Friday, December 28, 2012

Conquer 2013

This year I will become conversationally fluent and able to read Spanish. The phrases I intend to learn to say in Spanish as quickly as possible are:
  • I do not speak Spanish.
  • I do not know what I'm saying.
  • Can you please pick up the check? 
Here are some resources for learning a new language:

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Housing Market is Less Than Fun

Apparently, when some mid-1800s era folks got upset at their landlords, they up and killed them as you can read about in this scholarly account.

Chit Chat

Three Suggestions for Making Chit-Chat
1. Try remembering F.O.R.D. to improve your small talk:
  • Family
  • Occupation
  • Recreation
  • Dreams
Here is the link to the full article on this topic.

2. Tell someone what I read recently, which is that "it is impossible to hum with your nose plugged”.

3. Challenge Someone Else to Write a Book
When you hear what someone is passionate about challenge them to capture their thoughts on the subject and get them to try to make money from their ideas.

Lately, when I talk to people outside the blogging world and they hear that I think of myself as being tech-savvy, they tend to ask for advice on using their iStuff.  Someone should write a book on the subject of "So you’re wealthy enough to own an iPad / iPhone but you don’t know how to use it" for all the people out there who are tech-silly.

Here is my first draft of an outline for this book: 
  • First, learn the Settings App inside and out.  You should know all of the settings inside of the Settings App like they were your children.
  • Using the App Store
    • Utilities

  • Finding new apps
  • Best Apps for Word Processing
  • Best Apps for Drawing or otherwise using the iPad as a writing surface
  • Best Apps for Note Taking
  • Best Apps for Being More Productive 
  • Best Apps for Entertainment
  • Best Apps for Education
  • Best Accessories to Buy
    • Case or cover to protect the screen of an iPad
    • Bluetooth keyboard

  • Etc.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Toolbox for Your 2013 Calendar

2013 is almost upon us.  The news and people around you will start asking what you resolve to do in the coming year.  If you want to get ahead and have goals in mind, now is the time to start planning how you will deal with 2013 in the most effective way possible. Here are the weeks of the year for 2013:

Week NumberBegins OnEnds On
Week 01December 31, 2012January 6, 2013
Week 02January 7, 2013January 13, 2013
Week 03January 14, 2013January 20, 2013
Week 04January 21, 2013January 27, 2013
Week 05January 28, 2013February 3, 2013
Week 06February 4, 2013February 10, 2013
Week 07February 11, 2013February 17, 2013
Week 08February 18, 2013February 24, 2013
Week 09February 25, 2013March 3, 2013
Week 10March 4, 2013March 10, 2013
Week 11March 11, 2013March 17, 2013
Week 12March 18, 2013March 24, 2013
Week 13March 25, 2013March 31, 2013
Week 14April 1, 2013April 7, 2013
Week 15April 8, 2013April 14, 2013
Week 16April 15, 2013April 21, 2013
Week 17April 22, 2013April 28, 2013
Week 18April 29, 2013May 5, 2013
Week 19May 6, 2013May 12, 2013
Week 20May 13, 2013May 19, 2013
Week 21May 20, 2013May 26, 2013
Week 22May 27, 2013June 2, 2013
Week 23June 3, 2013June 9, 2013
Week 24June 10, 2013June 16, 2013
Week 25June 17, 2013June 23, 2013
Week 26June 24, 2013June 30, 2013
Week 27July 1, 2013July 7, 2013
Week 28July 8, 2013July 14, 2013
Week 29July 15, 2013July 21, 2013
Week 30July 22, 2013July 28, 2013
Week 31July 29, 2013August 4, 2013
Week 32August 5, 2013August 11, 2013
Week 33August 12, 2013August 18, 2013
Week 34August 19, 2013August 25, 2013
Week 35August 26, 2013September 1, 2013
Week 36September 2, 2013September 8, 2013
Week 37September 9, 2013September 15, 2013
Week 38September 16, 2013September 22, 2013
Week 39September 23, 2013September 29, 2013
Week 40September 30, 2013October 6, 2013
Week 41October 7, 2013October 13, 2013
Week 42October 14, 2013October 20, 2013
Week 43October 21, 2013October 27, 2013
Week 44October 28, 2013November 3, 2013
Week 45November 4, 2013November 10, 2013
Week 46November 11, 2013November 17, 2013
Week 47November 18, 2013November 24, 2013
Week 48November 25, 2013December 1, 2013
Week 49December 2, 2013December 8, 2013
Week 50December 9, 2013December 15, 2013
Week 51December 16, 2013December 22, 2013
Week 52December 23, 2013December 29, 2013

Set some goals, seek the advice of intelligent people who have your best interests at heart and execute them.*

Updated on December 21, 2012 - *The goals, not the people who have your best interests at heart

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Being Tough in the Nuclear Age

Iron Man Connections to Real Life

Before I cut the cord on cable in favor of using a Roku media player, I found myself watching Iron Man over and over again.  Having been totally indoctrinated in the cult of Tony Stark I find there are some interesting connections between the fictional character and the real world, which may or may not have occurred to the man himself, Stan Lee.

Let's be honest.  The world really did foresee the coming of the second World War.  In fact, in July of 1940 Congress passed the Two-Ocean Navy Act that provided four billion dollars in funding to build up the Naval capabilities of the United States.  It was Admiral Harold Stark who pressed Congress to pass this bill, which they ultimately did ensuring that the

John Stark was a Major General who fought in both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War.

Perhaps I can use the names of Revolutionary War Era Generals in my fiction because they tend to have gravestones and monuments with their names on them that I can photograph.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gardening Notes

I can now officially add gardening to my list of hobbies.  If you don't think gardening is cool, you don't know Candide.

One of the biggest problems with gardening is all of the time spent bending over at the waist.  My solution to this problem is to engage in raised gardening where the materials I need are placed roughly waist high so that I can work with them while standing up.

Start at the Roots - Mixing Potting Soil
I have found that for my purposes, Miracle Grow Potting Soil should not be used straight out of the bag.  Instead it is helpful to add perlite to it in a 5-10 parts Miracle Grow to 1 part perlite to achieve the optimal potting soil.  Measuring and mixing potting soil can be a problem.  I envision building something similar to solve the problem:
Sadly, Leonardo is still winning the better looking sketchbook contest.
On another note, I watched a recorded lecture on Leonardo da Vinci
recently, which correctly pointed out that he can be called Leonardo or
Leonardo da Vinci but never da Vinci because that just means
of Vinci, which is not a person's name.  But I digress...

I've seen a similar system to what I have crudely sketched above in place for adding packing peanuts to shipping boxes where instead of a trash can there is a large plastic bag used as a hopper with a hose and valve attached to the bottom.  When someone opens the valve, packing peanuts flow out until the valve is closed.  I also want to build one of these for a shipping station at work that could allow us to more quickly package boxes for delivery.  The components used for doing this with potting soil will just need to be a bit more sturdy.

Do Your Homework

Read up on gardening here.

Know Your Place

If you live in the United States and don't know your USDA Plant Hardiness number, click here and find it.

Get Inspired

The Best of Habitare 2012
I'm pretty sure I need one of these.

Here is where you can get one of these things.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Navy Notes

Today marks the 71st anniversary of the sneak attack by naval and air forces of the Japanese military on the United States military base located at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

While it is True, the Line 
"They Do Make High Quality Automobiles" Was Cut From the Speech

This seems like as good a time as any to discuss the Navy.

Two Dollar Bill Y'all (Yes, it's a Play on the Title of Limp Bizkit's First Album)

My Dad was in the Navy for twenty years.  One of the better military lore stories he shared with me is as follows:

In 19xx the mayor of xx became upset with the United States Navy, which was in the habit of docking the Enterprise aircraft carrier at their port.  According to xxx, the sailors caused enough problems in the city that the mayor requested that the commanding officer of the carrier do something to stop the sailors from causing problems or he would have to see about preventing the carrier from making port in his city.  Xxx thought about the situation and radioed the Pentagon to make a special request. The next payday all of the sailors on board the xxx were issued their pay in $2 bills.  When these sailors were allowed off the ship, they papered the city with Thomas Jefferson’s image.
Seeing the obviously massive economic impact of the Navy on the city, the Mayor backs down  and agrees that the Navy can continue to make port in his city.
Unfortunately, based on my internet searches, this is nothing more than a tall tale.  

The Military Portrayed in Television

One of the best lines in televised drama produced this century came to us from the first season of Lost.  Two strangers are finding more about each other when one mentioned that he fought in Iraq.  The other character says that his buddy was part of the 101st Airborne or something similar and asks what unit the first guy served in.  The bearded man responds by saying that he served in the Republican Guard.

The hairs on my arms stood on end when I heard this. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

I have really enjoyed using Windows 8.  I think it's quite possibly the greatest thing since bread came in sandwich ready form.

Here are some keyboard shortcuts that work in Windows 8 and some previous versions of Windows as well:

Alt + Tab = Scrolls through the open program windows
Alt + Print Screen = Captures the active window to the clipboard

Event Planning

I am not saying that I am the single greatest living event planner.  Oprah is pretty good at what she does.  The American Idol people have stretched very little talent into the consciousness of millions of people.  The various professional sports leagues do well in gathering large crowds and keeping them from demanding more from their governments.  Still, I am good at planning events.

I am very willing to say that I am an organizer.  My desk is tidy.  My home is neat.  The special events I plan have a purpose and I have a system in place to manage them and the people who are part of them that is efficient.  Behold readers the Excel template I use to manage the special events I organize:

First Name
Last Name
Company/ Organization
Email Address
Attending (Y/N/M)
Date They Confimred Attendence
Date I Replied to Their RSVP




















Yes, I realize that the table above breaks the formatting of this page.  Deal with it.  If you're not good enough with a computer to translate this into your own Excel spreadsheet, I am sorry to say that you may not be ready to wield the awesome power of this incredible event management system.