Categories
Design Site

My Latest Project

I’ve finally come to a conclusion. Some of you know that I have, for a time, wanted to make another blog. One that’s not personal. One that could be of assistance to someone, more than just informing them of how my life is going. In light of that, I will soon be launching another blog. And I’m dang excited about it.

Web Application Development

I’m going to write this new blog about my efforts to create a custom web application. I know most of you that read this won’t be super-interested in that, but I realized that it could provide an interesting amount of insight to others who may be interested in similar things.

For the past year or so, I’ve been slowly working on developing a new web-based application for swim teams. You see, I’m a coach for a swim team, and the software that’s out there right now for team and meet management really isn’t so good.

Because I know that there are many people out there interested in developing their own web applications (once again, probably not most of you…) I realized that documenting my experiences may be helpful to others who pursue the same path. At least, I’m hoping they will be.

And so, pending the termination of finals, I will be starting work on the new site.

Categories
Life Site

Finally Launching the New Design

new-layoutI know that it’s been many months since I said that I was working on and getting close to implementing a redesign and restructuring of the site. Well, the day has finally come.

Categories
Design Life

Creativity vs. Productivity

Regrettably, I don’t remember exactly where it was that I read something about this, but wherever it was, it certainly illustrated an important part of many people’s lives.

Many of us, myself included, need to exercise a certain amount of creativity in the workplace. Whether it be in creating a graphic, drawing something, coming up with a new marketing scheme, or whatever, it is an important part of what we do. Creativity is an essential part of nearly all business pursuits.

But, on the other hand, we must also have points in time where we focus entirely on what we’re doing – when distractions make us lose valuable time.

And these two aspects of work involve completely different approaches. With creativity, we don’t want to disregard or throw out any idea. Distractions, random suggestions, or seemingly ridiculous ideas can prove invaluable. A little flash of inspiration often makes all the difference. Additionally, simply surfing the web looking at random photos or works of art can be one of the most productive parts of the process.

But when we’re doing in-depth study, creating charts, etc, we don’t want to be random. It is important to focus on the task at hand – without distraction.

This really came as a surprise to me, truthfully. It makes complete sense when thought through, but before I simply hadn’t realized it – or its potential impact on my life. But it’s helped me much. Now I’ll be able to be much more productive in my specific pursuits – adjusting my environment and mindset to the task at hand, therefore optimizing my use of time and brainpower (however limited that may be).

Categories
Life

An Economy

Dollar BillToday, in doing a part of the huge amount of reading that I have to do (for school, naturally), I’ve learned quite a few interesting things about the economy and how it works. I’m still pretty clueless when it comes to the recession that we’re facing today, but as far as how the economy itself works, I’ve learned quite a bit today.

One of the most interesting things that I learned was how our economy today, being a ‘market economy,’ as my book defines it, is self-balancing. The cost of goods and their supply is largely regulated not by any person or organization, but by their mere existence. The fact that an item exists and is in demand results in a process of price changes until it eventually reaches a ‘price equilibrium,’ where the buyer and the seller are both equally willing to sell it for that price and to purchase it for that price.

What’s more, with this type of economy, both the consumer and the retailer are benefited by the purchase of goods. It provides the ability to specialize work and therefore allow much more efficiency in the work and the yield produced by said work. With that said, I realized that I need to focus more on specializing what it is that I do. I tend to enjoy keeping my options open – being able to do many different things. I like a good many things, but it has become clear that having an effective career involving all of my interests is nearly impossible. It becomes more effective on both a personal and economic level to be more specialized, to be more specifically involved in one profession. Separation of labor is incredibly effective.

That just makes it awfully difficult for me – because deciding on a profession where I will be content is a difficult thing. And though I’d like to experience all avenues, time is not always so kind. I guess that in the end I’ll have to realize that I don’t have to be personally involved in every aspect of what pertains to me.

To conclude, I hope that made sense. If it didn’t, please disregard it.

Categories
Life

The Coldest Day

Yes, that’s right. This weekend, I experienced the coldest day that I have in quite a long time. It was a day unequaled by any in Arizona. And therefore I am happy.

I like cold. I like snow. So, I was happy.

But, I was not here. I do believe that it snowed here. But I didn’t see the snow here. I spent this last weekend in a stunning part of Idaho, enjoying cold weather and preparing my family’s cabin for winter. It was glorious. Absolutely glorious. Plus, I found the perfect way to make s’mores when the only fire is inaccessible (or, rather, nearly so)… Believe it or not, a quality s’more can be made with a microwave. I’ll even include the recipe.

Ingredients: 1 full graham cracker, broken in half (to form 2 squares; 2 puffy marshmallows; some chocolate (an amount equivalent to 2 pieces of a Hershey’s chocolate bar)

Directions:

  • Place both the graham cracker pieces on a plate
  • Put the chocolate over 1 of the pieces of graham cracker
  • Microwave the graham cracker pieces and chocolate for approx. 20 seconds (at least in the microwave at my cabin…)
  • Put one marshmallow on top of each piece of graham cracker
  • Microwave everything for approx. 10 seconds, or until the marshmallows begin to inflate
  • Take it out, slowly turn over the graham cracker piece with no chocolate on it to make a sandwich, taking care to not make the inflated marshmallows roll all over. If they do, they make quite a mess.
  • Enjoy!

I hope that works for you. It worked beautifully for me. Tastiest thing ever.

Categories
Life

Matt’s Legacy

I’ve been meaning to write something on this subject for awhile now, but I hadn’t yet been able to find something that I considered a suitable way to present it. But now, I figure that I can’t put it off any longer.

This week, my beloved grandfather, 94 years of age, passed away. He had a stroke about a month and a half ago, and had not been able to return home since. He had been improving until struck by an infection. The final blow was when he got pnemonia and refused treatment. Of course, it had been very difficult for him, not being able to walk, talk (& be understood, that is), etc. But he held on long enough to give all of us a chance to visit him.

Today was his funeral, and it was spectacular. I must admit that the knowledge that I have as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been incredibly helpful in this respect. I mean, there isn’t much better than knowing that I’ll be able to see him again (and get to know him better than I ever had a chance to here) sooner than I may think. God’s plan for us is perfect.

“There is no tragedy in death, but only in sin.” – Pres. Spencer W. Kimball (link)

How true is that? Death is a necessary part of life. It is, and always has been, completely unavoidable (Except in the case of people like Moses and whatnot… But I’m not quite at his level of spirituality). It is no tragedy in a life well-lived, where the person has been faithful to the Lord’s commandments.

And in closing, I’d like to include a song with words by Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley:

“What is this thing that men call death,
This quiet passing in the night?
‘Tis not the end but genesis
Of better worlds and greater light.

“O God, touch Thou my aching heart
And calm my troubled, haunting fears.
Let hope and faith, transcendent, pure,
Give strength and peace beyond my tears.

“There is no death, but only change,
With recompense for vict’ry won.
The gift of Him who loved all men,
The Son of God, the Holy One.”

Categories
Life

The Wisdom of Drizzt

A little over a month ago, before school and other things took up my time, I asked my brother, “Do you know of a good book that I could read?”

After explaining that I wanted a novel, not something non-fictional, he suggested the Icewind Dale Trilogy, by R.A. Salvatore.

This trilogy is very enjoyable just to read; it also includes many well-thought statements about life itself. One of such is an article supposedly written by one of the characters, Drizzt Do’Urden. I would explain who he is and whatnot, but I don’t want to make this too long. Now, this article is about respect and its influence on our relationships with other people. I’ll include some excerpts of the comments and wisdom found therein.

“The world is full of ruffians. The world is full of people of good character. Both of these statements are true, I believe, because within most of the people I have known lies the beginning points of both seemingly disparate paths….

“Initial impressions are sometimes difficult to overcome, and sometimes become lasting, but beyond race and appearance and other things that we cannot control, I have learned that there are definite decisions that I can make concerning which reaction I will edge someone else toward.

“The key to it all, I believe, is respect.

“When I was in [a city] with [a friend], we crossed through a tavern full of ruffians, men who used their fists and weapons on an almost daily basis. Yet, another friend of mine…, often frequents such taverns, and rarely, very rarely, ever gets into so much as a verbal argument. Why is this? Why would … a man of some wealth, and a man of respectable society as well, not find himself immersed in brawls as regularly as the others? He often goes in alone, and stands quietly at the bar, but though he hardly says a word, he surely stands out among the more common patrons….

“What keeps [him] safe is his ability to show respect for anyone he meets. He is a man of charm, who holds well his personal pride. He grants respect at the outset of a meeting and continues that respect until the person forfeits it. This is very different than the way most people view the world. Most people insist that respect has to be earned, and with many, I have come to observe, earning it is no easy task! Many … demand that anyone desiring their friendship first earn their respect, and I can understand their point of view, and once believed that I held one similar….

“[He] takes the opposite approach, one of acceptance and one lacking initial judgement. This may seem a subtle alternative, but it most certainly is not. Would that the man be anointed a king, I say, for he has learned the secret of peace. When [he] enters a tavern of common peasant thugs, most within the place, and society at large, would view him as superior. And yet, in his interactions with these people, there is no air of superiority about the man at all. In his eyes and in his heart, he is among peers, among other intelligent creatures whose paths have led them to a different – and not better or worse – place than his own. And when [he] grants respect to men who would think nothing of cutting his heart out, he disarms them, he takes away whatever reason they might have found to fight with him….

“How rich is his life! How full of wonder and how wide of experience!”

Incredible. May I say so? I sincerely hope so. I hope that this has made a difference for you as it has for me. It seems to clear, and yet such a thing is so very difficult. To do so, one must put away his pride and judgement. And I know that I have not been even relatively near accomplishing that. But hopefully one day I will. Hopefully.