To know me is to know me

What makes us who we are

If I wanted to get to know someone, I imagine that I would start with a series of questions that would lead them to reveal details about their personality. These would lead me to make conclusions about how I might categorize someone or what roles I perceived them playing on a regular basis. Are they a student, a professional, an athlete, a parent, a musician, a mentor?

In fact, I suspect most people have significant details that, depending on their mood, would be the first they would share. But a sampling over time would likely paint a more accurate picture.

So, if you want to know me, you'll have to explore a bit. I've tried to build a collection of stories, observations, and experiences that may help. Indulge your voyeuristic side, and poke around a bit. Enjoy.

Travel is the cure

Ron Lohse

Turks & Caicos

I went to Turks & Caicos in April with Anne. In fact, we got engaged while we were there. We stayed at the amazing Grace Bay Club and they pampered us like crazy. The room was spacious and very comfortable. The bathroom was ridiculous. And the concierge service was outstanding. We really wanted to spend most of our time doing nothing at all, and we did that very well. We had snacks and drinks on the beach, cooled off in the turquoise water, and got a little sun burned.

We took professional photos while we were there, including the surprise proposal.

Turks & Caicos has a rainy season from June-August, when daily high temperatures can reach 95F. The rest of the year is drier and usually in the 80's. Check out the island.
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Play that funky music

Ron Lohse

Eric Church Live in Boston

Anne and I decided to go see Eric Church almost at the last minute (3 days prior). As it turned out, we were able to get the same seats we had for Shania, and they were still AWESOME.

No opening act, and Eric just sang for about 3 hours straight. Everything from the radio sounded as good or better live. He had tons of energy and put on a great show. I have been listening to his albums on shuffle for several weeks. So good!

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Always moving, always recovering

Ron Lohse

Fitness over 50

OutsideOnline published an article on this topic that I just love. Essentially, it advised us to lift heavy weights as often as possible and to tend to injuries immediately.

Lift heavy? Absolutely! One of my favorite things to do. The science here is simple, we need strong muscles and balanced strength to safeguard our joints and move safely. I had a coach that explained it like this, "If you want to get stronger, lift heavy. If you want to improve endurance, lift heavy. If you want to lose weight, lift heavy. If you want to prevent injury, lift heavy." Sound advice.

Tend to injuries? Common sense, but too many of us let injuries fester because "it doesn't hurt so bad," or, "it should feel better soon." Masters athletes need to be proactive with pain management because we do not heal as quickly. And working out injured is a sure way to sideline yourself as you either compound the problem or modify your form to accommodate pain. Take steps to ensure that you work out pain-free; deal with injuries like an adult.

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What's going on?

Ron Lohse

Wood Loft

I started a project to convert the space above the garage at Harmony House into a wood shop. 

Anne got me a sign for the Wood Loft.

Since then, I built new stairs to the basement and a room full of cabinets for the master closet.

Here are some photos of the project.

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Ron Lohse

Looking for a good read?

I was thinking about good reads today. There are several that come to mind. However, my taste may not be the same as yours. So I realized that any list I provide would be more of "books I enjoyed" instead of "books I recommend you read." This list may offer some insight into what I like to read, writers that speak to me, and the kinds of stories that I find interesting. If, after reviewing these selections, you see some correlation between us, then by all means please read some or all of these.

Harlan Coben

Probably my favorite author, period. The stories are well told and usually twist through varying kinds of darkness. However, their best quality lies in Coben's writing style; page-turners from front to back. I have lost countless hours of sleep because each chapter seems to end with an "OMG!" moment that begs for resolution.

A few noteworthy titles:

Michael Crichton

I went through a phase when I tried to read everything he wrote. I'm sure I did not succeed, but I enjoyed way more than I did not. I have written about my favorite movie adaptations of his, but these are some of his best books regardless of whether or not they made it to the big screen:

Stephen King

Author of great, scary books and a die-hard Red Sox fan. What's not to love about Stephen King? I admit that I went through a long stretch after college when I did not read very much. That changed when I picked up the daunting hardcover edition of The Stand. I was hooked within a few pages. Almost invariably, the books are outstanding and the movies are just OK. So, if you want a few nights with a nagging creepy feeling in the back of your neck, here are a few stories I enjoyed:

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Here, in the dark?

Ron Lohse

Michael Crichton on the big screen

Michael Crichton may be best known as the creator of E.R. on NBC television, but I regard him as a great novelist first. Many (almost all) of his books have been adapted for the big screen - with varying degrees of success. Kicking off with Jurassic Park and pulling in unprecedented boatloads of cash, Hollywood was quick to jump on every title and crank out every movie possible.

The Best

The Good

The Unfortunates

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Running from the sunset

Ron Lohse

Older and Wiser

Outside Online published a story backed by science that concluded that youth may not be the best indication of potential success. In sports and business, it is actually more common to see peak accomplishments a bit later in life.

I think the importance of experience and wisdom is a huge contributor to success. It's one thing to have youthful exuberance and the belief that every undertaking can be conquered with desire and effort, but age lends a perspective that injects measured caution, stability, vision, and broader focus. Learning from mistakes and the mistakes of others is pretty valuable.

I'm glad to see that science has backed up these opinions.

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It was funny at the time

Ron Lohse

Universally funny isn't a thing

Sometimes I wish we all thought the same things were funny, but we don't. I know it would be boring if we were all the same, so this condition keeps it interesting. I think there is something humorous about just about everything we do. We can't help it.

Watching people walk, talk, chew, drink, drive, exercise, or even sleep can be hysterical. We are all different kids of goofy, odd, and different - and that's all funny.

Anne thinks people falling is just about the funniest thing ever. I forget that sometimes until I'm flat on my face unexpectedly. Howls of laughter echo around me. She's probably right, because the internet is overflowing with various Fail videos.

Comedians crashing and burning on stage with bad material poorly delivered? Also funny because of how colossally un-funny it is.

Weird noises or personal practices in the bathroom? Definitely funny. I can't say more about this without one of you thinking, "Is he talking about me?" But, yes, I am.

So, really, you can't go wrong. On purpose or accidentally, just about everything is funny. Maybe not at first... but eventually, yeah.

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Building a team

Ron Lohse

Personal Touch

I have interviewed many candidates for various technical positions. Lately, the trend has been to "screen" prospects with one or more virtual meetings. This includes emailing candidates with homework assignments that they have a week to complete, or some combination of Skype and CoderPad (a sandboxing tool that let's us play with code in a shared environment).

Only a couple times have I found this screening process to be worthwhile. On one, it was clear that the coder had cut and pasted huge sections of code (specifically CSS) and did a few find-and-replace changes to hide the fact that the code was not his. Rejected.

More often, though, candidates that we interview have the technical skills and capacity to do the work. The struggle is to find skilled engineers that will be a good "fit" for our teams. Can they hold a conversation? Describe a process? Explain a difficulty? Share what is important to them? Can they listen or take criticism? Are they funny or too serious? Do they read, go to the movies or watch Game of Thrones?

I feel like any proficient coder can pick up new syntax or coding styles. Finding a person that we want to spend 8 hours a day with seems way more important to me. So, when it comes to hiring, I want smart but personable. And that's an interview I prefer to do face to face.
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