Month: March 2015

Man wants to sell his dream house because it lacks this

What would it take for you to sell your “dream house?” If the place had almost everything you could want except for one detail, what would that have to be before you place a “For Sale” sign in the front yard?

For one Washington man, an internet connection is just enough to call it quits on his dream house.

According to a story from The Verge, a man named Seth Morabito purchased a home in rural Kitsap County, Washington. “It met all of our criteria, and more,” Morabito wrote on his personal blog.

Apparently, not everything.

After being told initially that the house would be eligible for Comcast internet services, he later learned after moving into the house that the company probably won’t be extending broadband to his area. While he still stays connected through a “Verizon JetPack mobile hot spot,” it does not allow him to be very productive in his job as a software developer.

I can’t say I blame Morabito. I’d be a little perturbed, too, if a company told me one thing and came back with a different answer after I had just made a major purchase.

However, three things came to mind when I read this story. First, if I really thought I had a dream house, I would bear the slow internet connection and focus less of my life on it. Second, if I had a work-from-home job like Morabito, I wouldn’t have accepted “promises” from a business instead of proof of service before buying the home. And third, if internet was that important to me — which it is, since I obviously use it a lot — I wouldn’t label it my “dream house.”

If nothing else, this story does beg the question: could you give up the concept of a fast internet connection for the sake of keeping what you consider your dream house? Chew on that one for a while.

Springtime snowfall surprise

Springtime snow - March 23, 2015

It’s March 23. Spring has officially kicked off. And we’ve had weather reach the upper 50s in the past few weeks in the Chicagoland area.

So, naturally, I wake up this morning and this is exactly what I expect to see when I peek out the window.

A snow day.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt to produce, star in ‘Fraggle Rock’ Movie

Dance your cares away,
worries for another day,
let the music play,
down at Fraggle Rock!

“Down At Fraggle Rock”, Fraggle Rock TV show

There’s good news for children of the 80s who grew up watching Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock. The live action puppet television series featuring Muppet creatures called Fraggles now will be coming to the big screen, in a movie adaptation of the television series, according to Variety magazine.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, perhaps one of my favorite actors, who has appeared in movies such as Angels in the Outfield, 10 Things I Hate About You, 50/50, and The Dark Knight Rises among others, will not only star in the new Fraggle Rock movie but he’ll produce it as well.

Those who grew up watching the television series — I often found myself running toward the bus stop in the morning to catch the school bus because I didn’t want to miss the end of the show — are now old enough to have children of their own. I expect many from that generation to take their kids to see this movie.

While I don’t personally expect to see this in a theater — I don’t have kids and probably would feel pretty goofy paying to attend a showing of this as an adult — you can bet I’ll try to catch it if and when it ever gets to television.

“How’s your bracket?”

If you’re a fan of college basketball, chances are you’ve been waiting for this month to come for a long time. And if you’re not a fan, you still might be one of the millions who tunes in to follow the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.

The widespread popularity of March Madness has grown so rapidly over the years in large part due to the explosion of social media. This practice of printing out the 64-team tournament and penciling in your projected winners — or completing it all online — has become quite the fad. I think the concept of sharing predictions with others and tweeting about the crazy game action as it unfolds has sucked in the most casual observers.

Why is it called March Madness? Simply put, it’s craziness. There are several games going on at once and most of them come down to the final few minutes, if not the final play of the game. Upsets — where a lower-seeded team will unexpectedly beat a higher-seeded one — often run rampant and leave fans in shock.

I typically fill out at least one bracket every year just for the fun of it, even though my prognostication skills aren’t anything to brag about. If you’ve never tried it before, you should. Most office pools are won by these casual observers who don’t really pay much attention to what goes on. You could be in for some big bucks!

So, get ready for a couple weeks of hearing the most popular question often used in small talk during the month of March.

“How’s your bracket?”

Steve Jobs’ message that should resonate with perfectionists

I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.

Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple Inc.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and it’s a fatal flaw. Not fatal as in death, of course, but as in the failure to finish creative projects and breathe life into them.

As a web developer, I’m responsible for thinking critically and using my creativity to design layouts and build websites. This often proves to be difficult for a perfectionist because it could cause one to take longer to complete a project than is necessary.

I came across this Steve Jobs quote one day and I felt like he was speaking right to me, because it addressed one of my biggest problems when performing a creative task.

In essence, Jobs is telling us to get the task done, make it as good as possible so that it achieves the objectives, but don’t concern yourself with making it perfect, because it never will be.

Instead of spinning our tires in the mud trying to reach perfection on a project, finish it, move forward, and work on the next task. Something better will then come along.

Smiley the blind therapy dog ‘just makes people smile’

There’s a whole beautiful world out there and not being able to see it can’t stop one particular wonder dog from loving it.

Smiley, a 12-year-old Golden Retriever who was born without eyes, is prospering and seemingly enjoying his life despite his disability. Rescued at the age of two from a puppy mill by Joanne George, Smiley seemingly has found a purpose in his life.

“People were so drawn to him, so inspired by him,” George said in an interview with CBS News. “I realized this dog has to be a therapy dog — I have to share him.”

Smiley is now thriving as a therapy dog, bringing joy to patients at nursing homes, hospitals and schools in Canada.

“He does something to people,” George told The Huffington Post. “People say they feel like a different person after meeting Smiley.”

How does Smiley get around without eyesight?

“He’s never been able to see, so he’s had to learn to understand his other amazing senses,” George noted.

Though I don’t suffer from a serious disability myself, I’ve heard and read through other resources that getting by without full faculties doesn’t have to be as painful or laborious as it may seem. (I know, easier said than done, right?)

Beethoven, the great German composer and pianist from the late 1700s, early 1800s was deaf. Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder are among the many blind musicians who have inspired lives with their gifts.

The key is to not feel sorry for yourself and to thank God for all that you do have, not resent what you don’t have.

And, to make the most of what you’ve been given. That goes for canines just as it does for humans.

“Smiley just makes people smile,” George said.

Whether disabled or not, do you do the same?

Perseverance is a must when facing tall orders

It takes many swings to chop down a redwood, but quitting before it falls can leave you standing in a mess.

Ryan Glab (03.11.15)

Sometimes in life we face challenges that seem so daunting that we hardly feel the energy to face them. For those tasks that seem to have an infinite distance to the finish line, the first question we may ask ourselves is whether it is even worth it to try.

But I’ve always learned that rewards that are worth anything in life are worth the effort, and come with sacrifice and hard work.

So, when facing these seemingly insurmountable odds, we have to remember that it’ll take a lot of time and dedication to accomplish the task, and that once we get started we should always see it through til the end. Because we could find ourselves in a mess or a situation far less desirable than the one we were in before we started.

‘The Simpsons’ co-creator Sam Simon passes away at 59

If you once were, or perhaps still are, a fan of the long-running animated comedy, The Simpsons, then you owe a great debt of gratitude to one of the show’s most influential men, Sam Simon.

It’s with great sadness that we’ve learned that Simon passed away Sunday at the age of 59, following a long battle with colorectal cancer.

As most Simpsons fans know, the show began as a series of short cartoons on The Tracey Ullman Show, for which Simon was a writer and executive producer. Soon after, the show became a series and took off after that into one of the best television shows of all time.

It’s sad to see anybody pass on from cancer, especially those who are at a relatively young age, as 59 certainly qualifies to be. But we are forever grateful for the legacy he left and for his contribution to a show that most of us grew up with, and with which we associate so many great memories, quotes, and sound bites.

‘Apple Watch’ about 30 years late

With the advent of the cell phone and the astronomical rise and expansion of the smartphone, most Americans can walk around with the world at their fingertips.

Given that cell phones come equipped with clocks that are synchronized with the Atomic clock and charged with the rest of the phone, the use of wristwatches as a means of keeping time has become almost obsolete.

With watches quickly becoming less purposeful, Apple did what most normal companies would do — they created a purpose for it. And coming soon to the marketplace will be the “Apple Watch,” a timepiece, phone and text messaging product all rolled into one.

I have to admit, I had always dreamed of having a communications device on my wrist. As a kid growing up in a less technological world, my friends and I would ride around the neighborhood on our bikes pretending to speak to each other through our watches, emulating what even TV shows and movies thought would be the wave of the future.

But then the nineties came along and cell phones became “the thing.” Why talk to your wrist and hold it up to your ear when you can just do both into a slightly bigger device?

So, it’s with some confusion that I look upon the Apple Watch with a bit of skepticism.

It can field phone calls. Great. So can cell phones. It can receive text messages. So what? So can cell phones, and with much bigger screens to view them. It can track health and fitness. Again, cell phones have apps that can do that.

The list of “features” that Apple boasts on its website goes on and on, but I’m yet to be persuaded that it has a suitable purpose.

From what I read about this product, it’s actually an auxiliary display for your cell phone. To which I respond: why do I need a much smaller display of our ever-increasing cell phones? I prefer bigger views.

The only benefit I am currently aware of is that you can wear the watch on your wrist so you don’t have to carry your phone in your hand.

Is that so great a benefit that it’s worth shelling out as much money as this thing will probably cost? I can’t think of a scenario — short of an emergency — where I’d need such quick access to anything on my phone. And then, who’s to say I’d even be able to operate that little wristwatch with a tiny screen display in such an emergency?

And what about safety hazards? Are we to believe that placing these watches on people’s wrists will make them safer drivers? No, I feel the already poor driving in this country will become all the more unsafe as more attention is placed on digital devices that are easily accessible.

The concept of communicating through your watch was such a cool idea back in the 80s, and even earlier than that. And while I see a practical use for accessing your phone’s apps and text messages from your watch and not having to dig through your pocket for your device, I just don’t see much “need” for that, hence, I don’t think I’ll be dishing out boatloads of money for such a product any time soon. At least not until Apple convinces me otherwise.

Wichita high school pulls senior class prank of kindness

Did you ever pull pranks on your high school principal? Did you fill the hallway with obstructions, let loose animals or insects, rearrange tables, chairs, or desks, or maybe even decorate the outside of the school with odd or inappropriate decorations?

Pulling a senior class prank is a tradition that has been going on for a long time. The idea of getting one parting shot at the principal of the school before graduating and moving on to better things — apparently — is something that tickles one’s fancy. I guess the senior class wants to “leave a legacy” and be remembered by those behind them.

When I was in high school, the best “prank” my class could pull was actually graduating when the principal probably thought we couldn’t — or wouldn’t.

But in the midst of all the decoration and light vandalism, there’s one “prank” that stands out the most to me, and that’s one of unexpected kindness.

According to CNN, a Wichita student requested her principal stand in the hallway while holding a bucket. The principal, understandably, was hesitant about doing so, considering there could have been any number of unsettling pranks pulled on him.

But he eventually agreed to do so, which prompted a line of students to walk by and drop a note of thanks and praise into the bucket.

“Became a little emotional on some of them,” Wichita high school Principal Sherman Padgett said, “I kind of read them and thought, ‘man, this is better than a paycheck. This is why I do the things that I do.'”