1. Give advice that matters in one sentence. I got run out of a job I liked once, and while it was happening, a guy stopped me in the hall. Smart guy, but prone to saying too much. I braced myself. I didn’t want to hear it. I needed a white knight, and I knew it wasn’t him. He just sighed and said: When nobody has your back, you gotta move your back. Then he walked away. Best advice I ever got. One sentence.

2. Tell if someone is lying. Everyone has his theory. Pick one, test it. Choose the tells that work for you. I like these: Liars change the subject quickly. Liars look up and to their right when they speak. Liars use fewer contractions. Liars will sometimes stare straight at you and employ a dead face. Liars never touch their chest or heart except self-consciously. Liars place objects between themselves and you during a conversation.

3. Take a photo. Fill the frame.

4. Score a baseball game. Scoring a game is an exercise in ciphering, creating a shorthand of your very own. In this way, it’s a private language as much as a record of the game. The only given is the numbering of the positions and the use of the diamond to express each batter’s progress around the bases. I black out the diamond when a run scores. I mark an RBI with a tally mark in the upper-right-hand corner. Each time you score a game, you pick up on new elements to track: pitch count, balls and strikes, foul balls. It doesn’t matter that this information is available on the Internet in real time. Scoring a game is about bearing witness, expanding your own ability to observe.

5. Name a book that matters. The Catcher in the Rye does not matter. Not really. You gotta read.

6. Know at least one musical group as well as is possible. One guy at your table knows where Cobain was born and who his high school English teacher was. Another guy can argue the elegant extended trope of Liquid Swords with GZA himself. This is how it should be. Music does not demand agreement. Rilo Kiley. Nina Simone. Whitesnake. Fugazi. Otis Redding. Whatever. Choose. Nobody likes a know-it-all, because 1) you can’t know it all and 2) music offers distinct and private lessons. So pick one. Except Rilo Kiley. I heard they broke up.

7. Cook meat somewhere other than the grill. Buy The Way to Cook, by Julia Child. Try roasting. Braising. Broiling. Slow-cooking. Pan searing. Think ragouts, fricassees, stews. All of this will force you to understand the functionality of different cuts. In the end, grilling will be a choice rather than a chore, and your Weber will become a tool rather than a piece of weekend entertainment.

8. Not monopolize the conversation.

9. Write a letter. So easy. So easily forgotten. A five-paragraph structure works pretty well: Tell why you’re writing. Offer details. Ask questions. Give news. Add a specific memory or two. If your handwriting is terrible, type. Always close formally.

10. Buy a suit. Avoid bargains. Know your likes, your dislikes, and what you need it for (work, funerals, court). Squeeze the fabric – if it bounces back with little or no sign of wrinkling, that means it’s good, sturdy material. And tug the buttons gently. If they feel loose or wobbly, that means they’re probably coming off sooner rather than later. The jacket’s shoulder pads are supposed to square with your shoulders; if they droop off or leave dents in the cloth, the jacket’s too big. The jacket sleeves should never meet the wrist any lower than the base of the thumb – if they do, ask to go down a size. Always get fitted.

Check out the rest of the list HERE.


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New Scientist.com had a great article about building your brain (you can do it!). It doesn’t matter how brainy you are or how much education you’ve had – you can still improve and expand your mind. Boosting your mental faculties doesn’t have to mean studying hard or becoming a reclusive book worm. There are lots of tricks, techniques and habits, as well as changes to your lifestyle, diet and behavior that can help you flex your grey matter and get the best out of your brain cells. And here are 11 of them.

  1. Take “Smart Drugs”
  2. Eat right
  3. Take music lessons
  4. Use technology
  5. Get a mental workout
  6. Learn memory methods from the masters
  7. Get a good night’s sleep
  8. Exercise
  9. Learn from the “Nuns Study”
  10. Pay attention
  11. Think positive

Read the entire amazing article HERE.


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It was a good morning this morning. People loved the VBS video that The Weave produced (see below). And after a week of rest in the mountains, my voice did whatever I wanted to (it’s so nice having a rested voice and being able to sing with power).

Here’s the worship set we did (with iTunes links):


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Of all the great DIY projects at this year’s Maker Faire, the one project that really caught my eye involved converting a regular old $60 router into a powerful, highly configurable $600 router. The router has an interesting history, but all you really need to know is that the special sauce lies in embedding Linux in your router. I found this project especially attractive because: 1) It’s easy, and 2) it’s totally free.

So when I got the chance, I dove into converting my own router. After a relatively simple firmware upgrade, you can boost your wireless signal, prioritize what programs get your precious bandwidth, and do lots of other simple or potentially much more complicated things to improve your computing experience.

Read the entire article HERE.

HT: LifeHacker


1. What are you really thinking about today?

“As you think, so shall you become.”

2. Simplify.

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

3. Learn about yourself in interactions.
“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.”

4. Do not divide.
“Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.”

5. Avoid a dependency on validation from others.
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” “Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.”

6. Be proactive.
“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”

7. Be you.
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
Read the entire article HERE.

HT: The Positivity Blog

The Get Out Clause

June 19, 2008 — Leave a comment

Many people are uncomfortable with the march of the surveillance state – but a Manchester band has used it to their advantage.

Unable to afford a proper camera crew and equipment, The Get Out Clause, an unsigned band from the city, decided to make use of the cameras seen all over British streets.

With an estimated 13 million CCTV cameras in Britain, suitable locations were not hard to come by.

They set up their equipment, drum kit and all, in eighty locations around Manchester – including on a bus – and proceeded to play to the cameras.

Afterwards they wrote to the companies or organisations involved and asked for the footage under the Freedom of Information Act.

“We wanted to produce something that looked good and that wasn’t too expensive to do,” guitarist Tony Churnside told Sky News.

“We hit upon the idea of going into Manchester and setting up in front of cameras we knew would be filming and then requesting that footage under the Freedom Of Information act.”

Only a quarter of the organizations contacted fulfilled their obligation to hand over the footage – perhaps predictably, bigger firms were reluctant, while smaller companies were more helpful – but that still provided enough for a video with 20 locations.

“We had a number of different excuses as to why we weren’t given the footage, like they didn’t have the footage. They delete after a certain amount of time, so if they procrastinate for long enough, they can claim it’s been deleted,” Mr Churnside said.

HT: Telegraph.co.uk

RSS: Embedded video

1. Decide that fine is bad.

Fine means you aren’t growing or swimming, which means that you are shrinking and sinking. Fine is being average, it’s being defeated, and it’s giving up. Fine means that nothing outstanding happened to you today and you should know that you deserve something miraculous in your life.

Fine is also a relative term. A billionaire could feel fine about making only 2 million dollars today, or a middle class man could feel fine about having 3 square meals today. A poor person would be delighted out of their mind at a couple million bucks and a starving person would jump up and down at the thought of 3 square meals. The point is to decide what’s fine for you and do everything in your mind to exceed this level.


2. Relationship with self.

You’re worth more than diamonds, castles, and spaceships and it’s taken too many perfect coincidences to bring you here. On this day, when you become conscious of your self-worth, and acknowledge it as being more than you have ever said it to be before, you are having the greatest day of your life.

3. Upgrade yourself.

Become conscious and aware of your skills, talents, and character traits. Make it a point to become a little bit better. A better person, friend, artist, investor, parent, writer, or anything else that is important to you.

When you’ve chiseled your character, sharpened your skill, or expressed your talents more so than ever before, you will have the greatest day ever. Such self-improvement, sitting on the shoulders of all previous self-improvement, will allow you to have the greatest day ever.


4. Create huge possibilities.

I’ve mentioned that striving for greatness could lead to a misfire and leave you off at awesome instead of best. Keeping this principle in mind create the biggest goals, dreams, and possibilities that you have ever made for yourself or your life.

Think bigger and better than ever before. It is right now, during the planning and within the possibilities that you will have the greatest day of your life.


5. Love your hardest.

Love with more energy and passion than you have ever loved before. Listen harder, spend more time, and create greater workability in your relationships than on previous days.

Do something unique, caring, or fun for the ones you loved. Just love them with all your might. When you’ve loved harder than you’ve ever loved before, you will have the greatest day of your life.

6. Positive self-talk.

Be optimistic in the way that you talk to yourself. Your mind will absorb the way you speak to yourself and process it as fact. Make sure those facts are aligned with greatness.

When you’ve had the best conversations with yourself, you will be able to have better relationships, achieve more, try harder, and be happier than ever before. With the best positive self-talk you will have the greatest day of your life.

7. Be God-like.

Religion aside, think practically. On this day you will act more God-like. The practical thing to do is to be as giving as you can with your time, wisdom, and strength.

That’s what God does right? Gives selflessly, without expecting anything in return, and with love for his people. When you’ve given more than you’ve ever given before, you will have the greatest day of your life.

Read the entire article from DumbLittleMan HERE.

HT: DumbLittleMan

When I graduated from high school I had a plan. 8 weeks later that plan changed in a MAJOR way when I got a one-year full-ride scholarship to Multnomah School of the Bible (now Multnomah Bible College). The direction of my life changed forever… sort of.

Then after I graduated form college, I got married (2 weeks later!). And that has certainly changed my life in unimaginable ways.

Recently I found this commencement address that Steve Jobs gave at Stanford. It is well worth the read (whether you are a recent grad or not).

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Read the rest of the address HERE.


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Ever wonder what is the “appropriate” amount to tip? Wonder no longer! JustAGuyThing is here to help a brother out!

Proper tipping etiquette is still a trait rarely found in modern men yet, when perfected, it can actually become quite enjoyable. It’s a selfless act of giving to others based on the level of service you’ve received. A lot of these people get a pitiful wage and the tips they get go a long way to supplement their income. Make them happy and you’ll be looked after. Annoy them and you’d be best advised to eat your meal with caution!

Tipping really is an art form and when you’re giving your tip you want to be as discrete and gentlemanly as possible. Hand over the tip with your palm facing down and shake hands with the person you are tipping, simultaneously placing the money in their hand. What you want to avoid doing is waving the money around and making a big deal of it. You’ll look like an idiot for starts and if that isn’t enough, you’re going to make the person receiving the tip feel uncomfortable because, believe it or not, you’re coming across like a condescending jerk. You’re not throwing a treat for Fido here.

So how do you figure out how much to tip? Well the truth is there are no tipping rules per se, however there are guidelines which suggest how much is appropriate to give. Let’s investigate.

HT: JustAGuyThing


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Trouble Sleeping?

June 14, 2008 — 1 Comment

I sometimes have trouble sleeping. It usually is a result of not shutting off my brain – especially if there is something going on that has a whole lot of details that I don’t want to miss due to their interconnectivity.

Then I saw this article from Men’s Health and now I’m ready to combat insomnia. Here are some highlights:

THE MATTRESS
There’s more to take home from hotels than mini shampoo bottles. Chains such as Four Seasons, Westin, and W have been working with mattress manufacturers to create the most comfortable sleep surface possible. Made to the exact specifications of each hotel, the beds feature more coils and cushioning than even high-end store models.

Best in class: Thanks to a near-perfect balance of support and padding, the Four Comfort Bed ($1,300, starwoodhotels.com) provides the ultimate slumber surface. The specially designed Sealy mattress sits atop a foundation made of heavy-gauge, high-carbon steel, which does a better job of flexing to absorb weight and movement than a traditional box spring. Need something softer? Check out the Heavenly Bed ($1,450, westin.com); its pillow-top mattress provides an extra layer of padding that you can sink into without being swallowed up.

THE SHEETS
Instead of looking for quadruple-digit counts, pay attention to the fabric. The rule: Go with natural fibers, such as cotton, and avoid synthetics, which are less absorbent, says Breus. “Over the course of an evening, you can release close to a half gallon of sweat and oils.”

Best in class: Make your bed with Garnet Hill Signature flannel sheets ($135 for king size, garnethill.com). A napped cotton surface makes these sheets somnolent soft. And, while warm, they weren’t oppressively so. Runner-up: Pure Beech sateen sheets ($100, bedbathandbeyond.com). They’re woven with fiber from beech trees and were lighter than the Garnet Hill flannels and nearly as soft.

For more on the right blanket, pillow, supplements, and sleeping pills, read the full article HERE.


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