Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Phase 3 Writing

All my life I've allowed my audience to constrain my writing.

Writing was a product for teachers, academics, engineers, customers, and decision-makers. I succeeded if I satisfied my consumers.

The cage door is now open and I am free to step outside. In Life, Phase 3, life untethered from work, I get to write for myself.

I get to explore my brain's attic, piled with disorganized thoughts.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Travel Gear: Trekking Gloves

In Marketing class I learned about a man who had a bunch of folding stools to sell. He first positioned them as general-purpose folding stools, but there were no takers. He sold them all when he positioned them as fishing stools.

A well-positioned product connects with a specific market. With a bit of luck, the sale requires minimal targeted advertising and fetches a premium price.

This week I've been in the market for gloves. Not just any gloves, but gloves to protect my hands when I clamber over rocks and ride scree.

Monday, October 20, 2014


It was breakfast at the Granvia Okayama Hotel.

The tour group at the next table murmured in agreement as the colonel railed against typographical errors in the itinerary.

I pegged him as "the colonel," now a paper-pusher, close to retirement.  It was impossible to tune him out as he recalled his first encounter with the errant itinerary in excruciating detail.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Our Castle in England

I'm back in Minneapolis from my travels, so it is a priority to plan future travels.

Today I booked an entire English castle for 2016. It's just a little castle, actually a gatehouse, it's only for a week, and it costs about the same as two hotel rooms.

I want to introduce my nephews and their parents to the area I grew up in Northeastern England. Morpeth Castle is a good base. It dates from about 1350, and it has a parapet where an almost-9-year-old and an almost-8-year-old can imagine pouring boiling oil on invading forces.

I found myself putting together a document about the trip, including the following mundane details:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Monasteries on Rocks

"It's a good trail."

I could tell from the young woman's hiking boots and glowing expression it would, indeed, be a good trail.

I gratefully accepted the walking stick (tree limb) her companion was ready to discard as they left the trail.

I clambered over rocks and headed away from the idling tour buses.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Views from a Rooftop Bar

"Great view."

I kept looking at the Acropolis. Then I realized I was being spoken to. I turned around to see a man in his 70's. I muttered something in agreement.

Hearing my accent he started a "Your Country" routine about British politics.

"Wrong country," I interrupted.

Once he determined my actual citizenship he started another "Your Country" routine, this time directed at American national politics.

"I don't talk politics in bars."

He deftly switched course to prime ministerial politics in his country, New Zealand.

"Sir, I do not talk politics in bars."

But I now had an inroad. I enthused about trekking in his country.

This led to a decent conversation about our daily lives--stuff that unites rather than divides us.