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Stukism: You Never Regret Paying More For Quality


One of the recurring lessons one will learn thru life is that you never regret paying a bit more for quality. I’m not talking about paying more for a brand name. Often, brand names and quality have nothing to do with each other. I’m just talking about quality in general.

Quality lasts longer, usually give a better experience and encourages you to take better care of the product. It may be hard to spend the extra money up front, but in the long run, you’ll always be glad you did.

(With this post, we start a new category called “Stukism”. In it, you will find little phrases of things I learn and live by. I’m not promising good advice, just putting my label on it so you know where to come if you don’t like it.)

Yesterday I Got In Trouble At Target


A few days ago, I was telling Candace that I’m surprised that kids are learning fewer and fewer manners. At least that is what I have been observing. There are fewer thank you’s, please’s, and excuse me’s. I think I’ve just been observing this lately because I’ve gone to a few stores to check out the video games for my new DS Lite. There are always kids in those aisles, and they are quite rude to the workers and each other. (Maybe they see how their parents treat the employees.)

Well, yesterday I was at Target and I was going to buy a golf game. Before I could get the attention of the employee, a young fella went up to to him and said, “Get me that game.” He was pointing to one behind the locked glass. There was no “excuse me”, “please” or “will you”. It was just a demand.

Well, just for kicks, I said to the kid, “Did you mean to say, ‘Will you please get me that game?’ ”

The kid turned around surprised. Even more surprised was his mom standing there.

“Did you just say that to my kid?” she asked.

To which I replied, “Did you mean to say, ‘Excuse me, did you you just say that to my kid?’ ”

I was probably a bit out of line. I wouldn’t have wanted some stranger to correct my kid. Ironically, I taught etiquette by breaking etiquette.

Oh well. I just gave a wink to the employee and strolled off.

Ten Reasons For You To Buy A DS Lite


About a week ago, I heard about a DS Lite. For ease of explanation, it’s basically the newest “Gameboy” type machine that Nintendo has put out. I haven’t purchased a machine like this since the original Gameboy 15 years ago so I wasn’t exactly “in the know” on what has happened since then. After checking them out for a week, I had the strongest (and strangest) desire to pick one up for myself. I finally got one, and what do I think?

These things are really, really fun.

Because I like it so much, I’m going to write up 10 reasons that you too should get a DS Lite. Ready?

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1) The DS Lite is great looking, quite portable and has two really bright color screens. The bottom screen is a touch sensitive one so you use a stylus to write on it. That alone opens up all kinds of new options. When closed, the whole thing is just a bit larger than a iPod.

2) Always With You- No more down time while travelling, waiting in lines at the DMV or Doctor’s office, or winding down at night. Because the DS LIte is a a clamshell, you can close it and not worry about scratches. It’s really quite durable and you can bring it with you in purses, briefcases, or suitcases.

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3) The Games You Love- With the release of the DS Lite, Nintendo released a “New Super Mario Brothers” It has all the 2D charm of the first one on the original Nintendo, but in all new worlds and levels. For me, I like this sort of game more than the bloated and overdone new games. Sometimes less is more. Besides the worlds and levels, the game also has about 20 “minigames” that you can play real quick to pass the time. They are just little puzzles, memory games, and things of that nature.

There are other favorites too. Mario Kart, Tetris, etc. (Tetris looks awesome on these bright screens.)

4) The Price – Compared to other gaming portables, the DS Lite is quite inexpensive. You can buy the machine for $129, and the games are usually $20 – $30. This is about he same price for the original Gameboy. I remember saving up for two months to get a gameboy. I had to play the one game for another two months before I could afford another game.

Costco has a nice package for this new DS Lite if you are member there.

5) Inernal WiFi- The DS Lite can connect to the internet if you have wireless internet in your house. This makes games like Tetris and Maro Kart MUCH more fun. Any time you want to race friends, or just anybody on the Nintendo Wi Fi, just log in and you can race or compete with others. You can also upload your high scores to see how good you are compared to others. This is a free service to use.

If you don’t have wireless internet, but you have 2 or more DS Lite’s, they will find each other and you can play against each other wirelessly. Two player Tetris could be one of my favorite games of all time.

6) HomeBrew- Homebrew are applications that others have created that can run on your DS Lite. With these apps, you can use your DS Lite to view movies, pictures, listen to music, read ebooks, keep your address book and to send and receive email, and all kinds of other things. It does take a little hacking to get this done, but it’s definitely there.

7) Brain Age- Brain Age is a great “game” for your DS Lite. The developers created this as a daily exercise for your brain. It includes puzzles and other brain games. The program will tell you the “age of your brain” depending on how well you do. It will keep track of this brain age and graph your improvement. Moms have to love this one.

You can compete with other players in this game to see who can complete the puzzles first, or you can just keep a digital record of how you do so you can see improvements.

8) Many DS Lites, one game. – Many games, including Brain Age, will let more than one DS Lite play off of one cartridge. Remember when you played Tetris against a friend on your gameboy? You’d each have to buy the game and have it in your machine. But, because of the wifi, one person can buy the game and 16 people can play against each other off of that one game. Nice.

9) Yesterday, I caught myself looking up cheats and hints for the New Super Marion Brothers. Me, 26 years old, looking for cheats. That’s what is fun about this game. It is simple and reminds me of when I was little playing these games. With the incredible amount of data that they can put on these little cards, the New Super Mario Brothers has so many hidden treats and tricks.

10) I need friends. – By now, you can probably see that I’d like all of you to buy a DS Lite so that I’ll have friends to play against online. When you buy a game that works with WiFi (Tetris, Mario Kart) you’ll be given a friend code. Now, if I want to race you, I just put in your friend code and we’re playing against each other online. Sixteen people can play at once. There are always a ton of people for me to race online, but I think it would be so much more fun if I knew the person on the other end.

You can buy these DS Lite’s just about anywhere. (Best Buy, Amazon.com, Costco, etc). When you get one, be sure to let me know what your “friend code” is so we can play. If you have any other questions, I’d be happy to answer them.

The next time you are bored in the airport, on a plane, at the dentist, on your lunch break, or just at home, I want you to think of this post and let the seed of desire grow for your own DS Lite.

Two Gripes With Insurance Companies


Recently, I’ve increased my dislike for insurance companies. The idea of insurance is good, but the current way it is implemented is so wrong. Two examples.

1) My wife and I purchased car insurance for both of our cars. We provided all info for setup and thought that everything was done. Two months later we are told that they misplaced the file for the auto-pay, so although we have been covered, they didn’t automatically deduct our payment from our banking account. What bothers me about this is they need to use the banking to charge for those first two months and pay for the next month as well. That’s just not right to me. We didn’t have any claims or use for the insurance for the previous two months so the company was not providing any service. But, even though it was their own error, we still have to pay for the past months.

2) My wife had a rock hit her windshield and cause it to crack. We called the insurance company to ask if it would be covered. They said they would be able to cover it, but the premiums would go up. It made me wonder, “What were the last four months of payments being used for if it wasn’t to cover something like this? To be fair, can I have my premiums go down every month that I have a non-claim?”

No, that would make too much sense for the customer.

When I think of insurance companies, I think of the following image. I am the walking man and the old lady is the insurance company. You can be the observing guy.

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Turning Technology Around For Your Benefit


A while back, I read an articleabout an interesting product called the “Mosquito.” Invented by Howard Stapleton, this machine was made to “repel” teenagers. The machine emits a pulsating 17 kHz high pitched sound that only those under the age of 20 can hear. It is quite annoying. Mr Stapleton would sell these boxes to store owners who were having trouble with loitering teenagers in front of their store shop. These sounds would be so annoying that many of the teenagers would leave after a few minutes, while adult customers wouldn’t be bothered at all as they shopped in the store.

Well, in a truly genius move, some of the teens took this technology and used it for their own good. They created a ringtone that had a similar sound. Now, when their phones ring in class, they can hear it but their teachers can not. (Yes, this is better than putting it on “vibrate” because one can certainly hear that in a quite classroom.) You can hear the NPR Podcast on this topic here. (itunes link)

This group of kids get the genius award of the day.

Five Characteristics I Admire


  • Reliability – I love to know that I can rely on someone. This is the thing I respect most about my dad. When he says something will be done, it is always done. Without exception. This characteristic requires a perfect record and that is why it is so rare.
  • Enthusiasm – We have become a society of constant sensation. It’s numbing people. People are becoming excited and enthusiastic much less often. I believe that when you show excitement, people are much more likely to treat you well. They enjoy your enthusiasm. My wife is superb at this getting giddy and I love it.
  • Punctuality – I have an especially hard time when people are late to planned meetings. I believe that tardiness is another way of saying, “I don’t respect you or your time. Whatever I was doing was more important than what you and I will be doing.” I understand that sometimes things happen, but very often those “things” are avoidable. Follow the fifteen minute rule and it will change your life. Whenever you are leaving to a meeting, a show, to chatch a plane, etc, determine the time you should leave and then leave 15 minutes earlier. Your day will be less stressful. Your drive will be more enjoyable. I promise you will never regret getting there a few minutes early. This is applicable to big business meetings and to little family gatherings. This world caters more and more to people that are late. I believe it should be the opposite. Meetings should always start on time no matter the missing attendants. Planes should always leave on time. You get the point. Didn’t mean to go all Adolf.
  • Ability to Analyze – I think that a good mind should always be thinking about the “why’s and how’s”. I enjoy thinking about things and I enjoy having conversations with other people that think. Learn one thing new everyday and tell someone about it. You’ll always be an interesting person.
  • Kindness To Others – Many people are nice, but putting the needs of others above your own could possibly be the hardest characteristic to perfect. However, I know a few people that do it very well and they seem to be among the happiest people I know. Strange how that happens.

New Updates By Email


I changed the way that updates are sent from this blog. If you’d like to receive email updates, you’ll have to sign up once more here. (Or click the link in the sidebar.) It’s a simple form and you can unsubscribe just as simply.

1906 Earthquake Photos


Recently, BYU made public an incredible photo collection from Edith Irvine. She was a early 1900’s photographer with an incredible collection.

The photos that touched me the most were the photos of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. With many of the destroyed areas blocked off from photography, somehow Edith was able to get in and get these incredible shots. Images this real are rare. “When the earth shook in San Francisco at 5:15 a.m. on Wednesday, 18 April 1906, followed by devastating fires, Edith Irvine was there. Her photographic distinction undoubtedly rests on her startling ability to capture the moods of this time and place as the family story indicated she “commandeered an abandoned baby buggy” for her photographic equipment and took photographs all day and for as many as three days after. Apparently twenty-two year old Irvine was either staying in San Francisco with a relative or was planning to leave by boat for an around the world voyage at the time of the earthquake and consequently had her photographic equipment with her.”

As I look at the photos, I feel a pain for those sitting on the sidewalks and roads of this beautiful city. The buildings are both grand and rubble at the same time. It’s hard to think of all the beautiful culture and architecture that was lost. With this month being the 100 year anniversary of the tragedy, the photos are especially moving.

I had a bit of trouble seeing all the images in the slow and confusing interface of the original site so, with the help of a friend, I grabbed high resolution copies and made a photoset on Flickr. All credit for this project should certainly go to BYU and the others involved.

Below are a couple of my favorite images. You can see the full collection here. The images are all high resolution, so be sure to look at the larger sizes. The detail is amazing.

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The Challenge Of Not Stopping When You Are Done


This morning on Seth Godin’s Blog (which I love), he wrote about accepted tradition of just finishing the tasks and assignments given to us and then being done. That is a respectable thing because at least you completed your tasks, but “it is at this point that we draw the line between workers and entrepreneurs, between people who work in marketing and marketers.”

He goes on to say that the challenge is then to ask yourself what is next and what to do now.

I like this concept. This is what I try to do. I’d like to be better at it, but I hope I don’t get burned out and stop trying.

This reminds me of a story I heard about President Abraham Lincoln. I’ll have to paraphrase the story and quote as I don’t have it verbatim.

As President Lincoln was nearing the end of his term as Illinois Governer, he was having a hard time of depression. His best friend had just moved far away and he wasn’t sure where to go with his life next. Family and friends worried so much about his depression that they removed all razors and knifes from around him in fear that he would commit suicide. In a letter, he responded to these fears from his family regarding suicide.

He countered, “I would just assume die, but I have done nothing yet to be remembered by.”

I’d say he did pretty good in his life after that point. As you know, he became President of THe United States and led us thru a Civil War. And now, there are more books written about Abraham Lincoln than there are about any other President. (Including George Washington.)

I’m glad Abraham Lincoln asked, “What’s next? What now?”

Insanity Ride Not So Insane


Last week, my family and I took the long elevator ride up to the top of the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas, NV. Since we were showing my future brother-in-law Vegas for the first time, it seemed a natural place to go. The view up there is amazing and I really enjoy it.

While we were up there, we went on a couple of the rides. The Big Shot is still my favorite ride in Las Vegas. You are strapped in at the top of the 11,000 ft high tower and they shoot you up at tremendous speed. It is great.

While we were there, we also decided to go on the ride called “Insanity.” The idea seems scary enough. You get strapped into a chair that is hanging from a giant arm. The arm then swivels out so that you are hanging over the side of the tower and then you are spinned around until the spinning force brings you out and you are looking down at the ground.

The problem with the ride is that you get spinning so much that the fear of being high is lost. You may as well be on a merry-go-round. I’m not much for spinning as it is, but we all agreed that it was neither fun nor scary. (Although, when you first swing out, it does give a bit of a thrill.)

One more thing, my step-dad was on the tower taking photos with my camera. You can see the photos in my “Insanity Flickr Group“, but there is one in particular that I wanted to point out.

As the ride was spinning, Stan was just snapping photos hoping to get some of us as we went around. When I got the images on the computer, there was one photo that made me laugh. You see, there were two tough talking macho guys in the line behind us. They were nice, but still tough guys. Is it just me, or are they holding hands in this photo? (link to large photo)
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