Monday, June 30, 2008

Book Review: Knock your socks off Service

For a book that's slightly dated (1991) Knock your Socks off Service does very well with providing timeless tips for delivering great service. The book is more of a reminder of what great service should entail than tips on how to get there, but for those that are seeking to better themselves and serve others better it may be enough to think about the different aspects of Service.

Like every business book there are lots of quotes that are great for motivation throughout the book. One of my favorites is:
Rules exist to serve, not enslave
-- Software programmer's axiom

The 31 chapters are each short and the book can be read in just a few hours, or spread out over time. This one works better spread out over time so you can think about each chapter after reading it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The hundred pushup challenge: week 2

I jumped right into week 2 of the Hundred pushup challenge. The first 2 days were great, but lots of stress at work led to a lack of sleep, and the 3rd day ended up being fairly poor. I am still making progress, and have increased my running as well as starting on a program of curls. I want my arms to look good in both the front and the back. I ran 2.5 miles on Tuesday and 3 on Saturday to help with my overall fitness.

My days of pushups themselves went like this.

Day 1. Monday
12, 12, 9, 7, 38 Total 78
I wanted to get to 40 for my max set. I couldn't quite make it.

Day 2. Wednesday
16, 13, 11, 11, 39 Total 90
I again wanted to get to 40 for my max set, but was just short. I collapsed onto my face and had to lay on the floor for about 5 minutes before I could get up.

Day 3. Friday
15, 15, 12, 12, 23. Total 77
I was up late on Wednesday and Thursday. By Friday I was exhausted and forced myself through the workout even though I didn't have any energy. It showed when I finished way below what I thought I should have done for my max. I decided to take both Saturday and Sunday off from pushups before moving to week 3.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The hundred pushup challenge: week 1

At the start of last year I set 3 fitness goals for myself. I wanted to run a marathon, do 100 pushups straight, and do 10 pull-ups. My commitment lagged though and I only completed the marathon. For me this may have been the easiest of my three goals. I had been running with a goal of completing a marathon for over a decade, I had definitely put more time towards that goal than towards anything else.

The other two goals not only got lost in the running mania that became much of my life, but they were completely forgotten, until Tuesday last week when I stumbled into a web site. It was a 100 pushup challenge, and has a 6 week training program. Supposedly following this pushup program will build the strength to be able to do 100 pushups straight. Without even having looked ahead at the program, I knew that this was going to be my next challenge.

Out of all the exercises that I do, pushups are the one that I'm probably the most consistent with. I may get away from the weights and stop running for a while, but I still have a habit, no matter how lazy I'm being, of dropping down and doing 20-30 pushups just about anytime I feel like I need to exercise. Sometimes it helps motivate me to do more, sometimes I stop after just one set. However I am strong enough to do 30 pushups without a problem. That was enough to start me in the advanced section.

I'm not really sure of my progress after 1 week. I did made it through all 3 workouts. The first day wasn't hard at all, but the 2nd day I still had a lot of pain from the first workout. However, workout #3 was pain free and I maxed out at 32 pushups, which made my 3rd day total 80 pushups.

The other benefit is that starting this challenge has made me realize that I want to look better when I complete it than when I started it. I've been much more conscious of what I ate this past week, as well as having walked and run more. At the end of this 6 weeks, I should be able to do 100 pushups and look better doing it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Year 1908

The year is 1908.
One hundred years ago.
What a difference a century makes!
Here are some statistics for the Year 1908 :

The average life expectancy was 47 years.

Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles
Of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!

The average wage in 1908 was 22 cents per hour.

The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year .

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year,
A dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME .

Ninety percent of all doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!
Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which
Were condemned in the press AND the government as "substandard. "

Sugar cost four cents a pound.

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used
Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from
Entering into their country for any reason.

Five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars.

The population of Las Vegas , Nevada, was only 30!!!!

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea
Hadn't been invented yet.

There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.

Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write.
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind,regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."

Eighteen percent of households had at least
One full-time servant or domestic help.

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE ! U.S.A. !

Now I posted this from someone else, without typing
it myself, and it can be seen all over the world

Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A fun night of mail

Going through the mail tonight I had a solicitation for SEO services for my wife's website, presumably my information was gotten from having paid for the URL. I'll have to remedy that situation. I definitely do not intend to be spammed either in email or paper form from vendors that I'm not interested in.

Plus, I do SEO work myself. What is this solicitation? For only $65 this company will submit my website to 20 search engines and provide me quarterly reports. Hrm. Well I'm already on Google. I'm not all that interested in being extremely highly rated in specific keywords, but know that I am highly rated in some of the topics that happen to be common on my site.

Plus, since my site is a blogspot blog, I'm obviously a Google user and have access to Google Analytics. I'm pretty sure that this piece of junk mail has absolutely nothing to offer of any value whatsoever.

Then the next piece of mail I open is a warranty extension from Dell. Thanks for buying your computer (for only $499,) please extend the warranty to a 3 year warranty for $299.

Um, no thanks, if your computer is high enough quality to make it that long then I'll probably buy another cheap one, if it's not, then I'll move on to another brand, Don't try to sucker me into practically doubling the cost of my computer to ensure that it runs as long as it should anyway. If you really want to give me an offer, then for $40 extend it to a 3 year warranty. Trully stand behind the quality of your parts, then I'll be impressed that I can have security for only $40 and not the cost of another computer, just up front.

At least I don't have my kids getting credit card offers yet, like this story at Getting Rich Slowly talks about.

Friday, June 13, 2008


We went for a run the other day and on our run Jonas tripped. He only got a little scratch, and after cleaning it, we went back out and ran some more.

Jonas got a haircut today, here he while talking to his mom about it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Please stop raining

Last week was very hard on us. I've been wanting to write about it, but wasn't sure what to say. In short the flash floods that hit the Midwest last week, caused a lot of flooding in my basement. I missed work for a few days having to deal with the aftermath, and although it's clean and I've had the blower in the furnace replaced and the water heater cleaned, the basement still stinks. I plan on getting back down there to clean it again.

Erin and I both laughed a lot about everything as it happened. I think it had a lot to do with the amount of disbelief that we had while watching the water keep rising. I called the sewage plant at 1 AM while water was coming up out of the toilet. The told me that they had been struck by lightning and their pumps were down. There was nothing they could do until they could get them fixed the next morning.

We looked at our insurance policy which very clearly did not cover us for sewage backup. After a few more calls and talking to the fire department twice, we decided that the safest thing to do was to kill the power and leave the house and wait to see how bad it gets.

A quick jaunt through the knee deep water that was coming out of the toilet to shut the power off and at 2 AM we left the house.

When we got back home around 11 AM I had to make another trip through knee deep water to turn the power back on. Marks on the wall showed that it had already dropped about 3 inches.

You can see pictures of the basement on Erin's blog.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A great start to summer

Now that Jonas and Ady have now both had their graduation ceremonies, and it's hot enough to be out playing on shorts and a t-shirt, or our kids favorite, no-sleeve shirt, the summer is well on it's way.

Jonas graduated then immediately came to spend 2 weeks with us. Here that time is almost over, but it's been awesome. He's had fun, I've had fun, everyone has had fun. T-ball Finally started last week on Thursday night for Ady.

Ady and Erin are both taking swim lessons. Jaden finished his, and we decided to give him a break from them, getting both Jaden and Ady into back to back classes was stressful and difficult.

Jonas is signed up for a basketball camp and he's learning more of the ins and outs of basketball. He didn't seem to have a passion for it this winter when playing, but after just 2 days of camp it's grown on him. In these two days he's worked on basics, like dribbling, passing and boxing out, he's so excited that even on tonight's walk he prented he was dribbling while we were walking.

And Jaden. I'm not really sure what I can say about my 2 year old who is fully embracing being 2. It's almost as if he knows that it's called the terrible 2's, which he takes literally as his job description. Be wary of telling him how good he's been, because his response is a wylie little smile that will melt your heart, then he'll walk into the other room and break something or hit one of his siblings, or maybe pull a handfull of hair (literally) out of Ady's head, then he'll just walk quietly away, if he doesn't run to you first complalining about the others that he just beat. Yes, Jaden has embraced the heat of summer as if it were the fires of hell and he were the man in charge...... Ok, it's not quite that bad, but Jaden is as cute as he is stressful, and he's a lot of both.