Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to http://andyrbunch.weebly.com/. Here are links to first two books http://goo.gl/iHP1i and http://goo.gl/kK13W

Friday, September 21, 2012

Origami Kayak?

Okay, I've been really remiss on updating this site, but in my defense I've had a lot going on. In fact I've got some big news to share...in addition to seeing good progress on Suffering Rancor the Audio Book, I'm also very close to landing a job as lead editor of a brand new website with an audience predicted to hit 1 million subscribers in the first month. More details to follow. So today's amazing gadget comes to us via gizmag, and makes so much sense I'm already in love with it. The two hardest things about boating are transporting the boat and storing the boat. Enter this little foldable number.
As always, this post is brought to you by Suffering Rancor: http://www.amazon.com/Suffering-Rancor-Return-ebook/dp/B008D5SAYW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1348263179&sr=8-2&keywords=Suffering+Rancor

Monday, September 17, 2012

If you noticed that it's been awhile since I posted, sorry! I got busy finishing my BS degree, then a quick vacation from reality, then I spent August drafting on my next big novel project, while working on the Audio version of Suffering Rancor (which I hope to launch at Orycon in November)...So I've been a little busy. Still, when I ran across this video I had to post it totally innovative device from Guatemala, which I'm sure will be outlawed here instantly. "Oh Andy! You're so cynical." I can hear you think it. BUT remember the Segway? Great idea, ecologically sound, and San Francisco and Portland OR were the first places to outlaw them. I firmly believe that people need, NEED, to experience risk. When we make the world completely safe, or at least suffer the communal delusion that we have done so, we will have destroyed the humane race. Mark my words, we need risk.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Just for fun--slo mo

Here's a cool thing I stumbled across. and this one...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Standing Leap

Here's an amazing standing leap...64 inches...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Where did Marbles Come from?

I've never heard of Marbles knife before but they've burst into the review circle lately and I'm eager to get one of their products and compare it for myself. If they hold up at that price point, they are set to fight their way into a very competitive market. Marbles equipment is made in El Salvador, and only available online so far. www.smkw.com Here's a few more of their products...

Survival Shovel

I love the idea of a survival shovel but I never find them to hold up to the billing. This one, the Marbles Devil Tail, however really looks like it's worth a try. It's also priced well. If I can get my hands on one in the next month or so I'll consider doing a review although this video is thorough and I like that it goes head to head with a reliable industry standard in Cold Steel. I'd only like to see him take it our and hack on something and then shovel with it. That's the only missing element.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Top 3 survival things you need

This is a little slow paced but I like where this guy is coming from. So here's some fun viewing.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Survival projectile gadget

This is actually quite clever.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Practice Thankfulness for Success

I was reminded today, how important it is to pass out praise. I don't know why I struggle so much to give away something that costs me nothing, on the rare occasion I remember to let the people in my life know how much I appreciate all that they do for me I'm always rewarded with a good feeling. Mindtools.com has a number of articles on the topic because in business it's a proven fact that giving out raises only produces a short term boost to employee satisfaction. So here's some links to inspiring words about how to be more demonstrative in your appreciation. http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/giving-praise.htm#np http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMM_54.htm#np http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/human-motivation-theory.htm#np One last thing on the topic though, from my own experience...make a habit of spending about 10 minutes right before bed, forgiving everyone for disappointing you during the day, and then spend a few minutes being grateful for everything you can think of. You will sleep better and you will experience a sense of freedom all the next morning.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The deep end of the pool

I was reading a post by my friend Sam today, which reminded me of a story my friend William once told me. William's story come from his childhood in El Cajon, CA. Around age 6 he'd still not learned to swim, and while hanging with some older kids they decided to teach him how to swim. As older boys will, they tossed him into the deep end of the pool and didn't let him out till he drowned his way to the other side. William can relate the story with a smile now, but I can tell he was terrified at the time. Together with the story Sam tells, about his father teaching him to sale and one day telling him to take the boat out alone I started thinking about the trial by fire experiences in my own life. We don't have a lot of rite of passage experiences built into our culture, which causes a lot of men to feel like they never really grew up. In fact most of the women I know would agree that the men in their lives lack some of the confidence they felt from their own fathers. I'm pretty quick to point fingers at the poorly implemented feminism that has sent negative messages about the masculine in the name of fighting for a better view of the feminine. But a ton of the blame goes to our lack of initiation in our culture. I just watched a video the other day, that quoted statistics about sperm counts in men born in the 1940's vs men born in the 1980's. They are detecting an 80% drop in sperm count, with a correlated drop in testosterone. Now there's doubtless several contributing factors including diet, and environmental poisoning, but I think our minds need to remind us that we are men and its ok to be a little more aggressive. In other words, we tell ourselves we lack assertiveness because we are "nice" or "polite" when we actually lack confidence. So what is the difference between Sam's sailing story and William's swimming story? William was shoved into a potentially dangerous situation by near strangers and forced to sink of swim. No preparation. No encouragement. No faith in his abilities. Sam's dad showed him the ropes, and Sam's dad sent him on his solo sailing trip as a sign of his belief that Sam now had what it took. Maybe 10-year-old Sam wasn't ready for everything that might have come his way. Maybe Sam could have used another couple years of practice, but there is a time when a boy must face something he's trained for, but not ready for, which he believe's he can do because the adult male who loves him tells him he can do it. Those are the events in life that help a boy become a man, and we just don't have enough of them in our over-tamed society.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Excuse Eradicators 10

#10 I call, "You are not alone."

10. The Art of Writing by Committee
The President’s Mystery Story by Franklin Roosevelt and seven other novelists
Many American presidents have written books, but only Franklin Roosevelt has contributed to a mystery novel. At a White House dinner in 1935, Roosevelt pitched his story idea to author Fulton Oursler. Roosevelt’s tale started like this: A man named Jim Blake is trapped in a stale marriage and a boring job. He dreams of running off with $5 million and starting over with a new identity.

Unfortunately, the President hadn’t worked out one major plot point: How does a man with $5 million disappear without being traced?

To solve the problem, Oursler formed a committee of five other top mystery writers: Rupert Hughes, Samuel Hopkins Adams, Rita Weiman, S. S. Van Dine, and John Erskine. Each author wrote a chapter and ended it with Jim Blake in a terrible situation, which the next author was left to resolve. Despite being the work of a Washington committee, the end result was surprisingly successful. The President’s Mystery Story was serialized in a magazine, published as a book, and even turned into a movie in 1936.

Yet, the writers never came up with a solution to Roosevelt’s original problem. That didn’t happen until 1967, when Erle Stanley Gardner wrote a final chapter to a new edition of the book. In it, the secret to Jim Blake’s mysterious disappearance is discovered by Gardner’s most famous character, Perry Mason.



Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/76496#ixzz1slkgaJrT
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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Books, Rain, and Coffee

I live in Vancouver, WA. As much as the rain kills me all winter, I enjoy certain features. I'm a fan of good coffee, and we have several locations where such can be found. Perhaps that's a topic worthy of its own blog soon as they've recently conducted a study showing, once again, just how good coffee is for you (in responsible quantities). I've recently discovered Di Tazza and would love to sing its praises, but this blog is about another feature I like about living in Vancouver. Fort Vancouver Regional Library. FVRL is a great library region to be in, with lots of activities. You can now barrow books on your Nook reading device (once you sign up). You can also keep your bar code on your android phone now, in case you don't have your card on you. FVRL is very friendly to Indie writers as well. The Three Creeks Library has an event every Wednesday called Write Here Right Now, where authors may sit and write socially. I recommend signing up for their newsletter or their calendar to keep up with all the happenings. I will be at an event for the Beaverton Library this summer called Speed Date an Author...hmmmn who get's me into all these things. Anyway, I'll post details as they become available but I know this much, it's from 7pm to 8:30pm on August 8th. For enjoy the weather, even if it's too rainy, just sit back with a cup of coffee and a good book.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Third and final installment of ways to save gas mileage...use with caution. Some Extreme Hypermiling Tips Others Use – But... Hardcore enthusiasts really push hypermiling to the edge. Beware; some of their techniques are dangerous and possibly even illegal in some areas. Drafting/Tailgating: Like professional race car drivers, these hypermilers drive up close behind a big vehicle, like a motorhome or big rig, allowing that vehicle to cut the wind for them and reduce their wind resistance. This is dangerous because the distance is so close, you may not have enough time to safely stop. If another driver is doing this behind you, pull over and let them by. Cruising in Neutral or with the Engine Off - In this case, the hypermiler shuts off the engine on big hills and coasts downhill. Others will cut the engines at long traffic lights or unforgiving traffic jams. This can save gas, but may not be safe because power steering and power brakes won't work, giving you less control over your vehicle.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Excuse Eradicators 9

#9 I call, "challenges are blessings"

9. James Joyce’s Deaf Translation Jam
Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/76496#ixzz1slkI2lVB
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James Joyce wrote his final novel, Finnegans Wake, during a 17-year period in Paris, finishing the work just two years before his death in 1941. During that time, Joyce was nearly blind, so he dictated his stream-of-consciousness prose to his friend, Samuel Beckett. That led to some unexpected results. For example, during one session, Joyce heard a knock at the door, which was too quiet for Beckett to perceive. Joyce yelled to the visitor, “Come in!” so Beckett added “Come in!” to the manuscript. When Beckett later read the passage back to Joyce, the author decided that he liked it better that way.

After several such sessions, Finnegans Wake became one of the most impenetrable works of English literature. But the experience didn’t just affect Joyce’s novel; it seemed to have a lasting effect on Beckett’s writing, as well. Beckett would go on to become a leading playwright in the Theatre of the Absurd, where his characters often spent their entire time on stage sitting in the middle of nowhere, hoping that someone would hear their voice.

Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/76496#ixzz1sljmS0nc
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Here's some more ways to save gas by modifying your driving... Mindful Driving Is Safer AND More Fuel Efficient Mind Your RPMs and Momentum – One hypermiler says, "Hypermilage is more about your engine RPM than anything else. The faster it revs (i.e the faster you go) the more air and fuel goes through the engine." In other words, don't abuse your car or drive aggressively; this wastes gas. Gentle acceleration is best, and let momentum be your friend. Once you practice a bit, you'll find that you don't always need to press down on the accelerator to get around places like a parking lot, drive up to a red light, or drive downhill. Keep your foot off the gas pedal and use the car's natural momentum to your advantage. Some experts even figure out how to time their local traffic lights. They know about how long a red light takes to turn green; so they time themselves to cruise to the light, and as it changes to green, they still have enough momentum pushing them forward to slowly accelerate again. This keeps their car at the most fuel efficient gears, wasting minimum gas. Also, driving a stick shift gives you maximum control over your RPMs. Plan Your Trips Efficiently – Avoid heavy traffic by using the Internet, radio, or a good GPS to get current traffic reports, and use the best routes. Leave earlier so you're not in a rush, which helps you avoid a heavy foot and mental stress. A warm engine is more efficient, however idling to warm up your engine doesn't benefit today's cars. It wastes gas. Instead, if you're running errands, drive to the farthest distance location first. This helps warm up the engine to optimal temperatures, then drive yourself closer and closer to home. The Weather – Avoid inclement weather like heavy wind, rain, or snow. In the rain, drive higher up on the crown of the road where water puddles less. In snow, choose roads and travel lanes with less snow. Use Cruise Control, Even on City Roads – Read your owner's manual for recommended speeds. However, if you're in little to no traffic and cruising on the main roads, cruise control keeps the fuel flowing smoothly and even, which conserves gas. On highways, cruise control is your friend. 55 Miles an Hour Is the Most Efficient Speed – If you value your time, this is not an attractive option. And a dangerous one if everyone else is doing 70 MPH, as the danger of someone rear ending you goes up. But driving 55 MPH has been proven in numerous tests. Also, studies find every 5 MPH over 65 MPH cuts fuel economy nearly 5%. If this sounds too slow, plan your driving and leave earlier. Besides, you can invest the extra car time by listening to relaxing music or books on tape and get a "highway education." Don't Idle – Turn off your car instead. In today's cars, turning on your engine uses as much fuel as idling for a mere 7 seconds. If you're waiting for someone at the curb or fiddling with your stereo in the parking lot, turn off the engine. Install a Mileage Calculator – It's been said, "What is measured, improves." A mileage calculator gives you real time feedback on your miles per gallon, and it encourages you to use more money saving habits. You can achieve some of the same benefits simply by computing your MPG every time you fill up.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Excuse Eradicators 7

#7 I call, "You might have more impact than you think."

7. The Most Visionary Story Ever Told
Futility by Morgan Robertson
Occasionally, literature is prophetic. H.G. Wells’ stories, for instance, predicted video recordings, portable television, aerial bombings, and a Second World War starting in 1940 (only one year late). And a 1941 comic book written by Gil Fox described the bombing of Pearl Harbor in surprising detail, precisely one month before it happened.

But perhaps the most meticulously prophetic work of literature is Morgan Robertson’s short and poorly written novel, Futility. In it, Robertson describes the maiden voyage of a British luxury liner called the Titan, which claims to be unsinkable, but sinks anyway after hitting an iceberg. Nearly every detail resembles the story of the Titanic. Of course, nobody thought about that when Futility was released in 1898, a full 14 years before the Titanic set sail.

Futility wasn’t Robertson’s only prescient piece of literature. In 1912, three years before his death, he wrote Beyond the Spectrum. Much like Gil Fox’s tale, Robertson’s story predicted a Japanese sneak attack on an American fleet in Hawaii, and the resulting war between the two countries.



Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/76496#ixzz1slig1Vik
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Friday, May 25, 2012

My birthday is coming, the big 41. Also this summer I graduate college. I really feel a new season approaching and I'm thinking a lot about the direction my life has taken, and might take in the future. As many recent disappointments as I've had it seems like new possibilities are just around the corner. I'm finally on my 3 week break (really only 2 but I'm going to stretch it) from college while the last class I need rolls around. I have a whole stack of things to accomplish on this break. It's take the entire first week of my break to reach ground zero on the urgent projects I didn't get to during finals week. (The classes got tougher toward the end of my senior year, crazy I know.) Now my mother is headed over to discuss the things I'm going to do for her on my break. Good grief. I literally just got broke the surface. Still I think I'll be able to fit most of it in during my break...somehow...and even if I don't I'm having a lot more fun trying than I did doing homework. In addition to revising not 1, but 2 books this break, and bidding on an editing deal for a 4 book series, and prepping a short story anthology, I MAY have a new super secret project to be excited about. I hope to find out soon, and I hope I can talk about it once its in the bag. We'll see. Well I'm off to begin my organizing binge so that I'm ready--for tonight is man cave night, beer and cigars, and BBQ, and etc. Woot! Your's truly,

Excuse Eradicators 6

#6 I call, "Youth and inexperience don't matter."

6. The Story of Youth
The Young Visiters, by Daisy Ashford


Daisy Ashford’s novella about Victorian society is considered something of a classic. First published in 1919, the work is still in print and has been turned into a movie. But if that doesn’t sound remarkable, consider that Ashford was only 9 years old when she wrote it.

To preserve the authenticity of the story, publishers decided to leave in Ashford’s plentiful grammar mistakes and spelling errors (the title, for example). They also added a foreword by Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie to assure readers that this was no hoax. Barrie reminded people that the novel was indeed written by a little girl, who was “hauled off to bed every evening at six.”

Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/76496#ixzz1slhV9lBF
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

According to Lee Bellinger, Publisher of Independent Living, there is a trend developing among drivers. They want to find ways to maximize gas mileage. They call them Hypermiling. Here are the tips so far. One foundation is keeping your vehicle well maintained. If your car is in poor shape, the more advanced techniques won't make up for it... Tire Pressure – Inflate your tires to what the tire manufacturer they should be... not what the automaker says. Properly inflated tires keep "rolling resistance" low, which makes your car more fuel efficient. Align Your Wheels – A car that drives straight and doesn't consistently pull to one side saves fuel. Use a Clean Air Filter and Spark Plugs – A dirty filter suffocates your engine and forces it to work harder. Dirty spark plugs don't properly burn fuel, they waste it. Lose Weight – Many people use their trunks as a spare closet, that's a very expensive habit. Reports say 100 pounds of excess weight reduces fuel efficiency by 2% to 5%. Start removing nonessential things that add weight. (Though I do advise you to keep one of my Total Home Evacuation and Emergency Barter Packs (E-Packs) in your vehicle at all times. It only weighs 18 pounds, and it could save your life.) Some committed hypermilers who commute long distances even remove some of the seats. Some say aluminum wheels could weigh less than steel wheels. Extreme drivers even remove the spare tire (not recommended unless you have newer tires, drive only on well-maintained roads, and have emergency road service to get you out of any jam). Another good tip is to wash away excess weight. One hypermiler says his truck easily collects 10 to 20 pounds of gunk and dry mud stuck underneath, especially around the spare tire. Use Lighter-Weight Oil – Adjust based on your circumstances. A lighter (lower viscosity) oil helps your engine to work less. Cut Out Wind Drag – Remove roof racks and other exterior items that produce wind resistance (this could even help cut down on weight). Some go as far as taping up or covering gaps to make smoother aerodynamics. Lowering the rear gate on your truck also significantly decreases wind resistance on most models.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Excuse Eradicators 5

#5 I call, "You can write more concisely than you think."

5. Six Powerful Words
“Baby Shoes” by Ernest Hemingway
According to legend, Ernest Hemingway created the shortest short story ever told. While having lunch at New York City’s famous Algonquin Round Table, Hemingway bragged that he could write a captivating tale—complete with beginning, middle, and end—in only six words. His fellow writers refused to believe it, each betting $10 that he couldn’t do it. Hemingway quickly scribbled six words down on a napkin and passed it around. As each writer read the napkin, they conceded he’d won. Those six words? “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”

While the anecdote may be apocryphal, whoever did write “Baby Shoes” has forced writers forever after to consider the economy of words. Today, the work has inspired countless six-word memoir and story competitions, proving that a story’s brevity is no limit to its power.



Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/76496#ixzz1slgx8r38
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Excuse Eradicators 4

#4 I call, "You're smarter than you think."

4. History’s Greatest Sonnet
“Washington Crossing the Delaware” by David Shulman
Etymologist David Shulman was a true lover of words. One of the most prolific contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary, Shulman tracked down the roots of Americanisms for more than 70 years. But those weren’t Shulman’s only contributions to the world. During World War II, he served in the army and used his language skills to crack Japanese codes. His most astonishing feat as a wordsmith, however, occurred in 1936, when he composed the sonnet “Washington Crossing the Delaware.”

What makes the poem so remarkable is that every one of Shulman’s 14 lines is an anagram of the title. What’s more, the lines are rhyming couplets, and they tell a story, more or less. Here’s an excerpt:

A hard, howling, tossing water scene.
Strong tide was washing hero clean.
“How cold!” Weather stings as in anger.
O Silent night shows war ace danger!

As poetry, it isn’t exactly Walt Whitman. But then, Whitman was never this good with anagrams.

Bonus #8
8. Writing by Ear
Anguish Languish by Howard L. Chace

Sinker sucker socks pants, apocryphal awry. If those words don’t make sense together, try saying them out loud: “Sing a song of sixpence, a pocketful of rye.” Now imagine a whole book written like this, and you’ve got Howard L. Chace’s 1940 collection of nursery rhymes and fairy tales, Anguish Languish. The work contains classics such as Marry Hatter Ladle Limb and Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, which begins with the immortal line, “Wants pawn term, dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage.” Although Anguish Languish is playful, there was also a serious side to it. As a French professor, Chace used the stories to illustrate that, in spoken English, intonation is almost as important to the meaning as the words themselves.

Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/76496#ixzz1slgVzOry
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

According to http://cnsnews.com/news/article/un-human-rights-advocates-urge-g8-take-robin-hood-tax-wealthy-nations the U.N. has proposed a financial transaction tax (FTT), also being dubbed the Robbin Hood tax. The goal is to put a tax on the sale of financial instruments and route the money into poverty relief and aids research. I don't want this blog site to become political but I do want to engage philosophically with the world around me. I see a trend emerging. As governments expand the financial "safety net" and reduce the tax incentive for charitable donation there will be a corresponding shift of religions out of the charity business. Faith-based organizations are being niche partitioned out. At the same time, government regulations and tax structure have created an environment hostile to small business. In order to remain viable these independent stores will need a boutique style business model or a massive intangible competitive advantage. That's why I'm predicting that in the next few years the trend in church-owned coffee shops will expand into church- owned small business in general. We've had family owned small business for years and ideally a church is large family. Churches will need a place of outreach and a source of revenue, when government takes over the charity business completely. So churches will survive, but what are the other impacts? If we ignore the obvious defect in analogy (Robbin Hood stole the excessive tax money from the abusive government and gave it back to the poor, so the abusive government by definition can't be Robbin Hood) won't the poor be served just as well by a fair redistribution of wealth? In reality, no. Government sucks at helping people. If you pour money on problems they usually get bigger. When someone voluntarily gives up something to help another, even if it's not really a sacrifice, the giver is blessed with the good feeling. The receiver is also blessed, both with the actual gift and with the knowledge that someone out there cares. Its a form of love by proxy and at least some of the time it works. The government takes the money by force and gives it out with the message that you are only receiving what you are entitled to as a human being. How is anyone surprised when this fosters dependency? What a terrible message to send to a people who take pride in self reliance. Government also runs inefficiently. Beyond just the scandalous boondoggles we read about all the time, they will waste an enormous amounts of the money designated to charity on unionized labor instead of using volunteer labor. They'll pay for buildings instead of using donated space. They'll shun gifts of unneeded clothes and furniture because they need raw cash. This will eat up a giant part of our economy and less help than ever will flow to the people who need it most.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Excuse Eradicators 3

#3 I call, "You can write faster than you think."

3. The Poetry of Speed
Transcendence-Perfection by Sri Chinmoy

Before his death in 2007, Indian spiritual master Sri Chinmoy wrote at least 1,000 books, 20,000 songs, and 115,000 poems. Some he penned in his mother tongue, Bengali, and some in his second language, English. His poems won numerous awards and inspired countless writers and musicians. And while Sri Chinmoy was clearly a fast writer, he was never as quick as on November 1, 1975, when he wrote Transcendence-Perfection, a collection of 843 poems—all written in 24 hours.


How was Sri Chinmoy so prolific? He believed the key was meditation. As he once explained, “The outer mind is like the surface of the sea. On the surface, the sea is full of waves and surges … But when we dive deep below, the same sea is all peace, calmness and quiet, and there we find the source of creativity.”



Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/76496#ixzz1slg543TH
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Monday, May 14, 2012

What patients say during colonoscopies

1. 'Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before. 2. 'Find Amelia Earhart yet?' 3. 'Can you hear me NOW?' 4. 'Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?' 5. 'You know, in Arkansas ,we're now legally married.' 6. 'Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?' 7. 'You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...' 8. 'Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!' 9. 'If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit! 10. 'Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.' 11. 'You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?' 12. 'God, now I know why I am not gay.' And the best one of all... 13. 'Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up here?'

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Excuse Eradicators 2

#2 I call, "You think you've got writing paralysis."

2. The Tale Told in the Blink of an Eye
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Many authors have struggled through illness and injury to write their masterpieces, but none more so than Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor-in-chief of French fashion magazine Elle. In 1995, at the age of 43, Bauby suffered a major stroke and slipped into a coma. He regained consciousness two days later, but his entire body—with the exception of his left eyelid—was paralyzed.

Still, Bauby was determined to write. Using only his lucid mind and one eye, he began working on his memoir, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Each night, he’d lie awake editing and re-editing the story in his mind, memorizing every paragraph as he hoped to relay it. By day, his transcriber would recite the alphabet to him over and over. When she reached a letter Bauby desired, he’d wink. Each word took about two minutes to produce, and during the course of a year, Bauby managed to tell his story of life in paralysis. His moving and often funny prose won critical acclaim, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly became a bestseller throughout Europe. Sadly, Bauby died of pneumonia in 1997, soon after the first edition was published in France. He missed not only the English translation, but also the award-winning film adaptation released in 2007.



Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/76496#ixzz1slfIWb5G
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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Inspirational Video

Because sometimes you need to remember what it's all about. Fight when you don't think you can anymore. Never give up. Never quit.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hysterical Timing


These pics were taken at exactly the right moment.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Adventure Within

I've occasionally indulged my love of inner Adventure on this blog. I truly believe the most frightening, most breathtaking, most profitable adventure lies within the human being not outside. The ultimate expression of adventure is that transcendent moment when the beauty of nature, or the wildness of a creature, reaches inside our chests and touches something that makes us come alive. It's the bracing chill of freshly melted snow pack. It's the touch of spring sunshine on our skin. The smell of fresh cut grass or BBQ. These are the moments that speak to something bigger than the daily grind.

My buddy Sam writes a blog about such things and I recommend it every chance I get. http://beliefsoftheheart.com/2012/04/03/hearing-god-and-reflection/

In this installment he's talking about hearing from God in prayerful reflection. Good stuff and very informative. As I try to highlight fun things here on this blog, I also want to speak to the 3 levels of adventure--from casual to critical. The most critical adventure is the journey into you're own heart. When you find your heart, you will discover how to live as a complete person. You will gain the power to withstand all that life throws at you. I'll try to post a recommended reading list to start you on your journey and I'm always available to encourage you. Take the trip inside.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I flip'n love archery

So I started shooting the bow when I was 7 and shot a lot into my mid 20's. I spent 7 summers teaching archery in OR, WA, and AK. I have shot many kinds of bows from compound to longbows. I wish I'd kept up with it. I have made myself a commitment to shoot more this summer. I'm also going to sell my first novel, "Suffering Rancor" at the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival. Feel free to come down and join me.

Here's some really cool vids for your entertainment. As always, every effort was made to select the nerdiest stuff I could find.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Survival stuff...part 19?

If you're not familiar with the show duel survival, it's a great show. The hosts were both chosen because they'd already cultivated a following on the net. Here's one of the hosts in his original environment with a genius idea for modding a slingshot.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hiking Light

Weight is an issue on long trecks. Here's a good sight for information and a video that explains what they are about.

(Note: I don't get sponsored by any of the sites I recommend. I'm as likely to recommend a site by someone I've never met as by a close friend. It's all about performance.)



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Music Around the World

I've observed 3 keys to success in most industries:

1. Have Talent
2. Be smoking hot
3. Don't be ugly

These may seem obvious, but they are very true. If you don't have #2 you'd better be very talented, and if you do have #3 you'd better be the best that ever lived at it. It's not a very nice reality, but I can assure you it holds true.



Monday, April 30, 2012

Couple Tracks by Acoustic Alchemy





In the world music tour this counts as my British contribution.

Getting Acclimated

This new blogger composer is something to get used to. Anyway, here's a simple post to get my feet wet. I had a phone call today from a buddy. It was good to hear from him but annoying at the same time. I was deep in thought on projects I've had to put off over and over again, when the phone rang. He was on a long drive and taking advantage of the chance to catch up. The problem was he asked what people always ask when they haven't seen you in a couple weeks/months--how's it going? Seems like an innocent question doesn't it? Well my close friends and I are hyper honest with each other. We've shared high times and disasters. I try to be forth coming with people but lately it doesn't feel like anything is going on. Everyone knows there's always something going on so when you say, "nothing," my friends always push for something. Like I'm hiding something. It's awkward because of course something is going on. There are a dozen small but significant steps happening in my life at any given time, but that doesn't feel like the kind of thing you tell someone over the phone. I'm not a phone talker on a good day. So it ends up being awkward. On two fronts really. One I feel annoyed with myself because I don't have anything exciting to share and two I don't feel like recounting all the tiny things that are going on over the phone. If I am going to give a rundown of the small stuff I'd rather type it here or on Facebook and then refer people to that. It sounds strange maybe. Most people don't face this because when they tell their friends everything is fine their friends drop it and get on to their good news. To make matters worse most of my news is non-news. My best friend from grade school didn't get rich and give me my dream job...yet. My new neighbors are driving us nuts stomping around upstairs so my roommate and I drove to Silverton, OR to check out a cheap place to live for the summer and put in applications down there. It might have been a nice change of pace for a few months, but the place to stay fell through and my roommate got a new job that'll keep her up here anyway. So it all worked out. See what I mean? It's not that nothing's going on, it's just that theirs nothing to report--especially when I'm deep into finally cleaning up my hard drive. So now that you've heard me rant...here's a really cool site I stumbled on as your reward. Hope you like it! http://xaxor.com/funny-pics/39562-funny-smart-tips-to-make-life-easier.html

Sunday, April 29, 2012

DYI Herb Garden


This I thought was a clever, easy way to put an herb garden in your window sill or wherever.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Success



It won't surprise anyone that I really resonate with Tony Robbins. I also dig TED talks. When the two come together you know I'm going to post it. ;) maybe I have before, but this one has got to be seen.



If you haven't had a chance to watch Breakthrough yet, it is a must watch. Will I be posting some of my own ideas on success? Absolutely, but I can think of no better way to introduce the topic than watching a master at work. I'm writing a book on organizing and prioritizing life from inside out and I wish I could say it's ready to launch but in I'm still drafting. Soon though, you will be seeing a devotional book entitled, "On Becoming a Man." It's the first in a serious I call "Be, Do, Have." More on that soon.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cool Tree House


I always wanted to live in a cool tree house. When my dad took me to Disneyland, age 13, I spent most of the day on the island going through the Swiss Family Robinson tree house. I have some photos but they are the "old" kind, not digital, for you kids out there. So I'll just look back and reminisce when I see photos like this one.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lucky shots--Near Misses

It's been awhile since I posted one of these. It's hard to find one that doesn't contain obviously faked video among the legit ones. I also don't post the ones with people intentionally laying on the tracks and letting a train go over them. It doesn't count in my book, and its really a dumb thing to do.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dresden Musical Building

I don't exactly here music It mostly just makes me need to pee...still I have to give them props for doing something unique.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Genius Idea

About 3 seconds after someone decided to put a digital camera on a cell phone, someone else should have thought of the Mangifi by Arcturus labs. This is a sharp idea carried out well.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Container Homes



I love the idea of container homes. I've been onto this idea for years, but recently the price of shipping containers has gone through the roof. It turns out a US company is taken my idea an done it well. Their manufacturing is in China, and their probably soaking up all the surplus containers.

While these guys I covered before were exploiting the cheap modular nature of shipping container homes to build low income housing today's link is exploiting the portability of shipping containers to build homes in remote locations.

http://www.gizmag.com/shipping-container-house/22129/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=1c88b1c718-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fun with English



Ran across these and thought of you all...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tax Day

Music to Sooth

I think I've put Lene Marlin up here before, but it's been awhile so here's a couple worth a listen.



Monday, April 16, 2012

Bad Teachers

I was talking to a teacher this week and the topic of bad teachers came up. I'm pretty passionate about the topic as I've had some really awful ones. Anyway, I thought I'd blog about it. I realized before I can get into what makes a teacher bad, and there's more than one kind of bad, I need to frame my thoughts on bureaucracy.

Bureaucrat wasn't always the curse word it has become. Back in the very beginnings of the industrial revolution you had a small minority of people with collage degrees or professional certification (doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.) and another class of tradesmen who learned their craft through apprenticeship (farmers, bakers, etc.). Then everyone else was a laborer. With the rise of factories the amount of paperwork generated required a new bread of creature. There were trained clerks of course, but there was a need for people understood the work being done by workers and could shuffle the correlating paperwork. With the notion of scientific management came the birth of the bureaucrat.

As time passed certain characteristics of bureaucracy emerged:
1. Anyone could do it as long as they stuck it out long enough to specialize in the task of shuffling that type of paperwork.
2. Because of the investment in time it took to train a good bureaucrat you didn't fire them without a good reason.
3. Conversely, because of the time investment to train a good bureaucrat you didn't promote them out of their spot either.

The reverse logic of bureaucracy:
4. Because of #1 and #2 above job security for a bureaucrat comes from having complicated paperwork to shuffle that no one else understands.
5. Because of #3 above, the only path to promotion is:
a. stay in your job a long time
b. create problems so complex you need more bureaucrats beneath you to manage the problem.

In short, with bureaucrats knowledge is power. Bureaucrat A can't make Bureaucratic B do his job because of #1 above. But if Bureaucrat B needs something from Bureaucrat A he can manipulate B into doing what he wants. Now this is the exact opposite of a healthy working environment. But its how government and large corporations work.

So what does this have to do with Teachers? Well even with the heavy involvement of government in schools you'd still think it wouldn't penetrate all the way out to teachers. Apparently it does because I can't think of another reason why teachers would work so hard to make the information at the heart of a course so difficult for students to learn.

Type 2 Bad Teachers
The 2nd type of bad teacher is the type of teacher that actively prevents learning. People want to learn. We enjoy it. Especially when we are young. I actually think our desire to gossip is a warped form of our desire to learn things we don't know yet and teach those things to others. Seriously, students want to learn.

Wait! What happened to type 1 bad teachers? Well Type 1's are just not good at it. They either don't understand the information themselves and shouldn't be teaching it, or they don't know how to organize it in a fashion that students can assimilate. Type 1's can be called incompetent, which is a sin, but not really malevolent.

When I'm talking about bad teachers I'm starting with Type 2's. The kind that, through some flaw of personality, actively hide information of the course from the pupil. They use these techniques to do it:
1. Fail to explain the material
2. Focus exclusively on unimportant and uninteresting information
3. Give assignments from the reading (which is always poorly written) and never lecture at all.

Type 3 Teachers (abusive)
Even though the bureaucratic teacher actively hides information from the students they still aren't the worst kind of teacher. The worst kind are the type 3's. These teachers don't hoard information to feel powerful, the hoard it to put the student under them.

You might think I'm exaggerating but there are more Type 3's than you think. Think back to your school experiences and see if these tactics sound familiar:
1. Test over information that wasn't in the reading or lecture
2. Punish entire class because of the actions of a student so the class will censure the student for them.
3. Never answers policy questions to the group, only one on one. (guess why they need to be alone.)
4. Can't be nailed down on policy. Changes student syllabus throughout the term.
5. Applies rules unequally.
6. Does everything the bureaucratic teacher does as well
7. Wants work outside of class to get an A
8. Verbally discourages or disparages students

I've had a few teachers exhibit some of these behaviors but I've had two at the collage level who exhibited all 8. There are sociopaths out there, but the ones that work there way into government, law enforcement, and education tend to be the most destructive. Students don't always know how to express their pain. They can't always give you actionable behaviors to record a pattern of abuse. We need to listen, carefully to nebulous terms like "bad" and ask questions like, "bad in what way?"

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Burn Out!

I'm not immune to burn out. In fact I get both kinds of burn out. Here's an article that does a great job of describing and explaining one type of burn out. Don't get confused when they use two definitions to describe their type of burn out. I have another type of burn out I'll explain here soon.

Mind tools also has a great self test to find out if you might be suffering from Type 1 burnout. You'd think you'd know when your burnt out but you might be long before you realize it. Like a marriage, the magic can be gone before the arguments really set in.

Type 2 Burn Out is the kind we see from Sherlock Holmes. It's burned out on not having a challenge. The mind tools article above hints at this a bit when recommending ways to avoid burn out. Suggestion #1 and #4 seem to suggest that part of burning out is finding meaning in what you do or discovering what you're made of. These are great for treating both types of Burn Out.

I think there are several things that will treat either type of burn out. I call it seeking adventure. Let me paint a picture for you:

A man sits alone in a holding cell. His hair is disheveled, his clothes are torn and dirty, and there's a tissue in his nose to staunch the bleeding from a hit he took that day. He leans back to let light from a small window illuminate his face, but his blood shot eyes are out of tears.

How did he get there? What will happen next? You tell me. Will his pregnant wife come to bail him out? Will the real bank robber be caught, but only after he's broken out of prison by the other robbers wanting to know where he hid the loot? The real question is--what sort of story is this. If we view our burn out as part of a larger story, the story of our life, what are we living? A tragedy? A comedy? Is what you face now just an inciting incident to spin your life in a whole new direction?

I encourage everyone to frame their lives as an adventure. It can radically change how we view things like burn out.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Living in the Future part 2

What conversation about living in the future would be complete without a mention of the tricorder project? It has given rise to some awesome attempts at creating a working tricorder, such as http://www.gizmag.com/jansen-tricorder-project/22019/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=777d5a65fe-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email

or this one http://www.gizmag.com/scanadu-developing-medical-tricorder/20974/

Just the fact that we have a funded movement attempting to invent tricorders makes me proud.

A Bit of Fun About Dating

I ran across this site recommending things to disclose on a first date. I got to wondering what people think of the idea. Should you just get everything out there as best you can? I've always favored letting conversation develop organically.

What do you think? http://www.howaboutwe.com/date-report/tell-your-girlfriend-boyfriend/?utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=7+Signs+It%E2%80%99s+Just+a+Hookup%3B+10+Tips+for+Dating+a+Coworker%3B+15+Fixes+for+Common+Sex+Problems+%26+more&utm_campaign=all+4_13_12&utm_term=10+Things+You+Need+to+Be+Upfront+About+When+Dating+Someone+New#

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thoughts on First Draft

Writing a first draft can be challenging, especially for new writers. Here's another article from about.com http://fictionwriting.about.com/b/2012/03/26/hammering-out-that-first-draft.htm?nl=1 on the topic with some good suggestions. I'm going to add one of my own. Drafting a novel is not actually the first phase. The phases of writing a novel are these:

1. Inspirations
2. Composting
3. Drafting
4. Revising
5. Editing

When writers talk about there process they may neglect to mention one or more of these phases and here's why. You can combine many of these phases together. For example Inspiration and Composting happen entirely in your head. Writers will cycle back and forth from inspiring thought to letting it sit and germinate and then get another brilliant flash. You may get an idea for a character while driving to work and then discover a plot while on the phone to a friend.

Most writers will caution you against revising or editing while you are drafting, but people do it. It's just as deadly sometimes, to dream and compost while drafting. It's usually not such a big deal to get an idea or dwell on it while drafting, but it's far better to do it before you sit down to write. For one thing you are going to change your mind about things through out the drafting process no matter what, but you'll have a much better time of it if you've already flashed on the major aspects of your novel, and then moved them around in your head. Some people get a lot of use out of an outline. A lot of us don't use a formal outline, and of those who do most won't actually stick to it all the way through, but it's an option.

So the real tough thing about drafting your manuscript is if you haven't had very much inspiration and haven't daydreamed about it, and then as you draft you also try to go back and revise the things you're going to change, as well as fixing your typos, misspellings, etc. Your doing 5 steps all at once. It's like getting a good idea for how to start a novel and then trying to write a perfect final draft the fist time. Surprise! That's going to take you forever.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Unknown Norwegen Gal covers a song well

Before we leave Norway we need to check out a couple more artists. This one isn't a pro she just rocks.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Outside the cubical thinking


Ok, so I talk a lot about feet and shoes. No its not a fetish. Business in America, and around the world really, has lost a lot of its innovation. Big business won't invest in something unless there's a 90% chance that they'll make their money back plus 20%. The reason is they run so inefficiently they have to do that just to move the stock price up a tad and keep from getting bought out. European socialist countries started backing their big corporations so that they could be more competitive globally through using economies of scale.

Anyway, America was forced to do likewise or risk having all US corps bought out by foreign interests. Well the jokes on us, because once a corp goes international it generally has very little loyalty to the nation that birthed it. The loser in all this is small business and that's where we all lose. Small business runs efficiently, therefore on a narrower margins. Small business will often thrive in bad economies although you couldn't prove it now, because big business is given bail out money to buy up smaller competitors and close them down. Government also loves to tax small business to pay for tax breaks it gives companies like GE. GE needs the money so they can contribute to the Obama campaign. It's all a big circle...ok back to shoes.

The problem with big business is a lack of creativity they simply don't do a good job of R and D anymore. They fail to see the opportunities in the problems they face (because they aren't forced to face them anymore). I was speaking with a young grey-hat the other day and was surprised to hear him point out that its easier to steal movies than to buy them. I thought about it and its true. Hollywood is so busy sueing everyone they haven't figured out a way to bring there product to market that isn't a buggy hassle.

Well not everyone is stuck in the cubical mentality. Once in awhile someone steps outside and thinks, "I bet there's a customer who's needs aren't being met." In shoes this means companies like Vibram or these guys http://www.gizmag.com/split-toed-suction-cup-shoes/21808/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=777d5a65fe-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Risk Factor

I just watched a great film. It was quirky but fun, just like I like. It was called "The Darwin Awards," starring a whole host of people.

Thing about this movie is that it reminded me of something I believe in very strongly--I believe that people need risk. Men especially. It's like a vitamin. Now their are false adventures, but mainly its about backing down or not seeking out adventures. Life is fraught with risks of all natures. You can't actually eliminate all of it, but you can live your entire life attempting to mitigate it. If you do that, you more than miss out on life, you begin to walk a path that will take you really negative places.

Certain things in life are like that, like vitamins. Relationship is another one. If you get close to people you risk getting hurt but if you don't...You have to get a certain amount of relationship to grow as a human being--be a well rounded person. In that same way you need risk. Risk is good for you when channeled well. Nearly every aboriginal culture has a rite of passage that involves some level of risk, often life threatening risk.

The transition from boy to man is brought on by dealing with risk. In our very young US culture we hardly have any rights of passage, many of the ones we do have involve risk like getting a drivers licence (you could crash and die). Many others like being able to smoke or strip dance, may not be so positive. Interestingly, they still involve risk, but of something that is likely to take you out down the road, after a lifetime of reduced capacity. Positive risks aren't easy to define but they don't look like that.

There are 3 levels of adventure. Level 1 adventures are casual. Level one's are like rafting, or a weekend survival camping trip. Level 2 are personal, like getting engaged. Level 3 are the major risks in life, life responding to a mugger or leaving your job to join the mission field. You can't always control when you're going to get a level 2 or 3 risk opportunity, but the only way to prepare to handle them is to accept that they are going to happen and work you way up to it. It's also important to get in a few casual adventures where you can to keep in practice. If you don't, your need for adventure and risk will push you into doing counterfeit adventures like drinking away your paycheck or having an affair.

For more on risk and adventure I recommend the entire line up of books by John Eldgredge found here. To read a fun-filled adventure I can recommend Suffering Rancor by Andy Bunch. (See what I did there? ;)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Living in the Future

It occurred to me just the other day, that I'm living in the future. It may be the present for the teenagers running about, but for me, it's the future. I'm really impressed by a lot of the gadgetry we've managed to come up with, but I also feel a little ripped off. Where's my personal jet pack?

We at the very least they should be able to make me a flying car...then again since their are roughly $7,000 in safety features built into a car before they spend a dime on any other design features it would take a miracle to make a car that also meets FAA standards. ($7K, explains why cars are so expensive and still don't have any headroom.)

We here are a couple flying cars just to show that imagination is not actually dead in the auto industry.

http://www.gizmag.com/pal-v-flying-car/22032/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=777d5a65fe-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email



This one I like a little better. I think their will be a few 1st world enthusiasts who would buy a flying car but most users will be missionaries and flying doctors. This second one seems like a better design for that purpose and I believe its connected to the son of Nate Saint, one of the missionaries killed in 1956 by Ecuadorean villagers.



This is the flying car that's perhaps closest to production. http://www.gizmag.com/terrafugia-prototype-first-flight/22047/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=3bb0ba5f39-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Faith

It's a big word. It can refer to something people have in a particular instance, like having faith that everything will turn out. It can also mean the denomination someone hails from, as in this is what I believe. We are really referring to religion in that use of the word. I have a very strong faith, which surprises a lot of people, because I'm one of the least religious people you'll meet. At least I hope I'm not religious at all.

When you believe in something, it effects your life. You will make certain decisions based on your beliefs. We all walk out our faith, to borrow a term from Christianity. I can hear my atheist friends getting ready to argue, but they need to chill. Believing their is no God is an act of faith. It's a belief system that effects how they live. I believe in God, but in a very rebellious manor. I actually dare to think that he likes me, and that He's a likable guy. This is enough to set me outside most mainstream religion and yet it won't get me accepted by the atheists either. I'm fine with that. I don't need the affirmation of either group.

When the way we walk out our faith needs to mesh with those around us we either conflict with them or mesh with them. This is the force that causes Christians, who are called to be one body, to form denominational groups so they can avoid the appearance of conflict. I'll get off the topic soon, I just want to explain that I'm not anti-God, but I can be very sacrilegious.

When I say I'm outside these groups, I don't mean to say I'm alone. Here's a couple places to look for some good outside the box views on topics of faith and religion.

http://www.nakedpastor.com/2012/04/04/pastor-dominatrix/

http://www.sheepcomics.com/strips/SheepHist10/SheepHist10.htm

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Around the World in Music

I've been into international music for some time. There are a lot of awesome musicians out there. I'll try to post them as I find them. Here's a great one to start off with.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Clever DIY camper bed

Here's an instructable for people with a truck and canopy. Very well done. makes me wish I hadn't sold my truck...again.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Convert-Your-Truck-into-a-Camper/

I've covered this one before but it was also interesting.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Roof-top-car-camper/

Whereas this would be the Cadillac version
http://www.instructables.com/id/Homebuilt-Camper-Trailer/

And this for the minimalist
http://www.instructables.com/id/Bivy-Sack/

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Here's a Tip on Organizing

This is interesting. I'm passionate about organizing, which is to say I'm good at it. This is the latest thing I've stumbled across. I had this idea awhile back but of course I wanted to make a custom flat surface. This is much easier and cheaper. I'll have to try it.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Managing-limited-desktop-space-and-multiple-projec/

My favorite organizing systems so far is a combination of July Morgenstern's organizing from the inside out, and David Allen's Getting Things Done system. I actually need to get back to the GTD thing again. I was doing it well for awhile but needed to computerize it and just never got time to do that. Well, this is the year to succeed despite all excuses.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A quick invite to comment

I just wanted to remind everyone to go ahead and comment here. You can also contact me through my FB fanpage. I look forward to hearing from you.

NorWesCon

I've been needing to get back to the topic of writing. Tomorrow I'm headed out to NorWesCon and that gives me the perfect excuse. NorWesCon is a SciFi/Fantasy convention that happens April 5-8 in SeaTac, WA. A group I helped found, Northwest Independent Writers Association (NIWA), will be selling our books in the dealer room. We'll also have a fan table in the lobby, which is where I'll be spending much of my weekend I bet. This is a great convention and a whole lot of fun. I'd love to see all of you there.

On the topic of writing: here are some resources that writers should check out.
1) go to about.com and sign up for the fiction writing newsletter. It's chock full of cool stuff like this article about writing fast. It's important to write as fast and as much as you can because there really isn't the difference in quality that you imagine there will be. You're going to fix it all in the revision anyway.

2) on the topic of speed: National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is an event put on by the office of letters and light. Founder Chris Baty has started a movement of writing 50k words in the month of November. April is script frenzy, which is also worth checking out.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wash your clothes on the go

I have a beef with washing machines. I like them I just don't think we design them for modern use. The modern washing machine is designed for the 1950's house wife. You have two separate units and you must move the cloths between them. This allows you to do two loads at once, in theory. So if you are going to be home all day and you have a family's worth of laundry to do, only the first and last load are inefficient (running only 1 machine at a time).

My idea would be an all in one washer/dryer. I know they have them for RVs, but I mean a full size one in the home. You put a load in before work and it washes and drys. Then when you get home you put in another load and it washes and drys. Probably could put one in over night as well. That's about all the time the average person has to check on laundry these days. Those same 3 checkings in my system would be 3 loads done. In the current system would result in 3 half loads at least one of which would have to be redone. Therefore everyone just does there laundry on the weekend. I think it's much better to do it throughout the week, without having to think about.

Here's a newish invention for doing your laundry on the road while traveling.

Monday, April 2, 2012

71 mpg

I'm frequently commenting on the horrid state of econuts in America. What's got my goat now is hybrid cars. I'm not anti-hybrid completely, my dad designed a hybrid in the late 70's with 4 wheel drive, and 4 wheel steering. My dad was an inventor and a mad genius. He envisioned a car with 4 induction electric motors, 1 over each tire and a super efficient 2 cycle gas engine to keep the batteries topped off. His car actually recharged the batteries when you hit the brakes. Anyway, he abandoned the project because gas prices weren't quite bad enough to get people to buy it AND because you've got to mine the lithium for the batteries so its really not that eco-friendly anyway.

Modern hybrids are ridiculous. They don't actually get better gas mileage than a standard car. I call that a failure. Then theirs the all electric vehicles with 100 mile range. Completely impractical. Say you want to go 105 miles. You've got to stop and charge your car for 8 hours. With power rates being what they are you actually pay more per mile.

Everytime I turn around someones talking about how smart they are in Europe, well for a change I agree. Europe has been investing in clean diesel for a long time and they are very close to making it. Ford now has a new Fiesta that goes 71 mpg. Can you get it in the US...nope. Econuts have green washed our economy. Pop culture environmentalism says hybrids are the way to go so you don't get to have the option of something that works.

I have a dream folks, that one day the news media will stop propgandizing for the left and cover what's really out there that's news worthy.

http://www.gizmag.com/ford-fiesta-econetic-technology/21943/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=4483461352-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email

Perhaps the answer is to make the car small. Here's a couple ideas from MIT I do think are ingenious.



The smallest car ever made for production was the P50 which originally sold for just over $300. The Peel Company will be releasing replicas of the classic soon, but thanks to the unionized workers and massive safety restrictions, and just plain greed on behalf of automakers it will now sell for $12,676.

http://www.gizmag.com/ford-fiesta-econetic-technology/21943/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=4483461352-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email



And here's an alternate fuel for you:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Silverton, OR. Book Singing

A quick thanks to everyone who came out and met with our crazy NIWA folks. The event went well. Here's a blog about it. now if only I wasn't hideously bad at being photographed.

A new/old take on health

It's that time of year again, when I become convicted that I must do something about my health. I may have mentioned before, that a lifetime of chubbiness that never really slowed me down has become a real unhealthiness. It's a combination of my age and a stressful job I had (thank you Vancouver Housing Authority for helping me gain 70lbs of fat in 2.5 years--you suck).

So, earlier this year I tried and loved the juice fast thing (aka reboot diet). I watched the movie, "fat sick and nearly dead" and it really impressed me. So why would I not just try that again? Well it's a little expensive. Not the diet itself. That guy made everything basically free and as near as I can tell he doesn't even make anything of selling juicers. Somehow eating that many veggies adds up. Anyway, there's a second factor.

I'm a big fan of the two factor theory. There's usually a gas pedal and a brake pedal in life. If your car won't go very fast it could be that you aren't stepping on the gas or it could be that you've got the brake on. In order for a diet to be effective it needs to work AND in needs to be doable. To satisfy both of those factors, despite all the people who will argue that weight loss is a simple matter of burning more calories than you take it, you need a diet that is effective for your body and your mind. There was a big labor factor in juicing. I was hard to do for more than 3 days. I need something I can do for longer, like 90 days.

My friend Pam inspired me to chronicle my search for a diet and my attempts. She's doing something very similar. The next 10 days are going to be insanely busy for me, but I'm going to start anyway. I can't put it off any longer.

The diet I'm selecting, which is recommended to me by my friend Adam, will be the Paleodiet. I know virtually nothing about it, accept it's very controversial and my instincts tell me that a caveman diet will work for both my body and my mind.

I'm not a believer in cavemen living thousands of years ago, in fact I don't think the earth would take several million years to cool, so we haven't had hundreds of billions of years to "evolve" into the complicated beings we are today. But I do think humans were hunter/gatherer for many years and that such a lifestyle is likely to be more healthy than the genetically modified, over processed, chemical-laden, radiated convenience foods we eat now. One thing the reboot diet taught me, perhaps unintentionally, was that smelling food cooking made it taste better AND I ate less of it when it came. If that one simple factor can be so impactful on my apatite, I could be missing tons of little secrets that I actually knew when I was a kid but forgot as I became a "responsible" brick in the wall.

In addition to the caveman diet, I'm going to up the convenience factor by doing the body by Vi thing. I'm going to eat meal replacement shakes whenever I'm too busy to actually make a meal.

I'll dig into it more soon, but my research has already netted me a cool website called, "Nerd Fitness" which is a good sign. But I'm going to take it a step further, still.

I find that I personally have better results when I A) tell people I'm doing it (which is where you come it) and B) I immerse myself in it. So I'm going to also begin other aspects of hunter/gatherer life. I'm going to start walking more everyday. I'm also going to start sleeping much earlier and rising much earlier (which is a freakish thing for me as you know). I've already blogged about sleeping twice a night, I'd really like to try it. My guess is that my body will go into such a shock from the rising with the sun thing that I won't notice the screwy diet. Oh and I'm also going to start shooting the bow more, I already started that today.

So these are my plans. I hope you'll join me on my crazy adventure. I haven't started out yet. I've got a little more planning to do, but it's going to happen...soon...

Record Setting Film Maker


So...April 1st. I should pull a prank, but I have the opportunity to post a story I think sounds like an April fools joke. James Cameron, THE James Cameron has set the record for the deepest solo dive. I don't know why, but it sounds like I'm making it up, huh? James Cameron's name sounds like a made up name to me. A film maker named Cameron.

Anyway, it's true. Check out the news stories below. This is a good opportunity to talk about the film I love to hate, 8mm. That movie is one I'm glad I saw, I'll never watch again, and I wish I could recommend (sometimes I do). It is not a good date movie for you Christian boys and girls out there. It is, however, a perfect example of the real power in movies. As we watch the main character descend into the abyss of hard core pornography for the purpose of investigating a young girls murder we witness him becoming increasingly desensitized to the sex and violence around him. As we discover the fate of the girl we start to really want him to become the right hand of revenge.

Now in Hollywood no matter how evil our bad guy there are ways in which our good guy can end him without really becoming bad himself. They struggle over a gun, they struggle and the bad guy is knocked back striking his head or becoming impaled on a convenient sharp object, they struggle and the bad guy is pitched from a roof. My personal favorite is they struggle and the bad guy is pitched from the roof and lands on the convenient impaling object. If and only if the good guy is a police officer, then the good guy can just shoot the bad guy in self defense or to protect a hostage. But is rare when a film ends with the good guy just murdering the bad guy. Thanks to some brilliant acting on the part of the cast, lead by Nicolas Cage, and brilliant film making on the part of James Cameron we wouldn't care if the hero stabbed the villain in the back while he slept, we just want that bastard dead.

At it's core, 8mm is a movie that documents the descent of the human soul into depravity, and it take you, viewer with it. It inspires a sort of temporary insanity that when the film ends your heart back lashes against. Sort of like the first time you take a drink of booze after watching Leaving Las Vegas. The movie is ultimately redemptive but...

I know porn is in vogue right now, and I'll seem like an old conservative for saying I'm not a fan, but I've had a real life 8mm type experience. I took on a project a few years ago, ghost writing a book on how to protect kids from child molesters. It's an issue you'd think people are talking about, but you'd be surprised. Child molestation is extremely prevalent and there's very little research into understanding it. In fact most people have written it off as incurable and content themselves with the delusion that it's rare. I did 1100 hours of research for the book, and I can assure you that there is a connection between garden variety porn and child victimization. I had to shelve the project because I just couldn't do it anymore. All I found were more questions. No one seemed to have any answers, they just had this 8mm-like fantasy of taking out the villains.

Of course most molesters were molested themselves, and 80% of victims know and trust their abuser, 1 in 4 girls has been abused and 1 in 5 boys...and the statistics get worse from there. It's a topic that needs more attention and one day soon I'll finish that book. In the mean time, my hats off to James Cameron for his wild adventure to the depth of the ocean floor and for his insane but effective look into the depravities of the unredeemed human soul.

If you are or know someone who is struggling as a result of childhood molestation there are resources available. Here is one of the best. If you are a young person and need someone to talk to try contacting Dare to Live. The most important thing is that you keep telling until someone listens.

http://www.gizmag.com/cameron-deepest-solo-dive/21940/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=4483461352-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email

http://www.nature.com/news/james-cameron-returns-from-the-deep-1.10332

ARGH! ATTN: After all that I realized that 8mm was directed by Joel Schumacher. April Fools after all, eh?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Shoe Rants and Raves


So the topic of shoes is really close to my heart. My left foot is a half size shorter than my right foot, but its a half size wider. Both my feet are shaped like a ducks. I seriously have feet that are 5 E's wide...well the right ones 5 E's. I've had trouble finding shoes that fit my entire life. Of course its a blessing in someways, for one thing I think it started me down the road of thinking outside the box. I wondered why, if there were customers wanting to buy shoes in my size, why no one was making them. It's a failure on the part of business in America today, and of course the consumer always shares in the blame.

If Temperance Brenen were here she could determine my nationality by the freaky shape of my feet (which is Pictish, BTW). How? Well as it turns out there's less then ten basic shapes of foot. It makes sense, right, there's a "Roman" nose, why wouldn't there be a "Roman" foot. Well there is, so do shoe makers design a shoe for the Roman foot? Of course not! Because only a small percentage of us shoe buyers chooses a shoe for comfort and durability. The rest of you pick a shoe because Micheal Jordan said to.

Lets run some numbers on Nike. As of 2006 Nike could manufacture a pare of shoes for $7. They paid factory workers in Indonesia and Viet Nam $1.50 a day (cost of living there is $4.50 a day). The average factory worker is female age 17 to 35 and works around 500 hours of overtime each year. Nike paid Micheal Jordan more than they paid all of the workers at all 6 factories in Indonesia. And to top it all off, do you think you can walk into a store with feet the size of Mr. Jordan's and buy a pare of shoes that fit? Nope! They only really sell a small range of sizes. In other industries this is called false advertizing, but...

At the extreme far end of the spectrum is the San Antonio Shoe Company. SAS designs, manufactures and sell entirely in the US. You can't even buy their shoes online because they think you should actually get your feet measured before buying a shoe. I own a pare and they are expensive, BUT, they look as good as new and they are 3 full years old. I think I can probably get 5 years out of them which means they are actually cheaper per year than Air Jordan's, which only last about a year.

Ultimately the problem is far greater than sweat shops and consumerism. In a life time we'll walk the equivalent of circling the globe 3 times. Each step can take our back out of line, cause knee and hip joint wear, or worse it hurts so bad we don't walk, which is a very natural, cheap and effective way to stay healthy. You can now have a custom home built but it costs almost as much to get a custom pare of shoes built.

The ultimate answer may be here soon, but in the mean time buy SAS shoes.

Advice to Writers New to Critiquing

I've been in several writing groups. One of them lasted over two decades. It can be a little nerve wracking to start editing someones writing. I will offer this one piece of philosophy that helped me in critique groups.

At the end of the day you own your writing and I own my critique. I'm offering an opinion based on my experience with reading, writing, sitting through classes and being critiqued. It's still just my opinion and it may not be correct. Treat them as suggestion, but I warn you, a wise writer carefully ways advice before tossing it out. Discerning good advice from bad is a skill we need to cultivate just as much as our writing and editing. In fact, sometimes people just don't get what you wrote. That's fine, not everything can reach everyone.

By the same token when I put my stuff up there for critique, I'm looking for you to help me make it stronger. Take that as an opportunity to gain experience editing. Read my work with your editor glasses on. It will change how you think when you write your next challenge. No one writes a perfect draft. Expect me to make the same mistake I just told you not to make. That's not me being a hypocrite it's just that none of us see the mistakes in our own writing unless we employ a technique to try to see them, and still things will slip through.

Last but not least, tell me what I did right, not just what I did wrong. There's only two kinds of critique I don't like. 1) when they tell me what they think I want to hear. 2) when they trash it for the pure joy of feeling better about themselves. As long as your motive is to make my work stronger, you'll probably succeed.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

More on water

Again I say I'm not an environmentalist. It's just that there are somethings that just make sense. So often it seems like the world is sorted into people who trash the environment and eco-nut whackos that would gladly terminate thousands of jobs to try something that ultimately does more harm than good. I'll probably post some examples in future installments but for now here's some good examples of practical devises.

Grey water recapture systems make sense. Rainwater can be captured and stored for tough times. There's no reason why shower water can't be used to flush toilets or water lawns. Here's a couple links to get the ball rolling.

http://www.instructables.com/id/EMERGENCY-WATER-SUPPLY-more-of-a-long-term-fix-th/

http://www.instructables.com/id/WATER-PURIFICATION-SYSTEM-cheap-and-effective/

Bonus article http://www.gizmag.com/source-universal-tap-adapter/21927/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=4483461352-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Libraries of the World

Here's a link to some pictures of the 20 coolest Libraries in the world. I just wanted to share. Nothing cooler than a library.

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/empowered-health/health/6302498/story.html?tab=PHOT

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tactical Body Armor Anyone?


I want one. I love this stuff.

Have you ever thought about how effective modern football/hockey armor would be in real combat? What would you have to add to it? I should pitch a reality tv show where designers make armor out of what's commercially available. They'd be allowed to modify anything they "bought" by 20% and add another 20% stuff they completely fabricated from scratch. At the end of each episode they'd put the armor through modern warrior type testing to determine stopping power vs reflex to arrive at an overall effectiveness number. I think it would be fascinating. Actually I'm probably thinking of something closer to Deadliest Warrior.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003SHBBLE/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_a6JApb17TTTYB