Hatching Free Range Ideas

Archive for March, 2013|Monthly archive page

You have to see it! Invisible Bicycle Helmet

In Make something on March 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm

It’s an invisible bicycle helmet but it’s also about Girl Power and innovation. I’d like to describe it ’cause I see what it’s based on but it will be more interesting if you watch the video to see it emerge.


Fly like a hummingbird, look like a moth

In Business, How we learn and think on March 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm

We were sitting outside at dusk last night and saw what looked like a teeny, tiny hummingbird sipping from the wisteria flowers. And then we looked again and the head was so much a part of the body, we realized that it was a moth. One of those BIG moths with the long proboscis.  Eric made it into a koan but I wonder just as much if it might be the title for a new, spoofy business book. The analogies and treatments of business seem to have evolved/devolved into children’s storybooks. For instance, My Ice is Melting, which is a change management book based around the story of penguins who are losing their ice floe. Or Who Moved My Cheese?. The stretched metaphors and oversimplification of these books really cheese me off.

And, I find I’m not alone. According to Del Jones in a USA Today article written way back in 2002,

Parables, short tales of fiction that teach a life lesson, seem to divide people into two camps. In one are avid fans who find parables central to their business libraries. Many in this camp consider the books to be life changing, sometimes bordering on biblical.

The other camp derides them as simplistic pulp. Even though they often take an hour or less to read, this camp finds them a waste of time. They are insulted to endure modern-day Aesop’s tales written for adults at a fifth-grade reading level

So, how ’bout you? Are you reading this saying, “Yes!!!! Fly like a hummingbird, look like a moth!!!!” or are you saying, “Yes! show the metaphor for the claptrap it is!”

New Cocktail: Black & Orange

In Celebration, cocktails on March 28, 2013 at 9:37 pm

I’m planning how to handle high-end cocktails in our teeny trailer so I’m looking for recipes that consist of one teeny bottle of this, half a teeny bottle of that, etc. The problem is finding those teeny bottles with the high-end liquors and exotic liquers that I use. I think about assembling kits as gifts with the recipe, bottles and cocktail shaker in an old-fashioned style metal lunchbox

This needs a picture but the recipe is:

1 airplane-sized bottle of Captain Morgan Black rum

juice from 3 cuties (those little mandarin oranges that are all over the grocery at this time of year)

1/2 oz. Stirrings ginger liquer

1 oz. good Curacao

Fill a shaker 1/2 full of ice and put all the stuff in it. Shake, shake, shake! Pour in a large old fashioned glass and enjoy. And, as with all high end, high proof cocktails, your mouth won’t think one is enough but your head might. See who wins.

Spring in Texas, Oatmeal in Northern Idaho

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2013 at 3:00 pm

If you aren’t familiar with The Oatmeal, today’s post is a wonderful way to discover the depth and complexity of a great comic artist. Look here. And in places other than snowy northern Idaho, it’s Spring.spring wisteria


In San Antonio Cocktail Conference on March 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I was so inspired at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference that I continue to work on learning about high end, complex cocktails. I have to work from the recipes that were shared at the conference that were favorites, making small adjustments because I don’t yet know liquor and liquers like I know food and spices.

hendricks gin

That said, I came up with an adjustment last night that thrilled me. . . A Pimm-Gin-Gin.

  • 1 part meyer lemon juice or the juice of a tart tangerine
  • 1 part Domaine de Canton
  • 2 parts Hendrix Gin (I can’t get enough of that stuff; stellar gin from Scotland; the steampunk graphics are a bonus!)
  • 1/2 part Pimms No. 1

Shake with lots of ice and pour into a large old fashioned glass. Sip carefully until about the last quarter. Drain and make one more. But only one more.


Flash Fried Brussel Sprouts with Bacon Aioli from Tellers in Denver

In Let's eat, Wandering on March 8, 2013 at 1:49 pm

As I said in an earlier post, I was in Denver last weekend playing with a long time girlfriend. She is lucky enough to live one block from a FABULOUS small pub, Tellers. I know for sure that it’s fabulous because we ate there four times over the weekend.

They bill themselves as a third place; not work, not home, the other place that belongs in your life. Third place concept comes from Ray Oldenburg, author of the book, The Great Good Place. The idea is that there is an additional location that adds vibrance to a community, a location where you would congregate with neighbors, a place that is neutral to family and work. It’s a place for forming relationships with your neighbors, something we do less and less as our lives become busier and busier.

I LOVE third places and regret that we don’t seem to have one within walking distance. That means we are forced (happily) to hold a third place during parties, but that twists the concept, which requires that a third place be a drop-in location. Again, like local London pubs. But I digress. But not really.

Tellers is a totally remodeled 7-11, in a long-time location that people frequented for quick stop ins and go’s. Now it offers things like a brunch menu with Bloody Mary bar on the weekends and a four hour happy hour on weekdays. They have both craft and mass produced beer on tap, and a great and reasonably priced wine list. The food is simple, local as possible and inspired. They offer live music that is both accomplished and reasonably-volumed. You can talk or you can listen. We heard three very good performances.

And now I come to

Fried Brussel Sprouts. . .

They are amazing. Our waitress that night (personal, effective, efficient, FRIENDLY service, another factor of a fabulous location) upon request found out and shared the process.

Cut brussel sprouts in half.
Dry off just a bit.
Drop into very hot oil (deep fryer) and flash fry.
Remove and toss with salt.
Serve with bacon aioli

They come out with crispy outside leaves and are meltingly tender on the inside. We polished off a large bowl in record time. I can’t wait to try this at home but I’m guessing it’s not going to be as good as Tellers the first time.

And, I miss walking there to meet with new friends.

Helping others to deliver “bad” news

In Uncategorized on March 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm
“When you step between others and their crucial conversations, you separate them from the consequences that would motivate them to develop the strength of character and competence required to build healthy relationships.”

Joseph Grenny, coauthor of Crucial Conversations

I love the way information shows up exactly when it should. And I love this guy!!!

In another life, I worked for a massive mutual fund company in one of their transfer centers (call center in other businesses). They supported a feedback system where anonymous feedback was delivered by managers to staff members, minus the person who had provided the feedback. What I found as a regular receiver of “the gift of feedback,” was that there was never any opportunity to improve the original relationship based on the input since you were never to know who sent the message on to the manager. In some cases, when a specific person was quoted, you were never to approach that person for resolution. I could go on and on but, in short, it was the most well-intentioned, dysfunctional, patriarchal, multiple-standard workplace I have ever encountered.

HR believed, rightly so, that people often left because of too much feedback. What they didn’t consider was that the feedback system dropped the recipient in a hole with sides that rapidly collapsed and that the only way out of the hole was out of the building.

That was the extreme. I am currently entering a similar situation, where I assume that once again through good intentions, information is obscured through generalization so that no one can be blamed for bringing the information forward. This causes two primary concerns: the first about relationships and the second about implementation. I wonder what this need indicates about the relationship. And I fear that it will be VERY easy to solve the wrong problem.

I’m afraid also that once we are on this path, it’s very hard to develop the culture where we speak one on one and tell our own stories to each other.

Einstein, priming and the Denver Airport

In How we learn and think on March 5, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I just returned from a trip to Denver. As I headed to my gate at the Denver Airport, the following quote from Albert Einstein appeared ala Burma Shave down the moving walkway, revealing itself a line at a time.

“Everything is determined,
the beginning as well as the end,
by forces over which we have no control.
It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star.
Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust,
we all dance to a mysterious tune,
intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”

And I wondered about priming and the choice of the quote. Priming is, according to Wikipedia,

an implicit memory effect in which exposure to a stimulus influences a response to a later stimulus.”

Research into priming shows, for example, that generosity evokes generosity. In a particular research project, waiters who offered more mints than one per person on the check tray, regularly received larger tips than those who didn’t.

So what do you think the Denver airport is trying to evoke, huh? It was just beginning to snow as I left.