Saturday, January 09, 2010

Saturday Night Classic Music Video

This year I'm going to do an A to Z rundown every Saturday night. So to start us off with A...

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Car Stuff

From the AOM Blog:

How to Rotate Your Car Tires

Posted: 08 Dec 2009 08:35 PM PST


With this crummy economy, we’re all looking for ways to save money. One way to save a few bucks is doing your own auto maintenance. We’ve already discussed how to change your own oil. Today we’re going to tackle another maintenance job that you can easily do yourself.

If you’re not careful, your car’s tires can become a big money pit. Tires aren’t cheap. A new one can set you back at least $80. If you go through a new set of tires every year, you’re looking at dropping at least $400. Boo.

One simple way you can extend the life of your tires is regularly rotating them on your car. Tire rotation means changing where the individual tire is mounted on the car. Some men don’t ever have their tires rotated, and those that do usually let a quick lube take care of it. But this simple 15 minute job will set them back at least $20 at most places. Save yourself the money by doing it yourself. In today’s post we show you how.

Why Rotate Your Tires?

Front and rear tires wear differently. For example, the front tires carry more than 60% of your car’s weight; consequently, front tires wear down faster than the rear ones. Also, turning wears the front tires at different rates. In America, we generally take left turns faster than we do right turns. This puts more load on the right front tire which results in the right tire wearing faster than your left. After thousands of miles of driving, you end up with uneven tread wear.

Rotating tires equalizes these natural wear patterns by changing the positions of your tires. By rotating your tires regularly, you’ll ensure yourself a smoother and safer ride. And more importantly (for me at least) you’ll save money in the long run by extending the life of your tires.

Oh, and it feels manly to flip tires around, too.

How Often Should You Rotate Tires?

Check your car’s owner’s manual for the recommended tire rotation schedule. Most manufacturers recommend that you rotate your tires every 5,000 miles. An easy way to remember to rotate your tires is to do it whenever you change the oil on your car.

Tools Needed

Car jack. Using the jack that comes with your car can work, but it isn’t recommended for rotating your tires. It’s designed to lift up your car for a short amount of time so you can quickly change a tire. The safer route is to use a hydraulic floor jack. A good floor jack will set you back about $100, but your safety is well well worth the investment. A car jack will come in handy for other maintenance jobs as well.

Jack stands. You’ll need some jack stands so you can rest the car on top of them while you switch the tires out. You can buy a decent set of jack stands for about $30.

If you don’t want to fork over the dough, you can jerry rig a jack stand with a cinderblock and a two by four. Just place the cinderblock under a wheel and place the two by four on top of the cinderblock to prevent scratching the bottom of your car. Lower the car jack so the car rests on the cinderblock and two by four. Wala! Instant jack stands!

Rotation Pattern: Directional or Non-directional Tires?

Before we start loosening those lug nuts, we need to know what pattern we’re going to use to rotate our tires. The way you rotate your tires depends on a few factors, the biggest one being whether your car has directional or non-directional tires.

How to Rotate Directional Tires. Directional tires have a “one-way” tread pattern that are optimized for the direction the tires rotate on the car, so they’re specifically made for either the left or right side. The grooves are angled to optimize handling, and they also do a good job of channeling water out from under the tire on wet surfaces, reducing hydroplaning and improving wet traction.

Little arrows or triangles on the sidewall indicate which way the tire is supposed to turn.

To rotate directional tires, just switch the front right tire for the back right tire, and the front left tire for the back left tire, like this:


How to Rotate Non-directional Tires. The tread pattern on non-directional tires is designed in such a way that the tire can be mounted on the wheel for any direction of rotation. So you can switch which side the tires are on when you rotate them.

To rotate non-directional tires, use the cross pattern. For cars with rear-wheel drive, move the front tires to the opposite sides of the rear: left-front to right-rear and right-front to left-rear. The rear tires are moved straight forward. Here’s how it looks visually:

nondirectional tire rotation

On vehicles with front-wheel drive, just do the opposite. Move the rear tires to the opposite sides of the front and move the front tires straight back.

Rotate the Spare In?

Some old car maintenance guides recommend that drivers rotate their spare tire into use in order to give one of the tires a much needed break. The problem with this advice is that the vast majority of modern spare tires aren’t designed for extended driving. They’re often smaller and feature a lighter-weight construction and shallower tread depth. They’re designed to simply get you to a shop to fix the original tire. That’s it.

Some cars still come equipped with full-size matching spare tires. Off road vehicles and many SUVs usually have them. If you have a car that has a matching spare tire, it isn’t a bad idea to rotate it into use. Here’s a diagram for the suggested rotation:

spare tire rotation

How to Rotate Your Tires

Time needed: 20 minutes.

1. Engage parking break. Just for your safety.

2. Loosen the lug nuts on all your wheels. You don’t want to take them completely off yet. Loosening them now will make unscrewing them when the car is elevated much easier.

3. Lift up one wheel with car jack and place jack stand underneath it. If you just have one or two jack stands (or cinder blocks) you’ll need to do a bit of mental work before you start jacking so you know how you’re going to proceed with lowering and raising your car. Because you have fewer stands, you’ll also spend more time lowering and raising your car in order to switch them out. Despite the extra effort, you still won’t spend much more than 20 minutes on the job. I’ve seen some people place their car on all four jack stands. It’s not exactly the safest thing to do, but it will definitely help you get the job done faster because you don’t have to switch out jack stands.

4. Remove the tires and rotate them according to the appropriate pattern for your type of tires. When you place a tire back onto the wheel mount, screw the lug nuts on by hand as much as you can.

5. Lower the car from the jack stands. Take the lug wrench and tighten the nuts even more. It’s best to work the lug nuts diagonally from one to another. It looks like a star pattern. This ensures even tightening. Tightening the lug nuts unevenly can warp the brake rotor.

startireStar pattern when tightening lug nuts

That’s it! Now just mark down the mileage when you rotated your tires and remember to do it again in another 5,000 miles.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Video Time: The Green Screen

What you see, isn't always real...

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Time Management

Yeah, I know, you can't manage time, you can only manage you and your use of time.

Argue that for 5 minutes and waste 5 minutes of your life, or just read this from the DLM Blog:

Ten Essential Time Management Tips

Posted: 28 Dec 2009 11:38 AM PST

Over the past six years, I’ve picked up a lot of time management tips. Some of them have been helpful and, frankly, some have been useless. Here, I’ve compiled the ten that have served me best. And yes, I’m sure you’ll have heard some of them before ... but are you actually doing them?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re self-employed, employed or a student: over the past six years, I’ve been an undergraduate student, a full-time employee, a part-time postgraduate student, and a freelancer – and these tips work for all those situations!
  1. Three Important Things
    This is the “big rocks first” technique of scheduling your three most important tasks into your day and letting everything else flow around them.

    In case you’ve not come across the “rocks” analogy before, it goes like this:

    You’re given a jar, three large rocks, a handful of pebbles and some sand. If you pour the sand and pebbles into the jar first, there won’t be room to force the rocks into it – but if you put the rocks in first, the pebbles can flow around the rocks, then the sand can be poured in to fill the gaps.

  2. Always Carry a Notepad
    How often have you been stuck waiting for a train or standing in line at the bank with absolutely nothing to do? Keep a notepad in your pocket or purse and you’ll always be able to do some productive work: whether it’s an outline for your next project, a list of ideas for new products, or a few notes for an article or short story.

    If you have a PDA or phone that you can type on, try using that instead of a notepad – you can transfer your notes to your computer.

  3. Make Checklists
    Do you ever find yourself procrastinating on big projects – or spinning your wheels without much idea of what needs to be done next? For almost any project, a checklist is a good way to keep on track. You might keep checklists like:
    • Books and articles to read for your next essay
    • Steps to take whenever you take on a new client
    • Office procedures, such as closing up at night
    Checklists are particularly important for tasks which you do on a regular basis: they’ll save you the time of trying to figure out exactly what it is you need to in order to set up a new website or launch a new product. Breaking down a big project into individual tasks is also a great way to avoid procrastination.

  4. Work in Short Bursts
    Many people make the mistake of trying to work for long hours at a stretch. Inevitably, they run out of energy quickly – or end up working inefficiently. It’s much easier to concentrate when you’re working for a short time period, which is why students are normally advised to study for 20-45 minute bursts, taking frequent breaks.

    If you’re struggling to concentrate on work, set a timer for twenty minutes, and see how much you can get done in that time. Twenty minutes of concentrated work can be more productive than two hours of fiddling around.

  5. Do One Thing
    Our world is becoming faster and busier than ever. It’s all too common for us to be replying to emails, keeping up with friends on Twitter, and holding a conversation with colleagues – while trying to get that big company report finished. No wonder we end up working late.

    Experts now believe that it’s better for us to concentrate on one task at a time, rather than multi-tasking: every time we switch between different tasks, we have to refocus – and we’re also likely to get distracted.

  6. Pay Yourself First
    If you’ve done any reading on financial management, you might have come across the idea of paying yourself first – setting aside money towards your long-term goals each time you get your paycheck. You can apply a similar principle to your time, either on a daily or weekly basis.

    “Pay yourself first” by spending an hour before work each morning on your goals – not on household chores. (If the chores really need to be done, you’ll get them done in the evening.)

  7. Get Enough Sleep
    Many of us try to cram more into our day by cutting out sleeping time: but this can be hugely counter-productive. You’ll never be able to focus well when you’re yawning over your keyboard and if you push yourself too hard for too long, you may end up getting ill.

    Some people can function well with under eight hours sleep, but most of us need to be getting at least seven hours.

  8. Track Your Time
    Where does all the time go? I’m sure that’s a question most of us have asked ourselves recently. Of course, it’s not hard to find out: simply spend a week keeping track of your time, writing down what you do each hour.

    Don’t make the excuses that you “don’t have time” to do this – it’ll only take a few extra minutes during the day (simply make a note of the time you start and end each task) – and it can reveal some uncomfortable truths about where you’re spending the bulk of your time.

  9. Schedule Time for Emails
    When you sit down at your computer in the morning, what’s the first thing you do? For many of us, it’s checking emails. It’s easy to get sucked into replying to just one thing ... only to find that it’s lunch-time and you’ve not really accomplished anything.

    If you find yourself checking emails whenever you’re stuck or procrastinating, then set yourself rigid times to read and reply. You could try 11am and 4pm – it’s unlikely that anyone really needs a reply from you at 8am.

  10. Delegate Whenever Possible
    Finally, the best way that I’ve found to free up my time is to delegate. The more tasks you can pass on to other people, the easier it’ll be to cope with your own workload. This might mean training a subordinate to take over some of your tasks at work, it might mean hiring a virtual assistant for your home business, or it could just be getting your spouse or teens to cook dinner once in a while.

    Many of us find delegating stressful, so here are some tips on how to do it right.
Which of the above ten tips work for you? Have you got a favorite time-management tip that’s not on this list? Let us know in the comments…

Written on 12/28/2009 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: woodleywonderworks

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Video Time: Drive Time

When I lived in Detroit 20 years ago, one of my favorite January activities was the Auto Show.

Take a look at this:

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Remove the Double Standard

From the AOM Blog:

What Can Manly Men Expect of Women?

Posted: 20 Dec 2009 05:38 PM PST

Awhile back, Leo posted these delightfully nostalgic and funny “Marital Rating Scales” from 1939 in the Community:



After having a good laugh, what Kate and I both noticed after reading through these charts was that while we could imagine a modern day woman expecting her husband to live up to most of the standards on the Husband’s Chart, if a man expected a woman to adhere to the Wife’s Chart, he’d probably be met with the look of death.

Now obviously some of the expectations on both charts are just silly, and part of the reason that the Wife’s Chart seem even sillier is that a woman’s place in society has changed far more than a man’s during the last 70 years.

But it’s also indicative of a new double standard that has emerged in our modern age. Women are still free to flog men for their shortcomings and expect a lot from them, but if a man has any expectations for women, the conversation is bound to go something like this:



It seems like men are catching onto to this movement to recover some of the good things of the past, while holding onto the progress we’ve made. I was just reading this interesting article in the NYT about how 20-something men are rejecting the whole casual, let it all hang out Baby Boomer vibe that’s dominated society for the last few decades and are starting to want to dress up and look sharp. This quote, from a college professor, particularly stood out to me:

“But the younger generation is looking at getting dressed up and making their mark,” Mr. Cohen continued. “It’s a real generation gap here. I teach at three different colleges, and I am amazed how dressed up some of the students are. Girls still come in their hoodies and pajamas, but boys come in their suits.”

In some ways, the new movement towards a return to traditional manliness needs women to be on board to be successful. After all, if you have men opening doors and asking women on real dates, and they’re just laughing in your face, that’s clearly not going to work out too well. And if you have men striving to be their best, but they feel like women aren’t even trying, you’ve got a recipe for creating strained relations between the sexes and bitter and disillusioned men who think all women are an unappealing mess who are not worth the trouble of dealing with (something you already see in certain online communities).

We often get emails from women who praise us up and down for the mission of the Art of Manliness. “This is just what men need!” they say. “I love the idea of bringing back traditional manliness!” they tell us. We love that women are on board with the movement, but it makes us wonder, “Okay, if men are manning up, what are women going to do to follow suit?”

After all, if women say they’re not in favor of a genderless society, and they want men to be men, then they have to be prepared for the flip side of that equation. A world where women are women.

Now don’t get me wrong. A man’s desire to man up should really have little to do with women and their opinion of him. Basing their lives around the opinions of women is exactly where men have gone wrong these last few decades. A man should want to seek true manliness out of his desire for confidence, honor, and self-respect.

But it’s also wrong-headed to think that womanliness has nothing to do with manliness. It would be hard to define manliness unless it was juxtaposed beside femininity, the way we wouldn’t be able to define dark, without the experience of light.

And it’s also indisputable that men used to be motivated to be honorable men because they felt they got something in return from the women in their lives. Manning up involves some sacrifice, but men didn’t feel like they were the only ones making an effort. Men dressed up, took women on dates and paid, brought home the bacon, took care of their wives, and acted as the rock in the family. In return, they could count on women to look classy and attractive, be charming, cook dinner, take care of the house and kids, and make her man feel like king of the castle.

But these days a new double standard has emerged where it’s okay to celebrate men manning up, but telling women they need to recover some of their femininity is offensive. To wit:

A woman telling a man to stop looking like a slob and dress up. Awesome!

A man telling a woman to stop looking like a slob and take care of herself. Sexist!

Saying that men should stop hooking up with women. Awesome!

Saying that women should stop sleeping around. Sexist!

Saying that men should get off the couch and go to work. Awesome!

Saying that a woman should be nurturing with kids. Sexist!

Saying that men should take the initiative in relationships. Awesome!

Saying that a woman should let the man lead (ever!). Sexist!

Well, you get the idea. The are a few reasons for the disparity. The first is that men spent most of world history in a position of privilege (although there were real downsides to being a man during this time, too). Then the women’s movement happened and they lost that position. So when it comes to recovering aspects of traditional manliness, men are excited to get on board (not because they want the exact same position back, but simply because they see the past fondly). Women, on the other hand, fought for the last few decades for the position that they now find themselves in. So even if they aren’t totally happy with it, looking back to recover what was good about the past makes them feel like they’re betraying what their sisters fought for. And if anyone suggests that bringing back some old school femininity might be a good idea, it’s been ingrained in them that they should be offended.

Second, women have historically been put on a pedestal, as the protectors of morality, while men have been disparaged as being baser in their nature. So it’s always been socially acceptable to castigate men but not women, because of the implicit understanding that women were just naturally pure and didn’t need much external encouragement to be “good.” Some feminists still seem to hold to this idea-that men and women are equal, but really-wink, wink- we all know that men are actually pigs. A real head scratcher to be sure.

But these days women say they don’t want to be on a pedestal, that putting them there is sexist! So now that we’re on equal footing, can we admit that today’s women need some work too?

Could we perhaps say that equality shouldn’t mean embracing and outdoing men in things that were traditionally considered masculine? That making out with other chicks for attention and lifting your shirt for beads and getting smashed and burping the alphabet and dressing in sweatsuits really has very little to do with being “liberated?”

That if men are going to know their way around a kitchen, that maybe women could, too? (I know lots of women my age who couldn’t cook to save their life.)

That you can’t insist on both being treated like a princess while also being a totally “independent woman?” (And that these dual impulses are driving men nuts?) And that a lot of relationships are falling apart not because there aren’t any good men to be found, but because women are so paranoid about “losing their identity” that they can’t settle down and give themselves over to being with a man? (Did you know that 2/3 of divorces are initiated by women?)

Now don’t get me wrong. We’re certainly not advocating a “Get back in the kitchen!” movement. Just like traditional manliness, recovering traditional womanliness will require sorting through which is the baby and which is the bathwater. And that sorting seems like an even more difficult task than it is for men. A veritable minefield where PC-ness, reality, history and progress collide.

But that is where I’d like to start this discussion. What aspects of femininity do you wish women would once again embrace? If you’re manning up, what do you expect of women? I’m also interested in what our female readers have to say about the subject.

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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Staying Connected

When I was growing up, as a child of the 60's and teen of the 70's, we had fewer options for communication and entertainment.

Fort Wayne had 3, then 4 TV stations. Today over 70% of our market subscribes to some form of cable or cable like service.

I still remember my home phone number, 483-3818 which my parents had for over 20 years, then for some reason changed it.

Every member of my family and step family have their own personal phone numbers now due to the cellphone revolution.

I usually don't text, it is a pain without a qwerty keyboard on my phone. And I don't have a smartphone yet, no need for one, because I use my laptop for my internet connections.

I am on Facebook and have a MySpace account and LinkedIn Profile, a few blogs, a couple of email accounts and use Twitter daily.

How do I keep track of all of these? Mostly through email. I have alerts sent to my email from all these other online sources. So why do I have these online sources? Because it is not about me, it is about how the people I want to stay in touch with, want to stay in touch.

A couple days ago, I got a message from a client via Facebook. I had an inquiry for services via Linked In. And it works.

Last week I met about 50 new people face to face who are on Twitter and when I added them to people I follow, most of them did the same. Which resulted in my taking the next step in organizing my Twitter activity with Twitter Lists.

Is all of this connectivity to much? Sometimes I wonder. Like this weekend at church. There was a young family sitting in the pew in front of us. The Dad had a Bluetooth earpiece stuck in his right ear, that kept flashing. Next to him, his 4 year old son and 8 year old daughter both had cellphones that they were looking at during the service. I watched the Mom, and she acted as if this was all normal.

What's normal these days depends on who you are I suppose, what about you?

My Sources Part 3

Yesterday I disclosed some of the background of what I do here and revealed a couple of the sources for the material I post.

I get updates in my email from these sources, since email is still the most commonly used form of electronic communication I have with my clients, I check it a few times a day.

Harvey Mackay, was one of my mentors 20 years ago and I will use his weekly column a couple times a month either on this blog or the Collective Wisdom Blog.

Here's his latest:

Harvey Mackay's Column This Week

Quotes to help you toast the New Year

One of the most innovative holiday greetings I received last year came from friends who sent a holiday card labeled "Quips and Quotes to help you toast the New Year." Since I am an aphorism junkie and always on the lookout for creative and interesting ways to stay in touch with my friends and readers, I especially welcomed their effort.

In fact, I liked it so much I decided to create my own version. Here is some of my best advice to guide you through 2010 and beyond.

  • They don't pay off on effort ... they pay off on results.
  • No one ever choked swallowing his or her pride.
  • Don't just mark time; use time to make your mark.
  • People don't plan to fail, they fail to plan.
  • Technology should improve your life, not become your life.
  • The best way to be somebody is just to be yourself.
  • The best vitamin for making friends is B1.
  • It is not a question as to who is right but what is right.
  • The difference between failure and success is doing a thing nearly right and doing it exactly right.
  • Many people hear ... but few people listen.
  • There is no free tuition in the school of experience.
  • The person who has no goal does not fear failure.
  • The best way to get even is to forget.
  • It is better to forgive and forget than to resent and remember.
  • Make decisions with your heart and you'll wind up with heart disease.
  • People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be—not what you nag them to be.
  • You can win more friends with your ears than with your mouth.
  • When you kill a little time, you may be murdering opportunity.
  • Education is an investment and never an expense.
  • Ideas won't work unless I do.
  • It's never right to do wrong, and it's never wrong to do right.
  • Your smile is more important than anything else you wear.
  • Gratitude shouldn't be an occasional incident but a continuous attitude.
  • Helping someone up won't pull you down.
  • Those that have the most to say usually say it with fewest words.
  • If you don't learn from your mistakes, there's no sense in making them.
  • People wrapped up in themselves make pretty small packages.
  • When is the last time you did something for the first time?

I also wanted to share these gems from unknown authors whose wisdom is timeless.

  • Smart is believing half of what you hear; brilliant is knowing which half to believe.
  • One thing I can give and still keep is my word.
  • Those who beef too much often land in the stew.
  • Compromise is always wrong when it means sacrificing principle.
  • Most people say they are willing to meet each other halfway; trouble is most people are pretty poor judges of distance.
  • If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.
  • Most people aim to do right; they just fail to pull the trigger.
  • Most people fail in life because the wishbone is where the backbone should be.
  • Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the mastery of it.
  • Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.
  • Happiness can be thought, taught and caught—but not bought.
  • Burying your talents is a grave mistake.
  • Praise, like sunlight, helps all things to grow.
  • Life just gives you time and space—it's up to you to fill it.
  • The heaviest thing I can carry is a grudge.
  • A stumble may prevent a fall.
  • Failure is no more fatal than success is permanent.

Mackay's Moral: Not just words to live by, words to live better. Happy 2010!

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

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