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CB Radio Memories with my Father

October 23, 2017

When I make my way around certain stretches of highway in eastern Washington, particularly on Interstate-82, it’s hard not to conjure up road trips with Dad from days long ago….especially talking on a CB radio while he drove his sedan.

First, a little back-story about him and how we got to this place.

Before he began his manufacturing rep business with Mom, he held sales manager positions in Washington and Oregon with outfits that sold equipment for cable logging. His civil engineering background, coupled with his sales skills, allowed him to draw from a unique combination of abilities suited to this sort of work — he had the side of the brain that could deal with the technical and mathematical know-how that engineering necessitates — but he was also a very effective salesman, in that he was really good with people. It seemed like he could relate to and hold a conversation with anybody, and the accounts I’ve heard over the years about the loyalty and respect his staff had for him reinforces that.

  • Super duper frantic note regarding previous paragraph! Before I continue, I acknowledge the industry Dad sold equipment in is not, well, let’s say “kosher” with the more progressive thinking and greener sensibilities of today’s world (or most of today’s world, at the very least). That said, whenever it’s brought up I often joke with family and colleagues about how one of my missions in life is making up for the carbon footprint caused by activities of an age when such practices were not only less than environmentally friendly, but represented for a period of time the cross-hairs of environmental destruction prior to concepts such as “working forests.” Really, this is besides the point of this post, but something I felt needed acknowledgment….just so you know I’m well aware. Believe me. I am.

Read more…

Board It Up! ~ pt. 2: Civic BODs

October 1, 2017

In a previous post, I wrote about not-for-profit BoDs. I’d like to give some attention to another sort: the civic board. In the first post regarding boards, the focus was on the not-for-profit world.

For three years now this month, I’ve been involved with a parks board in my local town. It’s been an interesting adventure. I participated in a citizen’s academy in 2014, which is essentially a crash course in civics offered every fall for interested residents. Since I come from a land use planning background Read more…

Board It Up! ~ pt. 1: Not-for-profit BoDs

June 13, 2017

I’m currently involved with two different types of board of directors, and as I work through the meetings and gain more experience, I’m finding that there’s great differences between the two and how they function.

I’ll begin with the not-for-profit one I’m involved in, which for purposes of this post I’ll keep unnamed, because that’s beside the point. If you’re really curious, just peruse my profile. It’s a not-for-profit professional organization for an industry related primarily to publishing.

Serving this organization on this board, I am in a fiduciary role….in that as a member of this board, Read more…

Put Up Yer Dukes! “Documents” & “Documentation” square off!

May 29, 2017

As promised in a prior post some time back, in which we showcased a breakdown of “user-friendly” versus “usability” — I should say I “sorta” promised….inadvertently then, but intentionally now — we bring our other word pairing into the boxing ring to square off.

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Let’s just say they’re squaring off after an “exchange of words.” Ahem. Ya! Super funny! Thank you for the courtesy laugh with the golf clap.

Oddly enough, outside the fringes of technical writer geekdom, discussions of “documents” vs. “documentation” (along with their ways and means) bubble to the surface more often than one may imagine. Over time, I found when having conversations with clients, it actually served everyone involved (myself included) to be mindful about addressing the two in their own individual contexts.

So, try not to hurt yourself as we parcel through this…. Read more…

Beacon by the Bay: ASI 2017 Annual Conference ~ Portland, Maine ~ June 15-17

May 16, 2017

The American Society for Indexing (ASI) will hold its annual conference in Portland, Maine next month, from June 15-17, 2017. See the “quick click” guide below for details on registration and accommodations.

The conference will take place at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in downtown Portland, in a setting along the shores of Casco Bay, capturing the beauty and culture of the city.

Your “quick click” conference guide:

The ASI 2017 Annual Conference will feature keynote speaker Mary Norris, who worked at The New Yorker as part of the editorial staff, in addition to work as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader. She is the author of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen.

To begin the conference, Sylvia Coates presents a daylong session: Read more…

My American Community: THW&I sponsors the fight against hunger in Dallas

May 11, 2017

Just recently, near the end of March, I found myself just south of Dallas, Texas.

A Cowboys game, you ask? No, wrong time of year, and I cannot profess to be a fan of “da boyyyz” as a friend once put it….and I wasn’t there for baseball either, as spring training was still in full swing (but I did once catch the Mariners on the road in Arlington against the Rangers many years ago, so the possibility is not a far cry).

Actually, I found myself spending an afternoon at the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB), sponsoring an event with the Dallas-Ft. Worth Community Association Institute (DFWCAI) — as part of an effort that day to help in beating hunger in the community.

This was my first experience of this kind, in terms of Read more…

2016 In Review: Helping Planners with “Public Service Essentials”

December 11, 2016

Part of this last year was spent attending various planning conferences throughout the West, as part of a traveling series on “Public Service Essentials.”

The workshop was originally road-tested at the Peninsula Section of the WA APA conference in Bremerton in the fall of 2015, and at that time it was split into two different sessions. Feedback was positive and helpful in developing the content.

paw-logoI spent the 2015 holidays in content development, and came up with an optional program where content could be contracted into one session. For 2016, that newly-developed workshop first rolled out at the Planning Association of Read more…


April 21, 2016

Here it is….the heavyweight match! I’ve also thrown in the concordance for good measure.

So the story goes….an analysis of various tools reveal potential successes in findability. The more complex the technical documentation, the more accuracy and timing factor into content retrieval events.


This pretty much sums it up. More examples will follow soon.

Check it out, it's the Top Hat Indexer's top hat!

Document Usability, Pt. 7: CASE STUDIES

February 22, 2016

This post follows the ongoing discussion on usability solutions for planning, government and business documentation.

Happy 2016! In the last post on usability before the holidays, Usability Pt. 6: INDEXES, we continued our discussion of solutions to enhance and maximize the usability of documentation in government and business.

From an overall standpoint, I believe one of the primary goals in government documentation involves looking at new and innovative ways to improve usability and the user experience, and some of those ways involve adding usability features to the documents.

So, the usability engine keeps on rollin’ into the new year…..and in this 7th installment on CASE STUDIES, we move into the sort of usability feature that has started catching on in the last decade in technical documentation, however I believe its importance is typically overlooked.

Making it real

Case studies break down complex concepts into real-world examples in an effort to Read more…

A Folk Hero and a Conductor: Finally Meeting #10

November 18, 2015

Jim Zorn has been a household name wherever I’ve lived since I was about the age of eight or nine.

For those of you who don’t follow football or the NFL, Zorn was the first quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks franchise, and emerged as such in its first training camp in the summer of 1976….a unique left-handed quarterback with a funny last name….and I can relate, because I happen to also be a lefty with a funny last name.

But I’m not a professional football player, in case you were wondering. I write indexes for technical documents….although I did play lacrosse for a very brief time in college.

Anyhow, those who were following the Hawks at the time knew him as the front end of a dynamic passing combination with wide receiver Steve Largent, and together they formed one of the most formidable passing duos in the latter 70s NFL over a span of four or five years.

I’m going to discuss Zorn’s football days with the team, and then morph things to the more personal side of this story….and finally meeting with this guy and our exchange.

In those fledgling days of the team, “Zorn to Largent” became a Read more…

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