I'm testing out this chat software for a later event. Stop in and say hi!


This Blog has Moved.

After six years of blogging at this address, I have seen the light and am abandoning Blogger like so many digital lemmings before me. All the content has migrated to my new site, and the links to this one should remain ok, but nothing more will be posted here.

What's this mean for you? If you're reading this via RSS, all transmissions will cease. Please go to the new site - www.RandyBohlender.com - and click on the new feed, or choose to have the new feed emailed to you directly.

A few more features and links will be added in the next few days, but again - this blog is dead, yet lives, here. Please update your links.

Thanks to Ellen Karns, former VCC Web Girl, for helping me and tweaking the layout. OK, bending the layout beyond recognition. Thanks also to Shelley Paulson for taking every picture of me that does not look dumb, including the one in the new header.

Timing is Everything

As previously mentioned, I'm listening to Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers audiobook...and now wishing I had the hard copy in my hand, because I can't find the quote I'm looking for.

In a synopsis, Gladwell lays out the case that almost all titans of technology were born in a narrow window of time. For example...

Bill Joy - Founding team, Sun Microsystems - November 8, 1954
Scott McNealy - Founding team, Sun Microsystems - Nov 13, 1954
Vinod Khosla - Founding team, Sun Microsystems - Jan 28, 1955
Steve Jobs - Apple Computers - Feb 24, 1955
Andy Bechtolsheim, Founding team, Sun Microsystems - June 1955
Bill Gates - Microsoft - Oct 28, 1955
Steve Ballmer - Microsoft CEO - March 24, 1956

Gladwell goes on to list a bunch of lesser known, behind the scenes people and their birthdays, all into an 24 month window. While they all certainly are bright men and women, they are not arguably smarter than those who came before or after them. While they are hard workers, they do not work harder or longer than any other generation.

What was it about that window of time that produced a micro-sliced generation of high achievers?


These men came into adulthood at a time when computers were behemoths that took up entire rooms, but the wheels of innovation were already turning...and their minds were free to think about making computers smaller and affordable - perhaps even putting one on your desk.

Had they been born five years earlier, they would have been entrenched in careers that were build on large mainframe computers. Being creative would have put their livelihood in jeopardy. They couldn't have afforded to put years into small computers - they would have had a mortgage to pay and babies to raise.

Had they been born five years later, they would have missed the revolution and been relegated to being a footsoldier in a new guard of electronics and software companies.

Gates, Jobs and others became who they are by hard work, by cleverness, and by the unique opportunity afforded them by a narrow window of time.

This post has nothing to do with computers. It has to do with questions I'm asking myself right now...because in a sense, we were all born on our own 4th of July, 1955.

For every person born, there is a unique opportunity to shift history, to change the game, to invent what was not possible a few years earlier and won't be amazing a few years later. We all have our own window of time.

So I'm asking...
  • What time is it right now?
  • What opportunities are being afforded us that have never been afforded others before...and will be passe in short order.
  • What is just through this window of time, and how many of us can get through the window before time slams it shut forever?


I have a hunch

I filled our Suburban up for about $38 yesterday. Even as I did the happy dance, I know it can't last.

I have little more than intuition to peg this on, but mark my words - these gas prices are not here to stay. They may last a week or a month, and they may even go a little bit lower, but they're getting ready to skyrocket back where they were this summer or higher.

Helping form my conviction on this:

1) People have already assured Big Oil that we will pay $4+/gallon. Yes, we might drive a little less, but not half as much as we do at $2. They can sell less and make more at $4/gallon.

2) Very few people want to hear politicians talk about alternative energy. This dip in gas prices reassures people that we don't really need to worry about using anything other than oil, further diminishing their interest. The only thing we are burning faster than oil is time....time that should be spent on research but won't be, because gas is cheap again.

3) Markets are driven by speculation, not production. Look at the recent stock market activity. It swings wildly day to day - is that because the stocks intrinsic value fluctuates that fast? No it's because the number of people who bet that someone else is dumber than they are is skyrocketing. Oil will fluctuate just as quickly.

Fill your tanks, friends. And your barrels and your pitchers and your swimming pools. $4 gas will be back sooner than you think.


audio books or print?

I saw an advertisement today for a free download of Malcolm Gladwell's new book, 'Outliers'. Of course, until I followed all the links, I was signing up for a 14 day trial of Audible.com, which I have no intention of keeping.

This is my second audio book of recent weeks, but to be frank, I'm not a big fan. First of all, I read way faster than most audio book readers. They take a LONG time to listen too...plus I talk to people and get talked to by people most of the day, so sitting down and hearing only the voice(s) in my head is more calming than you can imagine. Audio books seem like an extended meeting to me - one that I can't respond to. That said, it's hard to resist free Gladwell. :)

Comparing the two books - Gladwell's 'Outliers' and Seth Godin's 'Tribes', I'd pick Gladwell over Godin even though I'm only 20 minutes into 'Outliers'. It's not that Godin doesn't have good material. In fact, it's almost E.W. Kenyonesque in that I could listen for 5 minutes and shut it off and think for 30. He speaks in sound bites that actually bite and force you to apply them to your own situation.

Gladwell wins for one reason: Story telling.

No one tells a story like the Canadian-cum-neurotic-New-Yorker Malcom Gladwell. He speaks with clarity and intensity, but also with a quizzical sound in his voice, as if he's discovering the story along with you. Think a younger Garrison Keillor minus the Minnesota flavor and restricted to fact.

Godin makes me think of a million applications of his one, eight word thought....but Gladwell makes me want to listen to him.

Plus, he's got that wicked cool hair.


up and nearly at'm

It's a quarter past 6am. I've been up for about an hour, feeding the girls who slept their longest stretch ever - nearly 6 1/2 hours - and went right back to sleep after their bottles. I'm so thankful I want to wear a pilgrim hat and buckle shoes today.

Kelsey is feeling...pregnant. She gets tired pretty quickly, although it should be noted that the woman stewards six children, three of who poop their pants at random, and an oddball husband. That, and she gives herself shots in the abdomen twice daily, leaving bruises that would lead one to believe she lost a game of paintball. And then she apologizes. "I'm sorry I'm tired...I don't mean to complain...". She and I are made out of very different stuff. Kryptonite Mom vs. Puddin Pops.

Jackson took a few photos of der vundertwins. You can click on either to see the full size version. As near as I can tell from the photos, the first one is of Mercy Rain. The one below is Anna River.

The girls are over 9lbs now and their personalities are really beginning to shine. Mercy is the more vocal of the two, not in a whiney way, but more in the mold of a prophetic singer, which is find with us. She is a little bigger and her hair is slightly lighter in color.

Anna, on the other hand (often literally on the other hand) is a little more demure, although secretly I think she's plotting the writing of her tell-all book, "I Was Adopted By The Strangest Family on the Planet And Turned Out Fine", available on Amazon in the spring of 2028.

If it sounds like all we do is laugh and play with these girls...it's because we are reporting on the highlights of the day. We are still intercessory missionaries. We still pay the bills, scrub the floor, read the news and drink a lot of coffee. It's just that our lives have been willingly hijacked by two half Asian beauties who we find irresistible.

In the "Not Half Asian But We Still Love Her" category, I had to post a photo of our dear friend Annie, who in characteristic sympathy for our plight, brought over this killer double layer chocolate cake complete with toasted coconut on the icing.

This may have been the most Martha Stewart thing I've ever seen done by a teenager. We are plotting ways to keep her in Kansas City, and I am not above sabotaging her college essays by inserting words like "booger" at random.

Thank you, Annie! The tribe loves you, and if we ever carve a totem pole, you are TOTALLY going on top, far out of reach of the dreaded pigeon zone.


This rings a bell

We can put a man on the moon but we can't remember to pick up our tools. Honestly, though, I must have lost a thousand dollars worth of my dad's tools growing up on the farm. I found some weird satisfaction in this story.

Lost tool bag forces changes to planned spacewalks

HOUSTON (AP) - Flight controllers were revamping plans Wednesday for the remaining spacewalks planned during space shuttle Endeavour's visit to the international space station, after a crucial tool bag floated out to space during a repair trip.

The briefcase-sized tool bag drifted away from astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper on Tuesday as she cleaned and lubed a gummed-up joint on a wing of solar panels on the space station. She and fellow astronaut Stephen Bowen were midway through the first of four spacewalks planned for the mission. The tool bag was one of the largest items ever lost by a spacewalker.


A rare youtube link

I very rarely post odd youtube videos, but this is so true that it cannot be ignored. It's also a little painful when you recognize yourself.

I have no idea who this guy is, but you're only laughing because you see yourself. Two profundities - "everything is amazing, but nobody is happy...." and "...used to be, if you ran out of money, you couldn't do any more things...".

Via MondayMorningInsight.com

thought fragment...

This idea will reappear later in a more thoroughly written blog, but I just wanted to toss it out there this morning while it was fresh in my mind.

I was up this morning praying for my family. It seems to take longer to do that every week. :) As I prayed, I pondered the nature of Satan's rage toward children. They are not just at risk because of their innocence. It's as if he's gunning for them.

Babies are targeted in the womb for elimination. If they survive, they spend their childhood in a world in surrounded by adults who are entertained by images and ideas that would be considered detrimental to their spirit. They are immersed in a culture that speaks to them as if their youth is to be despised. 'Childlike' is an admirable quality, yet they are told over and over, 'grow up'.

Why the war on children and childhood?

Then I was reminded of Psalm 8:2. From the lips of children and infants, I have ordained praise. Into their DNA, God has written a holy song, and Satan is trying for all he's worth to throw a sour note into the lifesong they have been given, because he knows that their song defeats his purposes.

Satan does not rage against children because they're vulnerable. He rages against them because they are dangerous.

It is a privilege to raise a house full of dangerous kids.