Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

Hunter S. Thompson died seven years ago

He wasn’t exactly a role model, but he was a good writer, and he had some keen insight into the human condition as well as politics.  I first became aware of Thompson when I read “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail”.  Jimmy Carter was running for President, and I was a student at Georgia Tech. Thompson was the first person to predict Carter would win the election.  Subsequently, I read several of his books and all his articles published in Rolling Stone and other periodicals. 

Categories: Education, personal Tags: , ,

Washington DC is a bicycle and pedestrian friendly city

We spent the past weekend in DC for a volleyball tournament (which was awesome, too).  The thing that impressed me most was the unusual bike lanes and the Capital Bikeshare program. 

First, Capital Bikeshare has over 1200 bikes and 140 stations in the DC area.  Aside from the number and strategic location of the stations, I witnessed how people use them.  Just while we were eating brunch on Saturday, I watched a dozen people check in and out of the station outside the restaurant.  They were people running errands (there was a Whole Foods next door), some who appeared to live in the area and went off running an errand, and a well dressed couple who looked like they were bicycling to some event.  I was very impressed.

Next, the bike lanes – they were all over the city, and at least on 15th street, were rather unusual (photo below).  They had a dedicated, bi-directional bike lane on the left side of the street beside the curb.  To the right of the bike lane there were parking spots.  My take was this made the bike lane safer because there was an additional buffer between the bike lane and traffic.

We didn’t have time to try the bikeshare program, but we walked all through the city, and the pedestrian crossings were well marked, all the lights had countdown timers, but the pedestrian ‘right of way’ near the hotel was still a challenge (i.e. one driver stopped while I was waiting in the cross walk out of dozens of crossings…).  Oh well.




Categories: bicycle, personal Tags: ,

LRHSD Math and Science Career Expo – November 14, 2011

Thanks to all the students and parents for coming.  My big fear with these types of presentations is that no one will show up.

Below is a link to the presentation.  The version I used in the presentation was a draft I downloaded from Google Docs, so the download is the ‘cleaned up’ version.

Good luck in high school, and with your college selections.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Sarah or me any time.


Download: Solution Architect and Chemical Engineer Presentation

Things I’m reading to improve my writing

I’m re-reading some and I’m sorry it took me this long to re-read them.  With the volume of electronic communication we produce and consume daily, I believe it’s more important than ever to be mindful of the use of capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.  Not only does this make you appear more competent (not smart, just not stupid), but it assures people read and understand what you are trying to say. 

The Elements of Style, is under 100 pages including index, glossary, Introduction (E.B. White), and Afterword (Charles Osgood).  It is a quick read and essential guide to English.  The Introduction sums it up best:

“Seven rules of usage, eleven principles of composition, a few matters of form, and a list of words and expressions commonly misused – that was the sum and substance of Professor Strunk’s work.”

I recommend reading The Elements of Style first. It’s concise, and offers the greatest benefit for the least amount of effort. Leave it in the bathroom, and set a reminder to re-read it every 3-4 months until you have incorporated it into your everyday communication.

On Writing Well is a more comprehensive guide, and will require a bit more effort to read and process. This should still be left in the bathroom or bedside table.

The Elements of Style – Strunk and White

On Writing Well – William Zinsser

Categories: Education, personal Tags: ,


I’m late to the party, but if anyone is interested in Google+, let me know.

OK, it took less than five minutes for someone to ask, but my other condition is that you show you’re not a bot, and your connection come from a valid IP address.

Yes, I’m being a pain, but apparently that’s what it takes these days…

I’ll review tomorrow and process.



Categories: Internet, personal Tags:

Why Not to Take a Break After College

Why Not to Take a Break After College –

This is a great advice for students graduating into a tight job market.  In addition, I would recommend networking as much and as often as you can.

  • Establish a professional e-mail address – something like or similar.  Drop the ‘’, or keep it as a secondary address.
  • Get a Google Voice number for your business cards.  You can forward the number to your cell *and* a land line.  I use it for my all my voicemail – it transcribes your voicemail and forwards it as e-mail.  Google Voice apps are also available for smartphones (Android and iPhone).
  • Get personal business cards.  Put your name, college name, full title of major, mailing address, e-mail address, and Google Voice number.
  • Join LinkedIn ( and post your resume, and work experience.  Link to college classmates, professional contacts, and reach out to family friends who are established in your field (or related fields).
  • If your in a technical or creative field, register a web site and create a blog to track your post-graduation experiences (good and bad).  I recommend registering a domain name using your first/last names (e.g.
  • Join local/regional user or professional groups.  Network as much as possible.  Meet Up ( has many professional groups and networking groups for just about every major or interest.
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RCI Financial Title–Timeshare ripoff details

2011-03-11 9 comments

I’m posting these details for the greater good.  This should be indexed on Google within 24 hours.

My mother just got an offer from RCI Financial Title.  They said they have a ‘corporate buyer’ for her three timeshares. The e-mail contained a poorly formatted, pseudo-contract offering $50,000 for her timeshare. They request a “Doc stamp fee” of $3500.

The kicker is, the properties are only worth $15,000 and this is “too good to be true”.

NOTE – RCI Financial Title is NOT associated with RCI (, the timeshare exchange company.  My mother called to confirm.

Details about the scam:

E-mail came from a Hotmail address –

Address used in the document (below) appears to be a UPS box (I love Google Maps!).  There is no company with the name “RCI Financial Title” that shows up at the address in the e-mail.  I did some research and have the real company address below (based on 2010 business tax records).

It’s also odd that the name in the document (Jack Phillips) is different from the e-mail address (Phillip Harris) doesn’t match the name within the e-mail (Jack Phillips).

Financial/Title Office:  8815 Conroy-Windermere Rd. Suite 113, Orlando, Fl 32835  (407)243-7512   Jack Phillips

The company web site ( is a cheesy, basic web site.  There is no e-mail associated with the domain, and the phone number for the company doesn’t match the phone number in the e-mail.



The company was incorporated June 2010, and the only ‘real’ name I found associated with the company is LISA GRANSKIE

Categories: personal Tags: ,

Orphaned by Blogger

2010-06-05 1 comment

Well, it was a good run.  I was one of the first people to use Blogger, starting in late 1999, and although I experimented with other blogging software, Blogger was my primary publishing tool until May, 2010.  The Google folks made a business decision to eliminate FTP publishing.  I had the option of migrating to, or another service, but I already have my own server, so I’m converting to WordPress.

I’m running WordPress 3.x beta, and I’m still working at importing my Blogger content.  Until then, it will still be available through Google searches, and at


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