Monday, June 24, 2013

Yes, it matters...

"As if it matters how a man falls down. When the fall is all that's left it matters very much,"

~ The Lion in the Winter

Friday, June 7, 2013

In Case of Zombies… [Pic]

In Case of Zombies… [Pic]:
If I ever build myself a shed, I’ll make sure to set up a yard work tool rack just like this one on its side.
[Source: Instructables | via]

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

LCD, LED, Plasma, & OLED TVs Explained as Fast as Possible [Video]

LCD, LED, Plasma, & OLED TVs Explained as Fast as Possible [Video]:

LCD, LED, Plasma, OLED – These terms get uses by sales people at your local TV store, but do you REALLY understand what they mean? Learn the basics in under 3 minutes!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Question + Video: Is Buying Call of Duty, or any game that features realistic guns, a Moral Choice?

Question + Video: Is Buying Call of Duty, or any game that features realistic guns, a Moral Choice?:

Did you know that when your purchase a game that features real weapons, you often, without even knowing about it, end up funding the weapon industry? I wasn’t even aware of this, but it seems that weapon manufacturers are getting some royalties on each game featuring their weapons that gets sold to consumers. So what do you guys think? Can purchasing a video game with realistic weapons present a moral conumdrum?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

The Evolution Of Music: From the 11th Century to Today [Video]

The Evolution Of Music: From the 11th Century to Today [Video]:

We decided to do a medley of our favorite songs throughout history! It was definitely one of our most favorite projects to work on! We hope you enjoy the video! Please share it, and remember…watch with headphones!

Steampunk AT-AT Walker [Pic]

Steampunk AT-AT Walker [Pic]:
This, ladies and gentlegeeks, is Captain Bayley’s Infernal Mechano-Perambulator, the offspring of a regular AT-AT Walker mixed with Flickr user Broken Journalist‘s mind. Looks fantastic, doesn’t it?
“Each one of those rivets was cut out with a punch and applied with tweezers, and we both lost track of the number of coats of spray paint he used to get that gorgeous patina before washing it down and creating the stains and drips. He made the narwhal horn on the front as well. It’s hard to see but the legs and feet are covered in seaweed and barnacles – I can just imagine it tramping up and down the coastline, or standing in a harbour next to a crumbling pier.”
[Picture Source: Broken Journalist | Via EPBot | Neatorama]

Man Creates Real-Life Batcave [Video]

Man Creates Real-Life Batcave [Video]:

Chris Weir spent 2 years and over $150,000 to create his very own Batcave in his basement. His wife only had one condition before he could start the project: The mortgage had to be paid.
Amazingly, the man-made styrofoam bat cave can only be accessed in the same way Bruce Wayne opens the Batcave in the classic 60s Batman series starring Adam West. Chris went to painstaking lengths to install a replica of the William Shakespeare bust seen in Wayne Manor.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

“Man of Steel — Man of Ages” [Artwork]

“Man of Steel — Man of Ages” [Artwork]:
DeviantARTist BongzBerry created this in anticipation of Man of Steel in June. Be sure to click the picture to view it in full size!
[Via deviantART]

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sequestration ...

Sequester came just over two weeks ago. It follows, of course, the debt ceiling, rounds one and two, and everyone’s favorite year-end nail-biter, the fiscal cliff.

Now, there’s talk of a government shutdown later this month (though current reports say a ‘deal is likely’).

President Bill Clinton famously said, “I feel your pain.” That’s the missing ingredient here: not one member of Congress feels any real pain, any personal consequences, for the tremendous failure to lead with the decisive moral courage Americans expect of them. It’s analogous to arguments against the draft that resonated during the Vietnam War – congressional members were criticized because they sent the sons of the poor and middle class to war but their own families were rarely touched by similar sacrifice.

That’s true today, too. Nearly half of Congress has an “estimated net worth of more than 1 million.” They are so much better positioned than most to weather any economic storm, it’s a wonder they can tell when the rest of the country is getting wet.

And while I’m ever the optimist that our government will put this country ahead of self and party, I just can’t help entertaining my own fiscal thought experiment, in which members of Congress are compelled by statute to design and pass a sustainable, responsible fiscal solution. Failure would result in the following, alone or in combination:

- Losing their seats
- Pay 100 percent tax retroactively for the time they've been in office
- Forfeiting 100 percent of their pay received from their federal position
- Charged with fraud, waste, & abuse

Of course, these are merely musings, borne out of frustration, mostly with those members of Congress who are chiefly in safe districts, where they remain impervious to the consequences of their mistakes. As the CEO and founder of a company, the “Groundhog Day”-style repetitions of partisan wrangling and deals that are made (or not made) at the nth hour while citizens, economies and markets tremble in the balance are reckless in the extreme. No management team would be allowed to bring a company to the door of bankruptcy over and over. They would deserve to be ousted – and shown the door they would be, without ceremony or argument.

Like a word that is just on the tip of your tongue, our government is ever this close to being productive – if it can just get out of its own way and stop repeating this disheartening pattern of “upward failure.” I’m still hopeful that it can live up to our expectations before March 27th.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Mental Block You Absolutely Must Overcome

The Mental Block You Absolutely Must Overcome:
mental obstacles The Mental Block You Absolutely Must OvercomeWhat is stopping you from pursuing your dreams?
You have what it takes to reach greater heights in your life.  You have more to give, more to accomplish and more to receive.
So, what’s holding you back?
There is a mental block that stands in your way.
It robs you of your motivation to begin and unless you begin, you will never reach the finish line.

The Mental Obstacle That Keeps You Stuck

I’m writing about this obstacle today because I truly believe it holds a lot of people back from getting started toward their full potential.
The funny thing is this block is 100% mental.  It is all in our heads which means it can be beaten. But, as we know, we are often our own worst enemies.
So, what is this nasty little mental hindrance that holds us back?
The quote below was penned many years ago.  It was issued as a warning so we wouldn’t let this obstacle get in the way of us achieving our most audacious goals.
“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”
~ Earl Nightingale
Have you ever sidelined a dream because you knew it was going to take too long to accomplish it?
Boy, I know I have.
In fact, just last night, I caught myself falling into this very trap.  I had an idea for a new website, but I soon started thinking about how long it would take before I’d see any real results from it.  I was tempted to give up before I ever even began.
Your dream is probably different than mine.  Perhaps, you want to do one or more of the following:
  • Start a new business venture
  • Change career fields
  • Go back to school
  • Pay off all the debt you owe
  • Save a piece of the environment
  • Rebuild a relationship
  • Get in better physical shape
  • Find your life purpose
Well, what are you waiting for???  Why are you frozen at the starting line?
As Earl Nightingale says above, the time is going to pass one way or another.  Why not use it for making at least some progress toward your goal instead of just squandering it by doing nothing?

The Fear of the Time It Will Take

I’ve told you before that if you need a push, then you’ve come to the right place.  So, let’s face our fears together and figure out what it is going to take to get us past that first step off the ledge.
As we’ve already been told, we FEAR the time it will take.  Why?  I have some pretty good theories.

1.  It Might Not Pay Off

We fear failure.  We worry that we might invest a lot of time, energy and resources into this dream of ours and then it might not pay off or that we might not reach the level of success we hoped for. <whine>
Of course, by doing nothing, we cement in the result.  By quitting before we ever get going, we immediately reduce our probability of success to zero.
If you actually try, if you put forth your very best effort, who knows, you might just succeed.  I can tell you one thing.  You’ll certainly raise the odds in your favor.
Plus, you are guaranteed to learn something along the way.  This education will benefit you in the long run.
Finally, I’d ask, “What’s the alternative?”  Do you want to stay stuck on this plateau for the rest of your life?  Not me.  Therefore, in my humble opinion, the risk is almost always worth it.

2.  It Is Easier To Do Nothing

I can’t all together argue with this one.  It is definitely easier and more comfortable to do nothing.  Of course, what’s that going to get us?
Let’s examine a little closer why doing nothing is often, at first glance, more appealing.
The minute you start to think about making a significant change in your life, your amygdala (also known as your Lizard Brain) goes crazy.  If you aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about, then please take a moment, click the link and enlighten yourself.  Go ahead, I’ll be here when you get back.
Many of us, myself included, sometimes let the Lizard Brain win.  We let it make us afraid of the hard work and change ahead of us.
Of course, when it comes to personal growth, comfort is just not an option.  If you want more out of life, then you are going to have to lean into the fear.
Bottom line, we have to decide which we want more – our dream OR the easy way out.  I know which way I’m going to go.

3.  It Might Lead to Rejection or Resistance

Lastly, I think we fear the time it will take because, along the way, we strongly suspect that others might reject or resist our plans.
When I say “others”, I’m talking about a wide variety of people.  It might be our spouses, our bosses, our family members, our friends, our potential customers/audience or just the world at-large.
The thing is, I’ve come to understand that opposition often lets you know that you are doing something right and worthwhile.
I don’t think anything meaningful has ever been accomplished without someone opposing it.  Therefore, the only time you should really be worried is when you AREN’T experiencing any resistance or rejection because that’s a sign that you’ve grown complacent.
So, yes, opposition isn’t always fun.  In fact, it is often tiring and discouraging, but if you understand it properly, it is a little easier to deal with.  Therefore, we should never let it halt us from starting to work on our dreams.

Feel the Fear AND Do It Anyway

Susan Jeffers has written a powerful book called, Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway The Mental Block You Absolutely Must Overcome.  In it, she says, “Take a risk a day – one small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you have done it. Even if it doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to, at least you’ve tried. You didn’t sit back…powerless.”  This is great advice.
I hope today that I’ve empowered you to defeat this paralyzing mental block when it arises.  One things for sure, you’ll certainly know it when it seeps in and tries to jerk the rug out from under you the next time you are contemplating a big move.
I challenge you to take the risk.  Feel the fear and do it anyway.  Remember, the only sure way to fail is by doing nothing.  Why not use the time for something more useful – like pursuing your dream?
Overcome this mental block and you’ll realize a lot more of your potential.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Letter From the Tooth Fairy

A Letter From the Tooth Fairy:
A Letter From the Tooth Fairy
If you've read through the brilliant letter above, then you've already seen the most important part of this posting. The letter is the genius-level work of Amy over at the Non-Stop Mom blog. The response, once the letter was shared ...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Must-Watch Time-Lapse Video: Namibian Nights [Video]

Must-Watch Time-Lapse Video: Namibian Nights [Video]:
Lights off! Sound up! Full Screen!
It’s not easy to come up with something new when you visit the same place every year for more than a decade. Over the years Marsel has created the most extensive and most popular night photography portfolio of Namibia on this planet, and two years ago he decided it was time to take it to the next level.
The idea was to create a night photography timelapse video featuring his most popular subjects in this amazing country: the fairytale-like quivertrees and the eery, dead camelthorn trees in Deadvlei – something that had never been done before. But instead of going for static scenes, Marsel decided to add movement to the scenes by using a dolly system.
[Squiver | Via IFLS]

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How To Save Money Without Penny-Pinching: The Purpose Driven Approach

How To Save Money Without Penny-Pinching: The Purpose Driven Approach:
penny pincher How To Save Money Without Penny Pinching: The Purpose Driven ApproachThis is a guest post by David Lewis.

You hear it all the time: saving money requires making sacrifices.
You’re told things like:
  • Stop going to Starbucks
  • Cancel your gym membership
  • Turn down the heat
  • Ditch your cable T.V.
  • Stop using so much electricity
  • Use coupons at the grocery store
  • Buy generic brands
  • Eat Ramen noodles
  • Walk or bike instead of driving
  • Don’t go out on Friday nights
Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Okay, collect $200, but put it in the bank and don’t touch it.
What happens if you somehow manage to consistently do this? You become “one of them.” A penny-pincher — a person more concerned with deprivation than pursuing your values.
You look for ways to save a buck just for the sake of saving a buck. You might even start alienating friends and family members as a result.
It’s not a healthy state of mind. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way.

A Better Approach to Saving Money

Here’s what most people miss: It’s not about giving up things. It’s about pursuing only the essential values in your life to the exclusion of everything else.
How do you do that?
The key to pulling this off is to define your life’s purpose and then commit to living it every single day. It has to be something that you have an undying passion for.
This purpose-driven approach is a little different than setting financial goals, which is where most people start when they’re trying to save money.
A purpose is like your destination point on a road trip, the climax of your life. Goals are like the map showing you multiple roads leading to your destination. If you don’t create a purpose (a destination) before defining savings goals, what you usually end up with are contradictory values.
This, in turn, is what creates the penny-pinching mentality. It’s the idea that “I must save money for certain things, but I can’t do it without making sacrifices.” Yuck!

How to Get Started With Purpose-Driven Savings

Defining a purpose isn’t new in the business world. In fact, every successful business does this – except they call it a “mission statement.” This statement is a statement of doing rather than a statement of being. That’s important.
So, if you were to apply this to your life, you wouldn’t say “my purpose is to be happy.” That isn’t really a good, clear purpose. It doesn’t say what you’ll do to become happy. Happiness is a great thing to achieve in life, but you need to do something to achieve that happiness. It’s not going to just fall in your lap.
A better way to define your purpose would be to say “my purpose is to teach history,” “…design bridges,” “…play the piano,” “…bake extraordinary desserts,” or something like that because you know these things will make you happy.
You’ll notice that all of these statements are action statements that readily apply to a vocation of some sort, sometimes several. Teaching history is usually going to lead to becoming a history teacher, but you could also be a historian. Designing bridges probably means you’ll be an engineer.
In every case, your purpose determines your lifestyle which, in turn, drives your savings and spending habits.
For example, an artist might only have enough time to pursue 5 or 6 major values – like painting, going on vacation to “re-energize,” visiting with friends and family, visiting museums for inspiration, reading fiction novels, and saving up for retirement. Along the way he may pursue smaller values (or goals) like buying a car, a personal computer, art supplies, or even a studio.
If he thinks carefully about all of them, and how to achieve them (through precise and thoughtful budgeting), his goals can all drive him towards his purpose in life without creating unnecessary conflict. This is how a purpose helps you save without making any sacrifices.

Your Purpose Keeps You From Feeling Pinched

This is going to take some serious thought but, once you get this down, it makes saving money ridiculously simple. You won’t have to struggle over “living for today” vs. “saving for the future.” From work-related goals to recreational activities, the penny-pinching mentality will become a non-issue.
What about you? How would you describe your purpose-driven savings plan?

About the Author

David Lewis is the owner and founder of Twin Tier Financial and a member of the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants. Have questions about this article? Connect with David in the comments below or on Twitter @dcl1979.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Four steps to simpler financial goals this year

Four steps to simpler financial goals this year:
Steps in a manicured statue garden
Written by money contributor Charlie Park.
So we’re now nine days into 2013. Just enough time for those New Year’s resolutions to have fallen by the wayside, right?
Or maybe you saw Tsh and Jeannett’s posts last week that encouraged you to think about goals for the year, rather than resolutions? If not, we’re going to look at that idea one more time, but with a focus on money.
Money is like fitness — it’s something that people often put off thinking about unless A) they’re about to go on vacation, B) they’ve had some sort of a scare, or C) it’s the new year.
If we harness that last one (yay, new year!) and wrap in Tsh’s point about goals-not-resolutions, we get a great four-point process to making 2013 a terrific year for you and your money. Let’s take a look at it.

1. Focus on only 2 or 3 financial goals for the year (keep it simple).

Don’t get bogged down with multiple elaborate plans.
Just like it’s easy to sit at your breakfast table and think, “I haven’t gone running in forever. Maybe I’ll run a marathon this summer!”, it’s easy to make elaborate plans about your money and everything you’ll get done this year. You’ll start budgeting, get out of debt, get that retirement account going, and maybe even set aside some money for the kids college. Whoa, buddy.
If you’re like most people (and the odds suggest you are), having too many goals will overwhelm you, and you won’t get any of them done. So I recommend that people getting started with setting financial goals just focus on doing one or two over the year. If you knock them out of the park in a few months, great. Add another one. But keep it focused at the beginning.
If you’re looking for ideas, the two best goals I can recommend are 1) to begin expense tracking / keeping a budget and 2) to look at Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Steps” and to get one or two steps further down the path than you currently are.
Each of us can only accomplish so many things. Don’t try to do too much, or you’ll get overwhelmed.

2. Break your goals into steps.

Little strokes, mighty oaks, all that.
The next way to keep from getting overwhelmed with your finances is to break your larger financial goals into absurdly tiny steps. I mean, embarrassingly small steps. “Why would I even need to write that down?”-small steps.
When I say “steps,” I don’t mean “Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps” — I mean tiny, concrete actions you can take. These should be written down with verbs at the beginning of each line.
So if your plan is to set aside your $1,000 “starter emergency fund,” the steps should be as basic as:
  1. write down phone number of our bank
  2. call bank and ask to set up separate savings account
  3. note how much we have in main account
  4. figure out how much we can transfer over right now
  5. go online, to bank website
  6. set automatic monthly transfer of $100/month
  7. set reminder on family calendar to check account on October 1st
Each of those steps is pretty small. And, hopefully, not intimidating.
Regardless of what your goals are, break them up into the smallest steps you can think of. And don’t forget to start each step on your list with a verb.

3. Start today.

A glowing sunrise.

Photo by Stephen Bowler
Don’t make 2013 “the year you do ________.” Make today “the day you do _______.” Then do it again tomorrow.
Look at the small action steps you’ve broken your goal down into. If the first one is too big for you to do today, you haven’t broken it down enough. The goal isn’t to finish your entire goal today. It’s simply to move foward, in some small way, towards the finish line.

4. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

Topiary hedges in a garden

Photo by Neil Wilkie
If you try to make your finances “perfect,” you’ll get discouraged.
The perfect is the enemy of the good” is an old saying that simply means “it’s better to have a good system in place than to have no system in place because your standards were too high.”
One of the things I heard from a lot of new PearBudget users is how relieved they are that our introduction wizard says things like “just get started and you can fix this later,” and “making up numbers is okay.”
It’s tempting for all of us — especially with something we’ve put off for a long time — to want to get it just right. “After all,” we tell ourselves, “if doing it ‘sort-of-right’ was an option, wouldn’t I have done this by now?”
So, in order to do it “right,” we end up putting it off further and further, until our expectations are so high that we never even start. I fall into this trap all the time.
You know what? You won’t get it perfect. And that’s okay. Instead of staying where you are, you’ll move forward — and at the end of 2013, you’ll look back and feel the peace of having made real progress.
So what’s your one main money goal for the year? And, more important, what’s the one small action step you can do today to get closer to it?

Four steps to simpler financial goals this year is a post from Simple Mom

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One bite at a time together: Create a chore system (project 41)

One bite at a time together: Create a chore system (project 41):

Written by Jeannett Gibson of Life Rearranged.
I’m working through Tsh’s ebook One Bite at a Time and hopefully you are too!  You can jump in at any time and follow my own journey!  You can even go out of order…I sure am!  Buy the ebook for only $5 HERE.
Chores are something we start early in our home.  My son took on the responsibility of feeding the dogs before he was even two.  Granted, we reminded him twice daily, but for the most part, he has been filling those doggy bowls with that big blue scoop for the last three and a half years.
With a family of six, there’s just no way I can do every single thing that needs to be done.  I regularly refer to our family as a team…and a team we shall be.  Even for the not so fun parts.  Sorry, kids.  You’ll get over it.  Promise.

With more kids in the mix, and my oldest getting older (and more capable), I wanted to institute a chore chart. The problem I found was that many premade chore charts relied mostly on text, and my kids were too young to read.  Plus, I’m picky about what goes on display in my house.  I wanted it to be cute.  (I know, I’m silly. It is what it is.)
Being a lover of Instagram, I decided to take advantage of those fun filters and make a chore chart that they could “read” on their own with minimal help.  So, a picture of Optimus reminds my son to feed the cat.
A photo of her bed tells my three year old daughter that she needs to make it.  (It’s always wonky, but as someone once told me: “Don’t straighten their crooked beds.  For one day, it will no longer be crooked and you will be sad.”)
(For more details on what tasks I have listed, and how to make a chart like this, see HERE.)
Each child has tasks appropriate to their age and capabilities and get a sticker in exchange for completing it. (I also made sure to have the words under each image so that they can begin to associate.)
Can I just tell you about the magical allure of a sticker?!  Kids really like stickers.  And are willing to feed animals, “make” beds, empty dishwashers, and fill water bowls in exchange for a purple smiley face.
Now, I really hemmed and hawed about paying them for chores.  On the one hand, I believe that chores are just part of your job in Life.  But, on the other hand, I thought it was high time they started to learn the value of a dollar (or quarter in their case), and begin some lessons in saving, spending, and giving.  We finally decided that a chore chart filled with stickers would elicit one dollar per week, paid out in quarters.
It’s been a fun system that really seems to work for us.  Every morning, I remind the kids to do their chores, and even at three and five years old, they can “read” their charts well enough to know what tasks are expected of them and what is left to complete without me having to help too much.
Truthfully, it takes them ten times longer to complete a task than if I just did it for them, but in the end, they are learning valuable life skills and they really are lightening my load, even if only a little!
Do you give your kids chores?  What is your system for accountability?  Do you do allowances?

One bite at a time together: Create a chore system (project 41) is a post from Simple Mom

© 2008-2012 Simple Living Media, LLC | All rights reserved - This feed is provided for the convenience of Simple Mom subscribers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited. If you are reading this content elsewhere, please contact to let us know. Thanks.

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