Crowd Sourcing Campaign Funds

Long and Short - I am running for Board of Selectmen in the Town of Brookfield, Massachusetts. The current administration is lacking in vision, efficiency, effectiveness and equitable approach to employee management. Under most circumstances, I would self-fund but with either a small mortgage or large car payment equivalent going out of the house due to major medical bills last year, I am asking for some crowd-sourcing assistance for my campaign.

Mandatory disclaimer: Donations on this button are NOT tax deductible. Please include occupation even through it is an optional field so that I don't have to hunt you down after the fact to fill out paperwork.

If anyone wants to know why I am running for this position, the foundation of it all is that there are pockets of greatness happening in our town. There is also a contingent of people trying to achieve all 13 of "13 Ways to Kill Your Community"

Thank you for your support, in the inimical words of Bartel & James. Every single dollar helps.


Newfangled Barn Raising Help Needed - Please Signal Boost and Cross Post


Some time ago I got involved in our local politics, and as a byproduct after 8 years living in the small community of Brookfield, Massachusetts finally got to meet some of our neighbors.

One couple who have been solid members of the community - Cindy Thompson is the administrative assistant for the Highway Department here and has been a critical player in gaining hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal monies to help our community keep our roads up and improve our infrastructure. Her husband Bill currently does maintenance on municipal buildings. They both worked hard to maintain their property as a working farm, keep over 100 chickens and a few sheep, providing eggs, blueberries and other farm products for direct sale to the community.

They lost their barn and all their livestock in a particularly bad fire on Saturday, January 4th.


This couple experienced other significant personnel losses in the last couple weeks - Cindy's son from her first marriage was killed in a one-car accident just a few weeks ago. The barn fire is something of an insult on top of that grievous injury.

To make a long story short, insurance monies are not available to them to rebuild.

Due to recent medical issues within my own household, we have very little free cash to help the Thompson's out directly -- so I am hoping that perhaps with the help of the Internetz, I can offer them something more than my small direct support.

So, if you have the resources and don't mind helping a stranger, then please visit the Rebuild the Thompson's Barn Indiegogo site.

Thank you.

Dogastrophy strikes -

Or at least, the little tornadoes referred to loosely as "the puppies" did a fine job smashing up my work laptop and rattling it's little brain egregiously.

Chkdsk is running in pure desperation right now.

I don't generally drink, but between that and snowpocalypse I'm considering an exception to policy. In moderation.

ETA Pictures

the wreckage

Contemplating the Art of Resumes

In the last two year I have helped/attempted to help/just plain rewritten four different people's resumes for friends and done perhaps four others as paying gigs through Each has been an education. Ironically, the two different groups are vastly divergent.

The first group consist of women 30-50 - friends or associates who I knew had reason to be re-working their resumes. The second group were mostly 20-something males getting ready to or recently graduated from college.

Differences between the two groups abound, but those differences are painfully consistent.

My age/gender peers were unwilling or virtually incapable, without significant prodding, of claiming credit for anything.

The twenty-something guys? Ready to claim they cured cancer for being the president of their fraternity.

I'm still digesting this for a more complete post. It certainly merits one.

New Year's Meme

Typically, New Year's Resolutions are focused on something you plan to successfully attain.

However, in being a bit retrospective today (snow entropy being what it is) I realized that the things that have taught me the most in life were my glorious failures and not any of my successes. Or observation of other people's glorious failures.

Will you write a novel? Start a new business? Join the Peace Corp? Paint a Masterpiece (though you can't draw a straight line)? Run for Office? Submit the book in your sock drawer to a publisher (finally)? Will you reconnect with lost friends/family? Cure Cancer? Convince Congress to Play Nice? Solve World Hunger? Impose World Peace? Teach a child (or an adult for that matter) to read?

So riddle me this Internets, what will be your glorious failure this year? What star-level goal will you have, realistic or no, that if you strive for you might at least catch a cloud.

Comment here or in the various cross-post venues. Please cross post as you like, if you like it.

what I did with my autumn weekend

So, one of the interesting aspects of living on the green in small-town New England is the number of events, literally, on our doorstep.

This weekend was the Apple Festival, the largest event annually in our town. Oddly, there was only one apple/apple product vendor and the balance of 70 or so vendors ranged from the "Friends of Town Hall" who are a non-profit trying to step in and get the modernization done that our town hall needs but that taxpayers don't want to pay for to a Congoan (sp?) family with hand woven hats and bags for sale.

Most of the dogs got a spin around the event...although it lead to the second exciting event of the weekend, a trip to the urgent care for K. You see, there is a point in every litter where the puppies put on a critical 5-7 pounds that turns them from puppies to dogs. I always know when it happens because generally K. is on the other end of the leash when one of the puppies figures it out -- Hi Hi, the puppy that appears to be the nominal reincarnation of her foundation bitch Iota tryed, with some success, to "take K. for a ride" meaning she forgot about the primate at the other end of the leash when it suddenly came into her head to go SEE something. So K. is officially a one-armed bandit for a bit until some healing sets in .... fortunately it is only a strain but it is virtually every muscle from finger tips to neck in her right arm.

The more mundane events consisted mostly of over-due house keeping (dust rhinos were starting to plot a takeover), me playing Jenga and utilizing Simple Tools ( the lever and the wheel ) in order to rearrange the dog sleeping arrangements in the basement to accommodate a 12 year old and 7 year old Briard staying with us while their owner is in France on business. I dissassembled one 6X8 kennel to move it onto a new formica sheet, rolled (both literally as a unit and figuratively by placing on a combination of dog-crate cart and moving dolly wheels) a 5X10 that was outside as a "time out" box for one of the three puppies when they play too loud into the basement as a dog border "spare room". Breaking the 5X10 down is a pain, so I was glad that we had the tools available to move it without having to break it down or break my back doing it.

It was a bit of work and made it clear some additional capital investment (some more linoleum and a couple mini-stall mats) need acquired this week to make the space adequate, but I'm looking forward to seeing both the dogs as they are puppies from our R & U litters. Seeing their owner is a bonus as it's probably been 2 years since we have gotten together except virtually.

batwrangler came down for dinner and a movie - how sick is it that the movie was the most recent edition of Pat Hasting's "Puppy Puzzle" with the DVD "extras"? But the steaks were almost as good as the company.

Glad to be going back to work. This time off crap is too hard :-P

I Guess I Missed The Memo

You don't always have to travel to get snippets of human interaction that make you shake your head and wonder just when it became exceptional just to act like a human being and wonder if you "missed the memo" sent out telling us not to do that.

That said, traveling away from home does tend to put tests on that theory that you might not otherwise accomplish.

So, like any good story let's start at the beginning: no shit, there I was in the lobby of a hotel which was my home away from home from August last year to February of this year. Given that I had virtually lived there Sunday thru Friday for six months I know all of the staff. I stumble in road weary and grumpy with the state of the universe but the night auditor Rich is so (apparently) pleased to see me that I stay a couple of minutes and chat with him and the new security guard.

Rich's desk phone rings and he pauses in the discussion to answer - a female guest called him for cab information to go to the hospital because she does not feel well. He listens and recommends a 911 call. She tells him she would like to come down to the lobby and get some air - he gets her room number just in case.

Initially I offer to leave with the comment - "well, you guys will be okay right? The security guard is First Aid trained, right?"

Rich rolls his eyes in respose, so I hang out.

She makes it down to the lobby under her own power - mid forties black woman, medium build - Rich calls 911 and gives them the pertinent information - address, call back number and starts posing dispatcher questions. I just hang out close by and in between the questions talk to her a bit, both to verify her consciousness and clarify some of her answers for the dispatcher.

When the paramedics arrived- maybe 3 minutes later, I quietly excused myself to avoid "rubbernecking" and, quiet frankly, to get some sleep. I had been VERY ready for bed but the minor excitement aftermath kept me up a bit.

My work phone woke me at 730, and I quietly crawled up from there handling a lot of business catching up on emails, etc - ran a little late getting out of the room and then made a "drive by" breakfast stop at the free breakfast.

There I run into the woman, nod good morning and said something to the effect of - glad you are looking well - she had complained of a racing heart, dizziness, sweating the night prior. She started thanking me profusely, with English that indicated perhaps somewhere in the Caribe area, then she waved her father over and he thanked me as well. When I tried to put it off as nothing - because well, it's not like I gave her CPR or anything, they scolded me saying "Don't diminish what you have done"

It makes me a little sad. When was it that being decent makes you a hero? I missed the memo I guess.

Sometimes you're the windshield....

....and sometimes you are the bug.

If this post gets whiny, please forgive me and blame it on the lack of inhibitions brought on by the generous application of muscle relaxants.

So, in my opinion, New York drivers should not be allowed out of NY. Granted, a sample of one is not a representative population, but the drivers of a particular 2003 Mercedes Station Wagon should not be allowed out in the general population.

I got NAILED from behind going from Rt91 to the Mass Pike on Wednesday afternoon. Up until today it was only bad enough to be inconvenient. Fortunately I was in the pickup not the Hyundai so the vehicle survived, albeit even a little MORE disreputable than it started out. My new/used bumper probably saved me and the truck from more damage, but it is distinctly un-level now.

Might edit later with a PIC if I am that bright.

As of time now, this shit is starting to hurt.


Doggone thorough Supervision

So, this is a week late but I had to get the photos off my phone in order give everyone the opportunity to "opt out" of a photo-journal of whelping box assembly with "briard supervision". The box itself is a grand construct provided originally by netcurmudgeon just over two years ago for our last litter.

That said, visit the photo journal Collapse )

However, for general consumption, I give the mid-point photo for those not interested in the details: