Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2023 by roninsherpa

You will feel better about yourself, and more self confident by accomplishing hard goals. I am challenging everyone reading this to learn a new language this year. If you only speak one language, you are limited in the discussions you can have. Some languages structure their sentences differently, which forces you to think differently in order to literally make sense. At first it sounds like Yoda talking backwards, but with time and effort comes understanding, or an expanding of your mind. Expanding your mind in this manor gives you tools you did not know existed before. It’s like this; If you have never seen a potato peeler before and only ever used a regular knife, the potato peeler changes how you think about cooking. Now that you understand what it does, maybe you can figure out other uses for it. Learning a new language opens new doors for you. I am learning Danish. What language are you learning?

One Way Medals

Posted in Uncategorized on October 25, 2019 by roninsherpa


There are 206 little marks on this sign.

The sign was 6.55 miles from my home.

Each time I ran to the sign, I made a little mark.

Each mark represents a 13.1 mile run I have finished.

A ‘marathon’ is 26.2 miles long.

13.1 miles is a ‘half marathon.’

For some runners the goal of finishing a marathon is a once in a lifetime accomplishment.

 For some runners the goal of finishing a half marathon is a stepping stone to finishing a full marathon.

No matter the distance, the medal earned at the finish line becomes a cherished possession.

2698.6 miles.

The image you see represents 2698.6 miles of running.


These are my medals.


I have moved.

My work earned me the recognition and attention of a larger company who made me an offer I could not refuse.

I have had to leave these medals behind.

I have moved a significant distance away and have had to leave my medals behind.

This has been an intimate, and personal goal, literally made from my own blood, sweat and tears.

I am unsure I will ever accomplish another goal similar to this.

I did not want this personal accomplishment to simply fade away.


It was never about a medal.

It’s just me.


One way.

100 Things to do before I die: The Frying Pan

Posted in Uncategorized on March 14, 2019 by roninsherpa

100 Things To Do Before You Die.

“Life becomes more meaningful when you realize the simple fact you will never get the same moment twice.”



I attended a funeral.

This funeral was for my then girlfriend’s Aunt, and it was a twelve hour drive away. Our budget did not allow for plane tickets, but a few tanks of gas were doable. This effectively put us in a car together for twenty four hours. I had packed snacks, music, books, and a note pad with some pens and markers. Funerals bring your mortality into focus. Realizing our time is precious brings a sense of urgency and a deeper meaning to time and accomplishments.

You were not born just to work, pay bills and die.

It was during the return trip after a brief period of quiet driving I asked her to get out the pad of paper and to write at the top of it “100 Things to do before I die.” If I said 10 things, you could fill that out with the same trivial bullshit everyone says like “buy the car” or “Help others.” I figured once we got to 30 we would really start to have to think about what you wanted to do, and who you were as a person. 100 important things. Maybe something that seemed impossible. Something to strive for.

On that first list I included things like “Quit smoking” and “Run a Marathon.” I included “Drive a Ferrari” and “Ride a bicycle in France.” I remember we drove past this sign for a State Park called “Big Bone Lick State Park” and we had a great laugh about it. Seeing that sign and being on a lengthy road trip got me to thinking about silly road side attractions. The first one that popped into my mind was the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. I wanted to add visiting an obscure road side attraction as one of my 100 Things, but not the ball of twine. It had to be something more obscure, but something that was probably out there somewhere. The thought came to me, frying pan.

“Put this down, Visit the World’s Largest Frying Pan.” She laughed, and wrote it down.

That was 2003.

Over time that relationship came to an end, but I’ve kept my list. I have added and replaced things as either they became irrelevant, or I accomplished them. Today I am able to cross off another milestone.


I have seen the World’s Largest Frying Pan.


This is not as simple a task as you would think. A Google search will draw your attention to no less than six implements which make the claim of “World’s Largest Frying Pan.” Six. Fuck. This requires research and judgement. If I say “frying pan” there is an implement that will pop into your head, a shape. This shape is a pan with a lip around it, and a handle bolted to the side which helps you lift it to and from the fire. There is also a “skillet.” A ‘skillet’ is a cast iron frying pan that the handle and the pan are one solid piece. A skillet is a type of frying pan and will become important later. Then the idea of “largest” comes into question. Like trying to find the tallest building. Some of the taller buildings simply put a tall antenna on the roof. So is the top of the roof the part you measure, or the top of the antenna? The thing a pan is used for is cooking, so the size we are going to focus on is the diameter of the useable pan surface, not the length from the end of the handle to the lip. I will concede that a skillet is a type of frying pan, but traditionally a skillet has a shorter handle than that of a pressed, welded or formed frying pan. There are pans that have to be assembled to be used. By ‘assembled’ I do not mean the handle can be removed, because if you turn over a traditional frying pan you can see a screw or a bolt holding the handle on. If the implement, the usable surface, the frying part has to be one piece. Otherwise it is two pans. If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it right.

My findings:

Pan #1 Brandon, Iowa. This is a proper frying pan. 14 feet, 3 inches from the end of the handle to the opposite rim, but we do not care about the length, we want the diameter of the pan itself. This pan is quite small compared to the others.

Pan #2 Long Beach, Washington. The pan measures 9 feet, 6 inches in diameter. The actual pan is gone. What remains is a fiberglass copy of the pan… so this one does not qualify.

Pan #3 Rose Hill, North Carolina. The implement in Rose Hill claims to be a frying pan, but it is not. It is a frying implement. The thing that is there looks nothing like a pan. It has no handle, it has a large spire shaped thing coming out of the middle of it, and it can not be moved around. This one does not qualify.

Pan #4 Pittsfield, Maine. This is a proper frying pan and has the distinction of being the only one coated with a non-stick surface from DuPont. It has a handle. However the pan is only five feet in diameter. This is not the World’s Largest Frying Pan.

Pan #5 London, Kentucky. They lay claim to the “World’s Largest Skillet” and their implement does measure 10’6″ in diameter, however it is more than one piece. Meaning the Pan is multiple pieces which sit together when in use. It is effectively multiple pans. Moreover a ‘skillet’ is a forged or cast implement with it’s handle as part of the body and not bolted on. These are frying pans, not a skillet. This one does not qualify.

This leaves Pan #6. Georgetown, Delaware. 10′ in diameter, 8 inches deep with a bolted on 8′ handle. Originally built in 1950 for use in what was called the DELMARVA Chicken Festival. The festival takes place alternating in DELaware, MARyland, and VirginiA hence the name “DELMARVA.”

Currently the pan is in the care of the Georgetown Historical Society and is housed in the back of a barn which also houses one of the largest collection of horse drawn buggies in the world. That collection includes wagons owned by the Queen of England and Walt Disney. The grounds are impeccably cared for with a number of buildings which contain the buggy collection and some other oddities. There is an entire building dedicated to the history of telephones and their collection is very impressive. Other barns and buildings are filled with other items which I did not explore.

For 16 years I have held a place in my heart for standing in this room and seeing this object, seeking out the truth of where it was, which was the rightful pan to lay claim to the title, and then finding the time in life to dedicate to fulfilling this life goal.

There is a certain pride to be felt in accomplishing a goal included among a list entitled “100 Things I want to do before I die” yet there is also a bit of sadness. To be honest it was as underwhelming as you would think climbing through a dusty, forgotten old barn to look at a big pan would be, but at the same time I was giddy to be there doing it. I felt twelve.

I got choked up in the car as I drove away. Yeah it was a stupid, throw away line I’ve included in my list as a joke, but it brings back those feelings of mortality and enforces the idea that we only get to live each moment once.

I have seen the World’s Largest Frying Pan, and it is awesome.

A word of caution about FLOOD CARS…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 18, 2018 by roninsherpa

A word of caution about cars that have been affected by flood waters.

I am an independent insurance adjuster. For many years my job has taken me into places after natural disasters like hurricanes. I have worked with hundreds if not thousands of automobiles which have been in flood waters. Flood vehicles are dangerous for a lot of reasons, here are just a few.

  1. Electrical issues. One common issue I have seen with flood cars is the electrics. Lights will come on, the radio will play by itself, or the wipers to come on by themselves. All of these can happen without the switch being turned on or even the key in the car. It happens because flood water is not just water, it carries salt, dirt, grime, and filth that can get into the electrical circuits and leave residue which can cause a short between posts that would otherwise never have contact. Modern cars have a ton of electrical contacts, sometimes too many to effectively clean, so flood cars can end up being total losses.
  2. Sewage. Yes, sewage. Whether by storm surge or rain fall, too much water falls and overwhelms the drainage systems and floods happen. Where ever you are in a flood, look around… every building you can see has a bathroom. None of that is designed to be under water. All of that sewage is now in your car. No you don’t want to think about this, but you have to for your own safety. You just have to realize that this water is rising everywhere. It runs across highways and roads, businesses, and homes. If your car gets into flood water, there can be sewage in your carpet and the sound proofing underneath. It will then grow mold in places you can’t see and cause you to get sick. All that stuff has to come out in order for the car to be safe for use again.
  3. Salt. A hurricane sucks water into itself from the ocean. Clouds do not desalinate ocean water, (meaning take the salt out of it) so that salt water falls inland where it would otherwise not have been before. No it is not pure ocean water, but the salt content is higher than your typical rain shower. This is a hurricane. Now you have what is called “brackish” water further inland. This salt water ruins electrical equipment.
  4. Airbags. Just like I was talking about before, the filth from flood water causes major electrical issues with your car. One of the major safety issues are the airbags. Airbags which have been exposed to flood water have the potential of detonating at any time. Have you ever seen that silly movie where they hide an airbag under Seth Rogan’s chair and it blows him into the ceiling? Well that is obviously a stupid movie but the impact is not far off. Air bags exposed to salt water, much like the lights on a flood car can easily just switch on. In the junk yard after a hurricane it is common to walk around and just hear radios playing, or car alarms going off. It is also not uncommon to have an air bag detonate by themselves, with no interaction. An airbag can hurt you.

How can you keep safe in the aftermath of a large storm?

  1. Do not try to operate vehicles that have been in water deep enough to make the seat wet. There are electrics mounted all over modern cars at seat level that once exposed to flood water can make the car unsafe. Contact your insurance company to file a claim, or have the car looked at by a qualified technician who can make repairs to the car, or advise you further about your particular vehicle.
  2. Stay out of flood areas until authorities say it is safe to return.
  3. Keep yourself as clean as possible by washing your hands, using hand sanitizers often. It is a good idea that once flood debris is cleaned up, to throw out any clothes you wore while doing so as they are probably now contaminated.
  4. Remember that germs and diseases can live everywhere after the flood waters subside for quite a long while. Stay clean.
  5. Consult with your insurance professionals about your policy details with regard to your home and auto and repairs which will have to take place.
  6. Be patient. Yeah, it sucks. The storm hit everyone you can see from your home too. We are all in this together. As bad as it is for you, someone else has it worse. Lives were lost during this storm and those people had families. A car or a building is small potatoes compared to a life.

Stay safe everyone.

Armed teachers is a bad idea. Let’s think this out…

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2018 by roninsherpa

Putting a gun in a teacher’s hand is wrong. Imagine you are the teacher and by some miracle you get the drop on an active shooter and you pull the trigger. What if your bullet hits a student? Bullets are powerful things, they can pass through what you are shooting and hit something on the other side, like a student. Bullets also ricochet. A ricochet bullet can kill.

Putting a gun in a teacher’s hand makes their relationship with the student different, because the teacher always has to think about the gun before the student. Stick with me on this for a minute. In some situations, the students are children, with the bodies of adults. If you are in a high school there is a potential for highly emotional exchanges with teens whose minds are still developing. High school aged kids are emotional wrecks to begin with because they do not have the life experience to deal with the changes their bodies are going through. Here is a situation that is not far fetched: Mr. Johnson is a 55 year old retired Marine who became a teacher. Since the Marines his fitness is not what it used to be and he’s got a few pounds on him. As a retired Marine he qualified to be the teacher with the concealed handgun. Tommy is an 18 year old football player who is working to get a scholarship based on his football abilities, but his grades are not where they need to be. Tommy is mad at Mr. Johnson for failing him and getting him kicked off of the football team. Is it unreasonable to think an 18 year old athlete could wrestle a handgun away from a 55 year old teacher? I don’t want to piss off my Marine friends, but I am saying that the presence of the gun changes the way Mr. Johnson will react to Tommy, and Tommy to Mr. Johnson. That is hypothetical, but not outside the realm of possibility. Let’s say that Tommy got involved with some other athletes and he’s been using steroids to get stronger for football while chasing that scholarship. Steroids often make the user short with their temper and of course stronger. Add to that the inherently unstable emotional state of your average 18 year old and Tommy is a handful. At best he is unpredictable. Again this is not outside the realm of possibility. What if it is Mrs. Johnson and she is 5’2″ and Tommy is 6’4″ ? This is just the issue of having a gun in the classroom, not the issue of an active shooter on campus.

Teachers should not have guns. It is a bad idea.


Sherpa’s Movie Review: LIFE

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25, 2017 by roninsherpa

LIFE Magazine changed how the world saw itself.

Ben Stiller worked for LIFE Magazine in The Secret LIFE of Walter Mitty.

LIFE Breakfast cereal taught us that if Mikey could eat it, we could too.

Hasbro’s The Game of LIFE was a board game we had when we were children. It had a spin top in the middle of the board. My sister would always win.

These things all bring fond memories to me. They all make me smile. Which brings us to the movie I saw last night…

SPOILER ALERT: if you don’t want to know about the movie, then stop reading a movie review about it.

LIFE is a movie staring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal.

The entire movie takes place on the International Space Station with a group of astronauts who are studying soil samples which have been brought back from Mars. A single cell alien life form is discovered in the soil. This alien begins to grow larger and larger and eventually it begins to attack and kill the crew… which is the selling point and why I came to this movie.

You will remember Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool and the Green Lantern: two superhero movies which make up both extremes of the bell curve of quality for superhero movies: total garbage to epic winning. I was hoping his dark edgy humor would shine and bring quippy one liners.

Jake Gyllenhaal has brought us such impactful characters as Donnie Darko and the reporter in Nightcrawler. I was hoping with these guys in the same room and a deadly alien attacking them to be an epic twisting mind-f**k with some dirty humor sprinkled in and some great special effects.

Here are a list of hastags which are appropriate for describing this movie:







The first scene shows Ryan Reynolds being prepped for a space walk. He has to use the CanadArm on the ISS to “catch” a satellite returning to earth from Mars. It did not make any sense for him to make the space walk to use the CanadArm. Why did he have to leave the ISS to catch the satellite? The physics of the ISS “catching” a satellite are nonsensical, but MOVIE. Right? OK. Let’s move on.

The alien comes from the Mars dirt and attacks the black guy. Typical. Ryan Reynolds then goes for a flame thrower. Of course he does. It makes perfect sense to have a flame thrower on the ISS. The alien then crawls into Ryan Reynolds mouth and eats him from the inside. It is the most awesome moment of the movie as he begins to vomit CGI blood and there is no gravity. How would you clean that? How do you mop in zero gravity?

The entire rest of the movie is the other nameless characters, none of which have been set up so that we even care about them, cry about things, then get eaten by CGI Space Herpes. (Ice Pirates reference. Goggle it. The 1980’s were awesome.)

There have been very few movies I have walked out on because they were unwatchable, (Mobsters with Christian Slater was the first) but I came close with this one. It is devoid of any emotion even though quite a few scenes are devoted to people dealing with emotional stuff. There is a scene where they all sit at a table for what seems to be a meal, which makes no sense in a place with no gravity. I was distracted by all of the actors swaying and trying to look like they were floating and the dialogue was lost to me. I kept thinking about the diatribe of endless tasteless one liners Ryan Reynolds must be saying. I wanted to see the blooper reel worse than I wanted to see the rest of this movie. No time was spent establishing characters, so when they each have their overly elaborate death scenes I just didn’t care.

It is frustrating to watch a bad movie. This one just seemed to plug on and on. They end up the ISS is destroyed and the remaining two astronauts have no other choice than one of them luring the alien into the one escape pod and going off into space, and the other astronaut going into the other escape pod and going to Earth. The twist is that the pods get mixed up and the alien gets to earth and we all get space herpes.

I have a popcorn addiction, and I often say I will sit through a bad movie to eat good popcorn. There is no amount of popcorn that could make this a good movie. It is just crap. Bad crap.

I suggest that you rent Alien, Deadpool, Gravity or Ice Pirates instead of watching this movie.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2017 by roninsherpa

“…(A)nd they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the Moon! … We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.” – John F. Kennedy

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

“Because it’s there.” – When asked by a New York Times reporter why he was climbing Mount Everest. – George Mallory

“Because I said so.” – Mom and Dad


Impossible is not impossible. “Accomplishments” are later seen as just stuff someone did. Rodger Banister broke the 4:00 mile in a time when people said the human body could not withstand the rigors of that type of effort. Kathy Switzer ran the Boston Marathon in a time when people KNEW that type of physical effort from a woman would cause her uterus would fall out. I believe in the greatness of people. I reject the entire idea of judging a person based solely on the colour of their skin or who they choose to prey to. Relative to the size of a single human being, our world is vast enough that you can spend your entire life exploring it and never see everything.

Your definition of what is “impossible” is biased to your own experiences. Your complacency lies to you. Your doubt is your undoing.

You can do impossible things. I am not saying you will not fail, because you will. Success is a byproduct of failure.

With the proper motivation you can do those things that you once thought impossible. Think closely about that. It will change your definition of who “friends” really are. Do your friends push you? Support you? Encourage you? Challenge you? If your friends do not ask you to be the best person that you can be, then are they really your friend?

Life is too damned short. Do the impossible thing. Stop being a whiny bitch. No one wants to hear it.



Last night’s dream.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 7, 2017 by roninsherpa

I dreamt I was in in a Europe at an event thrown by a social group I was a member of. It was not work related, the feeling I had being around these people was relaxed and joyous. None of us had ever met in person, maybe we were an online group. It seemed we were meeting for a convention of some sort. I’m not sure, it was dream vague. It was late in the day. Chilly. I wore a jacket. We were in a park which looked like it had been designed with fitness obstacles where you would go along the path to the next thing like loops or bars. Our group was 10 or 12 people with other members who had already left. When I remember the dream starting we had come from a lecture and were now wandering in this fitness park. The next obstacle was a maze which was literally cut into a hill. The path descended, with walls on each side, and turned sharply at a few points so you could not see past the next turn. It was open to the sky, but it descended to the point you could not see over the top. The walls were painted yellow in contrast to the green grass. The path was small granite blue pebbles which crunched when people walked on it. At the other end of the maze, things opened up to a small flat green with large leafed plants and large older trees bordering it. Some vandal had taken blue paint and flung it all over the walls, the grass and the large leafed plants. There was graffiti. It brought everyone’s sprit down. There was an unattended information desk which had maps of the park and a chair where the absent attendant were to sit. The rest of the people were turned off by the vandalism and agreed we would leave and find a pub for a pint and some dinner. I was inspecting the paint which had been flung all over the plants, thinking what a shame that they would all die, when I noticed there was only myself and the actor Luke Mitchell who was speaking German on a cell phone. He wore a black turtle neck and a tan corduroy blazer with elbow patches like some cheap villain from a cold war era movie. He was looking at me as he talked. A girl who I knew in the group, had left a written note on a piece of paper under a small stone on the information desk. It was the address were everyone was going. I had my iPhone and was typing it in when a large 1960’s European sedan with four or five menacing people in it drove up to Luke Mitchell. They were gesturing toward me as they all got out of the car. So there I was, on my own in a strange old European fitness park, strewn with vandalism and graffiti, at dusk with German Luke Mitchell and his band of thugs ominously lurking toward me. I knew I was going to be late for that pint.


Alarm goes off.

This true dream occurred this morning, 02/07/2017.


fifteen years…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2016 by roninsherpa

I was in my truck headed to install an alarm in a house when my cell phone rang. She and I had spent time in New York and she wanted to tell me an airplane had hit the Tower. I remember her saying the word “Cessna.” She also said there was a live shot of it on television. She worked in an office building, managing an entire floor of people in cubicles, so for her to know about something on TV at 9:00am was odd. I thanked her and hung up. At the next intersection there was an old, run down convenience store and I pulled in. I remember that place felt really dirty and grimy. I remember the rebel flag and the taxidermy deer. There were very few windows and the light came from fluorescent bulbs. The walls behind the counter were painted a pale yellow. The entire place was cluttered and messy in a sad run down way. I have no memory of how the person behind the counter looked, only the way they made me feel. They did have a television and I clearly remember the huge wad of aluminum foil on each of the TV’s rabbit ear antenna. I bought a Coke because I wanted to be a paying customer. I remember having to ask the cashier something about either switching on the TV, or changing the channel, but my memory is not clear about which. What I do remember clearly is the World Trade Center burning. I stood there in shock, finally saying to the cashier that I had lived and knew people there. The cashier made openly prejudiced remarks about people from the north, and about his indifference toward what was happening there. The rhetoric went something like “Damn yankees, probably deserved it. Kill’em all.” I remember feeling disgusted about being in there, and felt badly having contributed money toward this person.

The second plane hit the Towers as I stood in the dirty store with the prejudiced cashier.

Fear gripped me and I remember I did not want to waste energy being submersed in the ignorance of that place, so I walked out. I sat in my car in that parking lot for a moment trying to think of a way to get out of installing this alarm, but I went anyway.

He showed me around the old house and we discussed the alarm he wanted. The whole time my mind was on fire with the events I had witnessed, so I was hardly paying attention to him. I remember how old the house was, wooden in construction with peeling wall paper and prevalent water damage. It seemed the cliché setting  for any horror movie. One room had hundreds upon hundreds of newspapers stacked from floor to ceiling except for a path which led to a window. If there were any furniture in this room, it was under this ridiculously massive glut of newspapers. He had a full grown Doberman Pinscher, a ferret, and massive macaw parrot, all of which had free roam of the entire house. The odd bit was that the living room had $100,000 of audio visual equipment. It was like the Space Shuttle in the middle of a swamp. He had the largest TV I had ever seen which was not a projection screen. I understood why he wanted the alarm. He said he was going to leave me in the house to do my work, and he would return later. He warned me to be weary of the macaw. He was right, that damn bird bit me more than once. Before he left, I asked if he would be so kind as to turn on the TV so I could watch what was happening in New York. I remember his saying he didn’t want to pay me to watch TV, but when he turned it on almost immediately they reported that the Pentagon had been hit. We stood there, with the dog, the ferret and the fucking murderous bird, watching our country erupt into chaos.

After that my memories blur…


I remember Dan Rather getting choked up on David Letterman’s first show back on the air.

I remember President Bush throwing out the first pitch a Yankee Stadium.


Fifteen years.


The Premier! The Polar A360 strapless HRM’s

Posted in Uncategorized on December 15, 2015 by roninsherpa

The Premier! The Polar A360! 


As you know, I am a Polar Brand Ambassador. A select few of us scruffy looking, nerf hearders, have been granted special permission to give the new A360 unit a unique, once in a lifetime test! I will be wearing this unit during the premier of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, along with my Polar V800! I will be posting my own personal heart rate as I visit my life long friends R2D2, C3PO, Han, Luke and Leia along with all the new faces like Rey, Fin and the new Dark Lord Kylo Ren! It will show you the difference between the accuracy of the two units, and the data each collects. That way you can see Polar’s flagship: the ultra advanced, highly accurate V800, and the new strapless A360! I have already been given tickets to the IMAX 3D show on Thursday night, so the whole world can see just how nerdy I am and how badly I flip out seeing the Millennium Falcon! (It did the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs, you know…)

I assure you that while my posts will show where all the excitement is in the movie, they will be spoiler free! I welcome the entire world into my Nerddom and Geekness. May the Force be with you!

“Put the A360 in the cargo hold.”