October 26, 2012

Autumn Leaves: Mitt Romney poem

                                                                                         Photo by Justin Balinski

Autumn Leaves

I can like Big Bird without believing the government should force you to fund his feathers.
I can believe a state government has different responsibilities than the federal.
I can be conservative in one state and liberal by the standards of another.
I can be liberal in one decade and conservative by the standards of another.
I can believe in a game where fair doesn’t mean everyone gets the same trophy, but everyone gets the chance to earn what they win.
I can believe bailouts may not really bail anyone out in the long run.
I can believe the rich should share their wealth without spending it for them.
I can believe charity is more powerful than taxation.
I can believe Americans are kind enough to keep their neighbors from starving without the government handing out more food stamps.
I can believe Americans are ambitious enough to rebuild the economy without more government intervention.
I can believe as important as something may be, timing and context are just as important.
I can change my mind on political ideas based on their popularity among the people I represent because sometimes there’s no absolute right answer and the best answer’s the one that fosters the most unity.
You can call me a flip-flopper.
After all, I call some leaves green, others red and sometimes the season changes and I change my mind.

Contradictions can only be found by comparing apples to apples, oranges to oranges. But remember: Red Delicious aren't Granny Smith; Navel aren't Blood. 

June 23, 2012

Homemade rocket launcher

Pressurized PVC pipe soda bottle launcher.
Yesterday my nieces and nephews took turns aiming a stomp rocket at me. My big brother did the stomping. Every time I caught one, I got a point (which happened about four times in the hour or so of launching). All the other times it didn’t hurt too badly and the kids loved it. But if you ever plan on subjecting yourself to a similar firing squad, put on a pair of sunglasses and batting gloves first.

Keeping with the spirit of rockets, today we built a couple of bike pump bottle blasters. It took only fifteen minutes to cement ten feet of PVC pipe into a pair of t-shaped launchers. I wouldn’t recommend aiming these guys at anybody…

The duo.
The duo cost $12.93. Most of that was the primer and cement (so if you need some, you know who to ask). The half inch PVC pipe was dirt cheap. If you’re looking to try this out, you’ll also need two slip caps, one tee, one elbow, and one male adapter per launcher. Assembly is straightforward, but there are some detailed blueprints online if you’re interested. A 5/16” drill bit punched a perfect-sized hole for the recycled inner tube bike valve. We used one liter soda bottles for rockets (two liter bottles would fit the adapter too). The most magic seemed to happen with one part water and three parts air. A couple rounds of electrical tape on the adapter helped give the bottle a good seal. Some duct tape around the final product increased power, but decreased predictability (one side would inevitably break first, aiming the rocket anywhere). I would not recommend using duct tape around the connectors for that reason! Be safe, people!

Next time, we are going to compare water levels with greater granularity, and see how two liter bottles stack up against the one liter guys.

My niece's hieroglyphics documenting the day.

January 18, 2012

Carpe nix!

Snow day! While I still have to work, here's what we managed to build this morning with this year's first big snow.

Snowman contest anyone?
Epic snögubbe   
Our toddler LOVED it. This is the first winter he can really romp around. It was a battle to get our sport-themed snögubbe's torso up. We had to use a table top as a ramp...

January 16, 2012

Cereal of the future... free?

This idea came the other day as my wife and I were having a late-night bowl of cereal...

Why not start a cereal company that covers its boxes with interesting ads? It'd undoubtedly give advertisers plenty of looks on super market shelves and on kitchen tables.

With the advertising revenue, it could drastically beat the price of competitors.

And, it could go a step further... Why not put a pack of ads/coupons inside the box itself? Advertisers send stuff like that in the mail all the time, and I imagine cereal-box delivery would give their fliers a longer lifespan before hitting the trash can.

Who knows? Maybe the cost of the cereal could be so subsidized that you could sell it for a dollar or less? Or, even give it away for free? Sounds like a cool way to help the poor to me.

I also thought about the potential of working advertisements into other food packaging, but other items seemed less promising. Who's going to give their pasta bag a good look before tearing it open and throwing it away? No, cereal boxes are the best option. They last several days - if not weeks - before landing in the bin and people are already accustomed to reading them.

January 11, 2012

How to fall back in love with Facebook

Or any other social medium...

Sometimes I love the social media game. Sometimes I hate it. I've figured out the difference is mostly up to me. Here's my attempt to break down what I've learned from my own trial and error.

Rule #1
Remember it isn't about you. It's about them. All other rules revolve around this concept.

Rule #2
It isn't about HAVING friends. It's about BEING a friend.

Rule #3
It isn't about being LIKED. It's about SUPPORTING others.

Rule #4
It isn't about being noticed. It's about listening, watching, and understanding.

Rule #5
Okay, it's actually a little about you. Friendship means both sharing and receiving. People want to know what you really think about and what your life is really like. However, it's lame to pay attention to how much your posts appear to be noticed or unnoticed.

If used properly, social media can be rewarding and fun. If not, they become little more than a mirror, a catalyst for self-absorption, a Facebook... but the only face you see is your own.

January 02, 2012

You are beautiful!

Outfits don't make people look good, it's the other way around. Everyone is beautiful in their own way.

Feel free to share this with the beautiful people in your life!

Click HERE to watch the cute slideshow.

Kid wielding shovel, covered in dirt, looking cute.