Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Four Friends Catch Up - Work Status

This afternoon I had a brief meeting with three of my friends from high school and college.  As one of them said, nothing changes.  All different in goals, family, background and style we've moved through five decades, six in some cases of friendship.  We've all remained more or less healthy, more or less productive and glad to see each other.

One of us lives in California, and a life long entrepreneur, now has a growing business in the commercial LED world.  Another, like me finds himself unemployed following a data breach at a large national retailer (his departure was unrelated to the data breach).  The third, a practicing physician is still practicing.  I've not seen the first for ten or more years, the physician for a few and the other within the last few months.  I value their friendship.  We really don't need to say much when we get together.  Each of us has lost one or both of our parents, our children are successful or not and our health problems are nominal but certainly to become large within the next decade or so.

Previously committed I had to leave after an hour of small talk, no hugs and greeting and departing handshakes.  We probably should have hugged.  There were no 'selfies' captured.

We've all been successful in the paths we've taken.  Clearly we're all still looking for the next fork (in the proverbial road). The entrepreneur with whom I'd not spoken for a long time, without prompting, mentioned how much he enjoyed my Facebook 'quips.'  I responded that I used the Facebook space to test topics to write about.  If I offend someone it probably warrants a longer treatise. My IA friend from another circle of friends says the same.  If enough people tell you something, you should listen and execute.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Best Ride in the Last Year

Five Days Short of a Year

Five days short of a year out of the 27-year gig it seems as though I should have more progress in determining the next 27 years.  At 64 I probably don't have 27 more years but I should perhaps focus on the next five.  Without a doubt I am glad to be gone from that previous theater.  The dialogue, the actors and staging, and even the intermissions had become a blur with little in focus or audible.

The small business continues to grow.  Over the next three months I'll be working on branding and marketing, hopefully with the outcome of more revenue or larger sale potential.

Beekeeping remains an option.   The current demand for locally produced honey, especially in 'raw' form outpaces my level of production, and there are more retail outlets interested.  There is an offer on the table (virtual table) to partner up with another beekeeper even older than me with some broad established retail outlets.  I need to work on a proforma for that effort.

My partner in the content management opportunity took a job and despite assurances that we'd continue to work together he's dropped off the planet.  While I thought I'd continue on the conceptualization of that project it appears the co-working was what kept me moving forward.  The new motivation is that the former employer is now attempting that project.  I was never able to get any traction for that project there.  My network of former peers has also collapsed.  Apparently my ability to hold people's interest was tied to my corporate credit card and the opportunity for a free lunch.  This project still intrigues me.  While yacking with a customer at the small business yesterday they asked me "how does one manage knowledge?"  This is a CEO of a distribution business who was having lunch with his daughter/heir-apparent.  Little did they know that I could talk about knowledge management for quite a while without notes.

Some progress has been made on the creative side with a number of works in progress and some established work patterns.conceptualized.   Early in my departure there was thought of working at a co-location site.  Until specific projects are lined up I'm going to continue squatting a bit for each day.  On the more tactical creative projects I simply need time in the shop.
  The notion of working virtually is pretty solidly established.  There are at least half a dozen locations within a couple of miles that I can comfortably plunk myself at the keyboard and steal wireless connectivity.   The closest is www.brueggers.com which has much background noise and marginal connectivity, expensive beverages and good bagels.  I guess that is a compliment.  It's intriguing how many internet whores take up four-person tables to stare at their screen.  With purpose I take the smallest possible configuration, plug in and jam my ear buds in.  This works.  I can focus for an hour.  Of course I was just distracted and looked at Facebook.  I use FB to post some 250 word versions of ideas I think will make longer blog postings.  Repeating an oft-not-repeated action I responded to someone's comment of a Facebook post.  Their comments and suggestions are helpful, sometimes motivational, but I don't want to get into a debate on FB any more than I want to in email.  The debate started over Presidents, those that salute Marines while holding a cup of coffee or a dog.

"The Commander-In-Chief of this great nation deserves respect from all citizens, regardless of party. Division and bi-partisan extremism without compromise threatens our nation state. On a practical note, both President Obama and President Bush must have skipped the class on the origin and protocol for giving and returning salutes. Both the latte salute and the dog salute leave me somewhat disappointed. Five minutes later: I've refreshed my knowledge on this topic. Presidents do not salute because they are not members of the military and have not earned that right. Likewise, Officers in civilian clothes do not give or receive salutes. President Reagan started saluting because he simply wanted to. President Clinton also saluted. It does not appear that President Reagan or President Clinton attempted or mastered either the latte salute or the dog salute. Personally I think a proper return salute by the President would not only acknowledge the respect due the Commander-In-Chief but would also demonstrate his appreciation and respect of the responsibility granted his/her command and the dedication and sacrifice of those in uniform, current and past."

The comments digressed into some anti-Obama and anti-Bush trivia.  We worry about a match while the town burns.  The media keeps us focused on news stories rather than the real issues and the processes to resolve the issues, making us all think it's the President's fault.  It's really all about big money, big money buying government.

A more focused year-end wrap-up is forthcoming.  Going forward I do need to produce some income but my energy is focused on activities with a creative palette.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Social Media "Dead or Alive"

On Thursday I attended a seminar entitled "Your Social Media Personal Brand" hosted by my outplacement firm.  Prior to the seminar I did a Google search on the presenter.  Never am I going to say that I 'Googled' someone.  Everyone has some dark shadows in their past and I know that in the 1970's there were several instances of Googling that I'd just like to forget...and I hope that no one else brings any of those events up.  The presenter was a professional woman who is certified by the National Institute for Social Media (NISM) named Jennifer Radke who I Googled searched before arriving.   Arriving at the office building I saw a woman walking in front of me and thought "that must be Ms. Radke," walked quickly up behind her and said hello.  This was in a dark parking ramp.  Well, it turned awkward because this was not Ms. Radke and the woman's reaction indicated that my my grey-haired geezer being was some sort of stalker. It all turned out OK...providing more material for this blog of joblessness.

If you follow the NISM curriculum and testing procedures you may earn the NISM Social Media Strategist (SMS) credential.  I'm a bit of a social media junkie (and unemployed IT Executive) but I'd never heard of this organization or this credential.  Google searches for NISM and the SMS credential did not yield much.  Reviewing the website would indicate this is a new program.  The staff is made up of primarily people who appear to be less that thirty and a couple of geezer advisers.  Personally I would have just Photoshopped a decade or two onto the staff faces.  The ages are not surprising.  In my 27-year gig I dragged the user community and owners screaming and yelling into every new technology and communication option.  The bottom line is that most of the users over forty simply went through superficial mechanics of establishing LinkedIn accounts, publishing content, etc.  The administrative staff liked dancing cat videos, but who am I to criticize now that there are dancing cat film festivals.  I could have started a dancing cat film festival management company.

The NISM website has had no posts since July 30, 2014.  My first Twitter search for them yielded "The Institute for National Strategy of Mongolia."  The last use of the #nism hashtag was four or five days ago.  I cannot find posts on Twitter from the President.  Jennifer Radke tweets a great deal.  As a point of internal conflict I am reluctant to use the term (word?) 'googling' but comfortable with 'tweeting.'

My LHH consultant advised me that it is best to remain anonymous in social media.  At the seminar, which he attended, I mentioned that advice in my introduction and added that I thought he was wrong.  There was a later discussion and disagreement between another unemployed person and the consultant-driving-re-employment regarding keywords and phrasing in LinkedIn 'headers.'  It was a good seminar.  I was impressed with all the attendees and could not believe some of them were actually laid off.  They were attentive, intelligent, thoughtful and curious, all good traits.  After 27 years of all black and white fifty shades of grey was refreshing.  I'd like to work with all the people I was unemployed with yesterday.

If finding information about dead people is easier than finding information about you (living, hopefully) you need to make an effort to be social-media-alive.  LHH is very methodical and very professional about giving you tools and a road map to become re-employed.  The focus is heavy on networking, face-to-face.  Obviously everyone working thinks they will continue to work at will.  It's easy to be neglectful of your networking while working.  In retrospect I would encourage people still working to devote a fixed percentage of their week to networking, reinforcing old relationships and building new.  I used to tell my employees to do one more thing before they go home each day and to ensure that they learned one new thing.  Appropriately added to that would be to establish one (or more) new relationships or contacts each day.  My LHH guy is clearly thinking about how LHH should be positioned in this social media world.  On a personal professional level he's working on a program for professional self-promotion.  Leveraging the online social world is  mission-critical for most job-seekers and people who want to keep their jobs.

Jennifer Radke has now been 'followed' by me on Twitter and we've had some tweets back and forth with obscure abbreviations and hashtags, all full of meaning and implication but 140 characters or less.  The presentation was heavily weighted to Twitter.  She is a communications person and Twitter is quite handy for maintaining and building many new relationships.  There is clearly a mix of personal and business on Facebook and Twitter.  LinkedIn remains the standard for business relationships.  Ms. Radke's position was that showing a bit of your personal life on those platforms is OK and helps frame up your desired work environment.  The HR person next to me suggested leaving all personal items, history and responsibilities off the table.   My recommendation is pretty simple in social media:

  • Have a clean social media record.  Don't have any photos of you tied up and wearing leather chaps.
  • Create a clean LinkedIn profile with simple statements of your past work and future goals.  There are tools to help you work in the correct keywords.  Recruiters and HR departments and bots-aplenty troll the waters of LinkedIn regularly.
  • Find companies that you would like to work for (using LHH resources) and follow their corporate postings on LinkedIn and Twitter.  Good companies store their work in Content Management Systems (CMS) which allows single sourced content to be purposed in numerous forms.  For example a job posting written in MSWord stored in a CMS would according to business rules be re-purposed.  For example it might show up in a 'Positions Available' section of a company's intranet for a period of time and then be automatically posted to their company website and to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter postings.  You might first hear of jobs on Twitter and LinkedIn, even before they are posted to www.monster.com, www.dice.com, etc.
  • Research the hash tags used not only 'by' but 'about' the companies of interest.  People are foolishly open on social media and you'll learn a great deal.
  • If you have a body of work that you can share or if you have something to say leverage those on personal blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.  A search for your name should yield some returns showing your good employment, your community involvement and present a decent record...but not many people are truly unique, so focus on your skills that are differentiating.
  • Back to personal quirkiness.  Most, not all, people outside of work do have a personal life.  Be selective.  All of the topics that bring division to American life are probably good to be avoided.  I try to avoid political commentary.  Sharing pictures of a caught monster lake trout is probably OK.  Standing in front of dead bull elephant just taken with your favorite .375 Holland & Holland is not OK.
  • I would not dwell on your gluten-free diet.
  • The Ten Commandments are probably a good guideline.  Don't do a lot of coveting in your Tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos or Google+.  LinkedIn is so squeaky clean it looks like every business convention you could imagine where everyone is dressed alike with most carrying iPads.  The feeds in LinkedIn are good.  'Liking' and commenting is good.
  • In this world of SM, don't just 'like.'  Contribute and comment.
  • This is getting a bit off-topic.
The certification test for the SMS credential looks doable without the education, covering the standard social media platforms, analytics, branding, communication, strategic planning, etc.  I'm trying to determine if it's actually of value.  Certainly know that content is important.   Strangely, my search right now for 'SMS credential' yields a result that explains that I can be certified as a Seating Mobility Specialist (SMS); I've never considered technology-assisted seating as a vocation.  I'm unclear why NISM picked SMS as the credential name since that is even more commonly recognized as the protocol for text messaging (Short Message Service) but perhaps their focus is really short media, text and Tweets.

Long ago there was a certification process to become a Certified Data Processor (CDP) which I did not study for but passed the test.  Apparently that has evolved into something else.  It looks like the business to start is a company that creates certification education, testing and credentialing.  Would a CBP (certified Blogger professional) credential be worthwhile?  Wordpress can be challenge but Blogger is simple.  Given the opportunity to be simple and credentialed I might get excited.  In this theme of joblessness we could create the CUP (Certified Unemployed Person) credential.  Education could include resumes, networking, marketing statements, finance (w/o money), dressing for interviews in not-new outfits, when to give up, etc.  Employers might be inclined to look to individual who had professionalized their unemployment rather than those going about somewhat willy nilly.  Would your certification expire or be voided when getting a job or could you put your CUP on hold or be flagged with a sabbatical or emeritus status?  To keep it professional you'd have to continued to accumulate CEU credits while continuing to be unemployed but after receiving your CUP. 

Ms. Radke's opening comment was the suggestion that you "Google' yourself.  Whenever someone suggests
that I'm inclined to answer "I can't reach," but I don't and I did.   On a name basis I show up fairly high based on the 27-year gig.  I do own the domain name 'johnleeper.com' but it currently has content that is a decade old.  The plan is to update that to more of a portal to the professional and personal me.  My professional content under www.cio-innovation.com warrants updating, too.  

The importance of photographs returned from a Google search are also important.  The first photo is from my Twitter account profile showing me at my desk at the oft-referred-to 27-year gig.

This could be interpreted as any of the following:

  • Asleep with eyes open
  • Staring out the window (was actually staring at my dual monitor setup)
  • Wire is to life-support system
  • Crooked and old; cannot sit up straight
  • Pretty much addicted to YouTube
  • Thinking about future credentialing
  • Envisioning unemployment
  • Budgets & strategic plans
  • Envisioning a new career
  • Writer's block
  • Regretting that can of high caffeine Monster
Ms. Radke recommends a professional photo.  I think professional photos make everyone look alike within
themes.  My LinkedIn photo is a selfie which I believe displays some level of confidence and professional indifference.   I'm going to stick with it.  Actually now I think it looks like a photo from a security camera...perhaps on a no-fly list.  

I follow a guy who considers his life to be going in circles on a tractor waiting for equipment to break or catch on fire.  With appropriate ear protection I believe driving in circles in/on a tractor may be preferable to writing yourself in circles.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

iPad Roadkill

Earlier Today on Facebook...

"In less direct prose I've attempted to stress this point often in reference to my long-ago typing instructor, Ruth Woods (1964). The keyboard (typing) has allowed me to continue to be creative and productive as a writer and coder and certainly in learning. During my 27-year gig as CIO of a national company I watched keyboard skills stall, not simply the speed but the content and collaborative opportunities which require putting thought and record down on paper (or electronic). The allure of "there's an app for that," shallow as most of there are, and the "cool" factors of tablets was very costly in many forms." 

The preceding included a link to Seth Godin's blog post regarding the abandonment of keyboards.  Good business and personal strategy leverages the technology without being seduced, not that seduction is bad.  We all use screw guns and nail guns but the hammer remains indispensable. 

My son offered the comment that voice recognition will probably supplement tablets.  First looking at voice recognition fifteen years ago I have similar optimism.  We speak much differently that we write.  Perhaps Apple will allow us to pick our writing styles and apply them to our speech.  I'd like to speak like I already do and write uniquely, perhaps like Hemingway or Joyce.

iPad Roadkill...Later Today

Headed north on 35W just outside of Forest Lake I saw some rectangular road debris, then the Apple logo followed by a thump, thump.  Having absorbed too much road debris into my tires in the last month my first inclination was to look to the dash for a low tire indicator followed by the recollection that this vehicle lacked that indicator.  

The iPad road debris felt like hitting a squirrel.  For a moment I always hope that there are not dependent baby squirrels, following by the reality that they are tree rats with bushy tails and there there seems to be no shortage.  Perhaps I just destroyed the creative tool of someone.  What would they do now?  Maybe the swipe they do today will save the planet.  People using Apple solutions seem quite accepting of using overpriced Chinese hardware to do whatever they do.  No one uses an iPad 1 anymore (except me once or twice a month),  Apple people seem to update with every release, so they've probably already stopped to get a replacement.  

A ten-year old friend of mine received a tablet for Christmas.  When asked what he used it for, he recited the names of several games.  When asked about browsers and search tools I received a blank look.  The Chinese own our debt (and us) and this might be part of their plan to dominate the world.  Americans will only be able to swipe and absorb, lacking the critical tool...the keyboard.

How would I have felt if I'd run over a nice, economical Samsung Chromebook instead of an iPad?

Artwork, Electronic or Not..

Glancing out the window on this somewhat cool day I was struck with the cloud image.  My first thoughtafter capturing the digital image should have been an acrylic or water color interpretation, those supplies awaiting me at my destination.  Regretfully my first thought was the "smudge" option in Photoshop or Gimp.  

My head has become polluted, paper, paint and brush replaced with computer, monitors, mouse devices, 'creativity' software,' publishing tools, etc.  At least there was still a keyboard in my head. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Drones & Your Online Reputation

Beekeeper - 1964-2014+

When first a beekeeper I was too young to drive.  My mother accommodated  visits to my bee yard.  That was the nicest vehicle ever used to transport heavy, sticky, oozing hive parts.  Later when I started to drive I managed to crumple the front end of the 1962 Pontiac Catalina (389 4-barrel).

The bees have been a bit of a constant, there through high school, college, jobs, newborn children, empty nesters, etc.  It's become much more difficult to be successful at beekeeping.  My cousin and I talk about the ease with which one could start a business in the 1950s and even the 1960s from many perspectives, financing, customers, regulations and competition.  Over the years prices have risen along with costs and the losses have changed from unsold product to bees that simply die from mites and pesticides.

My better half is a good listener and knows most of the standard stories from me regarding bees.  Now that fall is upon us she relishes the notion of the unlucky drones, the males, who after a season of not working, lounging about, not defending the hive (without stingers) and not even being able to feed themselves, are kicked out of the hive at the first frost.  No freeloaders in the house for the winter.

My repertoire of  bee humor centers on reproduction, the standards of desire, pursuit and conquest and regret.  The short version is this:  "The queens mates with one or more drones in flight.  At the moment of ecstasy the drones unit breaks off.  He dies."

This evening she asked me from the kitchen "do male bumblebees die in the fall, too."  Strangely tonight is the first widespread frost in Minnesota so looked to see if the front door was open.  Apparently safe I did a quick search for the answer.  Honeybees winter as a colony of bees, and that is somewhat unique.  Other bees winter as a single queen.  In the spring she builds up some cells, forages, lays eggs and nurtures the larvae.  Once there is a substantive community she lays male eggs.  The drones of the bumblebee world, like honeybees do little work, actually none.  They leave and live a solitary life, foraging for themselves and flying around in pursuit of female conquest.  One of seven are successful in that conquest...and then they die.  With a bit more entomological research I've going to find out if that is a standard throughout the insect world.

Online Reputation...my, oh my, what people know

 It seems that between what I've decided to follow and what Facebook likes to send me in the form of advertisements that at quick glance seem like something I should click on, this has gone beyond following a few friends and topics. For instance, Facebook apparently knows that I own a Ford F-150. That is public information but not something that I choose to share with everyone. It's also apparent that while logged into Facebook my browsing history becomes part of my public/private record, as well. Google & Yahoo I more or less trust. They're decent neighbors. Just for the record I want my friends to know that I'm considering purchasing a new DeWalt cordless drill, a 9V lithium battery for my 'up north' FreezeAlarm, some new 21" band saw blades and some new boxers. It's just some that everyone should know, not just Facebook.

We've yet to totally understand the implications of social media (and social media derived data) which goes far beyond our conventional notion of privacy (like name, address, SSN, etc.) but expands to your physical location, political inclinations, spending, etc. It's possible that "big data/meta data" may predict your next actions even better than your significant other.

What's The Point of this Blog Post?

Certainly during my next interview someone is going to ask about bee sex or why I talk about that, or I'm not even going to get to the interview stage because it's offensive.  "We are not going to call this guy in for an interview.  He posted some bee porn on his blog (or on Facebook or whatever)."  Actually I'm going to a seminar next week on "your social media brand."   It's put on by something called the National Institute of Social Media.  My LHH consultant and I have talked about this.  His suggestion is remain anonymous.  I think one has to be cautious and thoughtful but I think you have to also be proactive, creating multiple dimension of that brand.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bees, Small Businesses & Tractor Distractions

Bees - Legacy Small Business

The State Fair which ends on Labor Day is my cutoff for pulling honey off the hives.  Shortly after the holiday all the goldenrod blossoms which results in poor honey.  Honey is a combination of fructose, sucrose and dextrose and the goldenrod composition results in a product prone to crystallization.  I'm now a week late.  Extraction of honey is much easier when it's about 90 degrees.  Today the high will be 59 degrees.  Any supers pulled off the hive need to go into a warm room for a couple of days.  Attempting to extract cool honey leaves much in the comb and broken comb.  What happened to the second half of August?

Rental Property - Legacy Small Business #2

My wife owned a condo when we were married thirty years ago.  She's never sold it, renting it continuously during that time.  I'm not sure this marriage is going to last.  She says she always enjoyed living there.  On
Monday the owner of the unit below us called to say there was moisture coming into their apartment.  Over  the years there have been quite a few instances of water from above resulting in damage to our unit, some originating from the roof, some from the overflowing tub on the third floor above us.  During a recent touchup of paint I noticed some discoloration.  If this was your house you'd look at it, grab some patching tar and a ladder and deal with it.  This situation involves me, the guy that called, each of our insurance companies, the condo association board, the condo association management company and the condo association insurance company.  It's been raining continuously for two days.  I know it's a pinhole leak around a vent stack on the roof.  It will take another week for the management company to get an inspector, get three estimates, arrange a meeting with the association board and then some time to actually get the work done.  Drip, drip, drip...

Cafe - Small Business #3

The cafe operated (and owned) by my daughter and wife continues to grow.  I put a little time into this but work every day to get fired.  Certainly any minimum wage employee would be much more effective.  My wife tells me that I am worthless there, doing nothing but talking to the customers.  Most of the time I am asking the employees to fill out a complaint form about me.

Real Job(s)

As mentioned I've lost momentum on job pursuit but have had a couple of good leads this week which I will pursue.  It seems that one out of one thousand leads is actually good so I think I'll get a Powerball Lottery ticket first.


With much to be done I really have no extra time (that sounds lame) but I am easily distracted.  I'm attempting to spend some time writing each day to get better.  Of course that is cutting into my activity and exercise time which meets I'm going to die sooner and have less time to  get better.  Good blogs really catch my attention, not those that are focused on dancing cats or how to live on $1 a day but those that truly capture the endless challenges and opportunities of life and a few others that are somewhat highbrow or which simply display creative writing and imagery.

For a while I'm been following The Lazy Farmer Blog and to display my distraction problem have included a short clip of me watching his clips.  Did I really have time to work this into my day?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tires & Tire

About two weeks ago I was driving to the small business and heard two noises, first the front left tire going over something followed by the left rear tire going over something.  The second noise had a definitive 'thunk' attribute.

Two hours later when leaving the small business the 'thunk' identified itself as a 5/8" drill bit in the rear tire, now flat.  The removal of the tire was a challenge, the first time I had to stand and jump on a lug nut wrench.  I suppose they are tightened to fifty or sixty pounds but jumping motion was much in excess of that (I just looked this fact up.  It's something that I should have known...100 pounds).

With 40,000+ miles on the tires this 5/8" event became new tires.  Yesterday my low tire pressure indicator came on.  The left rear tire had a 1/2" stick protruding from the sidewall.  Given my lack of high performance sliding around I'm not exactly sure how this could happen.  The tire came off easily and I started the 100 mile drive home on the midget spare tire.  At 50MPH you have more time to think and was reminded of a time (1970) when new tires could be had for $25 or less and that included mounting, no shop fees, no hazardous waste fees and no environmental fees.

The tire was replaced but low pressure indicator in that tire was destroyed when I drove ten feet on the flat. An additional $85 charge was added to the new tire charge and one tire cost half the amount of four tires.  Given that all failures on the left rear tire seem to result in one or more new tires I'm not really sure that I needed to spend that $85, which is actually about half the cost of a new tire which I seem to be buying every two weeks.

What does all of this have to do with work and the pursuit thereof?  It seems that something is breaking every time I go outside or go somewhere.  I forgot to mention that after changing this recent flat I went into the shop to make some sawdust while waiting for the traffic to subside (given that I was going to be going no more than 50 MPH).  One of several projects in-process required some work at the bandsaw.  It was only a couple of small cuts and I was tempted to skip the standard safety gloves, hearing protection and safety glasses.  At the shop I'm thirty minutes from any health care and I'm alone so I try to be prudent.  Fortunately I did put all that on moments before a 12 TPI saw blade came flying out at my hands and face.  You have to get right back on the horse when thrown and I knew I had backup blades but they were not in the logical location because I had a water pipe freeze and break (not yet repaired) that I discovered after turning on the water and dumping a couple of hundred of gallons of water about the shop.  It's a long story.  I found the blades.

The lack of equipment failures would indicate that one is not doing much.  Lot's of failures might indicate you're making much effort or you shop at Harbor Freight.  Writing is much like that.  If you don't put something boring or stupid or without purpose or not elegant or not funny or not insightful down on paper (e-paper as noted) you're not doing enough.  The small business has been good but distracting, keeping me from this.

Today I did have a great conversation with a former vendor who indicated there were a number of companies that would benefit from someone like me and that he would be willing to connect the dots.  This fits well into my plan for actually pursuing work after September.  Of course I have to move past the tire issue which will, if the data pattern is correct, occur again before the end of the month or halfway until the next full moon.  Much is to be done before the first frost of the fall which is imminent.