Morale Debt

In software development we have a term for design or architectural decisions that will ‘save time now,’ but will not be great building blocks in the future called ‘tech debt.’ A similar phenomenon may happen in project management that I’m calling morale debt: a decision is made that will not build up, empower, or strengthen the team, but will produce a sense of expediency.

It is known that tech debt will need to be repaid, often with interest, but leading people into morale debt comes with a steep cost that can be much greater to recover from. Once a leader forces an issue, violates trust, and removes ownership from individual contributors earning trust again can take months to years.

Morale debt may cause an entire organization to operate with great dysfunction [see also: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team] because at the core of morale debt comes a destruction of trust. You don’t borrow from a pool of funds, you reset to a negative balance instantly, and the payback must be done in installments, it can’t be repaid in 20 minutes. All apologies only start on the path to reestablishing trust. Steps will have to be taken to regrow trust and a new history of trust will have to be created.

One violation, but hundreds of steps to correction. On top of that morale debt may cause teams to dysfunction as sides become politicized and so causing trust to be lost and morale to be destroyed could be needing repayment for months at different layers.

Morale debt is not insurmountable, but if you ignore it, you will be crawling on your knees for miles in the hope that penance has been paid. Don’t do it. Move slower; move deliberately; check your emotional intelligence, and seek counsel from those you trust.

Debt sucks, morale debt may be a death knell for your organization.

This Is Who You Say I Am

As I’ve written songs over the years I’ve had a hard time recording them. Firstly, because I’m not a great singer, I have a hard time sharing the ideas, and secondly, these songs are my babies and I don’t want people calling them ugly. That being said unshared songs are less useful. Here’s one I did a quick and dirty recording of just this last week.

This is Who You Say I Am

Secure, in what You’ve made me
Sure, in who You are
Pure, You took the blame and
called me lovely
This is who You say I am
Bought by the precious Lamb
Made to be holy
By the One and only
Son of God and Son of man
This is who You say I am
(verse 2)
Sealed, by Your Holy Spirit
Healed, by Your affliction
I yield all my pride
and sin so ugly

It’s not what I bring
It’s not what I sing
It’s not what I am, but You
It’s Your life and the Holy Spirit

The Best Pastries in North End Boston

This Lobster Tail from Mike’s looks amazing, and the flavor is great… But it’s rubbery

In North End Boston there are quite a few pastry shops run by umpteenth generation Italian immigrant families. They’re all serving about the same thing, but one of them served a better “lobster tail” than the others. It was better because of the stupid food science that we’ve all been hearing about for the last 20 years due to food tv, blogging, and snobbish friends who only eat organic vegan gluten.

Jessica and I, because of our love of science, went to the top three recommended pastry shops to eat the pastries and do the food trigonometry so you don’t have to.

Don’t go to Mike’s. Don’t go to Bova’s. Go to Modern pastry. Here’s why: freshly baked or fried breads cannot hold up to refrigeration. The refrigeration traps humidity and breaks down the crispy, structured lobster tails and you get a soggy lobster tail. Or a soggy cannoli. Modern pastry fills your unrefrigerated pastry to order. Crispy mouth delight.

Modern pastry has the best flavor and texture combination we’ve found in Boston’s North End.

On the way to another destination we passed one of these shops and the case was so thick with condensation that you couldn’t see the pastries in the case.

A properly prepared and freshly filled Lobster Tail and Cannoli from Modern Pastry

Don’t. Refrigerate. Your. Cooked. Pastries.

How to Prevent Influence of an Election

As a citizen: go vote. Russia, and any other foreign influencer, cannot be influential if you’ll just go vote with an informed mind.

Don’t read a million newspaper headlines, read real articles. Don’t read Facebook rants, read real research. And vote. Every time. With information.


Every citizen who can legally vote, should. Then the meddling accusations go away because informed citizens are protecting their country through civic duty.


This year I’m turning 40. For some reason my mental and emotional energy has turned to legacy like it was the only thing that mattered. My daughters are both teenagers and my sense of concern for setting them up for success is at a level that I cannot describe other than desperately being concerned that they are prepared to leave the world behind with descendents (if they have children) that are prepared for life, too.

As a Christian man I want my daughters [and beyond] to know what they believe, why they believe it and what they can do to help carry this on to the next generation.

As a thinker I want my family (not just my daughters) to be able to reason through life and its events and interpret the world around them.

As an artist (musical or otherwise) I want to leave behind the proof of my existence and art.  What are the words? Do they mean something?  What are the melodies, harmonies and chords and rhythms? Do they bear the fingerprint of my soul?

I’m hoping to maybe dig a bit deeper into these things with future posts. I’ve been a bit lax on blogging, but I have a deep sense of need to commune and to leave a legacy, so here’s to some bits of me being shared here in 2017.

Sous Vide

I’d like to get a sous vide machine (immersion circulator) and then I can sous vide all the things.  But the problem is that I can imagine a situation where the following happens:

Daughter: “Dad, corn flakes don’t need to be sous vide.”

Me: “You don’t know that.”

Radius Dish Experiment

I’ve got this problem: I’ve got a bass guitar kit that has been sitting in my closet for a huge amount of time (it’s embarrassing) – and I really want to put it together.  So I’ve been working on learning about luthery (I even started a blog about it, but then killed it since I’m such a n00b) and I’m really stunned by how much awesome information is available on jigs, tools, and techniques available.  But I have a second problem: I don’t want to spend a lot of money and a lot of time making radius dishes, which are useful for making guitars, but I’d need to buy two of them, and I don’t really want to spend ~$100 per dish on a new one.  So I thought for a bit.  I examined what I needed, what I knew about materials, and what would help me get a radius dish without having to spend so much money (you need at least two for most guitars).  What I’m sharing here is an experiment that looks to accomplish ‘radiusness’ while also being a wee frugal and to my knowledge is untrod territory.

A dodedahedron

The starting radius dish circle.

Here you can see the dodecahedron (12 sided polygon) that I started by cutting a 24-ish inch polygon.  This will create the perimeter that my peg board will rest on and be stretched into it’s radius’ed shape with.  The pine is 2.5″ tall and it’s resting on a laminate piece of MDF that I got for a song at Ikea ($1.99? yes please).  The bevel on the ends is a 105º cut. Collectively it gives me about 77 inches of perimeter. I’d like to cut them down just a touch, but that changes the geometry. The middle of the radiused dish needs to be recessed down a mere 0.3 inches to create a 24 foot radius.

The sides and the center screw on the laminate

The Sides and the center screw on the laminate

So I cut the sides (as you already saw) and found the center of the piece of laminated MDF and then needed to mark my perimeter (just in case that would help me visually).  So I tied a string to the screw in the center and used the pencil to trace out a 24″ diameter.

The 24" diameter

the 24″ diameter


Then, with great fear and trepidation I put the 12 sides up and placed the screw through the center whole.

The screw through the center hole

The screw through the center hole

The sides have not been glued or anchored in any way other than through the natural tension provided through the pegboard.

I placed my level over the pegboard and measured down the 0.3″ (5/16) with my combination square and carefully screwed the screw into the laminated MDF.

The combination square over the level

The combination square over the level

You can see the end result here with the level floating over the slight concave of the radius dish.

The Radius with the Level over it

The Radius with the Level over it

After all of this I used one of my screw counter-sinks and carefully by hand pulled out enough material for the head of the screw to be counter-sunk.

the counter sink

the counter sink

And now – I have to sleep – so I won’t know how well this works until later this week when I get a chance to work on this and use it.  The good news is that it appears to be stable (even without anchoring the sides) and pressing into the dish seems to be somewhat firm (with only a tiny bit of give).  With the sanding paper I bought I’m hoping to get a nice clean bracing and then that will help with the go-bar deck, which I will have to work on next 🙂

From inside you can see the bow

From inside you can see the bow

Happy Falker Satherhood!

It’s father’s day. And that means my brain goes to Cake Wrecks which had a series of cakes for father’s day that included an epic cake spelling “error.” I can only tell you that today (technically the day before Father’s day) my daughter Abby presented me with this:


She’s not wrong.

Covenants (part one of many)

There are two types of covenants: conditional and unconditional covenants.  God’s covenant with Abraham was unconditional after Abraham believed – it’s unconditional because after his belief nothing could reverse the promises God made.  God’s covenant with Israel through Moses [AKA “The Mosaic Covenant”] where He gave the Law was conditional on their obedience to the law in the land [Ex 20:1-31:18].
A covenant has several elements to be looking for:
a) participants [God and Israel through Moses]
b) provisions [The land, the seed and the blessing]
c) a state [active/inactive] if it’s conditional
d) a sign [a sacrifice on an altar, circumcision]
e) a token [the Sabbath] to remind the participants of the covenant
Covenants usually set up what theologians call a ‘dispensation’ or a period of stewardship where the provisions and tokens are observed.  However, covenants can come to an end.  When Christ came and was crucified, died, buried, resurrected, and then ascended God did away with the temple system by literally tearing down the temple through the Romans. The Law could NOT be fulfilled and was rendered inoperative. In the millennial kingdom the Law will be fulfilled again while Abraham possesses the land.

Thinking God’s Thoughts After Him

The phrase, “Thinking God’s Thoughts After Him, ” used to drive me bonkers. I wanted to be a free thinker after God’s image. The problem with my optimistic free thinking lies in the source of truth: not me. Good is the source of truth and if I’m to think on truth in going to have to be thinking about His revealed truth after Him.

I consider myself creative as my art and craft often reflect new-to-me experiences, but I’m also highly analytical and yet the truth I find is rooted in exploring God’s creativitt, His truth and then exploring creatively potential appropriations and then subjecting those to analytical comparison of God’s revelation and His approved appropriations as revelation preserves.

God’s Thoughts are perfect. They’re worthy of meditation. They’re worthy of thinking after Him.