Winter’s first sneaux

The magnitude and ferocity of this storm is hard to describe. It started gently enough, but as we hit the main portion of the storm, it snowed as hard as I’ve seen it. It left five foot drifts in the back yard and the similar in the driveway. The strongly whipping winds piled snow high in some places, and left almost nothing elsewhere. The trees lining the driveway left a wind protected walkway that was very useful. The crows enjoyed the feast left on the ground from the winds. The next morning, the storm was still clearing out.

Looked a bit like Kodachrome


Waiting for summer


Afternoon peace

Morning's passing storm

Letting go

There is an article about trusting a builder to do what they do. We all love to apply the hard won knowledge we gain, and we all love to have things that are *just* what we want. There’s only one way to get that, and that is build, sew, weld, weave, and stack the work yourself. ‘Cause short of that it is a collaboration and the platonic plane of your projects existence is forever lost in that collaboration. Instead you jiggle the elbow of your partner about what they’re building and how. Craftsman bring there own experiences to project. What they like and dislike. What’s worked for them and what hasn’t. What they’ve had time to try and what they haven’t. You can find folks who will experiment on your dime, but you best have enough dimes to not be upset when the experiments fail. And if *my* experience tells me anything, it’s that more things fail than succeed. Either way it devolves the purity of the what you want to produce.

Find a builder of whatever who builds stuff you like and then having it tailored to you. It’ll be sized for you. You’ll discuss the qualities that are important to you. But if you really want to specify tube thickness and stay length you’re probably wasting your time and the craftsman’s. If you want to argue, argue over fit, where only you can say what’s comfortable. But in the end, you’d better off building your own, take the plunge, you’ll have fun!

The same problem exists in the software world. One of the hardest parts of working as a consultant was getting a business owner to trust you with the mechanics. Software is so scary (“Every project costs a fortune! They’re all late! I don’t understand what’s going on!”) for many business owners. Still, the mechanics of how data is stored, for example, is not what you should spend time discussing no matter how much the business owner thinks they know. How the software impacts the business, who would be using it and how, and other *real* requirements is where the crux of the biscuit lies. Sure, they may want to know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and you should explain. But chances are, unless there are far larger misunderstandings, that detail is not the one that makes or breaks the deal.

I read the blogs of a lot of tradesfolk. Builders of houses, bikes, cars, jewelry, clothes, and of course software. And they generally agree. Some limit people’s tendencies along these lines by only releasing their own designs. Other apply varying techniques, and some deal with building what you want and you not being happy. But no matter how they approach the business aspect, they all dream about having steady work, happy clients, and the chance to do what they know how to do.

My advice is to let folks do what they do. Find people trustworthy and then trust them. Don’t hire folks with whom you feel the need to oversee every detail. It can only work if overseeing that project is *your* full time job, and even then it could well not. If it isn’t your full time job then chances are it will consume every spare cycle you have and still leave you with all sorts of things you don’t like, didn’t want, and that cost you dearly. A far happier path is letting go, and trusting that you did a good job finding someone. Most of us are good at finding people we like. Inform them, work with them, show them examples. Talk about things other than your project and show them stuff you like in general. And if you like the decisions they’ve made elsewhere let them know. Design together. Talk through the ideas. Now let go, and let them do their job. It’s what you pay them for in the end.

I’ve done this successfully this year. And I’m trying it again right now. It is a work in progress so I won’t speak to it yet. But I will, success or failure, when it’s done.

Closer and closer…

More rebuild bits have arrived…


Build bits

In an unrelated note… this years Chanuka treats. Both were keepers!

marshmallow and chocolate dreidels

Chocolate toffee pecan squares

The above is based on these, but I used 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips from Ghirardelli despite this being a first time, we almost always think these things are too sweet. I might go even darker next time. I also sprinkled Heath bits English Toffee Chips and left the lovely pecans whole. Squares were cut around the pecans. Changes for next time: We’ll take some of the sugar out of the dough, bake it a bit more, and flatten it more. I also put them in the fridge, since the chocolate seemed a touch excessive and wasn’t setting up (fast enough for me and the late hour when I made these). After I chucked it in the fridge the chocolate set up in a few minutes. Then they sliced up nicely.


“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”