Monthly Archives: April 2009


Asparagus Festival 2009


Nothing says April in Stockton quite like the Asparagus Festival. We headed out Saturday late morning, just after they opened and made our way to the main stage to watch the Deep Fried Asparagus Eating competition. This is always a crowd favorite and once again, was a sanctioned International Federation of Competitive Eating event.

We also ate a lot of asparagus and had a great time visiting all of the booths. I even tried the hole-in-one challenge. Of course, I didn’t qualify. Overall, it was another awesome year at the Asparagus Festival.

Picture 1
Check out the rest of the pics here.


Earth Day at Victory Park

The best thing about the Earth Day festivities at Victory Park this afternoon was seeing Snap Jackson & The Knock On Wood Players perform. They weren’t on stage, just playing their tunes for anyone that would stop by. These guys have an awesome sound and put on a great show, even for just playing in the park. They have some shows coming up soon in the area so I will definitely have to check them out again!

Check them out on MySpace and go see them live (schedule is on their site).


Makenzy’s Track Meet

Today was Makenzy’s first track meet, held at my old high school. She competed in the standing long jump, 100 and 400 meter races. She did very well, especially since it was her first event.

Check out the pics here.


LinkedIn Does Not A Network Make


I had a conversation with Dawn tonight about “networking” and using LinkedIn. My wife, with her wonderful honesty, reminded me I have some pretty strong opinions about this subject. Our conversation reminded of me of my own axiom: just because you’re on LinkedIn doesn’t mean you’re building your network or even “networking”.

I have been on LinkedIn for a couple of years now and have found it to be a very helpful tool to keep track of all of the career movement out there. When I am looking to hire someone, or want to make a referral to a hiring manager or recruiter, LinkedIn is often the first place I visit. On many occasions, I have also been able to connect with people of whom I had lost track.


LinkedIn is a tool for gathering your contacts’ info. It is not, however, the only one.  I use an application on my Mac that has proven to be a great tool for maintaining contact info.  Nothing high tech here. It’s called Address Book and comes, with little fanfare, on every Mac.  For those on Windows machines, I guess you could use Outlook or build your own in Excel or Access. I maintain my address book with religious devotion. People are, after all, how and why the world works. I treasure my family, my friends, my colleagues and people in general. I keep up to date contact details and reach out to everyone I know every few months or so. It is a practice that has given me great joy through the years.

I take great pride in maintaing my personal and professional networks. Staying in contact with people has proven valuable many times. Add to that the fact that most would call me a pretty “social” person; I genuinely enjoy meeting and spending time with people. Every success I have had in my career is thanks to lessons I have learned from other people. Learning new things and growing starts with building and maintaining a strong network.

To help you build your network, here are my 5 tips for using LinkedIn:

1. Share your contact information. I am happy to share my work and personal e-mail addresses, work, home and cell phone numbers with anyone in my network. If you are not willing to share all of your contact details with someone, you have no business sending them an invite on LinkedIn.

2. Don’t discriminate. LinkedIn represents only a small percentage of what would be considered my professional network. I believe in building my professional network indiscriminately; I don’t just focus on those that are on LinkedIn, thus my reason for using Address Book. As a rule, I never send a “join LinkedIn” invite to people that I know that aren’t on LinkedIn. Chances are, they know about it already and I don’t need LinkedIn to stay in touch with them.

3. Personalize your introduction and invitation request. “Because you are a person I trust…” and “I’d like to add you to my professional network…” is code word for “You’re not important enough to me to take the time to write a personal note.” Okay, I admit, that’s a bit much, but is it really that hard to customize that message? If you get a link request from me I promise you’ll get a customized note, and my contact info!

4. Building meaningful relationships starts by adding value. Your professional network is not there for you to feed on. Look for ways you can contribute to others.  Check in with people, ask how you can help. Make meeting new people a priority. And please, when you do, stick your hand out and introduce yourself.

5. Stay in contact. My Mother, being in business for herself most of her life, planted the seeds for this practice early in my life. She taught me that staying in contact is the most important rule in building relationships. Make a point to reach out to your contacts regularly. My goal is to reach out to everyone every 3 months. Admittedly, I fall a little behind from time to time but would never dream of letting 6 months or more go without sending out a quick e-mail, phone call or card (yes, hand written cards rock). If you value your relationships, stay in contact. My trick: schedule time on your calendar to follow up. After years of doing this, it comes natural and the rewards are immense.

Networking, as a term, gets a bad rap. Building relationships is about sharing and adding value.

If you want to link with me, you know where to find me.



Easter 2009

Another Easter, another visit by the Texas Beckwiths. JR, Megan, Wynter and Audrey came out again this year and spent easter with us. Once again, we had all of the brothers and sister in the same house at the same time. Of course, that means we had the opportunity to take the same picture we took in 2007.


Yes, it does seem that I am wearing the same hat and shirt. Check out the rest of the 2009 Easter pictures here.



Happy Birthday Elizabeth

Happy birthday Elizabeth.


Another cousin turns 7!

Check out the other pics here.


Party Pardee Century


Yesterday, just like in 2007, I rode the Party Pardee Century with Mike and his son Spencer. Howard Park in Ione greeted us with chilly temperatures. It was 29 degrees when we pulled in and probably didn’t get much above 30 for the first hour on the road. I dressed appropriately for the ride, meaning that I froze for nearly the entire first hour. My face was so cold I would have surely sounded drunk if you tried to carry on a conversation with me. I can deal with cold feet and legs. What made the first hour and a half tough was that my hands were frozen. Even though I was wearing long gloves, I felt like I had ice blocks on the ends of my hands. I rode 5 miles or so sitting up with my hands held tightly under my armpits. It helped a lot and allowed me to eventually to use my shifters. I also stayed in a lower gear then normal and tried to keep my cadence over 110 until I got warm.

The Sacramento Bike Hikers sure know how to put on a great century. This year’s theme was Puttin’ On The Ritz. Almost all of their volunteers wore top hats and they had costumed volunteers at all the rest stops. The check-in was very smooth and fast. They had tons of great food at the start and even better food at the rest stops. My favorite item was some concotion made with fresh blackberries and cream cheese. They had that sitting next to the container of Nutella spread. I grabbed a couple of quarter-bagels and slapped some of each on them. There were also a ton of fresh fruit and plenty of water, cytomax and lemonade. At every rest stop the volunteers were very friendly and supportive.

As for the ride, I was reminded why this is my favorite metric century anywhere! The route treats us to some of the best views in the foothills and by the Lake Camanche and Pardee Reservoir. Then there are the hills. That’s why I love this ride. This is not an easy ride-in-the-park metric century. With 4200 feet of climbing, it’s a good challenge for this early in the year. I still ride a triple and I was able to stay in my center ring over all of the climbs. Near the end of the day, on the last climb, I was tempted to pop down to my little ring but alas, I persisted up the hill without it.

Mike and Spencer rode very well. Spencer had not ridden in months and probably hadn’t climbed since the last time we did this ride. His strength continues to amaze me! Mike, the best riding partner a guy could ask for, fought the hills and came out victorious. Although he will tell you that he suffered (duh, we all did) through the hills he still made it to each peak and still ended the day strong! As he always does, Mike was there with plenty of encouragement and just a little bit of smack-talk.

The other thing I love about doing rides like these is the people. Riding all day and “talking shop” with a bunch of other cyclists is a great way to spend the day. At the last stop I ran into David who I met at last years Sunrise Century and of course Allan, the guy with the music. At the end of the day, as we packing up, I asked a passer-by to take our picture (the one above). The guy that took our picture just happened to be a guy that I found on Twitter the night before (@smflash). What are the odds!?!

65 miles
4:51:00 on bike
13.4 MPH
4200’ of climbing
2 sunburned legs

Great job Bike Hikers! You put on another great event. See you next year!

Check out the pics here.