A Story

So I had this dream about writing a story last night, but I'll never be able to get the story to where I could sell it, so I'll describe it here for you.

You're welcome.

The story is about a young boy who lives in Jerusalem. One day, he finds that there is something growing out of the walls inside his house. It starts in his room, and he's embarrassed to see the green shoots sticking out of the corners. So he tears the leaves off the plant and breaks back its stem.

But every day it comes back, and it's a little bigger, so it takes him longer and longer to get rid of. Every morning, he wakes up and starts pruning back the plant. It's an ivy-like plant, it has tendrils and sends runners along the wall while he sleeps. The bits and pieces of the plant he has to tear up create a mess that further embarrasses him and he spends time trying to find places to bury the debris. Eventually, his whole day is consumed by removing and hiding the plant bits, until eventually he loses so much ground that the plant takes over his house and starts producing little pods.

I'm not going to spend time on this story because it really depends on English to have an impact, and I don't think that's respectful to the area. But I've shared it with you. I'm calling it, "Peas in the Middle East."

Looking for Breakfast?

wee toaty explorer with frying pan

Here's a little guy out looking for some breakfast.

wee toaty explorer with pig

I'm not really sure that the little pig is going to jump right into your pan, dude.

here piggy piggy

Plus, he won't just suddenly become bacon.

Wee Toaty Explorer at Crater Lake

Generally, I prefer to stick to urban settings for the Wee Toaty Explorers project, because it feels a little more like littering out in the great outdoors. But I had to keep my hands busy when I wasn't doing the driving.

This is Crater Lake, Oregon.

This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here.

Why Did the Chicken...?

One of my favorite games is Why Did the Chicken...? It's awesome fun, but it requires a big group. I haven't gotten to play it much lately. In the game, a player draws a question card and two noun cards. The question card has two blanks, into which the player puts the nouns and reads out the question. The intention is that this is the setup of a joke. So the crowd now has a chance to write, write, write punch lines to the joke. When time is up, one player does the comedy gold and the judge picks the two that amuse him/her the most. The writers of those get a point each and the judge role rotates (a la Apples to Apples), so you have to figure out whether the judge prefers puns over long funny stories.

The questions are generally like "What do you get when you cross a(n) XXXXX with a(n) YYYY?" or "Why did the XXXXX hate the YYYY?" and you draw nouns like "octopus" and "mailbox".

Usually, the first three rounds are a little slow for players to get into the swing, but then it really starts flowing.

Next month, I'm going to be running a session at a conference. The session is going to be about teams working better as teams than as groups of individuals and also about the responsibilities inherent in being an agile self-organizing team.

I'm thinking that I could use Why Did the Chicken...? to show how a team could generate funnier jokes over the long haul than individuals. I don't mean that a committee will make a better joke (they will not!) but that the team will generate better jokes when they start bouncing off of each other. I want to call that synergy. But I haven't had a chance to prove this out in a real setting.

Anyway, I love this game. (And I have a signed copy!)

Order for the massacre of Glencoe

First Dog

I rode up North Bloomfield Road today. After I passed the Confederate and Tennessee flags, I was chased by a dog. The dog didn't get all that close, but he had a rough sound to him. First dog to chase me on a bike since we got here.

On the way back, therefore, I took Coyote Road, which is scarier going down than it is coming up. I don't think my brakes are doing anything at all.

I Hate My Chair

There really isn't anything more to say. I just had to put it out there: I hate my chair. My home office has a raised desk, one that I can stand before if the whim should grab me. I also have a higher office chair so I can sit at the table should I feel compelled to do so. The chair is high enough that my feet are a good two feet off the ground. I like that position.

But the chair, not so much.

It has a nice back and a nice flat bit. But the foot rest is a nightmare. It's a metal ring on the stem of the chair, and it's vital to have a foot rest to keep my legs from cramping up. But every few hours, the metal ring gives way and falls to the base with a clank. This startles me and leaves me with nowhere to put my feet.

I hate this chair.

That's all. Thanks for listening.

They're Calling Again!

How about this? Two days in a row!

As recently as Monday, I was sure that I would be in Milwaukee today. So I had Schlemiel! Schlemazel! running through my head all weekend. Instead, I find myself in Seattle.

But that doesn't get TV theme songs out of my head. So I'm lucky to have this little activity to work out the cramps in my brain.

I do need to learn how to focus in lower light, though.

This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here.

A Ledge in Seattle

Sometimes you just find yourself out on the ledge.

on the ledge

My favorite part is when people walk right by without seeming to notice.

This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here.

No. 6

It's been a little while since I've done one of these picture finder contests. Here's one that Bowie Mike will not be able to win. Where did I take this picture? (It's in the county somewhere.)

Bowie Mike will be able to determine why I took the picture, however.

Sinking Feeling

A while back, I started working on a new TV dinner tray and asked you to guess what the image might turn out to be.

I think it's getting a little clearer after working on it yesterday (can't believe I let this sit for two months):

The picture looks so much better than the painting in real life. I think maybe I'll start painting and just sell the pictures of the paintings.

New Project?

So, I'm not giving up on the wee toaty explorers (I've pretty much saturated Boulder is all, since that's my company's headquarters), but this project intrigues me: A guy is making an illustration for every single page of Moby Dick.

I think this is an awesome idea. Although he's doing it because he loves the book, I'm imagining what it might do to help someone get closer to a book. I tend to blow through books pretty quickly and when I discuss them with other folks I find that I've missed stuff. And there are other books that I've just not been able to get into (including Moby Dick) because it's such a rough slog.

So I imagine that if I read and absorbed a single page at a time, then drew a picture (or made some other art) based on that page, I'd be so dang close to the material that it would sink deeper into my soul than a book normally would. So I'm contemplating taking this on as a challenge.

The problem is that somebody's already doing this for Moby Dick. What book do you think I should choose and why?


Just back from an internal coaching conference in Boulder. We all went out to a nice Italian restaurant one evening. Well, nice, except that there was a clothesline of laundry up in one corner. I don't know if anybody else noticed it.

Also, Boulder has interesting buses:


Happy Fourth

It turns out that Nevada City and Grass Valley trade off the responsibility for hosting the annual Independence Day Parade. When we were visiting last year, we took in the sights and sounds of the parade in Grass Valley.

This year was Nevada City's turn. Here's what the street looked like before the parade began:

Broad Street before the parade

Like parades across America, this one had small mailmen walking around selling water and soda. They also were selling popcorn at $5 a box.

small mailmen

Other traditional aspects include Uncle Sam on a Trash Truck:

Patriotic Llamas:

Giant Beach Balls:

Google beach balls

And Cars:

buy local bug

But I'll bet your parade didn't have these things:

A big ole mine model:


An eighteen wheeler carrying a train:


A cool creature float (look for Salvador Dali!):


And the creepiest thing yet (aside from the weird baby head sprouting from a backpack we saw at the fireworks later), three animated mannequins:

mannequins with windshield signs

The signs and their hands were attached to a cool gear system that made the signs (and arms) wave around like those crazy Subway or Quiznos kids you see on the side of the street. And nobody had to stand in the truck and sweat.

Still, it looked really creepy. Creepier than the women in Barbara Boxer boxer shorts.


Did someone ask for a picture of a duck?

More parade pictures later.

Outta Town

Need to figure out how to keep the camera dry so we can take it on the kayak. Today we went up to Bowman Lake, which is a little off the beaten path. It was an amazingly relaxing paddle without motor boats and skiers waving about, though the ATVs in the National Forest were loud from time to time. The mountains that spring from the water still have a bit of snow on them.

There's supposed to be an 80 foot waterfall at the other end of the lake, but we didn't quite make it that far. I'm exhausted.

bowman lake sat view