Troubleshooting is my game

30,000 foot view
30,000 foot view

When I ran my own company, I had the ability to take a 30,000 foot view of our company. Where was it headed? What was lacking? What did I need to apply my focus to? By not getting involved in the minutia, it gave me the ability to solve bigger problems. I was able to see the business through our customer’s eyes, not from an owner’s perspective.

One thing that I have come to learn over the years is that I have a knack for troubleshooting. Whether it is a business problem, mechanical failure or innovative ideas, this is where I excel. Owning multiple websites, both ecommerce and informational for over 20 years, I can spot what works and what doesn’t. When it comes to websites, I am a one man usability lab. I can tell you what is easy and intuitive to navigate or what makes me want to leave your site. How about your follow up after a sale or initial contact? Are customers receiving what they expect to receive from your company?

For building an mortar businesses, your relationship begins not when they enter your door, but what they locate about your business online.

Do you need a fresh set of eyes for your business or for your idea? Can’t see the forest for the trees? Give me a try. After learning about your business or idea and it’s inner workings, I will give you my feedback from a 30,000 foot view.

Tesla/Hyperloop/Starship hybrid

Here is an idea for @elonmusk and three of his companies. Create a hybrid of the launch power of the Tesla Plaid car, utilizing Hyperloop technology with the Space X Starship rocket. I know what you are thinking. How would you do that? Hear me out and I will explain.

Railgun powered rocket

I realize that this is not a new idea. NASA supposedly has come up with this idea, but Elon owns 3 companies that could combine their skill-sets and pull this off! Basically, you would install a rail, I mean a really long rail, possibly a 2 mile long rail. You would angle it at 30 degrees. Utilize electro-magnetic propulsion to slowly increase the forward motion to a max of 3 g’s. I would imagine that lighting the Raptor engines prior to energizing the rail would be best to be sure that they all fire. Once the rail system energizes, slowly increase the throttle on the Raptor engines so that by the time the Starship hits the end of the rail, it has been released from it’s carriage and has enough velocity to continue it’s flight.

Less LOX, more payload

Utilizing this method, you could put more resources towards payload and less to propellant therefore making a shorter spacecraft due to the propellant/payload ratio being lowered.

Image by SiteSeerX

It is worth exploring, and who better at utilizing resources that are at hand than the Space X, Hyperloop, Tesla team!

Beware of dream killers

Have you ever had a dream, only to be killed by a dream killer? Maybe it was someone that you looked up to, only to find out that they thought your dream was silly or stupid.

When a dream is in it’s infancy, they are very fragile. Sara Blakely of the product Spanx, made sure not to share her idea for a solid year. She knew that she had a great idea, but she also knew that well-meaning friends and family would shoot her idea down in the interest of “protecting” her from failure. Sara is now a billionaire thanks to her product Spanx. (Hey that rhymed! Thanks to Spanx, she laughs, going to her banks!) Eventually dreams need to be shared with others, especially if you need to bring others into your project for it to succeed, but take time to let your dream congeal and solidify before opening it up to others.

name tag hello my name is dream killer

It was 1971. I was 15 years old. I had an uncle that I looked up to. He worked on Capital Hill and felt that he was in the know. I shared with him my dream of becoming an aerospace engineer and going to work with NASA. Hearing my dream, he told me, “The moon mission is over. NASA will be on the way out. This is a bad decision. Go with something else.” Right then and there, I gave up on my dream. I had been interested in rocketry and the space program for as long as I could remember. I would even stay home from school just to watch the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions. With one sentence, I gave up on my dreams. He was wrong. NASA continued to develop programs. Do you remember the Space Shuttle? It went on way past 1971.

Ever heard of FedEx?

In 1965, Yale University undergraduate Frederick W. Smith wrote a term paper on changing the logistics of expedited freight. He suggested creating a company that could deliver time sensitive items overnight. His term paper received a C from his professor. Smith’s professor was a dream killer. Fortunately for us that have benefited from FedEx over the years, Smith didn’t swallow the cynical pill that his professor handed him. He purchased controlling interest in a company called Arkansas Aviation Sales. He renamed it Federal Express and the rest is history

Are YOU a dream killer?

If life has handed you multiple disappointments over the years, it is easy to project this onto others. Maybe your job focuses on risk mitigation. We all want to minimize our risks, yet not at the expense of throwing out the baby with the bath water. Make sure when listening to someone’s idea or dream that you let them tell you all about it without giving them instant feedback on what they should not do. If you see them running head long into an important legal nightmare, simply tell them, “This sounds like a great idea, (even if you don’t think so) just be sure to look into X while you are developing your project.” What you do not want to tell them is, “I’ve heard about projects like this before. Let me tell you the problems that they ran into.” Your desire to “protect” them may just kill their FedEx idea as they continue to work in a job that they hate, watching their dream realized by someone else that had a thicker skin.

Keep your dream close to your chest

As Sara Blakely did, don’t share your dream with others until it is well seated within your being. Internally, work on your dream behind the scenes. You need to do the work that will give you the momentum to fight through the dream killers when you do go “public” with your dream. Even though friends and family want to “protect” you from failure or worse, a wrong word spoken in haste can kill the most promising dream.

It is better to have dreamed and failed than to keep the dream only in your mind and to never act on it. As adults, we have been told to face reality and not to dream. Dreaming is for children. Dreaming comes from the right hemisphere of our brain. As children, we spent more time utilizing the right side of our brain than the logical left hemisphere. Many of us have lost the ability or even desire to dream, having had them shut down by others. Dare to dream. Wake up that sleeping part of your brain and watch as dreams turn into reality, but watch for the dream killers. They creep about waiting to find yet another victim to add to the ranks of pragmatists.

dare to dream text over clouds

Patience, no thanks!

Patience is not one of my virtues. Living in a microwave world, many of the things that we have in life acquired instantly doesn’t help.
If you view the success stories of many, it appears that they became successful overnight; au contraire mon frere! It takes hard work and perseverance to become successful at anything. What we see many times is simply the end result of much hard work. We see articles titled “Overnight success” and “Instant hit”, but the real truth is deep within the article.

Haste makes waste

Typically I have found, if I do a project without the proper planning, I end up having to do much of it over again. This isn’t to say that some things in life shouldn’t require quick decisions and prompt action. More than not, most things should be like a good stew, taking time to simmer and let all the ingredients work together.

At my age, I feel that a wasted day is one day less that I will have to accomplish a goal. By not taking time to think and have ideas come to me, I tend to chase after ideas that are not well thought out. While I’m at it, I will throw in the word “relaxing”. I’m not good at that either. Combine little patience and not able to relax and you end up with a stress filled life and a nice helping of anxiety. Usually my body lets me know when it needs a break, not physically, but mentally. My body likes to manifest certain aches and pains that tell me, “Hey dude, I’m not enjoying life, and I am going to manifest this X to let you know!”

Chasing after windmills

Like Don Quixote, I am beginning to understand that I tend to chase after windmills.

I seem to be looking for the ever elusive idea or project that seems to elude me. Chasing after it, it seems to be always one step ahead of me, outsmarting me. I have talked to many that have said that their great idea came to them when they weren’t looking. They weren’t out there chasing after it. It was rather serendipitous. Relaxing and having patience are two virtues that I am going to begin trying to achieve. I have chased after these windmills and I keep getting knocked off of my horse.

The harder I work, the behinder I get

This statement seems counterintuitive. I know that multi-tasking has been a buzz word over the past 10 to 20 years, but can anyone really multi-task and do an effective job? There are those that say, the super competent only do one thing at a time, so as to limit multi-tasking to maximize productivity. Multi-task thinking also is part of my ‘no patience, no relaxing’ mentality as well. I want to get much accomplished at the end of each day, so I start multiple projects. At the end of the day, I simply have multiple unfinished projects. There isn’t much of a satisfaction feeling in that.

If you can relate to any of this, I challenge you to start to learn to relax. Allow time for creative thought and then slowly build a good foundation on those creative ideas that do come to you. Patience is a virtue that will help you build whatever that goal is that you have or that you discover.

Has Covid19 become your excuse?

I was talking to my parents the other day. They are both close to 90 years of age. I said, “Does it seem that people are using Covid19 as an excuse not to be sociable?” I don’t mean their actual physical presence, I mean just an excuse to not be sociable by email, phone or even text. They both said that they have noticed that many of their friends have sort of disappeared, even their digital presence is no longer present. Once Covid19 made them shelter in place, they also seemed to feel that reaching out to others was contagious as well. Sure, they see a Facebook post, but that is not reaching out.

social distancing

Covid19 seems to be the perfect excuse for cutting people out of your life. When a friend is ill or has a major life change that keeps them from being able to cook, in the past, I’m sure that you would have offered to bring them a meal. Now, it’s “Oh, I would help, but you know, Covid19 doesn’t allow me to get near you.” So, you can’t cook a meal, order a pizza and leave it on their doorstep? I call that lazy. I also call that a poor excuse for not being a friend.

I don't need you, I have wifi

Introverts love Covid19
Many introverts are loving this whole pandemic. This is the perfect excuse to not have to be involved with anyone. You get to work remotely. You don’t have to even get dressed. They can order everything online and wait for it to show up at their doorstep. This is their time to show everyone that they don’t need anyone.

Maybe I am one of the strange ones, but I need people in my life. Relationships are important. I know that we need social distancing, but this doesn’t keep us from calling our friends to maintain those friendships. It is times like these that show who your true friends are and who are just posers.

Have you allowed Covid19 to grant you an excuse for not being a friend? This pandemic is bad on so many levels. It’s not just your health that it is affecting. If you are clinging so tightly to this life that you insulate yourself from people that have brought meaning into your life, I feel sorry for you. What you cling to so tightly, karma has a way of peeling your fingers away to show you that whatever you are clutching can be lost.

You can’t go back again

It has been said that “you can’t go back again”. There is a novel by Thomas Wolfe with this title. This phrase has different meanings for everyone who experiences it. “Going back” may mean going to an old place of employment, your old neighborhood, an old club or many other things. People and situations change over time. When you have been gone for an extended time, you are out of touch with the changes that occurred in your absence.

Norfolk VA waterfront
Tourism Information in Norfolk Virginia – VisitNorfolk

I used to live in Norfolk VA many years ago when my children were small. We went to a great church, were members of the local swim club and had great relationships due to our involvement with all of these organizations.
We lived in an urban area where it was easy to get to know people. As the kids started to grow, I longed to get them out in the country to experience the type of environment that I had experienced as a child. We moved our family to the country in Chesapeake and raised our children until they were grown. Now they have children of their own.

Fast forward 30 years. We moved back to Norfolk where we raised our children. I had the desire to “go back again”. This time, instead of raising kids, we have grandchildren who come to visit us. I started to go back to the same church and places that I used to frequent 30 years earlier. I figured that I could just slip back into those relationships and organizations that I once belonged to. Well, 30 years is a long time to be away. The organizations were still there, but the people that I knew had retired. There were new people who didn’t know me from Adam. Trying to rekindle old relationships has been hard as well. My old friends have formed new relationships during the vacuum of my absence. We rarely get invited for their get togethers. When they have weddings for their children or go on European vacations, we only get to see the pictures. I gave up those relationships and others filled in the void as they should. I guess you can’t go back again.

Surely he will remember me

Today, I went back to another city where I used to have an office. It has been close to 20 years since I have been there. I stopped by a place of business a couple doors down from where I had my office and found the owner of the business that I used to see almost every day. He didn’t recognize me. I reminded him who I was and that I had the office next to his years ago. He then said, “Oh yeah, now I remember. Nice to see you. Take care.” and then he went in to his office and shut the door. No, “How has it been” or anything. I guess you can’t go back again.

When I was in my 30’s, I used to be on the board of several different organizations. When I returned to Norfolk, I joined one of these organizations, this time as a volunteer. Most of the volunteers were a lot younger than me. I felt like an old fogey. I still had the energy and ideas that I used to have, but I couldn’t relate to what they were going through due to the age difference. My ideas didn’t resonate with them. Not experiencing any of the old synergy with my compatriots, I decided to not continue to volunteer. I guess you can’t go back again.

table and chairs for board of directors

This isn’t supposed to be a whoa is me blog, really it isn’t. It’s just that I realize that people change, places change and that time doesn’t stand still. It waits for no one. You either are there while the change is happening and slowly you change and evolve with your friends and surroundings or you come back to change only remembering the past. I expected life for them to stand still, that I was the only one that changed. I have my memories, good memories, but that is all I really have. Time has marched on.

It is time to move on. I make friends easily and I am proactive. I tried to come back again but you can’t escape the passage of time. You can’t recapture it and plunk it down to live up to your expectations. Wherever I end up, I know that I will form new friendships and get involved in new endeavors. What I have learned is that the memories of each neighborhood and activity that I was involved in will never go away. They are tucked away, within the fabric of my mind. Enjoy the memories. Relish the laughter and the good times that I once had. I will create new memories each and every day, wherever I find myself.

Are you over 65 and boring?

I’m now 65 and I have realized that over the past 20 years I have started to take less risks. I am starting to feel boring. I do NOT want to join a retirement community or start wearing socks with my sandals. I feel that my nads have started to shrink. I just don’t have them like I used to. It’s not that I am afraid to take risks, fun risks, not stupid risks; I’m just less excited by them. This lead me on to an internet search of why older people tend to take less risks than younger people. It is due to a substance in our brain called dopamine. For every 10 years that we age, we lose X % of dopamine, the substance that causes us to be excited by risk taking. It is known as the pleasure hormone. When we work out or do a cardio workout we experience higher levels of dopamine, especially if we work out hard enough to enter the “zone”.

chemical structure of dopamine

As we get older, one would think that due to having fewer years in front of us than behind us, one would be more prone to increase risk. What do we have to lose? When I was younger and had less dough, I wouldn’t think twice of buying an old house just to flip it or buy a used car that I had always wanted only to sell it 2 months later. Now, even though I can afford it, the idea hasn’t even crossed my mind. This realization today was a major downer. At first I chastised myself for this lack of chutzpah, but after doing a little research I realize that it is due to this unfair waning of the hormone dopamine.

I’ve also noticed this among my peers. A couple of months ago my wife gave me a birthday present that allowed me to race super cars around a formula 1 style raceway. I gave it all I could give. I only got up to 140 mph, but it was a blast. I shared this with my friends who are my age and they looked at me like I was crazy. I then accused them of not having any balls, but today realized that I have also declined in risk taking activities as well. I don’t like it in my friends and I don’t like it in myself. At first I thought that it was just clinging to life that made me and my friends act like scaredy cats, but it’s not that. It’s dopamine leaking out of us all so slowly that we are like the proverbial frog being slowly boiled in a pot of water, yet never noticing it.

frog in boiling water

I would wager that most people don’t mind the slow acceptance of the safe life, but for people like myself that have learned to fly, buy and sell homes at the drop of a hat, learn to do pairs figure skating at the age of 45, quit a successful job and start up a new business, create my own rocket fuel and fly rockets, playing it safe doesn’t suit me. I detest it. I just didn’t notice that I was becoming that proverbial frog.

single engine aircraft flying

With all of this being said, as of January 1, I will begin to make a radical change. I will chronicle it as often as I can. I will “rage, rage against the dying of the light”.

Consciousness and the soul

What is consciousness? Is it the same as someone’s soul? Are we simply a biological creature with a brain. When our brain stops working, does our consciousness stop? Until recently, physicists didn’t really get into that sort of discussion, yet with new ideas coming to the forefront in quantum physics, the line dividing consciousness and physics are getting blurry.

The Law of Conservation of Mass states that matter cannot be created nor destroyed, it simply changes into another form of matter. If you take a piece of wood and burn it, does the matter, the piece of wood vanish? Well, the matter that you once viewed, a piece of wood is no longer in that form. It is now composed of heat, ashes, and smoke. The total matter did not disappear, it simply changed into other forms of matter. If this is a known law of matter, then why should our soul, spirit, or consciousness be any different?

balancing an equation as to preserve matter as it cannot be created nor destroyed
All chemical equations must be balanced to preserve matter

Coincidence or a deeper meaning?

Today I was at a coffee shop chatting with a friend of mine. Somehow we got on the subject of Alaska. His father had been stationed there. I told him that my father had been stationed at the same Army base. We determined that both his father and mine were probably at that base at the same time. Small world, huh? Well, that’s just a nice coincidence. I then told him that we had been to Juno and Ketchikan in Alaska a number of years ago. A few seconds later his phone beeped. It was one of his former students on Facebook sending him a picture of herself and her boyfriend. Guess where they were? They were sending him a picture of them in Ketchikan Alaska. Was this also just a coincidence? Of all the places in the world, why Ketchikan? Is there a universal consciousness that entered my consciousness from his former student letting me know that she was about to ping him and somehow my subconscious knew it, thus we started the whole conversation about Alaska? Ok, I know that is maybe trying to connect the dots too much, but this has occurred many times in the course of a month.

Has this happened to you?

guy on the phone

Have you ever had someone just pop into your mind and then within a few minutes they call you? Typically it is someone that you don’t talk to on a regular basis. I know that I have. Usually, the conversation goes like this in my head, “I wonder how David is doing. I haven’t talked to him in a while.” In the next few moments, my phone rings, and on the other end, it is David. I have spoken to multiple people that have said that this happens to them as well. To me, this is not a coincidence. It is them thinking of us first, then their thoughts somehow connect to our own.

In the beginning…

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. If God created all of the heavens and all of the earths or planets, and it originated with Him, then there was one source of creation for the entire universe. His consciousness created the universe. It was one consciousness, yet shared with us. Everything that has been made was from this one consciousness, His spirit. In Jeremiah 1:5, God says to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” God is saying, before you were born I knew you. How could God know Jeremiah before he was born? The only way that could be is if Jeremiah’s soul, spirit or consciousness was in existence before his actual body was manifested or created. As matter cannot be created nor destroyed, maybe souls or consciousness cannot be created nor destroyed either. Maybe they were all created at one time, only waiting until there was a body to be inhabited by them. Deep thought, huh? I don’t care if you believe in God or the Big Bang theory. It all started with one source, one action, one moment therefore everything that emanated was at one time in the same place.

We are all tied together

Somehow, whether we like it or not, we are all tied together and not just with one another. Everything that is in existence or has been in existence has some sort of relationship with each other. We live in a very temporal world. We go through our day not thinking of these types of things, yet what we can’t see is more real than what we can see. Our bodies are temporary, but our soul or consciousness is not. That is something that death can’t destroy. Our body is hardware. Our consciousness is the software. Without the software, the hardware is just a bunch of parts. The good thing about this software is that it isn’t bound by hardware. It can exist on its own. When someone says “You haven’t seen the last of me!” they don’t realize how true they are. You are here forever, just not in the skin that you are currently wearing. Deep thoughts, huh?

Did Elon Musk own a go-kart?

I’ve wanted to drive ever since my dad let me sit on his lap behind the wheel of his 1952 Edsel. The automobile was our passport to get out of the city and discover new lands. Growing up in a relatively small town, the routine sites and sounds got to be rather boring, even for a kid. Owning a car meant you could escape your normal surroundings and explore. Even Chevrolet hired Dinah Shore to sing their jingle, “See the USA in your Chevrolet.” I don’t know about Elon Musk, but my first ride was a go-kart.

1952 Edsel

My dad built the first hybrid

When I was 5 years of age, my dad bought me a push pedal car. It was a great little car, even though my little legs gave out trying to pedal it through the grass in our small yard. I guess my dad saw me struggling to pedal it and got to thinking.

He had an old self propelled reel style lawn mower that he was tired of sharpening the blades on. The motor on it still worked. What if I could make a go-kart out of the self propelled mower and the pedal cart. My dad didn’t own a lot of tools but he did own a hack saw and bailing wire. With those two things in hand, he sawed the pedal cart in half where the rear wheels were. He then sawed the handles of the self propelled mower off. Taking the two parts, he wired them together to make my first go kart.

Reel lawnmower

Skip ahead 10 years

Skipping ahead 10 years to my teenage years, being able to legally drive a car was still a few years away, not that this kept me from driving! Somehow, I had to find a way to be able to drive. I needed something that I could drive legally. What I needed was a real go-kart. My dad still had that old engine from the reel lawn mower that he had converted into a motorized scooter. All I needed was a go-kart frame. My job at the chicken farm didn’t pay much. At $1 per hour, all I could afford was $25 for an old dilapidated go-kart frame. The right front wheel didn’t touch the ground due to someone running the go-kart into a tree which had bent the frame. The front tire was about 1 inch off the ground, but it was a beauty to me, even painted baby blue.

go-kart frame

Frankenstein #2

As if tying a pedal cart and a lawnmower wasn’t bad enough, my dad was able to attach the old mower engine to the back of the go-kart and somehow rigged it up so that I had a real gas pedal and brakes. To me, this wasn’t a Frankenstein, this was a car worthy of the Indy 500. By then, we had moved to the country with gravel roads and a field next to our new home. I sped up and down the gravel roads and in a big loop in the field to head back down the road in front of our house. We lived in a sleepy town, so there really wasn’t any traffic. Everything was great until word got out that Gill owned a go-kart.

A free attraction

A number of the neighbor kids came over and asked if they could ride my go-kart. Hesitantly I let them ride it a few times, but gasoline wasn’t free and this was MY go-kart. After a couple of days, I put that to a stop telling them to go build their own go-kart. My dad got word that I had closed up shop, not allowing other kids to ride it and I was told that I must share and let them have turns.

There, stood a line 4 to 5 kids deep with me maintaining this free attraction and having to give driving instructions to the kids. It wasn’t long before I was out of gas. I told the kids, “Hey, you supply the gas and you can ride.” Amazingly, they all left and none of them returned with gas cans. I guess as long as the ride was free, they didn’t mind riding.

The need for speed

After a couple of weeks, it seemed that my go-kart had gotten slower and slower. In all actuality, it was going the same speed. I was just ready for more speed. Noticing that there was this wire near the carburetor that if I pulled it, the engine revved up like crazy. I wondered why it didn’t sound like that when I use the gas pedal. I found a way to take the throttle cable and attach it to this wire and then to my gas pedal. Now, I was able to increase my speed by almost 33%.

I was zooming up and down the road. This was great! Why didn’t the manufacturer of the motor done that originally? What I didn’t realize was that this was the engine governor. It kept the engine at a normal rpm while the engine was under load. To me, it was free power, to the manufacturer, it was a way to keep the engine from blowing up when not under load.

Broken connecting rod

Back to the drawing board

Now that my engine was an anchor, I was back to the drawing board. I had a go-kart frame that was engineless. I needed to be able to save up enough money to buy another engine, but making only $1 per hour, I couldn’t afford a new engine.

By now I was in high school, still with no drivers license. There was a kid who was a senior that raced go-karts. I found out his name and went and located him during lunch one school day. I explained my dilemma. I’m thinking that he felt sorry for me. He was from a family of mechanics and racing was their middle name. He said that he had a used 2 stroke racing engine that he could part with for $20. I was exuberant. After a couple of weeks, I could afford that. I promised to buy the motor as soon as I could earn the money for it. After a few weeks of working, the day arrived that the transaction would occur. He delivered the engine to my house explaining that a 2 stroke motor required oil to be mixed with the gasoline as well as other tips.

Clinton go-kart engine

Getting hooked up

My dad was busy with his barbershop quartet singing and didn’t have the time to help me with my go-kart any longer. He told me that this time, it was up to me to get the engine hooked up to the frame. This was when I realized that I would need actual tools. A hammer, screwdriver and a pair of pliers wasn’t going to cut it.

I bought my first set of wrenches and ratchets on sale for $10 and felt like a real mechanic. My dad had a power drill which was needed to drill new holes in the go-kart frame to be able to mount the engine to the rear frame. This I was able to do as well as attach the chain to the sprocket. What I couldn’t figure out was how to connect the throttle control to the gas pedal. Knowing the shortest distance between 2 points was a straight line, a piece of wire from an old picture frame did the trick. I was ready to roll!

Let’s wake up the neighbors

It was Saturday morning. My go-kart was ready. All I needed was 2 cycle oil to mix with the gasoline in the gas can. My buddy had given me a partial bottle of 2 cycle oil when he sold me the motor. I carefully added the correct amount as he had informed me. Pouring that mixture into the small gas tank on the 2 stroke motor and I was just about finished. I pushed the go-kart to the top of the driveway, took the pull rope and gave it a tug. Nothing happened. I gave it a little gas and pulled again. Suddenly the 2 stroke motor sprung to life. It made this loud raspy rat-a-tat sound like a chain saw. I didn’t realize that chain saws also used 2 stroke motors, I just knew that chain saws were loud.

chain saw

I positioned myself in the metal seat of the go-kart, using an old cushion for a little padding on the metal seat frame. Carefully, I pulled the wire that I had connected to the 2 stroke motor throttle control and the rear wheel of the go-kart spun like crazy. Gravel was spinning high into the air behind the go-kart. I finally pulled it just a wee bit to get it to finally grab the gravel road and head down the lane.

I had only pulled the wire a little bit and I was going faster than the old lawn mower engine at it’s top ungoverned speed. What would happen if I pulled it all the way? With one hand I held the steering wheel, with the other hand I pulled the wire. The go-kart took off. The wind was blowing against my face. Water was starting to stream from the corners of my eyes due to the speed of the go-kart. Three wheels were on the ground with the 4th wheel touching only when I would head around corners. I was in go-kart heaven.

Part of the chain gang

Due to my limited amount of tools and how I had attached the motor to the go-kart, whenever I hit a big pump, the chain would pop off. This would leave the engine revving wildly high with the go-kart slowing to a stop. I limped the go-kart back home to realize that the L bracket that the engine was mounted on wasn’t really strong enough and that this was going to be a regular problem. What was needed was a thick gauge bracket, a welder and more tools than I had. I figured out how to reattach the chain and settled to just live with the chain popping off on every ride.

go-kart sprocket

I was the talk of the neighborhood, but not in a good way. It seems that my early morning weekend drives around the neighborhood was too loud for the neighbors. They complained to my parents that it was bad enough to have to listen to the wind of a chain saw when neighbors would use their chain saw to fell a tree, but to listen to one running up and down the street day in and day out was enough to drive them crazy. The complaint department told me that my go-kart was grounded and my days of running unfettered through the neighborhood was over. I put the go-kart under the front porch where it sat for months and months.

During this time, I had turned 16 and acquired my drivers license. One of my first jobs working at a gas station, I had my eyes on a Chevy Belair Station Wagon which an older fellow employee owned. He saw the stars in my eyes and it didn’t take much for him to convince me to purchase it from him. That was a quick $300 he pocketed.

All good things must come to an end

By now, I had a car, a girlfriend and a job that paid $3.25 per hour. It was time to grow up. After several years, I found someone to take the old go-kart off my hands. He had a son that was around 14 and he wanted to go through this rite of passage as I did. I think I sold it for $25.

I will always remember my old baby blue go-kart. From riding in my dad’s Edsel, riding in a pedal cart/mower hybrid all the way up to my current ride, a Tesla. Hmm, I wonder if Elon Musk ever had a go-kart? For me, the go-kart holds fond memories of learning how to drive the way that most kids do not. I learned a lot of lessons along the way, the most important…….buy a quiet muffler!

Tesla Model 3

Is the grass greener on the other side?

I have come to wonder if I am like the proverbial cow that wants to break through the fence and try the grass on the other side of the fence. Is the grass actually greener and tastier or is it all in my mind? Maybe I have the mind like a member of the bovine family. For the past 12 or 13 years, it seems that after about 4 years, I’m ready to move to a new location and I’m not just talking about the next town. It seems that I become disenchanted with the town, the people, the climate, or any number of things. I love to discover new people and places. It takes a while to get the feel of a place. You can’t really do that on a 2-week vacation. Fortunately, I own a business where I can pretty much work anywhere so this makes it pretty easy to do.

Cow trying to eat grass on other side of fence
Photo credit James Rickwood

This time, it’s a vocational edit

I am trying to break out of my vocation or at least add to what I am already doing. You see, when I was young, I had two dreams; to develop a new form of propulsion for space travel and own my own theme park. These may seem like two entirely different pursuits, but each has similar characteristics.
Both of these pursuits require a good amount of imagination, yet neither is for the faint of heart. One requires a significant amount of brainpower including physics, engineering, and math. The other requires lots of money. Actually both require money but opening a theme park, that requires a LOT of money.

Routine is good, just not for me

Are you the type of person that loves to create, yet wants to leave the daily running of things to someone else? That’s me. I love brainstorming, troubleshooting, and coming up with “What if” type of thoughts.
I’ve done a lot of different things in my life. I have been blessed to have many different talents and have put pretty much all of them to use at one time or another. For many, having to come up with new ideas each day gives them a headache. They are very happy to know what is expected of them each day and they do it well. At the end of the day, they feel fulfilled.

Don’t get me wrong, I have routines. For example, I go to the gym regularly, have my morning coffee, pray, meditate, and enjoy a nice beverage in the evening. I also routinely sit down and write down ideas each morning.

I love big projects and I cannot lie

I’ve always been one for big projects. When I was a kid, I built model rockets. You know the ones where you put an engine in them and launch them into the sky. I quickly built many of the store-bought ones but they just weren’t big enough and didn’t go high enough. One day, I had that “what if” moment and said to myself, “If one engine is good, 3 is better.” I then constructed a rocket that was 3 times as high as the store-bought ones, installed 3 rocket engines that would fire simultaneously, and launched it successfully. Getting that out of the way, I went and got two 12′ carpet tubes to build a 24′ rocket. This time, model rocket engines were not powerful enough so I decided to make my own rocket fuel. Let’s just put it this way, it didn’t end well.

The grass isn’t greener, it’s just different

If there is a zany idea out there, I will come up with it. I just need to find other zany minded individuals like me. I’m not sure where one would find these types of individuals. We should start some sort of club. There must be other “cows” out there like me that are stretching their necks trying to find that perfect clump of green grass. In the meantime, I will come up with more ideas and try and figure out how to implement them. So, if you see me leaning out the car window like a dog licking the air, it’s just me looking for that greener clump of grass.

Dog with head out window
Photo credit Shutterstock

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