My History Via Google Street View (Part II: College, Grad School, Early Professional Life)

This is the second part of a post I made back when I was blogging alot. You can still read the first part. I plotted all the houses I could find that I had lived in up to when I left for college in 1987. I’m going to do a few more here, though some will be dorms and apartments where I can only show the outside of a larger building.

Continue reading My History Via Google Street View (Part II: College, Grad School, Early Professional Life)

Map and Compass

The Boy earned his compass for hiking 75 miles with our Pack in the fall, so I wanted to get him a book on map and compass skills for Christmas so he could be learning the basics. I ended up getting him Basic Illustrated Map and Compass by Cliff Jacobson. The book is a solid introduction to map and compass reading and includes a short chapter on GPS, as well.

I read it in a couple of sittings, and I enjoyed the refresher course (not having had to use my map and compass skills much in the last few years). I wanted a book that was short and concise, and I trust Cliff’s advice. I enjoy his no-nonsense, “here’s what’s worked for me for the last 30 years” type of writing. His Expedition Canoeing is the bible of wilderness canoeing, and he’s working on a new edition of it for publication in 2015. His Basic Illustrated Cooking in the Outdoors is the book I recommend to new outdoors cooks, too.

The Boy will be learning map and compass skills on outings as he gets active with his new Boy Scout Troop starting on March 1st (our Webelos Crossover date). While he now has Cliff’s book and the Boy Scout Handbook, The Boy really thrives on learning by doing (“experiential education,” is the technical term), and he’s going to absorb most of this while doing it in the field instead of reading a book. But, books are still good for background and context.

Ray Mears


Though he’s not very well-known in the U.S., Ray Mears is a household name in the U.K. (and likely well-known in Canada, too) due to his excellent television series (serieses?) about various outdoor or nature-related topics, including Ray Mears’ Bushcraft, Wild Britain, and Ray Mears’ Survival. He’s also the owner of the U.K.’s longest running (I think) bushcraft school, Woodlore.

Given that Ray has a very calm and very English presentation style, American channels have not imported his shows here like they have Bear Grylls’ over-the-top survival shows. Ray’s shows are far superior and educational. I love the Bushcraft series, especially the birchbark canoe and Canada wilderness river tripping (with guest star Ray Goodwin) episodes. Little known fact: the expert outfitter on the wilderness canoe trip episode was none other than the Happy Camper himself, Kevin Callan, another of my favorite outdoors writers slash tv (or YouTube) personalities.

Ray’s shows are aimed at educating viewers about the wonders of the natural world and how to life in harmony in the outdoors, but not in a hippy-dippy or macho way.

Ray released his autobiography, My Outdoor Life last fall, and it’s a good read.

Webelos Crossover resources

The Boy’s Webelos den is in its last few months, and we’ve spent a lot of time over the last month visiting troop meetings and camping out with troops as the Webelos start making their decisions about which troop to join. We have four Boy Scout troops in our area, and we’ve sent boys to all four in the last few years. As Assistant Cubmaster this year, my primary job has been to promote Webelos-Troop relations and encourage Webelos to participate in activities with troops.

I’ve found a number of resources on the web lately that have helped us with that transition program.

Scoutmaster Jerry’s post about finding the adventure on the Scoutmaster Minute blog is mostly “just” inspirational. I admire his efforts to help Webelos find the right troop for them even — especially — when it’s not his troop.

Scout Circle for November 2013 was about Webelos crossover issues. Clarke Green talked about a number of things I found useful (as is usually the case with Clarke!). His new book, The Scouter’s Journey, is available from his site at, which is full of great Scouting ideas.

Frank Maynard’s blog Bobwhite Blather has several excellent posts about the Webelos-to-Boy-Scouts transition here. Frank’s blog is pointed mainly at Troop Committee members, but it’s useful for all Scouters.

Beginning Boy Scouts is a small book available on Amazon that looks like a great resource for new Boy Scout parents.

Transition Time

Back in the ancient times of the intertubes, I blogged here on a pretty regular basis. Most of it was crap, of course. Ephemeral at best. I’ve given up blogging pretty much over the last 5 years or so, with only a handful of posts each year (and half of those are “I’m looking forward to getting back to blogging soon” posts with no followups). Recently, I was reading Anil Dash’s The Web We Lost, and it got me to thinking about blogs and what the web we like 5-10 years ago. It was better in a lot of ways and people communicated in typically longer posts (no Facebook, no Twitter) — with or without comments. I’d like to get back to doing more writing, and all of that conspired to get me to relaunch this thing. I thought about starting a whole new blog at another location, but I think I’m going to stick to this spot, which has been my home online for over 10 years now. But, I AM going to reboot things.

NOTE: Nope. I sure didn’t.