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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Commentology (the study of comments)

I had a re-revelation recently.

Long Blog = Few Comments
Short Blog = More Comments

Or maybe when I have time to write lots, no one else has time to read lots... hmm.

Anyway, I like comments, therefore today's blog is short :)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bravely I Go

I think it would take a little bit of courage to make use of this.
A nice, clean, mirror reflecting structure that is actually a public bathroom in Oregon (not New York thanks for the edit Elizabeth).

But look on the inside, that's where I'm not sure I could let it all hang out.

Thanks to my sister for these thought provoking pictures.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Going Back to High School

Tomorrow morning, I'm going back to high school to do a presentation on small business.
It should be fun, but I'm more excited about my illustration I came up with.

Starting a business is like building a sandwich:

Bread (Determination) - the foundation - it takes determination to build your business and without it all of the rest of the sandwich falls apart and your business fails.

Meat (Good Planning) - the heart of your business - without good planning and preparation there isn't going to be much of a sandwich or business.

Lettuce (Money) - there both green and they both make the sandwich better

Miracle Whip (Good Credit) - A sandwich just isn't a sandwich without the great tase of Miracle Whip. Your bank won't like the taste of your business without it either.

Top Bun (Expertise) - It holds it all together and makes it stand out - If you aren't an expert in your industry, you'd better become one before you open your doors or you aren't going to be able to keep your sandwich together very long.

Hopefully that keeps their attention and doesn't make me hungry!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tony Royster Jr. Prodigy

When I was about 4, I sat on the curb of a street in Essex, Iowa on Labor Day and watched the local high school marching bands pass by. I still remember to this day feeling the vibrations from the drums in my chest as the cadence cracked off the heads of the drums. I think that was when I knew I wanted to play drums.

I love the drums. I love the beat, the feel, the sound, the intensity and the emotion they bring to music. I'm not a great drummer, but I'm okay and I know that.

Enter Tony Royster Jr., now 21 years old and light years above where I imagine my drumming ever being. I first saw him on one of the late night shows when he was about 4 or 5. Just like when Tiger Woods hit golf balls at the age of 3 on the Tonight Show, Tony slapped the skins and wowed the audience.

Even if you don't' like drums, check out this link. A video of Tony at age 12 playing a solo. If you like drums, enjoy 7:56 of incredible rhythms by at child prodigy.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Networking is Better Than Not Working

My new job has finally (after only 3 weeks) developed into what I enjoy about my job. Networking.

Most people hate that word and many people never grasp the benefit of it. The words of this aged middle eastern man whom I became acquainted with in Tulsa ring in my ears every time I get ready to network. He used to say "Networking is better than not working."

So taking a break from my life's rather boring events I want to share with you the truths about networking that I have learned.

1. Networking is about getting something out of someone that you want, but you can never - NEVER - think, act, talk or anything remotely close to showing that.

In truth we network with others because we want to benefit from what they have or who they know. But you can never let on that that's your objective. Your objective must always remain that you want to help them. You know people they don't know, you have things that they don't know. You just have to convince yourself that you have something worth while that they need.

2. You have to have something to offer the other person. If you don't it's not called networking, it's called leeching.

Beyond just believing that you have something for the other person, you actually have to offer something. This is where creativity plays a huge part. People often make the mistake of thinking that all they have to offer is their products and services. In reality that's about the smallest thing you have to offer. If someone mentions that they are having a stressful day because their car is broke down, suggest a mechanic that you know is honest. If they mention problems with their teenage daughter, tell them about the book you just read or the conference you just attended that dealt with that same issue. Even send them a copy of the book if it seems appropriate.

3. Networking is not a time for controversy or conflict.

Think of it as meeting your future in-laws. There are just some things that you never want to bring up during that first dinner. Politics, gossip and deep frustrations are perfect examples. Why? Because you don't know where they are going to fall on these topics and you haven't earned their trust and understanding yet to solidify your fragile relationship if you do have a difference of opinion. I never lie about my beliefs, but I often avoid or redirect. Making peaceful conversation about their interests is much more beneficial than debating the latest amendment to be made by the city council.

4. Think solution oriented

Every person, company and organization has a problem. Be a trouble shooter. Ask the question "what can I do to help you?" This opens them up to voice problems they need help with. You probably won't be able to cut them a check for $3 million to get them out of debt, but you can suggest a solution or a person who has the solution.

5. Assume they will want to meet you.

Never apologize for bothering someone. You aren't bothering them. In all honesty, most people are glad to grab coffee or lunch. It breaks up their otherwise monotonous day. If you assume they want to meet you it will keep you positive. When you assume you are an inconvenience, it puts you at a disadvantage because your whole demeanor becomes weak and cowardly.

Forget all about the library like you told your old man now

When I got to Colorado Springs, one of the first things I did was get my library card.

Why, you might ask - I'll tell you why.

Aside from all the free books that I won't ever read, they have movies and music.

You know what a library card and an iPod will get you?

About 8 hours of Aerosmith and another 12 or so of jazz... and that's just in the first 3 weeks.

So if you want to have fun, fun, fun and keep your dad from taking the T-Bird away, don't forget all about the library. It's a great place.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Honey I shrunk the computer

Have you seen this before?

It's kind of old, I guess - 2003, but I thought it was still pretty cool. Evidentally it's a computer that needs no keyboard or monitor. The whole thing is contained inside a pen like instrument that projects your monitor onto a flat surface and a keyboard on your desktop. Maybe I should have them send back my tablet pc and get me one of these.

I did some checking to see if it's real and evidentally it is. (link)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Going Shopping

While most of you are done thinking about Christmas shopping, exchanging and all that mess, I'm just getting started with my shopping. Not for Christmas, but for church. It's been a while, 7 years to be exact, since my last church shopping experience. So, this past Sunday my family loaded up the minivan and headed out to try on our first church.

My analytical, research oriented brain, which operates very different than my wife's, initially created a stir, but once we (okay I) came to the agreement that this didn't have to be a double blind study to get a completely non-biased response on which church will fit our family best, things got a little easier.

We went to New Life where Ted Haggard is the pastor.
I initially noticed how large the parking lots are, but how easy they were to navigate in. The people were a little stiff as we entered. More what I call "old school" church. A forced smile always makes me feel welcome. The children's department was very, let me emphasize VERY impressive. Computer check in, bar code print outs with name and ID number on them. A personal escort to show us where to take our kids. Granted she was maybe 11 years old, but she was exceptional, even for 11. Oh yeah, the gift bags with stickers and stuff for my boys didn't hurt either. Both boys loved church and wanted to go back right away to play in the air jumpers / moon walks / what ever you call those things kids jump in.

The adult service, while held in a huge auditorium didn't feel huge. Lots of lighting effects, great music and cool logos and slogans for small groups projected on the walls all around the room emphasized the one on one connection. Later we learned that they were featuring their small groups this Sunday. All 1,000 plus of them. That's right 1,000 small groups. Want to study the bible, pick from just about any of them, learn to play guitar and worship, hiking, mountain climbing, sailing, hula dancing and ball room dancing. Yes, I said it - hula dancing. They even demonstrated the hula dancing in the foyer after service.

The message was good, although I spent more time analyzing every detail of what everyone else was doing than I did listening. The researcher in me I guess. We'll keep it on our potential list as we keep trying more churches. So far our list is made up of about 6 churches total to try.

I am getting the sense that this is going to be a serious project. Any suggestions on what worked / didn't work for you when you shopped for church last time? Obviously pray, but beyond praying what techniques, signs, signals, etc did you use or look for?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Good music leads to bad decisions

I made it to Denver last night in good time. No problems with traffic. I ate before I left home, so I wasn't hungry when I got here. I was more anxious to watch the 2 hours of Lost. By the way, I hate it when they advertise it as "new" and build it up like it's going ot reveal new things then they recap the whole show for an hour. The 2nd hour was good. Did anyone else notice that the two logos for Dharma (the company that does the project from the bunker) are different? The one from the tail section side of the island showed a lightning bolt or some kind of straight arrow thing while the one from the other side fo the island showed a swan. Feeds my theory perfectly that the whole show is based on a group dynamics / psychology experiment gone crazy. More on Lost in another posting perhaps.

I have made several serious errors in judgement since arriving here. First, after Lost last night I was hungry again, so I figured I'd go eat a bite at some local place. For some reason I decided a Mexican burito from an Irish pub called Duffey's Shamrock (top 10 of Denver's pubs) sounded good. They called it the "Duffarito". It was good, but at 11:00 at night maybe not the best idea.

Second I didn't sleep well last night. I never sleep well when Deann's not in bed with me. Sweet, I know, but a pain in the butt if you're trying to fall asleep at 1:30am. So to fix this for tonight, I decide to go work out in the hotel's fitness room. Strap on my iPod, lace up the shoes and decend the elevator from 12 to 5. By the way, anyone ever notice that most hotels don't have a 13th floor? I knew that, but kind of forgot it, so I took a picture to share the "tridecaphobia"

After 300 calories in 18 minutes on the treadmill, a few reps of leg extensions to strengthen my screwed up knee, I get the idea to head to the sauna. I set the timer for about 15 mintues and sit in a blistering hot confined wood box. Then my Ipod starts playing really pump up music, so I put in a few crunches in the sauna. Another great song (The Notion by FM Static) a few more crunches. Yet another great song (Vertigo by U2) a few more crunches. By this time every time the cord on my iPod hits my arm it burns because it's so hot from the sauna. Then my undoing. After about 60 crunches Radar Love by White Lion comes on. (Click to watch the video) I so want my hair to look like that guy's, cause I know if I did and I got a pool table and played my drums like that Deann would so be dancing for me like that. Am I right???

So anyway, genius me decides it would be great to do some cardio in the sauna. Yeah, that's a great idea! So I do about 4 minutes of modified up-downs in the sauna. Finally the inside of my nose is burning from breathing such hot air. I open the door, stagger out and the 70 degree hallway feels like the Arctic.

Now my legs are cramping and I'm hungry, so I'm going to shower, eat and go see a movie then come home and pass out for a good night's sleep.

At least I have a nice view from my window.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mile High Club

Okay, first get your mind out of the gutter. I know what some of you are thinking. I'm becoming a member of the mile high club by going to Denver - the mile high city - tonight. I'm leaving tonight after work and getting there hopefully in time for the 2 hours of Lost. Then I'm into training all day Thursday and Friday.

I'll be staying in the Adams Mark and I already checked, they have a work out facility and high speed internet in the rooms.

I'll try to do some blogging while I'm there, but no guarantees. It is after all the mile high city.

Speaking of the other "mile high club" Southwest Airlines now flies to Denver (about 45 minutes from here. There is an open invitation to all who want to come visit.

As of 8:30am MST these are some fo the prices available.
Chicago to Denver = $158
New York to Denver = $198
Orlando to Denver = $198
Phoenix to Denver = $118

So let's get together. February 24th the Avalanche tickets are 2 for 1! We could have a big hockey weekend in Denver.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Greasy Spoon Review

For those of you who know me, you know that while I can fit in and socialize at a black tie event, my first choice is jeans and t-shirts. So, why fight it? I figure I am who I am and no point in hiding that. Eating out I'm the same way. I can do formal, but prefer the American tradition of a greasy spoon. I love eating at dirty dives where you don't really want to have to watch the food being prepared, you just want to eat it because it tastes so good.

That leads me to my first Greasy Spoon Review. Since I frequent such dining places fairly often, I thought I'd start writing reviews of them.

Friday for lunch we ate at Sheldon's Luncheonette. (by the way - don't expect links to visit websites for these places. They are barely on the map, much less on the web) There are evidently 3 in Colorado Springs, but we ate at the 204 Mount View Ln location.
First impressions:
Small cafeteria feeling. Wonderful smell of grease. Lots of ambient noise from conversation and open grill where cooks were busy cooking.

(Tyler and I waiting for our order to come)

What I ordered:
Chocolate Malt (half - split it with my father in law. Still came in a large malt glass. If you order one by yourself, they bring out the metal malt mixer container with the glass.
Roast beef Sandwich - queen size (half order)

My sandwich - just a little gravy huh?

(That's about all I could eat)

The chocolate malt was by far the best I've had in years. The only place I've ever been that is perhaps better is Jay's in Shenandoah, Iowa, where they used to crack a raw egg into the malt to make it more rich.

The sandwich was great. The roast beef, not shaved thin like many places serve it, but thick juicy layers of beef on bread, covered with real mashed potatoes and the whole plate covered in gravy. The gravy, which can tend to be a question mark at a lot of places was very good. Not watered down and thin, but thick and milky the way gravy should be. My only negative was the bread. I would have liked a little more bread to soak up the extra gravy I had.

The atmosphere was tremendous. we sat next to 2 guys who worked for the city utilities and had a great conversation with them. The decor was just enough not to be gaudy. It was natural in the sense that they weren't trying too hard to bring atmosphere in like an Applebees does.

It's close to work, I plan on making it a regular place to eat.
I give it 3-1/3 dirty spoons.

Worth a Thousand Words

After digging through boxes for the last 2 days, I finaly found what I was looking for - the cable that connects my digital camera to my computer.

Here's what it looks like out of my office window.

And here is a picture that my brother-in-law sent me this morning. It's the sunset over the car lot where he works. (thanks Mark)

Enjoy your Friday! I know I am going to. There has been talk of lunch at some dive of a BBQ place here in town and I'm getting hungry already.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I'm Back...

I'm back to blogging. Thanks for your patience during my move. We're getting settled and adjusted to the altitude.

I started my new job Tuesday and WOW! I can't say as to how the job is only because all I've done is read through file after file, deal with the IT and benefits department, and all that first week on the job stuff, but WOW! (I'll get to the WOW later)

My schedule is filling up pretty quick.

I'm in Denver next Thursday and Friday. (at the Adam's Mark I might add)
I'm having lunch with President and VP of US Bank the week after.
I'm having coffee with the president of SCORE tomorrow.
I just picked out a Gateway Convertable Notebook to use outside the office. I'm not necissarily a Gateway fan, but their is some kind of contract with them here. I suppose it will go nicely with my 19" flat screen on my desk.
Speaking of my desk, I'm trying desparately to find my little cord that connects my camera to my computer because the view out of my office window is WOW! I promise I'll somehow get a pic up, but until then I'll paint a word picture of what "WOW" is.

My office is large. In comparison, not rediculously large, but a conference table and two desks still leave plenty of room in my corner office. Out one window I see only two large pine trees which help block the morning sun. Sometimes I can almost smell the pine needles. Out the window behind my desk I look over Austin Bluffs Pkwy, a fairly busy street, but since I'm up a ways, when I sit the street is almost blocked by the window sill. Pine trees and houses dot the scenery until it reaches the red rocks jutting out of the ground at the base of the mountain. It is almost as if God pinched the ground and left these amazing rock formations known as the Garden of the Gods just for me to look at. They rest quitely at the base of Pikes Peak. Above, the pale blue sky lays across the snow capped peak at over 14,000 feet. Sunlight glistens off the snow and every rock jutting out from the trees. Remembering my old office window which looked out on the parking lot and my boss' car I am certain of one of the reasons why I'm here.

Real pictures to come... I promise

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Just a Quickie

First of all, Happy New Year to all!
2006 is here and I'm ready for a new year.

We are all moved into our temporary housing in beautiful Colorado Springs. We've been enjoying Deann's family and getting adjusted to co-habitating with them. So far no problems. I start my new job Tuesday and I'm getting very excited about it.

Other than that we've been going through the usual new city stuff: Figure out how to get from here to there, get cel phones, find grocery stores/banks/everything else in they city.

We went on a beautiful hike this afternoon with the boys and the dog. Some great family time together. That's what it's all about.

Anyway, I'm rambling, but I just wanted to update everyone as to what was going on. Once I get into my routine, I should be able to post a little more frequently, until then enjoy your new year.