Saturday, August 29, 2009

Video Time: Bill Withers

I knew the story behind Bill from my days as a disc jockey, but I never saw this clip before...

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

It's a blog this time. Click here to go there.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Finally, I joke I had not heard before

Remember the days when your friends would use emails to send you stupid forwards, jokes, etc.

Well, yesterday this arrived in my email:

Family Tree of Vincent Van Gogh:

His dizzy aunt --------------- Verti Gogh

The brother who worked at a convenience store ------ Stop N Gogh
The grandfather from Yugoslavia ----------------------------- U Gogh
His magician uncle -------------------------------- Where-diddy Gogh
His Mexican cousin ---------------------------------------- A Mee Gogh
The Mexican cousin's American half-brother ------------ Gring Gogh
The nephew who drove a stage coach --------------- Wells-far Gogh
The ballroom dancing aunt -------------------------------- Tang Gogh
The bird lover uncle -------------------------------------- Flamin Gogh
The fruit-loving cousin -------------------------------------- Man Gogh
An aunt who taught positive thinking ------------------ Way-to-Gogh
The little bouncy nephew ----------------------------------- Poe Gogh
A sister who loved disco -------------------------------------- Go Gogh
And his niece who travels the country in an RV --- Winnie Bay Gogh

there ya Gogh!

Time to Gogh..............

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Click here to go there

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Video Time: Cat & Fly

One of the reasons my cats are declawed:

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Click here to go there.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Extension Cord

Pretty soon I'll be using the leaf blower, like every 5 hours due to having 11 trees at my house. Each time it involves untangling the extension cord.

However, here's a trick I may learn:

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Click here to go there

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

4 months and counting until...


Ali wrote this on the DLM Blog:

Five Things You Can Do NOW to Make Christmas 2009 a Success

Posted: 22 Aug 2009 05:44 AM PDT

Christmas catIt’s the summer, and Christmas is probably the last thing on your mind (unless you happen to be a magazine editor preparing for the Christmas issue...) It might seem far too early to start any preparations: but taking a little bit of time to think, plan and shop now can save you a lot of hassle, stress and even money when December rolls around.

Here are five simple things you can start doing now in order to make this Christmas one of your best:
  1. Get Your Holiday Plans Sorted Out
    Unless you have an extremely small set of relations, the Christmas period is likely to require some negotiating about who’s visiting whom. You might be the one hosting Christmas lunch, or you might be in the unfortunate position of explaining to either your mother or your mother-in-law that you won’t be able to see her on Christmas day.

    It’s worth clarifying holiday plans now. If there’s likely to be any tension involved (eg. if people will expect you to visit, while you want to keep as far away as possible), it’s better to face it now than in December, when emotions will inevitably run higher.

    If you need to book accommodation or train/plane tickets over the Christmas period, now’s a good time to start doing so.

  2. Put Some Money Aside
    It’s a funny thing: we know that Christmas is coming, every year, and yet many of us still end up struggling to pay off credit card debt in January. If you start saving up just a few dollars a week now, the cost of Christmas won’t hit nearly so hard.

    Ways to make sure you really do save that money include:
    • Giving it in cash to a trusted friend/relative to take care of until December

    • Putting it into a specific bank account (though you may decide this is more hassle than it’s worth, for a small sum of savings)

    • Buying gift vouchers for stores which you’ll do your Christmas shopping in: this makes it much harder to spend your savings than if you kept them in cash!
  3. Try Out Recipes
    If you’re going to be giving homemade foody treats as gifts, it’s a good idea to start trying them out now -- avoiding any last-minute disasters near Christmas day! You might need to invest in specific equipment, or perfect tricky techniques like confectionery-making or cake-decorating.

    For those who are hosting a meal or party over the Christmas period, practicing new recipes on guests during the summer and autumn can be a good way to check out how long you’ll need for preparation, how many people a particular dish will serve, and which foods are most popular. (Hint: You may have to think carefully about which entrees to test out: I wouldn’t recommend serving a goose with all the trimmings in the middle of a summer heatwave...)

  4. Keep A Gift List
    When you start Christmas shopping, do you have difficulties thinking up what to get for different relatives and friends? Some people are tricky to buy for: perhaps they have few hobbies or interests, or they seem to already have everything.

    An easy solution to this is to jot down gift ideas all year round. Any time someone mentions a particular book, CD, home accessory, etc that they’d like, make a note of it. If your mom tells you that she loves a particular brand of toiletries, write it down. Be particularly aware of the likes and dislikes of younger family members: children do tend to go through phases, and the TV show or band that they loved a few Christmases ago has probably long-since lost their interest.

    Once you’ve got a list, keep an eye out for discount offers: you may be able to pick up some bargains during the summer or autumn.

  5. Start Preparing Craft or Personalized Gifts
    It’s lovely to give personalized or crafted gifts – these really let the recipient know that you care about them, and that you’ve put thought and care into their present. But it often takes some time to prepare these gifts, and it’s worth planning ahead a bit.

    For example:
    • If you’re making a personalized calendar, think about the shots you want to include now – especially for the summer months! (You might want to include a pic of the family barbecue, or of your kids in the pool, for instance.)

    • If you like to knit or sew gifts, start thinking about what patterns and materials you’ll need.

    • Plan out who’s going to receive what, and consider making yourself a schedule for when you want to start on and finish particular gifts.

    From personal experience, homemade gifts are a lot of fun for the giver and the recipient so long as you allow yourself enough time – leaving it till the last minute will make you feel rushed, and the finished product may well not be as good as you intended. (Last year, my granny ended up with a set of four embroidered napkins instead of six, because I ran out of thread and then out of time...!)
Do you get all your Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving, or are you a last-minute person? Will you be trying out any of the above tips, or do you have some of your own to add?

Written on 8/22/2009 by Ali Hale. Ali is a professional writer and blogger, and a part-time postgraduate student of creative writing. If you need a hand with any sort of written project, drop her a line ( or check out her website at Aliventures.Photo Credit: dierken

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Click here to go there

Monday, August 24, 2009

Advice and Ideas

Most of us have a tendency to hang with those who we have something in common with. You could be limiting yourself... from the DLM Blog:

Who You Go to for Advice Will Determine Your Success

Posted: 19 Aug 2009 09:03 AM PDT

AdviceIf you go to your mom for advice every time something goes wrong then I hate to tell you, but you have a problem. Your mom may be a genius, but she isn’t a genius in all areas of life. It’s time to expand your advisors in order to help you in every aspect of your life.

The ability to create a great career depends greatly on your support systems. When you have people in your life who can help you through barriers, losses, and transitions, you have a solid foundation that can’t be shaken.

You only need two types of support systems.

They are…
  1. You
    The number one support is you. By developing your emotional intelligence, you build inner strength that supports your choices. You are your first defense against career disdain.

    You have a lot of inner strength; you just need to learn to tap into it. You can start by listening to your needs and making an effort to fulfill them. Try making a list of all your strengths and see if you can utilize them more at your present job. If not then it’s time to find a new job.

    Your emotional balance during both good and stressful times is vital to your success. If you are unable to comfort yourself when your boss shoots down a project you’ve spent countless hours on, then you aren’t going to make a smart decision. You must learn to develop that inner strength that allows you to stay calm and happy, even in the face of adversity.

    The more you practice listening to your needs, the better you’ll get at accomplishing your goals.

  2. People Support Systems
    I ask for advice from my mother, wife, father, brother, and my friends (Brian, Stavros, Luke…and the list goes on). I do this because they all give me unique perspectives that help me make the smartest choice. I’m also prone to getting swept away by my emotions. I’ve been susceptible to falling in love with ideas and running with them until I realized that they didn’t fit in with the future me.
The More Diverse the Better
By talking to a wide range of people who all think differently, I am able to make wise decisions. That’s why diverse companies thrive in down turns. They have many different perspectives on business and can help adjust the company’s goals to fit in with the new economy.

Make Yourself Useful
The people who stick with you either love you or they see your potential to help them in the future. I’ve had friends drop me because they just couldn’t see why I was worth the effort. I can be high maintenance, trying to prod people for new perspectives when they don’t feel like using that part of their brain.

I’ve learned to try to give as much as I take. That means listening to people’s problems and helping them make smart decisions. I’ll even give people marketing ideas that they might never use; anything to show them that I want to help.

Who Do You Go to for Advice?
Who is in your Jedi Council that helps you become stronger, smarter and have more fun with what you do?

Your advisors can really help lead you to your dream career, so don’t take them lightly. Don’t be afraid to talk to people who will disagree with you. They usually end up being more helpful than your mom, who will probably always tell you how wonderful and smart your choices are.

Written on 8/19/2009 by Karl Staib. Karl writes about unlocking and kicking open the door to working happy at his own blog: Work Happy Now! If you enjoyed this article, you may like to subscribe to his feed, follow him on Twitter or read one of his most popular articles, What do I do if I’m unhappy at Work?.Photo Credit: Don Fulano

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Click here to go there

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Be Like Ben

From the Art of Manliness Blog recently:

How to Make a Decision Like Ben Franklin

Posted: 16 Aug 2009 09:19 PM PDT


“My way is to divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns; writing over the one Pro and over the other Con. Then during three or four days’ consideration, I put down under the different heads short hints of the different motives, that at different time occur to me, for or against the measure. When I have thus got them altogether in one view, I endeavor to estimate their respective weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out. If I judge some two reasons con equal to some three reasons pro, I strike out five; and thus proceeding, I find where the balance lies; and if after a day or two of further consideration, nothing new that is of importance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly.” –Benjamin Franklin

Last week we talked about the importance of being decisive and went over some basic tips for how to make good decisions. We mentioned the pro and con chart as being a helpful part of the decision-making process. As you can see from the above quote, Ben Franklin was a fan of the pro and con chart himself and added his own twist by giving different weights to his various motives.

But what if you try the pro and con chart and the right decision still isn’t clear? You’ve done all the research you can about your possible choices; you’ve journaled your thoughts; you’ve sought the advice of your friends and loved ones. But you’re still absolutely stuck between two or more choices that seem equally attractive. How can you break this stalemate?

Today we’re going to go over a decision making hack that expands on and improves the technique practiced by old Ben. When you’re agonizing over a decision, it can help you discover which choice would really be best.

How to Decide Between Two or More Attractive Possibilities

Every decision has its advantages and disadvantages. The trick is to figure out which choice will give you more of the former and less of the latter. A typical pro and con chart can be too vague. This is where a decision “balance sheet” comes in. If you want to get really fancy, philosophers who study decision making (yes, there is such a thing) call it a “multi-attribute optimization chart.” Get out a sheet of paper, gents, you’re about to become The Decider.

1. Make your columns. You need two columns. Label the first column “Element” and the second column “Importance Factor.” Next to those two columns, create as many columns as you have possible choices. Label these columns with the names of your choices. For example, “Job in Seattle” and “Job in Phoenix.” If drawing this out by freehand takes too much time for you, just download this template and use it.

2. List the important elements of your decision. In your “Element” column, list all the major elements that influence your decision. For example, if you’re trying to decide between jobs, you would list things like location, pay, benefits, job security, work hours, enjoyment, etc.

3. List the importance factor of each element. In your “Importance Factor” column, assign each element a number from 1 to 10 according to how important that element is to you. For example, if the time your job will allow you to spend with your family is very important to you, give that element a 9. If being close to your family isn’t as important to you, then give it something like a 4. Put down the first number that comes to you; don’t overthink it.

4. Grade the choices in relation to each element. You’re now going to assign a number from 1 to 10 in relation to how each choice measures up to the elements you have listed. For example, if the job in Seattle offers an excellent health insurance plan, you would give it a 9. If the job in Phoenix would sometimes have you working 60 hour weeks, then you would give it something like a 5 for “work hours.” Again, don’t think too much about it; just put down the first number that comes to your mind. These numbers go on the left side of your choice columns. Make sure you leave room on the right side of the column for another number.

5. Multiply the importance factor by the grades for each choice. For example, if you gave the importance of the pay element a 8, and you gave the Job in Seattle a 7 for that job’s potential salary, you would take 8X7 and would come out with 56. This number goes on the right of your choice column.

6. Add up the totals. Once you have multiplied all of your importance factors by your choice grades, add all those numbers up to get a total. Which choice has the highest number of points? That’s probably the best choice for you.

These directions may make it sound more complicated than it really is. It’s actually quite simple once you see an example of a chart. Here is an example chart of choosing between two different jobs. Let’s say that both jobs seem attractive, but you want to figure out which would be the best job for you and your way of life. Here’s how you could figure out which job to take:


After multiplying the importance factor by our choice grades, and then adding those totals up, we’re left with the Seattle Job scoring 428 and the Phoenix Job scoring a 468. Looks like you’re moving to Phoenix! Of course, there is a possibility that you come up with some false positives doing this exercise. Even though you try not to be biased, there’s a tendency to give the choice you really want higher scores, even if it really doesn’t warrant those scores. Despite that small drawback, multi-attribute choice optimization does a pretty good job of helping you come to a choice (after all, if you’re inflating the scores of one of your choices, then deep down you probably already know which one you want!). It forces you to really think about all the factors going into your decision. Kate and I have used it several times when making big choices, and it has always proved helpful. Go ahead and give it try with the sample card below. Remember you can download a PDF with a couple of these worksheets ready for you to use. Enjoy!

2009-08-16_2355Post inspired by the 1963 Doubleday Personal Success Program

DownloadThe Art of Manliness Free Man Cookbook
DownloadThe Art of Manliness Guide to Being a Gentleman

Check Out These Related Posts:

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Click here to go there