Are You Getting Enough Vitamin N?

Coal Creak Trail and Falls in Lafayette, ColoradoVitamin N.  You may not have heard of it.  In fact, if you go to your local drug store, you won’t find a bottle of it on the shelf.   That’s because vitamin N is something we get for free just by going outside and admiring the grass, the trees, the clouds, and the sun.

Vitamin N is nature.  With more and more of the population living in cities and high-density apartment/condo buildings, nature is becoming more and more distant in our daily lives.  While humans have dominated the earth and learned to control fire, extract resources from the planet and make some pretty incredible things with those resources, we must not forget that we are part of nature.

Just like we bring plants into our shelters, we must also make it a point to step out into nature itself.  Here is how:

  • Seek out parks.  While hiking isn’t available, you can still sit under a tree and take in the sunshine, the rustle of the leaves, and the wind in your hair.
  • In the urban environment, seek out well landscaped areas.  Newer shopping areas typically have streets lined with trees.
  • Do a Google Search for trails near your house.  Even in urban areas like Denver, more natural recreation paths are available like the Speer Blvd aqueduct.
  • Plan a weekend in the mountains.  Get out and explore areas within a half day drive to a day’s drive from home.  Plan time hiking and exploring the area.
  • Sign up for a community garden plot.  Sites like Growing Gardens might have a plot in your area.  There is nothing like dirt under the fingernails and a fresh tomato!

Getting your vitamin N fix is easier than you think.  Experience the birds, the leaves, and the sun.  They are all a part of your soul.

 

Reframing a Dysfunctional Life

Reframing a Dysfunctional Life

Patterns and Creativity of a Dysfunctional LifeIt can be risky letting yourself by vulnerable.  It can hurt at times, but it can also be superb.

As I embark on a new project to write a book, I ask for your patience, acceptance, and open-mind.  As I look back over my life, I see some awesome experiences, some not so great times, and I see a childhood rooted in dysfunction.  This dysfunction made me who I am today, for good and bad.

In “Patterns and Creativity of a Dysfunctional Life”, I hope to share my life along with some educational and restorative exercises to help anyone who is willing to try them.  Having grown up with the false sense of what a perfect life was supposed to be, I struggle a bit to create the life I want and dismiss this concept of perfection.

While we are all different with varying needs, various interests, and equally varying skills and personalities, defining success isn’t so hard as it is time consuming.  The life you create does not have to be based on the learned behaviors of a dysfunctional environment.  In fact, the life you create must be based on your true soul, your true passions, and not from any other source.

Join me on Patreon as I begin this journey.  It seems a bit scary, but the product of being vulnerable will have an impact on our society.  A positive impact, I hope.

Early 2018 Updates

It is time for a quick update on my 2018.  I have been pretty lax about posting here as most of my content is being posted on my Patreon profile.  For just $5.00 per month you can get access to all of my content.  Content includes articles, podcasts, and videos on business, analytics, productivity, wellness, and creativity.   The focus is providing inspiration and knowledge to enhance your own experience. So head over to my profile and sign up.  Just don’t watch my horrible intro video.  lol

Onward to the good stuff!

Aric’s Q1 2018 Update

Shapr

Are you tired of LinkedIn?  Has LinkedIn gotten a bit personal? Tired or recruiters harassing you who have never looked at your profile?  Luckily, there is a cure.  It is an app called Shapr.  Think of it as the Tinder app for professionals and networking.  You signup easily and then you tell it up to 10 skills and give it your location.  It matches you to professionals with similar skills and interests.  You can then chat, meet for coffee/lunch or even just have a video call.

For me, it has been phenomenal in networking with fellow analytics gurus in my area.  I have already met with a half dozen and have developed a broader network for clients and employment opportunities.  It is great.  By comparison, LinkedIn is embarrassingly bloated.  lol

The Creative World

Early in my career, I cared a lot about gadgets, tech, and having cool stuff.  After a few moves and having to deal with all that stuff, I have decided to significantly downsize.  No more stuff for the sake of having stuff.  I have reduced my furniture down to the essentials, dumped half the stuff in my kitchen I never used, or used only once, and reduced my wardrobe down to a week worth of clothes.

This leaves the door open for more creativity.  Not only do I have tons of room in my small studio apartment, but I have a free mind as well.  Not being surrounded by all that stuff has cleared the air.  I now look forward to coming home and using this great space for projects and expanding my business.

After seeing technology de-innovate over the past two years (iOS 11 is backwards) with minimalist interfaces and complicated gestures, more and more data collection, and annoying ads everywhere, I have begun reducing my reliance on tech.  I am planning on getting rid of my iPhone and replacing it with a dumb flip phone.  I will use a small tablet for the sake of convenience at the coffee shop.  I will also dust off my S95 camera so I don’t miss anything and can document my adventures at any moment.

Having less technology around me reminds me that Americans truly work too hard.  We are given the conveniences so corporations can profit from us, keep us connected.  I don’t mean a conspiracy theory, but look at Europe, they are happier and work less than we do.  Do we really want driver-less cars so we can start work the moment we leave or houses?  Just stop and ask yourself, what is technology really doing for me?  If you love it, great.  If you wonder if the grass is greener with less tech in your life, give it a shot and cut back.

The creative world comes alive when you limit the technology, the stuff, and clear the air in your home.  For me, I have renewed energy for podcasts, creating online courses for SpiralAnalytics, and even painting (I recent took up acrylic).  Let creativity shine!

The 3 Words

You might recall, I started off the year with three words to define my 2018.  Inspired by Chris Brogan’s concept, I chose active, plan and explore.

Active – Going well in respects to my physical fitness and being more active physically.  I do have a bit of work to do with becoming more active in my community.  I have not identified a non-profit to volunteer with.  Longmont offers a few historical ideas, as does Erie and Louisville.  I also need to get out more in the evenings after work.  So, active is okay, but needs more focus.

Plan – Daily to do lists and progress charts are just a part of my plan.  Plan really refers to knowing what I need to do, learning, and being prepared for the next step.  For instance, I am considering leasing a car.  I am doing research into what may fit my needs, as well as asking the question, Is this the right time?  Plan is about being prepared to make an educated decision and executing that decision efficiently.  Overall, Plan is going well.

Explore – Not only explore beautiful Colorado, but also explore what I want to learn, new hobbies, and try new things.  I haven’t done many weekend road trips, but I have been exploring N Scale model trains. I have also been researching changes in social media. Exploring cars for a potential a new car lease, and dabbling in painting and sketching.  I have also been exploring platforms to host online custom online courses.  So, exploring has been busy.

SpiralAnalytics

Ah yes, my analytics consulting business.  Things are going well.  Busy with clients in Colorado while designing, authoring and recording online courses to share my knowledge and experience with analytics. What was supposed to be launched in December of 2017 with a WordPress blog and a few membership plugins turned out to be a lot of work and is almost ready to launch with Thinkific. SpiralAnalytics wants to educate and share our knowledge so our users can live in a data driven world and help them launch or refine their own career in analytics.  Stay tuned… SpiralAnalytics is just getting warmed up.

This update has gotten a bit longer than I thought, so I will stop here.  Head over to my Patreon profile and consider a $5/mo subscription.  There is plenty of content over there to make your $5 well spent.  Keep thinking about those three words and how they define your actions.  Finally stay tuned for our first online course, authored by yours truly!

Caio!

 

 

 

X-Plane Logbook Stats for 2017

As an aviation geek and armchair pilot, I wanted to have some fun with Tableau Public and my X-Plane Logbooks.   Where have I flown the virtual skies in 2017?  The answer isn’t too shocking, but there are some interesting patterns.  X-Plane Logbook Tableau Data VisualizationCheck out the image below and then head over to the live workbook.

  • 90.7 flight hours with 73% flown in X-Plane 11
  • 57 unique aircraft flown across 178 flights
  • Top aircraft flown include the VSkyLabs Douglas DC-3, Carenado B200 XP11, and FlyJSim 727Adv (version 1 for xp10)
  • Most flights occurred during the day
  • KPAE and KBFI were the most flown airport pairs

Where will 2018 take me?  Not sure.  Perhaps getting out of the western US would be a start.  Maybe even a few international flights are in order.

And, if you need some help with visualizing your data, check out my Tableau page at Spiral Analytics.

 

Saying Goodbye to 2017 with Inspiration From Roy Underhill

Roy Underhill has been working with wood since I was a tiny little kid.   In 1979 he started the “The Woodright’s Shop” which has turned into PBS’s longest running how-to show.   For 38 years, Roy has been inspiring generations with his passion for woodworking and keeping the old methods of hand planes and good old fashion skill alive.   In fact, in episode 37 episode 6, Big Ash Mallet!, Roy pokes fun at the inability to find a quality mallet for sale.  He goes to say modern manufacturers truly want woodwright’s to make their own mallets because the glued mallets for sale are worthless. Go Roy!

Goodbye 2017

As we exit 2017, we all need to heed the lesson of the Big Ash Mallet and look toward 2018 with a bit more passion, self-sufficiency, and simplicity.  Without a doubt, 2017 was a rough year with a horrible president-elect being inaugurated, countless legislative terror attacks on the American people by the Republicans, and a number of personal challenges I personally had to overcome.  As I reflect back on 2017, I say goodbye and good-riddance.  The roughness is inspiration for us in 2018.

2017 Highlights

The best moments of 2017 are worth celebrating.  They provide a foundation of fun for 2018.

T6 Texan  Seattle GrumpyThe best moment was riding on Grumpy, a NAA B-25D bomber operated by the Historic Flight Foundation.  We flew from Paine Field in Everett, Grumpy’s base, south down the coast to downtown Seattle.  We made a flyby of Boeing Field and the Museum of Flight before returning to Paine Field.  I say “we” because a NAA T-6 Texan was flying off our wing at all times, remarkable!

The second best moment was my August road trip to Colorado from Seattle.  After a tumultuous start to the year, a job change and the decision to move away from Seattle, I gave myself a vacation after a number of years.  Driving through Montana and visiting Missoula, Bozeman and Billings made me appreciate the wonderful beauty of our country, the value of fresh air, and even reminded me how confining the Seattle region really is.   The short visit to Little Bighorn Battlefield was nothing short of breathe-taking. On this trip, I found the curious soul who had been hiding while living in Seattle.  The decision was made on this trip to relocate to Colorado.

Other moments include sleeping with the cat in the car at a rest area outside of Boise, Idaho on our last trip to Colorado.  I also enjoyed my visit to the Old Idaho Pen.  Moments from Seattle include spectacular sunsets from my deck, rainbows in Snoqualmie Pass, and having lunch in Mukilteo, watching the ferries come and go.

Over the past few weeks, I have been suffering from the flu, pneumonia, and bitter cold.  It is a parting gift from 2017 which was unnecessary, miserable, and unproductive.  As soon as this cough subsides and I begin breathing normal again, I will donate to scientific research with the hopes of exacting revenge an we eradicate the flu bug altogether. lol

CoSt2 Exercise

I decided to use the “CoST2” concept to consider what I should be continuing, stopping, or starting as actions as we move into 2018. CoSt2 is an exercise where you evaluate what you will continue doing, stop doing, and start doing in the new year. I heard about it on a podcast on my road-trip and decided to give it a try.

CONTINUE:

  • Being Curious
  • Regular Walks
  • Promoting and working to remove Trump (his admin & family) and the Republicans from office
  • Planning your Day
  • Laying the foundation for financial diversification (Patreon, Spiral Analytics & Saalun)

STOP

  • Binge watching TV
  • Eating Junk Food – Getting Food at Starbucks
  • Isolating
  • Using social media and technology so much
  • Letting anxiety rule my day

START

  • Exercising daily
  • Eating good, quality food
  • Planning meals & workouts
  • Exploring Colorado history and Crazy Horse
  • Going out more to workshops, coffee houses, and local events

Overall, the idea for 2018 is to stop being so dependent on technology and start moving a bit more, leading to a healthier lifestyle.  All the while, staying curious and trying to save America.

My Three Words for 2018

Every year I pick three words which guide my values, principles and actions for the year.  They almost create a theme or lens to see the year around.

In 2017 I chose, connect, learn, build.   It worked well, I spent a lot of time connecting with myself and my community.  I spent a lot of time learning about local history, python, and data visualization.  I also spent time building a foundation for 2018 which included setting blogs, building strategy, messaging and laying the groundwork for a focused 2018.

With 2018 right around the corner, I’ve been thinking about a new set of three words.  Some words which came to mind: explore, plan, visit, authentic, responsible, fun, simplicity, simple, bricks, legos, and active.    The three which I settled upon include:My Three Words 2018

  • Active – not only being more active physically, but also more active in my business and local community
  • Plan – do your research and create a plan so I am prepared.
  • Explore – I now live in the beautiful state of Colorado and have a lot of exploring to do.  I also need to explore more options for the future.  There is also a certain amount of exploration to do within my own social community.

So, active, plan, and explore are the words to live by in 2018.  These are also consistent with my CoSt2 exercise for 2018.

Roy’s Message

So what does Roy Underhill have to do with this?  He is a reminder of what we need to recognize in 2018.  We cannot let the wonderful methods, skills, and people who built this once great country with their hands and ingenuity be overlooked.

With the technological revolution in the past ten or so years, we are starting to forget the feel of wood in our hands.  We are starting to forget the smell and wood shavings and the joy we get from making something with our hands.  Technology does play a vital role in our globalized world and offers many conveniences.  But we cannot let it steal our past and dictate a boring future of sheer convenience.  After-all, when the power goes out for good, who’s going to be able to make a chair, let alone a 2×4?

See you soon in 2018!