Category Archives: Personal

Baby Name Frequency Ranking Using Power Query

You may have noticed that many of my recent posts are focused on data processing and analysis. These recent posts reflect the fact that I am preparing for a career change as I near "retirement," and I plan on working in the data analysis arena. This means that I have been in serious Python, R, and statistics training. While I love working with Python and R, I keep finding myself drawn back to Excel and Power Query (aka Get and Transform) for quick, ad hoc analysis work. While this blog will look at the frequency over time of the name Mark, you can use the tool to generate the same chart for any name. Continue reading

 
Posted in History Through Spreadsheets, Personal | Leave a comment

Largest Counties in the US

I am currently building a retirement home in Itasca County, Minnesota. While at the construction site, I spoke with with a sheriff's deputy about law enforcement coverage for my area. He told me that there were only two deputies on duty at night covering an area larger than the state of Delaware. He also said that if I the deputies are tied up in the southern part of the county it can take a while for them to get to my place, which is in the the northern part of the county. I had never thought about the size of the counties in northern Minnesota, but there are some large pieces of real estate there. Continue reading

 
Posted in Excel, Personal | Leave a comment

My New Cabin Construction

A number of folks have asked that I post pictures of my cabin construction project. The project actually consists of two separate activities: a large garage (started last fall) and a two-story cabin. I will start posting photos here as things progress. Continue reading

 
Posted in Construction, Personal | 6 Comments

Business Trip to Portugal

I just came back from a business trip to Aveiro, Portugal. What a beautiful place! It is a very vibrant university town that lies about 6 km from the ocean. It is known as the "Venice of Portugal" because of its system of canals, which is a legacy of the old days when Aveiro was a major source of sea salt for the region (Figure 1). The climate is warm, with a very substantial breeze that blows out toward the Atlantic ocean. I liked my visit so much that I plan on bringing my wife on a future trip. Continue reading

 
Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

I Am Now A Grandpa

I am bursting with excitement right now. My youngest son and his wife now have a little girl. The baby arrived about 3 weeks early, but both mother and baby are doing fine. I could not be happier for their family.
Continue reading

 
Posted in Personal | 5 Comments

Video of Wild Cat in Northern Minnesota

Like me, a number of my coworkers have cabins in Northern Minnesota and most of us have cameras that record activity on our properties. A coworker came in the other day with this video that shows a wild cat going by one of his cameras. I am not sure what kind of cat it is – probably a lynx. This site is not far from the Canadian border. Maybe one of you out there can identify it? Continue reading

 
Posted in Cabin, Personal | Leave a comment

Age of Presidents at Inauguration

I was crawling around the Wikipedia looking for presidential information, and I found a list of the ages of the US presidents ordered from oldest to youngest. I threw Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump into the list (Table 1) to see where they would place – they are old by historic standards. In fact, Donald Trump would be the oldest ever. Continue reading

 
Posted in History Through Spreadsheets, Personal | 5 Comments

Educating Children Is Expensive, But Ignorance Costs More

Paying school bills is certainly not the only expensive item for parents. I often tell people that the most expensive movie I ever took my sons to was The Mighty Ducks – it cost me about $5k per year for a number of years. This was roughly the cost back in the 1990s of having two kids in traveling hockey. After my sons saw that movie, they were determined to become hockey players. Continue reading

 
Posted in Humor, Personal | Leave a comment

Working While Standing

For the last two years, I have been working from the standing position. While I would like to say I work standing because it is supposed to be healthier, I actually work while standing because I was having some issues with numbness in one of my feet, and working from a standing position eliminated this problem. While it took a bit of time to get used to, I now prefer working from the standing position. In fact, I am now setting up my garage-based shop area for standing work. Continue reading

 
Posted in Personal | 3 Comments

All In A Day's Work on Puget Sound

Quote of the Day Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. — Abraham Lincoln. This quote reminds me how important preparation is to the success of any endeavor. … Continue reading

 
Posted in Personal | Leave a comment