Wednesday, August 23, 2006

They Can't Eat You!

I was researching web hosts today for my job, and as a result of my search, I came across Go Daddy CEO Bob Parson's 16 Rules for Survival:

1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone. I believe that not much happens of any significance when we're in our comfort zone. I hear people say, "But I'm concerned about security." My response to that is simple: "Security is for cadavers."

2. Never give up. Almost nothing works the first time it's attempted. Just because what you're doing does not seem to be working, doesn't mean it won't work. It just means that it might not work the way you're doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn't have an opportunity.

3. When you're ready to quit, you're closer than you think. There's an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: "The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed."

4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be. Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of "undefined consequences." My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, "Well, Robert, if it doesn't work, they can't eat you."

5. Focus on what you want to have happen. Remember that old saying, "As you think, so shall you be."

6. Take things a day at a time. No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don't look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time.

7. Always be moving forward. Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.

8. Be quick to decide. Remember what General George S. Patton said: "A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow."

9. Measure everything of significance. I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.

10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate. If you want to uncover problems you don't know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven't examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there.

11. Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you're doing. When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.

12. Never let anybody push you around. In our society, with our laws and even playing field, you have just as much right to what you're doing as anyone else, provided that what you're doing is legal.

13. Never expect life to be fair. Life isn't fair. You make your own breaks. You'll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).

14. Solve your own problems. You'll find that by coming up with your own solutions, you'll develop a competitive edge. Masura Ibuka, the co-founder of SONY, said it best: "You never succeed in technology, business, or anything by following the others." There's also an old Asian saying that I remind myself of frequently. It goes like this: "A wise man keeps his own counsel."

15. Don't take yourself too seriously. Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.

16. There's always a reason to smile. Find it. After all, you're really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. More and more, I agree with my little brother. He always reminds me: "We're not here for a long time; we're here for a good time."
The above article is included with the permission of Bob Parsons and is Copyright © 2004-2006 by Bob Parsons. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Happy Monday!

It's a lovely day today - sunny, cool and dry - and look what I found in the Whole Foods Market over in Madison, NJ!

Yay! Bubbies! Boo! It's, um, wicked expensive! But that's ok, today I shelled out the small fortune because it's a special occasion which I am not allowed to mention. ;)

Bubbie's mochi ice cream was my very first exposure to mochi ever. I had just moved to Hawaii, and I was hanging out with some people I had just met through swing dancing. They weren't even from Hawaii - just a couple of instructors who were in town from Colorado who were conducting some workshops that week. They needed a ride back from town to Hawaii Kai, so I offered to drive them. Along the way, they suggested we stop for ice cream, which of course I'm always up for. Some local person had taken them to Bubbie's earlier, and they wanted to go back there and get more mochi ice cream. So we bought a whole big container full and pigged-out when we got to where they were staying.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Day of Updates

Yep, it's been a while and I really haven't had a lot of time to update my blog even in a quasi-meaningful way. Stuff's been happening. Jobs have been quit. People want to know the status of kitty cat toilet training. I will get to all that stuff, and add pictures and even some video...

Spam learns to play fetch and goes YouTubing!

I think I may have mentioned before that Spammy's favorite toy is Stick. Stick is a long piece of white plastic that used to be the seal around a bucket of kitty litter we bought way back when we first got the kitties last year. Well he loves to play with it so much, he often wakes us up in the morning, not to get us to feed him, but rather to dangle his stick around so he can chase it!

Yesterday I was busy for much of the day doing useless stuff on the computer, like discovering Google Calendar and Spreadsheets, and checking out Kevin Kelly's really cool blog about cool tools. While I was in the midst of all this, Spammy came into the room and sat down next to me and began to meow very loudly. When I looked to see what he wanted, I saw that he had carried his stick all the way into the office from the bedroom!

So of course I played stick with him. I wiggled it around, made him chase it in circles, and then I threw it out of the room and into the hallway. He ran out of the room, picked it up, and carried it right back for me to continue playing with him. How cute is that??

As I was just about to go to sleep last night, Spammy carried his stick up onto the bed. So I threw it into the hallway for him, and he carried it back. We did that for six or seven times. Then I think he got smart and decided he didn't want to carry the stick anymore and so he put it down somewhere out reach for me.

This morning I tried to capture him playing fetch on video, and was able to get him to do a half-hearted fetch at least once. Anyway, I played around with the video for a couple hours, added a shameless promo for Mochi Kids!™ to the end of it, and uploaded it as my first video to Go Spammy!

House kitties get to go outside!

Last weekend we bought a harness and a little leash for taking the kitties outside for supervised exploring. As you can see from the pictures, Spammy is all about poking around and looking at stuff, while Musubi is a bit more skiddish about it.
After her first time outside (photo below), Musubi did watch Spammy walking around outside on several occasions, from her save perch in the window. I think this encouraged her a little bit, because the next time I brought her out, she was more willing to look around at stuff.
And imagine me going all my life and never laying eyes on a cicada until last week - and there here we are again - Spammy spotted one in the grass! Well, it was pretty easy to spot this one because at the moment we found it, it was having a fight with a bumble bee. The bumble bee left and Spammy tried taking a closer look... but when the cicada buzzed it wings, it scared Spammy and he hurried away. :)
Mr. Cicada was really mixed up in the grass, so it's hard to tell what he is. But I can assure you he's not the grey thing on the right. :P

One job down, one to go...

Ok, I don't plan on quitting my Run-A-Ton job anytime soon, but two Sundays ago (or maybe it was three?), I did finally quit my Crate and Barrel job. And that's why I can spend so much time updating my blog today!

As I've said before I did actually enjoy working at Crate and Barrel - my co-workers were really nice and great to work with (with the exception of the college slacker summer hires, not to be confused with the college student summer hires who were not slackers), on the whole the customers were pleasant and friendly, but most of all, I had a nametag that said "Marsha-Marsha-Marsha" on it! Oh, and the employee discount was nice too.

I'd have to say the big downside is that having to work a weekend day is pretty stinky if you don't have to. But the biggest reason I left was because I wanted to devote more time to Mochi Kids!™ activities, which I have been able to do to a small degree - since I left C&B I've created a couple of new designs as well as some more products. One of the reasons I haven't been able to do more is that I've been working a couple of full-time weeks, filling in for the gal who normally does the accounts payable stuff while she is away on vacation. Ha, I never thought I'd be doing accounting stuff! But it turns out I'm not too bad at it. Go figure.

Mission Impossible.

It's been several weeks already since I gave up on trying to potty train the kitties.

The two main reasons were these:

  • Spammy loves to play with water. When the CitiKitty hole got big enough for him to stick his whole upper body through, all he did was play when the water was clean. At least he was smart enough to wait till the water was clean.
  • Musubi wanted to drink the water. When the CitiKitty hole got big enough for her to stick her whole upper body through, AND Spammy had already kicked all the water out of the water bowl before playing with the toilet water, Musubi felt she had to resort to drinking the toilet water, and therefore stopped using it to go potty.
Oh well, we tried. I still think that if it were just Musubi, she would be potty trained by now. Mabye we'll try again in a year or two, when Spammy is more mature. For now, we even have had to move their water bowl to sit inside the sink in the half-bathroom, so that when he plays with the water, at least it just goes down the drain and not all over the floor!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Weird On-line Advertising

Ok, so this is one of those things that has probably been going on for some time and I only just noticed it today.

A few minutes ago, I was reading this article about how the International Astronomical Union has finally come to a decision on what defines a planet. (Incidentally, there are going to be 12 celestial bodies recognized as planets - eight "classical" planets and four "plutons".) In the article, I noticed that there are a few words that are text links. Expecting them to link to something related to the article or the particular word in the article, I was surprised to find out that they were nothing more than advertisements! If you click on the link, it takes you to the advertiser's web site. If you simply roll over the link, a little window pops up with a mini-ad from the same advertiser.

I don't know how I feel about this form of advertising. I guess it's easy enough to ignore, which is mainly what I do with on-line advertisements. But imagine reading a whole article in which many of the words are hyperlinked advertisements. That could be really annoying. And then it would be hard to determine which links are just advertisements versus links to information legitimately related to the article. Bluh.

Monday, August 07, 2006

What kind of bug?

So this evening I was making some focaccia bread (sorry, not from scratch - but it was yummy!), and as usual, while the oven was pre-heating, our smoke detector went off.

As soon as I got my hands out of the dough and reasonably clean, I went and shut off all the racket, and then made sure all the downstairs windows were wide open. While opening one of the dining room windows, I noticed a large clump of something on the outside window sill. It was the big huge bug you see here!

So anyway, I don't know what kind of bug this is, and neither does Kenji. If you know what it is, let us know. :)


Ok, fine, I did a little research and found out that our bug is a cicada. I showed Kenji the bug, and opened the screen so he could get a good look at it. Just as I shut the screen, the cicada tried to fly into our house! It scared the crap out of us and we jumped and screamed like little girlies. Well I did anyway. But I got the screen shut just in time, and Mr. Cicada just kinda bounced off it and flew away.