Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A little off-season cycling inspiration

Charles Howe tells the story of the 1964 Tour de France in The Greatest Bike Race – Ever. It's enough to get you on your bike . . . inside, at least.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The problem with prosperity

If you've ever wondered if the abundance we live in creates problems, you'll want to listen to Barry Schwartz's TED talk. It's 20 minutes of insight and humor.
I put a hold on his book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less at the local library to hear the balance of his case and solution.

It's interesting to juxtapose this the Christmas gift buying rush and what I've been listening to and reading from John Piper lately. We are so wealthy and live in such over abundance in the US of A, we totally lack perspective on so much of life, "necessity", and God himself.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Großvati wrote a nativity play

My mom's Dad, Großvati (pronounced Gross-faah-tee, and Swiss-German for Grandfather) wrote poems, plays, and stories under a pen name. Pius Rickenman. Mom recently found out his nativity play has become an annual tradition in Rapperswill, just down the road from where she grew up.

When we googled it this link popped up.
"Rapperswiler Sternsingen" - a nativity play with procession for all ages.

Our RivKids Christmas play at Riverview has a slightly different target audience.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Understanding Web Design

Jeffrey Zeldman's article, Understanding Web Design, reminds us the web is it's own medium and shouldn't be judged by the standards of other media.

Web design is the creation of digital environments that facilitate and encourage human activity; reflect or adapt to individual voices and content; and change gracefully over time while always retaining their identity.
The experienced web designer, like the talented newspaper art director, accepts that many projects she works on will have headers and columns and footers. Her job is not to whine about emerging commonalities but to use them to create pages that are distinctive, natural, brand-appropriate, subtly memorable, and quietly but unmistakably engaging.

If she achieves all that and sweats the details, her work will be beautiful. If not everyone appreciates this beauty—if not everyone understands web design—then let us not cry for web design, but for those who cannot see.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Getting In

A great by Malcom Gladwell article that should reduce every parent's blood pressure over where your child is admitted to college via Kottke.

Bottom Line: Getting into a selective school is not going to change anyone's life. People achieve based on thier intelligence, drive, and social skills, and being accepted or rejected by an elite school will not change your life for better or worse.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Swiss put a jacuzzi at the top of Mt. Blanc

See images from their climb, in the tub, and descent here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I started coaching soccer this fall for the first time. I love it!

Check out this video of 50 great soccer goals.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Swiss firefighters rap for saftey

Swiss firefighters star in rap video. via Andrew.

If you're completely ignorant of the French language, you should be able to say "1-1-8" in French by the end of the video.

For those who aren't familiar with Switzerland, they have three native languages, Swiss-German, French and Italian. Geneva, where this is shot, is in the Southwest corner of Switzerland and is the biggest city of the French speaking part of Switzerland.

You've probably heard of Geneva because of the United Nations office, the Red Cross (the Geneva convention), or the CERN labs.

I learned about it because my cousins lived there. My uncle is a particle physicist and worked at CERN. The coolest thing about Geneva for me as a kid was the massive fountain, and the lake.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A (ringtone) Sucker Is Born Every Minute

According to an attorney consulted by Wired blogger, Scott Gilberton, it's completely unnecessary to pay for ringtones of songs you already own. So don't pay cash for your ringtones. That's for suckers.

Apparently the law has established that a ringtrone is not a derivative work, so the rights that accompany the song, apply to the ring tone. Now, make sure your ringtone is not annoying.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Dad's New Business

My Dad and Nam Ashcroft have started a recruiting business. They are seeking English-speaking college graduates for one year tours teaching English in Korea. The pay seems quite good for a recent graduate who wants to travel and deeply experience Korea.

They'll be promoting this opportunity to college students around the US. This is part of an pre-existing program that has been in place for several years. They seem to have a shortage of teachers, so if you have any interest, check it out on the web at LotusRecruiting.com or call 1-772-288-0535.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Day The Music Died

Luciano Pavarotti died today at age 71. For some unexplained reason I got a little wet-eyed when I heard the news.

Via 43 folders, I found this touching story about Pavarotti kindness and generous spirit.
A memorable encounter in Miami with the late Mr. Pavarotti.

His performances are incredible and filled with passion. Take a minute to listen to one. Neesun Dorma means never sleep. This is the song of a man in love. Go here for a translation of the lyrics and an explanation of what is happening in the story. It will give you a greater appreciation for the song.


Everyone's Going Green

Even the chili cook-off.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A design principle to live by

"I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn't itch."

- Gilda Radner

via American Marketing Association e-newsletter

First, don't make your product or service annoying.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We missed the metric memo

If your old enough, you recall the US of A trying to go metric in the 70's. Well, it seems we are now one of the last hold outs. IT's down to us, Liberia and Myanmar.

Good Magazine maps the non-metric countries.

via Daring Fireball, again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Quote of the day

“You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.“ - Eric Hoffer

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fourteen Year Old Pianist

This is inspiration for everyone who is learning any instrument or has a desire to create music . . .

. . . and has 10 years to learn and develop thir skill.

Jennifer Lin at TED

Thursday, July 12, 2007

More on becoming an expert

Fastcompany magazine blogged on becoming an expert, in a similar vain to my previous Gretzky "field sense" post. You can read the Fast Company blog, or be lazy and read these excerpts.

"According to the HBR article, it’s not a high IQ, one’s gender or a God-given talent that makes you a top surgeon, actor, writer, computer programmer, musician...and you name it. The only innate differences that are at all significant, according to the article, are height and body size – and they matter primarily in sports. What truly makes the difference is intense practice.

And, by intense practice, don’t think you can become a real expert in a month’s or even a year’s time. As the HBR article puts it:

'The journey to truly superior performance is neither for the faint of heart nor for the impatient. The development of genuine expertise requires struggle, sacrifice and honest often painful self-assessment. There are no shortcuts. It will take you at least a decade to achieve expertise, and you will need to invest that time wisely, by engaging in ‘deliberate’ practice – practice that focuses on tasks beyond your current level of competence and comfort.' "

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007

iPhone: The Music Video

For those who think life and techno-lust should be set to music.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

So we do have a chance.

It turns out more of us have a chance to be a "superstar" athlete. That certain, je ne sais quoi that legends like Gretzky, Bird, and Montana possess turns out to be trainable. Wired has an article on scientists studying the magic that is "field sense".

Wayne Gretzky-Style 'Field Sense' May Be Teachable

Such talent has long been assumed to be innate. "Coaches tend to think you either have it or you don't," Vint says. Unlike a jump shot or a penalty kick, field sense — which mixes anticipation, timing, and an acute sense of spatial relations — is considered essentially untrainable, a gift. Gretzky himself once fuzzily described it as having "a feeling about where a teammate is going to be. A lot of times, I can just turn and pass without looking."

But Vint rejects the notion that Gretzky-style magic is unteachable.

Friday, June 01, 2007

I Could Have Danced . . .

The Rain in Spain

Becky sang "The Rain In Spain" and "I Could Have Danced All Night" at the Haslett Choir Cabaret this week. If you missed it here's your chance to catch up.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Power Cranks live up to their name

Pez Cycling has a testimonial for Power Cranks from a 38 year old former pro rider who tested his power output and VO2 Max both before and during his training. The results are impressive.

PowerCranks.com also has some research reports and video testimonials from cyclists and triathletes.

Now where can I find the money for these and a Power Tap.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Dig the Swiss

The BBC has a story on our new record setting tunnel at 35 miles.

Swiss dig world's longest tunnel

I have driven this region and this will certainly save a lot of time. Fortunately it will only be electricity powered trains passing through, so there won't be choking exhaust fumes like in the current Goddard auto tunnel. Dad would try to hold his breathe through that one.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dance Dance Immolution

How about getting hit by a flame thrower if you evey time your other left foot gets in the way. That's Dance Dance Immolation and it's not a joke. It's the hottest thing in dance since the Macarena!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Swiss Army on the Move

USA Today reports on the Swiss Army's first invasion. They penetrated Lichtenstein by a mile without being noticed. Sounds like the U.S.-Mexico border, only with soldiers with unloaded guns instead of elephants and a mariachi band.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

IF you're thinking of Investing in HD

This Wired piece is the best HD primer I've read.

The High-Def FAQK

Here's the writer's signature: "Born helpless, nude and unable to provide for himself, Lore Sjöberg eventually overcame these handicaps to amass an impressive collection of remote controls."

Monty Python Dead Parrot

This Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch is legendary.

When I watched it yesterday, however, it didn't seem to have the same effect on me as it did in my younger days. I'm guessing it didn't get me laughing the same way because I usually see it in the context of a group of silly Python sketches, so my laugh engine has already warmed up, and I usually see it in the evening, so you've got that tired slap-happy thing going, too.

Or maybe it's because I was pining for the fjords.

Sarah's Igloo

Inspired by the U.S.S. Rock, Sarah and I quickly constructed an igloo with the wet, melting snow last night.

It's still up today, but it's days are numbered. If only we could create a product with the opposite effect of Summer Wheeze. Winter Breeze would make snow and ice impervious to melting.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

More of the U.S.S. Rock

Reporting from Novi, my brother writes "The two tunnels are about 15 and 25 feet each and they connect in the middle, making for about a 40 foot tunnel. The meting has begun. The picture has Jacob and some neighbors in it."

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Brother's Snow Fort Tradition Continues

Christened the U.S.S. Rock, this masterpiece was created with the assistance of the kids of the Rock at Oak Pointe Church and a few neighborhood kids. The eldest laborer was Grossmutti who assisted in the early stages of the project. The interior features a home theater room with stadium-style seating and a billiard room. Local media are being notified of the project.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Happiest Place on Earth

Apparently,"The Happiest Place on Earth" is not Disneyland but, Denmark. Dang it, I knew it began wih a D.
Of course, Switzerland is No. 2. Sorry Noel, but Finland only made No. 6.

Psychologist Produces The First-ever 'World Map Of Happiness"

The 20 happiest nations in the World are:
1. Denmark
2. Switzerland
3. Austria
4. Iceland
5. The Bahamas
6. Finland
7. Sweden
8. Bhutan
9. Brunei
10. Canada
11. Ireland
12. Luxembourg
13. Costa Rica
14. Malta
15. The Netherlands
16. Antigua and Barbuda
17. Malaysia
18. New Zealand
19. Norway
20. The Seychelles

via Guy Kawasaki

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Quote of my life

“One step forward in obedience is worth years of study about it.”

- Oswald Chambers

It's so easy to live inside your cranium. Well, actually, my cranium.

I've officially labeled myself a theoretical person. I'm trying to be less in theory, and more in reality. My theories show it should work. ; )

Friday, January 26, 2007

When your battery dies on a bike ride.

For the longer rides, when ither'es no power outlet to recharge your phone,
now you can mkae your own with a bike powered phone charger.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What Does 200 Calories Look Like?

What Does 200 Calories Look Like?

A thought provoking set of images. Check out the butter and the Doritos.