The Dangers of Growing a Full Beard – A Social Experiment

Ron Stauffer with a long beard
For the past decade or so, my facial hair has fluctuated back and forth between neat and trim, and fully grown and bushy. As any man who's taken the time to grow a full beard knows, the strangest part isn't having a beard itself, but everything that goes along with it. I never really stopped to think about these things—and you can't—until you just try it for yourself. Normally in the summer time, I either shave most of my beard off, leaving "chops" or sharply-defined sideburns, or at least Read More

When I Met Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic is an interesting character... and he's somebody I was obsessed with as a teen. I *ahem* shared some albums that some friends may have gotten off of Napster back in the early 2000s, and many of the songs I rocked out to weren't actual pop songs from the day, but a parody of pop songs, recorded by none other than Weird Al. Honestly, I listened to him so much that half his songs didn't even seem funny to me, since I didn't even know what they were a parody of. I'll bet my experience Read More

Drop the Bat; Run to First (Lessons From a T-Ball Coach)

A few years ago, I wanted to introduce my oldest son to sports. He was probably four at the time, and after playing catch with him in the backyard during the early spring, I discovered he had a knack for both hitting and throwing a baseball. He was still pretty young, so I figured finding a local T-Ball club would be the best way to introduce him to the sport. A few days after I signed him up, my wife and I had a barbecue at our house with some friends, and I casually mentioned this to my buddy Read More

On Silly Job Titles

I've always been amazed at the creative titles some people use to describe what they do. Job titles are a frustrating thing; some employers make a huge deal about hierarchy, titles, and your job scope, while others really don't care at all and like to say things like "We're a small company; we all pitch in and help where we're needed." I had one employer, for example, who told me "I don't like titles. Not my thing. Call yourself whatever you want." So I picked my own job title: "Internet Marketing Read More

15 States in 15 Days – The Stauffer Family Summer Road Trip

Now that summer is almost over, it's nice to reflect on how it went. The Stauffer Family started this summer with a bang! Rachel finished her A.A. in Dance from Pikes Peak Community College (woot!), we sold our house and moved to a new city, and we decided to take a road trip across the USA before getting settled in the new place. We bought a car top carrier, filled our van to the brim with luggage, then loaded up our five kids and drove a few thousand miles weaving in and out of a good portion Read More

We’re Moving: Boulder or Bust!

Big news in the Stauffer family: we're moving! Later this month, I will be  uprooting my family of seven and heading north to Boulder, Colorado. I haven't made a life change this big since I moved to Colorado from California as a teenager, so I'm not even sure how to let people know the news. Back in 1998, when we came here, we just told our friends face to face. These days, there are so many people I know that I don't really see in person very often, so as impersonal as it seems, I think I'll just Read More

Lessons From the Darkroom

I like photography a lot, and always have. I've always appreciated a well-done photograph and have devoted a few years of my life to learning how to compose, create, and finish a photograph just the way I want it. When I was a student at Pikes Peak Community College, almost all my time was spent learning the boring crap you need to get out of the way in order to finally study what you want at a "real" university. For me, that meant almost all my time was spent building up my "core" classes; economics, Read More

The Colorado Springs Police Department’s Citizen’s Academy

A few years ago, I signed up to attend the Citizen's Academy that's put on by the Colorado Springs Police Department. It's an 11 week class that gives you, as a citizen, the opportunity to learn about how the Police Department is run, who runs it, and more. Some people had recently asked me about it, so I figured I'd finally share some photos and info about it. We really got to see the CSPD's operations inside and out, and were really given an eye-opening experience about what goes in every single Read More

SCUBA Diving in Key Largo, Florida

Late last year, I spent some time in Florida and drove all up and down the state, as far north as Orlando and as far south as Miami then Key Largo. I was on a whirlwind trip, and didn't expect to have a lot of time, so I had originally planned on going diving in Boca Raton where I was staying, but was convinced at the last minute to take the trip all the way down to the Keys. I'm glad I did—it was worth it. I used an outfit called Sailfish SCUBA, and I definitely recommend you try them if you're Read More

Hang Gliding at 3,000 Feet in Lake County, Florida

I recently took a trip to visit family in Florida to do some SCUBA diving, snorkeling, swimming, and other fun beach-type activities. What I didn't know, though, was that just six miles down the road from where my parents live, is a fun hang gliding place. I had the chance to go, so my little brother and I were towed up by an airplane, 3,000 feet into the air, then slowly glided back down to the earth. It was awesome. Here are two videos of what it looked like (both from the same trip, just taken Read More