Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
I need to buy an axe this weekend so I can do this since I have 3 piles of wood in my yard waiting for me.
From the AOM Blog:
Posted: 24 Nov 2009 03:10 PM PST
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Will which originally appeared in the Art of Manliness Community.
I’ll admit it: for me, splitting wood has nothing do with lowering the heating bill. I like that satisfying thunk! and the feeling of power, seeing that big obstinate piece of wood doing what I want. The look of the fire in the evening is nice, too, especially when you didn’t have to buy the wood at the supermarket.
Here’s how to harness your inner-lumberjack and hew some firewood with your own manly hands.
What You Need
A maul or ax. A maul is heaver and has a wider head than an ax which makes it advantageous to splitting wood. But an ax can work just as well for smaller wood splitting jobs. Also, remember that the key isn’t sharpness; you’re not cutting wood or even chopping it (a common misnomer); you’re splitting wood.
Wood. Seasoned wood splits better, but I usually split the wood green, so I don’t have to stack it again.
If the wood has nails in it, forget it. It’s not worth the risk of damaging your ax, or for that matter your eye when that nail goes flying. And if it’s curvy, don’t bother. I’m no safety expert, but trying to deal with unusual situations is often how accidents happen.
If it’s got a knot in it, skip it, especially if it’s green. You’ll spend all day trying to get through it. The exception is if you can find a line through the center that doesn’t get close to any knot. Then the knots won’t interfere. (”Center” is defined by the grain or splits in the wood, as shown on the right.)
Split It Along the Lines
Put the piece on its end, on a chopping block if possible. If not, just put it on the ground, propping it as needed to keep it standing. Driving the ax into the ground dulls it, supposedly, but I’ve chopped into dirt countless times and the ax still cuts.
Now place yourself such that when you swing with straight arms, the blade will hit the wood, right in the center (picture on left). Err on the side closer to you. Here’s why: if you miss on the side close to you, the blade goes into the ground. But if you miss on the far side, the ax handle hits the wood. Too much of that and you’ll be buying a new handle. (It hurts your arms too.)
Making sure there’s no one and nothing you don’t want damaged anywhere nearby, to be hit by flying wood, a flying ax, or anything else . . . stand with your legs apart a little, pull the ax straight back over your head, and swing it straight forward. Build up speed and let the momentum and weight of the ax do the work– not your brute strength.
I try to hit the same place every time. I never do. It doesn’t matter. Wood with a slightly ragged edge is not a problem. You will get the ax stuck in the wood and have to wrestle it out (right); that’s also not a problem.
Eventually it will split with a nice crack! Then do a few gentle hits into the crack to separate remaining strands of wood connecting the pieces of wood together.
If the piece is bigger, you can still go for the center, but it might be easier to chop pieces off the sides, until you have something manageable.
What You Get
Those pieces that you made too small . . . are your best accomplishment, because they’ll help you start the fire. Split wood burns more easily, especially the small pieces.And now that you have a woodpile full of fuel . . . it’s time to make a fire.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
But before you wrap up the day and prepare for the Black Friday shopping specials on Friday, watch this and share with others:
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Posted: 18 Nov 2009 04:41 AM PST
Do you ever feel like you have way too much time on your hands, and far too little work and life to fit into it? Unless you're a teen on summer break, I reckon it's unlikely! Most of us would love to have an extra couple of hours in each day. With two more hours, we could find time to exercise, to read some of the books that are gathering dust on our shelves, to spend time with the kids...
But, unless you're lucky enough to find a magic genie who can stretch your days to twenty-six hours long, you're stuck with the same twenty-four hours per day as the rest of the world. So how can you create more time in your day? Here are seven magic ways:
- Get Up Earlier
Okay, this one's not exactly genius (or even genie) level. Get up fifteen minutes earlier. If you're like most folk, your morning probably feels rushed: you drag yourself out of bed at the last possible minute, grab a hasty shower, maybe get some breakfast if you're lucky, sort out the kids/cat/partner and dash off to work.
Getting up just a bit earlier can give you some breathing space. Perhaps it'll give you time to actually sit down and enjoy your breakfast for once. Maybe you can use that fifteen minutes a day to read through that book or stack of journals that you keep meaning to get to.
- Create a Plan
At the start of your workday, before you even check your emails, make a plan. Jot down the three most important tasks you want to accomplish that day. Put a big star next to the most important. Now, before you get into the busy work of emails and photocopying and tidying your desk, start on that important task and see it through to the end.
Surprisingly few people take the time to plan their workday, and end up spinning their wheels on a number of low-priority tasks without really accomplishing anything big.
- Batch Tasks Together
When you're going through the workday, try to keep similar tasks together. When you switch from one thing to another, your brain takes a few minutes to catch up and settle in: constantly jumping between answering emails and writing a report and tidying up your desk just means you'll lose track of where you'd got to. You might feel like you're working super-efficiently (because your mind is buzzing all over the place), but you'll actually be wasting a lot of time.
If you need to answer a number of emails, do them all at once. The same goes for phone calls, filing, photocopying and other similar tasks.
- Block Out Chunks of Time
Do you have some big project that you'd love to get round to? Maybe it's writing a novel, starting a business, training for a marathon, decluttering your home ... whatever your particular venture or goal, you never get around to making progress.
The best way to tackle big projects like this is to force them into your schedule. Spare time doesn't just appear from nowhere – you need to make a conscious effort to create it. Block out a weekend afternoon, for instance: tell family and friends you have another engagement that day. Then storm on ahead with that project. Trust me, you'll feel great for having made a start.
- Don't Multitask
Although multitasking feels efficient – because it feels busy – it actually loses you time. By sticking to doing one thing at a time, you'll be much more focused and able to produce your best work: there's nothing efficient about rushing a job which you then end up having to redo.
If you want some more advice on this one, read The Death of Multitasking and Rebirth of Unitasking, or Mono-Task And Work More Effectively.
- Stay Focused
When you are working on a task, make a conscious effort to remain focused. Sure, you'll have intrusive thoughts like maybe I should check my email or this desk could really do with tidying. Just recognize that those thoughts are impulses which you don't need to give into. If you think of something while you're working on your task like I really must phone Joe, then just make a note on a bit of paper or in your diary so you don't forget – and get on with the task at hand.
You'll accomplish much more by working in a deliberately focused way than if you let yourself jump around from task to task as things come to mind.
- Finish Work On Time
Finally, one of the best ways to make more time in your life is to finish your work on time! If you work for an employer, make an effort to leave the office on time – at least a couple of days each week. (I know this is difficult if your workplace has a long-hours culture).
If you work for yourself, you need to be even more self-disciplined, as your work is likely to be very easily accessible when you're at home! Some good ways to create a boundary at the end of the day are to keep your work separate from the rooms in your house where you relax. You could also schedule something social in the evening (perhaps meeting friends for a drink) so that you can't get caught up in "just one more email"...
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
From the DLM Blog:
Posted: 20 Nov 2009 05:59 AM PST
We all need leaders in our lives: mentors, people to look up to, people that simply get it. Leaders inspire us, help us accomplish our dreams, and teach by example. Leaders make us better people and give us an ideal to strive for.
The measure of leadership is always influence; leaders have an amazing ability to influence our lives. Leaders lead wherever they go; they lead at work, at home, or wherever they happen to be.
So after that intro, it's easy to conclude that being a leader is not an easy task; it requires a collection of very important skills that have to be ingrained into your daily practice - your soul.
Below are the 7 Signs of a Leader. How many of these do you believe you have? More importantly perhaps, do you look up to someone today that doesn't have many of these traits? Are they really the person to look up to? The choices you make today and the people you surround yourself with will determine much of your path in life; choose wisely.
“It’s a terrible thing to see, and have no vision.” – Helen Keller
Leaders are visionaries; they know where they’re going, and their committed to bringing others along. They have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish and their vision is so compelling that it inspires others to participate in the fulfillment of the vision.
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn
Leaders are disciplined individuals! They are the first partaker of what they preach and they exemplify unprecedented discipline, focus, and commitment in the achievement of their vision.
- Emotional Strength
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” - Proverbs
Leaders are not easily shaken. Leaders anticipate challenges and are not derailed by obstacles. Leaders remain strong when things get tough; they don’t faint when adversity strikes.
Leaders have an amazing level of emotional strength.
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment." – Jim Horning
Leaders have experience. In other words, they’ve been around the block a few times and they know where they’re going. Their experience has taught them how to get things done and they can differentiate between activity and accomplishment, between efficiency and effectiveness.
Leaders focus their efforts on the tasks that produce the greatest rewards.
“Respect is love in plain clothes.” – Frankie Byrne
Leaders are respected and trusted individuals. Leaders have earned the respect of their followers by becoming an “example.” They chart the course, follow their destiny, and inspire others in the process.
Leaders are respected because they earn respect. The second they demand respect is the second they are no longer a leader.
- People Skills
Arguing with a fool proves there are two. - Doris M. Smith
Leaders have great people skills; they are friendly to the unfriendly, they know how to respond in every situation. Leaders do not engage in personal battles, they save their strength for the task at hand.
Leaders treat people with respect and dignity; they connect with others on a personal and emotional level.
- Momentum and Timing
“If you're coasting, you're either losing momentum or else you're headed downhill.” – Joan Welsh
Finally, leaders know how to create momentum, and they know when to act. Nothing great is ever accomplished without momentum and timing.
The test of a great leader is who they develop. A great leader will develop great followers; those followers will become great leaders.
It takes a leader to make a leader. A leader’s legacy is measured by succession. Are you a great leader?
Thank you for reading.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I admit that I am far from perfect, which is why I found this guide from the DLM blog to be helpful:
Posted: 23 Oct 2009 02:56 PM PDTIf all the punctuation marks got together for a party, the party wouldn't come alive until the comma arrived. The comma is such a versatile little animal. Often abused, under-used and over-used, the comma can be a readers best friend, but a writer's worst enemy.
Whilst the full stop is the red light to a sentence, the comma has the ability to keep the green light on a sentence for a long time. With its versatility it can keep complex sentences coherent, it can add additional information, add afterthoughts, and enlarge upon thoughts.
I bet you didn't think a little curl of a pen mark could evoke such passion.
I have been fascinated with the comma ever since an English teacher told me, 'The best way to use a comma is to think of it as a way of pausing before moving on to the next part of the sentence.', whilst this is a myth it is a good way to get started thinking about commas. However, there are so many other ways it can be used.
9 ways to use the comma
- To glue two sentences together
When two complete sentences (independent clauses) are joined by a conjunction such as the words; and, but, or for.
The post about commas seemed like an unusual topic, but it managed to bring in over 100 comments.
You will see that the sentence above could quite easily be split into two sentences with the use of a full stop to read:
The post about commas seemed like an unusual topic. It managed to bring in over 100 comments.
- To give additional information
Commas are great in allowing us to give additional information in a sentence. The additional information is called an appositive phrase, which is a noun or a phrase placed next to a word to provide identification or give additional information.
Jay White, the owner of this blog, is seen as an authoritative figure in the world of blogging.
You will see that, 'the owner of this blog', is not really necessary, but it does provide additional information, which could be useful.
- Writing a series of three or more words or phrases
He was tall, dark, and handsome.
He opened the email, read it, and decided to publish the article he had been sent.
Note that you do not need to use the last comma in each of the sentences above. However, this is a matter of personal preference. Whichever way you choose, use it as consistently as possible.
- Non restrictive phrases
Non restrictive phrases give additional information to a reader, but it is not essential to the sentence to be understood.
My son, who is an artist, enjoys listening to trance music.
You'll see from the above sentence that if we were to take out 'who is an artist' the sentence would still hold. It is a non essential piece of information.
However, if I had two or more sons, the non restrictive phrase 'who is an artist' would become essential for identification and therefore the commas would be left out because the phrase becomes essential to identify which of my two sons I was speaking about.
- Demanding a pause
This is what first got me interested in commas. I was told that if you feel you need to pause during a sentence, then insert a comma. Whilst not strictly true, we can still use it like a pause
Wherever you go in the world, travel light.
It is important to note that all commas need a pause, but not all pauses need a comma.
- Setting off direct quotations
When you are presenting quoted speech in a piece of work, you will need to insert a comma before the beginning quotation mark.
Oscar Wilde said, “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”
Commas are also used if the speech is broken within a sentence.
"A true Blogger", said Steve, "is one who blogs!"
- After conjunctive adverbs
Conjunctive adverbs are adverbs that act as a transition between complete ideas, remember that adverbs tweak the meaning of verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.
"Nothing can be unconditional; consequently, nothing can be free."
(George Bernard Shaw)
Using the example above you might notice that a semicolon has been introduced. This is usually the case when a conjunctive adverb is used between two clauses.
You may also notice that the comma can be omitted when conjunctive adverbs are used. This, again, is a personal preference.
Here are some example of conjunctive adverbs:
accordingly, also, besides, consequently, conversely, finally, furthermore, hence, however, indeed, instead, likewise, meanwhile, moreover, nevertheless, next, nonetheless, otherwise, similarly, still, subsequently, then, therefore, and thus.
- Set off a direct address
Use a comma to separate the name of someone who is being addressed from the message.
Brian, you are my favorite copywriter.
- Parenthetical phrases
This simply means using commas instead of using parenthesis, which are phrases in brackets.
Great blunders are often made, like large ropes, of a multitude of fibres - Victor Hugo
You see from the example above it could just as easily read like:
Great blunders are often made (like large ropes) of a multitude of fibres.
We have looked at places where commas should be used. However, commas will always be used in the wrong places too, so here are a few places where commas should not be used.
- Do not use a comma between two independent clauses, such as;
Writing great headlines is one way to catch the readers attention, advertising is one way to monetize your blog.
When we say independent clause we really mean sentences that have no real link to each other. However, we can link two independent clauses with a conjunctive word ( and, but, or, nor, for, etc.) So the sentence above would read:
Writing great headlines is one way to catch the readers attention, and advertising is one way to monetize your blog.
- Do not use commas to separate a noun and its modifying adjectives when the adjectives come before the noun.
The shiny black, car was a Ford. (shiny black (adjectives) and car (noun))
Just look at the sentence above we know, instinctively, that it is wrong and it should be:
The shiny black car was a Ford.
- Do not separate subject and verb by a comma
The readers of this blog, leave a lot of comments.
The comma between 'readers' (subject) and 'leave' (verb) should have no comma and should read like:
The readers of this blog leave a lot of comments.
Commas can be complex sometimes, but using the examples above should keep you on the right track to knowing when and where to use commas.
If you find any comma mistakes in this article, they were obviously put there to test you, so please tell us when you find them.
|Written on 10/23/2009 by Steven Aitchison. Steven is the Author of Change Your Thoughts and works as an alcohol and drugs counselor. He has a BSc in Psychology and has a passion for studying belief formation, thought processes and values and principles. His blog focuses on personal development through changing your thoughts but covers the whole personal development field.||Photo Credit: Don Fulano|