Category Archives: Life Journal

The Two Party System Has Failed Us

The Two Party SystemThe 1992 election was the first presidential election that I voted in. That makes the 2016 election my seventh presidential election and, by far, the worst of the lot. A process that uses a system of primaries to narrow the field of candidates down to the two who are deemed most fit to serve as the President has failed us.

Before I continue, this post is not about any one candidate, as both candidates this year had their flaws. It is about the system. The system that we’ve put our faith in. The system that is supposed to put forward the two most highly qualified candidates for us to choose between.

How has the two party system failed us?

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What I Learned from Running a Business for 10 Years

Aumnia, Inc.It was ten years ago this month, October 10, 2006 to be exact, that Aumnia, Inc. officially incorporated. Since that time, it’s been a long road of ups and downs. Given that 90% of all startups fail, I feel very fortunate that the company is still alive and kicking. Some other time, I’ll document the history of the founding and early days of the company. In this post, I’m going to document a few of the things that I’ve learned in 10 years of running the company.
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The Third Time Isn’t Any Easier

Courtney and Gregg Borodaty at UC DavisI spent last weekend on the University of California Davis campus. Well, technically, I spent it in the Tercero Housing Area with Lisa doing our third college drop-off with my daughter Courtney. You would think the experience of having done two college drop-offs already would have made the third one easier. It didn’t. I suppose it’s never easy helping one of your children leave home.

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Exploring Ann Arbor: Taking It to the Next Level

The more I travel, the more I enjoy finding the places that are off the beaten path in the places I visit. The easy thing to do when you’re on the road is to grab a burger at McDonald’s, a quick meal at an Applebee’s, or a coffee at a Starbucks. That’s not nearly as much fun as exploring the local options and finding those places where the food and atmosphere have a local flair.

Since Brad has been attending Eastern Michigan University, I’ve had the opportunity to do some exploring of the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area. It has also helped that I know a person who lives in the area that has pointed me towards some of the better places around town. I’ve written previously about a couple of my favorite spots in Ann Arbor, and here a few more that are worth visiting when you’re in the area.

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Pierogi – A Family Recipe

pierogiGrowing up, I can still remember when “the call” would come. Grandma had decided to make pierogi and my grandpap would call the house to tell us it was ready. It would usually be early evening when the call would come, and even if we had already eaten dinner, my dad would rush me out the door. We would speed over to grandma’s house, cutting the normally 5-minute drive in half. Somehow, my dad’s older brother, my Uncle Barry, would already be there working his way through the first batch. He lived 10 minutes away from my grandma’s, so how he got there faster than us is a mystery that remains unsolved to this day. My gut tells me he had inside information about when pierogi were being made, but neither he nor my grandparents ever fessed up to it.

My grandma’s pierogi recipe was a hand-me-down from my great grandma (my grandpap’s mother). She was an immigrant from the old country, Ukraine to be exact. My grandmother took over the recipe and mastered it, with a couple of minor tweaks. My mom and dad took over the recipe from my grandma, continuing the family tradition. Store bought pierogi are good, but they don’t come close to matching the real thing.

Someday, I knew that I should take over the recipe to continue the family tradition. I had procrastinated for years, but watching the Michael Pollan documentary “Cooked” inspired me to action. My parents visited this past summer, and I decided it was time to learn the recipe. I set aside an afternoon to spend in the kitchen with them. It was time well spent.

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Generation Golf

Gregg, Dennis and Brad Borodaty - three generationsAs the last major golf tournament of 2016 wraps up, I’m reminded as to why golf is the greatest sport. Here’s why.

Earlier this month, I traveled back to the east coast and spent a few days golfing with my dad in Pittsburgh. From there, I headed to Detroit to visit my son Brad. He’s working at a golf course for the summer, so I figured I get in a couple more days golfing with him. When I told a good friend about my plans, he said “take advantage of generational opportunities.” I took his advice and invited my dad and my mom to join me on the trip to visit their grandson, and to play a little golf at the course where he works. It turned into an outing I’ll remember forever.

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The Arduino Starter Kit

Arduino Starter Kit BoardAfter judging the UCSB ECE Senior Capstone projects at the beginning of June, my fellow judges and Professor John Johnson had a spirited conversation about generating interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) subjects among younger students. One of the conclusions we came to is that students in late elementary thru high school aren’t exposed to enough hands-on electronics and computer classes. In order to get exposure, it requires parents to enroll their children in after school activities, which are dominated by athletics these days. We wondered if cost and complexity could be an issue, but Dr. Johnson brought up the Arduino Starter Kit he had been experimenting with. At under $75 on Amazon, he felt it was a great way to introduce electronics to young students. After our discussion, I decided to purchase an Arduino Starter Kit on Amazon.

Here’s a little more background on what the Arduino is, why I got one, my experience with it so far, and why it makes it a great learning vehicle.

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UCSB ECE189 Capstone Senior Project Day – 2016

UCSB ECE189 Capstone Senior Posters in the CourtyardThis past week, I once again had the opportunity to judge the UCSB ECE189 Capstone Senior Projects. It’s the fourth year that I’ve had the opportunity to judge the project presentations. It’s always a great experience, and each year I am amazed by the amount of work the students are able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.

The projects also seem to get better every year, and this year’s projects were especially impressive. My good friend, Dr. John Johnson did a great job working with his students and preparing them for the presentation day. Even though I’ve never personally been to a tech incubator or accelerator “demo day”, my instinct tells me that the atmosphere is roughly equivalent.

I’m extremely grateful the Dr. Johnson invited me again this year. Here’s a brief synopsis of the projects, my overall thoughts on the projects, and who we picked as best project.

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Improving on Grandma’s Apple Pie Recipe

Apple PieOne of the things that I love about cooking is experimentation. Cooking is not an exact science, and small variations in ingredients, measurements, or techniques can lead to sometimes subtle and sometimes significant differences in outcome.

One of my favorite items to bake is apple pie, mainly because I love eating it (despite my recent decisions to reduce my sugar intake). When baking a pie, one of the things that I struggle with is making a light, flaky crust. I’ve tried different ingredients, made sure the water was extra cold, and tried various techniques to avoid over working the dough. Despite what I’ve tried. I just couldn’t get the dough as flaky as I would like it.

After doing a little research, I found a suggestion that I figured was worth a try – using vodka as a substitute for some of the water. The rationale is that vodka would provide the required moisture content for preparing the dough, but during the baking process, the alcohol would vaporize leaving a lighter, flakier crust. Given all that I had tried, I figured it was worth a shot.

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