when you see your shadow?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall windows washing

The weather cooperated. It was sunny and breezy and not too cool to have the windows open. Saturday was designated washing the windows day for the Sherlock house. Ideally, they would be done each year at least but we are struggling to remember the last time we did this.

It was a team effort. I'd take the storm windows off. Put the windows half open up and down. Yes, there is a method to this. I am tall enough to reach from the inside to the outside to wash the outside.

Before: the dirty window

If you can't reach a small step stool can help. Wash the outside top. Slide the inside window up. Was the bottom outside first then the inside. Slide the outside window all the way down.

Wash the outside of the inside window on the top, then the inside top.

Slide the outside window all the way up. Slide the inside window half down and wash the outside then the inside. Unless, I missed one, that should do it.

Your team mate can be cleaning the storm windows. As they are complete, put them back in and move on to the next window.

After: the clean window

There is something about a clean window! Makes the world appear much better.

The four of us did 30 windows and 259 panes of glass in a collaborative effort with a break for lunch.

Now my arms need to rest!

How often do you wash your windows?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stepping back for perspective

One thing that irks me whenever I hear it is the announcement of Wall Street results on the radio. The performance of the market is always spoken with such a finality. Such a rushed and important manner. It is as if life and death depended upon every second, every point. Now to be fair, for those actively trading, every second, every movement is important. But let's remember why it is being mentioned? It is intended to generate more trades. Money is made by the very act of trading whether the prices go up or down.

Looking at the past three months, the gyrations of the market (as depicted by the Dow Industrial Average) are evident. You have heard of these swings as they happened. 200 up one day, 200 down the next. Quite a roller coaster ride!

Let's step back a little further. What does the chart look like for 6 months?

Wow, there was a significant drop and then the roller coaster ride! Let's go back a little further. What does it look like for 1 year?

Well look at that! A gradual increase marked by a couple of corrections before we get into this period of turbulence. What does 3 years look like?

Wow, a much more gradual increase with smaller corrections before getting into the current period of turbulence which by the way, is a good distance from the bottom of the recent market in 2008. And for a final step back, let's look at what 5 years shows us.

Putting the current period into perspective does give it a different picture. Yes, there is turbulence. The market can't seem to make up its mind but the level of the mark is well above the bottom found in 2008 and not to far off where it was in October 2006.

Note: I am not a market professional nor qualified to provide financial advice. These are purely my own observations and reflections to put the market activity into perspective for myself.

Note: all charts are screen captures from the Interactive Chart available on for the Dow Industrial Average (INDU) taken just after 6:00 AM on Oct 14, 2011. Got to for a current view of these charts.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Shadow on the trail

When on the trail, heading up and eventually down Mt Monadnock this weekend, my shadow was ever present.

Does your shadow follow you around?

Does s/he keep track of what you are doing?

Does s/he change your behavior?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What is your news diet like?

From the MediaShift Idea Lab:
Alisa Miller's TED Talk brilliantly illustrates what news industry observers have been warning for years: Our news diet is distorted. We get very little news about places outside the United States, and that amount dwindles further when we remove Iraq from the equation. If you look at our supply of news from places outside the United States that the U.S. is not directly involved in, the effect is even more pronounced.

Alisa Miller's talk for TED was in 2008 and now they have come up with a nutrition label for the news. I like the idea!

Read the full posting here

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wonderful Weekend

The weather was so good this weekend, we had to get out and about. From the quiet of the Blackstone River Bike Path on Sunday

BRBP_111009 031

to the very busy 'white dot' trail on Mt Monadnock

Monadnock_111010 115

we did get out to enjoy this New England weekend. What did you do?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

A year in 40 seconds

From the OnBeing blog, I find this brief video showing a year reduced to 40 second. Time elapsed with a single spot of grass and woods over the seasons.

If I were Steve

Steve Nicol, that is, the coach of the struggling New England Revolution soccer team. I would concentrate on just a few things, all within the span of control. One field, one ball, two teams, 11 men each side and 90 minutes to play.

Possession: you can score if you have the ball. They can't score if you have the ball.

Passing: small passes, give and go, triangular movement, moving to the open team mate. No long punt from the goalkeeper, a small pass to one of the defenders.

Patience: the small passes, keeping possession will require patience and discipline. When to break or when not to. Don't force what you don't have. Don't make a pass that your teammate can't handle. You wouldn't want that kind of pass either.

Yes, it would be nice to have another player or two. But the game can be played well with those who want to play when they play together keeping possession, being patient and making good passes.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

6 Kettles at DejaBrew

The "Band of Brewers" were bottling on Friday night at DejaBrew. We brought home the following 6 beers:

Harvest Spice -   Yummy fall pumkin flavoured beer that everyone craves for the Fall (with pumpkin liquor) P

Eric’s Imperial Stout - Immensely rich with a burnt-currant character High Alcohol - E

Fruhling Fest - ACBBD  Friendship Fest beer. A very nice O’fest style. F

Sammy's Octoberfest - A slightly dark dark even keeled beer leaves a soft malty feeling on your tongue S

Bubba Jugs Pale Ale - A nice beer, rich & creamy, with a nice little hop finish B

Hirschgarden Marzen - An Oktoberfestbier. A nice deep amber color and malty sweetness  H

DejaBrew - the kettles

The letter at the end is the cap code to show what beer inside

By my count this brings us to 170 kettles with 99 unique recipes.

Friday, October 07, 2011

The ones who do!

"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do!"

Many thanks to Tom Asacker for sharing this and to Steve Jobs for all he has accomplished!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Bother to show up

"In it to win it"

"Takes two to tango"

"fill the void"

There are other phrasings that also apply here. Why?

Just reflecting on the ramifications of the decision of the School Committee to be a 'no show' for the Town Council meeting on Wednesday night.

The Town Council were allowed to say whatever they wanted. They knew before the meeting that the School Committee was not going to show up. They had time to prepare. They could talk all they want without a counter point.

Had anyone from the School Committee been there, the conversation would have been different.

Trust starts with respect.

The School Committee for my 2 cents has made a poor choice by not showing up. Their choice has now colored the conversation. Instead of focusing on the good work that has been done, or the good work that could be done (with interest based bargaining), the School Committee has put themselves in a defensive posture explaining why they didn't bother to show up.

Not a good thing to do anytime.

Oh, and should I mention that there is an election scheduled for Nov 8th!

Note: additional details on the Town Council meeting and the School Committee's 'no show' can be found on Franklin Matters

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Three C's

Content: a harvest festival, a gathering of vendors and businesses sharing information, crafts and all kinds of stuff.

Conversation: what happens when people meet. They stop and talk, about the weather (if the rain would stay away) and perhaps get into a more serious topic after catching up on the other's happenings.

HarvestFest_111002 017

Community: if the content that brought the group together and started the conversation, such that the conversation continued to build among the group, developing a respect and trust for those participating, then there is a possibility of that content and conversation creating a community!

There were seeds of such a community (or communities) planted on Sunday at the Harvest Festival in Franklin.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Chris Brogan: Free Webinar

Chris Brogan is doing a free webinar on Weds Oct 5th. The sign up is targeted for the business community. The information from Chris should be worth it.

I'll be planning on catching the recorded version.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Do kindergartners need to tested?

The front page of the Boston Globe on Sunday caught my eye with the headline "State aims to test kindergartners"
Paul Reville, the state’s education secretary, emphasized that the kindergarten readiness assessments, which are in the conceptual phase, “shouldn’t be mistaken for an early MCAS’’ and will not be used to determine who should enter kindergarten. 
“It will be a more subtle and nuanced approach to assessing students,’’ Reville said. “The goal is to get a better sense of how students are doing, particularly in literacy.’’ 
The assessments ‘shouldn’t be mistaken for an early MCAS.’ 
The labor-intensive data collection, however, could be a tough sell to local districts and teachers, especially as budget cuts have pushed up class sizes, said Jason Sachs, director of early childhood education for Boston public schools. Boston, he said, already uses 14 assessments in kindergarten.
There are already plenty of assessments available or being conducted. Let's focus on providing some time and resources to actually using those assessments to improve the educational experience for the kindergartners.

The article fortunately admits:
For generations, state education officials have known that it is critical for children to start kindergarten ready to learn, and they have been keenly aware of a wide skills gap among students on the first day, even without a testing system in place. 
The gap exists for a variety of reasons, such as uneven quality of preschool programs, the frequency of parents reading to their children at home, or simply because children by nature can grow and develop at widely different rates in the early years.
So even with generations of knowledge and experience, the State is pursuing this to obtain some Federal funding.
“Each type produces helpful data for teachers and policymakers,’’ Scott-Little said. “In an ideal world, if we had plenty of resources and teachers had time, a combination would provide the best picture of where children are.’’ 
Monty Neill, executive director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing - a Jamaica Plain organization critical of standardized testing - said he is encouraged that the state is pursuing observation-based assessments for kindergartners. But he said he is concerned the state, because of shortages of money and time, could ultimately create a system , that collects data based on one observation instead of several over a period of time. 
“The results could likely be more damaging than helpful,’’ Neill said. “The public ought to pay very careful attention to this.’’
Yes, I agree. We all should pay attention to what testing or assessments are being looked at and why? We should also be looking to ensure that this doesn't become an unfunded mandate, meaning that the State says we must do this but does not provide the funding for the "labor intensive" activity.

Franklin's voters have consistently voted down operational overrides to properly fund the schools. The high school project will be coming up early next year. Will the Town Council also give us an option for another override? Who knows. You should ask questions of the potential Town Council candidates and of the School Committee candidates. The opportunity is now through Nov 8th to decide who we want to lead our discussion.

You can (and should) read the full article in the Boston Globe here (subscription registration may be required)

Note: yes, my disclosure statement includes the fact that my wife happens to be a kindergarten teacher here in the Franklin Schools. Some would dismiss these comments offhand just because of that connection. So be it. I choose to do this information sharing because the education that is available to our 6,000 students today is NOT what available to my daughters. Both of them have successfully graduated from FHS (2004 and 2006). Both have successfully graduated from college and both are gainfully employed today.

This was originally posted to Franklin Matters

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Unintended consequences


The KISS principle. A good one to go by!

If you keep it simple, the road is straight. You don't allow for curves into unintended directions.

I missed the mark yesterday. In trying to really nail a concept, I hit one too many nails, and one of those strikes caught my thumb. Yes, ouch. There was an unintended consequence.

Recognize. Acknowledge. Correct.

And keep it simple going forward!