Timing is everything.

Website FailRecently, my wife and I have decided to try a medically supervised juice fast. Now before you jump on me about whether or not I should do a juice fast or its pro’s or con’s, trust me I will write an article, or several when I do it detailing it and you can take your shots or tell me how great it is then. What I want to focus on today is an experience preparing for this process.

You see, there is a lot involved living for half a month or more on nothing but juice. You have to buy the right equipment. Anyone who know’s me can tell you how I do things — go big or go home. So I knew I would need to buy the best juicer out there.

I did tons of research and got a great juicer from Breville. Yes I know there is big debate on the kinds of juicers and the method they use to go about extracting juice. This was how I decided to go. I think it is actually arriving today (I’m super excited). Today, however, my wife tells me we need a blender too, so we can make the juices taste better by making them into smoothies and adding stuff to it. I know what you’re thinking (cause I thought the same thing), couldn’t we just blend from the start? No, she says there are reasons and science… I said, “fine hun. Whatever will make you happy.”

This time I asked her to do the research! Ha! I’m saving time now. I’m an idiot. She did the research. She even ended up picking out a top notch blender by Vitamix. Funny thing though. When I tried to buy the blender I wanted on Vitamix’s website, I kept getting errors! Page does not exist. We’re updating the site (it’s 3pm EST mind you).

So I can’t buy a $700 blender at 3 in the afternoon because some genius at Vitamix decided this was a great time to run a site update as opposed to, i dunno, 3am on a saturday morning? I didn’t want to call the 800 number and navigate the obnoxious auto attendant. Nope. I decided to stand on principle! I’m going to find a competitor and get something better. [click to continue…]

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And the LAZY shall inherit the earth…

IneptRecently, one of my companies, Wikimotive, has been looking to hire a copywriter in the Northern MA or Southern NH area. This position comes with incredible flexibility. But there were a couple of requirements. The person only needs to report to the office once a week. They have to be reasonably local (Within 50 miles or something). And they have to be able to follow our writing requirement. (As the position relates to SEO for small business)

What has been shocking to me is how many people have applied for the position that have spelling and grammar issues in their cover letter and their resume! Now, look, I am no Shakespeare, but then I am not applying to be a copywriter either! SERIOUSLY!? You want to be a copywriter and you don’t proofread your own resume or cover letter!?

As is my usual impulsive nature, I fired off a quick FB post about this. Much to my surprise, one of the people who commented on the post took the position that I as an employer was being too picky! Here is the response: [click to continue…]

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2005 Chateau Boyd-Cantenac a Stunning Winner!

chateau boyd-cantenac margauxI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I LOVE french wine. Its funny too because I almost forget sometimes just how wonderful french wine really is. Don’t get me wrong, I love my California reds too! I mean, thats my mainstay. A nice Joseph Phelps Insignia, a Quintessa, a Caymus Reserve or maybe even an Opus One if I am feeling completely unimaginative…

But there is something just a little different about french wine. Its just got that special something that makes it unlike any other. ..

Recently, my wife prepared a very special Valentine’s Day dinner for us: Chateaubriand with a truffle purple mash and asparagus with and fantastic hollandaise. She paired the 2005 Chateau Boyd-Cantenac with it and opened it an hour ahead and it was absolutely stunning. Frankly, having looked at some of the recent reviews of the vintage after my meal, I was shocked that they weren’t even better!

The floral nose was like a gentle spring breeze; the deep purple color seemed to almost glow. The dark fruit on the palate was so well complimented by the tobacco spice and the medium to long finish was simply magnificent. I would rate this wine at 94 points. I was so impressed I am looking to buy it by the case now. My impression is that this wine will continue to improve and mature for another decade or more.

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A Word About Initiative…

The following is excerpted from Franklin Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

proactivityA recent teaching opportunity at work with an employee made this excerpt really jump out for me. I hope you get from it all that I did…

“Our basic nature is to act, and not to be acted upon. As well as enabling us to choose our response to particular circumstances, this empowers us to create circumstances.

Taking initiative does not mean being pushy, obnoxious, or aggressive. It does mean recognizing our responsibility to make things happen.

Over the years, I have frequently counseled people who wanted better jobs to show more initiative–to take interest and aptitude tests, to study the industry, even the specific problems the organizations they are interested in are facing, and then to develop an effective presentation showing how their abilities can help solve the organization’s problem. It’s called ‘solution selling,’ and is a key paradigm in business success.

-‘I don’t know where to go to take the interest or aptitude tests.’

-‘How do I study industry and organizational problems? No one wants to help me.’

-I don’t have any idea how to make an effective presentation.’

Many people wait for something to happen or someone to take care of them. But people who end up with good jobs are the proactive ones who are solutions to problems, not problems themselves, who seize the initiative to to do whatever is necessary, consistent with correct principals, to get the job done.

Whenever someone in our family, even one of the younger children, takes an irresponsible position and waits for someone else to make things happen or provide a solution, we tell them, ‘Use your T and I!’ (resourcefulness and initiative). In fact, often before we can say it, they answer their own complaints, ‘I know–use my R and I!’

Holding people to the responsible course is not demeaning; it is affirming. Proactivity is part of human nature, and, although the proactive muscles may be dormant, they are there. By respecting the proactive nature of other people, we provide them with at least one clear, undistorted reflection from the social mirror.

Of course, the maturity level of the individual has to be taken into account. We can’t expect high creative cooperation from those who are deep into emotional dependence. But we can, at least, affirm their basic nature and create an atmosphere where people can seize opportunities and solve problems in an increasingly self-reliant way.”

It seems there are many today who feel that some one else should take care of them. Perhaps if these sort of values were taught in higher education we would be a more proactive and a more PRODUCTIVE society.

throw me a bone

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Doing. The Beginning of Excellence

Excellence“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”

-Aristotle

 

I was speaking, the other day, with a manager in my employ about another employee who, while consistently demonstrating tremendous potential, has become notorious for habitually making the same mistakes over and over. What’s worse is these mistakes would typically be categorized as that of “carelessness”. This is further exacerbated by the fact that his reaction to failure has equally become habitual. The perception created by this reaction is that of a lackadaisical, nonchalant, don’t-give-a-shit attitude.

Now because I take a great interest in all of my employees and spend a lot of time with them even outside of the professional environment, I know that, in fact, this employee cares very deeply about his failings and has a deep burning desire to change… if only he knew how. I take my inability to help this employee achieve this change as a great personal failure. And then something interesting happened; a chain of thoughts occurred to me…

While speaking to this employee’s manager the topic of change came up. True change, not the usual ideology, but what it truly takes to change oneself. You always hear, “leopards don’t change their spots” or that people can try to be different and even succeed at being different, but the person can never really change who they are. Since I happen to know from personal experience that this is not true, I started to think about the change I experienced for myself and referred back to a profoundly important piece of literature that was instrumental in my own change – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It was then that I was reminded of that famous quote from Aristotle.

I think few realize just how profound this statement really is. What began as philosophical theory long ago is now beginning to be proved via modern science. In fact, scientists now believe that all habits wether consciously imposed or subconsciously developed over long periods of time physically impact the brain’s structure and the way our mind works specifically as it regards thought connection and information retrieval.

This is such a powerful truth because it means we can literally choose who we want to be and one simply must do, repeatedly, the actions that are reflective of that person and once those sets of actions become habit, the change will have been successful. Easy! Right?

Well we need to remember the “Excellence” part of the equation. Excellence is born of commitment and desire combined with motivation and determination. It doesn’t come so easy. What is it that sets apart the marathon runner from the obese couch potato? What distinguishes a successful business person from an unmotivated welfare recipient? Why do few rise while many stagnate? Because to do nothing is easy. It is easier to despair; It’s easier to blame others for one’s lot in life; It’s easier to procrastinate; it’s easier to lose faith.

In my youth I once spoke to a triathlete and asked him, “how do you do it?” And he said to me, “The hardest part is putting on my running shorts.” I thought he was being sarcastic, but he was very sincere and said, “Even in the worst weather, when you’re out on the road putting miles behind you feels great. I love it. I always want to see how much further I can go. I want to push. But when you’re warm in bed and you look outside and it’s dark and the wind is whipping and the rain is pouring and it 4am, I’d rather just roll back over. But once I put my shorts on and lace up my sneakers, I know… I’m ready to finish — The hardest part is over.”

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RIP: To My Good Friend, Common Sense, You Will Be Missed

common senseToday we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who had been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: – Knowing when to come in out of the rain; – Why the early bird gets the worm; … – Life isn’t always fair; – And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies, don’t spend more than you can earn and adults, not children, are in charge. His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife Discretion, his daughter Responsibility, and his son, Reason. He is survived only by his 4 stepbrothers: I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame and I’m A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

What examples of death to common sense you can think of? Please share and pass this on.

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Is the New York Times Calling All Women Whore’s?

prostitutionMIT Graduate Create’s Legalized Prostitution Website

SeekingArrangement.com may seem like any other dating website, but dig a little deeper and you will find the similarities end quickly. Like most dating websites, men are looking for fit, sexy women, and the women are looking for nice guys who can make them laugh. However, SeekingArrangement.com’s sole purpose is to put young gold-diggers in touch with older, wealthy men. Spend a little time viewing the site and you’ll find it is brutally frank! They’re not looking for soul mate’s here! They want no-strings “arrangements” that trade purely in wealth, youth and beauty. The site even goes on to refer to it’s users as “sugar daddy’s”, “sugar mommies”, and “sugar babies”.

Quoted from the NYT – ‘There’s the 18-year-old from France asking for $5,000 to $10,000 a month from “a mentor who can provide me with the finer things in life and keep me happy!” And the 49-year-old investor from upstate New York willing to pay $5,000 a month for a “daytime playmate” for “intense connection without commitment.” Critics say the site is at best a convenience store for adulterers and at worst a virtual brothel, but Brandon Wade, Seeking Arrangement’s 38-year-old founder and chief executive, is unperturbed by the criticism. “We stress relationships that are mutually beneficial,” he says. “We ask people to really think about what they want in a relationship and what they have to offer. That kind of upfront honesty is a good basis for any relationship.”’

They go on to write that, ‘Indeed, most go to considerable effort to distinguish between “sugar” and prostitution. (Legally, at least, they are right; since the 1970s, courts have ruled that as long as the woman is paid for some service besides sex — housecleaning, companionship — the arrangement is not the equivalent of prostitution.) They say being a sugar baby is no more an occupation than dating is, especially when the goal of dating is to find a rich boyfriend or a wealthy husband. They routinely turn down creeps interested in nothing but sex.

Some sugar babies also insist that wives who stay in miserable marriages for an American Express black card, mansion or country-club membership are more like prostitutes than they are. And yet the blatant financial transactions leave many uneasy. Even Seeking Arrangement’s chief executive uses a fake name — his legal one is Brandon Wey — partly because he’s afraid his association with the site might dampen his chances of raising capital for a more mainstream enterprise in the future and partly because he thought the name Brandon Wade sounded more Hugh Hefneresque.’

legal prostitutionIt seems to me the real distinction is the amounts being paid. If a woman is on a street corner charging $25 for sexual favors, it is prostitution and therefore illegal. However, if you are “socially respectable” and charging thousands of dollars for a longer term “date” then it is legal and not prostitution.

What a scam! what do you think? Would you ever consider using a site like this?

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I HAVE MADE FIRE!

fire pitWe built a fire pit today! Nothing fancy. I dug a 3′ diameter hole carried a bunch of rocks up from the other end of the property and made a nice circular fire pit. I would just like to say for the record that digging an 18″ deep hole that is 3′ in diameter was exhausting. OK I might not be the bastion of health with my 100 extra pounds or so, but I needed a f’ing stretcher and oxygen when I was done! But, bottom line… I HAVE MADE FIRE!!!!!! YES!!!

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I Suck – GET OVER IT!

i suckSo I’m slacking…

No other way to explain it…

I know, I’m supposed to be blogging every day, but sometimes… Shit just gets in the way! So what should I do? Should I try to recap the last month in this post? Or should I just blast out a bunch of posts on the various topics? I think that the fact that I couldn’t find the time in the last month to even write a post is really the best example of ADHD I could ever possibly write about… You just keep getting distracted… you put off that post… just one more day… I’ll do it tomorrow… Someday… I’ll catch back up… Blog? What’s that? Oh yeah…

 

 

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The Power of Creativity

Look! A Shiny Thing!

Sidewalk Art Ryu from Street Fighter

Sidewalk Art [click to continue…]

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