Here’s an idea that’s noteworthy

It’s Sunday evening (March 27, 2011) and I am here in front of my computer. I want to write something entertaining. However, my mind draws a blank (Shocking!!! LOL). I cannot think of a topic to write about; however, I do come up with some good ideas from time to time. What do I do?

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A dramatization of Tim at his desk

What can I do to remedy the situation? How do I get from having an idea in my head on paper without forgetting? To Google I go. If there is any information out there that can help me, Google will help me get it.

I entered “writing ideas down” on the Google search engine. It only took .39 seconds to come back with about 181,000,000 ideas. WOW! It would take me the better part of a day to come up with a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of that.

The first result was The Importance of Writing Ideas Down|Paul Allen (the lesser). Paul Allen is an Internet entrepreneur who writes on his website about the importance of writing ideas down when he thinks of them. He admits to having a short memory. When he looks over the ideas he wrote down, he says “When I occasionally review my idea memos, I often come across great ideas that I have already forgotten about. I think, ‘Wow, that is a great idea!’, as if it were a completely new thought!”

Remember that Google came back with about 181,000,000 results. It means that maybe I should examine more than just the first result. This means going to the website that is second on the list. As it turns out, I found this website more informative than the first.

Writing ideas down is a phenomenal idea. Creative Ideas & Inspiration took me to an article on the website Creative Something. This article not only talked about what can happen if you don’t write your ideas down, but gave advice on what to do. The benefits for writing down an ideas once you come up with it is discussed. I was so impressed with this website, I went to the homepage and added it to my favorites on my browser.

What is the moral of this blog? If I, or anyone else, has and idea that’s cool, write it down by any means necessary. I will make sure to use the Notes app on my iPod anytime this happens (my iPod has become an appendage). I will carry a pen and notebook in my backpack as well as a voice recorder.

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Now if I only had the same discipline to do this just like Bruce Lee had when practicing martial arts. I encourage you to go to the links highlighted or click on the following links below:

http://www.paulallen.net/the-importance-of-writing-ideas-down/

http://www.creativesomething.net/post/32852038

http://www.creativesomething.net/

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Pay Attention To Me!

Every time I sit at my desk, something that makes it their life’s mission to grab my attention coming between me and what I am doing. My cat, Snowball, loves doing just that.

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it’s another Sunday afternoon and I am spending my free time between each load of laundry at my desk. I am working on my finances, organizing my music into playlists and playing on Facebook. As predicted, the cat found me at the desk and jumped on in front of me. He allowed me to get this picture taken. He knows my eyes will be focused on the monitor and will do everything he can to block my view.

Snowball wants one of a few things: a drink of water from the faucet (a clean bowl of water will not do), a chance to go outside and wonder, more food, or some attention. Most of the time it is attention he is seeking. After I comply with his wishes, he will either get off the desk or lay down at my desk allowing me go about my business.

After giving him a drink of water from the faucet, allowing me to take this picture, and giving him the attention he seeks, Snowball is now back in another room taking another nap. Now it’s time to get to the business at hand.

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President’s Day 2011

It is President’s Day in the United States today. Like other government workers, I have the day off from work. Sherry did not get the holiday off and Timmy went up to Idaho to visit friends leaving me by myself for the day. There were things I could have done such as watch a movie or two, surf the internet for hours on end or go shopping. Instead I chose to drive to Salt Lake City and decide what to see when I arrived. I brought my camera along to photograph my day’s journey.

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The first stop was at the Gateway Mall (pictured above). It is an outdoor mall near downtown Salt Lake City. I always find myself here every time I drive to the big city. There are lots of nice stores to go shopping at. The Gateway Mall also features great dining and entertainment opportunities. However, it was something else that always brings me here. It’s a store that is almost a mandatory stop for me – The Apple Store. I went in to see what they had to offer in their software and accessories. Sherry will be happy to know that I walked out of there without making any purchases.

Being the cheapskate I try to be, I got back into my car before my hour of free parking was up. I drove around the downtown area looking for a place to visit and take some more pictures. At the moment, there is a lot of construction in the downtown area as new business and residential buildings are being built. I decided then the place to visit was Temple Square.

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Temple Square is the location of the Salt Lake Temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The temple was constructed once the Mormons settled the Salt Lake valley. It took 40 years to be built using granite from the mountains east of the city. Although the temple itself is not open to the public, Temple Square has many visitor centers on its grounds.

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A model of the temple shown in the South Visitor’s Center

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The Tabernacle

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Jesus Christ surrounded in celestial glory

Across the street from Temple Square is the Conference Center for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It opened in 2000 so that more members could attend the semi-annual General Conference (April and October). It seats over 20,000 and is used for other church and community events. When I walked into the building, I was greeted by a volunteer who gives tours. The tour guide’s name was Beth and she volunteers in the Conference Center once a week. The tour included a history of the building, it’s construction, and the artwork throughout. I did my best to take a few photographs to give perspective to the size and grandeur of the Conference Center.

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The interior of the Conference Center where General Conference is held twice each year.

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Artwork inside the Conference Center

After the tour was complete, I felt like I was ready to go home. Sherry would be off from work soon and It was my turn to make dinner this evening. The trip to Salt Lake City only cost me $4.00 for parking and $1.84 for an aluminum bottle of Sprite (shown below). Sherry likes the pictures I took this afternoon. We will be going back down to Salt Lake City next month when we celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.

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Roam Around The World

“Roam if you want to

Roam around the world

Roam if you want to

Without wings without wheels”

– B52s from the song “Roam”

The year was 1989. The B52s released the album Cosmic Thing with their hit single “Roam.” I finished high school and began basic training in the U.S. Army. The military would be my ticket to traveling the world. Not many other places outside of the American military would give you such an opportunity. I wanted to go to Europe and Asia. Not until 1996, as a member of the United States Air Force, did I travel to Germany and in 1998 to Japan. In both cases, I was only there for two weeks which I felt was not enough time.

Fast forward to today. I am no longer enlisted in the Army or Air Force. I still wish to travel the world. I would love to roam across Europe, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. However, I cannot go to any of these places when i feel like it. I do know that I can at least get a glimpse of what is going on there any time of day thanks to webcams and the internet. Earth Cam and Go And Roam are two websites providing access to thousands of webcams all over the world. I don’t even have to step outside of my apartment to know what’s happening on the other side of the planet. It’s now the afternoon of January 30th, 2011 in Layton, Utah. Let us see what’s happening in other parts of the world.

Right now it’s early in the morning in Adelaide, South Australia. I am visiting Rundle Mall. It’s an outdoor mall in downtown Adelaide. The objects that get a lot of attention are the mirror balls stacked on top of each other.

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It appears that the shoppers have yet to arrive. I am willing to bet the truck is delivering merchandise to one of the shops in the mall. Look carefully in the mirrors and there appears to be a delivery truck. When I go to Adelaide I will shop at the Rundle Mall and have my picture taken in front of the mirror.

We’ll move a couple or more time zones east and see what’s happening in New Zealand. It’s Monday morning there in their biggest city, Auckland. What are they doing on this fine summer morning?

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It looks as though some are having fun sailing in the open water around the city. The weather report says it’s currently 68F/20F. It certainly looks very nice there at midday.

Continuing our journey east we’ll come to the United States and visit the beautiful state of Hawaii. My wife, Sherry, has been there and tells me all the time I need to go. For now I will settle for viewing the Hawaiian islands via webcam.

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81F/27C and here I am in Utah enjoying the cold winter weather. If I were on that beach, I would get a bad case of sunburn. I don’t see too many people on the beach. Maybe everyone is at the NFL Pro Bowl in Honolulu watching their favorite football players play.

I’m ready to come back to the mainland United States. There is one place where anyone can go and do whatever they want. As they say in Las Vegas, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Good words.

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It appears that there isn’t too much traffic by Las Vegas standards. It is Sunday afternoon there. I wonder what the traffic will be like on a Friday or Saturday night.

From Sin City to the Windy City we go.

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We see clearly it is after sunset in Chicago, Illinois. This is a view of the city from the Sears Tower. Currently the Sears tower is the tallest building in the United States and 7th tallest in the world. The Sears Tower was completed in 1974 and has 108 floors. Wow!

The Sears Tower is the tallest building in the United States; however it is not the tallest building in North America. From Chicago to Toronto Ontario we go. This picture below was taken earlier than the picture in Chicago.

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With a little sunlight left, The CN Tower can be seen in the background. It located in downtown Toronto and close to the shores of Lake Ontario. It is currently the 3rd largest free standing building in the world at over 1800 feet (553 meters) in height. Toronto is home to the Hockey Hall of Fame and the place where my favorite band, Rush, formed.

I think this is a good place to end. I would like to show what is happening in Europe at this time if the sun were shining there. I will have to look at another time (preferably in the early morning where I reside). It’s easy to get a glimpse of what is happening in the world without leaving the comforts of home. Viewing other places via webcams will never replace the experience of being there and interacting with the people that reside there.

If you would like to check out other parts of our planet, you can go to the following websites:

www.goandroam.com

www.earthcam.com

Take a look for yourself. Take a virtual vacation.

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Using My Computer To Share

This afternoon I decided to see what my computer can do. I wanted to edit and repost some audio I heard on a podcast. I have my own YouTube channel where I show selected home videos and audio clips. On my Apple iMac, would cut out the portions of podcasts I wished to repost. This was done using third-party programs downloaded from Apple Computer’s website. I did this for the purpose of showing points of view on any given topic.

Since purchasing my Apple MacBook in 2009, I have not downloaded any programs for audio editing. The question today was whether or not I could so this using any of the programs that came with this computers. The first step is to delete any unnecessary audio so I can use only what I needed. The second step is to apply any visual effects needed so that there will not be a blank screen when I post this on YouTube.

I read somewhere that one program on my computer, GarageBand, can be used to create podcasts. If GarageBand can create podcasts, it must be able to edit them as well. I chose to spend my afternoon finding out if that was the case. Learning the process of removing all but the few minutes of audio I need was a challenge. GarageBand (and essentially all of the software included on my computer), did not come with a user’s manual. Apple Computers provides great online resources for the do-it-your-self types who want to make a go at producing audio and video presentations. In addition to learning the correct way to edit this podcast, I could add additional sound effects and even commentary. However, I chose to keep it simple and use only the audio segments needed.

The next step involved using another program called iMovie. I used iMovie on my iMac to create videos uploaded to YouTube. I am using this program again to add the visual aspect of my video. In the case for this video, I chose a single image so my YouTube video will not have a blank screen. This image was easy to find. I used Google’s search engine for images. iMovie did have one challenge for me. It would only allow me to use this single image for a few minutes and not the length of my video. I didn’t want to take the time to get past this so I came up with a quick and simple solution – copy and paste. I copied the image enough times so the same image would show on the screen for the length of my video.

Once I had the podcast and image run length cut to size, all that was left was to “share” the video. iMovie has a “sharing” feature that allows me to save the movie to disk or post directly to YouTube (I did both). I needed to fill in the same questions asked when uploading videos using the YouTube site. Once answered, I pressed the Send button allowing iMovie to upload to YouTube for everyone to enjoy. How cool is that?

From all the Apple commercials shown on television, it makes the process of creating anything you want on the computer easy and simple. To some degree that is correct. However, I spent a some time learning to GarageBand and iMovie. With some patience and understanding, I was able to do what I had set out to do. The next time I decide to create another video in this fashion, I will do it in much less time.

What exactly did I “create” today?

Find me on Facebook (Timothy Alger Sr.) and you will see that one person who inspires me is Adam Carolla. For years he had been on the radio doing shows such as “Loveline” and “The Adam Carolla Show.” In 2009 he began “The Adam Carolla Podcast.” I rarely miss any of his podcast episodes. I purchased a book he authored in 2010 called “In 50 Years We’ll All Be Chicks.” He even came to Salt Lake City in 2010 for a performance at a local comedy club. However, I was not able to attend. When he comes to town again, I will do my best to be in the audience.

Something Adam said in his podcast got my attention. The podcast I edited and posted on YouTube was from his podcast dated 13 January 2011. He briefly talks about people such as the gunman who recently fired shots in a Tucson, Arizona grocery store killing 6. His view on the gunman and other such young offenders is that we should question their parent’s. What did they know about their child’s state of mind? What did they know about their child’s behavior that may have been disturbing? If you wish to hear more about Adam’s point of view on the subject, visit YouTube and listen to the audio I posted..

Here is a link to the video I uploaded to YouTube this afternoon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3hcKNGBnTY

Please not that some of the language used may not be suitable for young children.

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Goals (Resolutions) for 2011

I did it. I came up with a list of goals (resolutions) to complete during the year 2011. By forcing myself to go public with this, I feel it will motivate me to finish them. I wish to complete 100% of what I set out to do. May there be little resistance on the path I am setting out on. Without any further delay, here are the goals I am setting for myself in 2011.

Weigh 175 pounds by year’s end.

Have A1c (a term diabetics are too familiar with) below 7 by year’s end.

Do away with diet soda drinks by year’s end.

Track A1c monthly.

Read 15 books.

Write 200,000 words in journals and blogs.

Publish 26 blogs on WordPress.com.

Publish/Broadcast a podcast.

Read The New Testament.

75% Sacrament Meeting attendance.

Take Sherry to Park City for two-day getaway.

Take a week off to vacation at Disneyland.

Have 80 hours of sick leave at year’s end.

Have 60 hours of annual leave at year’s end.

No overtime at Hill Air Force Base.

Become a backup CSM at Wal-Mart.

Call in sick 2 days maximum at Wal-Mart.

Read my Australian history book.

Go without driving a car for work purposes two weeks in a row.

For obvious reasons, I am not publishing all of my resolutions. These are the ones I feel comfortable in going public with. I will keep everyone updated throughout the year how I am doing. May 2011 be the year I do all I set out to do. May 2011 be a great year for me. May 2011 be a great year for you as well.

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What to do in 2001

At the beginning of each calendar year, people come up with resolutions to change their lives. Resolutions often include quitting a bad habit, losing weight, exercising more, and spending more time with friends and loved ones. I do this every years as well. I come up with a list of resolutions I intend to go through with to make myself healthier, wealthier, and more wise. Before 2011 begins, I will come up my resolutions for 2011. Some of these are probably the same as those from last year (I cannot remember the resolutions I came up with).

I am breaking my resolutions into different categories. I am doing so because there are areas of my life that are exclusive to each other. I came up with the following categories:

Personal Health
Mind
Spirituality
My Family
Personal Finances
Work Life
Miscellaneous

In each category I will come up with my 2011 resolutions. I will share these on WordPress and Facebook. The progress of each resolution will be shared throughout the year. Not everything will go smoothly according to plan. I am certain there will be obstacles I must overcome and plateaus I must rise above. It is important I publish the my progress to push myself into reaching my goals and prevent any laziness from setting in.

Will I complete 100% of what I set out to do? I hope so. Will I be upset if I do not make it 100% of the way there. I don’t think so. Any improvement I will make is better than not improving at all. These resolutions are not set in stone. I am setting a course to get from one point to another; however, I may need to change course. I may even go beyond what I set for myself. I don’t have to stop getting better because I reached my goals for the year.

When 2011 starts, I will publish the course I am going to set in improving myself. Join me. Read about my adventures in the coming year. Feel free to offer your opinions and advice. You can even laugh if you want to.

“You can be the Captain

I will draw the chart

Sailing into destiny

Closer to the heart”

(From “Closer To The Heart” by Rush, Lyrics by Neil Peart)

I want make my 2011 resolutions and go through with them. Will that be neat or what?

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