Top 10 things to do in the 3rd Worst City in America

Darn right there are great attractions, activities and “all around merriment” in #Reno! Great post Alli!

The Business Casual Life

My hometown, Reno, Nevada, was recently put on blast by EscapeHere.com as one of the “10 Worst Cities to Visit in the United States.” Now, I wouldn’t exactly call Reno a travel destination, but there are many fun attractions, activities, and all around merriment to be had in The Biggest Little City. If you get a chance, check out The Biggest Little City Movement, which is a collection of Renoites stories and shared love of our biggest little city. Below is my list of top ten activities and attractions that are a MUST when visiting Reno, or even if you’re a Reno local.

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Thoughts on Heaven

Great poem by our dear friend and close family Julianne about our cousin Logan.

Life Off Leash

 

 

 

 

Image

Hi friends 🙂

It’s been the usual forever since I’ve blogged and unfortunately, this will be short and sweet. Tomorrow morning (at precisely o’ dark hundred) my parents and I are headed to my hometown in Florida to celebrate the life of the face you see above. This sweet little boy was the kind of family the government may not recognize, but God sure does. The kind of family you make for yourself. He died last summer at the age of 16 and together with his family and ours we’re going to be reminded that heaven isn’t as far away as we think it is. Have a safe and happy 4th ❤

Heaven to me, seems like a cozy train.People boarding
Doors open
         Doors close.
Constant hum of togetherness and safety.

When you left, you left a space.
You made heaven, to me, seem…

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One Sand-Skeeball-Sculpture at a Time

Building sandcastles and other sand structures is incredibly similar to being an entrepreneur. Everyone on the beach has the tools and resources to do so right in front of them, but few try for one reason or another. Perhaps some have never thought to try, they do not have the creative vision. Others might think it a cool idea, think back on times as a child, and say, “Well I will be shunned by society if I try; and I’m likely no good at it anyhow, so I won’t bother.”

Growing up my father loved to make his classic Skeeball game on the beach out of sand. I do not know where the idea sprang from to do so, but every summer on the beaches of Ocean City Maryland, we would make grand sand-sculptures: from mermaids, to hammerhead sharks, turtles, and the famous beach Skeeball. The sand was our canvas and we could create darn-near anything out of it; why not create a classic game to play? We would build a giant mound of sand, water it down, pack it out, use buckets to create perfect hole, and personally I loved to build in automatic ball returns for every hole.

Today we were at Big Carona Beach in Orange County, California and after a swim out to the buoys, body-surfing, some paddle-ball and a brief nap in the sun, it felt like time to add my creative touch to the sand for all of my fiancés cousin’s little children to enjoy. Skeeball.

It is crazy the level of doubt at first outset. So many lack the vision. Perhaps it is because I have been there before, made other versions. The fact remains; so many doubt what they cannot see. And the progression is always the same: doubt, disregard, curiosity, desire.

I tried to recruit a number of the kids, and full grown cousins, to help without avail. I did get one young-in to grab me one bucket of water, but that was enough for him. People walk by and you can tell the look on their faces says, “Why is that full-grown man piling up sand; weird. Keep walking.” The slow progression moves toward; “Wow, that is a big mound of sand,” people whisper, “that must have taken him a while.” Not too long, thanks. “What ‘cha makin?” come the next and more curious questions. “Skeeball, wanna help?” “Skeeball hunh? Cool (I think). No that’s alright, I’ll let you do your magic,” followed by a thought of, “Wow, he’s taking this too seriously.” Or “That’s kinda lame; no thanks I’d rather boogie-board. Have fun playing in the sand though (you grown-as man).” I was probably done in 20-minutes or less, though it definitely took longer do it by myself than when I was a kid with my father, brother, sister and cousins helping.

But once you finish, everyone wants to gather around and play the game. “Wow, can I play?” “It’s my turn, give me the ball.” “This is awesome!” And finally those who ignored the call build upon that original vision and make it better once you’ve created it.

The joy in these kids faces as they played the game time and time again was fantastic. The laughs and excitement as they ran around the back to grab the ball they overthrew is that unexpected value and feeling of success that many search for their whole life-through. This value of creating for others out of seemingly nothing is one thing I cherish most in life.

Success is not eminent in the sand; there are many ways for the vision to fall off track. Perhaps you run out of time. Maybe you don’t have great vision at the outset and build it poorly; or make it in haste leaving people to understand the vision but think, “Wow this really had potential, but just isn’t that cool.” Or you could be entirely unlucky and have a wave (or mischievous child) come knock your masterpiece to the ground before completion; but perhaps you could have planned better for this.

At the end of the day, sand will return to sand: bound to gravity and mulled around by the ebbing sea. But for a time, it is possible to build a grand work: as simple or complex as you like. For a time you can enjoy what you have created out of the world’s canvas. For a while you can create value that is life and enjoyment thereof. But understand that in time all will be washed away to not but memories of what once was.

Dear Logan (by my sister Karah)

Great post by my little sister down in New Zealand about our Cousin Logan. Love you Sis.

karahzy

(I recently had one of my little Cousins die. It was very unexpected, and I could not be with my family for the ceremonies. I still want them to know how much I care. Here is a little something I wrote with some pictures to remember him… read until the very end.)

Dear Cuz,

            You know those things that you never really like to tell anyone? Those things you like to keep secret? Well one of those things for me was my admiration and love for my family. I have loved them no matter what the situation. I have always thought of the heart as a special object, for everyone. The only thing is that I believe the heart is more than just an object you give away to someone, or a thing that gives you feeling. I believe that the heart is a vessel, which allows you to…

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Logan

Cuz…

If I could tell you one thing,
I would tell you that you are loved more than you know.

If we could talk once more,
I would remind you how proud I am of everything you’ve done.
How proud I am of how hard you work,
of how committed and steadfast you are,
of how great it is to have you around,
and how you’re going to grow up to be so much cooler than your big cousin.

If I could see you once more,
I wouldn’t miss your last baseball game.

If we could hang out one more day at the lake,
I would still be in awe of your perfect gainers.

If you could teach me one more thing,
it would be your serene calm under pressure.

If I could hear you now,
your infectious laugh would fill the room.

If I could show you one thing,
it would be a world incomplete without you.

—Rest in Peace Cuz—

Logan Herr (1996-2012)

[Updated: 09-Jul-2012 @ 1:45 pm] There has been a great outpouring of support for my family over the last day, Thank you so very much for all of your love and kind words. Some of the boys in EDH even painted the rocks in memory of my cousin (my dad took pictures this morning):

[Updated: 09-Jul-2012 @ 6:00 pm] Please pray for strength for my Aunt, Uncle and cousins. I invite you to share your kind words in memory of Logan:

Logan Herr on Facebook.

Logan Herr on Twitter.

A memorial fund has been established to keep Logan’s (Trub’s) fun loving and adventurous spirit alive. In lieu of flowers please consider donating in Logan’s name:

Please Consider Donating in Logan's Name


[Updated: 11-Jul-2012 @ 12:50 pm] If you are more comfortable donating at a physical location, a memorial fund has also been established by our close family friends at Bank of the West in El Dorado Hills (Thanks Donna!):

The Logan Herr Memorial Fund
Bank of the West
2211 Francisco Drive, #100
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762

Please contact Donna or me if you need the routing and account number for an out of town transfer. Thank you again so much for your support of my family.

[Updated: 16-Jul-2012 @ 7:00 pm] My family is holding a Celebration of Life for my Cousin Logan Daniel Herr this week:

Celebration of Life for Logan Daniel Herr

Wed June 18th @ 11:00 am

Rolling Hills Christian Church
800 White Rock Road
El Dorado Hills CA 95762

Let The Avalanche of Action Flow Through You

Instead of filling your life with other people’s stories, gossip, news and social media; fill life with your own stories of action. I encourage you to find and bless the world with your unique value of creation… your creativity, your perspective and your passion shared with the world for the benefit of all, yourself included. Listen in the stead of talking. Walk the talk to let your voice be heard through others. The sound of one rock rolling pales in comparison to the avalanche of action. Let your value flow through you and let nothing stand in its way.

The LiveSTRONG Reminder

Synopsis:

I have had my LiveSTRONG braclet on my wrist for about seven years; ever since my grandmother passed from Cancer. Sure I purchased it in memory of my grandmother, but the bracelet and the memory of my grandmother (one of the most powerful and competitive women I have ever known) remind me to live every day to the fullest. I encourage you to create similar reminders for yourself such as notes in your wallet or goals on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself constantly of the things you want to accomplish in life, the virtues, morals and standards you want to uphold, and the person you want to be every day. I encourage you to create a token or a reminder for yourself to keep your goals in the front of your mind.

My Video Rant: The Ivy-League Stigma

Video Synopsis

When I tell people that I graduated from Cornell University, there tends to be a certain stigma associated with going to this ivy-league school and I want to clear up some misconceptions of the stereotypes that are made of me. I was not a National Merit Scholar, I was not lucky, I did not have an inside connection there, nor did I come from a rich family: I simply had (and have) determination. It took two rejections before I was finally accepted to Cornell and even then my first semester I received the worst grades I ever had in my life earning a 1.53 GPA with my first ever C, D, and F course grades all in one term. I took winter and summer courses throughout the following three years to make sure that I graduated in 4 years total after only receiving 26 of 42 transfer credits from Washington State and receiving unacceptable grades for graduation in my first semester at Cornell. Graduating from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York has been one of the greatest accomplishments of my life and is a firm example of my determination, not the result of coming from a big money nor influential family. Thanks for listening to my rant 🙂

How Do I Pick a Solar Installer? 10 Questions to Ask a Solar Installer

For disclosure and so you know where I am coming from: I am a Civil Engineer by training, spent two years managing a renewable energy installation company in Northern Nevada, followed by a general contractor focusing on green building and energy efficiency. I have since moved on to become a program manager the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization, a 510(c)3 nonprofit organization. Alright, lets get to it:

First thing is first, don’t even consider installing Solar until you have made your home or business more energy efficient (see my post from last week about how to do this yourself). Energy efficiency is often the lowest hanging fruit with the quickest bang for your buck, and every dollar you save is a many more dollars you don’t have to spend on Solar. While they often cost a few hundred bucks, you can also consider a home (or business) energy audit to expose your areas of greatest concern; that lowest hanging fruit.

The most important thing today when considering installing solar is to be an informed customer. I have seen too many people of the past five years be taken advantage of by shysters in the industry looking to make a quick buck on the uninformed with hard sales tactics and brutal lies. I have found from firsthand experience that if your installer is straightforward and honest, the sales cycles is often about 6 months. These means from a customer perspective from the first time you talk to someone about solar, until the time you feel comfortable about going forward with it can be six months. Solar has become a full technology industry and installing a system is a sizable investment for anyone requiring an objective financial decision as well as the emotional desire to do so.

When selecting your solar installer, make sure you get at least three estimates. Here are the most important due diligence questions to ask before you make a final decision…

Dan’s “10 Questions to Ask Your Solar Installer”:

  1. Are you licensed, bonded, and insured as an electrician or solar installer in the state?
  2. Are your installers locally licensed if required (such as Nevada OSHA PV License in Nevada)?
  3. Are you NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) PV Installer certified?
  4. What size systems can I actually fit on my roof?
  5. What brands of solar modules and inverters will you be using on my system? What are their warranties (expect 10+ year inverter warranties and 25-30 year power performance guarantees of 80%+ on the modules as well as a 2-year workmanship warranty)?
  6. Can you show me some systems that will be similar to mine that you have installed before?
  7. Do you finance solar projects or offer a solar lease? Can you get my payments less than my current monthly electricity costs? If not, what are my upfront costs and what does my return cash-flow look like?
  8. Is my roof in good enough shape to last for the life of the solar system (25-30 years+)? Do I need to re-roof beforehand?
  9. Will you help me understand and secure rebates & tax incentives? Can you help me finance or roll these cost savings into my financing package from day one (so that I don’t have to pay anything more out of pocket upfront)?
  10. What are my additional expenses over the life of the system? Will I need to replace the inverter(s) in 7-10 years? Do you cover that?

If you are looking to dig into this a little more, the National Renewable Energy Labs have some good consumer resources:

While I am no longer managing a solar installation company, if I can be of any assistance in helping you make a decision I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, via a comment below. Thanks! – Dan