Man Code Rule number 473, Don’t EVER ask to borrow a chainsaw.

Stihl_Chainsaw

A youngster here at the office just violated Man Code Rule #473 — he asked to borrow my chainsaw.

Here it is  for the uninformed…
Man Code Rule #473: Don’t ask a guy to borrow his chainsaw.

End of story.

Like ladies — Chainsaws are not to be shared.

Now that I think about it, Chainsaws are quite a bit like Ladies…

1. Each one is an individual and needs to be treated as such.
2. The sharp ones cut the best.
2. If they don’t start at first, be patient.
3. Judicious lubrication is required.
4.They are NOT to be shared.
5. Don’t ever ask to borrow one.
6. If operated improperly, they do bite.
7. They are marvelous and complicated.
8. There’s usually a trick to getting one going.
9. Good ones are there when you need them.
10. Bad ones aren’t worth the trouble to have around.

There, that’s my comparison of chainsaws and ladies.

Now, go get yourself a Farm Boss if you don’t already have one.

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Charting search trend data for outdoors activities. Seems to be declining, but why? Other fly fishing relevant search data charts as well…

So it’s a slow week at the office this week. Thanksgiving and all, so I was puttering around on Google trends, like I like to do, and noticed a fairly depressing trend illustrated by the chart below.

It appears that there is a seriously downward sloping trend among outdoor activities. I suspect that this trend is mostly the fact that the internet’s long tail is getting longer and people already know where to find this information and as a result are not doing generic searches for terms like “fly fishing” or “backpacking.”  But as a person with a respect for the sciences, I’m not offering that as actual causal relationship. I’m merely pointing out that the general public is is not searching for the stuff we like, as much as they used to.

Another interesting thing to note is that when it comes to fish species interest is largely flat if you remove the seasonal interest swings.

Notice there appears to be a slight decline in interest in steelhead, which anecdotally runs completely counter to everything I’ve seen on the ground in the fly fishing world. The term “bonefish” was clearly obscured by searches for “Bonefish Grill” so I left that out. In addition the term “trout” by itself, was WAY OFF-THE-CHART, so it was left out as well.

Another interesting group of terms I looked at was the various types of fly fishing we might do. Each seems to be fairly flat, with “dry fly fishing” clearly still being the number one searched for term among the group. Streamer fishing seems to the one that has grown the most in popularity recently, albeit only slightly. I’m sure most would agree that as a tactic it is, in fact, the one that has grown the most on the stream as well. Streamer fishing that used to be relegated to certain times of year is now acceptable all year long, on any day of the week, and in any conditions. At least it’s acceptable for those of us who don’t care about numbers but are looking for size, anyway.

And finally for comparison purposes I’ve done a trend query for mobile devices and trendy electronic gizzies to show what an up-trend should look like.

I think this just shows that the internet is getting mature and content in general is geting more targeted and specialized.

I think what this tells us is that we need to come up with some new stuff. New ways to fish, i.e. streamer fishing (ok it’s not new but you know what I mean) to get the general public excited about outdoors activities. I’m not sure what those new things are, but we need some new juice in there… anyone, anyone, anyone, Beuller?

How to get your wife and friends hooked on Fly Fishing; more Hillbilly SUP fishing pics

If you’ve ever wondered how to get your wife and friends hooked on fly fishing here’s the recipe.

1. Rent a cabin with a pond right out back.
2. Make sure pond is stocked with fish eager to take a dry fly.
3. Make sure pond has floating dock that can be detached and paddled. (Hillbilly SUP)
4. Bring lots of beer and good friends.
5. Bring plenty of rods.
6. Teach wife and friends to cast fly rod.
7. Spend entire lazy Saturday afternoon getting sunburned and drunk on said pond casting said rods while hammering said fish on dry flies.
8. Lather, Rinse & Repeat

These pics came from a weekend spent doing just exactly that, and resulted in a wife who now wants her own fly rod.

Pics below.

See you on the Hillbilly SUPs!
-Ethan

Google, Bob Moog, and a little Theremin instruction booklet.

This morning on my way to the office on pop radio they mentioned that it was Bob Moog’s birthday and I nearly ran my car off the road in surprise! What do they know about Bob Moog? Well, it turn’s out that Google  put a little doodle of Bob Moog’s MiniMoog Synthesizer in place of the word Google because today would have been Bob Moog’s (by the way: it’s pronounced like Moe-g, not like what a cow says) 76th birthday and Google being the nerdy bunch they are, decided it was worth announcing to the world. I couldn’t agree more!

I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Moog in 1999 while working on my senior design thesis, a visual instruction book and flash based interactive guide for learning and performance on the Theremin.

Having spoken to him a number of times on the phone about my project, in order to meet him in person, I traveled to the Theremin Festival in Erie PA where he was giving a lecture on the history of the Theremin. At the festival I had the opportunity discuss a draft of my thesis with him in more detail. Something like my thesis had never really been done before and Mr Moog’s company was and is the leading provider of Theremins and Theremin kits. I had talked to him about including my materials with his kit’s and assembled Theremin’s for instructional purposes and he liked the idea. In the end however, we decided that neither of us had the resources to print and distribute the materials, but he did end up providing some great insights into the requirements of learning to actually play the instrument etc.

Here is the story from Wikipedia about how he got into Theremins

Moog constructed his own theremin as early as 1948. Later he described a theremin in the hobbyist magazine Electronics World and offered a kit of parts for the construction of the Electronic World’s Theremin, which became very successful. In the late 1980s Moog repaired the original theremin of Clara Rockmore, an accomplishment which he considered a high point of his professional career. He also produced, in collaboration with first wife Shirleigh Moog, Mrs. Rockmore’s album, The Art of the Theremin. Moog was a principal interview subject in the award-winning documentary film, Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey, the success of which led to a revival of interest in the theremin. Moog Music went back to its roots and once again began manufacturing theremins. Thousands have been sold to date and are used by both professional and amateur musicians around the globe. In 1996 he published another do-it-yourself theremin guide. Today, Moog Music is the leading manufacturer of performance-quality theremins.

At the Theremin festival I was also fortunate enough to meet Lydia Kavina, niece of the Russian inventor of the Theremin,Leon Theremin (Lev Sergeyevich Termen). She allowed me to ask her a few questions about musical notation for the Theremin and to take photos of her sheets of music. It’s a fascinating scribbled mess of lines and slashes like nothing I’d ever seen. Really interesting and bizarre stuff and incidentally not something you can just go to down to the local music store and buy.

Why am I telling you this? I have  no idea.

Except maybe to marvel at the power of Google to bring obscure Geekery to the fore. Thank you Google. You just brought back some good geeky memories.

Cool Kids – The Point of view of a Blessed Dad

So my office is having an unofficial short (30 second) film festival/contest. At the last minute I put together some clips of my kids from my phone that hopefully express my gratitude to the little rug rats for being so freakin cool. I really am blessed. It’s doesn’t really do it all justice but it at least gives you my perspective in 30 seconds. They are fun kids.

This will be perfect to go back and review when I want to throttle them as well. Double bonus!