Sunday, May 16, 2010


I recently listened to the audiobook version of Switch - How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip & Dan Heath. I got the book largely because I enjoyed their earlier book Made To Stick. Based on their Amazon reviews, a lot of people have enjoyed these books. I liked this book. It has some refreshing views on managing change. From changing mindsets or policies in the corporate world, to changing the behavior of your spouse. I'm considering buying the book so I can easily reference and use the material.

Here's a description I swiped from the authors' website for the book:
In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people—employees and managers, parents and nurses—have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:

- The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients.
- The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping.
- The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Mojave Road - Eastern End

A few days ago I drove another section of the famous Mojave Road. This time I did the far eastern end, starting at the Avi Casino on the banks of the Colorado River and heading west to Cima Road. This is the funnest section I've driven so far.

You'll see a couple odd things in the next photo. Some of my shots are taken from inside - out the windshield. I had a couple noticeable smushed bugs in the camera FOV. Also, the windshield heater embedded wires create an odd series of almost vertical lines in the images.

It was a great day. The temps were below 80F with a very light breeze. I saw 2 turkey vultures soaring over me. I really liked this section here. The trail rolled over some fun little hills.

The beginning of the trail was not in my Garmin Nuvi map database, so I used the trail directions in Wells' book "Guide to Southern California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails." This shot looks west across the Piute Valley.

The sandy road became more rocky and rough as I approached Ft. Piute.

The road across Lanfair Valley was typical.

Here's a shot of the old school bus.

And here's a VORTAC station in the middle of the desert.

I saw this new memorial for a local branch of the Nevada Southern Railway. This portion was built in 1893.

This trench-like section west of Lanfair Road was fun to drive.

Wells describes the hill at Watson Wash as steep, but I don't agree. It was fun, and the soft dirt made it slippery. But it's not what I'd call steep. These were the only other 4wd adventurers I came across out there.

You can't see it well in this photo, but this valley was full of color with yellow, red and blue flowers in bloom

It was a nice drive.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Hiking Old Dad Mountain

Yesterday I hiked Old Dad Mountain with Luke and Gene. This is a 4252 ft peak in the Mojave National Preserve. This google map is centered on the peak and here's the summitpost page for it. I took this shot of Old Dad a few weeks ago from the powerline road to the east.

This shot shows the face we hiked up - I took this back in November.

Here's one taken from the bottom of the face after we got down it.

It was a great day. The temps were in the 70s and there was a light wind. I saw one golden eagle, one rabbit, gobs of lizards, and was buzzed by a small black and white bird that had wings like a swallow. We took about 2 hours going up, then again going down.

The first mile was up the wash, then it's about a half mile up the steep, jagged, lava boulder slope. Here's a shot looking down at the wash shortly after we headed uphill.

The brush was light and the lava rocks provide great traction.

Here are some shots from the summit. This one looks south along the southern ridge with Kelso dunes in the distance.

This one looks southwest toward Sands, showing the sandy powerline road that I drove recently.

The next shot looks northwest and shows Cowhole Mountain jutting up from the desert floor. Luke and I hiked that last year.

I still might try to find a route up the west side of Old Dad some day.

Michael Lewis and Goldman Sachs

Here's an excerpt from a BBC interview of Michael Lewis about why Congress is after Goldman Sachs. It's only 3 minutes long and it's worth a listen. You may remember my recent posts (here and here and here and here) about Lewis and the recent financial crisis.

I've posted the mp3 file to my google sites page. Here's the MP3 file (1.6 MB).