Sunday, January 31, 2010


Every once-in-while you have to re-learn a lesson… you touch a bench that it recently painted to see it the "WET PAINT" sign is accurate; you touch something hot just to see if it is still hot; you know, you do something you know is not too smart because you are just sure that this time it will work out alright.

Like this morning. I really wanted to get pictures of the Wolf Moon setting over the mountains. It is lovely when the full moon dips below the front range. But, you will have to take my word for it… for now.

The sensitivity on the CCD on my camera is nowhere near as sensitive as the optic receptors in the eye. So the difference between the early morning sky's light, pale blue is not great enough for my camera to pick-up on. If you try you might be able to convince yourself that you see the moon just above that bare tree in the lower right-hand part of the picture.

Perhaps a polarizing filter will make it stand out… I'll have to try that next full moon.

Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that your day is lovely!

Don Bergquist – January 31, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What’s The Buzz?

I understand the concept of marketing and having been in the media for the past twenty-some years I can even appreciate the boon to a marketing campaign that news coverage can give to a product launch. I am sure that you know the product I am referring to so I am not about to add to the free publicity by mentioning the company (named as it may be after a certain fruit with biblical ties) or the product.

What this screed is about is more the strange steps that news organizations have been going to to give the free publicity to this company and its as-of-this-writing unrevealed next cool toy. Granted, the company has a track history of turning-out cool toys that become the "IT" thing and granted, I will admit to owning one of these cool gadgets and enjoying it thoroughly. But let's not forget that this company has had some disastrously ill-conceived and unpopular products in the past as well. (If you can't figure-out this reference, I will gladly email them to you…)

What I find ridiculous (and I mean that literally as a valid target for ridicule) is the time I have seen (and heard) wasted in talking about a product that nobody has seen. Like the Six Blind Men Of Hindustan it's meaningless to discuss.

The epoch of this meaningless was a completely pointless wrap-up! The actual quote that I heard (and had to hit the rewind button on the DVR because I could not believe they reporter had said it) came at the end of a three-and-a-half minute piece in the network news yesterday.

The reporter had been interviewing fanatics of this company and its products and various other prognosticators. After getting a number of suggestions as to what the company would reveal, the reporter concluded the piece by restating the three prevailing views that had been enumerated in the piece and concluded his outro with the phrase "...or it could be something completely different." He then tossed it back to the anchor.

Let’s look at that logically. This sentence breaks down to: "X is equal to a, b, c, or some other value." It conveys no actual information. It is a logical and conversational null. Though it did introduce the name of the company a few more times, so the company got some free publicity from it.

Oh well, the mystery will soon be solved… the cat will be out of the bag. As for me, I am not holding my breath or anything.

Wherever you are today, I hope that the anticipation isn’t killing you!

Don Bergquist – January 27, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, January 25, 2010

In Memorial: Family Ties

We all inherit things from our parents. From my father, I inherited the cooking ability, the love of long drives across the country, and my photographic eye.

From my mother I inherited so much. So much more than just the love of family and the closeness I feel for them. Thank god, though I didn’t inherit her penchant for wigs and silly hats!

So, what did I get from mom? Well, for one, I make a mean thanksgiving dinner. Although, I refuse to make glorified rice... though, I have never heard any complaints about that.

I inherited a senses of fun from mom, a quirky sense of humor that others is often on a different plane of reality from others, and the occasional feeling that something has just happened that I missed-out on. I also love animals and I know that came from Mom. (Though these days Dad and his dog are almost inseparable! Had St. Cloud Hospital not insisted, I think Sunshine would have gone to the hospital with him last month. But, I digress...)

I also think that I must have gotten the flair for the dramatic from that side of the family. I can vaguely remember this evening. Mom had somewhere found a dog that had been trained to perform a specific trick. The trick was ignoring all the "usual" commands one gives a dog. Sit, roll-over, shake hands, and lay down were pretty much meaningless gibberish for the dog. As I recall it, the dog had been trained to do this specific comedy act.

The trick was that the dog had been trained to do these things only when the person giving the command had their back to him. He would sit there looking at her "uncomprehendingly" when she insisted that he roll-over. But when she turned to the audience imploringly "...I just don’t know what is wrong with Duke, perhaps he isn’t feeling well..." the dog would be doing what ever trick Mom had asked it to do a few minutes earlier. It was brilliant!

I also got my skill at organization from her. Mom could pull-together a church carnival at the drop of a hat. There were times that that was about all she had! One year she stepped-in a week before the carnival was to start at the request of the carnival committee and pulled it together on time.

The coolest carnival, though, had to be the time she got one of the local television stations to send their Sunday Morning Children's show team out for an autograph session. Wayne Chandler and Toby the Robot showed-up and were practically mobbed by fans.

Not too long ago, I down in Miami on a business trip and mentioned to the person at the station that I had grown up watching the station… she introduced me to the person wearing the robot costume hugging my mom. We chatted a bit and he asked me if I was related to the woman who used to run the Carnivals out in Southwest Miami, as he recalled she'd had my name.

Floored that he remembered after all those years, I admitted she had been my mother. I guess I should not have been surprised though, mom made an impression on you. You either loved her or you didn't; but the thing is, you remembered her.

And so I remember my mother on what would have been her twenty-third birthday. Happy birthday, mom!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will have a good day. Call your mother, she would be glad to hear from you!

Don Bergquist – January 25, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, January 18, 2010

You Just Know It Can’t Last!

optimism [op-tuh-miz-uhm]
1. a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.
2. the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.
3. the belief that goodness pervades reality.
4. the doctrine that the existing world is the best of all possible worlds.

1730–40; < F optimisme < L optim(um) (see optimum ) + F -isme -ism

pessimism [pes-uh-miz-uhm]
1. the tendency to see, anticipate, or emphasize only bad or undesirable outcomes, results, conditions, problems, etc.: His pessimism about the future of our country depresses me.
2. the doctrine that the existing world is the worst of all possible worlds, or that all things naturally tend to evil.
3. the belief that the evil and pain in the world are not compensated for by goodness and happiness.

1785–95; < L pessim(us), suppletive superl. of malus bad + -ism; modeled on optimism

realism [ree-uh-liz-uhm]
1. interest in or concern for the actual or real, as distinguished from the abstract, speculative, etc.
2. the tendency to view or represent things as they really are.

1810–20; real + -ism; cf. F réalisme

There is an old joke that the optimist sees the glass as half full; the pessimist sees the glass as half empty; and the realist knows that it doesn’t matter how much is in the glasses, the other two assholes are going to stiff him with buying the next round!

An analog to that based on the weather of this weekend would run something like this:
As an optimist, I believe that the string of absolutely gorgeous days is going to stretch on out indefinitely and there is plenty of time to get out and enjoy it.

As an pessimist, I believe that the string of absolutely gorgeous days is going to end as abruptly as it began; possibly sooner that would allow me to get out and really enjoy it.

As an realist, I believe that the string of absolutely gorgeous days is going to end eventually (Tuesday if the weather forecasts are to be believed…) and I had better get out now and enjoy it; may hay while the sun shines, as it were.
Being a realist at heart, I decided that after doing my morning chores around the house Saga and I should go out for a nice long walk in her park. Then, after she was comfortably ensconced back on her couch, I took out the bike and went for a ride. I knew the weather was great this weekend and, being the middle of the winter, I knew it was too good to last long!

Wherever you passed your weekend, I hope it was a lovely one!

Don Bergquist – January 18, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Happy birthday to my cousin Stan

Happy birthday to my cousin Leona

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Weekend Reset

Some times ya just gotta tune out for a while.

Saga and I spent the weekend in a pseudo-vegetative state. Sure, we went out to walk in her park, she even allowed me to dally down by the lake on our sunrise walk to watch the sun coming up for a short while.

But then it was time to get back to her favorite couch for a good, serious day of resting for her. For me, there were errands to run and some chores to do around then house, but then I joined Saga in sinking into the couch and winking out of existence.

Saturday night some friends came over; we shared some wine and some snacks and played some cards. It was a very pleasant evening.

Sunday it was more of the same, not too much to do. I worked a bit on my photo catalogues and did some cleaning up after the night before, but on the whole, I spent the day catching-up with some family and friends.

This morning is going to be manic at the office so I had best get this posted and get to the office. At least the weather and traffic reports sound like my commute will be easier than the last couple have!

Wherever you are, I hope that you have had a restful weekend!

Don Bergquist – January 11, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Yule Blog – Epiphany

Yes, Sara – It is Twelfth Night!

It’s time to take down the tree, before tonight, the decorations are festive… after tonight, they’re just garish and a bit pathetic. Time to put it away for the year. Sorry!

Wherever you are today, I hope that your Yuletide has been a pleasant one!

Don Bergquist – January 06, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA



Monday, January 04, 2010

Yule Blog – The End Of The Season

I hope that you have had a lovely Christmas Season. (Or a season of the holiday tradition you personally prefer to observe – or prefer to ignore for that matter.) Okay, technically it isn’t over until epiphany (which is still a couple days away) but it just seems over.

For me it has been a lovely time filled with love, laughter, family and food. Too much food! There is always food around at my parent’s house… Candy, cookies, and other things I tend not to have around. Time to get working on ignoring those New Year’s resolutions to lose the weight I put on over the holidays!

And just think, in eleven months, we can do this all over again!

Wherever you are today, I hope your New Year is starting out well!

Don Bergquist – January 04, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Trivia Day

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Brrr Is Right!

According to the weather reports (and independent verification from my folks) I picked the right day to leave! Yesterday it was -37 when I would have been leaving. Today it is just as bad!

Besides that, I see on the news that they had snow along my route; today and yesterday would have been miserable driving. As it is, I am home, I missed the worst of it, I have mostly returned my house to its usual state or order, and I am ready to return to my normal schedule.

And tomorrow I am back to the office. It is nice being able to work wherever I have to. But I definitely miss the in-person interaction that one gets being co-located with their team. Science fiction writes have (since at least Asimov) been suggesting that the day would come where nobody ever went anywhere. (There is a story I remember reading in high school – no, I do not remember what the story was called – where a guy physically travels half-way around the world to visit his mother on her birthday and he totally unnerves her because he has invaded her personal space.)

I doubt that this will ever come to pass. There is just too much the a remote worker misses out on. Short periods of time, sure… it is a great tool. But permanent telecommuting is not something I would ever see as a possibility. At least, it’s not for me.

Saga is happy to be home. But I can tell you this: the next time I get a dog, I am going to get two. Saga, now that she is home again, will not eat her dry kibble. For the last three weeks, she ate it voraciously… mostly, I suspect to keep my folks’ dog, Sunshine, from getting at it. But now that we are home and we have removed the threat to her food supply, it is back to the normal need to mix wet food into the dry before she will even consider eating it. A pair of dogs is less finicky than a single one!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are home safe and sound and enjoying the New Year!

Don Bergquist – January 03, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend Tony

Happy birthday to my friend Tony

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Driving West


It was either the fact that it was New Year’s Day, the fact that I was not really looking forward to leaving my parents, or the fact that it was 16.7° degrees below zero, (-27.0556c) that made me stay with Dad and Flo lingering over a third cup of coffee before taking off.

The three of us sat around the table, looking out at the frozen woods around the house and chatting about how nice it had been that I could come and visit and how wonderfully Dad was looking; having had made great gains in his ambulatory and gastronomic recovery.

But despite the cold and the recent snows, I had to get back to Denver for work and early in the New Year. So, about nine am I headed out, bundled Saga into her kennel in the back seat, and we headed out on the road.

The roads through Minnesota were not too bad. Despite the cold, the state highway was clear except for a few places where the road went between wooded stretches. In flat open areas between fields, there was a bit of blowing snow, but it was not too bad.

But the iciness of the stretches between in the areas of the road that were shaded made me decide that my brother was probably right not to take highway twenty-seven around Lake Traverse all the way into Browns Valley. So I cut over on County Highway 117 between Lake Traverse and Mud Lake. The county highways were, as I had expected much worse than the state highway, but unlike the state highway, the county highways tend to be uninterrupted straight lines in that part of the state.

The road was icy more often than the state highway had been, but it was a shorted route to the interstate and so between that and the road tending to be straight, it was not too bad a delay. In fact, although it was not a record, by any stretch of the imagination, I didn’t do badly, making it door-to-door in just over 13-hours.

The Interstate was generally in good shape, but just as I was heading south out of South Dakota and into Iowa the cross-wind on the interstate made caused the snow piled on either side off the road to drift across it… much of the time making the road’s surface all but invisible. My speed through this area was kept in check for about an hour.

But this was offset by the fact that I stopped so few times. The temperatures dropped throughout the day. The temperature on a sign I saw in Sioux Falls was -20! I have no idea how cold it was when I made my first stop (for gas in Iowa) but I believe that it is unassailable logic to say it was “cold as $#%*”!!!!!

Saga didn’t want to get out of the car when I pulled over to stretch my legs at the Iowa welcome station. I coaxed her out of the kennel and urged her to use the “pet exercise” area. She got right to it… and then bolted back to the car.

It was clear as I entered Nebraska that the blizzard had been far more intense here than it had been back in Minnesota. The snow bluffs over the interstate were above the car in places…

By the time I was to the Lincoln exit it was already noticeably warmer. Saga and I got out and walked at a rest stop near Grand Island and she was much more willing to hop out of the car and get some exercise.

After sunset, there were a few flurries to contend with in Southern Nebraska and Northeastern Colorado. When I got out of the car in Ft. Morgan, the temperatures were almost balmy.

We pulled into Denver around nine and were home about a quarter after. Total transit time 13:15:05, stopped time 00:35:23; the average moving speed 75.23mph. That’s pretty respectable based on how bad the roads were in places.

I had best get this posted and get to unpacking the car and getting things put away. I have a lot to do today and the weekend is moving right along.

Wherever you are today, I hope you are home, safe and sound!

Don Bergquist – January 02, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Friday, January 01, 2010

Yule Blog – Driving Home

Saga and I are a little busy at the moment… I’m driving, and she’s helping by being a good girl and riding in her kennel. I’ll be taking pictures and making notes during our drive.

Look for me to update the blog with stories of the road as soon as we are well ensconced back at home in Lakewood!

Wherever you are today, I hope that your New Year is starting out pleasantly for you!

Don Bergquist – January 01, 2010 – Heading West from Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

New Year's Day

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

New Year's Day