Buying trees

Problems show up from all sorts of sources. We address them in a variety of ways. I spent part of the day yesterday addressing a problem at a tree farm. It is a problem that has to be solved sooner than later.

Tree farms are interesting places. The folks at the tree farm had setup a very complex irrigation system. I’m sure managing that large of an inventory is an interesting part of the job. We looked at a number of trees yesterday. They were organized by lot. All of them had some type of barcoded tag on them. Some of them were very expensive. Some of them appeared to be on sale. It was a huge tree farm. I racked up over 3,000 steps according to my Fitbit just walking around looking at trees. My new Fitbit Blaze watch has been working well enough. That however is a topic for another time. I will write a full review after owning the device for 30 days.

A tree in the backyard broke in three places during the last major snow storm. It was a very heavy dense snow that accumulated up to 18 inches in one day. The tree simply could not hold the extra weight. It was the type of snowstorm that makes you want to buy a snow blower. That could be something that ends up being acquired this summer.

Figuring out what tree to buy and getting the old tree removed will involve making a few decisions. One decision has already been made. It does not revolve around purchasing a snow blower. At some point this year, I am going to build a new wine rack. The old wine rack is full. That is probably a good indicator that it is time to either build a new larger rack, reduce my collection, or stop acquiring new wine. This will be my first major build something project of 2016.

A broken tree
A broken tree

On Painting

Two things sparked my interesting in painting yesterday. First, John Paul moving rooms means an entire room in the house needs to be painted. That has to happen before the furniture gets delivered. It is always easier to paint an empty room. Second, a painting at American Furniture Warehouse caught my eye. I took a picture of it. It almost inspired me to pick up painting again. I would have painted a wolf instead of a tiger.


Painting an entire room should be relaxing. It is a task with a clear start and a defined finish. It has happened before. It will happen again. During my time at the University of Kansas, I picked up oil painting on small canvasses. I picked up painting as a stress reducer (I called it a hobby) while earning a Master of Public Administration degree. Some of the canvasses from that time period have been painted several times. It was more about the process of oil painting vs. the art that was produced. I enjoyed focusing on controlled brush strokes and the timing it takes to work with oil based paints. Some of those canvasses are in a box in the basement.

Last night we picked up some paint at Home Depot. During the course of painting the room something unexpected became very apparent. It is frustrating to paint a room that was previously not painted properly. All the defects just jump out at you. The room has roller marks on the ceiling all over the place and the trim was a mess. I’m going to have to go to Home Depot today and purchase enough paint for the trim and ceiling. My Amazon Echo speaker played a part throughout the painting process. It played a classic rock playlist that seemed to be pretty eclectic.

Learning to paint does not require that much training. Painting a room and painting a portrait are two completely different tasks. I’m only talking about painting a room. For the most part painting a room it is about being patient and respecting the amount of control any given brush provides. Yesterday, I started off by using a standard 9’ roller to apply a coat to the walls of the room. A two inch wedge cut brush was used to catch the corners, paint the bottom of the wall, and paint the top of the wall. After the first coat of paint was dry, I applied a second coat of paint with the roller.

This morning when the sun comes up we will be able to see if I missed any spots.

Random musings on a Sunday morning after the big game

Did you know that the University of Kansas men’s basketball team will be playing in the NCAA national championship game on Monday night? Who am I kidding — of course you knew about the big game!

I had to ask myself — What’s up with Bill Gates these days? How often do you think Bill Gates checks in on what Steve Ballmer is doing? All I really want to know is when the next edition of Microsoft Office Word will be available. I keep waiting for a skydrive version of MS Word to be announced by Microsoft. I really do use MS Word daily. Like many professionals who spend a significant amount of time writing Word will probably always be a part of my daily life. About ten years ago, I applied to work for Microsoft. Bill Gates never responded. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed living Washington state.

Parenting can be incredibly tiring

One of my resolutions for 2012 included actively blogging/writing every day. The joy of parenthood has dramatically changed my sleep and writing schedules. On a side note, did you know that a baby can squeak? Out of nowhere John Paul on occasion just squeaks… As my new world of eventualities unfolds, I am struggling to find a rhythm between work, personal life, and academic life.

For the last few years, I have worked on different sets of tasking without any real interruption. One of my goals for this weekend is to watch the super bowl and complete my Stanford University classes from the Stanford Center for Professional Development. I have already selected a location in my office for the Stanford University advanced project management certificate.

As part of my journey into the world of project management certification, I recently acquired Rita Mulcahy’s book, “PMP Exam Prep, Seventh Edition: Rita’s Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam.” At some point within the next 3 months, I plan on taking the Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) exam. After gain the Stanford Certified Project Manager (SCPM) and PMP credentials, I plan on focusing my attention on earning a few Cisco certifications.

Thinking about country clubs and golf in general

During the course of 2012, I want to spend more time playing golf and less time watching television. Are both cable and satellite television companies swimming upstream against the growing force of internet enabled content? We cut the cord (aka cancelled our satellite and or cable subscription) about a year ago.  For the most part, the transition has been relatively seamless. I have been asking myself the question, “Who really needs to watch several hours of television per day?” Giving up watching live sports on ESPN was probably the hardest part of cutting the cord. Cable news networks are capable of providing hours of mindless background noise, but they rarely deliver truly informative content. We just got a flyer from Xfinity (Comcast) that would provide cable, internet, and phone for about $89.99 a month. It is interesting to see the difference between the on demand video content services provided by satellite and cable companies versus the on demand content that companies like Netflix provide.

Weekend Activities Reconsidered

Apparently, the Joni plan involves some type of activity during every day of every weekend. My weekend may very well involve a trip to Costco or maybe even Lowes.  After acquiring a Keurig Platinum B70 gourmet single cup coffee maker with 60 samples I have watched my supply of k-cups dwindle. Costco only sells a handful of K-Cup varieties. It would be nice if Costco sold a sweet variety pack. Outside of coffee considerations a trip to Lowes will probably involve looking at ceiling fans.

Questioning Finding Atlantis

The National Geographic Channel will be airing a show about Finding Atlantis this week. I am very curios to find out more about the possibility of the lost city of Atlantis being discovered right off the coast of Spain. How did cartographers miss an entire city?

Notes from 20101129

  • Joni and I just adopted a new (new to us) Australian cattle dog this weekend. Peppercorn the dog definitely is used to flying solo and having the complete run of the house. Puppies are (and will always be) an adventure. Training a dog without the use of treats or fear requires an extreme amount of patience, but the results are well worth the effort.

  • A few pages for the new novel are starting to turn over (albeit slower than expected). Writing has to become a state of mind for the writer. Being drawn to the page requires a certain degree of passion for the project. Being forced to writer defeats the purpose and ultimately cheats the project. Professional writers certainly end up writing on a schedule and only an endless reserve of passion for the work allows that compromise.

  • Stream of consciousness writing produces strange and interesting results. Going back and editing prose generated from a stream of consciousness writing session can be challenging.

  • Over the course of the last few months, I feel that the amount of interesting video content on Netflix has disappeared. Maybe my moving watching tastes are changing.

  • The new dog had a successful visit to the local veterinary clinic. Queensland heelers appear to be both intelligent and hearty. The test the veterinary technician ran to determine if the new dog had heartworms was negative. Overall, the morning seems to be rather peaceful and otherwise uneventful.

  • All of the cyber Monday emails seem to be delivering on the promise of specific sale items targeted at laser shoppers. If you know what you want or can be easily persuaded, then the deluge of cyber Monday online deals could be just what you are looking for both now and in the future.

Notes from 20101114

  • After watching televised advertisements, I learned Papa Murphy’s now has a Bacon Bacon Bacon Pizza (a pizza with three kinds of bacon). Americas has developed a fascination with bacon and Papa Murphy’s pizza has decided to exploit that fascination for profit. What percentage of people using video recording options to capture content (for time shifting) takes the time to watch commercials? Do live sporting events and AM radio shows provide the only method of actual advertisement and therefore should be more expensive?

  • If NBC decided to sustain the blockade against Google TV, then the potential for online advertisement revenue will be lost. Say for example somebody wanted to watch full-length episodes of the show Outsourced on the NBC website using Google TV and the blockaded turned away that potential viewer. Not only did NBC fail to gain additional advertisement revenue, but the network also lost the opportunity to diversify the brand by introducing new viewers to other content (generating additional revenue streams). Consider for a moment, that NBC has also disenfranchised anybody who owns or uses a Google TV. Broadcast television stations lack subscription subscribes and have no contractual obligations to hold viewers hostage. Maybe disenfranchisement was the wrong choice.

  • If anybody has had a chance to demo (or has as strong opinion about) any of the Sony Internet TV powered HDTV systems, then please let me know what you think about the device. I am considering purchasing the NSX46GT1 model to replace my primary television. I am in the market for a new television and I believe that internet television will replace conventional television within the next two years.

  • The shop now link at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue provides a resource for individuals who want to acquire mail order barbeque. After an initial online review, two items stood out: Item #PKSS0436 $59.95 Sunday Sit-Down Special and the Item #PKBT0315 $79.95 Big Taste of Kansas City. A review of the online delivery system will probably be forthcoming at some point in the not so distant future.

*What is the real difference between Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office 2010? I am considering upgrading to get Microsoft Word 2010…