I thought you’d get a kick out of seeing how the futures gets to us…

Last weekend my son (George II) was off skydiving at Lake Chelan (WA) testing new mesh network gear as a beta tester for www.gotenna.com.

A couple of pictures he sent me will give you a sense of how much fun it is being a beta tester “on the edge.”


So the first thing out, George and his team assemble at Skydive Chelan and hop a Bell JetRanger 206.  This is what it’s like up to the 7,500 drop elevation as they do a climbing turn off Chelan…

Then, once on station, it’s out on the skids, mesh network up, and then… (g2 on left)

The difference between a heli-jump and a normal aircraft jump is that when you skydive from a plane, you don’t get the (plain speaking alert!) “balls in your ears” effect that feels like jumping off a cliff.

That’s because the when you’re jumping from an a/c you have forward momentum which is slowly translated into a fall.  With a heli-jump it’s 32 f/s/s and WHOA BABY HOLY CRAP!!!!

My personal adventures in helping new technology come along sprang from March 1984 when colleagues and I were doing the first experiments with main channel wireless data on AM and FM radio.  But trust me, that was mostly headwork and figuring out how to lay down modem tones on reel-to-reel tape so we could broadcast it…

Barry Wong – photographer for the Seattle Times – did a very good photo of me, considering the story (of wireless) was so ethereal to most people.  Barry’s a gifted photographer and you can visit his site here.   Flip through his Still Life samples.  Marvelous!

A picture of me (broadcasting name George Garrett) with a reel of tape and KMPS?  Hardly the excitement of jumping.

Nowadays, everyone knows what wireless is, and getting a phone call (or 2-meter ham call) from someone “under canopy” is not extremely exotic.  Unusual, yeah…but doable.  Like base-jumping.

But the picture of “how the future shows up” is really some fun to actually be in, regardless of what the technology is.

There’s a certain rush that comes from being on the bleeding edge and seeing the stuff that will push the future (this way or that) looks as it comes screaming down the birth canal.

Und zo?  There’s a grand juxtaposition observed in Life:  The headlong rush into the future contrasted with the thoughtful Wong still life photographs.

A Zen ponder to start this Friday:  Which image is the essential essence of humans being?

Voting – Under the Influence?

Elaine and I were sitting around Thursday talking about why the world was so nuts.

I explained that one reason is so many people are on mood modifying meds.  The number I last saw was semi-officially in the 20% range, or put another way, upwards of 70-million people a day are using drugs to “recreate.”

Struck up the question – with this many people using drugs – *(and the numbers don’t include alcohol if I have it right) should we consider only allowing people who can pass a drug test to vote?

I mean sure, if you have a scrip for med-weed, fine, or if your scrip for oxy is current, sure.  But traces a meth and whatever (non-prescribed) might change the voting patterns and out comes.

I’ve never seen any studies on drug dealers engaging in “get out the vote” campaigns, but who would go looking (‘cept us curious minds who want to know, of course)?

We came to a simple but obvious conclusion that surely everyone ought to be able to get behind.

We know that impaired driving causes accidents and death.

We imagine that impaired voting could cause the same results, only on a much more horrific scale.

Anyone up for drug tests on voting day?  It’s an employment booster, too.

It might help cure lots of off-kilter thinking in politics.

Personal Work Management

Went through an interesting exercise in the past week that I thought I’d tell you about…and you might find it interesting.

I decided to make a list of everything I’d like done around the ranch here.  All divided into different activity centers (inside the house, yard work, shop and maintenance and so on).

Then I went through and tried to estimate how many hours of work were needed to see everything through.

Turns out that I have 246 hours of work I’d like done around here. Everything from putting up some window trim I haven’t gotten around to, bush hogging the whole property twice this summer, limbing-up trees…the list seems aimless.

Then I figured up how much time I spend in the ongoing realities of life.

The UrbanSurvival and Peoplenomics.com websites are a 50-hour per week deal.  Not all of it is writing, of course.  I spent some time Thursday trying to figure out why our RSS feed wasn’t going on.  Things like that eat up time.

Then there is relaxation time.  I don’t have any, but in talking to my buddy Gaye over at www.backdoorsurvival.com, she reminded me that in order to work for long periods at peak performance, everyone needs to take some personal down time.  We’ve been telling each other that for, oh, 40 some years now with little noticeable effect on either, but it’s a good point.

I like the idea of three hours a day, plus an hour for a martini and socializing with E before dinner.  So call it 4-hours, but that also includes all my TV time and such.

So now I add up the daily: 11 hours per day and that’s before getting to ANYTHING on the 246 hour list.  Oh, half an hour a day on the garden, too.

I’ve also got an unusual constraint in that my hard contacts are only good for 11 hours per day, too.  So even if the mind was willing, the body isn’t following.

So we made a decision to hire someone to help around here.  We met with ’em last weekend, and either this weekend or next, a recent hort. degreed young man will be helping on the “big stuff.”

Once you get into the later 60’s (68 going on 69) it seems like a good idea to pay for help on bit stuff.  The shop, for example, needs a coat of elastomeric coating on it (Snow Coat or similar).  The problem is that old men on roofs is one of those inverse math relationships.  The older you get, the less sense high work makes.

We’ll see how it goes, but the idea of having help around here – even if it costs something – to catch up on the backlog sure is a worthwhile way to spend a few dollars.

As you get older (if you’re not already) I’m sure you’ll evolve the same sense:  As you get closer to the “far end of Life” there’s less time to lose on meaningless details that “you can’t take with you.”

On the other hand, working diligently on things like honing the quality (and recall) of your dreams and such…well, that’s something always worth doing, regardless of age.

Around the Ranch

Other than the 246 hours of work laid out?

First tomato flowerings have been sighted.

And the big magnolia tree looks to be covered with buds that should be popping out over the next few weeks.

Sure sign of summer..

Have a great weekend and more Monday.

Write when you get rich,