This week was busy. I tried out some new software products including one to advance my use of spreadsheets. It is called “Coda.” It basically structures sheets and adds some additional features that add value. Not sure if I am going to use it but I’m exploring it.

I was approached by a company to use IP-based marketing data. We ran a quick analysis of the data to the websites but I don’t see how I can use that data in a meaningful way. I can manually pull my IP addresses from server reports and plug that into an IP trace tool, then just search for the company’s website if needed. The seller wanted me to pay $6K per year for that.

I just learned that the cicadas are going to be coming out this year. Brood X is getting read to emerge and could be as many as 1.5 million cicadas per acre. Wow! That is a lot. My guess is that they will become an annoyance for about 4-6 weeks so I’m thinking of putting some screening on my front porch. I should have screening out there anyway because the mosquitos are crazy – especially after long periods of rain and standing water that make it easy for them to multiply.

I did a few projects this week and am getting better at my service projects. I’ve been looking at some deck stripping chemicals that I can apply prior to powerwashing decks. I have a couple of projects this week that I’m working on and I’m not super happy with the amount of stain I was able to remove. The goal is to put the chemical strippers on for a while, let them work and then do the powerwashing.

While walking Hershey this morning, I noticed a neighbor’s sidewalk that is in process of getting resurfaced. Instead of breaking up a sidewalk, the next best strategy is to just clean it off and apply a new surface. It will be interesting to see how theirs turns out. I was thinking about doing it to my sidewalk but don’t like experimenting. It looks like they used some kind of process to get the top layer off but I’ll have to ask them if they used a machine or some kind of chemical for that.

Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law

I bought a book called The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law. A new version was on sale for $199 but a used version was about $5. So, that was a no-brainer. The used book arrived and looks new so I’m thinking that might be a marketing stunt. As a business owner, I need to be conscious of my legal protection and managing risk. At times, I feel as though I should be an attorney so I don’t have to spend $500 per hour for a good attorney and still leave feeling like I didn’t get anything accomplished or feel like the attorney just took my money.

The book was written to help young associates work at law firms. Some tips so far include using active voice, creating a topic sentence, having 2-3 paragraphs per page (instead of a page long paragraph) and other similar tips. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the book. It is only about 170 pages so I’ll finish that soon.

I was hanging out with one of my neighbors on Friday night and he mentioned that he was thinking about a law degree at one point but decided to get his MBA instead. His reasoning was that if he wanted to become an attorney in the future he could just do self-study and take the bar. Apparently, in Maryland, if you want to become an attorney you just need to pass the bar exam.

My neighbor also gave me another book about shaping American cities called “Not in My Neighborhood.” I think it will be an interesting read and I’m hoping to get that done this week also.


I grew up in Baltimore and currently live in the Rodgers Forge community just north of Baltimore City.

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