Saturday, November 27, 2010

You're such as FAILURE!!!

I thought I would write a title that would attract your attention.  Perhaps it worked.  Maybe you've moved on to look at something else.

I was thumbing through the September 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review and came across an article by entrepreneur and blogger Seth Godin

In the article, Godin describes how our culture has defined failure as being the mere opposite of success.  He stresses, however, that we are missing other aspects of failure that should be considered. 

He lists seven types of failures that should be added to its definition:  Design failure; Failure of opportunity; Failure of trust; Failure of will; Failure of priorities; Failure to quite; and Failure of respect.  All seem to be self-explanatory, but you can read the article here

Source: Godin, Seth, "Redefining Failure." Harvard Business Review, September 2010. Pg 34.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Where's the Pressure

I managed to screw up my neighbor's water pressure.

A few days ago, we got home to a flooded downstairs powder room.  I quickly turned the shutoff valve; however, the water was still leaking.  After consulting with The Home Depot's Home Improvement 1-2-3 book, I realized that the issue was with the shutoff valve itself. 

In order to change the valve, I would need to disconnect the main water source.  Living in Texas, where we rarely see temperatures drop below 32° F, the main water switch is located outside.

I went outside in search for my cut off switch on Sunday.  I uncovered a pipe cover to find a valve that looked to be the cut off switch. I turned the valve one way, but the water at my home was still on.  I then realized that this was probably my neighbor, so I turned it the other way.

I walked around the house to look for my line.  Then gave up.

I was about to turn my computer off and head for bed when my wife asked me to look outside the window.  I noticed the city's truck with its lights on.  "Oh crap!" 

I walked outside, approached the city worker and asked what was going on.  He told me that the neighbor was experiencing low water pressure.

I quickly confessed and said that I was messing around looking for my cutoff switch and turned his by mistake.

"No, your switch is somewhere here," he said pointing to grass-covered ground.  With his shovel, he gently unearthed my cutoff valve.

"Your pressure valve should be located around the the same area," he added.

Although my neighbor's water was on, the pressure was not. 

I contacted a friend's husband to help me out with the situation.  After explaining the situation, he hypothesized that the issue was that the threaded valve was worn and probably broke when I turned it.

He proved his hypothesis as he removed the broken threaded valve.  The inside was completely closed.  The plumber replaced the broken valve with a new ball valve.  The replacement did take a while as the plumber struggled to fit the pipes with the new ball valve.

After he corrected my neighbor's pipes, he fixed the original problem--the toilet leak in the powder room.  He replaced the supply line valve with a quarter turn ball valve and the supply line to the tank.  The toilet is working again. 

Tonight I learned a ton about plumbing, but the biggest thing I did learn was to LEAVE IT TO THE PROFESSIONALS.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Running on a treadmill drunk...

...may not be a good idea.

During a 2008 episode, the Mythbusters tested several methods of
sobering up. Plausible solutions that were mentioned include getting
slapped in the face and exercising vigorously. Here is Adam Savage
testing the exercising vigorously technique:

From personal experience, a method I have used to avoid getting
inebriated and a terrible hangover is hydrating myself with plenty of
water. A rule of thumb that has worked for me is one 12 oz of water
per one alcoholic drink. More water in your system will help dilute
the consumed alcohol--of course, you'll be visiting the restroom more

And as a PSA, don't drink and drive. Call a cab.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Life after Death and the Movies

Yesterday I decided to watch a movie at the theaters. Since I've been wanting to watching HEREAFTER, I though I would check that out. Yeah, I didn't feel like a comedy or action type movies. Besides, when I searched for showtimes on Google, it indicated that it was a "suspense/thriller." Far from it, except for a couple of scenes. Perhaps "drama/suspense" would be the best category for this film.

Regardless, this post is not a critique about the movie; although the film was enjoyable, had good acting, and well filmed. This post is about the audience.

I went to the afternoon showing--I called in sick (*cough cough*). I got to the theater, bought my ticket, and found myself a center seat halfway to the top--prime location. Then again, who watches a movie on a Friday afternoon? Senior Citizens, that's who.

Before I rant, I have to say  that I have nothing against old people senior citizens.  They are our parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, people who raised us, the people who taught us, the people who made our society, and our leaders.  Okay, enough of the I-feel-guilty-I-should-say-something-nice-before-I-feel-more-guilty.

I noticed that I was a bit too early for the movie.  So I decided to check my facebook page to see what my friends had posted since I last checked--a god aweful 15 minutes. I noticed an older couple walk into the theater.  They sat behind me.  I was a bit iritated since they could have chosen a seat a few rows up or down or diagonal from me.    Instead, I had to hear about so-and-so who called and said whatever. 

Then, another couple decided to sit on the row in front of me; however, they had the social courtesy to sit a few seats diagonal from me.  Thank you kind sir. 

A few other older couples came into the theater along with single older gentlemen.  They all sat scatteredly in the theater. 

As the movie previews began, a much older couple came into the theater and sat in my row a few seats away from me.  I had no problem with that at all, until what sounded like Camptown Races ringtone started playing.  It started low (one would think Matt Damon's character had a cell phone) then it got louder.  Clearly it came from the person sitting a few seats away from me.

The poor lady couldn't hear it.  Her husband had to point out the noise coming from her purse.  She searched through her bag and fumbled to open the phone.  At this point, you'd think she would turn the phone off.  Nope.  She answered and began a conversation.  The person sitting in front of them moved a couple of rows down irritated.  Others in the theater were annoyed.  Many of us were distracted from what seemed to be a good part of the movie. 

The lady closed her phone and began to speak with her husband about the call.  After a few minutes, she got up and walked out of the theater.  Because she walked slowly down the stairs, many of us turned to look at her--it was obvious she was having a difficult time with the stairs. 

She returned, sat for a while, spoke to her husband, then they both left the movie.  I think many of us were relieved.  Or maybe I was the only one relieved.  But hey, I got to enjoy the movie more after they left the theater.    

The movie is about life after death.  There are three main characters: a pyschic who is able to communicate with the dead; a woman who experienced death; and a boy who lost his twin brother.  All are trying to deal with death. 

As I was watching this movie, I began to think about the after life.  I looked around and wondered if the others in the audience were wondering the same thing.  Then it dawned on me--I am sitting with people older than me.  No one was my age or younger.  Then I really started thinking about my demise.

Of course, I won't end this blog posting sour.  I did come away feeling proud of my son.  I came away with wanting to appreciate life with my son and wife more.  We have so little time on this earth and it should be enjoyed as much as possible with loved one.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Broadcast Journalism 101

The video clip below should be shown to broadcast journalism students of what NOT to do in news reporting.

It may come to a surprise to many of you that my undergraduate degree is in Journalism--to be more precise, broadcast journalism; although, in no way does that make me an expert in that profession.  I did, however, spend many hours in class and years watching news programs.

Before we even went out around the university and report news, we spent several hours practicing in mock sessions.  We would practice by switching between the two anchors, the weather reporter, the news reporter, one of the three camera guys, the news director, the video switcher, and the audio/lights technician. 

What this video shows is something you would expect to see at a mock session, not during a live broadcast.  Never should a viewer be subjected to such error. 

This broadcast was September 12, 2007.  The news station is KGTV in San Diego. 

UPDATE: Since KGTV is removing this video from YOUTUBE, I'll attempt to provide the play-by-play in case they remove this one. 

The opening montoge fades from black on talent (stage reporter).  Camera realizes error and pans to anchors.  Male anchor, Steve Fiorina, introduces himself.  Female anchor, Lisa Lake, stumbles.  Lake reads off teleprompter.  Fiorina thumbs through script.  He is caught by surprise when Lake turns towards him.  When she realizes he is confused, she reads his script and sends it to the field reporter.  She incorrectly names the field reporter "Jackie Witt."  The field reporter, Adrienne Moore, notices the confusion in the studio, but is able to recover and report the news.

Below the video is a list of mishaps I noticed.

Error #1.  News director failed to organize the set.
Error #2.  Video switcher fades from black incorrect camera.
Error #3.  Incorrect camera tries to recover by panning to anchors.
Error #4.  News reporter shows fear when she realizes camera is on her.
Error #5.  Female news anchor is obviously distracted by the chaos.
Error #6.  Her distraction causes the male news anchor to fumble.
Error #7.  His mishap causes the female anchor to fumble again and says the incorrect name of the news reporter at location.
Error #8.  The news reporter, Adrienne Moore, recovers the news from utter chaos.

Perhaps the teleprompter had the incorrect script and the wrong directions that caused the crew and anchors to mess up. 

It would be nice if KGTV would allow this broadcast segment to be used for journalism school.  The video offers countless examples of what-not-to-do and what-to-avoid in broadcast journalism.

The video can be viewed on my blog at

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

An Amazing Science Project

This family launched a balloon with a portable recorder, iPhone and a parachute to space.  The recording is amazing, to say the least.  A must watch.

Visit my blog to view the video

Election Day

I don't like talking politics on this blog. In fact, I have made it a personal policy to steer away from the topic. However, encouraging people to vote should not be avoided but promoted, right? Take a few minutes from your day on Tuesday to cast your vote this Election Day.