Trains, planes and Seattle supercommuters

FLASHBACK — TWO YEARS AGO… This is an interesting article in Seattle Times written about my commute to California, when I was working for Xerox PARC in Palo Alto.   May 18, 2012 at 1:00 AM Trains, planes and Seattle supercommuters By Lora Shinn / Special to NWjobs For two years, technology product manager Ned Hayes would rise before the sun at 4 a.m. every Monday to drive to SeaTac airport from his home in Olympia. He would hop a flight to San Jose, Calif., and arrive at his workplace in Palo Alto just in time for the weekly 9:30 a.m. team meeting. To stay in touch with his family, Hayes read books to his two children over video chat and spoke with his wife using Skype. He returned home on Wednesday or Thursday night in time for dinner. Despite...

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Telling a Story

Written as a participant in the Rainier Writing Workshop, 2014  What does it mean to tell a story? When I think of “telling a story,” I am thinking specifically of the act of verbal storytelling – perhaps around a fire with an audience of people who can leave at any moment. In this situation of verbal storytelling, it’s important to keep your listeners in anticipation of what might come next. It is also helpful to inform them about the world of your story. And to tell them about the kind of story you are telling, and to fulfill that kind of explanation. Digressions that explain the storyteller’s apprehension of what is to come are most welcome, as such pieces of the “story” build towards satisfying narrative and powerful insights into the characters. On the other...

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Nikki McClure and Sinful Folk

New York Times best-selling illustrator and author Nikki McClure and I know each other through our children’s school and our mutual interest in locally sourced art and supporting local artists. Nikki’s son and my children both attended the Lincoln Options Elementary School, and we are both very involved in the local arts community in the South Sound area in the Pacific Northwest. We first met at a Solstice Celebration that featured local children in an impromptu theatrical celebration of the season.   Nikki created the cover of Sinful Folk as one of her signature papercut pieces, but went in a new direction for the internal illustrations, which were created with charcoal. After reading the book in 2012, Nikki created her own graphical interpretation of SINFUL...

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Pumpkins

The really neat thing about carving pumpkins is that it’s a transformative activity. You’re taking a smooth surface — an organic substance (no two pumpkins are the same) — and changing it into something that resembles a human being. What’s even better is that it doesn’t last — perhaps that’s why I like both pumpkin carving and sand castle building. Neither one of them are permanent art installations; both forms of art are ephemeral. Oh, and they are also architectural. I love planning out how a pumpkin’s structure will support whatever I carve into it, and how to create a relief impression. Given the varieties of light and of differing layers in the pumpkin skin, I have successfully carved entire landscapes of...

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rocket hacking

We launched a model rocket this last weekend. It was a blast! (sorry, I couldn’t resist) The kids really enjoyed watching me put together the rocket, and I encouraged them to decorate the rocket as they wished. I tried to explain the basic chemistry, but they lost interest quickly. So I just focused them on how cool it would be when the rocket took off into the sky, and how the parachute would open and allow it to float down safely. The funny thing is that the ignitor didn’t work. And this is where it got really creative — I needed to find a spark to ignite the engine. But by the time I realized that the store-bought battery-powered ignitor wouldn’t work, I had a yardful of kids waiting for the model rocket to take off. A dozen kids...

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