Photo -0f the Day — Sandhill Crane

140216 150737 chuq 600x400 Photo  0f the Day    Sandhill Crane

Staten Island, California


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Photo of the Day — Sandhill Crane

140216 150742 chuq 600x400 Photo of the Day    Sandhill Crane


Staten Island, California

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Back at it….

The Interregnum is complete, and by the time you read this I should be back at it and under the yoke of employment. As much as I enjoyed Infoblox and intended to stay there, I’m looking forward to this next round. I’m at the point in life where I can look at it and think ‘maybe this will be my last kick at the can’ and if so, I hope I can make a difference.

And that’s why I jumped at this one. A few times in your life, if you’re lucky, you have an opportunity to ‘move the needle’ — my last project at Apple was like that, where my team built something that allowed them to completely redefine how they interacted with customers and did marketing using online systems instead of paper and the U.S. mail. By the time I left we were estimating that the revenue being generated out of that system was around $100 million a year — at least. One special project I did took two weeks to build and pulled eight million in costs out of the company the first year. Another took about four hours and made the entire “buy the album and get early access to tickets for the concert tour” possible, back at a time when they were still trying to make iTunes relevant.

Same reason for going to Palm — we had an opportunity to reshape not just the smartphone world (which, at the time, was iPhone and rumors of Android and a bunch of folks figuring out how to fight back against Apple) but mobile computing. As it was, Palm took the opportunity and fumbled it, then kicked it into a storm drain and skinned their knee trying to get it back — but it was still worth the try. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you get sold to HP, and then sold again, and.. But having said that, if you see what’s starting to show up out of the ashes in LG, there’s some really nice technology appearing that looks to be both good and viable driving TVs, which is a new and interesting emerging market, and I’m damned proud of the ones who were willing to stick with it and make that happen, and that shows that what we did at Palm wasn’t completely wasted.

This new gig has that same feel to me; an opportunity to help reshape how a big company does a part of the business that is going to be significant moving forward. I might be wrong, I might be right. We won’t know until I’m far down the path. It’s a much bigger thing for me than I’ve done in the community management universe — the scale is what attracted me and what may well be my biggest risk at failure. This is definitely a stretch job for me but one I’m really chomping to get at, not worried about doing. It’s going to be a distributed team, and I’m looking forward to that again, and hoping some of what I learned at Palm about that will help. It’s clearly the biggest challenge for me personally since I left Apple.

Heading into the time off I did what I normally do, which is build up a schedule way too full of stuff I want to do. When I got back from Yosemite I realized what I really needed to do was back off and unplug and unwind so instead of running around the bay area playing tourist, I caught up on some reading, I hauled my Elder Scrolls Online character to level 15, and I slept, and I finally started digging into the long-on-hold garage project, where about a year ago I started rebuilding the shop, and then stopped, and never got it started again. The reality is I have at least a dozen other projects where the first step is “I can’t really move forward without getting the garage straightened out”, so I realized I really needed to spend time on that. A few hours here and a few hours there, and most of the crap piled up into the “I need to deal with this” pile is now dealt with and I finally have the space where the shop is supposed to be cleared and started forming it. Probably the best use of my time, in reality.

These times are also good times to make changes to habits, because your habits are disrupted anyway, so I’ve been tweaking the diet and meals to try to shift things so it’s lower in carbs and higher in protein — which sounds like a simple task until you actually try it and want it to carry forward longer than a week or so. No idea if it’ll stick, but we’ll see.

I expect to continue not to talk much about the work side of life here; there’s very little upside and way too many risks to make it worth doing. Remember, kids, those “I am not a spokesman for….” disclaimers may make you feel better, but they’re ultimately worthless the first time some troll with an axe to grind chooses to chase your words.

So, onward in the new regime. Great hopes, great expectations, and no guarantees, but then, that’s life, right? And part of what makes it so much fun, because if you aren’t always reaching for the next brass ring, why bother get on the carousel?

See you on the other side….



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Photo of the Day — Nuttall’s Woodpecker

090414 062202 chuq 600x399 Photo of the Day    Nuttalls Woodpecker

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2014 NHL Playoff Predictions

It’s a tradition. Even thought I don’t talk hockey that much these days, I still want to put my playoff predictions out there for all to see and laugh at. Annual warning: if you use these predictions to do any betting, you are an idiot. Note that I’m not. My track record is probably better than random chance, but not that much better (but it is well beyond the Panther’s power play results this season….)

A quick comment on the new playoff seeding the NHL is using this year: I like it. There’s a strong emphasis on in-division matchups which I really like.  To the NHL, I have to say ‘Well done’.

This year I’m really torn between what my head says and what my heart says. Because of this, in some cases I’m going to give both a “head” (what the objective me thinks) and a “heart” (what my gut and personal preferences are) say.

Eastern Conference

Detroit (WC 2) vs Boston (Atlantic 1): Give it to Detroit; they found a way to make the playoffs; earned their way in, but barely. I hate betting against them because they find ways to make it happen. But against Boston? Boston’s a powerhouse, and I really love how they play. I do think Detroit will go down fighting, and this is a series I plan on watching as much of as I can — but Boston will take this in 5.

Tampa Bay (Atlantic 3) vs Montreal (Atlantic 2):  I’ve been really impressed with the Lightning this year. I’d make them my favorite if it weren’t for Bishop’s injury, and we don’t know if he’ll be back for the playoffs or how healthy he’ll be. If Bishop is out to start the series or not 100%, then Montreal will take this in 5 or 6. If Bishop is okay, then I’ll pick Tampa in 5. Given I can’t have it both ways when I publish this, I’ll take Montreal in 6.

Columbus (WC 1) vs Pittsburgh (Metropolitan 1): It’s been a thrill watching Columbus this year, seeing this team pull itself together and improve. It’s playing a lot of good hockey and a fun team to watch. That said, they’re up against the Penguins. I don’t expect this to be a “happy to be in the playoffs” scenario for the Blue Jackets but I don’t see how they can beat the Pens. I just expect them to go down fighting and make it interesting, so I’ll pick Pittsburgh in 6.

Philadelphia (Metropolitan 3) vs NY Rangers (Metropolitan 2): this is the series that wins the “most likely to include mayhem” award. I expect it to be hard fought and physical and a lot of fun to watch. I don’t see any way this Flyers team can win out against this Rangers team (and especially Lundqvist) in a series. I’ll take the Rangers in 5.

East in Summary: Boston, Montreal, Pittsburgh, NY Rangers

My choice coming out of the east: Boston Bruins.

Western Conference

Minnesota (WC 1) vs Colorado (Central 1): The Wild is an improving team but not this year. They got into the playoffs, but the Avs should take this one fairly easily. Colorado in 5. (and a side note: I agree with those choosing Patrick Roy for the Adams, he’s really been able to get the most of his teams and get them playing together well and consistently).

Chicago (Central 3) vs St. Louis Blues (Central 2):  The Blues have been a great team this year; a lot of credit has to go to John Davidson for putting the pieces together, but they really made it happen this year. That said, they exited the season with a sputter. Chicago on the other hand has been inconsistent at times and has some key injury questions. Even if the Hawks were fully healthy I’m not sure they’d beat the Blues, but if the Blues can get back to their game for the playoffs, you have to think the West is theirs to lose. I’ll take the Blues in 6.

Dallas (WC 2) vs Anaheim (Pacific 1): Dallas makes it back to the playoffs, and congrats to them. They’ve made a lot of progress. That said, Anaheim is a significantly better team and playing really good hockey, so the Ducks in 5.

Los Angeles (Pacific 3) vs. San Jose (Pacific 2): This is the series that put the Sharks out of the playoffs last year in game seven, where the big difference was home team advantage — the home team won every game. This year the Sharks have home advantage. both teams are playing well. Both teams are powerhouses. And this series ought to be a battlefield. Even if I didn’t live local to San Jose, this would be the series I tell everyone to watch. That said, I’m torn. I’ve watched almost every Sharks game this year, so I know the team very well and I like what I see. My heart says this team is the best of some really good Sharks teams over the last few years (and the veterans are running out of time and know it). My head says that the Kings are a really kick butt take no prisoners team that knows how to win and will do what it takes. This series is a tough call. My heart says San jose in 6. My head says Los Angeles in 7. I have to pick one, so I’ll take the Kings in 7, primarily because Niemi has been just inconsistent enough that I don’t know whether the ‘real’ one will show up for the playoffs. The other big wildcard here: Raffi Torres coming back, and how effective he’ll be. If he’s the real Raffi Torres and playing 15 minutes a night of chaos and havoc, that could well swing the series back to the Sharks. And having said all of that, even if Niemi falters, I have a lot of respect for the ability of Staylock to take up the cause — but he’s unproven in the playoffs. No matter what, this series is going to be a major hunk of fun. But: Kings in 6.

West in summary: Colorado, St. Louis, Anaheim, Los Angeles.

Coming out of the west: My heart says St. Louis, my head says Los Angeles. Again, I’m going with the Kings.

So my prediction for the Stanley Cup final: Boston Bruins and the Los Angeles Kings, and boy, wouldn’t that be fun.

Dark horses would be the Blues, the Sharks, the Penguins and the Rangers. Any of those four could proce me wrong, I think. And any series with those teams in it will be worth watching.

Onward to the playoffs!



Posted in Sports - Hockey

Photo of the Day — Morro Bay Rock at Low Tide

081227 145512 chuq 600x504 Photo of the Day    Morro Bay Rock at Low Tide

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Sunset at Cosumnes River Preserve

081115 165300 chuq 600x480 Sunset at Cosumnes River Preserve

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Photo of the Day — Cliff Swallow leaving her nest

080622 182629 chuq 480x600 Photo of the Day    Cliff Swallow leaving her nest

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