Me in a 2010 Corvette, yes, I know, I do look good in that car

Apr 21, 2010 by

Saturday, courtesy of GM Texas, I was invited to the Texas Motor Speedway as a blogging dad to check out the new products GM has on the market.  I've already noted how impressed I was with the Chevy Traverse.

Here's a complimentary photo they took of me in the 2010 silver convertible Corvette.  I had a nice time in this ride.  And there's also a funny video to go along with it.

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(Photo by AEJE Event Photography)

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Are your cell phone msgs are private if the phone is work provided?

Apr 18, 2010 by

Here's a case of huge significance to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow: If you have a cell phone that's paid for by your boss and you send sexually explicit messages or just private ones for that matter, are you entitled to your privacy in what's in the personal messages?

In this case, it's a matter of a police officer's superiors searching through his cell phone and finding personal messages and whether or not that's a violation of his Constitutional rights.   Sexting

A couple thoughts come to my mind right off, and I guess I should read more.  It would seem that text messages, if on a phone paid for by a government entity, that those would be subject to open records and therefore wouldn't be any different than if one were sending the same content via a desk-top computer and email. 

This is a pretty significant question.  And the variations of it that could come to mind are boggling.  Think of this.  If your employer bought the phone you use, but doesn't pay for the service, does that make it your phone or their phone? 

If they pay for the service and you pay for any overages, does that make you the owner of the content or your employer? 

If you're having a bad day at work and you send a note to a friend or your wife and say, "My boss is being a jerk today. I hate this place," and then your boss goes through your phone and decides to fire you because of what you wrote, how is this different than if you did the same thing on the office networked computers? 

According to the link above, "The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2008 that the police officer, Sgt. Jeff Quon, had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

"The appeals court found that the police chief's decision to read the pager's text messages without a suspicion of wrongdoing violated the officer's 4th Amendment constitutional protections against unreasonable searches."

Obviously, the answer to all of this seems to be quite simple and logical, however somewhat inconvenient.  GET YOUR OWN PHONE.  And then that opens a whole slew of new questions.  Can your employer prohibit you from carrying two phones on the job?  What if you're in the military or an emergency services personnel?  Should a police officer be running around with two phones?  Is that a safety distraction?  The questions are endless.  

What do you think?

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Chevy 2010 Traverse: I want one. My day at the races. #ChevyTMS

Apr 17, 2010 by

Courtesy of the kind fokes @GMTexas today, I went to the Texas Motor Speedway for what was planned to be a great day at the races.  Being a social media Daddy Blogger, this was my first chance of working with a major car company and I have to say, after seeing that the Chevy 2010 Traverse will hold 30 percent more than the Honda Pilot; has a third row perfect for a dad with three girls who love to travel; and just looks darn good with myself in it–I want one.   Chevrolet_traverse

I'd never heard of this car before today.  But I'm all about it now.  I looked at the GM specs and it's a cool ride.  It's got more horsepower than the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and the Ford Flex

It also has more space: 116.4 cubic feet v. the 87 of the Honda Pilot–hence the 30 percent comparison.  I got to watch people put odd shaped boxes in one just to show how much stuff you can pack into this car and again, I want one.  (See photo below)

Remember when I moved my stuff a few weeks ago in the Chrysler Sebring convertible?  I could have cut the number of trips in half with a Traverse.   Photo

And then something that's immensely important to any dad–safety.  The Traverse has a 5-Star crash safety rating.  That's the highest there is.  It has six standard air bags, and head-curtain side air bags in each of the three rows.  As a dad, that's critical to me and something I just don't have in the convertible.  Not to mention On-Star.

Other cool features include the built-in DVD, Bluetooth and even a Flash connection you can plug in with music files.  And if you're really wanting it, you can also add the rear view back up camera and screen.

My situation in life has seemed pretty grim over the past couple of months.  So far 2010 has brought some fairly significant changes in my life–and while at times it's felt like I was getting lemons, I'm starting to make some sweet, sweet lemonade. 

Dads and moms, you really should go visit a GM dealer near you and take a look at this car.  I think you're going to be surprised at the product selection at a GM dealership. 

I got into that Traverse this morning and I felt like I was sitting in the lap of luxury, all the while feeling like I was in a solid vehicle.  GM has taken a lot of hits on their chin just like I have in the past couple of years.  For me, they're now an inspiration because even as they were in the midst of financial stress and despair, struggling for survival, they, too, pulled it all together and are now turning out a far superior product.   Images-1

In a few months, certainly by this time next year, I'm hoping to be in a more sound place, just like GM is today. 

But for today, I now have a new dream to chase, thanks to GM.  I had a great time today.  It even rained so I didn't see the first race car going around the track.  But that's okay.  I have a new appreciation for a car company that my dad only used to buy when I was a kid.  I have a reason to come back to GM now, too.  And now I have a new journey in which to traverse.

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Fitness Tuesday is on

Apr 13, 2010 by

Got up this morning feeling fine.  Slept in a new king-sized bed a friend has given me.  The graciousness and generosity of Christians is so overwhelming. 

Took a walk in the apartment complex.  There are plenty of hills, which are good, as I noted Saturday or Sunday, I'm going to get fit enough to climb Half Dome in Yosemite by the end of September of this year. 

When I returned, I did 20 minutes of yoga.  I just ate a healthy morning breakfast. 

And now I'm dedicated to working my projects the rest of the day to add value to the lives of others; value centered living. 

Thank you, God, for such a beautiful day.  The birds are singing.  The sun is shining brightly and it's going to be a great day. 

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A Summer 2010 dreamline goal: Climbing to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite

Apr 10, 2010 by

Thanks to reading Tim Ferriss' book, The Four-Hour Workweek, I've set some new personal goals and dreams for my life. One goal for this summer? I am going to do the 18-mile hike to the top of Yosemite's Half Dome by the end of this summer.

Whew.  For an admittedly over-weight 44-year-old man right now, that may seem a little wacky, but when you get down to it, it's just the sort of thing I need to strive for.   YosemiteHalfDome

Too many points in my life of late have been scattered about.  Dreams of the happily ever after I'd longed for have ended like being in a dream and suddenly waking up and not knowing what day it is. 

And in many ways, I feel like there is just about only one direction to go right now and that direction is up.  So what's one of my favorite spots on earth?  Yosemite.  What's the visual highlight of the park?  Half Dome.

I'm not even going to worry at the moment of how I get there or how I move about when I get to the park.  All those things will fall into place over the next few months.  What I need to do now is focus my physical energies on getting my body ready for the hike and then the last bit of the climb to ascend the top of that granite icon. 

A friend suggested that might be a little difficult living on the plains here in North Texas.  Maybe so, but I'm working on that, too.  For one, my EA SPORTS Active is about to get a good dose of daily use. There also is a weight room with lots of strength equipment.  My apartment complex is rolling hills so I'm walking everywhere I go in the complex and doing less driving.  I made my last gallon of sweetened tea the other day. I'm back to drinking water and skim milk only.   No soft drinks.  No alcohol. 

I did something else healthy last night.  I went to bed at 10 p.m.  Yes, even on a Friday night.  And I didn't get up until 7 a.m. and took a nap a little later in the day.  My food consumption today has been reduced and I'm eating foods that are good for me once again.

Yosemite, I'm coming for you again in a few months.  Time to make some money, get myself back in shape and then go conquer this goal. It means that much to me.  And we all know what happens when we set a goal that seems just a little out of reach.  We work like the Dickens to make it become a reality.

So there we go.  You all know what I'm up to.  The encouragement and accountability is asked for.  Prayers are welcomed as well.  I can do this.  Wanna join me in the quest?  It's not a good thing to do alone.  The more of us who do this the better.  Are you up for the challenge? 

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WVA Mine Explosion, Nuke Policy Change and Value Centered Living

Apr 6, 2010 by

If you've not heard yet, there's been a massive coal mine explosion in West Virgina and as of right now, 25 are dead and four are still missing.  FOX News keeps running the same video over and over of emergency operations crews heading into the area.  From a distance, we only can imagine what is going on to try and rescue those who still are missing.  And of course, a reflection to Homer Hickam in October Sky is a helpful reminder of some of the emotions that must be going on in the sons and daughters of those who have been killed or are still missing.   100406-virginia-mine-hmed-130a.h2

If you haven't yet, stop what you're doing and offer up a prayer for these courageous workers who lost their lives doing the only thing their families know–coal mining.  We take it for granted that coal produces 32 percent of the total US energy supply.  We also take for granted what these men and women do below the ground to get us that energy. 

And what probably would have been bigger news today is the announcement coming from the Pentagon about changes in our nuclear arsenal deployment policy.  FOX is making a big deal out of it.  Until I know more, I'm not going to get exercised about it. 

It was disturbing yesterday to read that Russian President Putin is going to sell a huge supply of armaments to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez's government down in South America.   That guy clearly has plans of causing trouble on our side of the globe and it being backed with the powerhouse on the other side of the world is quite concerning. 

But for me today, my focus is on helping people here in the local area as they try to do good to help improve the lot of others.  God tells us to pray and be focused on what's going on, but also to focus on the part we can actually impact.  That, too, was part of the lesson I learned during my information diet that I've been on and will resume. 

VALUE CENTERED LIVING

There is so much noise going on in the world.  So many windmills we could spend a day chasing and being upset about.  But it's more important to be focused on two things: God, and what we can do within our own scope of influence to help the others around us.  Today shall be no exception.  Yes, we can work to grow our circle of influence, but it's so important to focus on a palatable amount.

My thoughts and prayers go out today to the coal miners, their families and those who are working with everything they have to mount a search and rescue effort.  And don't forget our national leaders who are endeavoring to keep the world safe.  And then don't forget about the people in your life who you could reach out to today.  Will you get a financial reward for doing so?  Maybe not, but that's not the point.  If you live what I'm calling Value Centered Living, it won't matter.  Because if you're adding value to the lives of others, then there will be rewards–for them. And as good things come to them, perhaps, if the world is right, you'll be returned in favor as well.  But if not, it doesn't matter.  You made the world a little better place.  And for that, there simply is no monetary value. 

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The 20/80 phenom: Get rid of the 20% that causes 80% of your problems

Mar 25, 2010 by

I'd never really thought about it, but when you really put things down on a list that cause you stress, at least in my case, I have found that there are about 20 percent of the things in my life that have been causing about 80 percent of the stress.  It's a disproportional relationship, and truth to tell, that number probably had gotten higher than 20 percent.  Maybe as high as 35 percent.  4 hour work week

At this writing, I'm on a course to cut that 35 or so percent way down, if not out completely.  Sure, there will be other things that have the potential to come along and jump back in there, but I think finally, at 44 years of age, I've come to recognize what those things are.

If you've never picked up Tim Ferriss' book, The Four-Hour Workweek, I strongly suggest you make your way to a bookstore today and do so.  Set up a list of the top two life priorities you have for today.  These are important tasks that if you don't do them, you will not have done something to advance the progress of your life today.  For today, make going and getting this book one of those two top priorities. The other part of that is start reading the book. 

I'm half way through right now and I can see all kinds of ways I can make my life better.  And already I can feel the weight of the stress I've been enduring lifting.  It's not all gone, but I'm making a plan.  (Remember the blog post from a couple of days ago when I said I was formulating three-month and six-month plans?)  And just having this plan, whether it's over the top or not, is giving me a new lease on life. It's giving me optimism and something to shoot for.  It includes things that will make me happier in life.  It includes things that will pare away that 20 percent that's causing me 80 percent of the grief in my life. 

Please.   Stop reading this now.  Go get dressed.  Leave the house.  Leave work at lunch.  Go to your bookstore.  Buy this book.  Come back to some where quiet.  Sit down. Open the book.  Start reading.  Start thinking about what's causing you 80 percent of your stress, grief, discomfort, frustration, boredom, you name it.  If it's not good, write it down.  If it's good, write that down, too.  Then start thinking about what you can do to put those 20 or so percent of things aside.   And keep reading the book because it gets even more helpful the longer you read. 

Okay, here's your top things list for today:

1.  Go get The Four-Hour Workweek and start reading it.

2. Something else that will make a profound impact on your life.

—————

Prayer

Essential work projects that bring in income

Reduce, eliminate my distractions

Find what routines I can eliminate, reduce or get someone else to do

On my list, I've begun including the dotted line above and putting everything else I want to get done in a day below that.  These are still important activities, but they're not the top two things that if I don't do them today, it will not have been a day where I made some essential progress.

I really enjoy these sorts of books.  The other important one to pick up is Gary Vaynerchuk's Crush It! and the next one I've got and I'm going to read is Bob Burg and John David Mann's Go-Givers Sell More, their follow up to The Go-Giver.

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