Saturday, February 05, 2011
Friday, February 04, 2011
Haven't had it operational for the past 2 years. And this week I had to use the shovel. Again.
And then this arrived in my email today from the AOM Blog:
How to Shovel Snow Like a Man
- The Uncle Buzz Workout: How to Get in Shape Without the Gym
- How to Build an Impenetrable Snow Fort
- How to Build the Best Snowman in the Neighborhood
- 13 Things a Man Should Keep in His Car
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Simon Grey. Those of you in the perennially freezing parts of the US will know this information as well as the back of your hand, but I thought this would be a fun primer for those who got surprisingly dumped upon by this week’s big storm. Tulsa got something like 15 inches…a new record!
Snow shoveling is often a back-breaking, tiresome process. If you have a driveway that is sixty feet long by twenty feet wide, and you get six inches of snow, clearing off the driveway means moving six hundred cubic feet of snow. It is thus a task that calls for some seriously manly brawn.
Shoveling snow is generally not a particularly fun activity, although it is an excellent workout and a fine opportunity to get some crisp, fresh air. And there are a few ways to mitigate the unpleasantness of this chore, which we’ll discuss today.
Dressing for the Occasion
First, you need to dress for the job at hand. If it’s above twenty degrees outside, you will want to dress in light layers. I recommend an outfit that consists of leather boots, wool socks, jeans, an undershirt, a thermal henley, a red plaid flannel shirt, and gloves. Maybe a cap, but only if it’s really windy outside.
This outfit works best when it’s above twenty degrees outside, especially if you have a decent amount of shoveling to do. You don’t want to be dressed too warmly, because once you start getting into the swing of things, you’ll heat up fast. This makes wearing at least a couple of layers essential; you’ll want to strip one off as you get going and warm up.
Dressing in layers is encouraged...although maybe not a sweater vest.
If it’s below ten degrees, dress warmer. Add a second pair of socks and a heavier coat. If the snow is deep enough, wear snow pants. And make sure to wear thermal shirts and leggings.
Methods of Snow Removal
For Short Driveways
If you have a short driveway, a shovel will probably work best. Make sure to pick the right shovel for the job. Do not get a plastic shovel; they are poorly constructed and do not stand up to the rigors of moving any snow heavier than a light dusting. They break easily and cannot handle ice.
Also, do not get an “ergonomically designed” shovel. They do not offer any significant benefits to your lower back, at least compared to normal shovels, and they are slightly harder to scoop snow with.
Instead, opt for a shovel with a straight wooden handle and a reinforced metal blade. You will find that these are the easiest to work with and are generally pretty sturdy as well.
The process for shoveling a driveway is pretty simple: first, shovel a line along the edge of the driveway, on the side that the wind is coming from. Do not try to shovel into the wind. After that, shovel snow from that path to the opposite side of the driveway. If you need to toss snow across the driveway, you will be aided by the wind.
For Mid-Length Driveways
If you have a mid-length driveway, you should probably use a snow blower. There are a variety of different brands and types, and each will likely have its own starting process. Consult the owner’s manual for instructions.
Also, remember that snow blowers can be very dangerous. Never stick your hands in the snow chute or scoop while the snow blower is in operation.
Using a snow blower is fairly simple: plow down one side of the driveway and work your way to the other side of the driveway. Make sure to blow all the snow in the same direction. Also, make sure to blow the snow with the wind, not against it. This is a very cold lesson to learn the hard way.
For Long Driveways
If you have a long driveway, use a truck with a snow blade attached. This process is relatively simple as well: drive the truck onto the driveway, lower the blade, and clear off the snow. Make sure that you warm up the truck first, though; you don’t want to harm your engine or drive in a cold cab. If the street on which you live has already been cleared, try to push the snow either off to the side of the driveway or across the street. No one wants to have to drive through or around a pile of snow, including you.
For All Types of Driveways
This is a job to take pride in, so make sure to do it right. Have salt on hand for melting patches of snow. Make sure to clean off the entire driveway as best you can. Break up compacted snow if necessary. If you’re plowing by truck, carry a shovel to take care of snow that the truck blade can’t get to. You want your driveway to look like the snow fell around it instead of on it.
Also, it is important to remember that your family will be driving and walking on this, so you don’t want to leave ice or snow for them to slip on. Ultimately, a clean driveway isn’t simply a matter of pride; it’s a matter of safety.
Don't forget the roof!
Do Something Special
Since you’re going to be outside in the cold, you might as well make the most of it. If you have the time, you might consider shoveling snow to a particular part of the yard in order to build a snowman or snow fort.
Or you may want to pass the manly skill of snow shoveling on to your sons. Hand them another shovel or two and show them your special technique (and by special technique I mean dad watches the kids shovel snow from inside the warm house). If you have a snow blower, you can show them how to start it and use it properly. If you feel really adventurous, you might teach them how to plow the driveway with the truck and snow blade.
It's time for little Billy to start earning his keep.
And remember, a man is always looking out for others. So if you live next door to a little old lady, go over there and shovel her driveway and walkway, too.
When You’re Finished
When you come back inside, you will need to clean the snow off your boots. Be considerate of others when doing this. Don’t track snow and slush through the house and don’t leave your boots where they will be tripped over. If possible, put your wet boots and clothes in the laundry room, mudroom, or garage.
Now sit down with a good book or a newspaper and a warm cup of coffee or cocoa. Make sure to relax, because you’ve most certainly earned it!
Okay old veterans, what other snow shoveling tips can you offer?
Thursday, February 03, 2011
The odds were against you.
DLM has some better ideas:
Posted: 11 Jan 2011 06:47 AM PST
Got any goals at the moment? Yep, me too. The problem is, a lot of big goals sound like pretty hard work – things like losing weight, getting fit, saving more money, quitting smoking ...
Perhaps it's easier just to shoot yourself in the foot before you start. So here's ten great ways to make sure that you fail to hit your goals. Manage three or four of these, and you're on the fast-track to failure. Hit all ten, and you might as well not bother getting out of bed any more.
- Set Vague Goals
If you don't know what "success" looks like, you're bound to fail. Instead of resolving to lose 40lbs before your next birthday, resolve to "get thin". Instead of deciding that you'll save $50/month, tell yourself that you need to "have savings".
When your goals are vague and fuzzy, it's easy to put off taking action and it's impossible to quantify success or failure. If you do manage to make strides towards them, you'll never know if you've really achieved your goal.
- Have a List Longer Than Your Arm
One of the easiest ways to fail at anything is to split your attention between dozens of different things. So don't pick one or two big, life-changing goals: tackle everything at once. When you inevitably run out of energy and motivation, you'll be only a few short steps from total failure.
Bonus points if several items on your list are going to clash, like "go to the gym every evening and weekend" along with "start my own side business around my day job".
- Don't Tell Anyone
When you talk about your ambitions, you feel accountable to other people. If your sister knows you're on a diet, you won't want to eat that slab of chocolate cake in front of her. If your friend knows you're going to look for a new job, he'll ask you how the search is going.
By keeping totally quiet about your goals, you're free to fail without anyone knowing. Plus, you won't get any offers of help or support.
- Refuse to Get Help
Most goals have been tackled before – successfully – by other people. There are books, blogs, forums, clubs, all sorts of resources that could help you. Avoid these like the plague – they just might point you away from failure and towards success.
Take on the biggest, hardest, challenges you can find, then tell yourself that you're being weak if you look for help. Be stubbornly independent, and stride as fast as you can along that path to failure.
- Give Up as Soon as You Slip Up
Ate a cookie while on a diet? Skipped one day at the gym? Splurged on a latte and donuts when you should've been saving $5/day?
Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief and tell yourself that you might as well give up now. That one little slip up is a great excuse for total failure. Sure, you could shrug it off and get straight back on track – but that sounds like hard work.
- Set Yourself Unreasonable Deadlines
You know that deadlines are handy – they help you focus on your goal. Did you know that they're also a great way to push yourself towards failure?
Make sure your deadlines are unreasonable. Don't be too blatant about this or you won't take them seriously enough. Instead of telling yourself that you'll write a 100,000 word novel this month, tell yourself it'll be done in six months. Instead of trying to lose 30lbs in four weeks, aim for eight weeks. Those deadlines are still unreasonable - so pretty soon, it'll be clear you can't reach them. Then you can just give up.
- Assume That It'll Be Different This Time
This isn't the first time you've decided to lose weight. You've tried before - probably multiple times. Each time, stuff happened – it was someone's birthday, there were cookies in the office, your partner wanted to get take-out...
Instead of learning from what hasn't worked before, insist that this time will just be "different". Assume that you'll suddenly have tons of will power and that nothing will happen to knock your plans. Of course, in reality, you'll face the same challenges as usual – and you'll be perfectly ready to fail, again.
- Set Goals That You "Should" Do
Instead of picking goals which are meaningful to you, look for ones which society has decreed that you "should" do. You're 10lbs overweight, so you "should" lose weight (never mind that you're comfortable and happy at your current size). You haven't got a degree, so you feel you "should" go back to college. And so on...
By settling on goals that you don't care about, you'll be on the track to failure before you've even begun.
- Never Make an Action Plan
You've probably heard the old adage that "failing to plan means planning to fail." It's really true! By making sure that you don't plan at all, you've got a great chance of failing.
The only planning you should do is to set an unreasonable deadline (see #6). Don't break your goal into milestones, don't set yourself specific targets and actions – just let the whole thing seem huge, overwhelming and unreachable. You'll be a failure within the week.
- Start Everything on a Monday
The best time to start a new diet or quit smoking is on Monday, right? Of course, you'll almost certainly be tired from a busy weekend, stressed out by work, or Monday will turn out to be inconvenient for some reason ... so you'll put it off till the next week.
By insisting that you must start your new diet, exercise routine, small business and reading plan on Monday, you not only set yourself up for instant failure, you also have a pretty good possibility of making life difficult for the people around you. What better way to start off another week of failing?
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Yesterday, I wrote about how Craigslist didn't like my sense of humor and twice rejected my ads for free snowmen (assembly required). Click here to see what happened.
So what is a REAL Scam that people fall for?
Take a look at this email that arrived in my Spam folder:
Dear Lucky Winner, This is to inform you that you have won a prize money of NINE HUNDRED THOUSAND US DOLLARS ($900,000.00) for the YEAR 2011 Lottery promotion which is organized by YAHOO! LOTTERY INC for the introduction of the new YAHOO! BETA MAIL which all YAHOO! users are required to switch onto. YAHOO! & MICROSOFT WINDOWS, arrange and gather all the e-mail addresses of the people that are active online around the world, among the millions that subscribed to Yahoo and other Company's E-mails ID, we only select NINE (9) candidates per annually as our winners through Electronic Balloting System (EBS) without the candidate applying, we congratulate you for being one of the people selected. PAYMENT OF PRIZE AND CLAIM We are sorry that your Payment Approval File was sent to United Kingdom due to we have 4 lucky winners in UK so that you can be cleared and paid simultaneously there. You are to contact our UK Location Claims Agent on or before your date of Claim. Yahoo Beta Lottery Prize must be claimed not later than 14 days from date of Draw Notification after the Draw date in which Prize has won. Note: Any prize not claimed within this period (14 days) will be forfeited. These are your identification numbers: Batch number......................
These numbers above fall within the UK agent's Location file, you are requested to contact him and send your Identification Numbers and Personal Information to him;
REV SILVERIO HENCO at his Current email:
E-mail : rev_silverio_henco51@
You are therefore advised to send the following information to him to facilitate them and process the transfer of your fund with the appointed paying bank.
Send your Identification Numbers/Your Personal Information to him immediately:
1. Full name...................
3. Contact Address.............
4. Telephone Number............
5. Marital Status..............
9Means For Transfer Or Payment.
1 International Certified Bank Draft.
2 Account Transfer.
If Account Transfer write the name of bank and your account No.
Name of Bank...................
Congratulations once again.
Yours in service,
NOTE: NO ONE WILL TOUCH YOUR MONEY FOR ANY REASON AND AN AFFIDAVIT OF CLAIM WILL BE PRESENTED TO THE BANK BY THE BRITISH CROWN COURT BEFORE THE BANK CAN RELEASE YOUR MONEY.
Unfortunately, there are enough people who are either too stupid, too gullible, or too desperate and they respond to this with the hope that they are really going to be able to quit their job etc.
Do your part and warn those that might fall for these scams...
(image from bookpalace.com)
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Sometimes at work, my coworkers come to me if they have a problem with their computer.I don't have all the answers. But I am always looking for them.
This is from a newsletter I get each week Windows Secrets. One of the best ways to make sure your computer is functioning properly is to keep all the software up to date. I'm not talking about buying the "latest & greatest". I'm referring to the free updates and upgrades....
The best way to manage multiple app updates
Secunia's free-for-personal-use Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) Version 1 was already in my must-have security software collection. Version 2 is even better, with a new look (see Figure 5) and enhanced updating tools.
Like the original, PSI 2.0 scans your installed software and builds a database of application version numbers. It then compares what it found on your system to Secunia's central database of latest-available version numbers. (The central database contains version information on a huge range of software.)
Figure 5. Secunia Personal Software Inspector 2.0 sports an entirely new look and feel. But more important, it now can completely automate the process of keeping almost all your software up-to-date.
When PSI detects that you're running an out-of-date version, it alerts you: it tells you the risk of using the older version and gives you a ready-made link to download the latest software patch, upgrade, or update from the software's publisher (as shown in Figure 6).
Figure 6. PSI 2.0 gives you a detailed assessment of whether your software is current.
But PSI version 2 adds a new wrinkle: If you allow it (see Figure 7), PSI automatically downloads and installs the latest versions of your apps for you — fully automatically or by first giving you a chance to review what's going to be updated.
Figure 7. Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) 2.0 automatic-update option.
I heartily recommend PSI 2.0 because it eliminates the need to have lots of small, separate, auto-update programs running — you know, the Apple updater, the Adobe updater, the Java updater, and so on. Instead, this one tool makes keeping your key software up-to-date a nearly effortless task.
You'll find the download link for PSI 2.0 on its info page. Installation is easy; just follow the prompts. If you have the original PSI version installed, the 2.0's setup will automatically uninstall it for you.
Start the new year right, and get all your software updated today!
The Windows Secrets Newsletter is published weekly on the 1st through 4th Thursdays of each month, plus occasional news updates. We skip an issue on the 5th Thursday of any month, the week of Thanksgiving, and the last week of December. Windows Secrets is a continuation of four merged publications: Brian's Buzz on Windows and Woody's Windows Watch in 2004, the LangaList in 2006, and the Support Alert Newsletter in 2008.
Publisher: WindowsSecrets.com, 1218 Third Ave., Suite 1515, Seattle, WA 98101 USA. Vendors, please send no unsolicited packages to this address (readers' letters are fine).
Editor in chief: Tracey Capen. Senior editors: Fred Langa, Woody Leonhard. Associate editor: Kathleen Atkins. Copyeditor: Roberta Scholz. Program director: Tony Johnston. Contributing editors: Yardena Arar, Susan Bradley, Michael Lasky, Scott Mace, Ryan Russell, Lincoln Spector, Robert Vamosi, Becky Waring. Product manager: Andy Boyd. Advertising director: Eric Gilley. Subscription manager: Revia Romberg.
Trademarks: Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. The Windows Secrets series of books is published by Wiley Publishing Inc. The Windows Secrets Newsletter, WindowsSecrets.com, Support Alert, LangaList, LangaList Plus, WinFind, Security Baseline, Patch Watch, Perimeter Scan, Wacky Web Week, the Logo Design (W, S or road, and Star), and the slogan Everything Microsoft Forgot to Mention all are trademarks and service marks of WindowsSecrets.com. All other marks are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.
In the midwest, specifically Fort Wayne, Indiana where I live we have been under all kinds of severe weather warnings the last couple of days.
It started over the weekend with warnings of the biggest, baddest storm since 1978.
And sure enough, we got the first wave of snow Monday night, with the next blast starting as I write this Tuesday afternoon.
So, I go to the radio stations where I work, snap a picture and create a listing on Craigslist.
(Click on the images to view fullsize.)
Lot's of positive comments and then the dreaded email informing me that the listing had been reported as a scam and would be removed.
A friend suggested I should charge something, so I wrote a new ad an it lasted a few more hours until I got another message telling me it was going to be removed!
So tell me, is there any legitimate purpose to Craigslist?
Monday, January 31, 2011
DLM has 12 tips in this vein:
Posted: 17 Jan 2011 06:57 PM PST
Sometimes we get a little stuck in life -- we set New Year's resolutions and they peter out after a month, we want to exercise but can never get our butts in gear, we want to make positive changes but don't have the time or energy.
If that describes you in any way, don't worry: you're not alone. Not even close.
In fact, I would say it describes most of us. We're often too tired from a day of chaos or drudgery to do everything we want to do. We're often overwhelmed by all the things on our to-do list or in our in-box. We're swamped, and exhausted, and can't seem to find traction.
That's OK. You can get your life in gear, with a little jump start. The four key things are to 1) not beat yourself up about any of your failures or frustrations, 2) begin thinking positive, and know that you can actually change your life, 3) begin to take action, however small, and 4) build on your small successes.
Here are 12 things you can do today to jumpstart your life:
- Take a break.
If your life is chaotic, take a day off. You need it. But don't spend that day zoned out in front of the TV -- instead, set that day off for rethinking your life, reviewing what you do every day, revisiting your goals, and revamping how you do things. Take a sick day or personal leave, and plan a mini-retreat. On your day off, shower, get dressed, and get out of the house. Go to a place where you can have some quiet -- a park, a coffee shop, a library, a museum. Bring a notebook and pen. Don't connect to the Internet, or you may end up doing nothing all day. Now, make a list of all the commitments in your life, all your relationships, all the things you do each week -- this is your analyzing section. Make a list of goals you'd like to accomplish, etc. Begin the process of revising your life. You need to take a step back in order to see the way forward.
- Create a personal mantra.
I'm a fan of Guy Kawasaki's approach -- he advocates creating a mantra instead of a mission statement. Do that for your life: a simple statement of a couple words that you can repeat, post up on your wall, tattoo on your bicep, that will remind you what you are about and what you're trying to do. This should encapsulate what you want to accomplish in life. If it's more than 2-4 words, simplify and shorten.
- Set one goal for this year.
This is a tough one, because we often have tons of goals we'd like to accomplish. I'm sure you could come up with 10 right now. But I can tell you from experience that 10 is too many, and if you try to do all of them, you will never get them done. The key to accomplishing a goal is to have laser-sharp focus, and you can't do that with more than one goal at a time. In the end, you have no focus at all. The solution: choose just one longer-term goal to accomplish this year. Then, take a task that will move the goal forward that you can accomplish this week (or within the next couple of weeks). Make that one task your complete focus. When it's done, choose a second short-term goal to focus on, and so on, until your yearly goal is accomplished. Repeat indefinitely.
- Identify the essentials.
What things, commitments, people, activities are essential in your life? Make a list, and eliminate the things that are not incredibly essential. These should be the most important things in your life -- the things you would want around if nothing else were there. The things you'd like to spend more time doing if you could.
- Eliminate the rest.
Now identify everything else in your life that doesn't make your short list. And begin to eliminate them as much as possible. Are you stuck doing something you don't like doing? Get out of it, because it's stopping you from spending time on what's important. Some things may be very difficult to eliminate, but trust me -- it's possible. You control your life. You can change it.
- Start small.
The mistake a lot of people make when trying to change their lives is being too ambitious. I know -- I've been there many times. We think we can do more than we actually can. Instead, start with a really easy and small goal. Something you know you will accomplish. And then achieve it. For example, if you want to get into shape, instead of trying to work out an hour a day, try just 10-15 minutes for the first week. That might sound too easy, but it's best to start small. Then, when you're successful, you can build upon that feeling of success to get more successes. Take baby steps, and you'll get there.
- Make a commitment.
The problem often is that we only tell ourselves, or maybe one other person, that we're going to do something. That's no commitment at all, and we are not accountable to anyone but ourselves. Well, I'm here to tell you that being accountable to ourselves is very difficult -- because we tend to get lax and let ourselves off the hook -- and then feel guilty about it afterward. Instead, commit yourself big -- tell the world about it. Join an online forum, or send an email to everyone you know, or put it on your blog. Announce your goal (and again, make sure it's achievable or you might fail) and then report in regularly, so you are accountable. Be sure to tell people to ask you about it, so you can't get away with not doing it.
- Find inspiration.
One of the best ways to start positive life changes is to find someone else who's doing it or has done it. You can find great inspiration in people on the Internet, on forums or blogs, in books, in your daily life. Read about them, talk to them if you can, and emulate them. Inspiration can take you a long way.
- Try exercise.
Often getting ourselves active can be a great way to get us doing things in other parts of our lives. It makes us feel good, alive, active, productive. It releases stress and gives us time to think. We start to become more fit and confident and happier. To start exercise, again, start small. Try to do a little every day, even if it's just for 10 minutes. If you can do it every day, you will have a habit, and it will lead to better and greater things.
- Think positive.
This was perhaps the most important change I made, and it led to many other positive changes -- exercise, eating healthy, organization, productivity, waking early, getting my finances in order. But it all started with learning to think positive. I squash negative thoughts like a bug, and replace them with positive thoughts. It's trite, I know, but it really works.
- Do it now.
We often tell ourselves that we're going to do something -- but not today. We're going to start exercising, or getting organized -- but not right now. Well, it's now or never. Start changing your life today, even if it's just something small. If you don't start now, you'll keep putting it off. And then get into the habit of telling yourself, "Do it now!" And then do it now -- whether it's something you've been putting off, or something you really need to do, just do it now.
- Make time for yourself.
One of the most important things you can do to start changing your life is to make a regular time that you spend with yourself. An hour a day is ideal. This could be time when you exercise, or read, or meditate, or write, or just take a quiet walk through nature. Whatever you do, spend it on yourself. Use part of this time to think about your life, and your single goal for this year, and all the progress you've made so far. Celebrate your successes, and learn from your failures.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
I've had the privilege to work in the show biz, entertainment, marketing, and advertising industry most of my adult life. Currently I work for Summit City Radio which includes 4 radio stations including ROCK 104.
A few days ago I was talking with Doc West and discovered that he was going to be the emcee for a benefit concert that featured the Mimi Burns Band.
I heard Mimi's Band for the first time when they did a number during the Holiday Pops concert last month with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.
Last night, my wife and I attend the benefit concert with about 100 others and over $4000 was raised.
The pictures on the right side I snapped during the concert and I've included a snippet of their music in the first video below.
WANE TV did the following story:
Benefit concert uses music to help fire victims heal emotionally
Updated: Saturday, 29 Jan 2011, 11:58 PM EST
Published : Saturday, 29 Jan 2011, 11:57 PM EST
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - About a hundred people came to a benefit concert at C2G Music Hall Saturday night to support Spencer and Zoe Tomasi, who lost their mother in a house fire.
On New Year's Eve, their house caught on fire. The family had fallen asleep watching a movie. Spencer woke up when he smelled smoke and was able to break a window to get his little sister out. But, their mother didn't make it.
"When all this happened we wanted to put on an event to help inspire them to use music as a positive outlet," Steve Tyler said.
Tyler lived around the corner from the Tomasi family and is also a member of the Mimi Burns Band. He and Burns helped the children get into music before the fire and they organized the benefit concert.
"When you have something challenging happen to you, that emotion's going to come out somewhere," Tyler said.
C2G Music Hall hosted the concert.
"We use music as one of the best ways to express yourself and the best way to heal," Mark Minnick, the pastor at C2G, said. "Music provides a means of focus and the work of music is always about inner thoughts and to be able to ... thrive musically will help them express their grief, which is very real."
Sweetwater Sound is also helping the Tomasi children continue their love of music. The company gave Spencer a guitar and amp and Zoe a keyboard. It also gave them both music lessons for a year and $250 each to rebuild their music collection.
"We believe in the healing power of music so we wanted to give a little something to them to get them on their way," Thad Tegtmeyer from Sweetwater Sound said.
If someone would like to know how they can help Spencer and Zoe, contact the Mimi Burns Band.