If he didn’t have bad luck…

… he wouldn’t have any luck at all.

Yesterday (Sunday) I took Yogi to an adoption day event sponsored by his rescue people in Endfield, CT. It was a 3½ hour drive. One way.

25 dogs got adopted at the event but Yogi wasn’t one of them.

He did really well. He was well-behaved. Lots of people said how cute he was. One couple was seriously considering taking him home. But it wasn’t to be.

As a consolation prize, he got a bag of dog treats and a new collar.

Pizza Night

Clay Hearth Pizza

If you can’t make it to Mace Chasm Farm for Taco Night on Thursdays, you can still catch wood-fired thin-crust pizza every Saturday night at East Branch Organics in Keene!

The Clay Hearth fires up their pizza oven starting at 4 and bakes to order until 7.

They always have a “Traditional” cheese and a “Margarita.” The third variety — the Special” — changes every time you go, but it always features a cheese from a local creamery, or fresh veggies from one of the local farms.

We always get a Traditional/Margarita half-and-half. Depending on what mood we’re in, we get two. Or a special.

It really is the best pizza you can get anywhere between New York City and Montreal.

And East Branch Organics always hosts a wine tasting at the same time, so you’ll have something to do while your pizza is in the oven.

Taco Night

Mace Chasm Farm

Over in Keeseville the Mace Chasm Farm has a little butcher shop where you can get just about any kind of locally grown-right-there-on-the-farm meat you want any time of year.

Last night and every Thursday night during the summer they have a little food truck set up in the farm driveway serving tacos. You can get just about any flavor except fish. They also have homemade mint ice tea. (If you want anything other than that you have to BYOB.)

Last night we went over to try out the tacos. We highly recommend the chicken and the chorizo.

The guy in the trailer making them spent some time traveling around Mexico. I’ve never been to Mexico, so I have no basis to judge whether they’re authentic. I can say they’re tasty.

They have a few picnic boards (not tables, boards) set up on hay bails around the yard. Old-timey music playing on some iPod speakers next to the butcher shop. It was like having dinner in a scene from O Brother, Where Art Thou. Even if you didn’t like the movie (and who, other than my dad, didn’t like the movie?), it’s a really neat place to eat tacos.

If you happen to be going anywhere near Keeseville on a Thursday night, this is something you’ll want to check out.

It’s not Magic, but it is Magical.

My wife gave me a beautiful purple sweater for Christmas. It’s knit from cashmere. Really nice.

But we have cats, and cats have claws. Claws that snag sweaters. So after wearing my new sweater for just a couple hours, it had two big snags right in the front.

Fortunately, our friend Betty knows about fabrics, and knitting, and how to fix things like this. I showed her my beautiful, ruined sweater, and she said, “Oh, that’s easy to fix. I have a special [insert name for a tool I never heard of before here]. I can have that out in no time.” It was nothing short of miraculous to me.

Last year, Betty was having trouble with her computer. She couldn’t send documents to her printer. She had no idea what was going on with it, but thought I might be able to help. “Oh, yes,” I’d said. “That’s easy to fix.” Sure enough, it was, but it was nothing short of miraculous to her.

I know about computers. She knows about fabrics. Each of us is in some way is magical to the other, but neither is a mystery. Not really. In both cases it’s a lot of hours spent getting to know a field of knowledge deeply and loving what we do.

Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson did the same thing with basketball a few years ago. My grandfather used to do magic with a welding torch. I’ve known other people who knew how to do magic in vegetable gardens. Others work magic every day as 4th grade teachers. Another friend of ours works magic with plumbing.

The horse whisperers and dog whisperers of the world aren’t magic people. They’ve just spent so many hours with horses and dogs, that it seems that way to us.

People who can do these things are everywhere. They take something ordinary and turn it into art. And, you can tell the difference right away between someone who really knows, and someone who’s just making a buck or getting by. Without the combination of depth of knowledge and love of the field, it’s not magical.

So, what’s your magic?

Perfect is Overrated

Very few things need to be absolutely perfect before you start.

A rocket launch might qualify. Surgery. Firing up a nuclear power generator. There are probably a few others.

The vast majority of things you might start up can be fine tuned as you go along.

Your web site launch doesn’t need to be glitchless before going live. If a button is a little out of place, you can fix it on the fly.

The new program your Rotary Club is contemplating doesn’t need to have all the details completely ironed out beforehand. Something is bound to come up that you didn’t think of ahead of time. That’s why you have the talent and dedication of your members to deal with new contingencies as they arise.

A new product doesn’t have to be flawless. Release a “beta” version, and upgrade for free when the kinks get worked out.

Eating more vegetables doesn’t have to mean going vegan cold turkey. Get some freezer packs and pop em in the microwave if you can’t bring yourself to cut fresh ones ahead of time right away.

Perfect isn’t nearly as necessary as you think. Starting, and then keeping at it, is way more important.

Two New Projects on the Production Schedule

Today I added two projects to the iCaspar Web Development production schedule.

  1. I’ll be building a new site for the New York State Council of Churches. Currently, it’s a Google Site. They need some flexibility that the freebee Google site structure just doesn’t offer. The administrative interface has been giving them fits, too.
  2. I’ll be rebuilding the website for Pal Craftaid. I did this site for them a couple years ago, but they’ve outgrown it. Right now it’s an informational site. They need to fully implement an e-commerce site where people can buy their stuff online instead of just looking at lists. (You can buy some of it online, but it’s a separate e-commerce installation.) They need a better way to lay out their front page. And the photo galleries around the site need an update. We’ve been talking about it for a long time, but now it’s finally on the front burner.

Both of these are going to be custom builds on WordPress with theme design and functionality to match the specific needs of their organizations. I’m looking forward to tackling them.

I have just a couple slots left on the production schedule for the summer and into fall. (In case you want to get on it!)

Enough to Be Dangerous

There’s probably a stage, and probably more than one stage, in every field of endeavor when you know enough to be dangerous.

I know I’ve been at that stage on more than one occasion across at least two fields. I’ve probably been at that stage unawares many more times than that.

I came across a post on a help board (no need to say where) from someone who had tried to copy and modify a WordPress installation. That’s fine. But he did it on his client’s live website. When it broke he didn’t know how to fix it. Oops. That client’s probably going to be looking at some serious rebuild costs.

I’ve been filling in frequently at a congregation where the pastor left. He was a nice guy. Well liked by the people. It was his first church. He just got himself in over his head and had to make a quick exit.

A few things have saved my butt at times when I’ve known enough to be dangerous:

  1. When you can do something in a test environment first, do it in the test environment first.
  2. When you must do something in a live environment (where real people will be affected and there’s no test environment available) and you’ve never done it in a test environment before, make sure you have someone else around who has more experience about it than you.
  3. If in doubt, ask first. Risking looking ignorant by asking a “dumb question” is better than removing any doubt about how dumb you are.

Of course, that’s just a bare minimum start. What would you add to the list?