The Inns of Lakeland

I know you were jealous when you heard that I was staffed on a project in Florida.  I've been taking pictures around Lakeland, and thought I would share my daily joy with you.  There is a strange density of "Inns" in Lakeland, so I've put together a photo montage.

Ah, the Jameson - one of the best.  That's a nice fish on the rear window of his pickup truck.


La Quinta, para cada uno placer.


Is comfort more important?

Or is quality more important?


Maybe you want to feel safe at the Saf-ar Inn.


When on Holiday, choose the inn, not the motel...


They also have inns for various ethnicities.


Relax for a day, or a week.  Get it?  RELAXIN!


Furnished!  Phew.


While you're there, you might as well go shopping.


Listen, a lot of people are on a budget,


...but is it best to be Economical at $45 "single 1 per"?

Or to be treated as royalty?  (Extra what per $10?  Extra sheet?)


While you're in the area, may as well pick up some life skills - who doesn't want some of those?

Hmmmm - or...     huh?

It begs the question...  Oh.  I see.

Now, most people would be comfortable saying, "Come on over and try sitting on my La-Z-Boy."  Buuuuttt (think about it...)


People who only come to Florida in the winter are affectionately known as Snow Birds.  They apparently stay at this inn.  I don't know why they need the security that comes with barbed wire, though.




With all this competition, it's not hard to see why Days Inn is rated #1 in Lakeland, but as you're about to see, it's not the best.

This one is.  Phones!


And no joke, directly connected to a Hooters restaurant, you can stay at the:



The sad part of all this poking fun?  I stay at the Residence.  Inn.

Whistler Ski Trip Pictures

Check out our Whistler Ski Trip Photos on Flickr.  What happens when 10 guys ascend to Canada for the most skiiable acerage in North America (besides getting hit with insane cell roaming charges)?  Spills, thrills, unimpressive jumps, unimpressive swimtrunks, falls the length of a football field that down saplings, and an inappropriate pinata filled with mini booze.



We had some fun with the "Monoski Adapter" I built with my dad.  This platform snaps into a normal single ski and allows you to ride with both boots fixed onto a single ski.  Took some getting used to, but was very skiiable and drew lots some funny looks from the crowds.

The AACS is Misguided

Publishing a number is as illegal as drawing a picture of a gun. Will I receive a cease and desist? =concatenate{char{{255-code{charwise{rot13{ascii{nybblewise{hex(aacscode)}}}}}}-92}} =ss0jrrsqj2lo1pn42kornm3nmpnmkk3[t|s]

Remote Control Helicopters

I had NO IDEA that electric RC helicopters had evolved this much - cuban 8's, immelmans, aileron rolls - and stuff that has no name. It's insane. I'm fascinated watching these clips. You always hear on the news that another military helicopter has crashed - they are probably the most fatal military vehicle. Imagine what happens when we strap a video camera and some missiles onto one of these. Watch the clip and you'll see how frightening that could be. A Trex 600 will go for $1200. Cheaper 3D-capable model helis look to be about $300.


General Aviation Safety

I wanted to know how dangerous the type of flying Rebecca and I might be interested in is.  I'm speaking of General Aviation, specifically light, small aircraft, on a recreational or hobby basis.  These stats exclude commercial airline flight.  A lot of the general population "feels" like being a private pilot is very dangerous.  I wanted to know as objectively as possible how dangerous it really is.  I would consider my observations below to be good within +/- 20%.  This data is based on the Nall report and my own calculations.  It's significant to me, but others should not cite this data as I only pulled it together in under an hour.  In 2006:

1 accident in every 14,000 hours of flying
1 fatal accident in every 71,000 hours of flying (a little less than 2 people die per fatal accident)

An average non-commercial pilot flies less than 40 hours per year.

The highest category of fatal accidents is poor pilot judgment: low-flying (buzzing) and attempting higher risk maneuvers.

Student pilots are the safest category of pilot, followed by airline pilots.  The most dangerous, although still acceptably safe to me, are your first 500 hours of flight after being a student.  This would be reduced with two pilots in the aircraft at one time (pat of the reason Rebecca and I are interested together).

Comparatively speaking, estimates place general aviation flying as about 20 times more dangerous per hour spent operating the plane/car, and 5 times more dangerous per mile traveled.  In contrast, airline flight is less dangerous per mile than driving.

As for risk per person who decides to fly vs. per person who decides to drive, insurance premiums might be a worthy measure.  Insurance on a four-seat plane is about the same as insurance on a mid-priced SUV.  This stat also emphasizes how aviation is more dangerous per hour, but somewhere more equivalent on a "per person who decides to do each activity" basis.

Consulting from a Campsite

This may be one of the stranger blog posts I ever write.   I'm in Lakeland, Florida, in a pup tent (thanks mom and dad - first use is going great).  I am not on vacation.  My client is based here.  While I normally stay at the Marriott, this week Lakeland is the site of the second largest annual aviation fly-in event (second to Oshkosh, Wisconsin).  The event is called Sun-n-Fun, and is Lakeland's only real claim to fame.  Lakeland is about 40 minutes outside Tampa, half way between Tampa and Orlando.  This project is only a few months long and just happened to fall across the week of Sun-n-Fun.  So I'm camping here among the plane-tent pairs and the RVs, rental car parked next to my tent.  This may be the greatest cost saving measure I've ever done for a client, although cost-cutting is not at all a reason I'm doing this.  I'm here to see the planes, booth, and airshows!  Rebecca and I have both wanted to get into private (light aircraft) aviation, so I couldn't pass up this opportunity.  Besides the fact that she gets hardly any days off, she can't come because this weekend is her big Read-a-Thon she organized to benefit John Wood's Room to Read organization.

A little snafu with registration meant I had to be inventive to secure my camping spot for tonight.  Tomorrow morning will be the real test.  There are very primitive showers here with no real changing area.  I only brought a 1.5 x 1.5 foot backpacking towel.  Lucky Lakeland.  And my sleeping bag is pink, so I'm tryig to hide it from people.

Pakalolo Takes Mike Simanek Again

Whistler was fantastic this year. While I will be sure to post more pictures later, I had to share this gem from the bravest idiot on the so-called "10 Percent Ski Trip", my dear friend Mike Simanek. Background: Two days prior Mike Simanek and John Hebda had fallen on Pakalolo, a 45-50 degree double black on Blackcomb. They fell independently, but during their slide the length of a football field, they somehow latched onto each other, clutching like schoolgirls. (OK, not really, but I wanted to say "schoolgirls".) On Sunday Mike tried Pakalolo one more time - Simanek's Revenge, if you will. Unfortunately his fate was repeated but included the special bonus of a collision with a sapling.

Graduate School Decisions - We're Headed to Boston!


This fall Jeff will be attending the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Rebecca will be attending the Harvard Graduate School of Education, School Leadership program.

It feels like so much of the last eight months has been preparring for this moment; hobbies have been put on hold, family vacations skipped, weekends spent visiting schools.  It's just good to know our fate and be able to start planning for the next two years of life as students.

There is a fair amount of dissapointment I feel about being declined from Stanford.  It's an exercise in mental self-discipline to face up to rejection, to consider correctly how much control I had over my candidacy, to stop myself from the ugly practice of brainstorming excuses but at the same time not be too hard on myself.  I told everyone to be realistic about my chances at a school that will admit 8 or 9% this year, and about the self-filtering mechanisms built into an applicant pool that willingly faces those odds.  Where this blog is a personal diary, I want to remember my disappointment in a personal goal not realized that I held for years.  Where this blog is a way of communicating with friends and family, I want people to know that I'm very proud of the candidacy I put forth (it represented an incredible study-of-self experience), and I'm very excited about MIT.

Why I'm excited about MIT: Consistent top 10 program.  Always fourth or fifth most selective business school.  Known for entrepreneurial specialties and the business plan competition.  Lots of prominent faculty.  Only b-school where Jack Welch teaches a course.  Benefits from proximity to world's #1 engineering, economics, and finance programs.  Tied for highest median salary after graduation.  HBS and MIT Sloan courses are cross-listed, meaning I could take some HBS courses.  Notable alumns include Kofi Annan, Mitch Kapor, and Carly Fiorina.  I was also admitted to the Entrepreneurship and Innovation program, a program to develop entrepreneurs for emerging technology startups.  The program includes a special dinner seminar, specific courses, and a trip to Silicon Valley.


Harvard Graduate School of Education

Rebecca's School Leadership program is an intense one year program which will provide her with principal licensure that is reciprocal to most states.  Harvard is consistently ranked in the top 3 graduate programs in education, as well as for school administration and education policy which are her main interests.  Harvard has a notable strength in nontraditional school development such as charter schools.

We're looking forward to moving (once a year for six years now) and being totally broke again. :)

Funny Spirituality

01777908 0177792244 This string of numbers will be google-able in a few days, I'm sure. "This is the code. Repeat it yourself, it has tremendous power." I cannot wait until someone makes a YTMND out of this.