Yellowstone

 

Day 3 of our road trip. (Previously)

Yellowstone National Park. If this place is not on your bucket list, I would suggest adding it. Caveat: must love nature.

Entering the park

Hello buffalo

Stunning scenery at every turn

The open road

My dad and I redid a 1987 VW Vanagon last year. We (well, mostly he) did quite a bit on it and continues to be a work in progress. He was itching to go on another road trip and I had to be in Utah for work. I think you can guess what happened next.

He started driving from CT to my place in Chicago. He stayed the night and we got up on Sunday, said goodbye to Emi and hit the open road.

We knew we wanted to see Jackson Hole and Yellowstone and he had a flight out of SLC on Saturday, but other than that we didn’t have much of a plan. This is my favorite way to travel and well, to live. To have just enough of an idea of where you are going and things you want to accomplish while leaving plenty of room for “things” to happen.

Day 1: Chicago to South Dakota

The flatlands. Illinois > Wisconsin > Minnesota > South Dakota

Day 2: South Dakota to Cody, WY

Hello mountains! South Dakota > Wyoming

 

Mumble Meetings

Sometimes working from home can be quiet. Too quiet. And some days I don’t want to leave and go to a coffee shop, meet up with a friend, or go somewhere. I like being home.

So I’ll put something on. I’ll listen to music, usually something with few to no words when coding, planning, and discussing. I put on a podcast while designing because there’s something comforting about a human voice when you are home alone.

And then there’s Mumble Meetings.

I have two very close friends who also work from home. We are all in different states, working for different companies, and every so often our schedules sync up and we have a Mumble Meeting. Basically we all jump on a video chat and just work. I guess you could call it virtual co-working. (We say mumble because we mutter to ourselves under our breath when we work.) We click away at our keyboards and trackpads, we vent, we catch up, we help each other out. Its a great way to break up the day and it has the added side effect of staying in touch with long distance friends.

Kids love drones

The box said it was for ages 14 and up. I decided to show my 4-year-old nephew how to fly my little drone anyways. And by fly I mean just to use the up and down throttle. He eventually figured out if he moved the same control a bit to either side he could spin it as well.

Hours of entertainment. Well, until a few propellers broke. Related: We are both now eagerly awaiting new propellers.

“Did the flying things come yet? Does the mailman know?”

So I bought a drone

drone

A fun little mini Hubsan X4. Its about 4×4 inches and weighs next to nothing. It has the battery life of about fifteen minutes, which makes for the perfect work break. I got it after hearing about it from my coworker Michael. He also has this great drone.love blog.

This isn’t something I thought I’d ever be into but I’ve had it for about 24 hours now and I’ve had a ton of fun learning to fly it. I crash it all the time and it’s held up surprisingly great so far. I’ve lost a propellor and broke one. Good thing it comes with four extra.

Crashing

Some lessons I’ve learned so far:

There are two propellor types – clockwise and counter-clockwise. You can’t just put them on in any old place. The drone arms and the propellors are marked with either A or B. Just make sure you match them up. Otherwise, you won’t get off the ground.

If it looks like the arms are falling apart or have broken underneath, fear not. That is supposed to happen. They unhinge on bigger crashes. Just pop them back into place. You kind of have to force it.

My propellors started to fly off really easily towards the end of the first day. They can be hard to find especially if you don’t have a ton of lights on. To fix this, I took them all off and lightly scuffed up the motor tips with a nail file. This gave it a bit more grip and they’ve been staying on better.

Once you get the hang of steering, its fun to walk behind it and drive it around and outside the house. Keep the red lights facing you and the blue lights in front.

And you’re never too old to buy a toy. Or learn new things. Or be one with your inner nerd.

Problems, not solutions

My dad is an auto mechanic. Growing up I spent many days in his shop, learning how to change oil, use a grease gun, clean parts, and pay the bills.

I liked listening to the interaction between customers and the mechanics. There was one lesson I learned that has stayed with me.

Tell me the problem, not how you think I should fix it.

Meaning: the mechanics don’t want to hear your solution to your car’s problem. They want to hear what is wrong. They are the experts. Let them figure it out.

As I got into art and design, I’ve learned this is true in my line of work as well. It really applies to any type of feedback. The receiver benefits far more from hearing the what rather than the how. At the same time, the giver stands to learn something new.

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