Dream On


The movie Sing came out late last year, and there is a scene where the Gorilla covers Dream On. This got me thinking. It’s been years since I hit play on one of Aerosmith’s signature songs. Few realize the song was on the band’s first album, debuting in 1973 (it’s been rereleased). Eminem even stole a few riffs for his work.

So, I decided to go back and give it a listen. And this version is epic. Full orchestra. Electric guitars. And a young Steven Tyler, forty years removed from the American Idol version. The underappreciated rock god had range. The rasp. The wail. It made me smile seeing someone at the height of their powers.

Symbolic Action


Over the years, the pageantry of Presidential visits has been overlooked. Another red carpet. Parade. Motorcade. Air Force One. Dinners. Dancing. Despite thoughts on it being just a show, there is intent. Meeting and gatherings provide an opportunity to socially reinforce and create enthusiasm. And these settings send signals. It’s meant to influence for gain. So yes, it’s a show. But … it’s part of a negotiation …

Negotiation Class Notes


These were notes from a negotiation class I took years ago. Thought they were worth keeping:

  • All Negotiations Have Structure: It’s important to build coalitions and identify structure in any negotiation.
  • Structure Shapes Strategy: Be flexible, carefully assess potential outcomes. Never say no.
  • Structure Can Be Shaped: Constantly give action times, give and take exercise. With more items on the table, it’s easier to come to an agreement.
  • Process and Control: Frame arguments and approach people in the right order.
  • Channeling: Use action-forcing events: meetings, calendar year. Important to find shared interests.
  • Lead: Constantly be learning.

Dyson Sphere



Well, the famed KIC 8462852 star is dimming again. Nothing drives pageviews like aliens, Nazi propaganda, and political conspiracy theories.

So, I decided to do some digging on what the tech would look like to create such a dimming and it’s pretty impressive. The concept of the Dyson sphere is based on a 60s research paper (No, it’s not written by the Dyson vacuum guy). The sphere involves building a megastructure to orbit the sun, capturing its energy. From a feasibility standpoint, it would require more raw materials than all of the planets in the solar system have combined to build. Details.

Yet, you could build a number of smaller spheres. These old research papers may be onto something. Perhaps, I could read a few of these old articles, find cool tech, start a company based on said cool tech, and then IPO for a cool billion. One can dream.

The Grunge Gods


On May 17th, Chris Cornell decided to take his life. He will be missed, and I, like many others, know that this one hurts. He was different, pushing music forward with Soundgarden, Audioslave, and his own work. Yes, the Grunge Gods are dwindling. Deep voice. Edge. Rasp. Screech above the guitar and drums. I grew up with the music that roared like thunder. And when I need it most, I’ll go back and listen, perhaps a little closer this time.

Chris, thanks for giving you us your best work:

  1. I Am the Highway, Audioslave
  2. Burden in My Hand, Soundgarden
  3. Spoonman, Soundgarden
  4. Outshined, Soundgarden
  5. Scream, Chris Cornell
  6. Black Hole Sun, Soundgarden
  7. Hunger Strike, Temple of the Dog

These were a few of my favorites. Creativity is hard. 

    Dust Storm


    As I was driving down a Mid-Western Highway, the tornado siren roared. The sky became brown dirt. The wind howled. I had my wife check her phone, and there was a storm. But no tornado. This was different. It was a true dust storm. A rare weather event in this part of the world. The wind blew for hours, throwing topsoil, mold, and dust across the ground. I’ve been through some strange weather events, but this gave me pause. It made me wonder how the Mid-West survived the 30s and Black Sunday. Resiliency.




    My kid’s bycicle seat had this awful squeak. With each turn of the pedal, it groaned and creaked. So, I asked, “How long has the neighborhood been able to hear you coming? And how do you ride that?” Then, I was reminded that it had (1) creaked for weeks, and (2) I was asked to help. This was why he wanted a new pair of wheels, rode his bike sparingly these days, and spent most of his time flipping back and forth on iOS. And it was all my fault. Sigh, no parenting award for me this month.

    I’m sure this slipped my mind. Busy gets in the way of the important things in life. So, I went right to work, my kid helping each step of the way.

    And it wasn’t that hard of a fix. I replaced the seat. Removed the chain, giving it a bath of oil. Finally, I blasted a little WD-40 on the pedals. I’m convinced duct tape and WD-40 will prevent a nuclear melt down in the future. 

    Like magic, the bike rode like new. This did get me thinking. When we build anything, be it a backyard playground, website, house, vehicle, or the next great software application or web service, it’s important to think about the long game. Maintenace matters.

    “Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.”

    Kurt Vonnegut