Tag Archives | suck

So much to say, so much to say…

The empty speech bubble.

Yes I have had so much to say these past few months. Really. Seriously.

I have had many good blog topics pop into my head. I have come across many good blog posts this year that have prodded me to respond either by replying after the post, or posting my own retort on this blog—alas, neither happened. There are many things I can point to and say, “that was the issue,” or “that was in my way,” but basically it comes down to one simple concept.

Time.

The management of time, the use of time, the juggling of time, the lack of time. ( I know that last sentence is a fragment but who cares, it’s my blog). It all boils down to time.

In 2008 the one thing that has sucked for me has been the management of my time. I’ve sucked at it for years, but this past year the chronic disease developed pustules that popped and started oozing goo that was stinky and foul to many people around me. OK, enough of the gross visual examples.

In some respects this may be a considered a ‘New Year’s Resolution’ or whatever—who cares. All I know that time management is something for me to tackle in 2009. I need to work on it and maybe, just maybe I might be able to post some more to this blog.

But really, who cares?

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Getting Through Crappy Work

Going through the Google Reader today and 43Folders had a link to this great video from Ira Glass of This American Life noteriety.

If you make or create anything for a living you should watch this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hidvElQ0xE
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Tactics On Gas Prices

Rack of Gas Pumps

I received an email today relating to subtle techniques to get more “gas” for you gallon that I found interesting. There appears to be some merit to some of what I read. I post it here merely as a share of information. In the interest of full disclosure I do not work for, nor does anyone I know work for, a petroleum company. Furthermore, I edited the original content of the email I received to the essential information.

I paid $3.85 a gallon today (and that is cheap here in Southern California). If you see a dubious fact below, please let me know and I will make edits as needed.

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Information on Fuel (worth reading)

California is presently paying $3.50 – $4.00+ per gallon. Here are some tricks to get more of your money’s worth for every gallon.

Do it in the morning
Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening—your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role.

A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.

Easy on the trigger
When you’re filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some other liquid that goes to your tank becom es vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you’re getting less for your money.

Is the tank half-full, or half-empty?
One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL or HALF EMPTY. The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation. Unlike service stations every truck that is loaded is temperature compensated so that every gallon is actually the exact amount.

Don’t pump with the big boys
Another reminder, if there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up! Most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.

Hope this will help you get the most value for your money.

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Empty Talk Bubbles

Talk Bubble

Not being able to communicate clearly in conversation with people sucks. After returning from my vacation to Mexico and having some time to reflect I can say that not having basic language ability can hamper the full experience.

I travelled with a friend who is fluent in Spanish and when with him for the first 5 days it was no problem. He helped translate when I needed help. However, there was a tint of feeling like I was burdening him with my inability to converse with people. This came to full bearing when meeting his relatives who spoke no English and I speak ‘poquito’ Spanish. I know 2 handfuls of words and that is about it. Those moments with his relatives were an interesting experience. I could tell they wanted to ask me many questions. They did ask some through my friend, but they too were feeling the translator burden. We did manage to go back and forth with some basic questions, but we could not get past the superficial questions.

For the last 4 days of my trip I was solo at the beach. Now being on the beach for a few days with no obligations is a great experience. However, not having your personal translator with you takes the challenge to another level. There were long stretches of time where I was around many people, but I had no conversations with anyone. I am used to being in my office and not communicating with people for long stretches. It’s being around lots of people and not engaging with them that was a bit strange and interesting.

So what do you do? I would suggest bringing a cheap phrase book for whatever country you may be heading to if you are not conversant in the language of choice. I know that when I next return to Mexico I will have that book and I have already subscribed to a couple of the free language podcasts through iTunes.

Last thing I want on my next trip is the empty talk bubble.

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Getting Caught By Perfection

Bubbles

Something I am reminded of every so often is my propensity to dabble in perfectionism. I think we all do it to a certain degree it just depends on what we care about. It is in this ‘dabbling’ that I can sometimes find myself getting pulled into a time-suck–a kind of bubble of perfection. I was reminded of this today when I came across a blog post that talked about the difference between perfection and excellence. I think the author, Nick Rice, has hit the nail on the head.

For me this comes up with regard to any programming I may have to do. It is never that the code does not work properly, that is a given, it works. Rather its making sure that the code is indented and formatted correctly. Spending time on making sure that everything is beautiful. Really who is going to see the underlying code? Some other code monkeys perhaps, but 99.99% of people could care less about that. In fact, they don’t even know about the code under a website. People have other things to worry about rather than the perfectly syntactic code that is providing a lovely web experience. This is just one area that this tendency shows up for me, but there are others. I’m sure if you examine your own habits you can find a few yourself.

So why spend time fretting over the unnecessary? You can do excellent work without driving yourself crazy.

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Enjoy, Learn, Profit

Happy People.

Three things shared with me from friend Steve Barlament the other night at dinner. We were discussing my upcoming marketing campaign for my business and the fact that it will be my first ‘true’ marketing campaign. Everything to date has all been word-of-mouth which has been fine, but the level of success I would like with my business will not be achieved through word-of-mouth. The services of my business and skills I possess are not going to become the next viral wave to hit the Internet. It would be cool if that were the case, but it ain’t going to happen.

When I told Steve about the idea I am proposing for my marketing he said that there are three things that are key to any business endeavor. You need not have all three of these (which is ideal) but we agreed that if you can get 2 of 3 it is a valuable experience.

  1. ENJOY
    You should enjoy what you are doing, right? Otherwise you are toiling away valuable hours of your life on something that sucks–plain and simple. I did say above that having 2 of three of these components is important, but if this one is missing the other two had better be HUGE in scale to make up for this important component.
  2. LEARN
    It is always good to learn something new. Sometimes learning is an intentional experience, other times it shows up on your doorstep gift wrapped or not. In any event learning from what you do is key to advancing your mind, your cause, your life, and the evolution of humans.
  3. PROFIT
    “It’s all about the Hamilton’s baby!” When it comes right down to it, when in business it is about being in the black and making cash money. While we would hope that every hair-brained idea we think of would create profit it just doesn’t happen that way. It is a game of hit and miss.

So, if you can manage to get 2 out of 3 of these with any business initiative you should consider it a success. The level of each component is, of course, open to interpretation. However, when looking back up at the list right now I would love to Enjoy and Profit all the time but we all know that is not going to be the case. One thing is true, if you do nothing at all, you will not have a chance at any of this.

What do you think?

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Labels and Meaning

White Label

We humans are creatures of meaning. Meaning is in all we see and do and if no meaning exists we ask “what does it mean?” We label everything in our lives with meaning. This song is cool, this food is delicious, the weather is delightful, and gee your hair smells terrific.

Labeling is innocent enough until it changes you. Negative labels we tag our lives with can wreak havoc. (Is there some irony that I’m labeling some labels as ‘negative’? Nah!) Think about how many times you might say “I’m having a bad day,” or “this sucks!” The need to label and add meaning in our lives runs rampant and can affect us to our very core. We cannot exist as humans without labels and meaning. But we must acknowledge the power they wield. The labels can begin to convince you that you really are having a bad day, all damn day long! The key to understanding the power of labeling is to be aware when you are using them.

The labels you use can have a powerful psychological impact on you and change your moods and outlook. Next time you say “I’m having a bad day” it will most likely just come out of your mouth–or said in your mind–before you know it. However, after you realize what just happened you should think “is my day really that bad?” Could things be worse?

Be present to the labels and meaning you use in your life.

I wonder do you find yourself labeling with meaning and having it impact your day negatively?

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Happy OneWebDay

Today is the second annual celebration of OneWebDay, a celebration of the Internet. Dubbed on their website as ‘the Earth Day for the Internet the mission of the day is simple “to create, maintain, advance and promote a global day to celebrate online life.” People are encouraged to share how the Internet has impacted their lives because they are responsible for its existence and the quality of its being. Sir Tim Berners-Lee (creator of the World Wide Web) created a video blog to commemorate the day as well. He makes a few points of note in this video message. Namely:

How has the Internet impacted my life?
Well its been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that it has provided me with a path of career change. When I started out of college I only had dreams of graphic design. The World Wide Web just came into existence the summer I graduated from college and would take a few years to begin to collect critical mass. But once I logged onto the web for the first time I knew this medium was for me. So, it has been a blessing by creating a way for me to eek out a living. It has also afforded me and anyone else the ability to do research on any topic for simple knowledge or to help make a decision–for that I love it.
It is also a curse because it is my hobby as well and has been known to literally suck time away from me. I have spent a great deal of time working and playing in the Internet. To put it simply this can, and has, caused time management issues. The good that comes from this experience is reflection on what is important in life. Should I work and surf the Internet right now or spend my time in other ways?

Balance and moderation is key.

Everything counts in large amounts…” – Depeche Mode

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