Magellan International School’s Entry for the Gigabot 3D Printer Giveaway. Happy Father’s Day!
Jun 15 2014

Printing CapabilitiesMy son’s 6th grade class at the Magellan International School, that was founded 5 years ago, is attempting to win a 3D Printer in the The Great Big Gigabot Giveaway!  Their video entry is on Vimeo here:  http://vimeo.com/97991510.  I was trying to find a way to embed the video, but it doesn’t work like YouTube so I included a photo of one of their 3D printers instead.

Please watch the video to learn how they plan to use the 3D printer to design and create toys for children at an area hospitals or shelters as part of their community service endeavors.  Then please go to to younoodle.com/podium/jr/great_big_gigabot_giveaway_judging/public_voting#0 to create an account and vote for their entry to win. Their video is in the bottom row on the left.  The decision is based 40% on popular vote, so please vote and share this post with your friends.  Thank you!

Oh, and Happy Father’s Day to all you wonderful fathers out there!  You know who you are. :-)

Author: | Filed under: charities, father, Father's Day, FYI, Just For Fun | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

Songs In The Wild
Jun 3 2014

Save Me From MyselfI finally faced a big fear of putting my “art” out there for the world to judge, hate, like, love, or be indifferent about.  It’s been a multi-year endeavor, and I published them online via DistroKid back in March 2014.  Getting them on the sites below was the easiest part of this whole endeavor and apparently I’ve made $10.50 on them in March and April!  There’s a two month lag in reporting sales via DistroKid.  I wasn’t sure I’d even get $5, so I’m excited about the extra $5.50 that I can use to buy lottery tickets!

I didn’t create the songs for money.  I created them to stay partially sane during a very strange and eye opening period in my life, and I wanted to see if I could actually go from nothing to something consumable (darn entrepreneurial genes) in the world of music.  From what I hear in the music business, if I recoup my investment in a decade, I’ll be lucky.  To me the pay back is my kids humming my songs as well as some of their classmates telling me they downloaded them because they liked them…priceless!

Here’s the sparse facebook page for what I call this haphazard musical endeavor: Metaphor Mania. You can find the songs here:

iTunes:
Save Me From Myself
Soul Escape

Amazon:
Save Me From Myself
Soul Escape

Spotify:
Soul Escape
Save Me From Myself

SoulEscapeCo-written by Aruni S. Gunasegaram (lyrics & singing) and Brett Jason Wintermeyer (musical arrangement). Produced, arranged, & recorded by Ron Wikso. Chris Tondre (Guitars and Bass), Derek Morris (Keyboards), Chad and Natasha Hudson (Background Vocals), Ron Wikso (Drums).  Album cover designs by Marla Shane .

I posted the song links on facebook a couple of months ago and received some encouraging feedback.  Just like I like, love, hate, and don’t care for some songs, I suspect others will feel the same about these, but I finally did it!  And, as they say, “beauty is in the eye (ear) of the beholder!”

My kids are helping me create YouTube videos for the songs since they know how to use iMovie and I have no clue how to make a video.  We are still searching for additional appropriate random photos so it’s likely the videos won’t be ready until after summer’s over and we return from some photo worthy summer trips.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to them and share them if you like them.  As always, I appreciate all of you readers and friends who have stuck around for so many years through my entrepreneurial, parental, and musical endeavors…

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, FYI, Just For Fun, parenting, singing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Lemonade Day Stand – 2014
May 7 2014

lemonade-day-2014We participated in Lemonade Day again this year on May 4, 2014 (May the 4th be with you).  It was so much fun and a great entrepreneurial lesson for the kids last year (see Lemonade Day Austin – May 5, 2013 – Entrepreneurial Kids), that we did it again at the same location.  The three girls made over $165 in profits this year compared to $91 last year.  We changed our product mix and provided coffee, muffins, and lemonade versus lemonade, sport bars, and muffins last year.  Since we were at the Rookie Triathlon, there were already sponsors that were providing free Power Bars!

My son did it again with two of his friends at the same location they did last year.  I haven’t heard the results yet, but they think they made a good profit as well.

The only downside of doing the stand at a triathlon is having to get up at 4:30 a.m. in order to be there by 5:30 a.m. (hence a photo of the stand in the dark) to get set up before the race started!  A true entrepreneurial experience: odd hours, lots of work, and you have to wait until the end of the day to see if you actually made any money. I’m guessing more money is made in some simple lemonade stands than in many businesses who attempt to get up and make lemonade every day…even when there is a shortage of lemons, or currently limes (The lime panic of 2014).  See also The Lime Shortage: Still Messing With Your Margarita.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI, Just For Fun, random stuff | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Happy Super Bowl Sunday & Groundhog Day!
Feb 2 2014

I’m not a big football or groundhog watcher, but this year the days have collided.  I don’t plan to watch any groundhogs, but I do plan to see part of the Super Bowl.  Because my son loves sports, we will be going to a friend’s place to the watch the game so he can be with others who like to watch football.   Ah, the things us mothers do for our kids that we don’t have the patience to do for other sports fanatics in our lives. :-)

owl-seth-godinI’m hoping with the recent WordPress update, there won’t be spam links in my email feed, but it’s a crap shoot.  I haven’t been able to figure out the reason after asking several people and doing some research.  I think it’s beyond my technical expertise to figure out a fix in the near term.  I’ve managed to post about once per month mostly because I haven’t permanently fixed the spam issue and secondly because I’m still working on interesting topics to post about.  Here are some good reads:

Groundhog day and the Super Bowl – Seth Godin

The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways. – Katie Malinski

How to draw an owl – Seth Godin

The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People – AlterNet.org

The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You – NewYorker.com

 Overcome the Eight Barriers to Confidence – HBR.org

…different people differently – Seth Godin

Life is not an adventure until it starts scaring you shitless. – Gapingvoid

 

Author: | Filed under: diversity, entrepreneurship, Just For Fun, parenting, wordpress | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Go With The Flow – Happy New Year 2014
Jan 1 2014

¡Feliz Año Nuevo 2014! Another year has passed and boy/girl what an entrepreneurial year it has been!  I’ve been trying to figure out how to fix the spam (stupidity) hack that someone has done to my email feed, but after checking feedburner, feedblitz, WordPress, and staring into space, a solution/fix hasn’t surfaced.  Thank you to all of you who replied to my email feed noticing the insertion of random, annoying spam ads.  The emailed version of this post may have spam inserted, so please don’t click on the spam links…unless of course you are “looking for a good time via potency drugs.”  Fortunately, the post itself as it shows up on my blog and the RSS feed do not have spam links, just the email feed and I have no idea why!

While I am writing this post, I’m listening to final mixes of two of my songs: Save Me From Myself and Soul Escape.  Pretty soon you can sing them in your shower without worries of copyright violations!  :-)  It’s been close to a 3 year process to get to this point, but I can check “having a professional song produced” off my list soon…

Just like Fred Wilson, I am Unresolved this year, and I couldn’t feel happier about it.  When you think about it, it’s almost kind of stupid to make resolutions when so much of life is out of your freaking control.  Sure, I can eat better, exercise, laugh more, cry more, make sure I have the best career ever, piss off more people, etc. but it seems to me it’s best to just “Go With The Flow,” be as honest as you can be, and “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.”  Why humans don’t get this simplicity (see Scott Adams’ article below) after thousands of years is perplexing.  We must be a slow species that likes to complicate things.

But in other good reads:

The Non-Movie Version of Entrepreneurship – Francine Hardaway

How to Burst the “Filter Bubble” that Protects Us from Opposing Views – MIT Technology Review

Changing What You Do Versus Changing How You Think – IttyBiz

Simplifiers and Optimizers – BoingBoing by Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert

Rethinking the Job Search – Scott Uhrig of White Rock Partners (also relevant to Sales and Fundraising)

I Don’t Need To Search Anymore – gaping void

The care and feeding (and shunning) of vampires – Seth Godin

To copy what I posted on facebook: “Happy New Year! May 2014 be full of love, laughter, joy, and mind blowing (lovely) adventures with good health and peace mixed in for good luck!

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, holiday, Just For Fun, music | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Win a Jackson 5ive Cartoon DVD!
Mar 17 2013

jackson5dvdI’m hosting a giveaway for the first time in a long time.  I think Michael Jackson (link to the post I wrote after he died) and his family are really talented so when someone reached out to me to see if I’d write a post about the newly released DVD and host a giveaway if they sent me a free review copy, I said “Yes, thank you!”

The Jackson 5ive Cartoon DVD retails for $32.99 for a DVD and it’s $39.99 on Blu-Ray.

The kids watched all of the 23 episodes and really enjoyed them!  I wasn’t able to watch all of them due to regularly scheduled “mom duties” and work related stuff, but I did see many of them.  Despite hearing the “ABC-123″ song way more times than I have in my entire life before now, I really enjoyed them too.  It was neat (a.k.a. groovy) how they took classic fairy tales and turned them into shows that had a “hairy godfather,” “The Wizard of Soul,” “Michael In Wonderland,” “Jackson and the Beanstalk,” etc.  Michael loses his glass sneaker when he sneaks out to the ball and the pretty girl finds him in typical “Cinderjackson” style.  In another one, Michael eats a poisoned apple and needs to be awakened by a princess’ kiss. Their pet mice (Ray & Charles) & snake (Rosey) join in on the antics and the episodes even teach nice lessons about topics like taking care of nature.  The episodes were a fun flashback to the 1970′s and the songs that made the Jackson 5 (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael) famous.

Here’s the blurb from the folks giving away the free copy: “For the first time ever, the famous Jackson 5ive Cartoon DVD is on video … available to the public since January 15, 2013! Introduced in 1971, the cartoon takes the Jackson brothers on a colorful journey, teaching them a life lesson along the way of all 23 episodes. Making this DVD extra special is that each episode features two digitally re-mastered tracks from the Jackson 5ive! We think this is something that all Jackson fans, music fans and the 1970’s in general will love, as the cartoon brings back the glory years and celebrates the immense talents that each Jackson possessed. Not only do I think you will enjoy this DVD, but believe your kids will be captivated by the incredible music and colorful animation of the Jackson 5ive!”

How can you win? Just leave a comment on why you (or someone you know) like Michael, The Jackson 5, or any of the other talented Jackson family members, and the kids and I will sort of randomly select a name on Friday, March 29, 2013.  The lucky winner will be put in touch with the promoters of the video and will receive a free DVD directly from them.  It’s as easy as A, B, C, and 1, 2, 3!

Author: | Filed under: competition, Just For Fun, music, product review, singing, TV | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

150,000 Miles
Mar 10 2013

I wrote a post on October 19, 2009 when my car reached 100,000 miles.  I don’t know why I wrote that post, but it was a milestone for me since I’d never owned a car with that many miles on it.  Oddly, I remember a few minutes of the morning of the day I went into work after writing that post as well as what I was wearing along with a conversation I was having with the office manager at the time.  Here are a few quotes from that post updated for now:

And now here it is 8 [11.5] years, 2 kids, 3 [5] jobs, several written articles, 381 [600] blog posts [1,977 comments], and one mid-life crisis later and the car has been solid (knock on wood).”  I did just have to spend about $1,500 to fix a timing belt tensionar pulley issue and a side engine mount thingamabob a week ago…the timing (pun — or whatever — intended) wasn’t great from a cash flow perspective, but hey it’s still running!

I was too busy chatting with my [best] friend [driving to/from SXSW] at the time to notice when it hit the 100,000 [150,000] mile mark.

I wonder for how many more miles I will own this car…

Not that 99.5% of most people really care about my car or it’s mileage, but let’s just say these last 50K miles on my car have felt like a 100K miles in my life.  The amount of change that has happened in my life personally (myself and my kids) and professionally has been astounding.  And sometimes I’m surprised I’m still standing, but since the kids and I have regular check ups with friends & doctors and an active social life that keeps us driving around, I guess the life maintenance plan is working okay so far… I think I need to get an oil change.  How does one get a personal oil change? :-)

Author: | Filed under: Just For Fun, random stuff | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Groundhog Day – February 2, 2013
Feb 2 2013

groundhogHappy Groundhog Day!  According to the Washington Post: Groundhog Day 2013: No shadow for Punxsutawney Phil, so spring is around the corner.  It feels like it’s been Spring in Austin, Texas for a while now.

Like the main character in the movie Groundhog Day (wikipedia), I find that February 2, 2013 has some de ja vu elements to February 2, 2012.  In others it’s completely different.  I think I have grown & learned a lot since last year but apparently I, like many others, still have much to learn.  Guess that’s what makes life worth living: the new & unexpected adventures around the corner vs. being trapped in the same day-to-day experience unable to even drive yourself (while holding a groundhog) over a cliff to escape.

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The Impermanence of all That Exists
Jan 13 2013

mandala-tibet-jan2013This weekend I went to the Blanton Museum of Art exhibit that showcased Tibetan monks building a sand mandala.  After spending days and hours creating this mandala out of fine, colored sand, they “dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the colored sands to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists.”

I wonder if entrepreneurs who achieve the most success, not only in dollars but also impact on the world, truly understand that everything is impermanent which results in a shift in how they perceive risk.  Steve Jobs could have floundered in his business in the early days, as most entrepreneurs do, instead of becoming a household name for founding Apple and Pixar.  I’m sure he and his team threw away many designs or product ideas that they spent countless hours on, but they kept on painstakingly placing the grains of sand on each next iteration. If a few grains of sand shifted in some of the most popular designs he had envisioned in his head, we may never have known he existed.  And now even he is gone but his company lives on…for now.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, FYI, Just For Fun, steve jobs, success | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Thankful – 2012
Nov 25 2012

Another Thanksgiving in the US has passed.  It’s nice to have a holiday to remind us to be thankful and grateful for the many positive things in our lives as well as for the challenges we have overcome.  I was reviewing my past Thanksgiving posts and last year I wrote Thankful – 2011 (such an original title!) and included a photo of a dragon from my October 2011 trip to China.  That trip was amazing, the memories wonderful, and I made some great new friends who I still hang out with.

I also wrote a post on Nov 30, 2008 called The Strength Of A Thought, and I still wonder the same about “thoughts” but have softened my query and am moving more toward observation/acceptance of my musing on that day: “So, how do we rule our thoughts instead of our thoughts ruling us?  Or maybe the question is can we accomplish this in this lifetime? In this body? In this experience? Oh what power our thoughts have on the direction we step in our lives…whether it’s right, left, backward, straight, or directly into stardust…into our dreams.”

Reason for photo: The kids insisted on taking the cloud photo a few weeks back that I’m using in this post.  My son felt quite certain that the middle cloud looked exactly like a dragon’s foot and my daughter agreed.  I’m thankful for their vivid imaginations.

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Of Politics, Pundits, Links, and Movies
Nov 9 2012

So much to write about and so little time.

As the world knows, Obama won!  I hope he can continue the trend around change and find a way to bring a divided nation together for all of our sakes.  Check out Fred Wilson’s (A venture capitalist in New York) post on the topic How Do You Take The Vote?.  I like the way he outlined the results.

I recently saw a movie called Cloud Atlas that was well done and though provoking.  I want to see it again to catch all the references I’m certain I missed.  It’s based on a book of the same name that was written in 2004  by David Mitchell. It interweaves six stories about people who show up in different life times that move from the South Pacific in the nineteenth century to a post-apocalyptic future.  Tom Hanks’ character gets better (i.e. fights his demons and trusts his instincts about love).  He and Halle Barry make an interesting couple throughout.  I know it is a science fiction, but I sometimes feel as if people I meet I’ve known before or have more close connections with.

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Appreciate Your Employees. It’s Good For Business.
Sep 19 2012

Infographics are the rave right now.  Spell check hasn’t realized that infographic is a new word.  We create infographics for our clients where I work.  We also, in our spare time, create infographics for ourselves.  I happened upon this cool infographic on HR Morning (via a link from Texas CEO magazine) and had to share.  It’s so obvious to me that thanking your employees is good for business, but for some reason 65% of workers don’t receive ANY praise or appreciation.  They must work where Dilbert works.  Appreciating your kids, your friends, or your partners in life is so important.  A few kind and thankful words can go a long way in fostering loyalty, solving misunderstandings, building bridges, and most importantly bringing out the smiles & laughter. :-)

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI, Just For Fun | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

Lego Fest Mania – Austin – September 2012
Sep 2 2012

Lego KidsFest was impressive!  We were there pretty much the entire time we could be this morning.  It was at the Austin Convention Center and it was packed full of fun.  Mostly boys signed up for the workshop with the Lego master.  He talked to them about interweaving Lego’s and told him he was the youngest master Lego builder in the company.  He was 29 and had helped build, among many other things, the Lightening McQueen sculpture.  He said it took 1,800 hours to build and weighed about 1 ton.  They had many figures placed around the showroom floor like the Hulk, Batman, Hagrid, Wonder Woman, Superman, Toy Story characters, Ninjago characters, as well as many animals.  Who knew you could make a living building figures out of Lego’s?

The kids could build sections for the mini-nation they were assembling in one section of the showroom floor.  The photo in this post  is of a tower my son built representing the UT tower, and he asked to have it placed it in Texas.  My daughter built another tower and asked to have it placed it in Colorado.  Together the kids built a super tall tower and placed it in California I think.  They said there will be an aerial view of the entire area on their website after the Fest was over.

Lego started a line called Lego friends aimed at girls that had stereotypical pink colors and designs to build houses, patios, landscape gardens, etc.  My daughter and her two friends spent much of their time in that area.  Apparently, Lego’s sales to the girl market went from 10 to 27% after they designed that product line.  Go figure.  Girls like to build, but we still seem to like to build using small purple and pink pieces.  Maybe in 10 to 15 years because Lego created products that girls (or parents of girls) like playing with, we will see more women pursuing career paths in design and construction.  Who knows…

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Dilbert On Happiness
Apr 6 2012

I get my daily Dilbert fix by email and today’s Dilbert made me laugh because it’s so true of us humans.  We judge our happiness by comparing where we are in life to others.  We really have no way of telling whether that guy or gal with a big house, great job, fancy car, seemingly perfect kids and marriage, and all the fun money can buy is truly happy.  We’ve seen celebrities, who appear to have it all, implode.  We’ve seen people who have very little material possessions seemingly possess inner peace and calmness (without using illegal substances!).

Happy Good Friday.  No matter what your religious beliefs are, the fact that so many humans on this planet celebrate the death and life of a man who lived two thousand years ago means something.  None of us alive knew the physical manifestation of Jesus, but the impact he has had on generations is undeniable.

May you find your happiness without having to see pictures of people attacked by bears.

 

Author: | Filed under: holiday, Just For Fun, random stuff | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Some Valentine’s Day Thoughts
Feb 14 2012

I’ve always found Valentine’s Day to be an unusual day.  Such significance placed on a day when really the 364 (or 365 in this leap year) other days of the year are what really constitute love and endurance.  My thoughts on this day are generally too philosophical to share easily so here are some random thoughts:

  • Chocolate covered strawberries (well chocolate covered almost anything) are yummy.
  • Money comes and goes.  Apparently so does love.
  • “Sometimes one smile means more than a dozen roses” – on the wrapper of one of the Dove chocolate squares (given to me by my best friend for my birthday) my kids and I melted in a small pot before dipping strawberries & mandarin oranges in it.
  • Love shows up in the strangest and sometimes most unexpected of places and people.
  • My kids are my best valentine’s “dates” ever, and they are showing me how to dance the “shuffle dance.”
  • My son showed me that you can search Wikipedia in different languages.
  • My daughter’s smile and laugh melt my heart.
  • Google’s Valentine’s Day home page video (you tube link; embedded below) is so simple and true.  People fall in love when someone quits giving you stuff you don’t want or need and “connects” with who you are and what you enjoy.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Author: | Filed under: holiday, Just For Fun, parenting | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »