Installment 25: New Adventure, New Opportunity

February 16, 2020

Good Sunday afternoon VFOT Friends and Followers. It is the Sunday of the 3-day President’s Day Weekend. It has been an interesting weekend so far, but I’ll get to the reasons for that later. It has been busy…but productive and I have to say that I’m feeling pretty good about life right now. I’m pretty blessed. In any case, let’s get right to it.


I’m plugging along with Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended on It, by Chris Voss (Voss, Christopher. Never Split the Difference, Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. 2016. New York NY: Harper Collins.) I’m just over half-way through this. I put this one aside for a few days. To be clear, it is very good…but it is also very heavy. I just had to step away from it for a bit. I’m back into it. There are a lot of surprises in this one.

I’m still making my way through Leadership Strategy and Tactics (Willink, Jocko. Leadership Strategy and Tactics-FM-02. 2019. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.) I’m about halfway through this. I picked this one as my morning selection, and as a result, I’m only hitting it in 15-20 minute increments. That probably wasn’t the best decision. I should have just pushed right through it. Since tomorrow is a holiday, Maybe I’ll just get this one done so I can review it.

Just in case those two weren’t enough, I had another title pop us a recommendation on my Kindle. This one jumped right out at me. The title is Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War (Coram, Robert. Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War. 2002. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.) Of course, I recognized that name…Colonel Boyd invented the OODA Loop. I couldn’t not download it. I’ve barely cracked into it, but I’m pretty excited to get into it.

Other Reading

For light reading, I stuck with the Clive Cussler novels. I just went back, randomly picked a couple of titles, and re-read them. I just needed something that would help me disconnect and get out of my own head. Cussler is always good for that.

Other Learning Opportunities

During the 1st week of this reporting period, I had the opportunity to attend a community event called “One Book, One Community.” The topic of the evening’s presentation was the book, No Visible Bruises by Rachel Louise Snyder (Snyder, Rachel Louise. No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us. 2019. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing). Ms. Snyder was in our City to be the Keynote Speaker at this community gathering. It was powerful and informative. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend.

That week, we took the first of our Ballroom Dancing classes. C gifted these classes to me for Christmas and we have a class each Friday night during February. We had our second class this past Friday night. We’re really enjoying this.

Last Tuesday, we hosted a product demo for a new tool for the Department. I’m going to hold off on diving into this one until we get a little more data from our T&E, but it was interesting to learn about it.

I had some extra opportunities to train Jiu-jitsu this week and was also given the opportunity to teach a No-Gi class for the 1st time.


I already mentioned that we started taking Ballroom Dancing classes this month. So much fun!


We’ve had a couple of great date nights. Last weekend we went and visited with A & C and their girls for an Oscars Party.

This Friday, was Valentine’s Day, so we followed up our dance lesson with dinner next door at Trattoria Rustica. It’s always amazing there. It was a beautiful night out.

Yesterday was an adventure. I trained in the morning and had a great day of training. After that, it got interesting. I had been invited to my best friend’s Mom’s Birthday party. That wouldn’t normally be an issue. However, my ex has re-married…to my best friend’s brother! Of course, they would be there. My initial knee-jerk reaction to the invitation was to not go. T and his wife called me and convinced me to go. C backed me up and after I got cleaned up from the gym, we went. Interesting is as far as I’m willing to go with describing it. Ultimately it was fine.


Today, I can’t say that I had a ton of fun…but I was very productive. One of my goals for this year is to de-clutter and organize. I spent about 5-hours in my workshop. A lot of stuff went into the trash and a bunch of other stuff went into plastic packing boxes. I’m feeling pretty good about that.

Well, that is probably enough for now. Until next time, remember:

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*

Installment 24: New Adventure, New Opportunity

February 2, 2020 

 Happy Sunday VFOT Friends and Followers. It’s Superbowl Sunday and the game is on. Full disclosure…I really couldn’t care less. Even when the Pats are in the game, I’m more interested in the commercials. Without them in it, I don’t even have to pretend to pay attention, so this is as good a time as any to write a blog entry. If I’m being completely forthright, I’ve been fighting a persistent and nagging head cold, so I spent a lot of time napping this weekend and this is the 1st chance that I’ve had to get to this.  


As I mentioned in the last installment, I started two new pro-books during this period. The first is Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended on It, by Chris Voss (Voss, Christopher. Never Split the Difference, Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. 2016. New York NY: Harper Collins.) Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator and served with their Critical Incident Response Group. I’m about half-way through this one, and so far, I’m really enjoying it. It is really well written, and he intersperses strategies with war stories from his previous negotiations. I like this one.  

 The other book in the rotation is Commander Jocko Willink’s new Leadership Strategy and Tactics (Willink, Jocko. Leadership Strategy and Tactics-FM-02. 2019. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.) This one is written in the style of a Field Manual and is the practical follow-up to both Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership. It contains practical application of the lessons from both earlier books. I’m about a third of the way through this one and I’m really enjoying this title too. I’m looking forward to completing it and incorporating some of the lessons into my daily work and activities.  


 Other Reading 

In my relax an unwind reading, I worked through the new Clive Cussler novel, and then went back to revisit an old title. I’m a big Cussler fan, and I’ll read and re-read his stuff, because it always helps me to relax and get my mind off of serious topics.  

 Other Learning Opportunities 

Last week, I got to travel just up the road to Williamstown to spend a little time with this year’s Learning Intervention of Teens (LIFT) program. For the past 11 years, during Winter Study, a group of Williams students works through a program that has local students that are referred by the Juvenile Court and Juvenile Probation assigned to their Williams’ mentor to develop an original research project. This year’s group was pretty amazing and I’m privileged to meet these students every year.  

On Friday night, I was lucky enough to be allowed to cover the jiu-jitsu fundamentals class. The Professors had traveled to NYC to pick up Professor Silvio and meet with Professor Demian, so I got the nod to cover class. I’m honored and humbled that I’ve reached this point in my Jits journey and that I get to do this occasionally. 

On Saturday, we had a 3-hour seminar with Professor Silvio Moraes. He traveled from Brazil to share his knowledge and passion with us. We’re blessed to be affiliated with Demian Maia Jiu-jitsu and to have the opportunity have truly amazing instructors come share their expertise with us.  

 On Thursday, it was back up to Billsville for the LIFT Graduation. The project presentations were amazing!   


We had some pretty good date nights. Wednesday night was dinner at The Lantern.  

After LIFT Graduation, I swung over to North Adams, where C was working, hosting some nursing information sessions at McCann Tech. We managed to turn that into an impromptu date night, with dinner at Chee’s. Last night was dinner at the Shire Breu-hous, a cocktail at Thistle and Mirth, then meeting friends for a nightcap at Hotel on North.   

Today, I completed the parts order for my first rifle build. More to come on that as I get it built.    

Other than this crummy cold, it has been a pretty good couple of weeks. And, oh yeah, the halftime show was pretty good. Until next time… 

 Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*