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Sometimes people ask what I am personally working on. This week it came up that I was not completely accepting of my past. You probably saw from a mile away that this was an issue I had but I was too close and until the issue showed itself in some way that I could see I wouldn't be ready to address it.

It came up. Since you and I had lost touch by the time this story started don't take offense to the way I use the label of “friend.” In college I moved back to FTC for many reasons not relevant to this story. I had my relationships and built an acceptable group of acquaintances and even a few friends over the course of the next 15 years. I had a number of male friends with friendships based mostly on commiseration and escapist mischief. The mischief was epic in many ways and a number of times probably illegal (stands against our employers mostly). In our off time, we were miserable. We were part of an affected generation with no real hope. Everything Sesame Street taught us about being special and unique was dashed by our parents and the headlines. In the midst of Bush-era layoffs (80,000 here and 100,000 there) I learned what I was really worth to an employer. Even my dad's example of staying with the company to climb the ladder to the executive level was instantly undercut in my eyes.

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Either way, I am better able to be there for him now without his situation (frighteningly similar to the way my life used to be) bringing up what I thought the past was. I now have a whole new/old box of tools in my box to use for something good. All I need to do is figure out how I can put them to good use.


Guruji will be here for two weeks.  He is doing astrology readings for people.  We are scheduling hour-long sessions this time.  Appointments were too short last year.  Please feel free to call or email me for more info or appointments.  It is an open invitation so feel free to share it with others whom you know.

Guruji Poster

If you are interested here is the story of how it went last year: http://thewritinglotus.livejournal.com/15640.html

Lost Creek Wilderness Backpacking


Last weekend I made it out into the woods for the first time this summer. I had done other half-day hikes but nothing longer than that. I went out to the Lost Creek Wilderness for a few days and nights and it was an amazing experience.

I dropped a friend off at the airport after his flight was delayed. By the time I drove the hour out of town and another hour up a dirt road and hiked the two miles to the secluded campsite Thursday night it was nearly dark. (I parked at Lost Park Campground.) I clumsily set up camp and made a pile of rookie mistakes. I was in a hurry and my concentration was lacking and I paid for it. I was slow to set up. I sleep in a hammock under a rain tarp tied between two trees. Some of the mistakes I made were hanging the hammock too high under the tarp so I couldn't get in. I also hung the hammock “too banana-ey” a term coined when I was on the Colorado Trail two years ago. It means that the hammock is too bent to be comfortable for sleeping. It was dark and I was tired from the car ride through rush hour across Denver so I went to bed without bothering to make dinner. It was dry and in the 50's that night.Hammock

This campsite is probably my favorite place in the whole world. (North Fork Campground.) I first found it a couple years ago. It took me 4 days to hike to it that time and it was at the top of a huge ascent. Picture the top of a mountain range at 10,600'. The pine-covered peaks surround a valley with a meandering stream occasionally dammed by beavers cutting a shallow path through meadows of small brush and wildflowers. There are elk and moose in the area though I didn't see any.

The morning light starts a bit before 5:30. I dozed comfortably (after a night of re-hanging the hammock and tarp, changing my sleep clothes a few times, making too many bathroom trips from drinking too much too late in the day. . .etc.). I was out of bed and making breakfast when the sun crested the peak and filled my little section of the valley with warm orange morning sun. The long shadows from the lodgepole and bristlecone pines crossed my campsite at the edge of the meadow to join the shadow of the forest.
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My car was just stolen.

The starter would not work so I had it towed to the dealer.  The dealer is in a good part of town and has never had anything taken from his lot.  He called this AM to find out if we picked it up last night.  We had not.  

I have always driven beaters and hand-me-downs until this one.  Apparently I now have/had a car worth stealing.

I guess we'll call insurance next.

The Hobbit IMAX, HFR, 3-D

I went to see The Hobbit tonight with my daughter.  We saw it on the giant screen with the high frame rate, in 3-D and with the 5K extra resolution.  

The movie part was good.  The story deviated a little from the book but it was acceptable and it was plausable within Tolkien's world.  The story bits they added could have happened while the narrator (Bilbo) was elsewhere telling his part of the story.  So the book is litterally Bilbo's experience and the movie fills in things that happened while Bilbo was doing his thing.  In short, it worked.  The whole story went well together.  One thing they learned from the last trilogy was how to end a segment.  I remember watching the Fellowship of the Ring in the theater and it ended after Gandalf died and everyone was crying and running out of the mountain.  I didn't know if I wanted to cheer or boo.  The first segment of The Hobbit ended with enough closure.  

The incredible part of the experience was the technology.  I go to about 3 movies a year and some years far less.  I rarely pay for premium movie things because movies are not that important to me.  This was well worth every penny of the upgrades.  I have never seen 3-D this realistic and consistent.  In the past 3-D programming was so labor intensive they only did it for select scenes.  The whole 2+ hours of this wsa in great 3-D.  Additionally, the 5k screen resolution (roughly 5 times more pixels than regular movies) made the whole thing more realistic than any film I have ever seen.  It was like looking out a window at the scenery rather than watching it on a screen.

If you like movies or The Lord of the Rings trilogy I highly suggest paying the extra to take in all the quality that is unique to this experience.

I will rarely complain, but. . .

I have been editing for what feels like weeks.  Editing is the work part of writing.  The compilation of information has been a lot of fun.  Everything about it has been a lot of fun.  My enthusiasm for editing is flagging and I am only on page 182 of 518 pages.  On a very good day I can get through 50 pages.  Most days are a lot less productive than that as I balance the rest of my work and family responsibilities.

It is pages of verbatim notes taken over 4 years of classes that I am rewriting/editing for content and length.

Back to work.


I have been friends with him for probably 15 years or more.  We met at an entry level job at a call center taking computer support phone calls.  He watched me raise my first son.  I was there at his wedding 12 years ago.  He moved to Oregon to pursue better career options and it served him very well.  I advanced in my computer career and the company I ended up with had offices less than 30 minutes from his house.  Whenever they would fly me out for meetings I'd stay an extra few days and we'd go to the beach.  

He has been growing more and more miserable over the years.  He never made many friends in OR and never felt particularly grounded.  His relationship with his wife deteriorated considerably over the years.  They had little in common.  He is a very hard worker and she works hard at shirking.  Eventually they dealt with their lackluster relationship by having twins only after huge doses of pot as self-medication did not work.  This meant they were first time parents isolated from any support.  I had been encouraging him to move back for about 10 years.

In December of 2011 we were in a car accident and totaled our minivan.  He had an extra car that his wife's grandmother gave them.  He agreed to sell it to me.  He then said "Nate, I'm afraid I'm going to get the call that says my wife has drowned my kids in the bathtub."  He decided that it was time for him to move back.  I would fly out to help him pack and load his things onto a truck and I would drive back.  His wife would fly with the twins to our house.  

Read more...Collapse )You win some and you lose some I guess.  I certainly feel like I lost this one.  I wish him the best but especially I wish the kids the best.

Roswell Alien Stuff

Roswell has a long history of UFO activity.  There is a museum dedicated to the Roswell Incident.  We went there.  


The museum has a collection of everything related to the crash in 1947 and some more modern things.  The trouble is that there is so little physical evidence and it is difficult to display ideas in a museum.  We had a good time.  

In the end we decided that we probably saw aliens while we were in the desert but we would never know it.  They do have methods of insuring that you don't remember close encounters with them so after we went up in the ship and saw their home world and they learned what they needed to from us they cleared our memories so we could still fit into modern American culture and not be traumatized.  I hope we have as much fun on the ship next time as we probably did this time.

For what it is worth, there are so many witnesses to UFO's all over the world that there are several basic ship types and very similar experiences for nearly everyone who has closer encounters than seeing lights in the skies.  They also had a very interesting section on crop circles.  There is a huge difference between man-made circles and ones that are created by other means.  

Crop Circle

At any rate, have a great day.  Time to get to work.  

Roswell, NM: Project Stratos

I am trying something new.  When I have time to write I will write and date the entries to show up at reasonable times.  My reading habits are such that I will not read a 10 page post from beginning to end if someone posts it but that I will read 10 1 page posts over time.  I have time so I am writing now.

On Sunday after the wedding I turned on my tablet to check for updates on Felix's 23-mile-flight.  It turns out he was already in the capsule and the launch was a go.  I went to the hotel lobby to get breakfast and since Roswell is as small as it is, I watched him from only about 1,200 feet up just moments after his launch.  A group of people formed on the patio to watch his ascent.  It turns out our hotel was full because much of his launch crew and support staff was staying there so there were plenty of stories to share.  We watched until the capsule was too small to see.  

A bit later Vikki and I went to lunch (he did have about 2 hours of ascent time so we were in no hurry).  After a great lunch of Mexican food (all the better for being less than 100 miles from the border) we drove back to the hotel to use the WiFi and watch the jump.  As we walked in I found the lobby to be full of people watching the jump live on the big-screen TV's.  We arrived within 2 minutes of his jump.  He completed his 36-point checklist and jumped.   We watched the whole thing and cheered with the rest of the lobby when he landed.  I am very glad it worked out for us to be there to witness this bit of exciting history.  


Home From Vacation

My wife and I just returned from our first vacation without kids or clients.  We usually host retreats when we travel.  We brought 30 of our closest friends and clients with us on our honeymoon.  

This time we went to Roswell, New Mexico then to Crestone, Colorado and finally to Pagosa Springs, Colorado before driving home.  

The wedding was beautiful.  It was a young couple in Vikki's family and they were very happy.  We ended up taking the roles of wedding coordinators to help the photographer (family friend) and the reception proceedings.  No one knew when to eat, no one knew where the dj was supposed to go or when he should start, no one knew when to throw the garter or eat the cake or where the bridal party was supposed to sit at the bridal party table.  It was a very good time and everyone was very appreciative.  As much as my kids have always made fun of me for insisting that forks go to the left of the plate it does come up as a practical bit of knowledge from time to time.

It has inspired Vikki to finally get into wedding planning.  She has done it a number of times since we met and has planned many events that were as big as weddings so we have the skills to do it.  Presently we have the time to do it as well.  Our existing business is at a stage of slow growth.  We have given up on the magic bullet that will instantly quadruple our client load so we have a little time to start this.  Our youngest daughter (18) is as excited as could be to be a part of it.  I spent Sunday working on business cards and logos while they went to a bridal show.

This should be very exciting for all of us.  Our oldest daughter will likely play a role in this before long as well.  She just took a second job and is working 70+ hours a week right now and doesn't have the time.  Family business can be so much fun.