Archive for January, 2012


Been Squeezing on my Mind Grapes!

So that this title is in context I give you the following dialog from 30 Rock:

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Jack: Jack Welch has such unparalleled management skills they named Welch’s Grape Juice after him, because he squeezes the sweetest juice out of his workers’ mind grapes.

Liz: That doesn’t even make sense.

Jack: No, it doesn’t, does it. I wrote it down in the middle of the night.

Tracy (to writers): What else is on my mind grapes?

Tracy (to Kenneth): I got something on my mind grapes I need to talk to you about.

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I laughed pretty hard after the repeated use of “mind grapes” and use it all the time myself.  This last week or so has been a little insane, and yet it does not feel like I have gotten a lot done, but I have read and listened to quite a bit.  First off I was listening to the audio book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, then my wife said that I just had to read  “the Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, which I did off of the Kindle.  THEN I got my friend to send me her draft of a book that she was working on, and read that off the computer, which is harsh on the eyes once you have been spoiled by the Kindle.  Sprinkle in a little of the “Civil War” Marvel comic series, and the brain is a little fried…or the the mind grapes are pretty squished.

So after the mental assault to to my mind grapes, I have been exhausted…exhausted at work, exhausted at home, my brain can barely latch on to anything….oh and my wife is overdue to have our second kid…and I’m ten days behind on my blogging.  And of course thinking about a second job…reading, cramming, listening and squeezing mind grapes is fine and all, but I need more mola to provide for the family…so I will be giving the brain a little bit of a rest…(but only for a little bit, it keeps me up at night so I should rough it up a little from time to time.)

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The Excitement is Gone

Tonight I am trying to make myself get something done, I have the whole night and I don’t have to go to work tomorrow.  I went to the basement after figuring out with my wife that I cannot work on the car that we hit a deer with.  We watched an episode of 30 Rock, which is not getting us addicted, but is mildly funny.  Anyhow I am in the basement now and all the ideas that I had about apps, books, neat things to learn…are just not getting me excited to do anything.

I finally pulled out an old (by old like a year maybe…) HP netbook that a battery prong broke on, so it is no longer mobile.  It will still work with the power cord in…so I thought it would be a nerdy triumph to turn it into a file server or any kind of server and just run it until it dies (I would put it on a cooling fun since it would never be turned off and it is just a netbook after all).  But alas, I could not find the iPhone box that has two or three laptop sized hard drives in it, so this netbook is useless!

Then I went to my tablet, to the habit droid app so that I could do the things that I want to become habits…I have done really bad with all the habits this week and knew that blogging was one of the things I wanted to get myself to do everyday (or everynight).  I streamed some audio scriptures so I could hunt for those hard drives, then the next habit is ‘Work on Book(s)’  which I dunno how I am gonna do that, then there is post on facebook…which I cheat by writing a blog post and that posts to facebook automatically.  Cheating?  Yes, but it gets the habit done, besides I would not have something worth reading to post on facebook, so the blog is perfect.

I suppose dedication is doing something even after all the fun, energy, motivation and excitement is gone.  But to what end? What is accomplished after I do all these habits?  I know that overtime something good will come of all this, but it would be nice to have some little wins to keep the blood flowing…which is important cause it is really cold in the basement.  But it provides some good solitude so that I can think, read, ponder…you know the drill.

One nice thing is that I have another audio book to listen to, Jim Colins “Good to Great” about how companies go from good to great and sustain that greatness.

Well forcing myself to write tonight and do some of the habits has got me to have a little energy and some pride that I am moving forward.  I hope that I will be able to report more exciting and motivating things in later posts.

Bars are Boring

I went to the lounge with a guy I met at work that I thought would like my consulting services for online presence.  All the social media sites, blogging, etc.  But we went and he drank and flirted with all the girls and I sat there like a lump on a log, when we did get a chance to talk he thought it was cool and all, but he didn’t care to get any of the training.  As I looked around it was a really sad site, yeah all the girls were hot…but everyone there was just sad, bored or trying to get drunk so they could just come out of their shell.

I went home and told my wife it was likely a waste of time, maybe it would have been better if I was a drinker…but alas I am not…I want to talk about business, ideas, doing something cool.  Working on becoming rich, business ideas…the bar just felt like such a waste of time.

Maybe it is just not for the working, entrepreneurial type, I really miss the UFSUG (Utah Free Software User Group) meetings I had in Utah…we would have epic discussions about software, programming, business, firearms, and what not.  I remember walking away from every one of those meetings having some really cool application or programming ability I would have never found otherwise.  Could I start one of those in Drumheller?  What Would I call it? AFSUG?  I could pronounce it the same way.

Just some thoughts…

So I have always been pretty nerdy, probably more so than I have ever really lead on that I am.  I wanted to play magic the gathering, Dungons and Dragons, all those kinds of things.  But I never really got the chance to play with good players, just kids who would always pull those things like, “Oh this card means that you die and I win.” And it would be a regular mana card or a card they drew up themselves.  Same thing for Pogs the whole month that they were really popular, if my slammer would knock some of theirs over I did not get to keep them, but if they knocked my over they got to keep mine.  I’m sure that I was a poor loser up to some point, but not getting anything when I won…was pretty lame.

Now that I am 27 a  co-worker invited me to play a game of Exodus, somewhat like Dungons and Dragons but in the future and more technology based.  He helped me make a character and it all seems really cool and fun.  So I am getting into and don’t know anything about it, so he sent me a link to a lot of info and I made an android app out of it.

Here is the link, I hope you enjoy this as much I am!

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.hart.d20SRD&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5oYXJ0LmQyMFNSRCJd

In 2008 I was living in the States, and I had a couple freelance deals go really bad (as in people don’t want to pay for any of the work that was done).  I was married but did not have a kid at the time.  So I left my wife and Utah and drove up to Canada to work since I am Canadian.  When I got to the border I was just about to go through and my truck stalled…So of course the guards had to search my truck from top to bottom.  A young border guard had it in his mind that I was a bad guy and made a mess of everything in my truck (he literally smashed a few pens and tore everything out of its duffle bags).

After finding nothing amiss he asked me if I had drugs or guns…in this type of conversation:

Him: “Got any drugs?”
Me: “No sir.”
Him: “Got any firearms?”
Me: “No sir.”
Him: “Look just tell me if you.”
Me: “No I really don’t”
Him: “Look! If you have either one you could get a $20,000 fine and some federal jail time!”
Me: “No I really don’t you searched my truck, I don’t have any guns or firearms!”

He took my computer into the border station after I booted it up and put in the password.  I know they didn’t even look cause it had Linux on it and nobody knows how to use it, and if he did he would have been less of a jerk cause Linux guys stick together.

He threatened all kinds of things and then told me over and over that I was lying, asked me if I had drugs or guns again about a dozen times and would not let me go.  I was tired, hungry, freaking out and getting stressed out, finally I just broke down and asked him, “What do you want me to say, I just want to go, what do you want?”
“Say that you lied…”
I know that I was in the right but I just didn’t know what to do at this point, the whole border station was against me, I was broke and had and even more broken truck…I consented and said, “fine, I lied, I don’t know what about….”

That was all he needed, he fined me a $1000 which my dad had to pay on a credit card and I got to leave somewhere around 2 AM, I was there for many hours.

There were a great many more things that transacted but they are not so fresh in my mind, all I know is that I was extremely wronged, that border guard knew it and I knew it.  Never have I ever been so poorly treated, and as a Canadian coming into Canada.

It goes without saying that I hated this man, more than I have ever hated anybody, I loathe him, thought of all the terrible things I would do to him if I could. I wanted him to suffer more than I have wanted anyone ever to suffer.  I should have more details of what happened to really get across to you how much I hated him for kicking me when in the most desperate time in my life to date.

I wrote to the Canadian government for two years before the fine was refunded and a would be apology was issued, of course not by the border guard that inflicted the wrongs.

But before all that happened I read in the scripture about forgiveness, how we need to forgive, I had to forgive this guy and I just couldn’t for a long time.  Finally I decided that I had to try, it was not an overnight thing where I thought, ‘oh I should forgive so I will.’ I had to try and try to hate him a little less each day, I had to stop dwelling on it, not to forget cause I kept writing the government about the wrong, but I had to let it go in my heart.  I would not say that it was cause he had a bad day or anything like that, he was in a great mood the whole time he tortured me.  But I just had to forgive my enemy.

Forgiveness is not easy, it is a hard labour…not a labour of love I don’t think but of self healing and not letting your life be consumed by a hatred for someone.  I wanted to post this cause I was laying awake in bed thinking of things to post, and this experience crossed my mind and I realized that I was not sick in my gut with anger and hatred, I was just musing on the experience.  Do what is necessary for retribution for a wrong, but also try to forgive if not for your assailant (I know he didn’t care) but for yourself.

I was really in a rut for a bit this week and the last week.  I would sit in my chair at work and do a little bit to get by…I could tell I was not doing well and not getting a lot done, finally after coming back from lunch I decided that I really just needed to get some stuff done and stop moping around.  So when I got back I gave my co-worker the comfy chair and I remained standing as I worked on a different computer or my own laptop.

I was amazing (at least for the first day) I had more energy and focused more on doing, granted thinking things through has it’s benefits (its time and place), but then you have to take action!

Henry Ford once said,

“nobody can think straight who does not work.  Idleness warps the mind.  Thinking without contructive action becomes a disease.”

Nothing could be more true!  I can’t count the times that someone found out I am an Android developer and they come up with an idea and if I make it they get a cut.  But I ask them how would they write the code, how would they design it, the answer is always, “I dunno, I am an idea guy, you are the one who is suppose to make it…”  Well then my friend I am the one who will collect the profits.  If you are in a rut because you dwell on things to much, then just stand up and go do something, focus on the work, the actions not the planning (providing you know what you are doing or already planned it out.)  Make the blood flow in your body…not just your brain!

I have not finished this book yet, but I am getting exhausting with all the reading and listening of content, that tonight it feels like a chore.  And that would be perfectly alright if I were a paid commentator or reviewer of books…

But I did like this book, it was a really cool, life story of someone who did a lot with their life and had a lot of joyful experiences as well as a lot of d-bags that only made her life more interesting…I don’t know if she really says d-bags or just used that for the book, but it’s cool all the same.

I doubt Tina Fey will ever read this since she is doing so many other things right now, so I will admit that I got her audio book because I want to write a book myself and when I first glance at her book it seemed like it was nothing but being silly and telling some life experiences just to tell them.  While contemplating  my own book(s), I had realization that I don’t have time to write a decent book or put any quality into them.  So I thought I will get all my journals and notebooks and just write a book from them.  I was starting on that and it seemed to be going really slow and had no point…and then I thought back to Amazon comments on Tina Fey’s “Bossypants.” and thought, I will see how she did it and then I can surely write a book!

I don’t think I will exactly mimic her writing, but it was a great book to see the makeup of a successful person.  And since she is a comedian, the whole book is very entertaining.  Although I would not recommend playing the Audio book while you at work, with some of the comebacks and insults she received and gave out.

Another great thing to take away from this book is the amount of work she put into her life in general, here I was whining to myself that I cannot work on a book with one job, a wife and one kid!  She was producing a show, throwing a party for her kid as a mom, and then moonlighting at SNL (Saturday Night Live)…I had knots in my stomach last week about giving a talk in church, cleaning up the ordering info at work, and not getting a decent blog posting out.

Also the way that Tina speaks (I imagine the way she wrote this book is the way she speaks) is the way I think that my older sister (the only other one in the family that has red hair) speaks, and she will surely have many great stories to tell if she wrote a book that people wanted to read cause she was famous…for whatever reason.

I really dunno if I would recommend the book to people or not, I enjoyed it, but there were parts where I thought it was pointless, only later to find that it was some good backstory to who she was and how she got to where she is.  The ghettoness of her YMCA job gave me hope that lame jobs do not destroy you, if you don’t let them.

 

I suppose this can fall under a book review, and it is really the only thing I can think about since I made myself read over 80 comics in the last week or so.  I have always liked the cartoon in the 90’s as a kid, the movies are pretty good, and I owned about a grand total of 6 or 7 comic books as a kid.  But a friend of mine had the complete series of Ultimate X-Men, so I told myself I should really figure out what the story is, how it was meant to be read…from comic books!

First off the thing I noticed is that 16, 17, 18, and 19 year olds were bigger and buffer than anyone of that age that I have ever seen.  I had a friend that was pretty big, and played football, but not like in the comics.

I think this series was done over this last decade so close to somewhere around 2002 or 2003, so the phones were flip phones and what not.

All the female characters were way hotter than they were in the 90’s cartoon… especially Storm!  Storywise I have never really cared for her much, but she had a naughty fishnet punk look to her for most of the series, too bad something had to happen to her boyfriend to get her to that stage.

I learned a lot more about the Jean character and that whole Phoenix thing that she is having problems with, that is actually a really neat side story.

Wolverine is, of course, the hard ass loaner…with a soft spot for any particular person or cause at any time that suits the overall story line.  But what I love the most is that we he gets really messed up and heals….his sideburns and long hair grow back just right!  I hate people who nit pick, but I was reading these comics for fun, so I picked here and there.

The other cool thing about this series is that they changed up the animation style ever so often, it feels really fresh and new when they do that!  You are reading a story of everyone having powers and being hardcore in their own special way, then when it has a more cartoony feel, you see the sillier side of them…despite what they are saying.   When they were in the sewers to rescue a friend the animation style was rather serious and really made for the mood of the story.

I love the full pagers that have incredible detail and a small line or a single word.  For example, five or six blocks are on one page where they meed a new guy who just killed a million bad guys…In amazement they ask, “Who are you!?”  Then you slowly, (creating the dramatic effect for yourself…you would be amazed at how you help yourself experience the drama in comics…) “Wolverine…” and there is blood dripping from his claws, his shirt ripped to shreds so you can see where he is quickly healing. a few bodies, and the people who asked the question blurry in the background but still showing complete shock and awe…it is super cheesy in the movies…but an absolute must in comic books!

I wish there was more about Gambit…he’s awesome, exploding cards? Who does not love that!

I really enjoyed it once I got a few comics in, if you are not into the comics…the first one or two will be really cheesy, but you gotta get into that universe.  I plan to read the Marvel Civil War series next, and was told that was a really good series.

I Hate Reading my Story

So everynight I try to work on something to make life better, more interesting, I am trying to write a book, a couple different books.  I was having a bummer of a week, cause as I sat at work I realized that I just can’t devote enough time to writing a good book…then I thought, “I have lots of poems of and quips in my journals!”  I will write a book of poems and what not, people do that right?  I hope so cause I am giving it a try…

Anyhow so I called the book “Pushing the Van” cause of all my fond memories of stealing my parents van with my friends and driving all over the place when we were 14 and 15 years old.  I went to my journals to find some recordings of those adventures…and I am very sad to say that it was painful to even read just a little bit… my journals may as well have been called log books, there is plenty of teenage drama so I guess there may be some audience out there that would read it…but not me!

This made me think that I need to keep writing, and write something that I will not cringe to read later, so if my life is boring and logbook like, I have to do and be something worth writing about!  I always think of those army commercials where they say if someone wrote a book on your life, would you want to read it…I now know that my journals from earlier…I don’t want to read.

Now to be fair and nicer to myself, there are awesome things in there, just shrouded by the mundane, just like real life…for the purposes of my book I want to get those van stealing stories…but can I get through all my own horribly boring writing???

I what if there was a task ninja? And every time I said, “Oh I don’t have time..” or “I will do that later tonight maybe…” the task ninja would come from his stealthy hiding place and WHAM…POP…Punch in the eyelid and stomp on the toe and the ninja is gone!  Then you go to work and the boss says, “This customer needs a callback.”

“Sure, after lunch…” BAM…PLOP karate chop to neck and wet willies in both ears!  You get the picture, by the end of the day you (and most certainly I) would be crawling to the door of our homes gasping for our lives and then say, “I will survive…after a little nap…” then the task ninja, would quietly and stealthily take you life…and you would have to worry about tasks no more.

This is a little funny and then a little sad at the end…but the point is hopefully clear, we are getting killed by not doing the things we need to the moment they enter our conciousness.  What difference would it make if we did a two minute task in the morning or late at night?  A big one, you have less energy, the task you did not want to do is still there, you are more frustrated that it did not magically go away (admit it, there have been many a time you willed things to just magically go away…) and you still did the task…or maybe you didn’t and it just got worse when you finally did do the task…or worse of all it made you look really bad when someone else finally did it, making you look incompetent, lazy, and selfish…which if the scenario got this far, may be true of yourself.  I write this as if it were about you the reader, but I have been on the worse end of this spectrum, and I am struggling to make myself be in the best part.

Tonight after getting home from work, my wife told me she was going to a friends to do scrapbooking, and then gave me a bunch of stuff to do.  She said that if I didn’t get it done that was fine, but I thought, it needs to be done, why not do it now…I washed all the dishes, read the birthing partner material…(my wife is due this month…), got on my habit forming android app (an app that helps me form good habits, not an addicting application…) and check off all the habits that I want to build as I did them (posting on this blog being one of the habits), and it is just a little before 10 pm.

The most beautiful part of all this is that all these things are done, they are out of the way, and the consistency of doing my good habits is building more character and making me a little more productive than I was before.  If there is any reason that a real task ninja does not exist, it is because it’s arch enemy…the procrastination zombie horde, has defeated all of them…which is really sad, cause watching a ninja fight is way cooler than zombies moaning all the time.