Monthly Archives: December 2011

Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters (be careful with that keyboard, it’s loaded)


Taking a brief break from my break from discussing Social Media to post about this good slide deck from IBM about Social Media and how NOT to use it.  The presentation sites more than a dozen examples of how companies have blundered on the web, but my favorite is definitely Ryanair’s press release stating “Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion.  It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won’t be happening again.  Lunatic bloggers can have the blogosphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel.”

It describes some etiquette in using social media as a business, but these rules also apply to us as individuals.  I mention this in response to observing individuals engage in a social media personal assault.

With any form of broadcast communications (media), you should be sensitive to your audience.  But with social media, it is even more important because of the broad reach one person can have and the permanence it has.  With social media an individual can broadcast their message as widely as a fortune 500 company with a huge marketing budget, and once posted, it cannot be fully removed.  It’s a loaded gun.  There is no putting the bullet back once the trigger has been pulled.  So when it comes to using it, be judicious.  A great rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you would have these 4 people read it:  your mother, your child, your future employer, and the person it is talking about.  If it can pass this test, it is probably good to publish.

When in doubt, leave it out.
Not to be confused with controversy, which can be healthy as it stimulates discussion and protects us from following on blind faith.  Don’t be afraid to point it out when “the Emperor has no clothes.”

Check out other related slide decks from IBM at http://www.slideshare.net/HorizonWatching/social-media-101-social-media-disasters

Grand Canyon Day 3: Redwall Cavern, Nautiloid Canyon and the Roaring Twenties


Next Post: Day 4
Previous Post: Day 2

I woke up at 5:15 today.  Slept mostly through the night.  Everyone was a bit anxious in the morning about rowing the Roaring Twenties, but no one more than me with Ariel onboard after nearly flipping the raft yesterday,  But I am much more confident again after a clean run through Twentyfour Mile Rapid, the first class 6 rapid of the day.  (The Roaring Twenties are the 5 miles of river starting at river mile 21,so named for the series of rapids that, by Grand Canyon measurements, are packed closely together — every half mile or so. There are 2 class 4’s, 3 class 5’s and 3 class 6 rapids)

River Guide Map - Roaring Twenties

River Guide Map shows rapids and campsites of the Roaring Twenties section

For breakfast we had eggs made to order…as long as you ordered scrambled eggs.  Not everyone got eggs because the first people took too much.  Guess that’s why it was supposed to be “made to order” instead of “self serve”.  Good thing there is other food to fill in.
It was a sunny day again.  This time we stopped for lunch at noon.  That makes a big difference.  Shortly after lunch we reached Redwall Cavern.  Wow! Everything is big in the Canyon!  The cavern is at river level and it’s huge.  Surprising the roof doesn’t cave in.  As we approached it, the size is deceptive.

Approaching Redwall Cavern

Approaching Redwall Cavern

Redwall Cavern is deceptively large as you approach

Redwall Cavern is deceptively large as you approach

Immense Redwall Cavern

Immense Redwall Cavern

The eddy beside the cavern is about a 1/4th mile long with a strong circulation upstream.  The cavern is at the lower end of the eddy, so we had to stay in the current until we were practically past the cavern before pulling in or we would just be pushed back upstream.  It’s tough to row these big rafts against the current, even when it’s just a recirculating eddy.

People sure get goofy here.  There is something about having a rock sky overhead that demands taking whacky photos.

One-two-three-jump

One-two-three-jump

We even played frisbee inside the cave.  It’s so big that if you stand at one end and throw it you can’t hit the other end.   Ariel played her cello here and Jay played his guitar too.  But the acoustics here aren’t as good as I had expected.

Ariel plays cello at Redwall Cavern, Grand Canyon

Ariel plays cello at Redwall Cavern, Grand Canyon (one of my favorite photos)

After awhile we packed up and headed down river.  (Not allowed to camp here)

Steve relaxing at lunch stop

Steve relaxing at lunch stop

Rowing is hard work

Rowing is hard work!

Living on Canyon Time

Living on Canyon Time

One of many rapids today

One of many rapids today

We reached camp at Nautiloid Canyon, mile 35, and there was a bit of confusion.  First everyone had a different idea of where to park the boats, then where to setup the kitchen, then the groover got set up in the open right where people were setting up their tents.  It really was comical.  If another group had seen us they would have thought we were the Keystone Cops. The problem was that half the campsite had been washed away recently from a flash flood that came down from the side canyon.  It cut a path 40′ wide and 6′ deep through the beach.   I relocated the groover to a more private spot.  The rafts were moved from in front of the washout to a spot further down the beach, just in case another flood comes.

Campsite at Nautiloid

Campsite at Nautiloid. Note the huge washout.

We had grilled chicken for dinner.  I’m getting spoiled with all of this good food!

cleaning up after dinner

Cleaning up after dinner

There is a short hike here, but no time to do it tonight.  We’ll have to check it out in the morning.

Next Post: Day 4
Previous Post: Day 2

Grand Canyon Day 2: Jackass Creek to North Canyon


Next Post: Day 3
Previous Post: Day 1

(If you’re just checking in for the first time, I am posting my daily journal entries from my month-long rafting trip leading 16 friends down the Grand Canyon.  You may want to go back and start at the first post of the series and work your way forward.)

An exciting day!  I got up around 5:30 AM, just before sunrise.  Around 6:30 AM the wind suddenly picked up, gusting over 20 mph.  Then the rain came and it poured.  Ariel put on her drysuit before she even got out of the tent.  Best rain gear you could have!  It’s a good thing I had packed the gear back in the drybags before going to bed.  A few people left stuff outside and it’s soaked.  David C. didn’t fair so well.  Yesterday evening his tent blew down the hill in a wind gust like a tumbleweed.  Someone recovered it just before it went into the river, but it got torn up a bit.  He’s gonna get wet if we get more rain on this trip.  It’s a good thing everything dries so quickly in the Canyon.

We packed up camp in the wind and rain and were ready to go by 9:00.  Then the rain and wind suddenly stopped.  This is so much like those Florida summer rain showers.  The big difference is you can’t see what’s coming because the Canyon walls block the view of most of the sky.  You don’t know what’s coming until it is right over you. Then just as we prepared to push off from shore, red-brown water started flowing down the far bank of the river in the main current.

Watching the river turn brown as we prepare to depart Jackass Camp

Watching the river turn brown as we prepare to depart Jackass Camp

It gradually started filling in the eddy where we were parked, then finally filling in the middle of the river until it all ran brown.  A flash flood had come pouring down the Badger Canyon just across the river from us.  Amazing how the muddy water shows how the water flows within the river like smoke does in a wind tunnel.

Muddy water coming in from the Badger Canyon

Muddy water coming in from the Badger Canyon

Fortunately breakfast didn’t require any cooking.  I stuffed myself last night on stir-fry dinner, so I just had a bagel.  We skipped lunch because we were so close to the intended camp that we thought we would just push on and do lunch at camp.

This afternoon we ran our first class 7 rapid of the trip: House Rock.

Scouting House Rock Rapid at river mile 17

Scouting House Rock Rapid at river mile 17

I thought I was far enough right as I entered at the top, but I still got drawn into the big wave-hole at the bottom on the left.  the current really pushes hard into the left wall.  As I hit the last wave just before the wave-hole, I lost my grip on one oar and ended up hitting it sideways!  As vertical as we got, I’m not sure how we didn’t flip.

Commodore running House Rock Rapid

Commodore running House Rock Rapid

The grips on these oars are just a bit too fat.  I’ll try rowing without the gloves and see how that goes.  We reached our target camp at Upper North Canyon by 2:30 PM, River mile 20.8.  Some people rushed off to set up their own gear before the rafts were unloaded.  In the end it worked out OK.  I know they were anxious to get things dried out from the rain this morning.  Before dinner we all hiked up the side canyon.  I remember doing this hike at lunchtime last time I was here.  A big group of us did the hike.  I got a group photo at the upper end.

Hiking North Canyon - r to l: Lucy, Gary, Craig, Kika, Kevin, Captain Natalia, Ariel, & Commodore Dave

Hiking North Canyon - r to l: Lucy, Gary, Craig, Kika, Kevin, Captain Natalia, Ariel, & Commodore Dave

North Canyon

North Canyon

Dinner was at 6:00 PM, just as it got dark.  I want to eat earlier so we aren’t eating and cleaning up in the dark.  After a dinner of salmon and salad, we had a campfire and some guitar music.  I have been having a meeting in the evening for everyone to share stories about the day and talk about what we want to do the next day.  The veterans tell me they like the AM & PM meetings.  Good to know.  I am finding my Toastmasters skills quite useful too.

Last night I woke up when it rained briefly around 3:30 AM.  Never really got to sleep after that.  It’s not quite 9:00 PM and I’m falling asleep while writing.  Good night.

Next Post: Day 3
Previous Post: Day 1

Grand Canyon 2011 – Day 1: What’s Special About Today?


Next Post: Day 2
Previous Post: Day 0

Commodore’s Log, River Day 1.  There are 3 Davids in the group.  To make things easy, they’re calling me Commodore, leader of the fleet.

On the river at last!  Quite a special day.  Last night it actually started to rain around 2:30 AM.  I woke up and put the rain fly on the tent and then it stopped raining.  I couldn’t get to sleep after that.  Excited about the morning.  I still got up by 6:00 AM without an alarm clock.  Bryant from PRO Outfitters, showed up at 7:00 AM as planned.  After a simple breakfast of cereal and cinnamon rolls, we sat under the pavilion and Bryant went over more details about

Gear Talk

Gear talk

the gear, things like how to manage the trash, the organization of the coolers and food boxes, draining the water from the coolers so they stay colder.  Everything in the coolers is frozen extra cold and packed on special ice that has no air bubbles so it lasts longer and to pull out the dinner meat in the morning so it will have time to thaw.  He explained the 3-bucket dishwashing method (which is required by the park service.)  He talked for over an hour.  Is everyone going to remember all of this?  He says it’s all documented in the menu plan binder, so we can read it if we forget.  Kika, Natalia, and Captain Shu aren’t here yet.  Shu has been down the river 9 times before, but I don’t think Kika and Natalia have been before.  I guess they’ll have some reading to do at camp tonight.  Bryant finished with a demonstration of using the satellite phone, water filter, and groover setup.

Right after he finished, the park ranger showed up to check photo IDs and give us the park service talk before we head downstream.  That lasted another hour.  He told us about the hazards: scorpions, rattlesnakes, falling into the river in the middle of the night, slips and falls.  Apparently people mostly get hurt when they are NOT on the river.  Other noteworthy wildlife are the ravens and the California condors. The ravens are thieves.  These birds will steal anything they can, but they especially like food and shiny objects.  One guy reported that they stole his Rolex watch.  They can carry off anything under a pound.  Condors are endangered species that are being reintroduced to this area.  If they are at a camp, don’t stop.  If they come to your camp, scare them off.  The concern is they will become habituated to people.  I’m wondering if a raven with a 2′ wingspan can carry off 1 pound, what can a 9′ condor carry off?  (Note: See the NPS website for more info on the condors in Grand Canyon.)

Ranger talk

Ranger talk

The ranger explained that emergency airlifts out of the Canyon are free, but if someone is lifted out, make sure they take a small pack with clothes, ID and money or they will be homeless and broke while they wait days or weeks for the group to get off the river with their stuff.
(Note: You can learn more about these details on running the river by watching the orientation videos made by the park service.  All river runners are required to view these videos before running the river.  You can see these video segments on youtube
NPS Grand Canyon River Runner Orientation video Part 1 of 4
NPS Grand Canyon River Runner Orientation video Part 2 of 4
NPS Grand Canyon River Runner Orientation video Part 3 of 4
NPS Grand Canyon River Runner Orientation video Part 4 of 4

By the time the ranger finished, it was 10:00 AM.  We finished packing camp and were ready to push off by 11:00.  It’s sunny and about 75 degrees.  Perfect!  I remember it was 55 and raining when we left Seattle a few days ago.

Preparing to launch

Preparing to launch

One final brief talk before we push off from shore.  I talked to the group about what is happening on the river today.  We are planning on camping at Soap Creek at river mile 11. There is one big rapid today: Badger.  It’s a 5 (on the GC scale 1-10).  I plan to have a quick talk every day before we launch so everyone knows what is happening before we start.

Brother Craig and daughter Ariel are riding in my raft.  My first time rowing such a big raft on such big water.  I’m just a bit anxious with Ariel onboard.  Fortunately the rapids start out easy the first few days and get steadily bigger, so I have time to get familiar with handling this boat.

My raft and crew

My raft and crew

Leaving the beach

Leaving the beach

Me at the start of the trip

Me at the start of the trip

We stopped for lunch at river mile 4.5, just past the bridges.  I was on cooking duty for lunch and with everything so busy this morning, we didn’t  thaw the sandwich meat.  No problem.  There was plenty of other food for the lunch.  Lesson learned.

Leaving the highway behind

Leaving the highway behind

It rained twice today; briefly, but hard, like a Florida rain.  With the rain came a strong headwind of about 20 mph.  I had Ariel put on her dry suit.  She wanted to go swimming.  The current was slow, but when she let go of the boat, we were blown away from her quickly.  Craig threw her a rope and pulled her back.  Good practice for rescuing.

Downpour

Downpour (click on the image and then zoom in. Downpour!)

We got to Badger rapid.  Capt Shu led because he has the most experience on this river.  He explained the line was left of center, but then it looked like he went right of center.  Chris followed and they both made it through, so I followed.  YIKES!  They all went right over the pourover!  We made it, but lesson learned: don’t follow blindly.  It was already late in the afternoon, so we decided to camp at Jackass Camp, river mile 8.1 on river left, just below Badger.  The cooking crew started at 5:00 PM.  They made stir fry.  It took awhile, but it was good!  I will ask the cook crew to start earlier tomorrow so we don’t have to eat or clean up in the dark.

Natalia doing watercolors

Natalia doing watercolors

Ariel was eager to play her cello.  It was a bit out of tune.  Two pegs kept slipping.  The dry air will do that.

Ariel playing her cello in camp

Ariel playing her cello in camp

After cooking was done, we had a meeting to organize and plan for tomorrow.  I am enjoying leading this group.  they’re great!  At the evening meeting I noticed the lightning in the distance and said to expect rain tonight.  The 5-day forecast warned to expect rain and much colder weather (25 degrees cooler!) later in the week.  Not sure they believed me since the skies were clear and stars were bright.  At least Chris decided to use his tent.  We shall see.  It’s 9:00.  Time to sleep now.  It’s been a long day.

Next Post: Day 2
Previous Post: Day 0

Grand Canyon 2011 – Oct 24: Day 0, Finally at the River


Next Post: Day 1
Previous Post: Bryce Canyon, Lees Ferry, Flagstaff

I woke up at 5:30 AM without an alarm clock.   After going out for breakfast we all piled our gear in the parking lot to wait for the outfitter to arrive and shuttle us to the river.  Some people made a last-minute visit to the drug store across the street to buy sunscreen, hand lotion, sunglasses, postcards.  Our ride showed up at 11:00 AM, right on schedule.  We loaded gear into the truck, piled into the van and headed up Highway 89 to Lee’s Ferry.

Waiting for the shuttle

Waiting for the shuttle.

Ariel and her cello

Ariel and her cello

When we arrived at the put-in, the other group with a permit for that day was already there and rigging their boats.

Other group showing organization at the put-in

Other group showing organization at the put-in

Unloading the gear and rigging the rafts was quite the team-building experience for us.  “Rig to flip!” is the mantra.  No matter how gentle the river is expected to be, tie everything in as if you will get flipped.  While we were rigging the boats, a park ranger carefully inspects our gear to make sure we have all mandatory gear and it is in good shape.

Bucket Brigade unloads the gear truck

Bucket Brigade unloads the gear truck

Park Ranger Inspects every Lifejacket and other required gear

Park Ranger Inspects every Lifejacket and other required gear

Rigging the rowing frame to the raft

Rigging the rowing frame to the raft

Rafts are ready for the gear!

Rafts are ready for the gear!

Loading the gear

Loading the gear

Jay volunteered to load his boat with all of the beer.  His boat looks awfully heavily loaded!  While I have more whitewater experience than most everyone on the trip, of the 6 oarsmen, I probably have the least experience rowing an 18′ raft.  So I took the groover boat.  I figure if I flip it, we just get a lot of wet shit.  Better than wet food.  Made it all fit, but wow, it feels like I’ve got too much gear!

Seems like a great group of people on this trip.  Ariel is making friends with Kathleen and Elizabeth already.

Moving downstream to the campsite at the put-in

Moving downstream to the campsite at the put-in

After rigging and loading the boats, we moved downstream a few hundred yards and set up camp to prepare for our launch tomorrow.  Bryant, the guy from PRO Outfitters, showed us how to set up and use the kitchen gear.  Then we all piled back into the van and went a few miles up the road to the restaurant at Marble Canyon Lodge for the last indoor meal for 3 weeks.  Kika, Natalia, and Captain Shu are staying there for the night.  Seems silly to me at the moment…unless it rains…

My hands and lips are already getting dried out.  Glad I bought extra lotion!  After dinner we picked work crews.  I wanted to be sure everyone was on a team with people they don’t already know.  It makes it more enjoyable for everyone.  You get to meet new people and if you’re there with a partner, only one of you is busy on a work crew at a time so the other can be packing or unpacking.  The only exception seems to be David C, Rod, and Elizabeth, (and Sandie when she joins us later in the trip).  They really want to be on the same crew so when they aren’t cooking, they can all go on hikes together.  I’m not thrilled with this, but OK.  It should be fine.  Ariel is with Kevin, Kathleen, and Jay.  Dave Shu, Steve and Chris are all on a team.  Craig is with Natalia and Kika.  I am with Gary and Lucy.  Hmm.  Should have swapped one on Craig’s team with one on my team.  Oh well, it will all work fine.

"The Last Supper"

"The Last Supper"

I bought Ariel a big blue broad-rimmed sun hat at the lodge.  Kevin bought dinner for me and Ariel again, just to show his appreciation for all the work I’ve done as trip leader.  He knows it’s hard work.  (Thanks Kevin!)

The water temperature is 57 degrees instead of the usual 45.  Sweet!  It’s because they had so much snow this year that they drew a huge amount of water out of the lake.  That caused a temperature inversion, so all the warm water on the surface went to the bottom of the lake where they let it out of the dam.  The air temp is warm tonight too, about 70 degrees.  Amazing!  I am finally ready to relax and enjoy the trip.  Just need to get my gear organized better in the boat.  That may take a few days to get it just right.  Tomorrow we head downstream!

Next Post: Day 1
Previous Post: Bryce Canyon, Lees Ferry, Flagstaff

Sunday, Oct 23: Bryce Canyon, Lees Ferry, Flagstaff – 3 days and 1350 miles later


Next Post: Day 0 – Arrive at the River
Previous Post: Drive to Central Utah

Today was a sunny, warm day.  We made a short detour to visit Bryce Canyon National Park.  Mildly interesting from the rim.  Did you know it isn’t really a canyon?  It’s an escarpment.  Then we drove on, crossing the Colorado River by Lee’s Ferry.  We will be back here tomorrow!  Lots of cool places to check out in Southern Utah and Arizona, but we didn’t have time.  Gotta get to Flagstaff.  Got to the hotel by 4:00 and carried all of our gear to the room.  In all the shuffle carrying gear I misplaced my wallet!  It’s gotta be around here somewhere.  I can’t get on the river without an ID!  I’ll have to look for it later.

Followed Brother Craig to the airport to drop off his rental car.  Everyone met in the lobby at 6:00 PM to go to dinner.   Everyone was there right on time.  That’s a good sign.  Hopefully everything will go as well on the river.  This is the first time we have all met.  It looks like the leadership and hard work put into the planning and communications with the group to get us to this point have paid off.  Now I should be able to relax a bit, enjoy the trip, and focus more on being Daddy for Ariel.  Wow, is she ever excited!

Dinner at The Cracker Barrel.  Afterwards we stopped to get some postcards to be mailed from Phantom Ranch that will be carried out by mule.  Made some last-minute reorganizing of the gear. Bought extra skin lotion. (You can never have too much in the desert.)  Found my wallet under the bed in the hotel room!  Yea!  Now I can sleep easier.  Just need to send a few final emails and go online to renew the library books we have so they aren’t overdue when we get off the river.  Shutting down the laptop and unplugging for 22 days!  I will leave the laptop in the care of the front desk until we return in 3 weeks.  The outfitter will be showing up tomorrow morning at 11:00 AM to pick up us and our gear and shuttle us to the river.  I feel the bonds of civilization loosening already.

Visiting Bryce Canyon

Visiting Bryce Canyon

Road to Bryce Canyon

Road to Bryce Canyon

Arizona border

Arizona border

Stone house

House of rock built around a boulder

Balancing boulders

More boulders waiting for houses to be built around them

Meeting the group for dinner

Meeting the group for the first time at dinner

Meeting for dinner

From the other end of the table

Next Post: Day 0 – Arrive at the River
Previous Post: Drive to Central Utah

Saturday, October 22: Idaho, Utah & Malad Gorge State Park


Next Post: Bryce Canyon, Lees Ferry, Flagstaff
Previous Post: Leave Seattle

Sunday at 5:30 AM.  Writing this journal entry in the morning while I lay in bed waiting for sunrise.  Yesterday we covered a lot of miles.  The best part of the day was when we passed a really cool place in Idaho where a river cut a gorge into the flat land: Malad Gorge State Park, a segment of Thousand Springs State Park.  We pulled off the Interstate to check it out more closely.  I’ll bet a lot of people drive right over this and never even notice.  (See the aerial photo of the park with the Interstate highway in the top right corner  )  It looks like a baby Grand Canyon.  It made for a nice hike around the rim and a good break.  Traveling this time of year is nice because the park was empty.  The Malad River flows into the Snake River, another great river for whitewater expeditions like we will have on the Colorado R.

Enjoying Malad Gorge State Park, Oregon

Enjoying Malad Gorge State Park, Oregon

Malad Gorge, Oregon

Malad Gorge, Oregon

Sign at Malad Gorge

Sign at Malad Gorge

Lots of sunshine as we drove across Idaho and into Utah.  Many miles of construction zones around Salt Lake City sure made for slow going.  We must have wasted at least an hour.  I’m learning to dislike Interstate driving.  We made it all the way down to Scipio, UT, in the center of the state.  Sleeping in the back of the truck again.  Nice and warm in the sleeping bag, but there is frost on the inside of the windows!  No surprise, we’re at about 5000′.  Today we will meet the rest of the group in Flagstaff.  Lots of cool things to see before we get there though.  Southern Utah has some amazing sights.  (Note: date stamp on Ariel’s camera got off by one day starting today.)

Utah speed limit 80

Don't be fooled by the posted speed limit. We were going about 15 mph around Salt Lake City.

Next Post: Bryce Canyon, Lees Ferry, Flagstaff
Previous Post: Leave Seattle

October 21, 2011: On the Road


Next Post: Central Utah
Previous Post: Final Preparations

October 21, 2011
It’s been a great day.  It was a typical rainy day as we left Seattle this afternoon.  Fortunately, it’s a “warm” rain and Snoqualmie Pass was just rain too, not snowing.

Leaving Rainy Seattle

Leaving rainy Seattle

And as usual, get far enough over the mountains and the rain gives way to sunshine.  The forests give way to windmill-laced plains.  We made it as far as Deadman’s Pass, Oregon.  Camping in the back of the truck tonight after moving some stuff up front to make room to sleep.  No, it’s not all my gear.  I have a lot of gear for others who are flying down.  So far we haven’t thought of too many things we forgot.

deadmans pass

Deadman's Pass, Oregon

Next Post: Central Utah
Previous Post: Final Preparations

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