Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

Author: marathon (page 2 of 10)

Old Turtle song lyrics

Doodle and Rosebud just love to sing, so I'm trying to work hard to stay ahead of them and feed them new music. This morning I thought of a very singable old song about an old turtle that the older kids really liked when they were that age, but I couldn't find the lyrics anywhere, so here they are:

Make a World to make Old Turtle Smile, by Douglas Wood

 

A breeze upon the lake helps make the world

A falling snowy flake helps make the world

A butterfly, floating by, helps make the world

A tall and growing tree helps make the world

A golden humming bee helps make the world

and every dream you dream helps make the world.

 

Every time we care, we make the world

Every time we share, we make the world

With every helping hand, we make the world

When we try to understand, we make the world

If we could only see we make the world

It's up to you and me to make the world

Maybe we can make a world to make old turtle smile

 

A river flowing clean helps make the world

A meadow growing green helps make the world

a falling star, falling far, helps make the world

a yellow harvest moon helps make the world

a summer afternoon helps make the world

and every laugh you laugh helps make the world

 

And every time we care we make the world

with every hug we share we make the world

with every helping hand we make the world

when we try to understand we make the world

if we could only see we make the world

it's up to you and me to make the world

Maybe we can make a world to make old turtle smile

 

But every lie that's lied, every lonely tear that's cried

makes the world more tired and weary, makes the world more sad and dreary

And every war that's started makes the world more brokenhearted

We have a special calling, you and i, to hold the light of love up high

 

So please remember you help make the world

and everything you do helps make the world

and everything you are helps make the world

Every song you sing helps make the world

It's not an easy thing to make the world, but...

You and I, and the birds that fly

You and I, and the stars up high

You and I, and old turtle, help make the world.

A Smoggy City … of Opportunity

7436757736_79a9d7dc49_m{This is for all the 14-30 year-olds out there who are feeling suffocated by a lack of opportunity in their world. (possibly aka "a job with a future")}

The smog in Santiago is a downer.

Smoggy Santioggy.

We don't really know how harmful it is, but we big folks try to work around it with our exercise.

But ... kids gotta play. Every day.

It certainly brings a smile to all faces when someone announces, "It's super clear right now!" That's typically after a rain or a sustained wind -- both of which are rare as hens teeth here.

It's also hard to tell the difference between real "esmog" and the "fog" that often comes over the city.  This is a complex topic that I will discuss later if enough people bother me about it; we have a unique vantage point when it comes to air-quality watching.

But my thoughts about the smog have matured recently as I've watched Carman's life unfold. He is now five months into an opportunity that US minimum wage laws would have denied him, had he been there. He is scrambling and stressing every day, trying to please his superhero-seeming (when it comes to all things digital) Chilean boss.

And that's right where he needs to be.

It is good for a man to bear the yoke when he is young.

So, what does that have to do with the smog?

I am coming to see the smog as an indicator of opportunity. It represents the option of taking a risk. It represents immaturity, wildness, unregulated-ness.

London was a very smoggy, smoky place during the golden age of opportunity there. Likewise New York City.

Opportunity, like smog, can be dangerous.

Opportunity implies the freedom to fail and often comes without a safety net, harness, and airbag.

So, if you're looking for opportunity, consider following the smog: Santiago, Mexico City, Beijing...?

Thanks to Flickr's Bilobicles Bag for the image.

UPS in-store packaging costs (and related hidden costs)

Yesterday, 10mar16, I had a need for a fairly typical size box so that I could ship a custom drawer insert (26x20x4, 6.5lbs) from the Santa Barbara, CA area to Portland, OR.

I didn't want to go hunting for the right sized box, so it seemed convenient to use the in-store packaging service of UPS. Together with the hidden costs involved, the total cost of their packaging service came to a whopping $85.

I declined. More details of how it transpired:

The rep with whom I spoke first went hunting in the storage room for a box that would work. He found a "32" box and said he would cut it down to make it work.

Based on the weight of the drawer insert, he initially mentioned a price of $40. Then he asked how well it needed to be packaged.

I said, "Well enough that it would meet the rules for a UPS insurance claim if there was damage."

Him: "How delicate is the item?"

I said it was pretty tough -- essentially a hardwood box.

He eventually decided on a packaging price of $59 (including tax).

When I expressed some surprise, he said that he was figuring it as about halfway between the minimum packaging and something very fragile.

Then I asked what total package weight and dimensions I should expect when the package was complete. He said 10lbs and 31x31x11.

I took a little timeout at that point and conferred with my shipping experts (who are available for consultation by the way -- contact me below if interested). They found that our commercially-discounted UPS shipping for that package would be $XX (not sure if we're allowed to publish that number to the public).

Anyway, based on our experience of something like 1,000 similar package shipments, we estimate that the difference in shipping for that excessive packaging was $26, bringing the total cost of their service to $85.

We've also found it better to self-insure than to buy the UPS insurance. I guess we believe in them more than they do. Or it could be they have problems with fraudulent claims.

It's too bad that UPS can't find a way to cut the fat on this. They should be uniquely positioned to offer crazy-cheap packaging, but instead it's the other way around: this is probably one of the places where they pick up significant profits.

I'm determined to find a better way because I'm going to be doing a lot of this. Since the shipment isn't urgent, I'm going to try ordering a stout custom box to be sent to Santa Barbara. We'll see how that goes.

Update on 12April2016: The custom box ordering went well. I was able to get a box of about 26x20x4" made from double-wall cardboard and sent to Santa Barbara for about $30. All who saw the box were impressed by its quality.

But dude ... they need competition!

At the time I ordered the box, they were saying on their web site that, if you place your order before 10AM or something like that, the order would ship out the same day. So, I got my order in well before their deadline. That was on a Friday.

On Monday, I received a shipping notification. So I wrote them :

"That was unexpected. I sent in the order in early Friday morning. Shouldn't this have shipped Friday?"

Their response was simply:

"Going out today due to the production load."

Wow.

No apology or even acknowledgement that they broke their promise.

So, for all you folks considering getting into the custom box business, I say PLEASE DO! There's a heavy "production load" to the point where the current providers are swaggering around like they have a monopoly.

Worried about building a web site that can support this? Worry not. If need be, I will build it for you at a sweetheart price. I want to see this happen.

If you do decide to go live with offering this service, please contact me!

 

 

Unusual: Sea Birds in Santiago

449348812_787181f04d_mAround 8AM today, Sudoku and I turned away from our screens and looked at each other quizzically. Outside we could hear a strange bird call ... and it was loud!

I couldn't identify the call, but, once I saw the distinctive birds, I immediately remembered. Sea gulls.

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The Heroic Entrepreneurship of Mary Emma and Company

"Happy are they who have the courage to defend what they love."  -Ovid

We are in our second family reading of the biographical Little Britches series by Ralph Moody, and we have come now to the place where, at long last, the widow Mary Emma has led her little flock (six chidren, aged from 2-15) to a place of financial stability. The family narrowly escaped from Colorado after Christmas, enduring a harsh winter in Boston, and, with the coming of spring, their in-home laundry service is finally beginning to flourish.

If you were unfamiliar with this family and this era of history, you might be surprised that it would ever be possible for such a family to support itself. Upon getting to know them, you might just as well conclude that it would be just the opposite. How could such a strong family, with such work ethic, in such a golden age of prosperity, ever fail?

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Carman in Transition

Many of our family expressions come from the books we read to the children when they were lap size. Reading was a favorite pastime, and since toddlers love to hear the same stories over and over again, we ended up nearly memorizing many of the ones we had. Let me pull out (of my head) a few common sayings of ours and see if I can remember where they came from:

  • When things are really busy, we just say "busytown" -- I think that comes from a rather unimaginative book by that name.
  • When someone has a rough time at something, we might refer to it as "knocks and socks from very large blocks" -- from Bruce's Loose Tooth, a family favorite.
  • When a situation could break for bad or good, hinging on whether we can accomplish something small, we might say, "He was groping for the lever..." -- from a Curious George book (about a rocket).

Well, the phrase for this week comes from our book about the Three Little Pigs. Carman has officially "gone off to seek his fortune."

Carman recently turned 18, which is the green-light age for working in Chile without the need for special permission. He immediately began pounding the pavement in search of a job: bike shops, restaurants, construction, etc.

He pushed hard for several weeks, enduring a lot of Chilean No's (where you just get silence). Fortunately, he landed a coding job before he was accepted anywhere else. It's a good fit for where he is and where he is going. And it's only a mile away.

So here's a shot of him riding out for Day #2. Off to seek his fortune.

ike leaving for 2nd day

 

Product Development Bunker Zone

Several of us are in "deep bunker mode" right now, pushing to complete the development of a new product.  This picture just about sums it up:

wp dabs product dev

To Educate a Teen

Carman and Sudoku are in the thick of the teenage years. This morning we were all reminded of why we manage their education in our special quirky way.

It happens that Doodle (10) was struggling a bit with "Converting multi-digit repeating decimals to fractions", and I thought it would be a good exercise for all of us (including Milkmaid, but not Rosebud) to jump in and work a problem with him.
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Unusual Flights over Santiago

For the past three days there have been military planes flying over the city of Santiago during the middle of the day: right around our lunch time.

It reminds me of the weeks after the World Trade Center attacks: military jets flying back and forth over Chattanooga to try to demonstrate ... something.

It actually became quite annoying -- especially the frequent sonic booms at close range -- and then finally went away altogether after there was a massive sonic boom over the city during "church hour" (between 11AM and noon on a Sunday).

The recent Chilean activity is nothing like that level of aggressiveness (no sonic booms or "maneuvers", just a one-time fly-over of a group of planes), but is still odd.  Flying any plane over a crowded city seems questionable.  Is the Chilean government and/or military trying to demonstrate something?

 

 

A little ditty for today

The Ho Shan man

for whom we yearn

will soon return

with miles of smiles.

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