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Are You One Who Collects All The Things?

I used to be. I’m not anymore. At least I don’t think I am.

You know those Facebook challenges that say to put an X next to every state you’ve been to? Or every country you’ve visited?

I don’t do them anymore. Partly because I don’t remember how many states I’ve been to. I also don’t remember how many countries I’ve visited. Does transfering in the airport count? Or does it only count if you’ve been through immigration? Or maybe a stamp in your passport?

I’ve lived in many states, and I’ve visited many more. I haven’t visited all of them. I know I’ve never been to Hawaii and I think there are some Southern states I may not have been to.

I used to care. I don’t anymore.

My friend Howard Tayler has been writing his web comic Schlock Mercenary for 20 years. He is now writing the last of the story. I interviewed him a couple years ago when he was still plotting out the last book that is now unfolding online.

He publishes his web comic in paper books. When discussing the end of his series he talked about publishing the final book,

And then those of you who want to collect all the things can finally complete your collection.

I collected his books for a while. Rare “unmarked” numbered editions. Eventually, I traded them back to my friend for ordinary versions and gave them to my son who read them voraciously, if not pristinely. I realized I didn’t want to collect all the things.

I collected odd things. When George Lucas brought out an updated version of the original Star Wars triology, I bought both the Gold box (Widescreen) and the Silver box (full screen.)

In fact, I remember watching a movie, I would decide if I wanted to buy the movie. So, that I could have it. I had a lot of movies. I have away a bunch of them.

The same thing with books. I bought entire series. I bought everything by a particular author. Now, I decide if I ever think I might want to read a book again. If so, I keep it. If not, I am more likely to give it away.

We 13 kids, many of whom are adopted, some of my friends joke that I collect children. That didn’t happen, but I have collected other things.

I used to collect Mustang models. I had over 300 “Hot Wheels” sized cars. They are 1/64 scale. And some of them were very rare and expensive. I recently gave my collection to my neighbor’s 6 year old son. He doesn’t appreciate the uniqueness of the collection. He only knows that there are lots of shiny cars.

I really only collect three things any more. The first is pocket watches. And this group is exclusive. Each watch was either a gift from a specific family members or belonged to a family member. I have a watch from my son, my wife, my father, my grandfather and my great grandfather.

I would imagine this collection will get passed down to my children and grandchildren. At least I hope so.

The second thing I collect are challenge coins. They aren’t true challenge coins. None of them are military coins. But, they have the form of challenge coins. Some are from my friend Howard Tayler’s universe. He made them to go along with the web comic. Some are from National or State Parks or Monuments. Some are from Scouting. Some are from other organizations. I’ll build a display case for them at some point. For now, they all sit in my desk drawer.

And finally, I collect baseball caps. I’m kind of a baseball nut and I have a baseball cap from every stadium that I’ve seen a game in.

But, it’s not really about the hats, or the coins. They represent experiences. I don’t buy a hat unless I’ve been to the stadium and watched a game. The hat is a reminder. That game in Pittsburg where we had to drive three hours through a rain storm and had no idea if the game would be cancelled. The game in Arlington, TX that I drove to from Shreveport, LA. It was three hours each way, and a great game with my beleaguered Mariners vs the Texas Rangers.

The coins are similar. I don’t simply collect them unless I’ve been to the place that they refer to. I have one from Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi. It was also a long drive from Shreveport. Yellowstone, Zions, Grand Canyon National Parks. Cedar Breaks National Monument. The Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska. Goblin Valley State Park. And many others.

I guess I still collect some of the things. But my collections have changed. I don’t care if I personally touch every state. I don’t care how many countries I’ve visited. I don’t care to collect books, or models. Instead, I want experiences and mementoes from those experiences. It’s like art. I collect art. I have framed originals. . .most are from my kids. And a couple from people I know who are artists.

Stuff is just stuff and it can be bought and sold. But, memories, live forever. Experiences can’t be taken away.

Those are the things I want to collect now.

What are the things you collect?

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

When Day Turns Into Night. . Or Day. . .Or Something

One of the benefits of working from home is the fact that you can work in your pajamas. The commute changed from a trip down the freeway to a trip down the hallway. Your gas milage hasn’t gone up, but your gas costs have certainly gone down.

But, there’s a downside to working at home. Several, in fact. The lack of human interaction can be dehumanizing. No amount of Zoom meetings and conference calls can replace just the simple interaction of saying hello to someone you pass in the breakroom.

Oh sure, maybe your kids can fill that need. And depending on the age of your kids, that might be worse than no interaction at all.

But, one of the other problems with working from home is the calendar. I have a pocket calendar that I used to carry with me all the time. Now it just sort of sits on my desk. I open it occasionally, but I’m not sure what for anymore. Everything is in my office calendar. Not just work events, but family events, birthdays, pretty much everything.

And that’s the problem. I now live in my office. I don’t have the luxery of that commute to separate work life from home life. It’s hard to know when the work day ends. Plus, my job requires me to be involved with tasks at all hours. Earlier this week we had maintenance scheduled starting at 10:00pm. It went until 1:00AM.

Tonight we have testing scheduled to start at 1:00AM. That means I’ll be dragging myself when I get up for work tomorrow. Except, I’m not sure I have work tomorrow. Will I have to get up early? I check my online calendar and it looks like there’s an appointment with someone named Ruth at 9:45 tomorrow morning. Ruth works Saturdays, but generally in the afternoon.

Except that I have a daughter named Ruth. And since tomorrow is Saturday, maybe that’s not a work appointment. And I’m pretty sure it’s not a Zoom meeting since she lives in my house.

So, I’ll be up much of tonight with our testing and I’ll go to my meeting in the morning and I’ll struggle like many of you to keep night and day straight in this crazy world.

Stay Safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Follow The Flag Challenge Coin

Follow The Flag is an organization I’ve written of often. They are based in Pleasant Grove, Utah. They also have a North Ogden chapter. It started with a flag.

Just a flag to surprise the residents of Pleasant Grove on the morning of July 4, 2015. The flag that day wasn’t the one that flies today. The first flag was “Little Betsy.” It measured 60’x30.’

And there was no events. No 5K run, no radio broadcasts. No Facebook live broadcast.

That first day, there wasn’t even an announcement. When people woke up on July 4, the flag was just there; flying over the canyon. They hadn’t even asked permission of the land owners. But, who is going to complain about an American flag on the 4th of July?

Two years later, they got a bigger flag and the events started. Each year the event got bigger. I got involved in 2018. My son had an Eagle Project to start the radio broadcast.

Last year was the biggest event yet.

And this year would have topped even last year.

But, COVID had other plans.

But, the flag flies again. It’s actually the fourth flag that’s flown over our canyon. One of the additions this year was challenge coins. I don’t collect a lot things anymore. But, challenge coins are one.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
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LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

A Dog Worrying A Scroll Saw

Worry: …When it’s an animal doing the worrying, it takes on a differe meaning. A dog will worry a bone or gnaw on it, for hours. The word worry comes from the Old English wyrgan, which originally meant “strangle,” and changed over the years to mean first “harrass,” and then “cause anxiety to.”
– vocabulary.com

I bought a skill saw shortly before Christmas. I used to make a bunch of Christmas presents.

A skill saw is the tool you use when you want to create letters and names and things.

My scroll saw broke. When you change the blade on a scroll saw you have to loosen the tension. You then need to replace the blade and tighten the tension. You have to do this a lot when you are creating an involved design.

At one point I went to tighten the tension and stripped the screw that created the tension. This meant the saw was inoperable. It’s no longer in warranty. So, I decided I’d fix it myself.

There are three parts to any repair: disassembly, repair and reassembly.

Disassembly went pretty smoothly. I basically kept unscrewing bolts until the two sides of the saw came apart. In fact, I removed all the screws I could see and the case was as tight as ever. It was then I discovered there were four more bolts hidden underneath the body of the saw. Okay, maybe they weren’t technically hidden. But, it sured seemed that way.

I found the damaged screw and removed it from the saw. It was a 1/4″ screw that was about 6″ long. All I needed to do was buy a new screw and I’d be good to reassemble.

I like Allred’s Ace Hardware in Pleasant Grove, Utah. They will spend as long as it takes to find just the right bolt.

They couldn’t match my bolt. Oh, they tried. They high school kid who helped me kept trying to fit it into a nut to find the right size. He finally called over one of the older guys.

It’s a left handed thread. We don’t have anything like that.

You know that old saying “righty-tighty, lefty-loosy”? That helps you remember which direction to turn a bolt or a screw to get it to tighten or loosen. (Mechanics use the same ideas.) Well, that’s only true for right-hand screws. A left-hand screws goes the opposite direction. And only a left-hand screw will fit on a left-hand screw.

I needed a 6″ long left-hand screw. They are not common. Ace didn’t have one. I knew none of the big box stores would have one.

And that’s as far as I got on my repair. The disassembled saw sat on my workbench for the past two months. But, I continued to think about it. The problem was that if I used a right-hand screw, I would need to replace some specialized nuts. And I had to figure out how to join two bolts together.

I had some ideas, but not a complete solution. So, it sat.

But, my mind continued to work on the problem. It was there in the back of my head everytime I walked into the garage. I thought about it when I was at the hardware store. I considered and reject options while working on other projects.

Finally, today, I realized the final piece I needed. I bent a washer into a “V” shape and placed a nut inside the V in such a way that it would keep the nut from spinning.

Step 2: Repairing went pretty quickly once I had the idea. I realized I needed to also repair a broken part of the frame. A little J B Weld and it was good as new.

The weld will set overnight and tomorrow I’ll finish up Step 3: Reassembly, and finally have my scroll saw back. I wonder if I could have fixed it sooner. Could I have figured out the bent washer yesterday? Last week? Last month? Did I require a certain amount of time to worry over the solution before I could finalize it?

I don’t know. I know I’ve been thinking about it for weeks. I have two projects half done that require a scroll saw to finish. I certaintly wanted to fix it.

I guess I just had to worry it enough.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

The Difference Between Not Enough And Just Enough

Most people fail to understand how little extra effort it takes to be truly extrordinary.

I love baseball. I mean, probably more than any of your friends. I’ve been known to drive 3 hours each way just to watch 2 hours of a baseball game.

(Everyone has to have a hobby, right?)

The last three months have been killing me. The entire first half of the baseball season was wiped out. They might start up later this month.

In the meantime, I’ve watched old baseball clips and an occasional movie. Bull Durham, Eight Men Out, Field of Dreams. But, not Angels In The Outfield.

It tells the story of real angels coming down to help the Anheim Angels baseball team. And they need the help because they are terrible. They can’t run, hit, field or throw. There’s a line by Danny Glover, who plays the manager,

There’s a thing called talent. They don’t have it.

Why don’t I like this movie?

Because it asks too much. It wants us to believe that men who can’t catch a fly ball could be professional baseball players.

Bull Durham, on the other hand is an excellent baseball movie. Kevin Costner plays a minor league catcher trying to help the clubs hot young pitcher prepare for the majors. One of the lessons he teaches.

You know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It’s 25 hits. Twenty-five hits in 500 at-bats is 50 points, OK? There’s six months in a season. That’s about 25 weeks. That means if you get just one extra flare a week, just one, a gork, a ground ball – a dying quail a week and you’re in Yankee Stadium

The difference between a .250 hitter and a .300 hitter is the difference between going into the Hall of Fame and not making the ball club. It’s a tiny, tiny difference between being great and being just average.

9.58 seconds. That’s the world record for the 100 meter dash. Usain Bolt set that record in 2009.

400 milliseconds. That’s how long it takes to blink your eyes.

Suppose you were just “a blink” slower than Usain? That puts your 100 meter time at 9.98. That’s still fast. Anything under 10 is world class. But, where would you rank? Remember just a blink-and-you-miss-it behind the world record holder?

Second?

Third?

Ten?

Not even close. The 25th fastest recorded 100 meter time for men was 9.87.

It’s a tiny difference between great and merely good.

To be successful in business, you don’t have to be a professional baseball player or the fastest man in the world.

Two friends were hiking in the woods. The came upon a ferocious bear who started to charge them. One guy started to put on running shoes.

“Are you crazy? You can’t outrun a bear?”

“I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.”

If you are able to put in just a little more effort than the next guy, or the next company, or than you did yesterday, that’s success.

We are rolling out a new software tool at work. We have been trying to get it out for the past few weeks. We finally opened a bridge call on Monday and spent hours pulling in all the involved teams. And eventually, we got it installed. . .mostly. Seriously it mostly worked for most of our agents. Today I had a different crisis that took most of my day.

I did send an email and ask if people still had issues. But, I was focused on a new issue. And honestly? It mostly worked.

At 4:00pm I got a call from the VP. He rightly wanted to know why our new tool still didn’t work. . .completely.

So, we started another brige and invited all the interested teams back on. It turns out that we were 95%, possibly 98% of the way to the finish line. As we spent time on the bridge, I didn’t talk much. I wasn’t the expert on the tool. Instead each team talked about what didn’t work for them. For one team it was a mistyped network address. for another it was a reboot. For still another, the supervisor needed to switch stations.

We eventually got everyone working, but it was by tracing down each issue individually. It took a couple of hours.

And when we were done, We were done. Not 95% done, not 98% done. We were completely done. And everyone was happy. I got some of the thanks, undeservedly so, I think. My role was simply to gather people and be on the bridge. It was a small thing. But, it was the difference between providing a working solution and an almost working solution. We call that a broken solution.

You don’t have to outrun the bear. You just need to outrun your yesterday-self.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

That’s a BIG Flag. . .No Really, Bigger Than You Think

What is the largest American flag in the world?

It’s called the Superflag. The Guiness Book of World Records lists it as 505 feet by 225 feet. It weighs 3000 lbs. The flag is too heavy to hang on a flagpole.

It has flown exactly once. It hung for an hour from the Hoover Dam on May 1, 1996. It only hung for an hour because it’s really hard to hang a large flag.

But, what about free flying American flags? What the largest free flying American flag?

For once, Google is not your friend. Google “Largest free flying
American flag” and you get a reference to a flag in Wisconsin. It was recently damaged in a thunderstorm and ripped in half. The flag is 70′ by 140′ and weighs 340 lbs.

But, it’s not the world’s largest free flying American flag.

There’s a flag in Gastonia, North Carolina that is 65 feet by 114 and weighs 180 lbs. It hangs on a 65 foot flag pole.

You can see it from 30 miles away. North Carolina is not known for tall mountains.

New Yorkers will tell you that the largest free flying American flag flies over the George Washington Bridge. But, that one is only 60 feet by 90 feet, although it weighs an impressive 465 lbs.

But, none of these are the largest free flying American flag in the world.

That honor belongs to a flag that is 75 feet wide by 155 feet long. It weighs 400 lbs and it is hanging not on a flag pole, not in front of a dam, or on a bridge. It’s hanging from a cable suspended across a canyon in the small town of Pleasant Grove, Utah.

The flag is named Lady Liberty. It was flown for the first time on July 4, 2020.

The flag is one of three identical flags. The first, Big Betsy was damaged last year in a microburst. Interesting, it was also damaged the previous year when a cable designed to deploy it, caused damage. Last years, damage was too much to repair and Big Betsy no longer flies. She does make appearances at parades and rodeos and even gets hung from a building occasionally.

The third flag is called The Major. It’s named for Major Brent Taylor, who was mayor of North Ogden Utah. In addition he was in the National Guard. He was killed in Afghanistan. The Major flew for the first time July 4, 2019. It replaced Big Betsy after she was damaged.

The Major flies in a canyon in Northern Utah. Ogden canyon.

The three flags are the result of an organization called Follow The Flag. The organization not only maintains the flags, but they put on events in and around Utah. This is a big week for them, although many events had to be cut back due to the virus.

I’m not sure why Lady Liberty doesn’t get the designation she deserves. The Guiness Book of World Records doesn’t have a designation for largest free flying American flag.

So, New Yorkers will look at a version of flag when they drive across the George Washington bridge. And the folks within 30 miles around that flag pole in North Carolina will get to watch the flag wave. And we can only hope that the group in Wisconsin gets their flag repaired.

But, if you want to see the largest free flying American flag in the world, you can find it hanging for the next week proudly across Grove Creek Canyon in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

She, or one of her cousins is there every 4th of July week.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Book Review: Garth Brooks The Anthology|Part 1

Garth Brooks The Anthology | Part 1
The First Five Years
– By Garth Brooks

I’m a Garth Brooks fan. Most people who are willing to shell out $28 dollars for a collection of songs he already owns, is probably a fan. The fact that the songs came wrapped in a 237 book of pictures and stories was a bonus.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading through this coffee table style book. The book is pretty simply organized. It goes through the background of the writing of each song. And it talks about each album.

About half-way through I realized the format. I mean, I could have looked at the table of contents. But, even that ToC seemed random. But, at about the 105 page mark, as the book started talking about Robing The Wind, I realized that Garth was taking us through the songs on each album. Suddenly the format made a lot more sense.

One of the most surprising things about the book was realizing that Garth Brooks is a writer. I had noticed his name on many of the songs, but assumed that he had added a word or a phrase, and that was the extent of his contribution.

In fairness, I think I was unduly influenced by the live version of Brooks’ hit song, “Friends In Low Places.” The second verse includes the lines:

Hey, I didn’t mean
To cause a big scene
Just give me an hour and then
Well, I’ll be as high as that ivory tower
That you’re livin’ in

During his live show, Garth sings a third verse. It contains the lines:

Hey I didn’t mean
To cause a big scene
Just wait ’til I’ve finished this glass
Then sweet little lady
I’ll head back to the bar
And you can kiss my ***

I thought, “I he wrote that third verse I’m not impressed. I don’t know if he wrote the third version or not, but after ready Part 1, I’ve come to realize that Brooks is an exceptional song writer.

The other educational information was learning exactly how a team puts an album together. It’s not just finding nine or ten songs and sticking them on a CD.

It will be interesting to see if the album format will survive streaming and online sales. Albums used to be events. And to some extent they still are. But, who ever hears the six or seven songs that never get released as singles?

What I Liked

The book was extremely entertaining. I found myself, especially after I figured out the format, looking forward to the next album, the next year.

Being a Garth Brooks fan, it was wonderful hearing the stories behind my favorite songs. I especially enjoyed learning the stories of the less famous songs.

It was also enjoyable to get to know more about Garth’s collaborators and producers. The people and their stories are as intersting as the music stories.

Finally, it was wonderful to hear how a young kid from Oklahoma became the biggest thing in country music.

What I Didn’t

I’ve already metioned the issue I had with the format. While the pictures added a much fuller picture, many of them weren’t captioned. Many of the pages included pull quotes. The information in these pull quotes was also included in the body of the text. The format works well for browsing the books, but when trying to read they were very distracting.

Honestly though, these are minor points.

What It Means To You

If you are a Garth Brooks fan, this book is an excellent contribution to your library. However, if you are an aspiring song writer, or singer, or producer, this book is actually a great story of what it looks like when it all comes together. It won’t make you a successful recording artist. But, it will show you what a successful artist looks like before they become famous and how the road to success is partly luck, but mostly a lot of hard work and deliberate decisions.

My Rating

Four out of four stars. I really enjoyed this book and was surprised to find that I learned things I didn’t even know I wanted to know.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Making Small Talk. . .from 3000 Miles Away

My favorite Facebook group has “Water cooler Mondays.” We talk about what we did over the weekend.

Tuesdays are “Promotion Tuesdays.” Tell us something that you are doing, or you’re proud of.

Wednesday’s are my favorite. It’s “Pet Peeve Wednesdays.” Post about a gripe or a pet peeve.

Thursday is all about the plans for the weekend.

What interesting about this particular Facebook group, is that many of us have become good friends. And we’ve never met each other. We are all fans of a professional comedian. He set up the group.

A common interest brought us together, but, it’s not enough to sustain a community. It’s the shared experiiences. The causual banter that has made us a part of one another’s lives.

We know that Rachel teaches music at a community college. Enoch recently lost his father and is struggling to get through it. Robert works in IT.

No one asked Rachel if she was a teacher. It just came up in conversation. We all certainly offered our condolances to Enoch on the death of his father. But, it didn’t come up during Pet Peeve Wednesday, or Promote Yourself Tuesday. But, during our conversations.

Honestly, I don’t even know where Enoch lives. The comedian tours all over the world. But, I know I can talk to Enoch about my day and he’ll be interested. And he can talk to me about the recent anniversary of my father’s passing.

If your work team is like mine, you are probably all working from home. No more Wednesday lunches. No more birthday cakes in the break room. No more chats at the copier. So, how do you get your team to pull together like that?

You need to let your team chat, make small talk. You need to look for opportunities to talk without there being an agenda.

We had a team meeting today. Our team is scattered all over the world, India, California, New York. The managers were five minutes late. So the team member did what team members do when they are waiting for the meeting to get started. They talked. We talked about the latest news. We talked about the virus. (But, not a lot. We’ve all heard plenty.) We asked about each other’s families. What we were doing for the long holiday weekend.

And after five minutes the managers showed up, apologized for being late and the meeting started.

But, for five minutes, a “wasted” five minutes, we were a team interested in each other’s lives

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Working For Free

Are you still up?

Yeah, why?

I’m thinking that putting that antenna up is going to be a lot cooler tonight than tomorrow during the day.

Sure, let me grab a flashlight and I’ll meet you outside.

Saturday is the fourth of July, America’s Independence day. That’s a big deal in my little town of Pleasant Grove. Many of the events surrounding Independence have been cancelled or cut back.

But, the biggest 4th of July event is going on as planned. I volunteer with an organization called Follow The Flag. The organization does a lot of good work.

But, the organization really exists for the Fourth of July. Every Fourth of July for the past several years, the Follow The Flag organization has strung a Kevlar line across Grove Creek Canyon and unfurled the world’s largest free flying American Flag. It will fly there for a week.

There are three flags that the organization owns. The original flag was called Big Betsy. Then, the Ogden chapter bought a flag and named it The Major, in honor of Brent Taylor, the mayor of North Ogden who was a major in the National Guard and was killed in Afghanistan.

Last year, Big Betsy was damaged in a micro-burst. So, she’s been retired from flying. Instead a new flag will fly over Grove Creek Canyon this year. It’s name is Lady Liberty. She’s about 150 feet by 75 feet.

The thing about Follow The Flag, is that everyone is a volunteer. We don’t even get t-shirts for free. My small part is a radio transmitter. My neighbor and I set up a small radio station at the mouth of the canyon that will broadcast patriot music on a loop.

The thing is, we also have jobs, so it’s not unusual to be out at 10:00 at night doing setup. As we were installing our antenna and radio I happened to glance up at the imposing mountain silver and black in the light of the waxing moon. There about half way up, just where the canyon wall jutted out I saw flashlights bobbing.

The riggers were getting the lines strung. More people working late into the night for free.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Book Review: Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done
the art of stress-free productivity
by David Allen

I wanted to like this book. I wanted to like it a lot. Because, it’s a really good book. The reviews are all true. The information in the Getting Things Done (GTD) method are amazing. And they, no doubt could lead to amazing levels of productivity.

Have you ever wanted to learn to play the violin? I don’t know anything about playing the violin, but my sister plays wonderfully. But, imagine that you want to learn to play the violin. So, you find a really good violin teacher. And that really good violin teacher writes a book on how to play the violin.

That’s what GTD was. The information was wonderful. And I could see in reading it that if you put it into use, it would be amazing. But, when I got done, I really wasn’t much better at playing the violin, or the art of stress-free productivity.

I’d picked up some pieces I’d learned some vocabulary. Mastering your workflow, the five phases of project planning and capturing habit. It’s good info. But, hard to put into practice.

David Allen even acknowledges this when he says is describing “The Path of GTD Mastery,”

GTD is actually a lifelon practice with multiple levels of mastery. It is very similar to playing an instrument like the violin. . .”

There is a corresponding training course that goes along with the Getting Things Done book. And I’m sure that if I had a chance to attend a training, I would be much better at playing the violin when I got done.

What I Liked

The material really is written well. The examples are relevant and useful. You don’t have to adopt the entire GTD system to find value in parts of it. And if you were to go through the material in detail, working on it page by page, I would imagine that you could eventually master the violin. Well, probably not master, but at least learn to play Farmer In The Dell.

What I Didn’t

There was a lot here. I’m a fast reader. This book took me six months to read. And I only finished it because. . .well, it’s hard to write a book review if you don’t actually finish reading the book. The material doesn’t seem to translate well to the written page.

Rather than trying to present the entire GTD system, it might have been more useful to focus on smaller, more useful exercises to practice the topics. I also would have liked to see scenarios. Show how someone started with a manual system and then in ten pages or so show us how they used the GTD method to organize their life.

I’m not even sure that would solve it.

What It Means To You

If you have the training, this book is a great refresher. Or, if you are a learner who does well with the written word, you could find value. And there are certainly nuggets of value, but it took a lot of time and effort to find them. And by the time I did, I didn’t care.

My Rating

2 out of 4 stars. I really wanted to like this more

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Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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