Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mean Men

Seest thou a man diligent in his business?
he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. - Proverbs 22:29

No Excuses, no explanations - Tony Dungy

Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. -Galation 6:9

( Against those who are generous at the beginning, but do not continue, because the harvest seems to be deferred a long time, as though the seed time and the harvest were simultaneous. - Geneva Study Bible)

Random thoughts from last night.

Allez, my friends! Allez!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Forex, MiFi, Mr Powell, Mr. Dungy, Mr. Brightside.

This week has been up and down - literally - in the Forex.  There's these things called Supports and things called Resistance. I'll write an article soon on them.  Basically, you are suppose to buy on one and sell on the other.

Seems like I kept doing the opposite all week long. (There will soon be a chart posted to show just how much I lost this week)

In other Forex news, my wife does not seem to appreciate me waking at 3:30am to see how the London Markets are faring. The life of a trader...

There is something out there called MiFi. As the CNN article I read describes it, it takes cellular signal and creates a localized, mobile, wifi HotSpot.  Apparently it's only about $40 a month for the setup from Virgin Mobile.  

It costs a little more to get started than, say, a tethering setup. But if you are always on the go or have more than one computer that needs to be online in some rural area - it looks like the hookup.

The CNN article was covering how some geeks are using their Apple Touch with a MiFi  as an inexpensive iPhone. Frankly, that sounded like more of a pain then I would like, but I'm still sold on the MiFi setup.

In other Tech news, this Facebook game saved a man's life.


With all the links I'm putting around on my blog, I think it is fair to make a point that I'm not doing it for pay right now.  These are items I truly find cool/weird/informative, and would absolutely drive my wife crazy trying to show her all of them.

That being said, I have nothing against my wife's current  money-making gig she has going on at her blog. And, if any of you would like an easy $50 a week writing blog stories, you should really talk to her. She's a super resourceful little lady, and I'm super proud of her.


I finished Soldier, and am now an even bigger fan of Colin Powell. Sure, I don't go with his stance on abortion, but his emphasis on diplomacy was so well presented through-out the book, it's sometimes hard to believe he was trained as a killing machine.

So often we glorify the sacrifices of war and defending our country.  He never detracts from that. But war for him was only an consideration after diplomatic options have been exhausted first. And when it came to war, it had to be decisive (500,000 troops for Desert  Storms week-long war, compared to Rumsfield approximately 200,000 for a full invasion and occupation)

And pre-empt war. He twice brokered deals to remove Haiti from the brink of war. He was the central role behind the Israeli-Palestinian peace process during Bush's first administration (when Bush actually let him send emissaries over there) . Patient Diplomacy. And Preemptive Diplomacy. Smart guy

I'm now starting the first chapters of Tony Dungy's Quiet Strength

Already I'm inspired to "be more".  I think the onset of marriage and adulthood tends to drag one into an incredible mire of "I can't" and "It'll never happen".  It's great to introduce my mind to inspirational men (in this case, men of God) to help snap it out of the ruts it tries so hard to get into.

In other biographical news, my wife is on her own biographical journey.

But it's just the price I pay
Destiny is calling me
Open up my eager eyes
'Cause I'm Mr Brightside - Killers

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Make that a Trenta, please.

Starbucks has a new coffee size. Trenta.

Nine-hundred and sixteen milliliters of frozen coffee happiness. (31 ounces) 

Not set to hit our area until May.

That is, if we don't all boycott them over their new, skankier logo before then.

Coffee buzz, anyone?


I watched my little man last night. We had fun for an hour wrestling on the floor.  Then he hollered for an hour. ("aaaaaa. aaaaaaaa. aaa. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. aaa. aaaa.")

Then he puked on himself. And decided he was ready for a nap.


In other news, my wife and brother-in-law convinced me to open a new blog.

The Shirtless Forex Dude should be mostly up to speed in about a week.

Should be a fun journey.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Wilbur Scoville invented a test to determine the hotness of peppers.

Since He invented it, he named it.

So now Scoville Heat Units are used to determine the hotness of peppers, or the amount of capsaicin present. 

A Bell pepper is 0.  Jalapenos come in at about 2,500 Scoville units with Habaneros registering about 200,000+.  The Naga Jokia Chili pepper melts your sinuses about 1.4 million Scoville units.

Of course you could always try pure capsaicin at about 15 million Scoville units.

I should name something.

Upgrade! I got a new phone today.  Dropped my smartphone package and the out-dated piece of junk I had been using, and went to the ruggedized Casio G'zOne. I was sold on it after I had read about the gauntlet Andy Kaiser had put his through, complete with a baking, dunking and toddler-test.

The only thing left was to convince my wife on the price tag.  (Thankfully, the rebates and my Chase discount did a lot of the convincing for me) 

I can't wait to dunk it in the canoe this summer.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Dust it Collects

Teenage boys can never go fast enough.  I still lie in bed at night and wonder what it would be like to create a rocket with a small (pressurized) capsule and a seat in it with which to ride up to the fringes up the atmosphere. It'd be fast. Too fast. And scary as heck.  I'd never want to climb in it. But I still think about it.

Life moves too fast. I was standing over my son's crib tonight. He was tired. Too tired for his own good.  I had been in the kitchen and could hear him whimpering.  He'd whimper and then doze. Grump a little, and doze again.  I walked in and he had gotten flipped over on his back. Uncomfortable, he couldn't convince himself to go to sleep.

I stood there looking at my son as he snuggled to sleep (on his tummy). So much like me. I have to have my position just perfect. Left side. Blanket on the shoulder.  I can't sleep any other way. I've tried. 

I pulled out my Pre-Calculus book tonight.  My recent dabbling in family poker games had me ready to dust off the statistics book, but a quick review of my shelf reminded me I had sold it shortly after the end of the semester. 8 years ago.

It's hard to imagine 8 years passing.  Eight years ago I was a suspender-clad college freshman that was only 12 years away from becoming a doctor.  That was before Organic Chemistry. Or Physics...

I'm still torn between being glad I'm not confined to 80-hour workweeks as medical student, and frustrated because I would have only been 48 months from a 6-figure income and payments on a quarter-million dollar student loan debt.

I think I'll stick to being glad.

So, if anyone has a college-level statistics book I could borrow, I'd be obliged. As my brother stated, 8 years is a long time to hang onto something and still know where it is.

Speaking of 8 years ago, I discovered tonight that blogger has only retained the last 4 years of my blog posts.  I guess I need to start printing them off. Another book to hang onto, I guess.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

10,000 Hours

There is a universal life rule out there that too few people know about.

One can start by finding it in the first verses of  Galatians 6. It starts off with  "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap".  A little further down there is an additional exhortation "...let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not"

Personally, I love those verses. In my life, I have undertaken so many goals that seemed so far away.  And when I'm sitting there doubting myself, I take a moment and remember that I've gotta' keep sowing, and that I will most definitely reap what I've sown.

But it's the due season part that gets me.  How long is a "due season"?

Turns out, its about 10,000 hours long.  I happen to re-stumble across this concept when doing research about computer programming. 

As the article on the link above points out, most musicians, programmers, researchers, inventors, sports stars - you name it - had around 10,000 hours invested before the hit their break-out, world- reknown status.  As someone who keeps an eye on the current job market, I've noticed that most ads for mid-level jobs require at least 5 years of employment in the field.  You do the math.

Now as Early to Rise points out, you can likely achieve your first level of competence at 1000 hours.  
But to achieve mastery, one must spend - at a minimum - about 5,000 more hours to master the subject.

But, knowing the rule can be greatly empowering.  Learning a new skill can be overwhelming. Especially once you are several hundred hours in .   And, while long road trips (or boat trips, or airline trips or self-improvement) can be a bear, its encouraging to know exactly how much further you have to go. 

And to wrap things up, I would be remiss not mention the article on new Year's Resolution by Paul Tripp, brought to my attention by my mother-in-law. 10,000 moments is a great (short) look at this subject from a different angle

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Reflections from Leadership

Colin Powell has collected thoughts on leadership throughout his life.  Here is a list of thirteen aphorisms he kept under the glass top of his desk, as published in Parade magazine in 1989.

1. I ain't as bad as you think.  It will look better in the morning.

2. Get mad, then get over it.

3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

4. It can be done!

5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.

6. Don't let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.

7. Check small things.

8. Share Credit.

9. You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.

10. Remain calm. Be kind.

11. Have a vision. Be demanding

12. Don't take counsel of you fears or naysayers.

13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

I am currently reading Soldier, a biography of Colin Powell written by Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post.  She presents the story exceptionally well.

As I am reading about Colin Powell's life I am finding myself challenged greatly in the area of decision-making. So often, I make decisions with little thought and only short-term ramifications.  As a leader of this nation, his decisions affected the world on a global scale, and each one required thoroughness and persuasiveness to see it collaboratively accomplished.  Realizing that he, too started off with small decisions, it raises the bar for me, encouraging me to take a longer look at the why and how of my decision making, and ensuring that I truly will achieve the results I desire for my family and the world around me.