Category Archives: Musings

You Are Amazing

I’m not sure if you know it yet, but you are amazing.

Here’s the thing, you have arrived at this moment in time by a miraculous route.

You have faced countless struggles, challenges and trials.

Sometimes you have fallen.

Sometimes you have failed.

But I know one thing–the fact that you are here, right now, reading this means one thing.

It means you got back up after you fell.

It means you tried again after you failed.

And because of that, you are amazing.

Don’t let anyone tell you different.

You are amazing.

And because you are amazing, you will go on to do many great things in your life.

Along the way, you will face many more struggles, challenges and trials.

And sometimes you will fall.

And sometimes you will fail.

But as long as you keep getting back up.  As long as you keep trying.  At long last, you will succeed at whatever you want to do.

Because, you are amazing.

Don’t let anyone tell you different.   Just keep being exactly true to you.

Because. . .

You are amazing.

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Know Your Audience

spartanhelmetaSeveral years ago, I became enamored with the Spartans.  I especially liked their obsession with laconic wit. In a Wikipedia entry under the term “laconic phrase” it is described as a concise or terse statement.  These laconic phrases often had a biting edge to them.  And so, when I came across the story of the group of Samians who came to Sparta in search of aid I instantly knew what I wanted my blog to be named.

Said Samians were in need of food.  Upon reaching Sparta, they went before the Spartan magistrates and pled for assistance.  Their speech was, in the typical fashion of the day, long and flowery.

The Spartan magistrates were unimpressed by the speech.  They claimed they could not remember the first part of the speech because it was so long.  And so, the Samians got wise.  They studied their target audience.  In a second meeting with the Spartan magistrates, they simply walked into the room, showed a bag and said, “The bag wants flour.”

The Spartans response?  The Samians needn’t have said ‘the bag’.  Nevertheless, the Spartans did send aid.

And so, with the realization that it is absolutely critical to always keep the reader in mind, I named my blog thebagwantsflour.

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Working for the Weekend

Many people I know are always “working for the weekend.”  Everything they do during the week is geared to setting themselves up for a great weekend.  I like the idea of planning a fun activity and preparing for it.  Sometimes half the fun in life is the anticipation.  But every week?  It seems to me that such people are only living 2/7’s of their lives.  Why not have some activity planned that you are looking forward to everyday?  Even if it is something difficult.  That way, you are at least living in the day if not in the moment.  Just saying.  Today I am looking forward to helping my daughters work on their homework.  I am also looking forward to working on my current writing project.  I missed the last two days working on my paver project–when I finally cleaned up and got ready to write, I was just too tired to focus.  Not tonight, tonight I am ready to write.

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Monday Morning Musings — I Love the Rain

Rain

Rain

I love the rain.  I especially love the rain when it comes on a Saturday morning–thereby preventing me from doing the list of Saturday chores that currently reside on my list of things to be done.  You may think I say this with irony, but I am absolutely sincere when I say, I love it when Saturday chores get rained out.  It means I get to spend more time with my children, more time with my wife, and more time relaxing.  Plus, as an added bonus, the desert area I live in gets just a bit more moisture that is so necessary for life.  And so, with gratitude, I say thanks for the rain and the for the rest.

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Monday Morning Musings — Have A Plan

It is said that 97% of people don’t have written goals.  I can’t imagine floating through life without at least a minimal plan.  At least in one or two areas.  I have a written goal for nearly everything I do.  I have found that if I don’t write it down, it just floats around in my head as a wish.  If you don’t have a written goal, why don’t you sit down right now and write one thing down that you want to accomplish.  You will be surprised at how much energy and focus it will give you.  Give it a shot–and then let me know how it goes.

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Monday Morning Musings — Sharing the Book

Steelheart by Sanderson

Steelheart by Sanderson

When I was a teen, I absolutely hated “sharing” a book.  I define that as having two people reading the exact same copy of a particular book.  To wit, I pick up the book and read to page 45.  I go outside to do my Saturday chores.  I come back in the house when done said chores to resume my reading and find the book missing.  When I finally find the book, it is in the hands of someone else.  They are reading it.  That, in my book, is wrong.  Now, as an adult, I don’t mind so much.  Often I encourage it with my children.  I enjoy reading part of the book.  Then, while one of my kids is reading it, I can ask them questions about how they are enjoying the book.  And we can chat back and forth about what is happening in the book.  It actually makes the read much more enjoyable.  When they set it down, I pick it up.  Back and forth it goes. On Friday, the newest Brandon Sanderson book showed up.  Entitled Steelheart, I was extremely excited to read it.  If you haven’t read any of his books, Sanderson is amazing.  Not only is he good, but he just keeps cranking them out.  Prolific doesn’t even begin to describe his pace.

So on Friday night, I read about 50 pages of Steelheart.  WOW!  I was hooked.  But on Saturday I had a bunch of stuff to do–mostly involving finishing the chicken run that I set the posts for last Saturday.  So I went out and finished the project.  From time to time, as I came in to get a drink or another needed tool, I noticed my son was reading the book.  He and I share a similar taste in books.  I was excited to get his take on the book.  In the afternoon, I finished the fence. I asked him how the book was.  He was enjoying it immensely.  Later, he took off with some of his friends.  I wasn’t too sad because it meant I got a crack at the book.  I got about halfway done before other concerns took me away from the book.  On Sunday, we both finished the book.  What did we think?  We both think Sanderson has a winner here.  The action was fast and the characters were loads of fun.  There are enough twists and turns that the book keeps you guessing.  I am calling it right now–this book needs to be a movie.  My son agrees.  And of course, when you are done the book you are going to want to read the second in the series.  It isn’t out yet, but considering how fast Sanderson writes, I’m quite sure it won’t be long.

I’ve come to the conclusion that sharing a book is fun.  Especially if the book is great and the person you are sharing it with is one of the greatest.

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Monday Morning Musings — I’m not Fast

My foot is finally feeling better.  The swelling from my bee sting adventure the other day went down after about 24 hours but the sole of my foot was still somewhat tender to walk on.  And for some reason, my calf keeps trying to stiffen up into a tight knot.  Who knows why–maybe because I had been walking strange for a few hours after the initial incident trying to favor the stung foot.  My favorite event of the weekend was my chance to work on micro expression recognition.  I had a tough conversation with one of my good friends.  There were a couple of micro expressions that popped up during the conversation that helped me understand what he was actually feeling–which was great because I was then able to move the conversation back to a less confrontational tone.  It was one of those conversations that you dread, but in the end have to happen for the friendship to continue to grow.  Kind of like digging out some rot in a tree branch or a wound–it hurts to get it out but after it is out the entire organism heals much better.  Tough stuff.

Kaladin, Siberian Husky

Kaladin our Siberian Husky, in the garden, possibly laughing at me

Saturday I woke up and felt great enough that I decided it was finally time to build the chicken run. I have been avoiding it for the last four months, but the time had finally come–further avoidance would only bring down the wrath of the chickens.   I built the coop last year.  At first, it was plenty big for my hens.  Every day or two, I would let them out to run the yard.  This was great for them, and for me.  But once we got Kaladin, our Siberian Husky, we couldn’t very well let the hens out to run the yard.  The hens are angry–their space is limited and they want to get out and scratch.  So I decided to build a fenced in spot adjacent to the coop for the chickens to get out and run, scratch and generally have some fun each day.  The fence would keep them away from Kaladin (yes, the name of our Siberian Husky comes from Brandon Sanderson’s fabulous book “The Way of Kings”–if you haven’t read it, you should.  It was either Kaladin or D’Artagnan.  Kaladin won, although I kind of wanted Dog’tagnan.  My idea won the least amount of votes.)  So I submitted a budget for the fence project to my wife; which was approved with a considerable amount of joy that the project was being attended to.  Then I ran down to the local hardware store and purchased  four 3×3 by 8 foot posts and four 80# bags of quikrete.  Went home and laid out the four post holes and began to dig the holes.  About halfway through I set my tape measure on the ground for a moment.  When I reached back for it, Kaladin had taken a runner with the tape in his mouth.  Seriously, I think I have about 10 tape measures and never can find any of them.  I finally track one down for the project at hand and now the dog is in on the tape measure stealing conspiracy.  I chased him around for about five minutes.  If you didn’t know it, Siberian Huskies are really fast.  And I’m not.  I finally caught up to him and body tackled him.  He may be faster, but I’m bigger.  After a few minutes of wrestling I finally established my dominance and the natural hierarchy was restored.  I walked away with my tape and my tattered pride and Kaladin had several laughs behind my back about my general lack of speed.  I finished the post setting project after about four hours.  Hey you–no laughing about my speed–most of the time was spent at the hardware store.  This week I plan on putting up the chicken wire.  I’ll get back to you with some pictures.

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Schadenfreude and the Grape Lady

The meaning of the word schadenfreude is when we gain pleasure from viewing the pain of others.   The direct translation of the word means ‘harm-joy’.  Who among us is big enough to not laugh when something bad (but not terrible) happens to someone.  For instance, I know this is a very old video, but I can’t resist laughing every time I see it.  The first time I saw this, I was literally crying I was laughing so hard.

Why is it that we as humans often get a kick out of someone else’s misfortune? Does anyone know?  I sure don’t, but I think Jim Gaffigan answered the question best in his comedic routine when he said, “No, but it’s delicious.”

Share your most delicious instance of schadenfreude below.

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Resistance is Futile–Amazon Prime

Seeing as I run a business that does a large portion of our sales over the internet, I am extremely comfortable with all things internet.  I know some older people still cringe when entering in their credit card information on a purchase.  If you are one of these people, relax and just go for it.  There are so many controls on the vendor side of the equation, it is highly unlikely that you are going to get the wool pulled over your eyes when making an internet purchase.  Although, be reasonable.  Check out the site in question, look for a few online reviews.  One place you are almost ensured to have a good purchasing experience is through Amazon.  It is crazy how much of my purchases in life I actually make through Amazon.  And for the longest time, I resisted the siren call of Amazon Prime.  If you don’t know what Amazon Prime is–you might not be on the internet much.

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

On nearly every single one of the purchases I made over the past year, Amazon has pushed the whole Amazon Prime thing in my face.  It was my one big reservation.  I hate memberships.  They lure you in with promises of great benefits and then you are stuck paying fees every year for something you probably don’t use enough to get full value.  There are a few exceptions.  If you live close to a Costco–that membership pays for itself several times over in a year.  I love reading and am a member of Barnes & Noble.  The $25.00 annual fee more than pays for itself with my guaranteed 10% off from every purchase I make through them.  They also two-day ship everything for free when you are a member and purchase over the internet.  Other than those two, I haven’t found a whole lot of memberships that I like.  I absolutely hate annual fees on credit cards.  How ludicrous is the whole concept of what the credit card companies are telling you–“How about you pay us for the privilege of then paying us even more in the form of interest.  Oh, and by the way, this also allows us to charge the merchant a hefty 2-3% fee that in the end just gets passed on to you in the form of higher product costs”.  There, I’m done ranting.

Resistance is Futile

Resistance is Futile

And now, I have learned that with Amazon Prime–resistance is futile.  I needed a couple of things from Amazon the other day and realized that although I qualified for free shipping, I wasn’t going to see them for nearly 10 days.   I needed one of the two things pretty fast (it was the Elephant Ear–I’ll tell you more about that another day).  So I broke down and signed up for Amazon Prime.  Wow!!  That is all I can say.  It is well worth it.  Since that day, I don’t have to wait until I have $25.00 worth of things so I can qualify for free shipping.  I just get on and place my order.  Two days later, my purchase shows up.  Well worth it.  Plus, my brother keeps telling me I can use it to download free movies and a bunch of other stuff like that–I guess I may have to figure out how to do that–then again, I probably won’t.

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When in Doubt

When in doubt, think before speaking.  Speak less.  Listen more.

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