Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
THREE KEY IDEAS:
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Trick or Treat Safety
1) Be sure older children TAKE FRIENDS and younger children are accompanied by a TRUSTED ADULT when "Trick or Treating."
2) Accompany younger children to the door of every home they approach and make sure parents and guardians are familiar with every home and all people from which the children receive treats.
3) Teach children to NEVER enter a home without prior permission from their parents or guardians.
4) Teach children to NEVER approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
5) Make sure all children wear reflective clothing and carry a glow stick when out at dusk and at night.
6) Make sure children are able to see and breathe properly and easily when using facial masks. All costumes and masks should be clearly marked as flame resistant.
7) Teach children to NEVER approach a home that is not well lit both inside and outside.
8) Teach children to stay alert for any suspicious incidents and report them to their parents, guardians, and/or the proper authority.
9) Teach children if anyone tries to grab them to make a scene; loudly yell this person is not my father/mother/guardian; and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.
10) Consider organizing or attending parties at home, in schools, or in community centers as a good alternative to "Trick or Treating."
Urgent:Volunteers are needed immediately for the Ready,Set,Zoom program. Without volunteers this program may disappear this year!
Monday, October 12, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
On Starting a Business
Thoughts from Eric J. Wilhelm, founder and CEO of Instructables: www.instructables.com/id/How_to_Start_a_Business_1
"Starting a business is no more difficult than determining that you have the risk-tolerance and temperament for such an endeavor, and deciding to just take your idea and go for it."
I translate "risk-tolerance" to mean "don't act out of fear". John wrote that there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Fear of "what might go wrong" or "what if" usually are based on lack of trust in a God Who is in control and Who loves you.
"Never satisfied with anything, I usually feel flooded with new ideas for products, services, or other great things to build. I want to change everything around me, and everything that I use. This trait is common among the Squids and seems to also be prevalent in others running interesting, successful companies. You can tell if someone genuinely has this trait because they’ll always be happy to find one of their ideas already in existence as it gives them the ability to focus on some others."
This was a radical thought for me...I would have thought that an inventor would begrudge someone else for "stealing their idea". But Eric's thought emphasizes the idea part of inventing. Someone who is flooded with ideas NEEDS others to carry them out to reality.
"Keep your tolerance for risk high by keeping your cost of living low. For us, this meant owning few or no cars and biking everywhere, cooking our own food rather than eating out and occasionally eating from dumpsters , getting furniture and tools for free from Craigslist, making everything else we needed (i.e. much of the content of this website), and, for some of us, living in the shop."
Frugality, or at least economy, is always a good idea. Trent Hamm's website is a good place to start for more information about this: www.thesimpledollar.com
"If you're really passionate about your work, people will notice and they'll want to talk to you, profile you, and write about you. I think it's misguided to actively seek press; instead publish your work to share it and better connect with like-minded people (this is one of the basic tenants of Instructables), and interested people (including mainstream press) will come looking for you. Obscurity is far worse than any form of intellectual property theft, and by sharing what you do, you are far more likely to attract potential partners and people wanting to help than you are to give something to a perceived competitor. Plus, you'll start to be known as someone who does cool stuff, and that will attract even more opportunities."
This hits me. More and more I've been taken away by thoughts of writing full time, and that has meant getting more readership to support more advertising to provide more money so I can write full time. But Eric's advice is to simply be passionate about your work. I'm considering now canceling the ads from Google and just concentrating on writing about things I'm interested in...if my readership remains low, at least I'm doing what I want to do. If I happen upon a subject that is more generally needed, readership will increase almost automatically, and then I'll consider how to support full time writing. At this point in my blogs I feel it's inappropriate to load up with ads...almost a mercenary feeling to it.
"Dating analogies apply: There's no single best way to find and attract someone for romance, and the same is true for investment. It may seem like non-advice, but I believe the best approach is to treat people as you'd like to be treated. Tell your story in the same way you'd like to hear it, being honest about both your optimism and your fears."
The Golden Rule will never corrode or become obsolete!
"People ask me all the time if it was hard to start a business. Only the first step of truly deciding to go for it is hard. After that, it's a whole bunch of small things that add up to something great. If you make just a little bit of progress everyday, over time you can accomplish a great deal."
"A little bit of progress everyday"...that's encouraging to me. I can't write long every day, and some days I can't write at all. My work schedule is grindingly difficult - "Dupont Schedule", 12-hour shifts, 4-nights, 3-off, 3-days, 1-off, 3-nights, 3 off, 4-days, 7-off...the seven days off each month are great, but it takes two of those days to recover from the other half of my month...switching back and forth from days to nights...12-hour shifts - but I'm able to write at least a little most days.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Blogging My Keep
I've just read an interesting article on the very topic I was bouncing around earlier: Can Blogging provide monetary support?
Trent Hamm publishes a website called "Simple Dollar" (http://www.thesimpledollar.com). I subscribe to his RSS feed and today's column helps me see the issues much clearer. Here are some of my reactions to his article (Some Notes on Do-It-Yourself Self-Employment):
Trent started his website simply because he loved to write and he felt like his main interest was something other people could relate to. His website, in the beginning, brought in NO income...he wrote because he enjoyed it.
This fits me. I've spent the last two days recuperating from a strained knee, and most of it was spent writing for the internet...none of it earning a dime. I do have a few ads placed on a couple of my sites, but Trent and I both know that they will not pay anything until I get a few thousand faithful readers. But I simply enjoy it. I easily imagine an audience of like-minded thinkers who enjoy reading my words...but at this point they are all imaginary (except my two Twitter followers...THANK YOU!)
But that's how Trent started. Just a few friends and family members. But he's a good writer, with an interesting, timely, necessary topic (financial advice), and his readership grew.
When he had thousands of readers and needed to spend huge amounts of time in writing, researching, and moderating his website, he realized he'd have to go fulltime, and that meant making his website a paying proposition. He chose to do that through advertising.
He contracts with an "advertising broker" to post ads in exchange for money. Every time one of his pages is viewed over the internet, he gets paid for an "ad view". The pay is very small per view, just a fraction of a cent, but with thousands of readers, opening his website daily, his ad view count climbs into the millions. His column today stated that his monthly income from advertising is somewhere around the $1800 level...he can't be specific because of contractual requirements with the advertisement broker.
The caveat is that it's not easy. He emphasizes the need for consistent, well-written content that focuses on a topic that lots of people want to understand.
This is where it gets tough for me...the website I spend most of my time on, this one, is just a collection of rambling, random, sometimes rough essays and notes...nothing organized, nothing focused. Trent points at my kind of column as being patently unsuccessful, money-wise.
Trent says I must write about something people care about, and I must write daily, and I must write well. That's the only way to draw readership, and that's the only way to make money from advertising.
I'll end with the paragraph that he used to finish today's article:
"Yes, you can earn money from blogging, but it’s not as easy as just logging onto the internet and voicing whatever is on your mind. It takes patience, focus, passion for your topic, and some “short order” writing skill."
Read the entire article: Some Notes on Do-It-Yourself Self-Employment
Our National Parks: America's Best Idea
Watching Ken Burn's documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea".
I expected it to be a travelogue, showing sights of our beautiful land. It is so much more.
The history of our National Parks threads deeply and strikingly through all the major social and political issues our country has experienced since the late 1800's: war, exploration, racial prejudice, grazing rights, state's rights, the depression, the New Deal, executive branch versus legislative, beauty, Native Americans, Japanese internment, the arts, welfare...
These issues didn't simply exist while National Parks and National Monuments were being established...the issues were central to the creation of parks, and the parks were central to the issues. In some cases, the parks changed social and political thought and work.
Many of the same outcries we hear today accompanied the battles to establish our most dearly loved National Parks: grazing rights, state's rights, species extinction, Native American treaty rights.
Can you imagine Olympia or King's Canyon or Sequoia being completely logged, farmed, and ranched? Paved roads, dirt roads, private roads, fences, convenience marts, resorts, golf courses?
I have to be honest and realize that I don't make my living directly from farming or ranching or building, so I'm undoubtedly biased.
But I can't help hearing the same echoes of outcry against wilderness areas and wildlife refuge areas, and imagining what it would be like if those cries had prevailed in Wyoming and we'd lost the opportunity to preserve precious, fragile parts of our country that should belong to all people in our country.
The establishment of our National Parks was not a smooth, clean, orderly social and political exercise of noble ideals...most of the parks were established through long, bitter, discordant disagreements, compromises, and political battles.
I especially appreciated the focus on Harold LeClaire Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior under Franklin D. Roosevelt.
I'd never heard of Harold Ickes...high school and college classes made no mention of him. Yet his work in establishing National Parks included fighting vicious racial prejudice and selfish, commercial interests of big business and state's rights. He was a white, male Republican politician, but he fought for what was right, no matter the skin color or the bank account or the political party.