Friday, December 08, 2006
BRANDON MULL AND FABLEHAVEN
Sorry it has been a while. I have seriously been buried at work since like, June. But since September it has gotten even worse. Thanksgiving was the only break, and other than that one project I was telling you about, I just kind of sat around and did nothing for the whole holiday. It was like a week full of Labor days. Labor day is my new favorite holiday because it is the holiday with no strings attached. You don't have to give anything away, or go somewhere, or dress up. You just hang out. That's what I did over Thanksgiving as much as possible. Anyway, I’m on a plane from
The other day I was reading Orson Scott Card’s weekly column in the Rhinoceros Times. I’ve mentioned it to you before, the name of the column is Uncle Orson Reviews Everything. Over the last couple of years that column has been one of my favorite things to read. It’s where I’ve learned about cool books (like Johnathan Strange) new foods to try out, movies to catch, movies to avoid and all sorts of things. This last week he mentioned some books to give as gifts for Christmas. A family friendly book he recommended was Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, which apparently has been selling quite well since it was published.
Immediately I launched an investigation, because it turns out that I know a Brandon Mull. I mean, obviously I don’t know him that well, but he would recognize me if we met, and he knows my name. And I know enough about him and his family to give them an unqualified vote of confidence. I’ve had enough glimpses up close to know that they’re the real deal. You know, good, solid, cool people. How many people can there really be out there named Brandon Mull anyway? As it turns out, the (maybe correct) answer to that question is:
How many have your name?
people with my name
in the U.S.A.
Anyway it is the Brandon Mull that I know, and I was very happy to hear the news of his successful book, but also a little bit envious. One of my goals to write a book that gets published and sells a ton of copies. But still, good for him, you know. That’s awesome. It was surprising to me what a flood of great memories the news brought back to me, and I figure while I’ve got all these good vibes in my head, I should get them down.
The last time I saw
I first met the
Just in case you don’t recognize the song, here’s a video:
Maybe the biggest reason I knew
When Mom was dropping me off for camp that year, Tuck showed up late. We had just moved in, so we didn’t know anybody. Mom commented to one of the men standing there that the scoutmaster seemed pretty flaky if he couldn’t even show up on time to take everyone to camp. The man replied that actually Tuck was an incredible person, and began to tell Mom about all sorts of cool things about him. Tuck was an attorney, he won this award and that award, and he volunteered to do such and such, so on and so forth, yada yada… The man kept going on and on about the cool things about Tuck when finally Mom asked how he knew so much and it turned out that Mom had been talking to Cy – Tuck’s father. I mean seriously Mom. If you’re going to criticize a person behind his back, at least have the sense to make sure you’re not talking to the guy’s father. But that’s how
When I was a freshman at BYU, the cool comedy club was called ‘The Garrens’. The Garrens was an improv comedy troupe named after
I looked Brandon Mull up on myspace.com and there is a link to his siblings Summer and Bryson. I was in scouts with Bryson. He’s about a year younger than me. His myspace account says he is currently a police officer in Sandy Utah. I don’t know how
Don’t know what’s up with Summer. She and I are the same age, her birthday is either the same as mine, or one day away, and out of all the
Things I gained from knowing the
Make a sincere effort to focus on the positive in others – you’ll find it
Give people around you permission to be themselves
Don’t underestimate those around you – they’re better than you know
Well, I’m sure you would love for me to ramble on some more about people you don’t know. But I can’t; its time for me to turn off all electronic devices and put my seatback in an upright position.
Word to your Mother
Sunday, October 22, 2006
HOW MANY PEOPLE WITH YOUR NAME?
Have you ever wondered how many other people out of the 300,000,000 people in America have the same name as you? Well now there's a way for us to find out:
Here's the results for me -
Here are the results for you:
Word to your mother
SKILLS TO GET BY IN THE REAL WORLD
I just read a great post when I was perusing through some homeschool blogs. I liked this one at O'Donnell Web.
Here's the list:
How to talk to your boss.
How to survive a meeting that’s poorly run.
How to run a meeting.
How to figure out anything on your own.
How to negotiate.
How to have a conversation.
How to explain something in thirty seconds.
How to write a one-page report.
How to write a five-sentence email.
How to get along with co-workers.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Winning The DARPA Grand Challenge
I don't know if you've heard about this, but it is extremely cool. Watch this video and this guy will explain how his team at Stanford University designed a car that drives itself with no human intervention.
Here is a summary:
August 2, 2006
The DARPA grand challenge, technical details enabling Sebastian Thrun's win, and an introduction to the next phase called "The Urban Grand Challenge".
YOU SHOULD START A MICROCREDIT CLUB
We've talked before about the reasons why you should start up a club in your high school. It would take initiative, but it would be easy. I think a good club would be a microcredit awareness club. It's a great idea to make the world a better place, and it doesn't take much to get started. You could sell donuts in the cafeteria at lunchtime to raise money, and loan the money on kiva.org. Seriously, go to the kiva website and see for yourself. It doesn't take much money to change people's lives.
It would be EASY to get school permission for something like that.
I've also talked about Muhammed Yunus with you before. I'm not sure if you heard, but he recently won the Nobel Peace Prize!!! If you haven't read the book Banker to The Poor, you should, and use it for a research paper you have to write sometime.
Here's a short video of them announcing that Mr. Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize.
I was so happy to hear about this. Last year was the UN 'Year of Microcredit', and this year Muhammed Yunus wins the Nobel Peace Prize. It's about friggin time.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
THIS MAY COME IN HANDY - FOLDING A T-SHIRT
Here is a pretty cool video for you. It shows you how to fold a t-shirt in like, 3 seconds.
You could fold the t-shirt in 10 seconds, but don't you have something better to do with your life?
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
ORSON SCOTT CARD ESSAY ON HOMEWORK
I just read a great article by Orson Scott Card about homework. I know, I know, it sounds just totally interesting to you, and you can hardly wait to read it. Would it help if I told you he's kind of anti-homework?
Here's the link.
My favorite paragraph:
Here's another reason some teachers hate homework -- and stop assigning it: Their own kids reach school age and start having to spend hours a night doing meaningless assignments. Both books record this phenomenon. Teachers who are also parents become quite skeptical of the value of homework when they see how it steals time from and ruins their relationships with their children.
Anyway, if you've got time you should check it out
Sunday, September 24, 2006
HOW TO MAKE A 'BUMP KEY'
I originally saw this on Marshall Brain's blog. But since I'm going hog wild putting video up on this site I thought I'd just post the video here. You have to admit this is cool! This video shows how to make a key that will open any lock using that particular blank. I haven't gone to the effort to make one of these. One of these days...
Anyway here's the video.
Have a nice day
ONE REASON WHY VANILLA ICE WENT DOWN IN FLAMES
I'm having a great time checking out youtube.com and finding cool videos to embed into this blog. Remember in a previous post I told you that the reason Vanilla Ice became uncool was because he was trying too hard to be cool. Vanilla! Just chill dude. Quit trying to convince everyone you're cool. We like you!
Well maybe Jim Carey also had something to do with it.
What's your real name? Robert VanWinkle.. Why did you change it? Cause nothin rhymes with Winkle!
Okay, I was going to post this last night, but I got sidelined. I figured out how to embed videos onto these posts, and I went back and found a bunch of videos and embedded them in previous posts.
Then I got sidetracked watching clips like this one from the greatest sitcom ever: "The Office"
I never claimed to be a perfect person Samuel. I don't have perfect focus. I can't raise or lower my cholesterol at will.
Anyway, I haven't forgotten about some of those links. Don't take this seriously, but when I read it I thought it was pretty cool.
You can find all the rest of the links from the link above.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
MORE REASONS TO GET GOOD GRADES
Nice talking to you today, happy birthday by the way. Sorry we had to cut our conversation short. I was trying, unsuccessfully to get my boarding pass for a flight on AirTran airlines, and they had to help me out at the desk for like, 20 minutes and when I called back the line was busy.
Thanks for the feedback from this site. I was actually surprised that the post suggesting ways to study was your favorite one. I assumed that the business idea posts would have been your favorite ones. But that’s just me, I was so obsessive about money at your age. I don’t know why.
But I’m glad the study suggestions were interesting to you because good grades are important. A lot of people will tell you that they’re not so important, but those people are wrong. Only one person in my entire childhood communicated to me that I should get straight A’s. Uncle Lowell. He got out Barbara’s report card, and showed it to me. He pointed out that all her grades were A’s, and told me that Barbara always got straight A’s. “There’s no reason why you shouldn’t get grades like this.” One time I spent a week at their house when Mom and Dad went on a cruise and I was kind of surprised that they expected me to sit down and do my homework. When I was frustrated with doing my Algebra, one of the older cousins sat down and helped me through it. That rarely if ever happened to me as I grew up. Dad used to say that grades were a big joke and you pretty much have to jump through hoops to get them. He was right about that. Unfortunately I concluded that it wasn’t important to jump through the hoops. If I would have jumped through the hoops back then I would have it a lot easier in college. It is important to get good grades.
The same reason it is important for you to get your Eagle Scout. People constantly evaluate each other based on different criteria. One way adults (who rule the world) evaluate teenagers is by their grades. If you have straight A’s, it says that you are bright enough, and hard working enough, with enough initiative to successfully work within a system (like the school system). If you have really good grades it doesn’t mean you’re the smartest person in the school. It means you show up, you do a good job, and you’re consistent. If you can do those things you’ll be successful at pretty much everything you set your mind to doing.
I have some friends who I’ve invited to participate in this blog. All of them are more qualified than I am to describe what it takes to be successful academically in school. Of course they’re all very busy people. But one of these days one of them will chime in with a different point of view.
Anyway, I’ll talk to you later.
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY - CERAMIC BATTERIES
In the next several years, our society has a lot of tough problems to tackle. One of those problems is the need for clean, sustainable energy. Probably the toughest energy sector is the transportation sector where individual cars dominate the landscape. Some people think it may turn into a big problem for us, some don't.
Here is a link describing a cool technology developed to tackle that problem (Hat tip to R-Squared):
These guys supposedly have developed a new kind of battery made out of ceramic materials that can hold huge amounts of electrical energy, and re-charge in just a few minutes. If this is a real technology there is little doubt that it would take over the market in a big way, very quickly.
Actually, technically it isn't a battery. It's an ultracapacitor. Whenever something new like this is announced, my first reaction is to be skeptical. But if it is real, it will change the world.