Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Product Research

I've decided to become an industry consultant doing product research. It seems that if I like something it will not sell. I first noticed the phenomenon when I was in college. I took a liking to Medford's Mustard. It was a nice sharp brown mustard that was inexpensive. It disappeared from the stores after a few years and I can't even find it on the web.

The same thing has happened repeatedly. Most recently it was my favorite breakfast cereal, Kellogg's Cinnamon Crunchers. I loved that stuff but my local markets stopped carrying it. I found some stores at a distance (40-80 miles away) that still had it so whenever I was in those areas I'd buy several boxes. Then it disappeared all together. I did a web search on it and found forum posts saying how bad Cinnamon Crunchers were. ???? I looked for a substitute and settled on Eggo Cinnamon cereal (I like cinnamon) but now that is disappearing from the stores too.

So here's the business plan: Send me a product you are considering making and I'll try it. If I like it maybe you should reconsider. If I love it, it will never make the cut with the general public. The only fee I would want for my service is that you guarantee me a lifetime supply of the products I love. The trouble is if you aren't going to make it because I like it...? I guess I need to rework the business plan.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Enough Already

Our clock radio is tuned to NCPR so we wake up to the news. We continue listening while eating breakfast. This morning I switched the station to CBC2 during breakfast. Between the Palestinian conflict, which I literally cannot remember a time in my 62 years that wasn't in the news, the Iraq war, shootings, etc., etc. I don't need to start my day with this stuff. I already write my representatives with my views which our Rep in the House ALWAYS has good reasons to ignore and the Senators never seem to have to clout to do anything about. At times I communicate with them more than my family. What I can do about the world situation is limited.

I don't plan to stop listening to the news but for my own peace of mind I need to limit it. CBC has news every hour but it only lasts 5 minutes or so. NPR has solid talk, talk, talk (either news or discussing the news) from 6 AM until 3PM every day. I need to spend more time reading, drawing and working on my photography. I need to spend more time working on the house, changing the corner of world I can actually have a positive effect on.

I finally got the last of the old sidewalk torn up last week and filled the hole it left in the lawn with dirt. I sprinkled it with grass seed and sifted peat moss over it before wetting it down. The seed was "Quick Grow" mix but it hasn't sprouted yet, 4 days later. I suppose it depends on your definition of "quick".

Yesterday I worked on the baseboard on the SW side of the living room. I had installed new wiring on that side earlier. On the NE side I had drilled up through the sill from the cellar but that was a miserable process because I had to angle the drill over a thick stone foundation through a 14" square sill and try to hit the space in a 6" thick outside wall set over the outer edge of the sill. For the SW I wimped out and ran the wire over the inside wall surface a couple inches off the floor. I drilled into the wall at that level then cut the holes for the outlet boxes about 8" off the floor and ran the wires into the lower hole and out the upper one. To cover the surface wire I cut two furring strips and placed them above and below the surface wires so that the top strip would be 1/4" higher than the top of the new base board. The baseboard then went over the furring strips to hide the wires and a bit of painter's caulk filled the gaps caused by old uneven walls. It looks pretty good if I do say so myself or at least it will after it has been painted. :-)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mowing lawn today. I left the patches of 'volunteer' daisies, two of which are shown here. Diane grew daisies from seed many years ago and they went wild, popping up in the yard wherever their seeds fall each season. I mow around them until the flowers fade then mow over them the rest of the summer.

As I was mowing Gus (our other dog) started barking at the UPS man who stopped out front to bring me a Father's day gift. Gus is a nice dog but not a buddy like Ace was. Ace went out when I worked in the yard to follow me around and sit by me when I took a break from my chores. Gus' motive in going out with me is that it is an opportunity to harass the local chipmunk population and dig holes for me to fill in. I miss Ace.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Yesterday I did one of my lean-to maintenance hikes. I needed a walk in the woods. The lean-to I tend is a bit over 4 miles in and I also tend a camping area a short walk beyond the lean-to.

There was very little trash but some people insist on "going" in the woods rather than use the privy. Unfortunately they don't bury it. Picking up their used TP is quite disgusting even though I take disposable rubber gloves. The lean-to survived the winter with no noticeable damage. I sharpened the pencils that are in the zip-lock bag with the register and swept it out then wandered up to Scott Clearing to police the camping area by the old logging dam. The water was surprisingly low. On my way back out I stopped at Rocky Falls and ate my sandwich at that lean-to. There were dozens of new toads there, all about the size of a fingernail. I took several photos of the rocks including the one above. The toads were too small for a good photo.

On my way home I stopped at Mountain Pond and paddled around it in my canoe for about 90 minutes. I had the pond to myself. There were 2 tents on the shore but no people in sight. My only company was a pair of loons that eyed me from a respectful distance. It was a nice day.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Today I watered the garden with the hose, and tears.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Memorial to Ace

Big D's Ace of Hearts, May 12, 2000 to June 1, 2007

Ace died this morning. He was only 7 years old. He was my best buddy. I called him "my supervisor" because he followed me everywhere, from room to room and I couldn't go outside without him. He watched everything I did. He loved to play ball with me kicking the ball to him, he'd catch it and toss it back with a flip of his head. When I watered the garden he insisted on drinking from the hose. He seemed to think the hose was his personal drinking fountain. He drank from the hose just yesterday as I was watering. I'll never again water the garden without thinking of Ace.

Two weeks ago he stopped eating. I took him to the vet after a few days and the vet thought he was suffering from allergies to pollen. He gave him an anti-histamine shot which did seem to perk him up to eat a little the following day but then he stopped eating again and he was vomiting up the grass he chewed on and what little he did eat. I tried anti-histamine tablets but they didn't seem to work so I took him back to the vet. Now he had a fever so the vet gave him antibiotics. After a few days of no change I called the vet yesterday who gave me anti-vomiting meds for him. This morning at 3AM and at 4AM he was vomiting phlegm. I tried calling the vet but there is no ER for animals. I had to wait until office hours. We got up at 6AM and he couldn't stand so I picked him up and carried him to the truck. We headed for the vets intending to arouse him at home but there was no one home. I tried another vet several miles down the road but it was too late. Ace died as I held him on the back seat of the truck in the second vet's parking area.

Ace was the best. A true and loyal friend. I'll miss you buddy.