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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dogfight



My 2 dogs like to play. The 8 year age difference and 60 pound advantage make no difference to the Young Pup (YP) and he will still try to to get the toy away from Old Dog (OD). Sometimes he even wins, or maybe OD just lets him win or gets tired. Maybe it is true what they say:

It is not the size of the dog in the fight
It is the size of the fight in the dog that matters most

Remember that the next time you think you have bitten off more than you can chew.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Young Leaders

Ever see a business leader that seemed too young to know what they were doing? They take charge of meetings and projects and lead the charge on new initiatives. Sometimes they don't seem to know what they are doing and sometimes their bold initiatives do not make any sense.

I went for another run today with the dogs. Well, run, walk & sniff would be a better description of the activity. While I like the enthusiasm of Young Pup (YP), I really appreciate the more relaxed approach that Old Dog (OD) takes. OD usually stays right next to me with only an occasional foray into the bushes after some exciting new smell. YP likes to charge to the full length of his leash and tug the whole time. He usually doesn't stop to sniff things and instead prefers to charge ahead as fast as his leash will let him.

YP like to lead, but keeps looking over his shoulder to make sure we are still following him, like the strain of the leash isn't enough of a clue. Some leaders (in business and politics) do the same thing. They will announce a new venture and declare it to be the new and best way and then look to their staff or constituents/voters to make sure that is what they want to be doing.

YP was leading this morning and made a sudden course change and lost his balance right in front of OD. OD did his best to avoid him, but they landed in a brown and black pile of fur. Luckily for me, this was all off to my side, so I just had to stop suddenly. They picked themselves up, none the worse for the wear and after untangling their leashes, YP was off again with OD and myself at our more sedate pace, side-by-side behind him.

We should all keep in mind that failure is not often fatal and all we really need to do is pick ourselves up, brush off the dust and get back to doing what we were meant to do.

I enjoy reading Mark Kolke's columns. With the time difference and the fact that I tend to sleep in a bit more, I can usually read his daily column before I head out for work or for a run. Many times, he has motivated me to take a look at something in a new light that changed a negative to a learning or growth opportunity. Take a look at his stuff and I would encourage you to sign up for his daily emails.

p.s. By request, pictures of the dogs should be coming before the end of the weekend. Facebook friends Fans of Flowing Desert Photography will be the first to see them, so if you are on Facebook, be sure to Fan my Photography page.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Run/Walk/Sniff

I decided to give running another shot, even though after my little 2+ miler on Saturday, I got sicker than I've been in years. I think it was just my turn for the flu, but I felt fine. Went for a little run, showered, had breakfast and got sick within an hour of my run. Maybe the raspberries had gone bad (tasted and looked fine) or maybe it was just a coincidence, but I've been nervous about running again.

In spite of that, I know running does not make me sick, so I decided to just go out and take it easy today. So here is the story:

CAST:
OM - Old man (i.e. me)
OD - Old dog, our 8 yr old border collie/black lab mix
YP - Young pup, our about 6 month old shephard mix

OD was content to start with a warm-up walk with me, but YP wanted to run, so we gave in and let YP set the pace for the first 1/10 of a mile. We slowed so OD could smell some scents left by his neighborhood friends. YP kept the leash tight trying to keep running. You would think that he didn't have a nice big yard to run in or something. He does have plenty of room to run, but doesn't like being more than 2-3 feet away from OD.

We ran through a little park near the house with some medium sized rocks and YP had fun climbing over them. OD is smarter and just goes around, but maybe YP gets a better view for his efforts.

YP kept the leash tight while OD was content to run next to me in a near perfect "heel" position with the leash almost dragging on the ground. Only took me 8 years to get that behaviour perfected.

About 7/10ths of a mile in to our run (and an our way towards home), YP finally started to slow down a bit, either because he realized that is what OD was doing (and YP is a relentless copycat) or because he was starting to get tired. Whatever the reason, the last half mile was the most fun as I didn't have to keep pulling on the leash to keep him from running away.

By the time we were getting close to our house, I started saying "Go home, YP. Go home OD." Something that I have always done with OD so that if he gets out of the yard, he knows the command "Go home" if someone yells it at him. They both went straight to the gate.

A nice run. Hope to have more.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

30 Days

30 days can be a lot of things. A free trial period. An extra month for a paid annual subscription. Probationary period at a new job to see if you are going to make the cut.

In this case, it is simply a time to sit back and muse on my first month as a licensed HAM radio operator.

Why HAM?

I have heard some people say HAM radio is not as useful as it once was due to the proliferation and range of cell phones today. Others see it as "like a CB radio" and really only a time-waster for over-the-road drivers to chat with each other and warn about speed traps.

To some degree these are true, but there is also another side to HAM. When a disaster strikes (natural or otherwise) telephone communication is often the first to go, either as a result of the disaster or from the sheer volume of phone calls to and from loved ones to see if they are ok. This makes communication for rescue workers difficult. HAM radio operators can get communications established with minimal equipment and power, in some cases on battery power alone.

There is the social aspect of HAM radio to consider as well. To those of you that think that Twitter and FaceBook are what gave rise to Social Media, you are wrong. HAM radio enthusiasts have been involved in social media since before the Twitter and FaceBook creators were born.

It is hard. You need to learn Morse Code.

First of all, you do not need to learn Morse Code to get a HAM license. You do need to pass a written test, but with a little studying, that will probably not be any more difficult than passing your written driving test. The night I took my test, there was an 11 year-old at my table that took and passed the same test I took. All it takes is spending a little time with either a study guide (I bought a $20 book) or with a free practice test on the internet (I used the ones at QRZ.com)

First Contact

W1ATV, Bil (with one 'ell') was one of the first people to answer my "signal check" call. He was very friendly, but pretty much everyone I have talked to have gone out of their way in welcoming me to the airwaves. When I have a question about operating procedures or radio usage, I ask and I get answers. I have also joined a couple internet sites and posted questions there and gotten great feedback and advice.

What Next?


Well, there are more frequencies I can use if I pass the next test or two and upgrade my Technician license and get my General or Extra class license. I was close to passing General when I took my test, so I know I can pass it. I think that I will learn more about maximizing my current license so I have a good understanding of what I hope to get out of a higher class license before I start down that road. My current radio will not do High Frequency anyway, so I would need to start spending more money to be able to use HF frequencies.

What About You?

Ever thought about getting your HAM license? Know anyone that is a HAM?