Wednesday, April 22, 2009

LEED AP - It's what I did

I've been either absent, or intolerable for the last 5+ days. Book in hand, printouts everywhere, flashcards, and a laptop permanently logged into the practice exam site. A USGBC class under my belt, and my head swimming with rainwater calculations, 14,000 CFM/SF, 95% FSC, 75-95-50, etc. etc. Little breaks to geocache. An hour drive to the test site and two long hours one question at a time. Check and recheck and know I failed too many times in those 80 questions. 8 seconds, 7,6,5,4,3,2,1...You have exceeded the time limit. Click "next." A long pause, and then the unceremonial screen. The number is burned in my head. The moment was surreal and euphoric at the same time. I wanted to laugh and cry and leap all at the same time. I passed. I passed the LEED AP exam! I know for those of you who passed the PE or the RA, this is like childs play. It's like flying the T-38 while the F-14s buzz the tower. But it's flying all the same! Who knows, maybe my perspective is wrong. Engineers and architects save the world from failure, rising heat, and bad design (most of the time!). LEED APs? Maybe we help save the world from ourselves...

My wife cried with joy (probobally relieved she wouldn't have to put up with another month of study!), and my kids... "Yeah dad, can we watch TV now?"

Friday, April 17, 2009


This is too funny to pass on! Click the BA-K-47 to follow the link.

I've got you babe... Letterboxing

We've been geocaching for several months now, and really enjoy it. Tonight we were FTF (first to find) at a beautiful cache that overlooked the lake, through a vinyard at sunset. Breathtaking. Geocaching is a family event, and mostly a 'dad and the kids event.' So two weeks ago I took up letterboxing with just my bride. It's a similar game, find a cache online; follow the clues; find the tupperware. Here's where it get's different. The tupperware contains a log book and hopefully a handcarved rubber stamp. You bring a find a stamp...and then you stamp each others logbooks. It's a treasure hunt, an artform and quality time with just my bride all in one.

That's us...we're Sonny and Cher. Look us up on And if you chance upon us on the caching trail maybe we'll sing a bar of "I've got you babe..." It's our song, after all!

NAVY Recruiting Poster

Through good guidance, and some abuse, I've found a blogging style that works for me. Flash a picture...write a few words and hit the "post" button. Today I'm going to let the picture speak for itself.

Brown M&Ms

When I was a kid, Van Halen came to Syracuse, NY. In addition to trashing the hotel, David Lee Roth demanded M&Ms...with all the brown ones removed. I always thought that was funny. It's funny how it's stuck with me for so many years. Last week I was asked to speak to a small group of graduating seniors. A wonderful young lady sent me an email, "Is there anything you need for Wednesday night?" Without hesitation I responded simply, 'M&Ms, browns removed." I never gave it another thought...until Wednesday night arrived, and on my podium was a cup of M&Ms. I set up the computer, wondering who had left their candy there. The screen fired up and only then did I check the second cup out of curiosity...yes - filled with Brown M&Ms! I laughed outloud to myself, felt slightly embarassed, and really quite happy. I guess it's true what they say - you don't get what you don't ask for. Thanks Ashley!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter morning 2009

Easter morning, 2009. 6:15 AM I got my youngest up. "Wanna geocache?!" A groggy, "Noooo. I want to sleep." "But there's a frog coin in the cache!" She leaps out of bed, and we're off. I'm in shorts, T-shirt and a light coat intending to go directly from the cache site to the church to coustume up for the Easter play. She's dressed more warmly, but her tiny body doesn't hold any heat. I'm pressing the speed limit as she reads the GPS and is methodically counting down tenths of miles and minutes to the target..." 9.3, 9.2, 9.1. Daddy, why does the clock say 06:30?" Because we're on a mission darling, now tell me the distance again, and what direction is the arrow pointing - are you holding the GPS straight forward?"

6 minutes 35 seconds. I calculate in my head and jump on the clover leaf. I've been watching the hints of sunrise in the rearview mirror since we left the house...there's time - Barely. No traffic, the car whips to the wrong side of the road and we stop overlooking the lake and let the morning take our breath away. Roll, roll, roll - snap - window back up and we're off again; still enchanted.

We got to the cache easily. Finding the box was a little harder 30 degree weather, laughing at the random flakes of snow falling. My gosh, it was cold. But we found it - signed the book and dashed home. "E," I said, show me the coin! "You've got it," she said. Have you ever tried to argue with an 8 year old?

I smiled, and remembered on this wonderful day, He has Risen!

PS-We went back and found the coin that she lost!

Pirates in Somalia: Chess 2009!

Pirates board US ship...pawn move.

Captain trades himself for crew...strategic bishop move.

Pirates take captain on life boat...pawn move #2

US crew retakes ship...strategic knight move

Lifeboat runs out of gas...pawn move#3. Pirates are clearly playing move to move.

Navy SEAL team had parachutes in and takes up positions on the Bainbridge's back deck...CHECK,

The on-scene commander responds appropriately and decisively to clear and imminant danger by authorizing lethal force. The SEAL's deliver from 75 feet, with night vision on the rolling seas...CHECKMATE.

Appartently the negiotations ended at that point. Pirates flip the board over screaming that somehow they were cheated and that revenge will be taken. Good luck next time - Not.

Admittedly I stole this, and tweaked it. As a chess player I love the analogy. I love when the good guys win. And it really irritates me that the real tragedy here is the Myth of Jack Sparrow is being tarnished by these clown!

Monday, April 13, 2009

of Pirates and Snipers

This summer I struggled with our design team on a project. It was the use of a word...well, actually two words that caused the conflict. Body count. It must be a carryover from the days when I wore green and carried an M-16! I learned a good lesson that day; listing the members of the team is not a body count, it's a meeting attendance list - an attendance list - an attendance list...OK, got it.

Though I try to get body count out of my mind, I find in yesterdays news that there are times when that term is appropriate and perfect...