Archive for the 'worthwhile' Category

Fortune Cookie

December 18, 2009

My mother went to eat at an asian restaurant a few months ago.  And she brought me home a fortune cookie.  My fortune cookie fortune from September 17, 2009…

Fortune Cookie

My mother was happy to read this!  She wrote the date on the back of the fortune and posted it up on the refrigerator.   We have been patient.  We deserved some good things.  For the past two years, I’ve been trying to bootstrap a business.  I haven’t worked.  I have had virtually no income.  And I have been under a mountain of debt the entire time, half of it following me from a previously failed business (my candy machine business).

It was a wild ride during these three months!!!  A lot of things in my life (and my mother’s) have gone from bad to good during these three months!

1) My mother finally got her inheritance over a year after the death of her sister.  And not a moment too soon, because she had finally run out of her retirement funds, which is totally my fault.

2) Due to #1 happening, I was able to settle over $60K of outstanding debt with my creditors.  I have mixed feelings on this.  On the one hand, I feel responsible for my debt.  All I wanted was for my creditors to give me some time to get on my feet with a new job, or my business to finally generate some income.  They were not very interested in postponing payment any longer than they had already.  So they move the debt into collections and resolve to take a loss on the funds they loaned me.  So, in effect, I am one of the contributors to this economic mess we are in.  Obviously, I am not alone, and my debts pale in comparison to those of others.  Nevertheless, I feel responsible for my debt.

So I worked within the constraints of my creditors to pay off whatever I could.  Granted, I had to rob Peter to pay Paul (I borrowed money from my mother, yet again).  I suppose it’s better than bankruptcy where I would have paid absolutely nothing, except to a bankruptcy attorney.  So I feel better about that at least.

The greatest feeling, though, is to finally be out from under that staggering amount of debt.  And I vow to never abuse my credit again.  I probably won’t be credit worthy for the next seven years anyway.  But as I recently read, it is better to fear debt, then to fear credit worthiness.  =]

3) ScheduleWise keeps picking up customers!  We got our first customer on Thanksgiving day!  Woo Hoo!  The pressure comes off of you when you get your first customer is tremendous.  It’s like you can finally breathe again because your new customer has just validated your sense of purpose.  And with that one, the proverbial floodgates are opening.  We’ve had so much interest since then.  And we have three new customers since!

4) I finally completed my application to the Navy Reserves.  I have always wanted to join the service, and so I finally applied with Navy Intelligence.  I had a great interview this past week, but am keeping my expectations low because the program is very competitive.  If I don’t get in, well, at least I know I put my best foot forward.

5) I have been applying for work for various positions for some time now.  Nothing has panned out.  And I’ve had only one interview with Roper Hospital in Charleston.  Well, thanks to my sister-in-law, Carmen, for putting me in touch with a recruiter, I managed to get an interview with Coca-Cola.  Originally, they considered me over-qualified and didn’t want to interview me, but my recruiter convinced them.  After the interview, they hired me right away (well, within a week)!  And I was supposed to start in mid-January.  But I think the icing on the cake regarding my fortune cookie, was that I started this new job exactly on December 17!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

So good things were definitely in store for me.  I have had almost a complete reversal of fortune.  And as I sit and reflect, I can look at this fortune and say, “Bah humbug!”  But I put so much thought into how wonderful it would be if good things did happen.  And to my surprise, they did!  And it really feels wonderful!

P.S.  Now I know you’re wondering about those lottery numbers!  Yes, I did play them.  And no, I didn’t win.

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Time Machine to the Rescue!

December 16, 2009

So my inner dork continues to surface.  Most Mac users that I know do not really give a hoot about Time Machine.  And to be honest, it isn’t the quintessential backup system for your computer.  Use Silverkeeper or Carbon-Copy Cloner for that.  But, what Time Machine is insanely good at is restoring files that you casually deleted in the not so distant past.

Today, I’m sitting there thinking about some notes that I had written down on my old phone, my Palm Treo.  I remember deleting everything off of the phone, but keeping my files on my computer so when I needed to access them, I’d have them.  Only thing is, the filetypes are proprietary to the Palm software.  So you can read bits and pieces with your basic text editor,  but there is a bunch of gobbledy-gook in between.  For some reason, I thought it was a good idea to delete the Palm software some time ago.

Now, I still have the installation CD, but what a hassle that would be.  Enter Time Machine.

All I had to do was “go back in time” through a number of saved instances of my harddrive over the past year until I was able to locate the Palm Desktop software.  Click the Restore button and Presto!  I now have the fully working software reinstalled on my computer and have access to all my old memos and everything else I needed.

The interface to Time Machine is slick.  I’ve used it before to relocate pictures I had deleted.  But today’s adventure really saved me a some time.  So a big thanks to the engineers who designed this.  It’s amazing!

Now, if they can only get it to be the ONLY backup system you’ll ever need, I’ll be an even happier fanboy.

Disciplining the Nephew

August 27, 2009

Why is it that the hardest thing for me to do this week was to discipline my young nephew?

He committed some atrocious behavior, the details of which I won’t go into here.  But what I will say is that since I’m not the parent, I had no intention of acting like one.  Nevertheless, it did require discipline before the act was forgotten.

It actually bothered me more than I care to admit.  Not the deed.  But how to deal with it.  I reasoned that to be a good uncle, I ought to “talk” with my nephew.  And in the end, this proved to be a good thing.  But, despite my hope to listen more than talk,  it still turned out to be more of a lecture, mostly due to my nephew’s unwillingness to be open and let his feelings out.  Getting these kids to articulate their thoughts has always been tough.  I’m not sure if that’s more a function of who they are, or that they aren’t encouraged to speak about their thoughts and feelings at school or home.

What came of our “talk”, though, I’m hoping, is his understanding that what was done was not OK and will be avoided in the future.  That by not just punishing without listening, we may have actually learned something through communication, not by repetitive discipline.

I guess we’ll know that the next time around…  Hopefully, he’ll be the uncle by then.

Take Back the Beep!

July 30, 2009

David Pogue of the New York Times has endeavored on a “Take Back the Beep Campaign” .  It’s funny, but oh so truthful!

And Lifehacker takes it a step further with the secret code… One Star Pound (1 * #).  They explain it in detail here.

If you don’t know, now ya know…

Today Is a Phenomenal Day!

June 20, 2009

Everyday should be a phenomenal day… but if that were true, then how would we know what the highs of life are versus the lows?

Anyway, this is a self-serving post.  Self-help if you will.  But others may find it interesting.  That’s why I write it on this blog.  That being said, it’s also my life-tracking device.  Which could lead me down a rathole talking about where the last 9 months of my life have gone since I haven’t posted anything.  Can you say “stream of consciousness”?

Well, today is phenomenal.  By all rights, it should be a mediocre day at best.  I am suffering with every move, twist, and contortion from a bruised rib (or ribs) from a bicycle accident on a mountain trail (nailed the landing, I did!).  I haven’t left the house.  It’s 100-degrees out!  I haven’t eaten much today.  I haven’t had any friend contact… (well, a phone call or two).  And my business is still at the bottom looking up.

Nevertheless, I still claim phenomenality.  And it’s all in my personal growth and development today.  I feel like I am making a new step today.  Here are my three reasons…

1) Obvious : All You Need to Know in Business. Period by James Dale.  I picked this up at the library (it’s only 2 years old!).  But it has given me a ton of good ways to think and talk about my business.  And it got me to writing in my business journal, being honest with myself, my aspirations, my track record, etc.  Probably the greatest nugget (and this is truly nothing new, but it helps when you see it again and again)… “You never know how you’re doing unless you STOP to find out.”  I like that.  Today I stopped.

2) “In Defense of Distraction” by Sam Anderson (New York magazine).  This article presents a very interesting opinion on the benefits of overstimulation.  However, the most striking parts of the article were about super-attentive abilities and taking action to stay focused, in charge of our own attention.  Those parts of the article just got me interested in writing today.  In fact, in direct contrast to my stream-of-consciousness approach above, I decided to stay focused on the task of writing these thoughts down.  Right now.  Without delay.  This is always the toughest hurdle to get over for me.  I’ve always been a “I’ll get to it later”-type person.

3) “You never know how you’re doing unless you STOP to find out.” Yes, I’m quoting myself quoting James Dale.  It was a nice day today to do just that.  To take stock of where I am in life.  To understand am I happy.  To question whether I feel challenged.  Fulfilled in my choices.  To know if I see a future with my current choices.  Am I where I thought I’d be.  And then to ask myself what I can do about all those answers.  Should I be working harder?  Or smarter in order to reach those goals?  Should I be changing course?  What are the next challenges I hope to encounter?  You could never hope to know all your own thoughts on this if you don’t take time out to think.

Make your day phenomenal!  Take some time out for you!

$4 Gas Has Its Benefits

July 16, 2008

Am I nuts?!  Well, if anyone’s ever asked me, they know I’m not complaining about the cost of gas.  Although I do admit that not since high-school when I drove a Cadillac that sported six miles per gallon have I considered gas as a part of my decision-making process in going out on a Saturday night or just visiting friends.

But this high gas price has its benefits, I swear.  I’ve considered a few things like general conservation, less traffic, but Time magazine developed the idea much further.

Read the article, “10 Things You Can Like About $4 Gas.”  You might find that you can save some money on your auto insurance.  Or if you’re really lucky, you may qualify for a four-day workweek!

Do you know about the FairTax?

June 28, 2008

This won’t be a little blurb on the FairTax.  But I would heartily recommend any of you reading this to look into it.  With John McCain recently endorsing tax reform in the form of a flat tax, this is extremely pertinent political news.  So while checking out the FairTax blog, I ran across this funny little bit that is worth re-“printing” (what is the word we should use for this now?)…

In a piece on Townhall today Mike Adams offers an amusing look at conversations from the trenches of a grassroots movement.  The premise is that he carries around, in public, a copy of FairTax: The Truth which draws out unsolicited comments from various critics. Here is one:

    Supporter of the Flat Tax of Yesterday (SOFTY): Sorry, I support the flat tax.

    Adams: How often do you change your underwear?

    SOFTY: What?

    Adams: I assume you change your underwear every day?

    SOFTY: Yes, what the hell does that have to do with it?

    Adams: That means you’ve changed underwear 8036 times in the last 22 years.

    SOFTY: And?

    Adams: And the I.R.S. has changed the tax code 16,000 times in the last 22 years. They change the tax code twice as often as you change underwear. How long do you think a flat tax would remain flat?

    SOFTY: (Silence)

    Adams: Would you like to borrow my book?

Now that is a conversation you’re likely to remember the next time you change ya draw’s!

April Showers

May 7, 2008

I heard this interesting statistic the other day. (I know it’s May now, but it was April when I heard it, hence the title).

86% of americans shower once a day.
11% shower more than once.

Which category are you in? Of course, the above percentages leave 3% unaccounted for, who obviously must shower less than once per day. This, unfortunately, is my group. Yes, I probably average 0.67 showers per day. That is, I shower twice for every three days. So I miss a day quite frequently, so what? Have you noticed before?

Now before you say “Eeewwww!”, all you uber-clean freaks just try to think of it this way:
…assume my average shower is 10 minutes in duration.
…assume I use a low-flow shower head at 2.5 gallons/min.
…assume my rate above of 0.67 showers/day.

So during an average day, the math looks like this… erm, I SAVE…

10 minutes/shower x 2.5 gallons/minute x 0.67 showers/day = 16.67 gallons/day
….which equates to 117 gallons/week!
….which equates to 6083 gallons/year! (that’s a lot of water!)

So let’s just hold off on the “Ewww…” and the nose twitching in my presence.  I’m doing my part in trying to save the planet, one shower at a time.

Email with Care

April 23, 2008

Midway through a strident email exchange with two college friends about faith, religion, and the evil that is religion, I pointed out that email was certainly not the medium in which to carry out such a discussion.  At this point, the email exchange was 20 messages deep or so.  My contribution to such a fustercluck, exactly two messages.

Somewhere around the 40 message mark, it all came to a blissful conclusion, but of course, with nothing really solved or even understood by either party.  Just the ranting over.

So isn’t it apropos that I run across the following site, quite by accident, with an article entitled “Email With Care.”  The message?  Manage your time and your relationships by using email carefully, and saving those tougher conversations for face-to-face contact, or at least over the phone.  As such, I’ll be prepared the next time, hopefully before the email thread hits the 10-message mark!

Cheerio.

Push-ups… How many can you do?

March 13, 2008

I do 100 push-ups per day. But after reading this article, I had to try as many as I could at one time, and of course, they only count if they are in good form. I managed forty-four! Time to practice this more! How many can you do?  Don’t guess.  Do it!

See why push-ups are so great according to the New York Times.

And here’s a chart from the Washington Post that you can use to gauge yourself if you start to practice them regularly. I ranked as Excellent. Where do you rank?