Some Fun You Can Have With A Fridge

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I found a great new toy to play with called Frigits.

Do you remember the game called “Mousetrap?” You’d build a marble run and then let the marble find it’s way down? This is the same idea, but there are magnets on the back so you can build it on a fridge or filing cabinet.

I built the marble run on the side of my fridge so I could leave it there and just pull out the fridge when I wanted to play. I made a short video.

This would be a fun toy for Christmas. You can buy a set here

Two Phrases That Help Me Everyday

There are two phrases that really help me everyday. They help me to be more patient and long suffering. They help me to better understand others. They help me to have the courage to stand up for what I believe. They help me build self-confidence They help me to be more thankful for my blessings.

What are those two phrases?

“Kindness doesn’t always mean weakness.”

“Loud doesn’t always mean right.”

Why I Dislike Cuss Words

A while ago, I wrote a post on my site about “The Office” and I mentioned that I didn’t watch movies that were rated R. I was surprised at the comments I received. (I deleted the really crude ones.) And I was even more surprised at the emails I received. They were demeaning and rude. It reminded me of high school and how some people would scoff at your for keeping standards.

When I wrote the post, I didn’t mean to make a big deal of it. And I certainly didn’t mean to offend or talk down to anyone. I just mostly mentioned it as the reason I didn’t see Steve Carell’s new movie.

After some insults, the emails would usually say something like, “It’s only rated R because of the language. It’s not like you don’t hear that at work or school all day anyway.”

The reason I bring this up is because of the cussing. I don’t judge people that use cuss words. Everyone can choose for themself. But, I’ll tell you why I don’t like cussing.

I don’t like cuss words because they take away from real detail and description in a sentence. Cussing is so habit forming, that the words will make their way into every sentence. They are used in place of adjectives, verbs, nouns, and in at least one case I know of, as a proper noun. Here is the irony. People use cuss words to try and add more power to their sentence, but for me it has the opposite effect. If real adjectives, nouns and verbs were used, the sentence would be more descriptive and explanatory.

I think that mock cuss words are just as bad in this sense. They are habit forming and retard your ability to represent your opinion well.

My Personal Phone Rules

Here are the seven rules everyone should follow when using the phone. I understand these are mostly unenforceable, but if everyone followed them that would be great.

1) If your message says you have a question, leave the question as well. That way, if I call or email you back, I’ll be able to answer it. More about that in an old post here.

2) If you need to leave your phone number, leave it at the beginning of the message. If the receiver misses it the first time around, they can listen to the message again and get the number at the very beginning. This will save them from having to listen thru the whole message again.

3) Whoever makes the initial call should lead the conversation. The receiver shouldn’t have to ask, “So, what can I do for you?”

4) Introduce yourself when they answer. Don’t assume the person has caller id or that they have you in their contact list. If it’s a family member or a close friend, you are probably ok. But, if it is anyone else and there is any doubt, just let them know who’s calling.

5) Don’t call someone and then say, “Hey, can you hold on? I have another call coming in.”

6) With cell phones came dropped calls. Here are the two things you have to remember. Whoever had the cell phone that dropped the call is responsible for the call back when they receive better coverage. This is especially applicable when one party is using a land line. If both are on mobile phones and it can’t be determined which phone dropped the call, then the person who initiated the call should try again.

7) Never ask the person why they didn’t answer their cell phone when you called. I never answer this question. Maybe I’m the only one bothered by this but I suppose there are others.

What’s so hard about those?

Things I Love: Rhythmic Coincidences

This might seem odd, but I love it when you are driving down the street listening to music and something outside moves along at the exact same beat. For example, a jogger on the sidewalk is taking steps at the exact same beat as your music. Or, like today, I was listening to “On The Road Again” while I was driving down 95 here in Las Vegas. If you’ve taken that road just East of the Sphagetti Bowl, you know that there is quite a bit of bounce on that road. My truck was bouncing up and down at the exact same beat as the song. I think that is cool.

There was a car commercial a while back that had everything lining up with the music as they drove. I loved it. I call these Rythmic Coincidences. Here’s hoping you get to have some soon.

World Trade Center Movie

Candace and I went to see World Trade Center last night. I had some reservations at first, but I saw that Oliver Stone was directing and he usually does a good job. The movie was exceptional.

They decided to do the movie from the officers point of view. That was a really good idea because it made the movie seem so much more real.

My biggest fear was that it would play too much on the dramatic side of Hollywood. It wasn’t like that at all. There were a few chances for the show to get over-dramatic, but it never happened. They never had a Tommy Lee Jones-esque speech with dramatic phrases and catchy words. It all seemed very real. They really did an incredible job.

The whole movie was sort of a mind game for me. I wond if it will be that way for you. It is so routine to watch movies at the cinema and it’s natural to tell yourself that it’s just a Hollywood movie. The deaths and explosions and drama is fake. But, it’s a contast battle to remind you that this was all real. They even decided to use some of the news footage of the people looking on and that was emotional. It reminded my how awe struck the world was.

I left New York about 24 hours before the terrorist attacks. The morning before we left my buddies and I took a tour bus that drove right between the twin towers. I remember the tour guide saying, “A few months ago the police had to deal with a guy that was climing up the towers. He was quite a way up there and had no ropes so they were afraid that he was going to jump when he got high enough. It’s a constant struggle to keep things like that from happening.”

If only he knew what was going to happen the next day. Watching it in the film 5 years later, it just doesn’t seem real.

How To Be A Good Social Photographer

When I was in college, I always tried to get a lot of fun photos of all the activities and parties. In my attempts to have good photo documentation of my college years, I learned a few things to help others who like to be the social photographer in their group of friends or at their family gatherings

  1. Always have your camera. Not only does this insure that you get the good photos, but it always lets your friends and family get used to the idea of you having your camera. If the camera is always present, it will be less of a surprise when you do pull it out and people will be able to relax.
  2. Find a way to distribute the pictures. If you can establish a pattern of distributing the pictures, people will be eager for your photography because they know they will be getting a copy of their own. I use Flickr.com. I’m sure to upload the full size of the image and make it available to download. This is important because people can grab the full file and be able to print a clear picture.
  3. You should take the pictures because you enjoy it. Trying to make a buck off your friends or family is not a good idea. Have the pictures online and free for anyone to grab. If you want to make money eventually, just perfect your skills with these social settings and as people see your expertise, you may be asked to do wedding photography, engagement photos, or family portraits. That is where you can earn some money for your hard work.
  4. Learn how to use the different feature of your camera. It is important to know how to take photos at different levels of light and in different situations. Learn about ISO levels, white balance, and shutter speeds. If you ruin a nice social setting with a big bright flash, you may not get to have the natural feeling in the room.
  5. Buy a large memory card and an extra battery. Sometimes parties and trips can go late and last long. You want to be able to continue snapping photos without any worry of running out of room or battery. These items aren’t that expensive and they allow you to try all kinds of things.
  6. Do not post embarrassing or ugly photos of people. This one may be the most important of all. As a social photographer, you can build a really good track record by making people look great in your photos. One bad photo to embarrass some one can ruin it. It will make people more hesitant to pose for you in the future. Go thru your pictures and be sure that you won’t embarrass anyone by posting them online. (Note: If the person was making an ugly face for the camera on purpose, that is ok.)
  7. Get to know as many people in the setting as you can. Do this without the camera in front of your face. A good relationship with everyone in the room can go a long way.
  8. Take plenty photos of everyone, not just your favorite niece or your closest friends. You can build good friendships with people as you photograph them and make them look good. You never know who is important to whom in a social gathering. Let everyone enjoy the memories by seeing themselves and their friends.

I am really glad that I took a lot of photos in college. I have a ton of good photos of all the fun things that we did. I still get emails from people asking me to send them a photo from these times. This acts as a great way to keep in touch with old friends. When they want photos, they’ll come find you and this gives you a chance to catch up.

Computers and Bible Language

Yesterday I was helping a customer with a computer problem that he was having. I asked him what he was experiencing that made him think there was a problem. He reported, ” It’s hard to tell. When I start internet, I don’t see the CNN. I think something is wrong with the hard drive or with the internet. Can you download to my computer to fix it?”

I smiled at that description, but was very careful not to laugh. There were so many misused terms there. After working with people and computers long enough, you get used to folks just throwing out tech terms where they think they fit. Eventually, I figured out what was really wrong and we fixed the problem.

Fast forward to last night. I was reading thru Revelations in the New Testament. This has always been one of my favorite books in the Bible because it encourages you to think and it is all so applicable to us today. In chapter 9, John talks of “the wars and plagues poured out during the seventh seal and before the Lord comes.” He sees them in vision. I was intrigued at the way that described the airplanes and the tanks that he saw in battle. Parts of the description seemed almost mythical.

But, like my customer earlier that day, John was describing what he saw and he only had his own words to use. It doesn’t make it any less true and certainly doesn’t make it less important. The prophets in the Bible and The Book Of Mormon saw so much of our day and described it the best that they could. It’s our job now to place ourselves in their shoes and understand what they may have been seeing. The more you read the scriptures, the more you are familiar with their terms and their world. This will help you better understand what they saw and how you can prepare yourself for it.

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.