Month: May 2009

A Day At The Beach

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A Day At The Beach, originally uploaded by carl.setzer.

My family spent the early part of the day at the beach along the Edmonds waterfront. Quite a bit of marine life readily viewable. The three of us delight in tide-pools. Quite the variety, from three different crab species (red-rock, dungeness & kelp), a couple gunnels, shrimp (possibily dock shrimp, but I’m not too sure), a regular convention of nudibrachs, sunflower stars, ochre and blood-stars. These were the stand outs. There also were all the standard players: sea cucumbers, anenomes, barnacles and the like.

Via BlackBerry

Edmonds Beach

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Edmonds Beach, originally uploaded by carl.setzer.

The extreme low tide today. -3.6, I do believe. Lots of marine life to see.

Via BlackBerry

More Twitter Thoughts

There are a good many things I like about Twitter. Most exciting is the range and speed of communications. With that is a serious problem: filters. The receptive element of communications gets overwhelmed by the volume of data. Breaking down the stream into manageable chunks is cumbersome. There are some good tools, though. I have become somewhat fond of Tweetdeck. It helps separate out some of the streams (replies and direct messages, in particular). It does a good job letting you set up groups and favorites. Thus the stream is far easier to manage. This, for me at least, makes this the best Twitter client I’ve worked with so far.


We have a bear running around the Seattle area. Amazing for a bear to racing around our urban confines. What’s fun, though, is how the social media scene is taking this and running with it. Twitter has a few threads: #bearalert and #seattlebear. Also, someone has started posted to Twitter as Seattlebear. If you’re interested, you can go to and vote on a name for the fella.

Living La Vida Layoff

My friend Bill forwarded me a great piece from discussing the ways that layoffs have been impacting people’s family lives. My layoff has affected me far more deeply than I would’ve expected. Fortunately, on the whole, I’d say the experience has been positive. This interim gives me much more time with my son, which I take with relish. The tension that I have felt with my wife has been externally focused. The feeling is as the two of us facing out, backs together. For such, I’m quite grateful. The opposite would be an aggravation beyond pale.

I have focused on growth and understanding during this time. Watching the news, it’s easy to see the greater state of the economy. It’s easy for me to not take the quiet after the hundreds of resumes personally. I quite expect that this economic mess will take years to fully recover from.

Many years ago I decided my life would not be about wealth or power, but about service and impact. And about living my family life with quality. One of the people quoted said to his wife, “I don’t care if we lose everything, as long as I have you”. I couldn’t agree more. As I’ve often hear said, “no one has wished, on their death-bed, that they’d worked more.

Harry Chapin

Just listened to Cat’s In the Cradle by Harry Chapin. Funny, really, how a song that I’ve listened to my whole life can be so profoundly impactful. The narrator’s connection with his family, the sorrow he feels from his disconnect with his son is something that I have committed myself to avoiding. I try to be present each and every day in my son’s life. Perhaps I’ve had to sacrifice for this, giving up opportunities to advance, to grow more mighty in some enterprise. However, those opportunities seem so empty. I’ve always preferred to be at home then in some office. The promise of greater salary, power, or prestige has not held a strong enough attraction (that’s not to say that there hasn’t been any attractiveness to these choices – just not enough). Perhaps it’s the power of this song, or, more likely, having watched too many people die too young, I realize what is truly precious in this life.


One thing I let slip over the past few years is learning. I was studying, mostly with a future focus. However, I grudgingly did so, and it was somewhat painful. I need to actively learn from this point on. For instance, I used Excel quite extensively in my last few roles. However, there were several tools built in that could have made my work easier and more effective if I had taken the time to continue exploring. I generally only explored Excel when I needed to come up with something new. That generally only gave me the most basic of results. Now I will budget time for in-depth study and learning. Proactivity must be my new mantra.

Via BlackBerry


Another of my chums has abandoned Twitter. For him, the problem boils down to communication. The platform blasts out 140 character tidbits, a pretty small droplet of information. Twitter’s strength is for the mobile, sending these small info drops from moment to moment, wherever you are. Such things are the FreeRoxana campaigns utilize this amazingly well. For many of us, though, perhaps most of us, Facebook is better. It’s easier to control who sees what, you can post more information, and for many of the key platforms, there are robust mobile applications. Twitter is still a valuable tool, but it looks like it is starting to shake out, as far as who it is valuable to.

Swine Flu, Media, "Us"

Lately, much has been pontificated online about media hyperbole surrounding the Swine Flu. I offer something of an apologia for the current state of affairs here. Mainly, the issue stems from “the public’s” inability to pay attention to anything without an immense headline. Well, unless it has to do with a celebrity’s underwear habits, but I digress. My frustration for this element of society goes deep.

Television news focuses on the shallow, sound-bite, executive summary. Brief, quick, gone. It amazes me, to this day, that so many people use this as their primary information source. So quick, vacant and empty, full of alarmist notions and language. You see this, however, within print as well. Particularly, headlines. Most of them are barely connected with a story’s content. And many people don’t read a story past the headline.

Long ago, I gave up on this as a source of information. NPR took on a piece of it, as I have often had some commute time. My preferred source, for the longest time, was print. In my heyday I would read the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Seattle Times daily. Now, with the web, my information comes from a variety of sources. Ironically, the above are still part of my routine, just intermixed with others.

With this, I think the growth of the internet has been grand. It’s best to head to, say, the CDC for information versus Faux, er, Fox news. Plus, the ability to comment on stories, whether on your own blog or in the comments section, helps ensure balance. Yet, I wonder, if perhaps the abundance of information makes the natural inclination worse.

Government tries to navigate this fine line. Get information out, accurate and action oriented. However, people don’t tend to pay attention unless there’s doom in the language. Add to that, though, that people have a sort attention span. If the doom/gloom fails to materialize quickly, the mind will turn to vapor. Play the alarmist card with caution!

As internet access to continues to grow, and understanding of its use grows as well, I hope to see a decrease in these alarmist events. That we become better consumers of information, and better able to focus our efforts effectively.

UPDATE: My local paper, The Everett Herald has a decent piece on this.