Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Figures Don't Lie, But Lairs Can Figure

Saw this sign in front of a local gas station that made me stop and take a second look. It's a sign for pre-bundled firewood.

What caught my eye was the line "80% LESS SMOKE." That sounds good, don't it? 80% less smoke blowing in your face at your next campfire. 80% better for the environment, 80% less stink in your clothes, 80% less moving your camp chair to get out of the way of the smoke.

Who wouldn't like 80% less smoke? Sounds like a great deal, better buy a bundle or two! We better buy some, right?

Well, maybe. Maybe not. One needs to stop and ask a question. 80% of what?

The answer that pops into people's head is "80% less smoke, of course" but we need to ask compared to what?

  • 80% less smoke than the same amount of wood of the same species from their competition?
  • 80% less smoke than their product from last year?
  • 80% less smoke than the same amount of wood of a different species?
  • 80% less smoke than burning a truckload of old tires?

With out a clear definition of WHAT, percentages are a pretty useless and often misleading thing to use in advertisements, or memes, or any other statement of fact.

Like the old saying goes, "figures don't lie, but lairs can figure."

Monday, August 13, 2018

New Name, Same Blog But Different! Kind of....

To be completely honest, I kind of forgot I had a blog. Like many, I started off with big plans and lots of ideas, then got distracted with life and wondered off. Also like many, I had a spurt or two when I found my interest again and swore "this time it will be different" then, once again, got distracted.

As you can see. I found my interest again. Let's see if it sticks.

First thing is I'm changing the name from "Too Young To Be a Curmudgeon." While I still love that name and find it fitting; let's face it, it's not a good name for the long term. On on the edge of 44 now. I'm not really too young for it anymore.

Secondly, I am in the process of starting a weekly vlog on YouTube that will also be posted here, along with more blog posts to this site, and I want to have everything branded the same.

So stay tuned, there is going to be much more to come. New name, sample blog but different! Kind of....

Saturday, October 14, 2017

2019 AT Thru Hike?

My big announcement, if you will. I plan on attempting a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, starting in early Spring of 2019. As a cover in this video, I was considering starting the adventure sooner, but the more I thought about it I need more time to get fully prepared.
Going on a roughly 2,200 mile hike is a pretty daunting goal when you look at it. A thru hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT) on average will take roughly six months.  That's a half of a year away from my family and friends, and the comforts of home. Walking typically 10 to 20 miles a day, sleeping eating and everything else outside, in all types of weather and all type of terrain. Six months pretty much alone with nothing more than you can carry with you. A challenge to say the least.

A challenge, but far from impossible. "Eight to eighty, blind, crippled and crazy" as the saying goes, applies in a way to thru hiking the AT. Children have thru hiked the AT with their families. People in their 80's have thru hiked the AT. A blind gentlemen by the name of Bill Irwin thru hiked the trail in 1990.* And of course, if you're considering a 2,200 mile hike, you have to be a bit crazy. But it is a achievable goal that most of us can accomplish, if you are fully prepared.

That is the key. To be fully prepared. One doesn't have to be in the best physical shape, or have the most honed hiking and outdoors skills. They will improve on the trail as you go. But of course the better shape and skilled you are at the start the better off you'll be. Frustration and discomfort will plant the seeds that ends most attempts; doubt. Your will is almost certain to give out before your body really does. When you start thinking "I'm not sure I can do this" often that doubt grows into it's own reality. Having the right mindset will help us all prevail over the physical obstacles. Most of the time.

The two other main culprits that squash many people's goals and dreams of completing a thru hike is time & money. Those go hand in hand. Both are precious resources on the trail that can't be replenished with a resupply trip to a nearby town. Not many have the funds and free time to take their time on the trail. Time and money are joined at the hip too. The more time you take, the more money you burn through. The longer you are on the trail, the longer you are away from earning more money. Lack of time or money will send someone home regardless of their mindset or how will they are doing physically.

As of now, the money part is the biggest hurdle I have. If I am going to attempt thru hiking the AT, I have to do it debt free. I am not willing to put six months of my life on a credit card. Therefore I need to pile as much cash as possible in the next year and a half to cover all my expenses both on the trail and on the home front for the duration of the adventure.

Besides my 9 to 5, I'm working on opening up as many revenue streams as I can. I've started a YouTube channel called Sioux Scout that is focused on hiking, camping, related gear and my upcoming AT thru hike attempt. I hope to generate a modest income from YouTube advertising and affiliate earnings from Amazon from adding links to the products I show on the videos.

I have also created a Patreon page to go along with the YouTube channel, where I will post more related content such as more videos and blog posts.

Please consider becoming a Patron to the Sioux Scout project and shopping at Amazon by following the links I share. That is the best way to help support this channel and my 2019 AT Thru Hike.

My Patreon page:

My YouTube channel:

Thank you!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Every Week

Every week I get the local advertiser circular in the mail, and every week I bring it in from the mailbox and immediately open it to the Help Wanted section. I look through it knowing I won't find my perfect job in it. There are plenty of jobs listed, often ones I would be good at and make a decent living doing. But not my dream job.

I'm not sure I have my weekly habit in the first place. I know that the best career paths as rarely found in the want ads. Most of the positioned I have had were never found there. But still, like someone playing scratch off lottery tickets, I hope to find the answer to my dreams but leave disappointed.

What is more disappointing than not finding my dream job posted in the local circular, is the fact that I'm even looking in the first place. Big red flag about how happy I am with my current role. I like my current position. I truly enjoy the work I do and most of the people I work with. But it's not my dream job. It's not a place I will stay will long term, but it will be my place of work for the near future.

Does anybody else do something like this? Keep looking in the same place for the answer to your dreams? Keep hoping to find the "golden ticket" laying there, just waiting for you to reach down a grab it? We all know it doesn't work that way. Good things usually don't just fall into your lap. Great things never do. You have to chase them down with focused intention.

I do have a plan for my near future and my (slightly) distance future. I have the focused intention to find and get my next position. I don't need to look in the want ads for a way out. But for some reason I just keep doing it every week.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I'm not Brave Enough

I’m not brave enough to walk up to a stranger’s vehicle with only the intention of giving the driver a verbal warning about a broken tail light for their safety and the safety of those around them. Out of fear if being shot or attacked by the jacked-up meth mouth who stole the car.

I’m not brave enough to knock on a stranger’s door and tell them their child was killed while crossing a street and one of them must come with me to the morgue and identify a small mangled corpse.

I’m not brave enough to calmly arrest a man who just beat the living crap out of his wife; only have him go back home a few days later to beat the living crap out of her again.

I’m not brave enough to get to know smart and talented youth, who will never get to meet their true potential because those around tell them they can’t simply because of who they are or where they live.

I’m not brave enough to bite my tongue when people who’ve never fired a handgun at a paper target under ideal controlled condition, let allow in a dark alley at a moving target that is trying to kill you, say “why don’t they just shoot’em in the leg?”

I’m not brave enough to stand on a road during severe weather to keep traffic away from downed live power lines for fear for being hit by a driver who’s too busy texting to see where they are going.

I’m not brave enough to have a profession in which, in no fault of my own, I may be forced to decide in a fraction of a second whether to take a human life or not. If I choose incorrectly I could die. Even if I choose correctly, I have to live the rest of my life knowing I took someone else’s. I would also be judged by people who only care about two details of the incident: what race am I, and what race was the person I shot.

Nope. I’m not brave enough to be a cop.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Starbucks are Marketing Geniuses

How does a coffee shop become an international juggernaut of a corporation? Great marketing and okay coffee. Starbucks are masters at branding and using social media for free advertising.

The whole writing a customer's name on the cup is brilliant idea. Since a large percentage of Starbuck's customers are millennials who can't survive without attention; they post a picture of of their moco-latte-frap-a-whatever to Instagram and Twitter before they take their first sip. Instant free advertising. One person I know has a theory that Starbucks employee's intentionally spell people's name's wrong just to give them reason to share their branded cup on social media.

But the latest social media buzz around Starbucks is pure genius. Now that a major customer demographic is worked up over President Trump tightening up Syrian refugees from entering the US, Starbucks CEO makes the statement that Starbucks will hired 10,000 refugees worldwide over the next five years. 

With one simple press release. Starbucks is on the 24/7 news networks, talked about on talk radio, blogs about on blogs, and hash tagged the crap out of social media. The social justice warriors who smashed the windows out of a Washing DC Starbucks last week are now all #Starbucksisawesome on Facebook. The people who have never stepped foot in a Starbucks before, who are outraged by the announcement, are now going to boycott the coffee shop they have never been to. #StarbuckshatesMerica 

Everywhere you look, Starbucks and it only took on little press release of a statement that sounds big. But doesn't amount to much at all.

Let's take a closer look at that statement. 10,000 hires over a five year period. As of 2016, Starbucks has 24,646 locations and 238,000 employees. What does 2,000 refugee employees per year amount to? How long will do these new hires have to stick around to count? What is the average turn around of a Starbucks employee? Will the first ones you hire even still be working for Strbucks in five years when they hire the 10,000th? How will they keep track? How will they prove that in 2022 that Starbucks did indeed hire 10,000 refugees? Starbucks is an international corporation, who many of these refugees will be US hires and how many overseas? What qualifies a person as a refugee anyway?

Will anyone remember this statement from Starbucks five years from now and hold them accountable to show the world if they made good on their promise? 

Well, it gave Q1 2017 sales a boost. Starbucks are marketing geniuses.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Little Things Matter

You know how Facebook has that annoying habit of reminding of stuff you posted a year or two again and suggest you post it again? Apparently Facebook thinks we're all like Hollywood. Out of original ideas and have to reboot everything.

Yes, I see the irony of the above statement while I post the below as a blog post. Just that I think it's something I  did at work that is worth noting here.

When he's not on the production floor, one of the Sample Techs pretty much always has a Mountain Dew in his hand. He worked into his lunch to get some extra parts molded for me, so I could send them off for testing before this afternoon.
When he placed the parts on my desk, I handed him an ice cold Mountain Dew as a thank you.
It is a small gesture that only cost me $1.25. But it showed my true appreciation of his effort and will bolster our working relationship. Well worth a buck & a quarter.
Little things like that can change the dynamics of your professional & personal lives. A simple smile, holding the door, and a sincere "thank you" are easy to do.
Just reminder; insincerity can be spotted a mile away. If you do things like this solely for the gain, it will backfire on you big time.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

You know we have it good, when you're outraged over what might happen

As some of my more liberal friends like, share, and post stuff in support of the women's march going on in DC right now, I can't help but think how good we really have it in America. From what I've seen from my couch today, the gathering on DC is very impressive. Even more impressive when you figure they have absolutely nothing to be outraged about.

When the motive of your demonstration and  the focal point of your outrage is that the new President might be a threat to you rights, based on your emotional reaction to him being elected; things are pretty damn good in your life.

Many in America used to demonstrate because of actual oppression. Now days it's over the potential of it. Sorry uber liberal women, having to pay for your own birth control with your own money is not oppression. It's something called responsibility.

Now is Trump a great choice for our President? Nope. But as the election has proved, he is the marginally better option between two normally un-electable choices presented to us from the two major political parties. Barely marginal.

But I may be wrong on that, for after all, I'm not a woman. Since I'm a male, I may not see that just become a woman won the popular vote for the Presidency, women have been nominated by this apparent sexist pig of a President to Cabinet level positions, roughly half of the Supreme Court of the United States is female, along with many members of Congress, State Governors, a woman CEO of a major corporation ran very good Presidential campaign under the flag of the evil woman hating GOP party.......

I'm sorry, while listing off some examples of accomplished women, I forgot what the problem was.

Oh yeah, Trump's going to destroy the world because he's said mean things...... If you need me, I'll be hiding under a blanket in my safe place.

It may be the best time to make a big deal out of something when something isn't a big deal.

After reading it again, I almost deleted my post on my thoughts regarding the women's march on DC. It sounded condescending and I was afraid my point would be missed. The point I was making is it truly is a great time if all activist have to be protesting a potential problem, and not a real one. But the more I thought about it, I decided to just leave it.

While I was doing that pondering another great point entered my mind. That thought was a peaceful protest, such as the current mark on DC, that is preemptive in nature IS the best time to protest.

Figuratively speaking, why wait for a fire to get out of control before you reach for the fire extinguisher? Put the fire out when it's still controllable. Takes a smaller amount of effort and less damage is caused.

It may be the best time to make a big deal out of something when something isn't a big deal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Muscles are weird.

I am not by any stretch of the imagination big on exercise and working out. While I am in decent shape, there is plenty of room for improvement. With that said, I do take some pride in one habit.

For several years now, I have walked at least a mile or two everyday. Now it's moved  more towards hiking. For one, I grew tired of walking a half mile or mile down my road, then go back to my house. And most of all, there are some really great hiking trails close to my house and on my way to and from work that run along the St. Croix River.

With winter here, and the snow and lack of daylight that comes with it, I try to cram my exercise routine in on the weekend by going on longer hikes and "rucking." Rucking is the new trend (or at least new to me, I'm usually a good 4 years behind the game) in workouts in which you carry a weighted backpack while walking or hiking.

I've been doing more and more of this with noticeable results. My endurance, along with the pace of my hikes has increased. I now typically hike at least 5 miles each day of the weekend while carrying a moderately heavy pack.

But muscles are weird. Last Saturday morning I made my usual hike of roughly five miles with pack weighing around 20 pounds through a trail covered in about four or five inches of snow. It was a decent workout, but I felt fine afterword,

Then Sunday I cross country skied for the first time this year. Went maybe a mile down freshly groomed Nordic style trails. Two days later my legs still hurt.

Muscles are weird. Use the same ones you use daily a little differently, and they freak.