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What exactly did happen to Uncle Ed? Or, Fear and Loathing while growing moss between the fingers in the Pacific NorthWest.

What exactly did happen to Uncle Ed? Or, Fear and Loathing while growing moss between the fingers in the Pacific NorthWest.

by Stephen Ulrich

Another beautiful rainy June day in Vancouver.   Washington, not Canada.  For some reason, we live here.  OK, I know why we live here:  Family, friends, Wide Open Spaces, Affordability…… certainly NOT the weather.

The month of February where it didn’t get over 28’F for two weeks, and marked the wettest weather in recorded history, was entertaining in it’s own right.  Not unlike Oakland (where I was born) boasting the Greatest Basketball Team of all time, the Pacific Northwest is smashing records left and right.  Trump be damned (please) we are hellbent on being singularly responsible for refuting global warming…. but I digress.  Suffice it to say that grey weather in the farking winter is just fine, but the middle of June?  No esta’ bien!

While waiting for my Gardner’s aid, helper boy, skilled laborer, (i.e. my hands) to arrive, I find that the caffeine has once again drawn my fingers to the keyboard.  I was, honestly, just stopping by to check the weather to see if it could possibly be drier this afternoon so we could plant the Dogwood.  Dogwoods are a most resplendent ornamental tree, and given the grey nature of the sky in this area, they are a modest accoutrement for an otherwise dreary backyard skyscape.  No wonder the wife has “bedazzled” the interior of our spacious abode with the maximum lighting the square footage would allow.  The photo above depicts the exact amount of light normally required to depilate the nose and body hairs from an adult male homo-sapien.

The weather being confirmed as abysmal for the remainder of the day, the timing of the planting of said Dogwood has become secondary to its placement.  According to those in the know, the root system of a Dogwood is extremely shallow and likely not to require the three-foot pipes full of rocks I was intending to supply to direct the water to a deeper root system.  This is a blessing not to be taken lightly.  What it means is that I really don’t have to install a separate drip line/system for a Dogwood, rather it needs to be insured that the lawn gets watered regularly during those hot dry summer months which are apparently feigning complete avoidance of the entire area, all up in here!

Now my lovely and attractive wife is concerned that the placement of the Dogwood will not only interfere with the Badminton net/players that grace our yard at least twice a year, but endanger our view of the entire sky itself. I guess if we lay down under it?

The trees are gorgeous.  It is 80 degrees in San Francisco and I miss it.  The waterfalls are beautiful here and the trees are green all year long.   Except for the ones that lose their leaves completely. How am I supposed to spend the day in the garage working on my boat to enjoy the sunny lake we are visiting on Sunday when it is raining outside?  Maybe I should eat something.

What DID ever happen to Uncle Ed?

 

 

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What did I ever do to deserve this girl?


by Stephen Ulrich –

My wife is the most wonderful, inelligent, strong, loving, attentive, patient, beautiful, sexy, and dependable partner a man could ever ask for. Did I mention that I like her too?  And that her job pays for my health insurance?  It just doesn’t get any better than this.

I must admit I did work my ass off during the selection process.  Being a crusty 30 year veteran of nuts and bolts sales and marketing, I treated dating and Match.com like any other sales vetting process. The process was not romantic at all.  I sent out a simple statement “I like your smile” to dozens of probablle matches, and evaluated their responses for creativity and suitability.  There were dozens of meetings for coffee, scores of dates, and not a minor amount of frustration.

The sample population ran from those who wanted to boss me around, those who wanted a sugardaddy, those who wanted a “friend” to those who had a monicum of possibility.  A couple that were really suitable in my mind, did not share that opinion of me, but most never got to the second date stage.

When I first communicated with Mary, I thought “what a lovely, solid, professional girl.”  She had a great job, was quite sharp, was well polished in her commnication and seemed to be honest and of good character.  We had both been on Match for so long that we had pretty much given up the ghost, but felt it was worth “one last try.”

Our first meeting was coffee (per usual) at a Starbucks that ended up beind just below the window of ther apartment building.  Coffee after dinner, turned into another quick snack, followed by a nightcap at one of my local blues bars.  There had been no planning, but my flute happened to be in my car, and the band was on a break.  A quick conversation with the band leader sent me scurring to my car, only to arrive back to the table with a dozen red roses (from a street vendor) and a little black box containing my axe.   A couple of songs later, it was announced that “we would like to invite our friend Steve to come up and sit in on a song with us” and up I went.  They performed “Sweet Home Chicago” in the key of C so it was easy for me, and I’ll have to admit I crushed the song.

Arriving back to the table my date was suitably impressed, we kissed, and the rest is history. The storybook date was followed by her announcement that her entire month of November was spoken for……hmmm. Not the follow-up that I had expected, but it never got me down and the fact that it didnt ended up working to my advantage, as the month long absence never materialized either.  Aparantely there were plans with an old lover in Australia that were far more in her mind than his, but that again was MUCH to my advantage.

As the months, then years flew by I asked her to marry me.  She refused.  I asked again.  She refused again.  I am persistant, and for the sake of brevity in this writing suffice it to say that she did finally relent.  The wedding was as storybook as the first date had been.  

There have been ups and downs.  It is told that I am not the easiest man to live with. There is a certain critical nature, and inate arrogance in my otherwise perfect Arian demeanor that some find less than attractive.  That, and my propensity to consume massive amounts of spirits at even the slightest suggestion of a party, or celebration, or boredom, or frustration, or…  left me asleep on the couch far to many an evening. That, by the grace of a higher power I choose to call God, has been lifted and life has gotten far better as a result.

I have mastered the three words that make a marriage work, “that’s right dear.”  The work on my cynicism is, regrettably, ongoing. It is, however, generally accepted that it’s good to be me.  My wife is as good as they come, my dog is the same, we live in a beautiful home with great family and friends, and our basketball team is among the greatest this planet is likely to ever see.

Then there’s the Vancouver WA weather, but as stated previously, I’m still working on the negativity. 🙂

The secret to a wonderful marriage is simple.  Work your ass off to find the best woman in the world.  Get lucky beyond your wildest expectations. Work your ass off to get her to marry you. Get lucky again.  Work your ass off to keep your head out of said ass, and give FAR more often and far more than you percieve to be the “fair” 50% and there is hope for you yet!

 

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Now we know the reason for the narwhal’s tusk

narwhals tusking

Male narwhals will rub their horns together, an action known as ‘tusking.’ (Photo: Glenn Williams/National Institute of Standards and Technology)

Known as “the unicorns of the sea,” narwhals are unique for the solitary tusk that protrudes through the tops of their heads. The horn is actually a canine front tooth that can reach as long as nine feet. But until recently scientists weren’t sure what, if any, purpose it had.

Research from 2014 suggests that the tusk is used as a sensory organ, helping the narwhal pick up changes in its environment. Researchers say males of the species may use the horns to look for food or find mates. The results of the study were published in the journal The Anatomical Record.

“People have said it’s everything from an ice pick to an acoustic probe, but this is the first time that someone has discovered sensory function and has the science to show it,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Martin Nweeia from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, told the BBC.

A team of international investigators worked together to understand the function of the narwhal’s unusual protuberance. To do so, they captured several of the elusive animals and anchored them using a net anchored perpendicular to shore.

The researchers found that the outer cementum layer of the tusk is porous, the inner dentin layer has microscopic tubes that channel toward the middle, and the pulp in the center has nerve endings that connect to the animal’s brain. The structure makes the tusk sensitive to temperature and chemical differences in the environment.

When the tusk was exposed to different levels of salt in the surrounding water, for example, the researchers noticed a change in the narwhal’s heart rate.

The animals can basically “taste” the concentrations of chemicals in the water. Because of that, researchers believe males may use the tusk to find food. They also appear to be able to find females that are ready to mate.

Nweeia told the BBC that he’s fascinated that narwhals put all their energy into growing a single tusk rather than having a set of teeth to help them eat their diet of large fish.

“If you were looking for an ideal and fascinating tooth to study, there’s no question this would be it.”

Stunning tusks

Footage from Canada may support one of the tentative conclusions Nweeia’s study: using the tusks to find food. One additional quirk? The horns may also help the narwhals prepare to eat that food, too.

The video above, shot using drones by the WWF in Canada in 2017, shows narhwals in Tremblay Sound, Nunavat, striking Artic cod with their tusks to stun them and then gobble up the fish.

Steve Ferguson, of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, explained in a video for the agency that the drone footage shows male narwhals “kind of tracking the cod with the tusk […] and as the cod was positioned close to the tip of the tusk, the narwhal sort of gave it a quick, hard tap that likely stunned the fish — it looked like it was momentarily not moving — and then the narwhal would move in with its mouth and suck in the prey.”

Given that we’re only seeing this behavior now, in no small thanks to the general unobtrusiveness of drones, researchers are eager to learn what other possible uses there are for the tusks. A dual purpose sensory organ and cod stunner is already pretty exciting, so what other uses could these creatures of the deep have for this horn-looking tooth?

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Posted by on May 17, 2017 in All, Business, Entrepreneur, Finance, Market, Marketing and Sales, Money, Small Business, Start-up, Uncategorized

 

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Jaycee Dugard, Her Daughters Today, and if They Ever Want to See Their Father

By SEAN DOOLEY –

“I want them to make their own choices in life, and if that’s something that they need to do, then you know I’d … I wouldn’t be OK with it. But I wouldn’t not let them do it,” Dugard, 36, said in an interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.

Dugard was abducted at age 11 in 1991 by Phillip and Nancy Garrido in 1991. She was held captive in Garrido’s California backyard compound and had two children fathered by him.

Dugard and her daughters were rescued in 2009. Phillip Garrido pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping and 13 counts of sexual assault and was sentenced to 431 years in prison.

Nancy Garrido pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping, one count of rape by force and to California’s “one strike” rape law. She was sentenced to 36 years to life in prison.

More than two years after Dugard was kidnapped, when she was 13 years old, she learned she was pregnant and gave birth at 14 years old to her first daughter.

“I can’t fathom how I kept it together or, you know, I must’ve been checked out, you know, on a different level. You know, [I was] present, but not present for, you know, some of it, because it’s terrifying on its own. But being alone, how did I even do that?” Dugard recalled.

When the Garridos found Dugard in labor, she said they gave her codeine. Dugard said Phillip Garrido told her he had watched videos about giving birth and knew how to deliver a baby. Dugard said she was in labor for another 12 hours.

In 1997, Dugard gave birth to her second daughter.

“Anything could happen,” Dugard said of the dangers of giving birth in such difficult conditions. “And I had two.”

As she and her daughters grew older, Dugard said she planted a flower in front of the shed and set up a little school to teach them as much as she could with only her fifth-grade education.

“They’re so resilient, and they’re beautiful and loving, and I’m really lucky,” she said.

Dugard has protected her daughters’ privacy and said some of their friends don’t even know of their past. She said the three of them are able to talk about what happened with each other.

“When I refer to him … I think I’ve been calling him Phillip lately, actually,” Dugard said.

Five years ago, Dugard said she called Phillip Garrido their dad.

“They saw his craziness and ups and downs and knew how unpredictable he was,” she said.

She said she and her daughters have learned to laugh at the challenging life they live together.

“To know it was OK to laugh about, you know, Phillip and Nancy and their … craziness … it helps,” Dugard said.

Both Dugard and her mother, Terry Probyn, said they would not want the two girls to see their father in person, but that they would respect their decision if they wanted to meet him.

“I would hope they wouldn’t want to, but as long as he’s behind bars, and they’re safe, then I wouldn’t hinder their ability to make that choice,” Dugard said.

Probyn said: “It’s their decision. I would hope that they would choose not to.”

Dugard said she has done everything she can to not let her own fears limit her daughters’ lives.

“Do we scare our kids into never wanting to do anything or do we prepare them for the worst in life, never knowing if, you know, if it’s really going to happen?” she said.

Dugard first detailed her horrific experience in her 2011 bestselling book, “A Stolen Life: A Memoir,” and now has a second book, “Freedom: My Book of Firsts,” about moving on after those years in captivity.

Her memoir is due out July 12.

 
 

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Portland to fuel city vehicles with sewage fumes

The City of Roses’ poop-to-power plan is nothing to hold your nose at.

by MATT HICKMAN –

Columbia Wastewater Plant, Portland, Oregon

Methane converted into renewable natural gas at this Portland wastewater treatment plant will power diesel trucks. (Photo: Eli Duke/flickr)

Portland, Oregon’s reputation for setting itself apart from the pack — and then some— is well deserved.

And while not the first city to capture noxious sewage gas and convert it into vehicle fuel, Portland’s newly approved $9 million “poop-to-power” scheme is certainly ambitious, aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 21,000 tons annually while producing enough homegrown, revenue-generating natural gas to power the equivalent of 154 sanitation trucks for a year.

Portland Environmental Services, the city’s wastewater and stormwater management utility, anticipates that capturing methane-rich waste gas produced at the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant and converting it into renewable natural gas (RNG) will bring in a minimum of $3 million per year through sales of the fuel. The city itself will, of course, also power some its own vehicles with the diesel-replacing poop fuel.

Built in 1952 on Portland’s north side, the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant is the larger of two wastewater treatment facilities, serving 600,000 residential and commercial customers in this Salmon-Safe city of roughly 619,000 residents. Previous to the construction of the plant, raw sewage flowed directly into the Willamette River and floodplain of the Columbia River.

About 2,500 miles of sewage-conveying pipes feed into the plant, which has undergone numerous improvements and expansions over the decades including the addition of a striking, LEED-certified support facility in 2013. The construction of a methane-to-natural-gas conversion facility along with an on-site RNG fueling station is the biggest greenhouse gas-curbing project in the 65-year history of the plant. The scheme is also being heralded as the biggest emissions-reduction project in the history of the entire city although some, including Vivek Shandas, a professor of urban studies at Portland State University, feel that estimation is a touch too generous. “Arguably, we’ve done more with the urban growth boundary, with a number of density policies than we have with any single win, any single project like this,” he tells Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Currently, 77 percent of the methane gas generated as a byproduct in the processing of solid human waste at the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant is harvested and used to generate electricity and heat. But as the Oregonian reports, the remaining 23 percent is flared — or burned and released into air. Along with releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, the wasteful practice of methane flaring has also shown to have other disagreeable impacts on the surrounding environment. Once the new facility is constructed, flaring will cease as Portland achieves full methane recovery status from sewage waste.

A garbage truck in Portland, OregonBy converting methane into renewable natural gas, Portland will produce enough fuel annually to power 154 garbage trucks. (Photo: mike krzeszak/flickr)

Poop gas: Portland’s new clean fuel export

Approved unanimously by Portland City Council on Earth Day, the first major components — the conversion facility and the on-site RNG filling station — of the methane-to-renewable-natural-gas scheme are due to be completed and up and running by the end of this year. Initially, the gas will exclusively be used to fuel converted diesel trucks operated by Portland Environmental Services and other city entities. But by the end of 2018, the sewer gas-derived fuel will be connected via pipeline to a natural gas distribution network owned by Portland-based utility NW Natural (née the Northwest Natural Gas Company) and sold both locally and out of state on the renewable energy market.

The Oregonian elaborates:

The city plans to sell the product for credits they will be awarded based on the volume of natural gas they sell to oil companies and other ‘obligated parties’ required to invest in renewable energy or purchase carbon offsets under The Clean Air Act, said Paul Suto, supervising engineer at Portland’s environmental services bureau.

The environmental services bureau’s natural gas production is expected to bring in $3 million to $10 million of revenue per year, depending on the value of the credits in state and federal energy markets, bureau officials estimated.

While Portland’s buses currently run on biogas, there’s the possibility that the public transit system and other city agencies with sizable fleets could switch over to this special homegrown natural gas at some point down the line.

“We are creating a triple-win for the public in terms of revenue, climate action and cleaner air,” says City Commissioner Nick Fish in a press statement. “The renewable natural gas we will produce is truly local and homegrown, a by-product of the waste from every Portland household that we can now repurpose.”

With the water flushed by Portlanders soon to be producing a clean source of fuel for diesel trucks, it’s worth noting that in 2015, the city announced plans to tap into its drinking water supply as part of a cutting-edge in-pipe hydroelectricity project that’s been touted as a low-cost, environmentally friendly alternative to conventional hydroelectric projects like dams. That project, powered by the city’s drinking water naturally flowing through tiny turbines, harnesses enough juice to keep the lights on and appliances humming in an estimated 150 Portland homes.

As Portland has proved, when you have thousands of miles of pipes running beneath a city, it only makes sense to use these hidden renewable energy goldmines to their fullest advantage — in the end, it doesn’t matter if the water flowing through them is potable or filled with poop.

 
 

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Three Ways To Stay On Track When Feeling Overwhelmed

Everyone feels overwhelmed from time to time.

Nik Shulihin, Unsplash

Everyone feels overwhelmed from time to time.

Entrepreneurs are no strangers to the odd bout of existential terror. Usually, these period of stress and fear flair up only to die down rather quickly.

Sometimes, however, these stresses persist and can make you feel totally overwhelmed.

Fortunately, I have plenty of experience coping with the feelings of being overwhelmed by the responsibilities of my life. Over the years, I’ve learned three coping mechanisms that enable me to not only deal with feelings of being overwhelmed, but thrive.

Understand your priorities

No matter how talented or motivated you are, it’s impossible to do everything at once, so stop trying.

The best way to dig out of an overwhelming situation is to pick your top priorities and work from there. Prioritization is difficult for many entrepreneurs because everything seems to be equally important at first glance.

When we step back and practice mindfulness, however, we realize that isn’t the case. It’s always possible to prioritize things in your life; it just isn’t always easy.

When juggling priorities, it’s important to remember that matters of the heart, be they relationships, family, or personal fulfillment, are the most fragile.  If you fail to keep these relationships healthy, there’s a good chance they’ll be irreparably damaged.

Work, on the other hand, is far more resilient. Even when you make a terrible mistake and drop the ball, it almost always bounces back. The key to happiness is recognizing which priorities are fragile, and which are more durable.

For me, priorities are absolute and fall into three categories. My first priorities are the needs of family.

My second priority is my company. For entrepreneurs and leaders, work needs to be a higher priority than it is for most people. The reason for this is that it isn’t just about dealing with your job.

As the leader of a company, you have many people who depend on you, including team, clients, and investors.

The third priority is personal fulfillment. If you’ve taken care of your family and your team, then you have the right to focus on yourself. Clearly defining these priorities makes dealing with even the most overwhelming of situations more manageable.

Find ways to practice mindfulness

When things start to pile up, and you start to feel overwhelmed by the tasks ahead, don’t panic.  Remember to stop and be mindful of the present moment.

More often than not, the anxiety and stress entrepreneurs experience is due to what they think might happen in the future, not what they’re dealing with in the present.

Practicing mindfulness and focusing on the current moment can give you a reprieve from the thoughts and concerns that cause anxiety.

The benefits of mindfulness have been well documented, and a recent Harvard Business Review article points out that it takes as little as six seconds of mindful meditation for these benefits to manifest themselves.

Quieting your mind and moving away from the endless “what-if” scenarios helps to center you in the present and prepares you to deal with the tasks that lie ahead more effectively.

Accept the fact that not everything will be perfect

Last but not least, it’s important to learn to accept imperfection. Perfection is an unattainable goal, and anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded.

It’s far better to recognize that we live in an imperfect world and that sometimes our best is good enough.

This applies to both work and personal life. Sometimes, it’s better to let the housework slide for playing with your kid or to relinquish control on a project rather than micromanage it.

Learning to accept imperfection enables you to keep moving forward, and that’s precisely what you need to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Everyone gets overwhelmed from time to time, but it doesn’t need to lead to anxiety or excessive stress.

The trick is to make sure that you stay in the moment, pick your priorities, and accept imperfection. Once you do those three simple things, you’ll find yourself in the position to overcome the challenges you face and move forward with confidence.

 

 

Chris Myers is the Cofounder and CEO of BodeTree and the author of Enlightened Entrepreneurship.

 
 

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No — I Won’t Work Until Midnight And Then Come In At 8 a.m

Dear Liz,

I’m a software developer. I’ve had my job for three years. I like the job.

Lately my job is forcing me to set boundaries. I never had to do that before, until this year.

I have to set limits with my boss “Larry.” Larry is a new manager and he pushes us to work as many hours as we can. I am a salaried employee so I don’t get paid for working overtime.

I try to leave work by 6 p.m. most nights. Larry offers to buy us pizza all the time to get us to stay longer but it’s not healthy. My brain gets fried and I have to go home and recharge.

Shutterstock

Last week we had to finish up a project that got delayed because of a bug in a piece of third-party software. It slowed us down right at the end of the project schedule and I stayed late at work every night for a week. I don’t mind because I know the project is important and I want to get it done.

Last night,  we finally sent the release to QA for testing.

We didn’t finish until 10:30 p.m. Larry had been working alongside me the whole week so he knew how much time I had put in.

We had worked until midnight the night before.

We were crossing the the parking lot when Larry said “Be sure to be here at eight a.m. tomorrow for the Product Update meeting. Don’t be late.”

There were three cars in the parking lot — mine, Larry’s and the night guard’s truck.

Larry wanted me to talk at the Product Update meeting. He wanted me to tell the team how we worked late at night for a week to get the product out. Larry is always worried about his image. He wanted to make himself and our department look good.

I said, “Larry, it’s 10:30 now and I haven’t had dinner, I haven’t had a shower, I’m not going to be here at 8 a.m. tomorrow. I’ll be in at 10:30 or 11:00.”

During the week of late nights Larry never said “Thanks” or “I really appreciate this, you guys” much less “Please sleep in tomorrow.”

As you always say, fearful people lose their perspective and Larry definitely loses his when he’s under stress. He doesn’t do it intentionally.

He becomes unreasonable and irrational. My teammates and I have to set him straight. He gets angry and blusters but he knows he needs us.

Larry said “Get in as early as you can, then” and that was it. This morning I pulled into the parking lot at ten a.m. on the dot. It turns out they cancelled the product update meeting anyway.

Larry was nowhere to be seen. His assistant told me his wife called and said Larry was exhausted and was sleeping in. Good for him! Maybe I’m having an influence on Larry after all.

Thanks for all you do Liz –

Yours,

Norman

 
 

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