Friday, December 06, 2013


Bucket List: USPTO

I get a lot of ideas. Some of them are even good ideas.  And some of those are even good enough to turn into a product. Consequently, I've spent a little bit of mental energy over the years learning about how you'd go about filing for a patent.

So while this trip to the USPTO wasn't about one of my ideas, it was still a dream come true for me to be involved in a patent filing. The buildings and grounds for the USPTO in Washington, D.C. are very new and, to be honest, gorgeous. They're fully worthy of the world's greatest technological power. And my experiences with the USPTO staff were also surprisingly great. They were courteous, helpful, and answered questions freely. It was a really good experience overall, except for the fact that you pretty much need a lawyer to navigate the labyrinthine process of filing for a patent.

Once you experience something that was scary and find out that it's nothing to be scared about, ideas of doing that thing again don't seem scary at all. So that leaves me hopeful that I might be able to come back to the USPTO someday for a filing (or three) of my own.


Monday, December 02, 2013


Color Guard!

My two oldest step-daughters, Savannah and Kaylee, are hard-core color guard girls. Their program this year was pretty darn awesome. I'm not sure if you can see the detail of their costumes, but they were all done up as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.  Had I known the amount of duct tape that they'd all use in making their costumes, I'd have bought stock in the company.

On top of that, Kaylee also plays trombone in the marching band. So she was doubly busy at the performance.

Their program was definitely a crowd pleaser. They had lots of big spectacular moves and maneuvers. The weird thing for me was that they didn't score terribly well in the COC (Contest of Champions). It turns out that the judges gauge all kinds of things that are nearly invisible from a distance, such as the position of your thumb when catching a flag after a toss. Your team gets more points if you catch the flag with your thumb on the same side of your hand as your fingers than if you use a standard "grip" catch where your thumb wraps around the flag pole.  Consequently, some color guards with much less interesting shows ended up scoring higher because of little reasons like that that the overall appeal of the performance.

We've had a couple weeks of respite. And after the holidays, they start in earnest on "winter guard" in which all their performances are in doors.

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