Friday, March 28, 2014

GoPro Photo Play

I have a GoPro and I don't really know how to use it.  I am going to spend the next few weeks really getting into the features of this amazing little device.  I want to make snake videos like the stunt people and incredible athletes around the world make their videos.  Of course my subjects are snakes so it may be more difficult.

I took the camera out for a quick walk to try the photo (not video) feature.  I used the wide angle setting which creates a curve on the edges.  Sometimes I like it and sometimes I hate it.  I will have to figure out when to use it.  There are two other settings I can use (medium and narrow) so I will be playing more with the camera.  Here are some of the photos I took and you can view the whole album at this link:  GoPro Photo Play

Heaven and Hell

Enough Said

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stir It Up Report

So how did I do yesterday with my Stir It Up plans?  Pretty well actually.  Here is a summary of the good times.


  • Good discussions
  • Gorgeous weather for outside dining
  • 1500 calorie lunch

Bird Watching

  • This was a bit disappointing but there were a few birds out. 
    • The "long-legged variety"
    • The "expose everything" variety
    • The "I am hot and will eat you alive" variety

Soccer Dad

  • I got a 6.5 mile run in while operating the carpool both directions - success
  • Got skunked for snakes during run - failure

Big Dog

  • The Big Dog got some good loving but we did not fit her with the GoPro (I can't find it)
  • She fell asleep on her brother's bed with her rabbit

Excellent day!  Time for a repeat but with different adventures.  Keep on stirring it up.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Stir It Up

Stir It Up - This is what I feel like doing today.  I feel like getting into something and really stirring it up.  Bob Marley sings Stir It Up as a euphemism for sex.  While that kind of "stir it up" is always on my mind (I am male after all), this is not the stirring up I am talking about.  Yes - I know I am not making much sense but let's just see where this goes today.

Okay, I know what you all are thinking - marijuana is legal in Colorado now so Cameron is smoking it up.  He has to be.  All Cameron is thinking about today is sex and stirring it up - he must be high.
I wish I could say this was true but I just can't.  I actually haven't even been in a "wellness" store yet nor would I know what to buy if I did get in one. What do you say in a pot store any way? My guess for how this would go is this:

          Cameron:  Dude, give me the stuff that gets you the highest.
          Clerk:  How high do you want to be?
          Cameron:  I don't know - just high.
          Clerk:  We have mellow high, hyper high, serious high, stoner high.  What will it be?
          Cameron:  How much for the mellow high?
          Clerk:  $1800 for an ounce. [I really don't know how much weed costs so this is just a guess.]
          Cameron:  Shit.  Can you sell me one joint or maybe a brownie?  I guess I just need to stick to beer at these prices.

LoDo Wellness Center near my office in Denver
Stir It Up - I am meeting my college roommate, Trevor, for lunch today.  Maybe he and I can get in trouble then.  Hmmm.  Not a bad idea.  He is a flight nurse and works 2-3 days a week.  That is all he works!  Sure he works 24 hour shifts which must be brutal but still he has a shitload of time off.  This gives Trevor ample opportunity to stir it up and he does often biking, playing disc golf, and hiking.  Maybe another blog will come from our adventure today.

Trevor hanging on the roof

Stir It Up - How else can I stir it up today?  I am at work and have training most of the morning.  Training sucks and doesn't give much time for stirring it up.  That said, I will need to get out for a lunchtime walk before I meet Trevor.  This is a perfect time to head to the 16th Street Mall to bird watch.  The 16th Street Mall is a closed street (except for the mall shuttle) in Denver lined with shops and restaurants.  It is about a mile long and a GREAT place to bird watch.  Huh?  Bird watching in downtown Denver?  Yes, you can bird watch in downtown Denver if you like pigeons but the type of bird watching I am talking about has nothing to do with birds.  Bird is slang for young woman so bird watching is slang for checking out women on the street.  I learned the term many, many years ago in Kenya.  We were staying at Lake Naivasha where the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment (Princess Diana's regiment) of the British special forces was also staying and training. These men would hang out at the local bar each day, tell amazing stories, and teach me a few things about life.  One of these things was bird watching.  This time of year in Denver the temperatures are rising and the birds come out dressed for it.  Maybe I am too old to bird watch anymore but I am not afraid to admit that I do.  Actually, I don't think I will ever get to old to bird watch.  This is definitely stirring it up.

Stir It Up - This afternoon I plan on doing my duty as soccer dad - yes I am a soccer dad but I refuse to drive a minivan.  I even volunteered to take and pick up today which is double duty.  This expression of kindness is two-fold.  First, I am dropping off my son at a sleepover immediately after practice - I need to drive him anyway.  Second, I get to stir it up by finding a trail and going for a long run.  In order to meet my step goal for today, I will need to run 5-6 miles.  In addition, this will let me beat my competitors in a step challenge today.  My step goal is 20,000 steps daily (roughly 10 miles traveled) and if I don't run, I rarely meet this goal.  A good trail run qualifies as stirring it up to me. 
This is what happens when you let the soccer dad drive the soccer mom's minivan.
Stir It Up - One last way I can think of to stir it up today is with the Big Dog.  I haven't recorded any videos with her lately.  She is such a fun dog too.  Maybe tonight I will strap my GoPro video camera to her and have a good battle.  I wonder what this would look like.  She may move too fast to record anything usable but it still could be pretty interesting.  The only way to find out is to try it.  Regardless - the Big Dog and I will tear it up tonight.  I hope we don't break anything.  Here is a video of the Big Dog giving me a black eye during one of our recent bouts.
[Warning - explicit language is in this video]
 I will end this blog with Stir It Up by Bob Marley.  I hope you can find a way to stir it up yourself today.

"Stir It Up"

Stir it up; little darlin', stir it up. Come on, baby.
Come on and stir it up: little darlin', stir it up. O-oh!

It's been a long, long time, yeah!
(stir it, stir it, stir it together)
Since I got you on my mind. (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh) Oh-oh!
Now you are here (stir it, stir it, stir it together), I said,
it's so clear
There's so much we could do, baby, (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Just me and you.

Come on and stir it up; ..., little darlin'!
Stir it up; come on, baby!
Come on and stir it up, yeah!
Little darlin', stir it up! O-oh!

I'll push the wood (stir it, stir it, stir it together),
then I blaze ya fire;
Then I'll satisfy your heart's desire. (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Said, I stir it every (stir it, stir it, stir it together),
every minute:
All you got to do, baby, (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Is keep it in, eh!

(Stir it up) Oh, little darlin',
Stir it up; ..., baby!
Come on and stir it up, oh-oh-oh!
Little darlin', stir it up! Wo-oh! Mm, now, now.

Quench me when I'm thirsty;
Come on and cool me down, baby, when I'm hot. (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Your recipe is, - darlin' - is so tasty,
When you show and stir your pot. (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)

So: stir it up, oh!
Little darlin', stir it up; wo, now!
Come on and stir it up, oh-ah!
Little darlin', stir it up!
[Guitar solo]
Oh, little darlin', stir it up. Come on, babe!
Come on and stir it up, wo-o-a!
Little darlin', stir it up! Stick with me, baby!
Come on, come on and stir it up, oh-oh!
Little darlin', stir it up. [fadeout]

Sunrise March 26 2014

My office faces east so I get to see the first light each morning. 

It is the simple and little things that can make my day a happy and positive one. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I woke up this morning with the song Radioactive blaring in my skull. I don't even like this song. I know this is my subconscious speaking to me but I am unsure about what part of my life.  This blog post is a part of my speculations on where things could be radioactive in my life.  The trouble is that when I try, I block myself from that part of my brain. Obviously if my mind can block me out of myself, I still have a lot of work to do. That said, my mind is powerful and I need it to work with me.  I think this blog post is a great example of how my mind can look for positive energy and find it.  Even this first paragraph of this blog post has turned from confusion and negativity to a positive discussion.  My mantra is "I am worthy, I embrace the positive power of the Universe".  You too can live this.
I am embarrassed by this video but this is where I was this morning:

After I got to work, I looked up the lyrics to Radioactive and this blog post started writing itself.  I learned that a band called the Imagine Dragons wrote and preform the song (my boys would be ashamed of me for not knowing this).  I also learned that the lyrics are about waking up to reality and destroying the demons of your mind.  At least this is my interpretation.  Here is a snip of the lyrics from the song and the video.  You can get the full lyrics at the bottom of this blog post.

All systems go, the sun hasn't died
Deep in my bones, straight from inside
I am waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age.
Two things (in addition to Radioactive) have already popped up in my life today to remind me that my mind is strong and I should stay positive and happy.
The first was my horoscope.  Yes, I know that horoscopes are bogus and my mind can twist them to meet its needs or match my mood.  I guess that is exactly why I read mine - I enjoy the mind play of the horoscope.  Here is one of the Scorpio horoscopes for today (yes - you can shop around to different horoscope sources if you don't like the one you get at first):
"Some small corner of your life is brighter and more rewarding than it was.  You may not have noticed this though because you are wearing sunglasses (the figurative kind, of course).  You may be afraid of seeing anything that appears too bright for fear that you'll get too used to it, start expecting the best, and wind up being disappointed when it doesn't work out that way.  But take off those sunglasses (err. rather that bad attitude), and look for the light.  Once you see it, you can open a window and let in even more light."
The second was an Instagram post that quoted Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Who would have thought I would get advice for a muscle-bound steroid abuser, Conan, and California governor?  His quote is pretty well timed and speaks to me today.
"The mind always fails first, not the body. The secret is to make your mind work for you, not against you" - Arnold Schwarzenegger

I ate my pizza but my day has really turned around.  I am looking forward to seeing what today brings.  Less than one minute of the first video I took today, I recorded another video.  I noticed the sun coming up behind me and was reminded of what I am striving for - happiness.  The sun makes me happy.  My family makes me happy.  Snakes make me happy.  My life makes me happy.  Remember - The positive energy of the Universe is available to you - embrace it."

Whoa, oh, oh
Whoa, oh, oh
Whoa, oh, oh

I'm waking up to ash and dust
I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
I'm breathing in the chemicals

I'm breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus
This is it, the apocalypse

I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I'm radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I'm radioactive, radioactive

I raise my flags, don my clothes
It's a revolution, I suppose
We'll paint it red to fit right in

I'm breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus
This is it, the apocalypse

I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I'm radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I'm radioactive, radioactive

All systems go, the sun hasn't died
Deep in my bones, straight from inside

I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I'm radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I'm radioactive, radioactive

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why I Need $120,000 Dollars - Displays

The Center for Snake Conservation will need state of the art displays for their teachers as well as behind the scenes enclosures.  The build out for these is not cheap.  That is another reason I need $120,000 dollars.

Google Search "snake enclosures" and nothing there is good enough.  Our snakes will require the best enclosures that mimic their natural habitats (heat, light, and humidity included).

Not good enough
Not good enough

Let’s Write a Blog Today - Soccer

In all my free time, I have been reading about how to make a blog successful or how to make your business successful with a blog.  All the advice is crap – just crap.  They say to expand readership with interesting content or engage your readers so that they share your content with others.  Well – my biggest question is how do you get readership in the first place?  I have readers but these just don’t turn into followers.
Blog Stats
Then I think to myself, “Why should I care?  My blog is for me and me only – my readers are just lucky enough to see a glimpse of what my brain is doing at that moment.”  But still, I feel some sort of responsibility to keep writing blogs.  No.  Not to you, my readers, but to me.  My blog has already taught me volumes about myself.  I have written some interesting blogs.  My inspiration has come from all different sources – some great, some good, some bad, and some hurtful.  In short, my life has been changed by my blog.

So – the title of today’s blog is “Let’s Write a Blog Today - Soccer”.  Time to get started.

Yesterday I found 9 gartersnakes during my lunch break.  I walked the 1.7 miles to one of my known hibernacula for snakes in the Denver area and the snakes were out.  I felt alive.  I felt amazing.  I was in a gutter that flows into the South Platte River spotting snakes in the rock walls that hold the banks up.  I kept on finding snakes.  I would think that I had spotted them all and then I would spot another.  The snakes were a real challenge to spot – they would just barely be peeking out of the rocks. 

Holy shit did I have fun!  This is clearly my passion but what else can I write about today?  Oh yeah – the title of my blog says soccer. 

After work, I had soccer practice.  Not my soccer practice but youngest son’s soccer practice (I am the coach).  Soccer is another passion of mine that comes and goes.  It seems to be coming more often these days as my boys love to play the game. 

The majority of my team this spring is a holdover from last fall but I do have four new players.  These players were in for the shock of their lifetime (I will get to this in a bit).  I have been coaching soccer for 9 years now.  I started coaching when my oldest turned 3 years old.  I am not sure why we signed him up for soccer at age 3 but it is a total waste.  Three year olds are just not ready for a team sport.  Shit – boys aren’t ready for a team sport until they are 9 or 10.  I learned this very quickly coaching and I now tailor every practice to the strengths of the boys and not my will for them to play soccer as a team.  Studies have shown that if you teach children how to play and not expect them to play your way at an early age they will have more fun at practice and games.  I still watch coaches try to hold a practice with 12 six year olds and one soccer ball.  Most of the kids are touching each other or picking flowers – two things I cannot stand!  Not at my practices, each kid has a ball and we play fun games to teach them ball control and increase fitness without them knowing.  The “team” and “passing” aspect of soccer will come with time.  I can’t teach this to someone who is not ready to learn it.
Well – in order to make sure every boy at practice has a soccer ball, I got to go shopping for new balls.  This spring, I finally decided that I was done with adding cheap balls to my collection.  Hell – I am a soccer snob so why shouldn’t my team play with nice balls.  I went with the Adidas F50 size 3 balls this season.  A decent ball but nothing like the balls I will be buying for my boys when they are older.  Also, if the store had had Puma balls, I would have bought them.  I don’t like Adidas even if they do make a decent soccer ball (their soccer boots suck).

Back to shocking my new players as part of their introduction to my soccer team.  I don’t put up with any shit and this is tough for the new ones to learn.  I guess some coaches let the boys talk over them.  All the boys want to socialize instead of play soccer sometimes.  Not at my practice but keep in mind rule #5 below.  The old boys fell right into line and worked hard for me yesterday.  The new boys – well not so much but by the end of practice, they were looking good already.  Actually, they were looking amazing.
Let me start with my team rules:
1.    No one talks when the coach is talking.  The boys get this one pretty easily because they do this at school every day.  I correct them a few times but I typically don’t have a problem here.
2.   We are a team.  We respect each other.  This means we respect everyone’s personal space.  Little boys are famous for touching each other: pushing; shoving; grabbing; you name it, they do it.  Respect also means that you never kick a teammate’s soccer ball away (unless we are playing a game where we are supposed to) – if you do, Coach Cameron gets to kick your ball away (I can kick a ball a very long way). Team also means that when we see each other away from practice or off the field somewhere, we high-five each other and say hi.  We make sure our teammates are okay.  We help them if they need help.  We do things that we do for our families.  Team means family.
3.   NEVER HANG ON THE GOAL CROSSBAR.  This is my big safety rule.  Other coaches don’t enforce this rule (or even have this rule) and my boys point it out all the time, “Look Coach Cameron that kid is hanging from the crossbar”.  If any of my boys do this, they sit out of practice for 10 minutes and second offenses mean they are done for the day.  I have seen goals fall.  I have been hanging on a goal when it fell.  It is not pretty.  Every year, kids are killed by goals.  Since 1979, 36 children have been killed by soccer goals and another 56 children received serious injuries.  While this may not seem like a lot, I will not have one of my kids add to these statistics.
4.   NO HANDBALLS.  This is a tough one for new players.  I really don’t know why except that they seem to be in the habit of setting up the ball with their hands and not their feet.  The old players know what happens when they handle a ball with their hands – Coach Cameron gets to punt, kick, or throw their ball wherever he wants to and they have to SPRINT to get it.  If they carry it back in their hands instead of dribbling it back, Coach Cameron kicks it even farther away.  Let’s just say – I can kick/punt/throw a ball a very long way.  Just like pushing or touching each other, little boys love to touch the ball with their hands.  I don’t know what it is.  BUT – after they have to chase a ball that I have kicked/punted/thrown they learn this rule pretty fast.  Why this rule?  It may seem a little cruel but in the long run it only makes them better soccer players.  I really don’t care if they handball at this age – who really does anyway?  They are young and just learning soccer so a lot of times their first instinct is to grab the ball.  What I want them to do is get used to having the ball at their feet and to use their feet when moving their ball around even if it is just a few inches.  This accelerates their growth as a soccer player because they develop a soft touch on the soccer ball.  It is really fun to watch them grow.
5.   HAVE FUN!  Nothing is this world is worth doing unless you enjoy it.  My boys have a LOT of fun.  I make sure of it.  Hell – I am the coach and I have so much fun at practice it puts me on a runner’s high every time.  We play games, we learn soccer, and we have fun.  All winter long, my team kept asking and asking me when soccer started again – this is proof they love to come play soccer with me – they are having fun.

So, back to my new players.  I have four new players this season.  All of them have been previously coached which can make it hard for them to adapt to my fast paced, energetic and fun style.  When a new player joins my team, they try to tell me about what they did on their old teams.  I let this go in one ear and out the other while teaching them our new drills, exercises, and games.  One of the biggest changes for them is when I bark out numbers that correspond with something they should be doing with the ball.  I really get some strange looks.  However, this just happens to be one of the best drills to do with the boys and they love it.  Here are the numbers we have learned so far, what the boys do with the ball, and how it benefits them as a soccer player:
1.   Put your head on the ball.  The boys dive down to push-up position and put their heads on the ball.  This works to strengthen their whole body plus it teaches them to keep their eyes on the ball (this will help after they are 10 and can learn to head the ball safely).
2.    Put your butt on the ball.  Serious leg work out here – the boys squat up and down strengthening their kicking and sprinting muscles.
3.    Scissors.  The boys swing their foot around the ball and then the other foot.  This is just a fun move that I can challenge them to do in a game.  As they get older, this skill will help them feign touching the ball and then doing something else with it.
4.  Pull Back.  The boys stop the ball with the bottom of their feet and then roll it backwards while spinning their bodies around.  This teaches them how to change direction without losing control of the ball.  It is helpful when in a crowd of defenders that you need to get away from.
5.    Toe Taps.  The boys bounce on their toes alternating touching/tapping the ball with the bottom of their feet.  This drill teaches them how to keep the ball close while helping develop fast twitch muscles in their lower leg.  These muscles will ultimately help them with sprinting and changing direction. 
6.   Back and Forth – The boys kick the ball back and forth between their feet.  They use the inside of their foot and ultimately develop good touch on the ball.  This drill helps with passing and trapping the ball while keeping it under control.
We will learn more exercises with numbers and even combine numbers to raise the complexity (soccer is a thinking game after all) but these are the basics we are starting with.

My approach to soccer must be different than the other coaches.  The new kids just never seem ready for the pace of my practices.  We are constantly moving.  Every kid has a ball (this season they can even borrow one of my new quality soccer balls).  Every kid is having fun.  We jump with the ball. We squat on the ball. We dribble.  We run (with the ball!).  We shoot. We juggle.  We PLAY!  That is the key – we “play” soccer.  There is absolutely no flower picking allowed!
Ultimately (roughly 2-3 practices) the new boys figure out my system for practices and begin to have more fun than they thought they could at soccer.  I challenge them to do better every practice and praise all good play.  I love seeing them develop as teammates as well as soccer players.  This brings me happiness and has become a real passion for me.
Is this my blog today?  I guess so. 
A photo of David Beckham I took just for the ladies

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dreaming of Snakes - First Snake of 2014

FINALLY!!! A snake decided to show itself to me today.  I took a lunch time walk which turned into a snake hunt.  The plan was to walk 1 mile out and turn around but that didn't last long.  The temperature was around 55 degrees, the sun was filtered by a thin cloud layer, and a stiff breeze was blowing - PERFECT GARTERSNAKE WEATHER.  I took the bait and walked the extra 0.5 mile to one of my known hibernacula in Denver.

I was not disappointed - a wandering gartersnake was basking just outside of the hibernaculum.  Of course, the only camera I had on me was my work iPhone that had  thankfully recently been upgraded to a 5s.  The 5s has a quality video and photo camera so I got to work trying to document my first snake of year.  The video below is what I ended up with.  Not spectacular but enough to make me happy.

I finally found my first snake of 2014!

Desk Jobs Suck

I have made a conclusion - Desk Jobs Suck. 
I see myself as an active person but in reality, I am just a slug in the garden.  I barely move each day.  I bought a FitBit about a year ago to help show me how sedate I really am.  A FitBit is a small device that you wear to count the number of steps you take in a day.  It does a great job of tracking activity but unless you set and meet a step goal each day, it is really just a useless device to carry around.  But if you set a goal that is higher than a normal day, you can slowly increase your activity level.  My daily goal is 15,000 steps per day.  
There are 24 steps between my office and the window at the end of the hall.  As a FitBit user this is a very important statistic.  It means that in order to meet my daily goal of 15,000 steps per day I have to walk up and back 312.5 times.  Ouch.  I think I may manage 10 times based on the number of times I need to talk to the folks at the end of the hall.  I wonder if I would pull off 312 times though - I doubt it.  I would have to walk up and back every 1.5 minutes during my 8 hour work day to make it happen.  Desk jobs suck!
The view from my office to the end of the hall
So how do I meet my daily goal of 15,000 steps?  I don't on busy days at work.  I have to go for a long walk or run at lunch to make my goal a reality.  Not many people have the luxury I have of being able to get outside on a daily basis - I am truly blessed but I really want to up my daily goal to 20,000 steps.  Maybe that is something to do this summer. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why I Need $120,000 Dollars - An Introduction

There is no mistake in the title of this post. Yes, I really need $120,000 dollars to fulfill my dream.  I need this money fast too.  The time has come to make my dream a reality.

I am the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Snake Conservation.  I founded the CSC to make a difference for snakes around the world.  Snakes are grossly misunderstood and portrayed very negatively in the media, movies, and social media.  I firmly believe (and have strong evidence) that this misunderstanding and negative portrayal is directly related to a lack of education and exposure to snakes.  Think about it for a moment - when do you hear about snakes?  You hear about snakes when one escapes, a person is bitten, or some interesting but gross visual image is found and published.  This is enough to scare anyone that hasn't had a positive experience with snakes.  For example, the release and rapid takeover of the Everglades by Burmese pythons only made media attention after the photo below went viral in emails and on social media.  It is a gross and disturbing photo that makes the python into something easy to hate.  If this is the only story you heard about snakes, you would be disgusted and fearful that you could be next.  Is this really a fair portrayal of a Burmese python? 

Absolutely not.  

Now - do I believe that Burmese pythons belong in the Everglades? No but this is not a reason to spread myths and lies about pythons just because it sells.  Instead of demonizing these snakes, we need to study and report on their impact to the fragile ecosystems in south Florida and learn why they are such successful invaders there.

Anyway, you have gotten me way off topic here talking about an invasive species and its portrayal in the media.  This really isn't snake conservation other than the dispelling myths part.  I need to get back to why I need $120,000 dollars.  

I need $120,000 dollars to open the doors of a Center for Snake Conservation facility.  I need $120,000 dollars to take the next step in fulfilling my dream.  I need $120,000 dollars to make the world see and appreciate snakes for what they are - incredible predators that deserve respect but also admiration.  Snakes truly are some of the earth's most fascinating creatures and I want to tell the world all about them.

So why would just anyone give me money to fulfill my dream?  Great question really.  I will answer it with the simple picture below this paragraph.  In this photo, I am sharing a wandering gartersnake with a group of school children on Earth Day in 2011.  I had just founded the CSC and this image really solidified my decision to follow my passion.  This photo shows how powerful an up-close and personal experience with a snake can be.  These kids are captivated.  These kids are learning.  These kids will become a voice for snakes.  These kids are happy because I teach them at their level with live snakes for them to see and touch.  This approach destroys any myths and mistruths implanted by television and social media.  Just think about what I can do with a brightly colored green tree python if I can have this sort of impact with a gartersnake.  Hell, you should really experience this in person - invite me to come give a talk for your next function, party, or even yourself and I will find a way to make it happen.

Since that Earth Day, I have brought snakes to 1000s of people in the Denver area.  I have been in schools, businesses, parks, and event centers with my teachers (the snakes).  Each person I touch (or have touch a snake), leaves with a new appreciation for snakes.  This audience even includes professional herpetologists with PhDs.  It includes inner city children who have never been given an opportunity to see or touch a snake before.  It includes campers that pass on a night of s'mores to come to my snake talks (side bar here - my snake talks at the Larimer County campgrounds have averaged over 80 people per talk in the last two summers.  Other presenters and groups giving talks at the campgrounds average less than 30 participants.  Snakes are amazing and people want to see them despite the myths, fears, and distrust harbored before they come to one of my snake talks.).  It includes people from all walks of life.  What I can do for these people is give them a new appreciation for snakes even if I cannot rid them of their fear and prejudice.  I do this very well.

So, I need $120,000 dollars to open the doors of a facility that will set the Center for Snake Conservation up in a position to reach the world.  Having a physical space is critical to the growth and development of the CSC's science, conservation, and education programs.  This space will allow me to pursue my dream full-time without having to sacrifice anymore.  I have ignored my passion and what I was made to do for way too long.

This blog post is just an introduction.  I will continue to write parts of this story until I raise the $120,000 dollars I need to fulfill my dream and make a mark on the world for snakes.  In these blog posts, I will plead my case.  I will show you why and how you will benefit by donating to help me fulfill my dream.  You will learn exactly how I will spend the $120,000 dollars.  After these blog posts, the value of your donation will be clearly visible.

Snake conservation is my priority and my life's goal .  If you have seen me in action, you already know that my pre-ordained purpose is to educate the world about the value and need for snakes in a healthy planet.  Be a part of the CSC and play a role in helping me make a difference for snakes.


I must note here that the Center for Snake Conservation is MUCH, MUCH larger than just me.  The CSC is a vision for the world.  No one is excluded as long as they can commit to its mission.  The CSC is so much larger than me but I am brought alive by its mission.  This is why I am going to write with "I" when I really should use the word "we".  I need to bring my passion to you.  I need to show you how personally invested and committed I am to making snake conservation and educating the human world about snakes a priority.  The word "we" is a very powerful word for describing the growing CSC community but it is the word "I" that will allow me to convey the CSC's need for $120,000 dollars.  

The Center for Snake Conservation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of all snakes. 
The CSC's mission is to promote the conservation of snakes and their natural ecosystems and implement positive change in human attitudes towards snakes. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Before and After #4

Haircut - I went a little shorter than I normally do but field season is coming up.  I don't like long hair under a hat when in the field. 

Yes - I need to shave.
The distressing part of this haircut is the amount of gray hair on the apron.  I think they use black aprons on purpose just to up-sell you to a dye job.  At least my now very short hair hides the gray better than long hair.

The majority of the light hair is gray.  ;(

The Big Dog Snow Day

Spring is here in Colorado.  That means snow and warm temperatures - huh?  Yes.  It snows and then gets warm, snows again, then gets warm again.  It snowed 5 inches Friday night and then was 60 degrees on Saturday this past weekend.  Perfect weather to get out and enjoy the snow without getting cold before it melts.  Spring is a very fun time of year in Colorado.
Our Big Dog loves the snow.  She loves being out in it.  It must feel good under her feet.  Here is a short video of her enjoying the recent snow in the warm sunshine of the day that followed it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Before and After #3

Snow!  Yes, it snowed last night but spring has started in Colorado. Spring means a lot of snow but also a lot of warm weather. Yesterday and today are great examples. The high temperature yesterday was almost 60 degrees. It then snowed over night. Today's high was near 60 again and the snow was gone. 

I took a photo of the snow before I left for work this morning and another when I got home this evening.

 Before and After. 

2014 Run #21 - March 5

A lunchtime run with beautiful weather - about time!!!  Today's run took me along the Cherry Creek path and the South Platte River path.  I ran north which I rarely do anymore.  I forgot how much I like the north run.

Flour Mill Lofts - If I lived in Denver - this is where I would want to live.

2014 Run #20 - March 4

Run back from therapist's new office - I took the bus there - I am not fit enough to run 9 miles in one day right now.

2014 Run # 19 - February 28

This was a two part run.  I ran to the gartersnake hibernaculum, gave a google hangout tour for a 2nd grade class in Utah, and then ran back to the office.

2014 Run #18 - February 22

2014 Run #17 - February 19

This was a Snake Run - fun times but no snakes.

2014 Run #16 - February 18

Another 2 part run - To and From

2014 Run #15 - February 14

2014 Run #14 - February 5

Another 2 part run - To and From