Monday, August 17, 2009


I am happy to announce that an op-ed I wrote on Carbon Cap and Trade policy was published in my (then) local newspaper, The Midland Daily News. It was published in its entirety and with no editing.

Sadly, the article is not available online, but I am providing a link to my copy of it. This article was also my final paper for my OAC Intro to Writing course. I’m very proud of the piece and while MDN is a small town paper, it was a valuable introduction into the submission process. Consider it a small indicator of bigger things to come.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Booting Up and Back Online

It’s been a long almost 3 months since I was regularly blogging. A few posts from OCON in between and almost 10 weeks of silence. I stopped for good reason. I needed to focus on a series of changes in my life. If you missed me, great! Know that my life is getting settled after going through significant change, and the time off has enabled me to focus on the changes and come back to blogging that much more quickly. Hopefully my regular readers are still out there and glad at my return. I expect that posting will ramp up both on The Crucible and sCap from this point forward so stay tuned!

To explain the changes a bit, I’ve transferred to a new job within my company and moved to a new city, Philadelphia! This after a period of turmoil within my company as the financial crisis hit, and we attempted a large acquisition right in the middle of it. Most of my colleagues and I have spent the last nine months wondering if we’d even have a job at the end of it. I had friends who sadly lost theirs. Luckily, I not only have mine, but I have been afforded a wonderful opportunity to work in the acquired company and to completely change my lifestyle. In the last month I’ve picked up my life in a small town in the Midwest, sold my four bedroom house on a quiet comfortable street and am now living in downtown Philadelphia in a small apartment not a few blocks from Independence Hall. I love the adventure, and Moxie and I have settled right in and are reestablishing all the routines that help keep life in balance and allow me to begin to focus on longer range pursuits.

And so as this process begins to happen and the tide of stress recedes, I thought I’d take a blog post to take an accounting of the goals I set at the beginning of the year. Part of the process of living a goal directed life is to use those goals to steer by.That is, as one works toward them, and unexpected events occur, one needs to periodically step back take stock of current position, get new bearings and adjust plans. I need to decide what the lost time of the last three months means, and which of my goals may have become unattainable this year, and which are still attainable yet need modification to the action plans.

So here is that analysis on those goals which I shared at the beginning of the year. The original goals are shown in bold.

  • House - Remodel two bathrooms, repaint two bedrooms, install that steam shower, and put in a very large flower bed in my back yard. That assumes I stay in this house (but that is a story for another time).

Well, I don’t have a house anymore so this one is nixed. I did manage to remodel one of those bathrooms, and get the painting done. I highly regret never finishing the steam shower installation. I would so liked to have used it just once.

  • Health - Compete in at least 3 duathlons, two of which are Olympic distance - bettering my 2007 time.

This one must be changed, just for the time component required to prepare. The season is ending, and realistically is over in early October. That is eight weeks away, and that is almost too short. 3 races are impossible, and after searching for races in my area, Olympic distance is also out since one has to pick what’s available. That means this one, or this one, both Sprint distance.

I’ve gotten to a minimum level of stamina and endurance to be able to kick training into high gear, but that training has to be very structured and focused. I’ve decided that since I’m proficient in technique for the run and bike, and that the race is shorter, that I don’t need to spend long hours there to get into shape. Instead, I’m opting for the first 2 months of a modified P90X program, supplemented by 1 or 2 well-designed training rides/runs every couple of weeks. Rather than risk pushing too hard and overtraining in the specific sports I’ll need, I am hoping that more cross training, and overall strength and conditioning will get me fit, with less risk of injuring myself. A buddy had convinced me to try the P90X earlier in the year and the move was an opportune moment to get set up, since I wanted to supplement my riding/running with work I could do in a small apartment with a minimum of equipment.

Needless to say, training starts Monday. I’m not worried about my time, although I’d like it to be competitive (yeah, I get like that….). My last slightly-shorter-than-Olympic-distance du was a 2:06, but that was a hilly course and a trail run, and I was in great shape. Honestly, I don’t know what that would translate into for a sprint distance, and I doubt I’ll have a good sense of it given the low level of actual ride/run time I’ve planned. I’ll just have to take what I can get.

  • Education - Complete next two OAC classes. Get a better grade than I got on the first one! (so humbling that was for this over-achiever!)

This one is on track. 1st class finished in winter semester, and 2nd due to start with the beginning of 2nd year. I wish I knew what my grade was for the first class (grumble, grumble…) but I felt as though I was getting the hang of it.

  • Books - Read at least one work of good literary fiction per month (for a total of 12). Yes, this might not seem like many, but Anna Karenina is on the list. Definitely a stretch goal.

Ugh. I am plugging away at this one, but I’m on book three (Anna Karenina) in month eight. I suspect I will fall short.  Five to six may be more realistic.

  • Writing - Increase blog readership to a steady 100 visits/day (or ~3000/month). That's going to require a whole lotta changes, and a commitment to more regular blogging.

Taking a break from blogging has been a setback for this goal so I’m going to have to backtrack here. I may be doing well to get my readership back to what it was in January. That’s ok though. It’s a worthy goal, and I don’t think regardless of how busy I am that I could ever stop blogging for good. I got some great tips from Diana at OCON, and hope to implement those as well.

  • Writing - By years end, I will author one article for the Objective Standard. Yup, this one scares me a bit.

Still on the drawing board. Still a bit scary. I had hoped to take my OAC final op-ed on Cap and Trade and turn it into a 5000-6000 word article, but with C&T already languishing in Congress, I may have to change subjects. I don’t have good inspiration for a new topic yet. Ideas welcome! In good news, I did have that op-ed published, but there’s another post about that coming!

  • Canine - Title Moxie in AKC Agility - Open Class - both Jumpers and Standard. I'm not a high volume trial attendee so this one is going to require some finesse.

This one is going to require more than finesse now. I have not trained, have not found a new training facility (which I must have since I don’t have a yard or equipment anymore), and trial schedules get thinner after summer. Like the du, this requires preparation time with Moxie, and I am not sure I have it. I suspect I’ll have to table this goal until next year.

That’s it, the rest of my year (mostly)…