Feb 28, 2014

Fix My Bush

Fix My Fireplace garnered some useful tips from readers.  Your ideas helped me morph the poop colored brick and 1990s brass:

Into this:

Now that the inside is tight, I'd like to work outside this spring.  Once the permafrost melts in April/July, I'll soak some vitamin D from the sun and reboot my landscape.

Here's what things look like when spring showers wake the lawn and rhododendrons beg for attention:

Feb 22, 2014

Fathers, Love Your Daughters

Love is Time and Discipline
Loving our kids can be pureed down to spending time together and applying consistent discipline when needed.

The past 7 days:

Cut the rug with Pigtails at the Father/Daughter Valentine dance.
Played nightly rounds of an ongoing multi-week game of Monopoly.
Downloaded Minecraft because she asked.
Explained why sex before marriage is not a good idea and why Curls and I refrain.
Grounded her from the iPod Touch when she talked smack.
Met with her teacher and brought offspring along for school conferences.
Helped her open a savings account.
Installed hair rollers on Claire, the American Girl doll.  It's a two person job.
Took PTO on a day w/o school so we could powder ski.
Drove four hours so she could hang with family on her late mom's side.

More than anything, I hope my kid looks back in 20 years and says:  "Dad loved me."

Feb 16, 2014

Des Moines Bacon Festival

We munched on crunchy pig this year at the Des Moines Bacon Fest.  This annual celebration of crispy meat and cold beer is in high demand.  Attendance increases by several thousand each year, this round of 12,000 tickets sold out in 42 minutes.

If you know nothing about Iowa and assume all residents are farmers, live in the sticks, have high BMI and survive mainly on bacon, you'd be correct.  Partially.

Feb 9, 2014

Ballroom Blitz

Curls took a swing dance class a decade ago, talks about it often and suggested we salt the floor and learn how to hoedown.  After making sure no "your package shows" white tights were involved, I agreed.  She signed us up for a six week ballroom dancing set. We meet once a week in a school gym with a bunch of old people.

Curls showed smooth hip action swinging the salsa today.

I flail.

Looks like I'm playing charades and acting out the word "seizure."  Instructor Aimee tries to fix me.  She grips my hands and dances, saying:  "Lead with your arms first, legs next.  Pretend like you're holding a beach ball, use your hands to signal the next move."  This is the first time I've had my personal space invaded with sustained skin-to-skin contact with a 60-year-old lady.  Please don't tell Curls, but I'm beginning to wonder if Aimee might have a little crush.

Here's week 4, shuffle stepping with a turn.

We're having a good time.  It's deceptively difficult, the instructor is helpful and we'll register for another 6 week set.  Need more quality time with Aimee and I think we're ready to try a backflip.

The dudes in my running group caught wind and are convinced I'm taking ballet.  Let me know if anyone has some white tights I can borrow.


Feb 7, 2014


Digital currency is becoming a thing and may potentially supplant cash in 10 years.  ฿itcoin (BTC) is the original and most popular eCurrency.  Watch for it coming soon to a smartphone near you.

This topic needles to the speculative zone on the investment meter, so stop reading and go back to playing cribbage if you're scaredy cats towards risk.

I'll lightly scratch the ฿itcoin itch, with a few brief sentences per section.  Parts will start to smell of geek, but will try not to go too dorky.  If you want an in-depth walk in laywoman terms, tech scientist Michael Nielsen is sharp and does it right.

Feb 2, 2014

Stock Buy Break it Down - 6, Apple and Blackberry Compared

If you bought $1,000 of Apple stock in the year 2000, it'd be worth $24,000 today.
If you bought $1,000 of Blackberry stock in 2007, it'd be worth $41 today.

It's important to eye the companies we invest in and sell shares before the scat hits the fan.  Knowing when to hold 'em and when to fold them is the stickiest part of managing your booty.  

The stock price of many companies tends to increase over time, but not always.  With Blackberry, your investment would be worth enough to buy a small cup of Starbucks.

Blackberry's stock chart is the inverse of Apple's.  The iPhone was introduced in 2007, beginning the end of BBRY.  You can see it in the chart, look at berry bleed in 2007 when Steve dropped the iPhone bomb: