Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tonights Video: jh@24

So what is the cryptic message? My son Josh is in Iceland and today he turned 24. So as a unique present that he wouldn't have to pack when he returns later this month, I created this:

Why He Won

No words required.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tonights Video: Energa

Do you know what this is about?

8 ways to have more money

When times are tough, many of us adapt. We ought to live frugally even in good times too!

From the DLM Blog:

Helpful Ways To Save Money In Hard Times

Posted: 07 Nov 2008 06:56 AM CST

The credit crunch is continuing to beat thousands of people out of their homes - people who once lived the American dream. They worked hard for their dream and thanks to a volatile situation with several areas of blame, many of them are now homeless without money to spare.

Living without money and struggling to pay bills sucks big time. It is not only devastating for those who have to live with this situation, but it also destroys families and lives in the process.

But are there ways you can actually help yourselves, and if yes, what can you do to protect yourself against losing a home or running out of money?

These are hard questions because none of us can see into the future. Nevertheless, they are part of our lives now, whether we like it or not, and as we watch the shocking reality of the credit crunch unfold on the world stage it is high time we all found ways to protect ourselves from being the next victim.
  • Cut impulsive spending
    In times when money is short, it is more important than ever to stop impulsive spending immediately. Even if you just save $20/week by not having a cup of coffee around the corner every morning it can add up (the latte effect). Instead you could pay this excess money on to your mortgage to bring down the interest payments which will further save you dollars.

  • Look for a second income
    Many job earners are in a situation when they don't know whether they still have a job tomorrow. Think real estate, the banking sector, local small businesses. Many of these are especially endangered due to a slow economy. Most people have no excess money to spend anymore and this creates a massive chain reaction with many businesses going bust.

    If you work in a high risk industry, act now and look for alternative income streams. It may mean working two jobs or doing some freelancing on the side, and regardless, it will mean more time on the job than off. Even if this means you will be uncomfortable for some time, you rather be that than broke and without a home.

  • Cut up your credit card
    If you find it hard to deal with credit and feel that you cannot pay off your credit card bills in full every month, you are better off without credit cards. The problem with these is that we don't think before we buy because we don't have to hold physical money in our hands before we spend it.

    It takes re-education and new habits for you to become a more responsible shopper.

  • Consolidate your loans
    I hesitate to offer this tip but if you really do your homework and create a clear plan that will reduce your overall spending habits, consolidating may be a decent option. Be sure to watch everything from the term of the loan to the interest rate and penalties. Many times this will reduce your monthly payments so you have a better cash position each month allowing you to apply money to other, more important things, like food and clothes.

  • Think twice before you buy stuff
    Do you really need that fancy new hand bag you saw in the window of your local boutique the other day? How about those new CD's you desperately want? Sometimes it is better to sleep on the decision whether to buy something or not.

    Instead of wasting your money on stuff that will only end up cluttering your home, be smarter and look for alternative ways to satisfy those shopping cravings. Perhaps you are upset and need a little pick me up to make you happy. When we associate feelings of excitement and happiness with shopping for new things we can quickly fall into a dangerous and expensive pit of self destruction.

  • Recycle
    Recycling doesn't limit itself to glass bottles and tins. You can also recycle clothing, household items, clutter, Cd's, electrical gear and more. One man's rubbish is another man's treasure. Before you throw these unwanted goods into the bin, sell them in a garage sale or on ebay to make some additional money.

  • Offer your services to friends and family
    A great way to raise additional funds when times are tight is to offer paid services to friends and family. If you have a talent with the needle, why not offer to do alterations for people. Alternatively, if you are good with money you can offer to do tax returns for a small fee. The idea here is to think outside the box to find ways in which you can earn additional income without having to bust your guts finding them.

    Think about everyday things people need, even if the economy is slow. Can you cash in on those needs?

  • Find 101 ways to save money
    A great way to scrunch those numbers is to make an effort to save money wherever you can. Doing so will allow you to enjoy life more where it really matters, like spending a great weekend with your family in an adventure park or going for a weekend getaway.
Saving money doesn't mean you have to stop living and stop enjoying life, but having said this, desperate times call for desperate measures - don't you think?

Maybe you would like to share your favorite tips on saving money and how you protect yourself against the global credit crunch problem?

Written on 11/07/2008 by Monika Mundell. Monika Mundell is a passionate freelance writer and pro-blogger. Her blog Freelance Writing helps new freelance writers to get started in this exciting industry. If you like to work with Monika, feel free to visit her Portfolio site.Photo Credit: Josh Parrish

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tonights Video: Tiny Art

From ABC News:

Flat Tire?

There are certain things you should invest in if you own a car:
  1. Jumper Cables
  2. Working Flashlight
  3. Inflated Spare Tire with Jack & Wrench
Keep all these in your trunk and hopefully you'll never, (or rarely), have to use them. In case you need to use #3, here's how:

The Art of Manliness

How To Change A Flat Tire

Posted: 06 Nov 2008 11:29 PM CST

197582462_25edc7fe31 How To Change A Flat Tire

There’s no sound as disheartening to a driver than the flop flop of a flat tire. They always seem to come at inconvenient times, too. But to a man who knows how to change a flat, that flopping noise is a chance to display his self-sufficiency.

Just like knowing how to jumpstart a car, knowing how to change a flat tire is a skill every man should possess. It will save your own butt when you’re out on some lonely stretch of highway and come in handy when helping a damsel in distress or a hapless traveler on the side of the road. Follow these steps and you’ll back on the road in no time.

Tools needed: Spare tire, jack, lug wrench.

1. Park your car on a flat surface. If you get a flat while on the road, pull your car as far away from traffic as possible . Make sure to put on the emergency brake. It’s also recommended to put a block on the tire opposite of the flat tire. Put to use that fruitcake from Aunt Gertie you’ve been toting around in the trunk. Here’s a blocking example: if your right rear tire is flat, put the block on the front left tire.

2. Remove the hubcap. If your car has a hubcap, remove it so you can get to the lug nuts. Use the hubcap to hold the nuts, just like the dad in A Christmas Story. Just don’t let your kid hold the hubcap or he’ll lose them and drop the F-bomb.

3. Loosen the nuts. Grab your lug wrench and place it on the flat tire’s lug nuts. Loosen them up by turning them counterclockwise. The nuts are probably on there really tight, so you’ll have to use all your man strength to unscrew them. Loosen the nuts a few turns, but don’t take any of them off yet!

4. Place the jack underneath your car. Check your owner’s manual for the correct placement of the jack. Turn the hand crank at the end of the jack to raise the jack until it comes into contact with your car’s frame. Make sure it’s touching a sturdy spot.

5. Jack it up! Start cranking the jack until the wheel is high enough above the ground to remove the tire.

6. Remove the flat. Remove the lug nuts from the wheel. You should be able to do it by hand because you’ve already loosened them. Remove the flat tire and lay it flat. You don’t want the wheel to roll into traffic during rush hour and cause a thirty car pile-up.

7. Slap on your spare. Take your spare tire and line up the lugs, or bolts, with the holes in the wheel and slide the wheel on. Once the wheel is on, take your lug nuts and tighten them by hand until you meet firm resistance.

8. Lower the car. Lower the jack until the wheel is firmly on the ground.

9. Finish tightening your lug nuts. These babies must be on super tight so the wheel doesn’t come flying off while driving to the tire shop to get the flat fixed. So you need to unleash the super power of the star pattern to get those lugs tighter than a deer tick. Use this tigtening pattern if you have five bolts on your wheel. Start with any lug nut and then follow this pattern:

2008-11-06_2215 How To Change A Flat Tire

If your car has four, use this pattern:

2008-11-06_2217 How To Change A Flat Tire

Have any other tips on how to change a flat? How about some war stories changing a flat tire? Share with us in the comments.

 How To Change A Flat Tire

The Art of Manliness Free Man Cookbook

Download Your Free Guide to Being a Gentleman in 2008.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tonights Video: The Black Hole

What if you had this power?

Wisdom From Leo

Found this Saturday on the DLM Blog:

The Leonardo da Vinci Guide To Being A Renaissance Man

Posted: 07 Nov 2008 10:45 AM CST

Leonardo da Vinci excelled in every facet of the arts and sciences and was undoubtedly one of the most brilliant men in history. The question, then, is whether Leonardo's natural brilliance allowed him to easily absorb all this knowledge, or whether his curiosity and engrossment in this vast array of knowledge lead him to become brilliant.

When looking at a person such as Leonardo da Vinci, one can't help but to be impressed and almost envious of this man's ability to be so good at just about anything that he put his mind to. Some people remain jealous, others quickly dismiss him as an anomaly, while a few ask themselves what it would take to become half as smart and competent as this man.

Luckily for us, Leonardo da Vinci did a lot of writing. By analyzing his life work, we can get a feel for the type of mentality this man had. By internalizing his paradigms and assimilating his character traits into our own, we can be well on our way to being a worldly man, or perhaps a renaissance man.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
For some reason, people tend to make things very complicated. Moving forward with this concept in mind, we start seeing all the places in our lives and in our thought processes where a straight line can actually be the shortest path between two points.

When we stop taking the roundabout way and focus our curiosity on the fundamentals, we're able to build a solid foundation of truths that can be applied to any area of our lives. Imagine if you stop accepting nonsense as truth and stop assuming that the conventional wisdom spewed at you by society is true. What you are left with is you and you'll essentially force yourself to conduct personal research to find out what is really so.

By stacking all incoming facts on top of a foundation of truth, you will be creating an interconnecting web of tangible truths. These are things you can test and prove to be true with certainty. Imagine living a life, where you've replaced all doubt with extreme certainty.
"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”
When an extremely knowledgeable man tells you that knowing is not enough, you should probably listen. Forget what you learned from movies such as The Secret that tell you that it's enough to want and to dream. Take the missing step -- take action.

How many times do you see a highly educated person doing really stupid things to their body such as eating themselves into obesity, smoking, or excessively drinking? They know they should stop, but they aren't doing the action of stopping.

Likewise when that light bulb lights up in your head and you get that brilliant idea, it's time to make a decision. Will you do nothing about it or will you take action?
“There are three classes of people: those who see, those who see when they are shown, those who do not see.”
A person enters a mental progression from childhood into adulthood. This progression is similar to how a person starts a new field at entry level and progresses to mastery. If you're going to progress, or not progress, it is largely a personal choice.

When you start learning something, you want to ask "how can I do this?" You'll eventually find out the answer, but then you progress. Next you throw in your thoughts but seek out validation from an expert and say something along the lines of, "this is how I think it should be done, what do you think about my solution."

These two questions should never really be outgrown. However, you must also learn the art of critical thinking, problem solving, and strategizing, so that one day you can say, "this is in fact how it should be done." If you're always stuck in "how can I do this?" mode and you're always being fed the answer, you're never giving your mind a chance to expand.
“A well-spent day brings happy sleep [and] as a well spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.”
Leonardo da Vinci's work ethic was such that his days were spent learning and doing, not idling and procrastinating. It's fairly simple to do an hour-by-hour or task-by-task analysis of our average day. What might not come as a surprise to you is that many people will be lucky to be unsatisfied with their average day. If they're unlucky they'll be disgusted and depressed by their days and the lack of progress they make.

What are we to do if we like the prospect of enjoying great amounts of pleasure each and every day of our lives? One option is to follow the path of our heart and make every action that we take contribute to our life mission and towards accomplishing our dearest goals. The other option is to accept everything the way it is, do nothing to change our current state, and let life happen to us. It's nothing more than a personal choice of whether you want to make life happen, or if you want life to happen to you.

At the end of the day, and at the end of our life, the responsibility for the way we live sits directly on our shoulders, whether we choose to accept this truth or not. Sometimes you have to accept what happens to you and it's this choice of accept that allows you to move forward and strive for the greatness that you were meant to achieve.
"You can have no dominion greater or less than that over yourself.”
A person with self-discipline, otherwise known as personal integrity, is one that has a strong relationship with their word. They are able to physically go out and do what they say they will, whether it's keeping commitments to other people or keeping commitments to themselves.

Self-discipline starts and ends at the mouth. That means that we're liable for the words that we speak, as well as the food that we put into our mouth. By mastering self-discipline in this way, there is no limit to how powerful and effective we will be in life. Self-discipline is pronounced when we ask ourselves the right life questions and use our curiosity to seek the truth.

Refer back to the greatest feelings of well being that you have experienced. Now do an honest self-assessment of whether these experiences are internal or external. I think you'll notice that the accomplishments that you are most pleased with are based on an exceedingly large personal display of self-discipline. The events that are the biggest disappointments are most likely due to a lack of self-discipline and integrity on your part. By building on top of this truth, it would make sense for you to do more things that make great results and continue to develop your self-discipline to new levels.
“Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation ... even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.”
Metaphorically speaking, men are like sharks. A shark must move forward in order for water to pass through it's gills so that it obtains oxygen for survival. In fact, a shark is constantly moving forward, even when it is asleep. In the same way, a person must be moving forward in life, toward goals, so that knowledge, just like the shark's oxygen, passes through us and acts as our life source.

Much like eating, drinking, and breathing, it becomes our personal necessity to keep learning, and increasing our knowledge in all areas of our life. Learning new facts and discovering new truths, sends an exciting zap of energy throughout our minds. Learning can actually be addicting and create a feeling of well-being, unlike inaction, which makes us feel lethargic in mind, body, and spirit.
“The depth and strength of a human character are defined by its moral reserves. People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of the customary conditions of their life, for only then do they have to fall back on their reserves.”
Leonardo da Vinci long recognizes what we today call 'getting out of our comfort zones.' If we maintain a level of intensity in our mental or physical workouts, after we've already become accustomed to them; we will never grow to reach the next level.

Image getting down and doing one push up, then repeating this the next day, and the day after that. You're making zero progress and you'll never get to the point where you can do one hundred in a row. The same thing goes with simple addition. You can do one plus one, or one plus nine, but if that's all you're doing you'll never understand the equations of quantum physics.

All this means is that you have to feel the pain in order to achieve the gain. This all leads to exultation as you achieve more and more of the goals you've set up for yourself.
“The truth of things is the chief nutriment of superior intellects.”
All signs point to the source of Leonardo da Vinci's genius as being his unquenchable hunger for the truth. From the moment he opened his eyes in the morning to the moment he rested his head on the pillow at night, he sought out the truth in mathematics, engineering, inventing, anatomy, painting, sculpting, architecture, botany, music and writing.

If you observe a child, as he ages from childhood to early adulthood, you may find that the eager curiosity dissipates into quiet surrender, otherwise known as resignation. A person that is resigned and cynical would not bother to question what they did not know, they would merely denounce it and that would mark the end of their intellectual pursuit. By keeping our unwavering curiosity pointed towards the truth, we are able to tap into and unleash our very own genius.
“All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.”
Some things in our universe are laws; gravity is gravity. On the other hand, we need to be able to correctly interpret a universal law for what it is through testing and measurement so that it isn't attributed to a false theory.

The sun is powered by the sun God, the rain is due to the rain God, and love is thanks to the God of love. That's how people used to reason before science. Without a person perceiving something in the right way, Newton might have thought that some invisible man was throwing apples straight down at his head.

This is why it is important for us to test, experiment, and seek out truth. It enables us to attribute what we perceive to already known truths while getting rid of false knowledge. This applies to absolutely anything that you can think of.

How You Can Be a Renaissance Man (or Woman)balance
Being a true renaissance man means being a person who has impeccable life balance and then takes it a step further by being exceptional in each said area of their life. I'm not talking about good in these areas, I'm talking about being in the 99th percentile in anything you choose to undertake.

It's like being an octopus and having these obnoxiously long tentacles, made of titanium, that grip and hold onto anything in your path. One might even consider such a person as having Attention Surplus Disorder and laser sharp focus.

The theory behind this is much like Leonardo da Vinci, when you have a balance in all areas of your life, they will exponentially propel your overall growth. Think of it as all the areas of your life working in synergy, and the whole is equal to more then the sum of it's parts. To be a modern day renaissance man, you must study and perform in the following areas of your life.
  1. Health & Fitness. Study anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology so that you know the exact make up of your body and how you should take care of it. Train with an elite personal trainer, body builder, or fitness model, so you have real life examples of what it takes to eat clean, exercise right, and look and feel great.

  2. Mental Development & Education. Study psychology, science, art, engineering, mathematics, philosophy, architecture, music, and botany. Find other areas of interest that you can study as well. You can get through an entry level text book rather quickly and dive into more advanced fields over time.

  3. Work, Career, & Finances. Start studying finance, economics, and statistics. Know how things in this industry interconnect both locally and globally. This will enable you to tap into ideas that can either help the economy or make you a boat load of money. When you're working in a company or own a business, know what it takes to work every job from janitor to CEO, as well as what goes on with suppliers, distributors, and customers.

  4. Social life & Relationships. People can either keep us balanced and on point, or give us a helping push towards madness. By being socially adept, you'll know how to interact and utilize relationships for your benefit. You'll also know how to benefit mankind. Study some more psychology and get personal experience.

  5. Home & Family. This is your safe zone and should be full of the people you love and trust. These are the relationships that you hold near and dear and they determine how the rest of the relationships in your life will be. The key here is to be a giver instead of a taker.

  6. Character, Integrity, Ethics & Virtues. This category can be improved upon through the studies of philosophy and people that have the character traits that you seek and admire. The number one way to improve here is to set up strict personal rules that will determine your behavior in different situations.

  7. Emotion Control & Development. There are many books on these subjects. You'll be able to tie in everything from meditation to medical and scientific explanations for why you have certain reactions to specific situations. When your in control of your emotions, you can use them as rocket fuel in accomplishing your predefined life goals.

  8. Daily habits & routines. Study GTD, and experiment with your own productivity systems, so that you can go to sleep happy, knowing that you had a day well spent. Once you start tracking how you spend your time, you'll see just how much time you're actually wasting, and be able to turn your productivity and level of fulfillment up a notch.

  9. Life Purpose & Contribution. At the end of the day it doesn't matter how much money you're going to be buried with. What matters is the positive impact that you've left on the world. By being a renaissance man, you've gone above and beyond in your personal development. It's time to give back and contribute.

  10. Spiritual Development. Whether you believe in God or have some other existential ideas about what we're doing here, it is important to not neglect this area of your life. Meditate, breathe, and relax while you take the time out of the chaos that is your day for introspection.
Go ahead and expand your mind. Don't be afraid to go to the library and enter a section that you've never been in before. Pick up an entry level textbook in the subject of interest, read it, do the exercises in the book, and soon enough you'll be able to digest advanced scientific journals and do personal experiments about this very same subject.

By having a well rounded education, you'll be able to tie together things that other people cannot possibly see. You'll find similarities in sculpting and mathematics, pick up overlaps in engineering and anatomy, have an incredible physique at the same time as you have flourishing relationships -- you'll be a modern day renaissance man (or woman).

Sources: [historical facts, quotes, supplementary Photos by: mandj98, pasotraspaso,treyevan]

Written on 11/07/2008 by Alex Shalman. Alex is an avid reader and is constantly learning how to improve his life. You can catch him at Practical Personal Development or you can check out his FREE ebook, How To Get A Girlfriend.
Photo Credit: mamjodh

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tonights Video: One Last Summer Song

It's COLD outside. I needed a bit of summer, so here we go:

Becoming Dog-like

Last weekend, I had a "crappy day". I knew I was going to clean out the cats litter boxes, (Hence crap #1), but the next two items were unplanned.

We decided to clean the mountain of leaves out of our backyard and while doing so, I stepped in some of our neighbors dog crap that was in the grass. Fortunately I saw it before walking into the house, but still had to clean up the shoe.

The third crap of the day was when I used our guest bathroom and it would not flush. We use it maybe 3 to 5 times a week now that there are just two of us at home full time. It worked fine a few days ago, but not on this Saturday.

I'll spare you the details, but it involved calling two different plumbers a few days later to get everything resolved.

What's this have to do with dogs? Well except that I had to clean dog crap off my shoe, and one of my cats has a dog-like personality, not much. But the rest of this does. Wisdom from Harvey Mackay:
We can learn a lot from dogs

A reader recently emailed me a sad story about a dog from the perspective of a six-year-old boy. Our family has shared our home with several loyal and lovable golden retrievers, so the story caught my attention more than most.

Harvey Mackay and his wife, Carol Ann, with their golden retrievers Sunny and Max, as well as Oscar the cat.

It told about the family dog that had cancer and had to be euthanized. The father and mother thought their son could learn something from the experience. As the dog slowly drifted away, the little boy seemed to accept the dog's transition without any difficulty or confusion. The family sat together for a while after the dog's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. The young son already had it figured out, and announced, "I know why."

His explanation was stunning in its depth and simplicity. He said: "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life—like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right? Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

We can learn a lot from dogs. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal anyone has ever made.

The veterinarian who cared for this dear family pet, and so many others, offered some other lessons that dogs can teach us: (There are 65 million dogs in the United States.)

  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Dogs treat us like celebrities when we come home. There's nothing wrong with showing people that we care about them.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. On warm days, there's nothing wrong with stopping to lie on your back on the grass. I think of Richard Gere's character in the movie Pretty Woman. He was so busy working—doing big business deals—that he never stopped to enjoy walking barefoot in green grass until Julia Roberts showed him.
  • Take naps. Many of us are on overload, so in life you have to know when to throttle up and throttle down. If you can't take a nap, at least take a break. It will improve your disposition.
  • Run, romp, and play daily. If you have a chance to have fun, go for it. Life presents plenty of difficult times, and we all need a break every now and then. My motto: work hard and play hard.
  • Let people touch you. Don't be aloof. Allow people to get close to you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. Just make sure your bark isn't as bad as your bite. It's okay to warn people that you're upset or even angry, but keep your temper in check.
  • When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body. Happiness is the American way. After all, the Declaration of Independence says we are endowed "with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." So we have a right to be happy!
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Exercise is always good. I've been doing it all my life. It just makes me feel better, gives me energy to work more productively and, I hope, live longer. My philosophy is: Exercise doesn't take time; it makes time.
  • Be loyal. In a recent column about loyalty, I wrote that one of the first qualities that I look for in both employees and friends is loyalty. And my friends know they can expect my loyalty in return.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. I'm constantly asked what the secret of success is, and persistence is at the top of the list. When you study truly successful people, you'll see that they have made plenty of mistakes, but when they were knocked down, they kept getting up ... and up ... and up.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently. People remember two things in life—who kicked them when they were down, and who helped them on the way up.

Mackay's Moral: My goal is to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am.

Miss a column? The last three weeks of Harvey's columns are always archived online.

More information and learning tools can be found online at

10 Things, Plus One

The Brits made up this list:

10 things we didn't know last week

10_bricks.jpgSnippets from the week's news, sliced, diced and processed for your convenience.

1. Saddam Hussein's yacht had an escape tunnel leading to a submarine.
More details

2. The Dalai Lama boxes.
The Times (More details)

3. Women's hands have more bugs.
More details

4. Londoners complained about house prices in the 1600s.
More details

5. Antelopes click their knees to demonstrate sexual prowess.
More details

6. Drum-making can be fatal.
More details

7. Barack Obama supports West Ham.
More details

8. The average person can sing three octaves.
More details

9. Snow ploughs are used to clear dead lemmings on Norway's roads.
More details

10. About 20,000 people die globally every year from snake bites.
More details

And one more.

Today is Veterans Day in the USA. Thank a Vet, because they did what you don't have to. All of my Uncles served as did my dad and father in laws.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tonights Video: Sportsmanship

Here's the story from ESPN:

Clean up Your Crap

When I read this, I decided to redo my office. So, that's what I did yesterday. From DLM:

10 Ways to Create a Work Environment That Drags You Down

Posted: 05 Nov 2008 12:04 PM CST

Do you always associate your workplace with feeling miserable, fed-up and uncomfortable? You know, you could spend a few minutes decluttering, personalizing your space, and making sure you’ve got an uplifting work environment - but, since it’s so much easier, why not stick to creating the most depressing place possible in which to work?

After all, when you fail to meet your project milestones, when you forget to send an important email, or when you just can’t be bothered to get out of bed in the morning, you’ll be able to blame your desk!

If that sounds good to you, here are ten easy rules for creating a work environment that’s guaranteed to drag your mood down:
  1. Avoid Privacy
    First of all, when you choose your workplace, make sure you pick the desk overlooked by everyone. Sit right by the main door or the photocopier. If you work from home, set up your desk in the main family room. Feeling constantly watched will make you jumpy and insecure.

  2. Make it Cramped
    A lack of privacy isn’t enough though. A properly depressing work environment needs to be cramped (this will help when you come to the advanced techniques further down the list, like “cluttering”). If your desk can comfortably fit your computer, in-tray and the papers you’re reading, then it’s far too big. You shouldn’t have room to swing a mouse…

  3. Don’t Personalize
    Once you’ve found a nasty cramped desk overlooked by the entire office or your whole family, make sure you do everything in your power to keep it boring and unpersonalized. Don’t bother putting up your favorite funny or motivational poster. Don’t bring in photos of your partner and kids. You can’t hate your work completely if your workplace has good associations.

  4. Have Crap Lighting
    A minor point, but one which many workers adopt, is to have crap lighting. That could mean fluorescent office strip-lights or a pathetic dying bulb that your laptop screen massively outshines. Either way, make sure it gives you a nagging headache all day long: a sure-fire way to feel grumpy and miserable while you’re working.

  5. Get Uncomfortable
    Poor lighting isn’t enough though. You should make sure that you’re physically uncomfortable in every way possible. Get a chair that’s too high or low for you and which doesn’t provide adequate back support. Set your monitor as low as possible. Use the tiniest keyboard you can find (remember, you’ll need one that fits on your cramped desk). Bonus points if you can give yourself RSI – after all, you might get signed off work…

  6. Find Distractions
    By this point, you should be bored, fed-up, uncomfortable and tired when you’re in your workplace. So you need to find some distractions. Make sure you’ve got dozens of favorite websites bookmarked to surf when you want to procrastinate. Leave novels, magazines and newspapers lying around your desk (this helps when it comes to clutter later on). If you’re at home, work with the television on.

  7. Somewhere Noisy
    If pleasant distractions aren’t quite masochistic enough for you, make sure you’ve got some uncontrollable noise near your work environment. Find the loudest corner of the office, perhaps near the coffee machine or the water cooler. Never get double glazing – the noise of the roadworks outside will help your headache along nicely. If you work from home, encourage your kids to run around screaming.

  8. Clutter Your Desk
    Once you’ve been in your workplace for a while, you should have built up a nice collection of papers, folders, staplers, pens, notebooks and so on. Make sure these are all over your desk, in as disorganized a manner as possible. Never file anything. Challenge yourself to have an inbox piled so high that the mound of paper reaches the ceiling. Constant clutter will make you feel ill at ease in your workplace, even when you’re not actively rummaging through it for that vital letter from a client.

  9. Keep it Shabby
    Make sure your workplace environment looks as run-down and shabby as possible. Paint should be peeling off the walls, posters should be torn, and noticeboards should never be cleared. Don’t ever replace the carpet. And any pot-plants should be left unwatered for weeks – there’s nothing like dying plants to give your workplace a real air of gloom and decay.

  10. Leave it Dirty
    Finally, ensure that your workplace is actively dirty. Don’t hoover or ever wipe your desk (if you have a maid, make sure the desk and floor are far too cluttered to clean). Drop crumbs in your keyboard. Spill drinks on the carpet. Leave candy bar wrappers and unwashed mugs amongst the clutter on your desk. Bonus points if you can grow mold.
Congratulations! You’ve achieved a work environment that will drag your mood down the second you step through the door. You’ve got the perfect excuse for failure in everything you do. And by this stage, you might even be advanced enough to think up some of your own ideas on making your workplace as depressing as possible. Why not share them in the comments?

Written on 11/05/2008 by Ali Hale. Ali runs Alpha Student, a blog packed with academic, financial and practical tips to help students get the most out of their time at university.Photo Credit: hoyasmeg

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Tonights Video: DIA.ORG

I lived in this city for 8 years and never visited. Do you know what DIA is?

Find more videos like this on AdGabber

Links to a better job

Yesterday I was cleaning out my emails and found two that seemed to fit together. Kim Komando has a Cool Site of the day email she sends out, and Saturday she featured a job search website that I have recomended to others in the past.

Now before you apply, you should have a resume. That's where the second email might come in handy. I have not checked out the info in the 2nd email from Cnet Download yet, but you can and let us know if you found it helpful.

Now, here's the details:

Today's Cool Site...

Search thousands of job boards

Many of my listeners have been hit hard by the financial crisis. My inbox is filled everyday with requests for help.

Most who write in want to make money from home. They want to supplement their income by selling on eBay. Or, they want to get into microstock photography.

These are great ways to make some extra cash. But they're not for everyone. Some people would rather pick up a second job. Or, those who have been laid off need a job, period.

If you fall into the latter camp, head over to Indeed. This site crawls thousands of job boards. Then, it presents the results in an easy-to-use index.

All you need do is enter your search term and ZIP code. You'll get a list of matching results.

You'll likely find hundreds of results for a given search. Indeed makes it easy to narrow down these results.

You can make refinements by selecting a salary range. Or, select a job title or company. To apply for a position, just click through to the listing site.

Now is the perfect time to look for a second job. Many businesses are hiring seasonal help to assist with the holiday rush!


And here's the resume details:

Create a professional resume
Recent unfortunate developments in the global economy have sent shockwaves through industries and companies around the world. Whether or not the economic downturn has hurt your employer or your job, it's a good time to take a look at your
professional resume and update it or polish it as necessary. This week, we've got help for your resume work with a collection of five apps designed to make the whole process painless. As a bonus, our weekly Webware pick, Resumizer, lets you create a resume online for free. Happy downloading! Visit