Friday, May 30, 2008

Dropping "I"

Bound (by vladstudio) During bible study we've been talking a bit about not talking about me. 

One of the most important things I learned from my high school English teach, Mrs. Toliver, was that you should never use "I" in a paper.  Don't say something like

I think most experts agree that using proper English is unnecessary in the Internet age.

Instead simply say

Most experts agree that using proper English is unnecessary in the Internet age.

As Mrs. Toliver would say, "I know it's what you think, you wrote it. Obviously it's what you think."

I began thinking about this a bit more and how it applies to regular life as well.  The stupid, overused saying goes "There's no 'I' in team." But really we need to change our perspective entirely and think outside individual units.  These units could be individuals, teams, businesses, nations or any other defined body. Instead we need to look at the whole of everything, every human being as part of our "unit".  We need to drop a team focus and instead focus on the entire organism that is all life.

In every action we should be thinking, how does this impact humanity?  For every great thing that comes our way, or works out, recognize those gifts are from the whole.

This is one of the biggest steps people take when they go past accepting that there is a God and decide to actually follow him.  We are tasked to stop thinking about "I" and "me" and instead focus on both "Him" and "Everyone" in every thing that we do.

This change in thought is one of the hardest things to keep true over time.  Western society constantly pushes "I".  "You need this gadget" or "How does that impact me" are used in our vocabulary every day.

I wonder what it would be like to drop "I" from our vocabulary for an entire week?  What if we had to attribute everything to "we" instead?  How would that constant hint to focus outside ourselves feel?  How would it change our perspective on the world?  Would we finally recognize that there is something far greater than ourselves which matters?

Peace,
+Tom

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nails on the Run follow-up

2007-06-27 - Rachel & Grandma Cindy Painting Nails 037 (by tlbignerd) I just got this comment on my older post Million Dollar Ideas #4: Nails on the Run.

Hi Tom,
Funny you posted this idea, because my mom and I started a mobile nail salon that travels to businesses, parties, special events, etc. We are called a Nails on the Run and located in Corona, California. We started our business in November 2007, but has been in the planning for a year prior to this - and is so far a growing success! Our website should be out this week: www.nailsontherun.com.
Regards,

Amie Beard
Nails on the Run
(951)833-5799

I'm not sure which makes me happier, that someone else also had the idea, or that they even used the same name I came up with.  In any case, I sure wish I lived in California right now.  If you do happen to live there, go check it out.

Heck, sounds like a great road trip destination!

Peace,
+Tom

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cosmic Jokes

An Avian Perspective (by Akril15) While Rachel was playing Go Diego Go: Safari Rescue on our Wii (without a doubt the best game for our 4 year old) they talked about the Plover.  This is a bird whose claim to fame is that it will stand inside a crocodile's open mouth and clean off it's teeth.

Seriously, how many plovers got to meet their maker before the crocodile realized that this little bird was helping him out? Heck, how desperate was the plover for food before he decided to walk into an open mouth for food?

Or is this all because crocodiles are inherently lazy and don't care if chicken (er plover) nuggets hop right into their mouths?

What ridiculous ideas are out there that seem to make absolutely no sense. . . until they become incredibly beneficial to all?

Peace,
+Tom

Thursday, May 22, 2008

SQL Debugging Tidbit of the Day

debug version 2 (by Franz Patziq) For the most part I generate stored procedures from Visual Studio (I'm a huge fan of typed datasets. . .  get over it) and edit them in SQL Server Enterprise Manager.  This gives me the parameters and linkages easily while letting me gut the innards and make it all do what I want.  While I know Toad for SQL is great, I tend to forget about it and go back to Enterprise Manager.

Well, one of the things I just discovered was that if you receive a compilation error for a procedure or view, you can double-click the text and it will highlight the row in the code that throws the error.

SQL Debugging Tidbit

This is pretty intuitive and I can't believe I didn't think of it before.  Just seeing that text without a table format led me to think it wasn't possible.  I do like the Enterprise Manager 2005 interface though, and I'm glad to see Microsoft recognize people are using it to do some light development.

Peace,
+Tom

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Dark Side of the Sun

Solar eclipse (by Wuerzi) I was thinking about the term "Dark Side of the Moon" (thank's Pink Floyd and Parker J. Palmer) and began thinking about the Dark Side of the Sun (which Terry Pratchett describes in his book of the same name).

So, the deep question of the day is, obviously, where is the dark side of the sun? 

Is it on the inside?

More importantly, is the inside of the sun really dark, or is it bright plasma through and through?

Peace,
+Tom

Sunday, May 11, 2008

TimeTube

TimeTube is a pretty great way to show a connected string of data.  If you run a search it will show you all YouTube videos along that timeline.

During college I met Bjarne Stroustrup (the guy who created C++) who talked a lot about his thoughts on how best to display data.

Cool, short side-story there.  I went to meet with my professor and Bjorne was sitting in the office waiting as well.  So the two of us talked for a while about family, his life, and anything that came to mind.  It was one of the most memorable times for me, though I'm sure he'd never remember.  Also cool was that when he signed our books later he drew a cool landscape picture around his message and name.

Essentially he had the idea of taking connected data and showing colored "blocks" of that information on a screen.  As you click blocks it shows you the information in a side bar.  The real insight here isn't in the display, so much as the idea that we are visual people and need a way to visually connect and find related information.  TimeTube does a decent job of that.

If only it would tie in things beyond YouTube, like Flickr, other video sites or even files on my desktop.

Peace,
+Tom

Friday, May 9, 2008

The New Weather

Plane Old Gas Station(by Matt (mistergoleta)) Gas is the the new weather.

The first thing we talk about at a party is no longer "it's going to be nice this weekend, what are you up to?"  In the elevator we're not talking about the rain.

Conversations are starting with, "I hear gas is going to hit $5 a gallon by the end of the year" and "I'm thinking about getting a new car with better mileage."

At this point I do have to wonder personally, does it really matter if you found a gas station that's a penny cheaper per gallon than the next place over?  Heck, does 10 cents even make much of a difference?

Peace,
+Tom

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

IHOP

Love & Protection (by Janesdead) Truly, I Hate Overprotective Parents.  I don't mean the parents who keep their kids from fire so they don't get burned.  And I don't mean the parents who stop their kids from jumping on the sofa so they don't fall.

Funny story, this weekend Rachel was bouncing on the sofa and wouldn't stop when we asked her.  Before we knew it she went flying over the armrest and flipped over, landing on the floor.  While scary, once we knew she was ok, it was just darned awesome to watch.

Being my daughter, when we asked if she'd jump on the sofa again, what do you think she said?  Through tears she nods, "yes".

Anyway, I have met all different kinds of parents as a youth leader.  the ones that have always made me the most nervous are the immensely overprotective ones.

There are very appropriate levels of caution, and I will always err on the side of caution when it comes to my kids, and others' kids.  Generally, you can't be safe enough.

What makes me nervous though is when safe enough turns into a safe bubble.  We end up wanting our kids to be so safe and secure that they don't learn how to live a normal life in the outside world.

I've seen college students who get off to college and have no idea how to have a real relationship with a friend where they leave themselves vulnerable.  Any time things don't go the way they want, the person immediately withdraws from the relationship and moves on.

I often wonder how these people will fare in the working world, when their manager is a jerk or their job is uninteresting.  Maybe that's even part of the reason 20 something's today stay in a job for an average of 18 to 24 months before moving on.

What I've seen more often are the protected kids who go to college and can't handle the freedom.  They party constantly, get into some hurtful relationships, and soon feel completely alone since they don't have close friendships or much parental connection to fall back on.  After a year or two a balance is found, but I've also known some people who have crossed different lines (sexual, alcohol, drugs, self-mutilation) and never returned.

Mistakes in themselves are precious.  Without mistakes growth happens very slowly.  We all need to allow our children the freedom to make mistakes.  We also need to always be available to help them through those mistakes.

The most precious gift we give our kids is the gift of unconditional love.

Not unconditional safety.

Peace,
+Tom

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Going Green

STOCK IMAGE EYE EDITED - GREEN WITH ENVY - (PART OF THE 7 DEADLY SINS SERIES) by (Moments Captured in Time) This past week a member of our church got a great leadership of youth award from the Diocese of Virginia for all of the work he's been doing as a youth leader.  He's chairing the committee which is reorganizing our youth program, he's always available, has a huge heart for kids, and continues to amaze me with the time he puts forth.  Even while he was fighting cancer he did everything he could to be available.  On top of it all he's a scout master.

One of the things I'm always the most impressed with is that he's one of the few adults I know who is willing to do crazy things with kids.  He understands that if it's not fun or ridiculous it's not going to bring kids.

During church they read the recommendation letter, highlighting a lot of the great things he's done and ways he's gone above and beyond what most volunteers do.

As horrible as it is, I stood there listening to this gushing and wondered...  Why didn't anyone do this for me?  Yeah, the big envy monster began rearing it's ugly head.

As the text by Moments in Time from the flickr image above says:

[Envy] can also be a sense of low self-esteem that results from an upward social comparison threatening a person's self image: another person has something that the envier considers to be important to have. If the other person is perceived to be similar to the envier, the aroused envy will be particularly intense, because it signals to the envier that it just as well could have been him or her who had the desired object.

Every day we compare ourselves to others.  We need a bigger TV, our neighbors lawn is prettier than ours, my friend has more free time than I do, she's getting recognized for the same thing I do.  That comparison can only lead down a road of self-doubt and frustration.

There are so many times we are sure we absolutely need something better.  I bought my Chrysler Pacifica recently because I was convinced my old van was unsafe.  But was it really that unsafe (though this new one with LATCH is much more convenient).

Before we buy that next big thing, or wish we were getting the award our co-worker received, it's important to remember the billions of other people who will never have close to what we already have.  There are many other people who are also just as good as you are, and deserve awards as well.  Focus on them and giving them congratulations, instead of worrying that you don't have an award yourself.

It's time to build people up, including ourselves.

Peace,
+Tom

Monday, May 5, 2008

I'm Goin' To The Moon!

Tom Moon This is just one of the best ideas I've heard.  Anyone can go to the moon, for free, without any training, testing or anything.  Sadly, it's only my name that's going to the moon.  Being an avid fan of all things interstellar, and wondering recently why we haven't had another moon landing, this just got my interest.

You can send yourself, or any family members of your choosing, to the moon right here.  I've added Erin, Rachel, Colin and I.  So, I guess my name live in eternity with my kids names, orbiting the moon.  Anyone else care to join me in eternity?

Here is the Main NASA detail page which I first found in NASA to Fly You to the Moon for Free, Sinatra Style from Gizmodo.

Peace,
+Tom

Friday, May 2, 2008

Phew, I know what to do with my $500

R2D2 Projector from nikkoamerica.com I just came across this Star Wars R2D2 projector video.  You have absolutely got to check out the video.

Sure...  It's $3,000, but is that really so much for an R2D2 with an iPod dock (Guess I need an iPod), DVD projector and Millennium Falcon remote?  You have absolutely got to watch the video (that I can't easily embed, dumb flash).

Get yours from StarWars Shop too!

Peace,
+Tom

Things You Never Want to Hear

Daddy, Grandma forgot her hair!

Just a little creepy.

Truly though it was only a clip-on pony tail which grandma loves, and doesn't look half bad.  But, who wants someone else's hair at their house?

Peace,
+Tom

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Work and Prayer

HDR Workspace 3 (by Muskito) There's a saying I originally heard from Mark Batterson at the National Community Church.

Work like it depends on you. Pray like it depends on God!

This really resonates with me.  Some people really decide to think, "hey, God put me in this place and he'll help get me out of it" then proceed to do nothing waiting for God to help out.  A life of apathy ensues.

Then there are others who are so convinced that they have to do things right and that everything rests on their shoulders.  Without them everything would crumble.  A life of control and narcissism follows.

Sadly, I fall into both of these categories more than I'd like to admit.  Truly I probably fall more into the bucket where I rely more on myself then on others or God.

Balancing work and prayer together is key.  For me though it's the need to constantly remember that any given moment absolutely everything could fall apart.  It's only through faith in God and that all the millions of tiny things will go on correctly that we know our world will stay together.

So...

Work like it depends on you.  Pray like it depends on God.

Peace,
+Tom